Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
In Prophecy, we Look Through a Glass Darkly - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
9 "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1st. Corinthains 13:9-10, 12)
There are many interpretations out there concerning Bible prophecy and all can't be right, and all can't be wrong. Nobody who is truly a Christian is trying to teach false doctrine, or doing the work of the "adversary".
All those preachers, evangelist and pastors are reading the same Bible that I am reading and I assume all of them are sincere. It is beyond comprehension of myself to believe that one who has believed in the atonement of Jesus Christ through His sacrifice on a cross, and subsequent resurrection to a glorified man/God, would teach deliberate error.
Now we know tha there are false teachers in the world, as Jesus told us that the end times would produce those who seek to deceive.
23 "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matthew 24:23-27)
But I don't believe that those who are "sincere" Christians are preaching error deliberately. I also, have been accused of preaching false doctrine when I propose anything on Dispensationalism, or the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, but from that perspective, not wanting to deceive anybody, I have often prayed that God would show me if I error in teaching the same. What God has done in the past, and continues to do for me, is to re-enforce these doctrines and to preach them more earnestly, as the time is short.
Personally, I have pointed out errors of the "New Age" type of Christianity that focuses on your "Best Life Now" type of motivational speaking, that looks to numbers that fill their church, and money for their pet building programs they can afford from "fleecing the flock" ...There are plenty of TV evangelist, and you know who they are, who are willing to bend the message to their advantage.
So it is with the Prosperity Gospel that tells you to send them $100 and God will turn right around and send you $1000, which reminds me of the last political election and the mantra "Pay to play" that leads many people to send all their money to these TV preachers and forsake taking care of their family. God is NOT about riches in this life, but the riches of the life to come. God has a habit of taking care of His children, and giving them what they need, but it doesn't include multi-million dollar mansions and driving around in a Rolls-Royce and jet-setting to foreign lands in your private jet.
But even with that, the fact remains that there are sincere Christians who read the same scriptures as everybody else and come up with entirely different interpretations and we are reading the same messages. When it comes to the future of Bible Prophecy and what God has promised us in the near future, you have people who discount much of it. The preterist believe that everything of prophecy was fulfilled in 70AD with the destruction of the Temple and the dispersion of the Jews into exile.
To a futurist, Bible prophecy has yet to be completely fulfilled. But even amongst these folks there is disagreement on when these events will take place. Some believe the Rapture, the HARPAZO of the church will be at the end of the Tribulation. Others believe it will happen at the mid-point of the Tribulation, or even Pre-wrath believers.
Others, this minister included, believe that the "Removal of God's Church" will take place before the Tribulation starts in earnest and God's wrath pours down on rebellious mankind in a wave after wave of ever increasing crescendo of events.
But again, we are all reading the same passages and coming to different conclusions. I praise God that I was able to show a prior post Tribulation believer that Revelation 3:10, when taken in the original Greek, shows that God will "take us out of" not take us through the coming Tribulation. Pointing to Isaiah 26:19-21 coupled with Matthew 14:2-4, its sister verse, the brother was able to see what he had read many times, but failed to discern that the church is not present during this horrific time of Jacob's trouble. My brother told me that he had read those passages many times, but it never made sense until he looked up the original Greek meaning of the passage.
ARE ALL SINCERE?
We presume that all of those who read Bible prophecy are all sincere and believe that their understanding is the correct one. After all, things that are different are NOT the same, as the Rapture can only occur ONCE.
The question is, "is the rapture before, during, or after the Tribulation?"...Speaking of a fellow brother in Christ, Hal Lindsey would be sincere and confident that the Rapture happens before the tribulation and we would agree. But there are others, such as Marv Rosenthal who teaches something called "Pre-Wrath and reading his commentaries, I believe he is sincere in that belief.
I have also been aware of post Tribulation teachers, and there are whole denominations that believe in such a theory when related to Bible Prophecy. I recall that the Church of God, when H. Armstrong was alive and his son, Garner Ted were both Post Tribulation believers and there are off-shoots of that denomination since the split of the Church of God who still believe it. But reading these still active preachers work convinces me that they too, are sincere about their position of Bible prophecy.
