Prophecy Update Newsletter
October 6, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
R.I.P. Planet Earth - J.L. Robb - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8318
After the Great Flood, of which most ancient cultures include in their history, God indicated that never again would the world suffer from a worldwide flood.
"I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." Genesis 9:11 NIV
Certainly there have been devastating floods in the 4500 years since the Great Flood. Some are happening at this very moment, thanks to Hurricane Matthew. Forecasters have said that Hurricane Matthew could leave as much as 40 inches of rain in some areas. That's a lot. However, there is no other story of a worldwide flood occurring since then.
According to many sources, i.e. Epic of Gilgamesh, a worldwide flood certainly occurred. Many supposed scholars claim that Moses repeated the story of the flood from the Epic of Gilgamesh, which predated the Torah by approximately 700 years. However, though Moses wrote the Torah around 1500 BC, it covered a timeframe that began with the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden predates the Epic of Gilgamesh by hundreds of years.
The Great Flood occurred for one reason and one reason only: mankind's fall.
During the days of Noah, God made fewer appearances than He did in the beginning. After all, man had thoroughly rejected Him. There were few if any believers in the God of Adam and Eve, other than Noah and his family. That is very fortunate for us. Otherwise, the earth would be a much different place and probably unpopulated, at least with people.
A worldwide flood would have killed all the land animals and most of the plants, so if God intended to repopulate the world He would have had to re-create plants in order to feed the population. At that time prior to the flood all people were herbivores and only consumed plants. Consuming animals for nutrition did not happen until after the Great Flood.
Since it seems that Noah's cargo consisted of animals and not plants, the animals that he saved became the sustenance for the eight remaining people on earth. Plants would have regenerated quickly. Some scholars who have studied the subject think that Noah could have possibly carried a few grapes or other fruit to eat during the flood. This is quite possible since they were vegetarians and permission had not been given at that time to consume animals. We do know that some plants survived the flood, because the bird returned to the ark with an olive branch after making its reconnaissance flight.
From the Scripture at the beginning of this article, God made it plain that he would never use a flood to destroy mankind throughout the world. He did not, however, say that he would never destroy our world. To the contrary, God indicated that he would indeed destroy the world by fire during the end times when the population of the world became like the population of the world in Noah's day.
So why would God use fire in the future to cleanse our world rather than a flood?
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 2 Peter 3-10 NIV
Possibly God decides that the worldwide flood was not adequate in cleansing His disgust with mankind, and he decides to cleanse Earth once and for all. For those who escape this autoclaving of Earth, life is good; for those who do not, not so good.
If you have ever worked in a hospital or laboratory, the number one way of sterilizing surgical tools and other equipment is by the autoclave. The autoclave is an apparatus that sterilizes via steam heat or dry heat at temperatures as high as 375° to 400°. This dry heat temperature is the best way to ensure that germs are not spread via the surgical instruments. What water cannot kill, extreme temperatures can.
There are certainly instances in the Bible where fire rains down on our land from heaven. Revelation 11 tells of Two Witnesses in Jerusalem during the last days who call fire down from heaven; and there are others.
When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt... Exodus 9:23 NIV
Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown. Leviticus 9:24 NIV
The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. Revelation 8:7 NIV
There is lots of fire in the Book of Revelation and throughout the Bible. According to Zechariah, some fire will be so hot that people who experience it will simply vanish.
And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. Zechariah 14:12 KJV
When I was a kid and read the above Scripture for the first time, it was very frightening to a 10-year-old. What could Zechariah be envisioning other than atomic warfare? In 1957, atomic warfare was relatively new. Atomic and hydrogen weapons were being tested regularly, some as large as 100-megatons (equivalent to 100 million TONS of TNT). It was already known at that time that nuclear weapons could simply make things disappear, including people, as though they never existed.
According to a British news source I read today, Russia is anticipating a nuclear war with the West.
Russia tells citizens 'nuclear war with the West could happen soon'
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday proposed a law suspending a Moscow-Washington agreement to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium.
Officials said on Friday that underground shelters had been built which could house 12 million people - enough for the entire population of Moscow.
The United States and the world is on the precipice of World War III over Syria. The Syrian Civil War has killed more than 400,000 people. This could've been avoided had President Obama manned up and stood behind the red line in the sand that his administration drew as a threat to Syria should they use chemical weapons. The Syrians used chemical weapons, and are still using them today, because the president's red line threat was not enforced. Now for the first time ever, Russia not only has a foothold in Syria but is threatening the United States to butt out or else. What is else?
Else could be and probably will be, nuclear war.
A 20-megaton nuclear weapon detonating 3 miles above the ground would destroy most structures within a 20-mile diameter. The effects on the population is even scarier. This blast over a population center could kill millions in the blink of an eye. Even more would later die from radiation sickness. After the nuclear attack in Hiroshima with a small atomic weapon, many who witnessed the attack and lived claimed that people in the center of the blast simply vanished.