Although there are many different interpretations of the coming of our Lord, when and where it will happen, there is one doctrine that a true Christian believes and we can all agree on. It is that we are all saved by Grace through Faith in the shed Blood and bodily resurrection of our Lord to become a glorified spirit being of flesh and bone. Jesus became what we will be in the "sweet by and by" a glorified man, immortal, and in the same image as our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1st John 3:1-3)
That is the ONLY doctrine, in the final analysis, which really and truly bears eternal consequences. Preterist that trust Jesus for their salvation through faith, will meet up with futurist who also trust Jesus, who will fellowship with Pre-Tribbers, and post Tribbers that will fellowship with other protestants and Catholics who actually believe that only Jesus saves.
Because in the final analysis, if you trust Jesus, and in Him alone for your hopes of salvation, then you will go to that blessed place of eternal existence, we call "heaven".
THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD
This is the central message of the Gospel. It is the focus of the entire Bible that was written as a love letter to the world, that God would redeem us by the blood of His Son. The rest is the product of us longing to know more about God and know that we are blinded by our earthly existence as being mortal and bound to this world we live on. We are finite attempting to comprehend the infinite. We can only know the True God of the Bible, by believing in the only Begotten Son of God. To see Jesus is to see God the Father, as they are ONE.
As the opening scripture plainly tells us, we see "through a glass darkly". Paul said we only know in part, but the part that really matters is the part that we are saved by faith in Jesus. Everything else in the Bible is a discussion of what we discern to be truth as we read it....but we must diligently study God's Word, because cherry-picking scriptures to confirm our pre-conceived ideas and doctrines will lead many into errors of interpretations.
A LESSON OF THE TOWER OF BABEL
In the story of the Tower of Babel, God explains how the various ethnic nations came to be.
"And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." (Genesis 11:6-7)
By scattering mankind over the whole earth, God removed the common bond of one language and ethnicity. God was insuring that no man could ever rule completely over other men, as Nimrod did when he was constructing the Tower of Babel.
Down though the ages, no man has been able to dominate all mankind, at least NOT YET. Not that some have tried to do so. We speak of people like Hitler, Napoleon, or the many Roman Catholic Popes that ruled the known world, but never completely ruled mankind on a global basis.
To date, this has prevented one culture or one world view to dominate all mankind. That diversity has allowed Christianity to flourish to the point that is part of world history.
That is because Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than an accepted cultural duty, or a doctrinal edict by a majority ruling denomination.
God built that same diversity into the Church, which accounts for how and why sincere Christians can read the same Scriptures and come up with such widely divergent doctrines as preterist historicism and pretribulationist futurism. It prevents any one teacher from becoming the only accepted source of information of the things of God.
WHY SO MAN DENOMINATIONS?
If everybody agreed on all point of scripture and Bible Prophecy, then the guy who articulated it the best could become the Great Oracle of God. (and what if he were wrong?)
There are so many denominations that have their own understanding of what the Bible says...Of course, we all can't be right. Someone has it right, and the others are wrong, but believe in their mortal understanding that they are right, but still wrong. We all have diverse teachings, but share the same salvation by grace through faith. And each are equally sincere because we all share the same awesome accountability before the Lord. So none of us who preach or those who hear the Word should take any of this lightly, but examine yourself to make sure you are in the faith of Jesus Christ.
4. " For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
5, Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2nd Corinthians 13:4-5)
IN the end of all things of mankind's rule upon earth, we will be judged by how we used that doctrine that God delivered to us to lead others to the salvation which is found in no One, but Jesus Christ, our Lord. This is all true down through the Ages, but there is coming a time, when even this truth will be corrupted by two men who will lead those left behind in this world to destruction.
TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE, THE TRIBULATION
The necessity of understanding in the Church Age is demonstrated by a peek across the divide of the coming "Time of Jacob's Trouble" after the Church Age is concluded and this diversity will be replaced by a One World Religion that will be headed by one man promoting a mortal man, that many will look to as the "modern messiah".
A false prophet will arise that will direct all mankind to worship at the feet of the prophesied religious beast, the Anti-Christ. Since there will be no living, saved Christians on this earth that are guided by the Holy Spirit at that time of man's history, then the results achieved by the False Prophet are amply rewarded with the results that were unattainable during the Age of Grace, or the Church Age.
7 "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."(2nd Thessalonians 2:7-12)
The diversity of thought will been changed to a distorted edict of a false religion that will be imposed on the whole world, and those that do not bow before this false religion will be at war with the coming One World Government headed by the coming Anti-Christ.
That diversity of understanding is replaced by a universal religion imposed by the false prophet and directed toward the worship of antichrist.
"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:7-8)
I had a comment on my blog space from a reader who disagreed with my assessment that those who are in the Tribulation are not the Church. The quote was " When we mention saints it's referring to us Christians found in numerous verses in revelation. So I kindly disagree with your article." to that I responded.
"Notice that those who go through the tribulation are called saints, but never called the church...they are called the elect...a saint is a saint if they believe on Jesus, no matter what the time period is. The Tribulation produces those who believe through much persecution from man, and dealing with the falling wrath of God. No where in scripture will you find God's people being subjected to His wrath, if they are following Him. Those who believe in Jesus during this horrific time of the Tribulation will be sorely tested and will not have the guarantee of God's Holy Spirit, save the 144,000 Jewish evangelist that preach the Gospel and it will cost them their lives and all who believe in the Name of Jesus...only a remnant will escape the Anti-Christ reign of terror and will most likely be those who escaped to the wilderness from Judea when the Abomination that causeth desolation reveals himself and proclaims himself, God. It will be as it was in 70 AD, when a remnant of Jewish people believed the Roman invasion of Jerusalem to destroy her, and escaped to Petra, which will most likely be where God will supernaturally protect them for a times, time and half a time...or 3.5 years...It may be the remnant of Jewish people that survive along with a remnant of Gentiles that did not take the mark of the Beast. "
Again, the success of the False Prophet in the final analysis, comes from the loss of spiritual diversity that is unique to the Church.
On doctrinal issues like the Rapture of the Church, for example, no matter what view one holds as doctrinal truth, the essential fact is that we all will obtain heaven's glory if we be found in Jesus Christ. The Rapture is called the Blessed Hope and I point all those who are "playing church" to its nearness. Why? Because if they are playing church, they may not be truly saved, just going through the motions and will be sorely surprised when they are "left behind"...my message to those who are not serious about Jesus Christ, is to warn them of the closeness of our eternal reward found in Jesus, and unless they just "hanker" for being subjected to the worst time in all of mankind's history, they had better get right with God right now....Because it will be exponentially harder to find Jesus Christ in the Tribulation..Oh, it's possible and many will, but it will cost them their life from the popular execution of being be-headed as described in Revelation.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years " (Revelation 20:4)
The hour of the coming of our Lord draws ever near. And I believe the Pre-Tribulation removal of the Church, in Greek, the HARPAZO found in 1st Thessalonians:
16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
and repeated again in 1st Corinthians the same thought :
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." (1st Corinthians 15:50-53)
Both passages speak of us being changed and caught up....the Word for this is HARPAZO, or from the dictionary, "to be snatched away, by force"
Right now, we see through a glass darkly, because that is how God intended it to be on this side of eternity. I believe, and many others believe that the bible speaks of the Pre-Tribulation of the Bride of Christ. It is rather obvious, if you take a plain reading of scripture and don't inject your own bias. I don't believe that those who are truly God's people and don't agree with me, are preaching falsehood, but when the rapture happens, we'll all go at the same time. It's not a salvation issue, but it is a glorious belief that Jesus is coming for a Bride that is spotless and clean, and not from anything she has done, but what He has done.
For me, I will continue to preach and teach what I believe God has revealed to me. Those who belong to Him, truly, can believe or not believe as it will not matter when we are all raised into the air to meet our Lord Jesus and forever be with our Lord. The arms and hands of those who don't believe will be as mine, raised in praise to our God, and our Savior. I feel they will be just as thankful as I am, that they were wrong...
16"For God so loved the world, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17, God send not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through HIM, might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
Belief with confession to others, what God has done for you. You believe in your heart and confess with you mouth, then my friend, you will join us at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and to be forever with the Lord.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
Won't you join us, those who believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified and resurrected and sits at the right hand of God waiting for His return. ? Believe these last two passages in your heart and mind, and you will. So come Lord Jesus..
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying that I see you before our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. If you need prayer, counseling on salvation issues, or just a listening ear. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The Iranian Khoramshahr ballistic missile test did take place - although the US said "It didn't happen" - https://www.debka.com/iranian-khoramshahr-ballistic-missile-take-place-although-us-said-didnt-happen/
The new Khoramshahr ballistic missile with a range of 2,000km and multiple warheads, which was paraded in Tehran on Sept 22, was indeed test fired, as reported by Iran's Airspace chief, Gen. Amir Ajakozadeh. The launch shown filmed from a great distance on national television was genuine.
President Donald Trump tweeted: "Iran just test fired a ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea. Not much of an agreement we have!"
However, three days later, on Sept. 26, an administration official offered the opinion that the footage shown on Iranian television "appears most likely to be a re-run of a previous test launch." He added: "the video was more than seven months old and dated back to a failed launch in late January, which resulted in the missile exploding shortly after lift-off. " As to the latest launch, the US official said: "As far as we can see, it did not happen. Iran's report "so far does not appear to be true."
However, DEBKAfile's intelligence and military sources in the Middle East, who examined the conflicting versions, found indications that refuted the US official's disclaimer. The Khoramshahr was indeed test-launched, except that it happened a bit earlier than Tehran claimed - although very recently, and not seven months ago.
Those sources could not categorically confirm that it was a success - only that "it certainly did not fail."
That the new missile is exceptionally accurate appears to be correct, since there is evidence that Iran has been able to develop a new control and guidance system for its ballistic missiles.
The Iranian general's account of "several warheads" could refer to no more than two or three.
Of deep concern to Israel is the video reported to be fitted in the Khoramshahr's nose cone, because that would make it possible to steer the missile precisely to target from a ground station in Iran - even if Israel prevented the missile's delivery to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Our intelligence sources account for the extra long-distance shots of the launch by Iran's need to disguise the location of the launching site deep in the desert.
But there were was another reason too. DEBKAfile's sources reveal that in the same area, Iran is secretly developing special vehicles for carrying ballistic missiles across rugged desert or mountain terrain. This would make the missiles mobile, like North Korean rockets. Tehran has gone to great lengths to keep this project well hidden from alien eyes.
Israel Fears Advanced Iran Missiles Will be Passed to Hezbollah -
Under the nuclear agreement Tehran signed with world powers, which allows it to continue its missile program unabated, the Iranian military industry is developing one of its most covert projects: the RAAD anti-tank missile.
The Iranians have been able to reach a breakthrough in converting heavy "dumb" rockets-some old and containing hundreds of kilograms of explosives-into precision-guided missiles. These GPS-guided missiles will serve as an alternative to the inertial navigation rockets that lose of their accuracy the further they fly.
The IDF's working assumption is that these missiles will make their way to Iran's main proxy in the Middle East, Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, which receives 75 percent of its budget from Tehran.
The development of the new RAAD missile is based on a fairly new approach to developing weapons: being able to manufacture advanced weapons independently from Russia.
An accurate missile, such as the ones being developed in Iran, is one that has a hit radius of no more than several dozens of meters from its designated target.
For the sake of comparison, with the rockets Hezbollah currently has in its arsenal, the terror group would have to fire a barrage of dozens of projectiles towards central Israel to increase the chances of hitting the the Kirya IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. But only one accurate missile-assuming it is not intercepted-would be needed to achieve the same objective.
However, Western defense officials are not yet convinced Iran has completed development of the new precision-guided missiles.
Meanwhile, a recent airstrike on the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS), attributed to Israel by Arab media, reportedly laid waste to alleged Iranian infrastructure for the production of advanced arms for Hezbollah.
CERS manufactures missiles based on scientific knowhow from North Korea and Iran. The Syrian center also develops chemical weapons and other munitions for Hezbollah, such as S-60 missiles.
At present, Hezbollah's precision-guided weapons arsenal is minor: A handful of accurate attack drones and "suicide drones."
In addition to that, Hezbollah has hundreds of unmanned aircraft, some of them attack drones, without significant flight and precision capabilities, while others are used for the collection of intelligence and for psychological warfare.
It also has between 80,000-100,000 rockets in ranges of 10 to 500 kilometers, but these rockets are not very accurate.
Nevertheless, the Israeli defense establishment views Hezbollah has the biggest threat to Israel at present.
Israeli defense officials believe Hezbollah has changed its approach with regards to future conflicts with Israel: Instead of a drawn-out war of attrition, like the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the Lebanese terror group would prefer a short war, with a strong opening blow, heavy barrages of rockets, and much subterfuge.
This kind of attitude would require a different approach from the IDF, focusing on the maneuvering of small forces, such as companies and platoons, rather than the cumbersome maneuvering of divisions.
But while the Iranians are urging their Lebanese proxy to escalate the situation with Israel, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah doesn't follow Tehran's orders completely, in part because of the bad shape his organization is currently in.
At the same time, Iran is continuing its efforts to increase its influence in Syria. Tehran is arming pro-Iranian forces fighting alongside the Syrian army with a massive airlift of some 100 flights a month.
The Islamic republic also seeks to establish a division in Syria under Hezbollah's command, gathering under one central command the tens of thousands of pro-Iranian fighters operating in the war-torn country. There are currently some 8,000 Hezbollah fighters, 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops and some 10,000 Shiite militiamen in Syria.
New Discoveries in Jerusalem Point to Fulfillment of Biblical Prophecies - Amanda Casanova -
Jonathan Feldstein, an Orthodox Jew living in Israel, says visitors must experience the City of David and see the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy.
In Isaiah, he said, "Therefore, thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, no build a siege ramp against it."
The prophecy was made true as archaeologists have not found any Assyrian arrows- only arrows from the Babylonian and Roman periods.
"It was awesome seeing actual spots at which biblical kings were anointed, where King David spotted Bathsheba bathing, and where pilgrims prepared to ascend to the temple, providing a vivid depiction and understanding that's unparalleled and transforming," Feldstein said in a column for CharismaNews.com.
Feldstein, who lives just 15 minutes from Jerusalem, but rarely is able to appreciate the city, said he learned on his visit that "there is no more significant place in Jerusalem" that the City of David.
"It underscores 3000 years of unbreakable Jewish history as well as the foundation on which Christianity was born," he said.
Feldstein participated in a Jerusalem Watch tour, a daytime tour about ancient Jerusalem, and the "Halleluyah" program, a nighttime presentation on Jerusalem's history.
"As I emerged from a hefty hike ascending through an ancient drainage tunnel from the bottom of the City of David until almost the point where it reaches the Temple Mount, I was refreshed by a cool breeze," he said. "But I was chilled by the realization that in this same place, the breeze that felt so good to me was the same breeze that David himself felt sitting in the exact same location."
Salvation Only in Jesus - Nathele Graham -
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." Romans 5:8-10.
This world is in trouble. It's actually been in trouble for many thousands of years, but we can look around and see that sin is growing by leaps and bounds. Sadly, it's growing within Christian congregations as well as in the secular world. Instead of having a clear understanding of right and wrong as established by God, people today see shades of gray. What is unacceptable by God's perfect standards is now the "new norm" and some people say that the Bible needs to be updated. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20. God's word never changes and people need to study Scripture and understand what God says is evil, dark, and bitter and turn away from it. Stop and think for a moment about things that are clearly sins according to Biblical truth but are considered acceptable by humans. Murder is a sin, but abortion is acceptable to many people. One man/one woman marriage was established by God in the Garden of Eden, but this holy union is not honored in the world. We try so hard not to judge that we forget that God gives us the criteria to judge, not to condemn but to discern. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." John 7:24. God is very clear in His word about sin. He is also very clear that there is only one remedy for sin. That remedy is faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Christians we are to turn from sin and turn to Jesus. Salvation can only be found in the true and honest acceptance of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. He shed His blood to take our sin away. No sin is too big for Him to forgive, but His sacrifice must be accepted. Religious rites and works won't bring salvation. Only honest faith.
Most of us are nice people. We try to keep the 10 Commandments but interpret them to our own advantage. When we slip and break one of those rules of life, we usually think that God will understand and we laugh it off. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14-15. Do you swipe money from the company's petty cash box? That's a sin just like robbing a bank. In fact, even thinking about a sin is as bad as actually committing it. We need to control our lust through the power of the Holy Spirit. Sin is ugly and as Christians we need to honor God in all we do. When we stumble in our walk with Christ we need to ask to be forgiven. Only Christ can forgive our sin because it's only through Him that salvation can be found. Maybe we excuse our choice of wrongdoing by comparing ourselves with other people around us. What a mistake that is. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23. The people around us are sinners just like we are so they can't be our example. Study Scripture to determine right and wrong. Look to Jesus for your example instead of looking to a sinner like you. When we look at things from God's perspective we can see that our own efforts, and the efforts of others, at being a good person fall far short of the standards of the perfect God. Is there any hope for us? Our only hope and our only remedy for the sin we live in is the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
Mankind has always known God exists but has found many erroneous ways to attempt to reach Him. These ways only lead to destruction. Religion can never bring salvation. From the Jewish attempts to keep the Law to Catholic rituals, works don't equal faith and only faith in Christ will save. Some people try to be good enough through works while others put their hope in rituals. Salvation is not found in rituals or works of any kind, but only through Jesus Christ "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" 2 Timothy 1:9. Salvation has always been by faith. Read Hebrews chapter 11 to see that it was by faith that the Old Testament heroes were saved. The Law which God gave to Moses was a schoolmaster to teach His ideals. Salvation could never come through the rituals or religiously following the Law. The blood sacrifice of animals could only cover sin temporarily, but only the shed blood of Jesus can take sin away. Many of the Jewish laws were given for health reasons, but they also served to separate God's chosen people from the pagan lifestyle around them. Christians are also called to be separate from the worldly ways of the people around us, and we are to live our lives to honor our Lord. Not in a ritualistic way, but so that our faith is evident in our way of life.
Following pagan practices is in direct opposition to serving Christ. Many congregations embrace yoga, contemplative prayer, meditation, and other satanic practices. By attempting to empty our minds of thought we open ourselves to demonic entry into our minds. We are to meditate upon God's word but not through mindless emptying of our conscience self. Instead of emptying our minds we are to be sure our thoughts are on Jesus. "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;" 2 Corinthians 10:5. When we accept Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and we need to listen to His guidance. Scripture will become alive when read with the understanding given by the Holy Spirit. Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, and other satanic cultists have all died without accepting Christ's gift of salvation. They are dead. Only Jesus Christ left an empty tomb and sacrificed Himself to give us the way...the only way...for salvation. "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6. Only Jesus Christ is God Almighty. Only Jesus Christ will bring salvation.
Today it seems as if many who claim to be Christians believe that the finished work of Christ on the cross is insufficient for salvation. Many try to add individual works to Christ's shed blood, as if baptism will save you or saying a Rosary has any power. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. If you have been baptized but haven't accepted Christ for salvation then the baptism means nothing. Some try to incorporate keeping the Jewish Law into the freedom we have in Christ. Learning about Jewish feasts can be very meaningful and give a deeper meaning to God's plan, but the ritualistic keeping of those feasts in the false hope of being more spiritual is an affront to Christ's finished work on the Cross. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Galatians 3:24-25. By all means study the Law, read the Torah and begin to appreciate the grace of God through Jesus. Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and salvation is found only through Jesus Christ. Anything you try to add to His sacrifice dishonors Him.
Good works should be a result of the love we have for Jesus and thankfulness for what He did for us. "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:20. We serve a living Saviour, so dead faith does not honor Him. When you do a kindness towards another person, be sure that you're doing it for Christ. If you do a good work to bring glory and compliments to yourself then it's meaningless in an eternal sense. Jesus said "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. The works you do should all glorify God the Father and result from the love you have for Jesus. When you give Him the glory for your good works, He is glorified rather than your own ego. People around you need to hear that you serve Jesus and that it's in His name you do good. Will they mock you? Some will, but if even one person can come to salvation through Jesus because they see what He has done in you then your works will have paid off. The lost world needs to find Jesus and if you don't introduce your friends and family to Him, who will? Everyone is lost without Jesus.
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. Don't place your faith in works or false gods or in religion. Salvation is only through faith in Jesus.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Singing Off Key - By Grant Phillips -
As a youngster growing up in church, I regularly sang in the adult church choir along with a half dozen or so of my friends during those days. From about twelve to fourteen years of age until we graduated from high school, we were regular participants in the choir. I think we all enjoyed those times, and during those four to six years in the choir, our voices even improved to the point that some of us would sing specials.
There was one guy our age however who was tone deaf. He sang off key. He was not in tune ... ever. Even though I hated to be the one who might occasionally have to stand beside him (because he would pull me off key), I admired him for being faithful. He really stuck with it. Amazingly, to me anyway, by the time we were seniors in high school, he actually became a decent singer, rarely off key. Now you had to be there to appreciate what I'm saying. He really came a long way in his singing.
By this time you probably think that I am going to write about harmonizing. We should all be in harmony with each other in other words. Nope. I'm going the other direction. We need to sing off key.
When it comes to our Christian witness before a fallen world we have been in harmony with the world far, far too long. Actually, in my humble opinion, we crossed the line with God years ago in harmonizing with the world. We picked our spot on the musical cleft of life, whether soprano, alto, tenor or bass, and have blended in nicely with the music the world chooses for us to sing. Maybe if we had been singing off key the past sixty years or so, we would not be in the spiritual mess we are in today in this immoral quagmire we find ourselves in today.
The world doesn't want any waves in the waters of life. It longs for smooth sailing. Well, by and large, we have appeased the world. We haven't even caused a ripple. Occasionally, there have been lone voices speaking out for God over the years, but they have largely been drowned out by others who have followed the pied piper down the broad road of destruction.
As a former President was prone to say, "Let me make this perfectly clear," I am not implying that Christians should behave in an un-Christian manner, overtly trying to cause dissention. We can stand up for Jesus Christ and His Word in a calm, loving manner without reciprocating in kind. The point is, no matter how lovingly we may stand by the Truth, it is going to cause friction with those who are not of Christ. To them, we will not be in harmony with their beliefs and I assure you the Truth of God does not sing in harmony with the world. It will most certainly be off key, as far as the world is concerned.
Jesus had this to say:
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.' "Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:34-39)
As I indicated earlier, we don't need to be antagonistically inclined. We can be compassionate and loving, but firm in our stance for Jesus Christ. That alone will cause us to be hated, vilified and mocked. Why? Jesus tells us why.
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)
Most of us who call ourselves Christians have kowtowed to the ways of the world without even a whimper of, "Thus saith the Lord." As I previously noted, I believe it is too late now for this world to avoid judgment from God, and it is coming. At least though, before Jesus removes His Church, we the Church (the bride) need to grow a backbone and stand up for the Word of God while there is still time to do so. I don't know when Jesus is coming, but I do know He can come any day. We need to make use of the time remaining and warn those around us of one very important message; i.e. we are sinners, we need to be saved, and Jesus is the only way to be saved.
The Lord tells us in His Word, "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) I believe with all my heart that if we just share His Word with those who are willing to listen, the Holy Spirit will do the rest. It isn't up to us to persuade. It is only up to us to share.
The world around us is rapidly disintegrating and becoming quite hostile toward anyone who would dare speak the Truth. It hates Jesus and all He stands for, and that includes His followers ... Christians. Just as a person singing off key grates the nerves of those close by, so the world will be offended in our relaying the message of the cross, but can we do any less if we are a true disciple of Jesus Christ?
Think about this simply as an example of harmonizing with the world. The world has taken the word "love" and made all the instruments and all the voices join in harmony. It sounds beautiful, but there's a problem. Jesus spoke of "love" too, but His Greek word "love" is "agape." The world chooses the Greek word "eros." "Agape" refers to a selfless love as per John 3:16. "Eros" is a sexual love, which is supposed to be between a husband and wife (male and female).
So what's the problem you say? The problem is that the world uses "eros" to condone homosexuality, sex outside marriage, etc. as "lifestyles" that should be accepted because "God is love." However, God's Word does not condone these acts and His love is "agape" not "eros."
If we agree with the world, we are in harmony with the world. Everything goes smoothly and we are accepted. However, if we agree with God, we're singing off key and causing disruption. We are not accepted by the world. So what do we do?
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: The end of the world predictions - Bill Wilson -
There have been a lot of predictions lately about the end of the world or the Rapture coming this weekend or in the next few weeks. Now what I'm about to say will upset some, but if it upsets you, please read your Bibles in context rather than reading what someone wrote about these topics or watching what they said about them. Go directly to the source and study it for yourself. You can do that. These predictions call into question whether Jesus Christ is true, whether the Bible is true, or if it is all a lie. Ever think about that? Many of those who are making predictions about the signs in heavens based on numerology or selecting a single verse out of the Bible are ignoring entire aspects of Christ and the prophets.
When these events that they predict don't happen, it is because the predictors are wrong, not because God or Jesus delayed or tarried. What did Jesus say in the Olivet Discourse about the end times? First, he said, "Take heed that no man deceive you." Then he went on to list chronologically what would happen in the end of days: Beginning of sorrows, betrayal, persecution, deception by false prophets, gospel preached to all the nations, the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel, great tribulation, more deception, sun and moon darkened after the tribulation of those days, Son of man comes in the clouds of heaven, the gathering of his elect, two in the field with one taken, we all should be ready.
The Apostle Paul paints a similar picture in 2 Thessalonians 2, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." This is very clear: 1) don't be deceived, 2) falling away, 3) antichrist (beast) revealed, 4) sits in the temple as God. Daniel 9, of which Christ speaks, is similar: 1) Antichrist appears, 2) covenant confirmed, 3) temple sacrifice ceases, 4) overspreading of abominations, 5) temple made desolate by antichrist.
The Apostle John gives a very detailed account of the same events in Revelation. Other prophets are also consistent-Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel and more. I am not debating what you believe. I am pointing out what the Bible says in context. In terms of these predictors of the end of the world, and their often complex "biblical" narratives and teachings, wouldn't make sense for you, yourself, to check them out and what they say according to the Holy Scriptures? You don't need some guy with the gift of gab to tell you what he thinks the Bible means. He won't stand in your place before the Lord. Only you. Don't get mad at me, just read the Bible for yourself and ask the Lord to give you understanding.
Daily Devotion: Draw Your Sword - By Greg Laurie -
The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. -Ephesians 6:17
The one piece of armor that is both offensive and defensive is the sword. When I go into battle, I don't beat my enemy with my shield or try to defeat him with my belt or chase him down with my sandal or throw my helmet at him. I pull my sword out of the sheath and I use it.
Ephesians 6:17 tells us to take up the sword of the Spirit. When we are tempted, the most effective weapon that God has given to us as believers is the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
Jesus modeled this so beautifully during His temptation in the wilderness. When the devil tried temptation after temptation against Him, Jesus used the sword of the Spirit (see Luke 4:1-13). The devil said, "Why don't you turn a rock into a piece of bread. I know you are hungry."
Jesus said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil said, "Why don't you worship me right now?"
Jesus responded, "It is written, 'You shall worship the Lord God only. Him only you shall serve.'"
"Why don't you cast yourself off of here, and the angels will catch you," Satan said, quoting Scripture out of context.
Jesus responded, bringing the Scripture back into context, "It has been said, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
The sword of the Spirit works. So draw your sword, Christian.
FROM THE HEART
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