A witness named William Burchett had this to say:
"...of thousands of others, nearer the center of the explosion, there was no trace. They vanished. The theory in Hiroshima is that the atomic blast was so great, they burned instantly to ashes, except there were no ashes."
The Middle East is out of control and the situation is dire, more dire than any time in history. The final war, Armageddon, to be fought in the Valley of Megiddo in Israel seems to be on the brink of reality. Unlike in Noah's day, God does not plan to annihilate everyone. In the final scenario, the good will be separated from the bad; and that will not be good for the bad.
When I tell folk that the Book of Revelation is really a love story, they look at me strangely; but that is the case. It is God's love story and will prove that God does not love everyone the same. He hates evil. And he also hates those who perpetrate evil against his chosen, the Jews. Jews are being ostracized, murdered and their capital city, Jerusalem has become a burden to the world, just like God said that it would.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. Zechariah 12:3 KJV
The remaining question is: Are the people of the world becoming like the people of the world in Noah's day? I think so. All one has to do is pick up a newspaper or turn on the news. It seems that many, if not most, are more interested in sitcoms and reality TV than what is going on in Israel. This is a huge mistake.
The time is near, and we all need to pay attention.
Palestinian Murderers and Their Western Enablers - By Guy Millière - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=704
The sport of murdering Jews does not stop. On June 30, at dawn, in Kiryat Arba, a young Arab broke through a window, and stabbed a 13-year-old American-Israeli girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, to death.
The young Arab who stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel was shot dead just after the assault. His mother said she was proud of her son. The Palestinian Authority (PA) said he was a hero and a "martyr."
This year alone, 24 Israeli Jews were murdered, many gruesomely. Every time one of the murderers was shot, his family declared how proud they were, and the Palestinian Authority celebrated him. New murderers are preparing new attacks.
What sort of society is it where parents say they how proud they are that their children are murderers? And what sort of leadership is it that celebrates killers?
Further, what sort of Western journalists and "human rights" groups are those that fail to voice their outrage at the murder of a sleeping 13-year-old girl?
These journalists and human rights groups voice their outrage at people killed in European soccer stadiums, musical theaters and editorial rooms, but never, it seems, for Israeli Jews killed over so many years.
Why also is it that they never speak of the moral depravity of the Palestinian Authority?
Most remain silent; many do worse. They blame the victims, accuse them of being the guilty party. Some even justify the murders and find excuses for the terrorists. Sometimes, when the murders take place in disputed areas such as Judea and Samaria, these self-appointed judges call the victims "settlers," and claim that they deserved their death for being where they should not have been.
They comfortably overlook that to many Palestinians, all the Jews are "settlers," even the ones they kill in Tel Aviv. Just look at any map of "Palestine" -- on every one, the whole of Israel is a "settlement.". If there were no "settlements" until after 1967, but the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created in 1964, what was it planning to "liberate"?
Most Western journalists instead explain that "violence" is the fatal result of the "hopelessness" created by the Israeli government. Did they ever say that about the murders in Paris's theaters, London's Underground, New York's office buildings, Madrid's train system or Dakha's restaurant -- that they were the result of "hopelessness"?
None of these journalists ever reports the reactions of those murderers' families.
And almost none of them ever reports what the Palestinian Authority does after each Palestinian bombing, stabbing, car-ramming or other murderous attacks -- how it rewards the terrorists and urges more attacks.
Most Western politicians, Europeans in particular, are no different. They half-heartedly condemn the murderers and then blame Israel's government. On June 30th, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a press release saying that "France condemns the horrific murder of a young Israeli girl in the settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank," and asking "all the parties to do everything possible to calm the situation."
The same day, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the head of the European Union's delegation in Israel, wrote, "Strongly condemn terror murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel in Kiryat Arba this morning." Four days later, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs published another press release:
"France condemns the Israeli authorities' approval of plans to build several hundred homes in settlements... each new announcement of settlement activity, which is illegal under international law, fuels tensions."
On July 5th, a spokesperson for the EU said:
"Despite repeated calls by the international community Israel is continuing its settlement policy, which is illegal under international law. The decision calls into question Israel's commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians."
None of them ever mentions the reactions of the murderers' families either, or the behavior of the Palestinian Authority. That way, they can express sympathy for the "Palestinian cause" without having to grapple publicly with tough questions or embarrassing facts.
For instance, the Palestinian Authority not only celebrates murderers: it produces new ones every day -- and does so knowingly and voluntarily. For this it uses textbooks, television and radio programs, and articles in newspapers, all paid for with money from Western governments.
The Palestinian Authority also financially rewards the murderers' families and the murderers themselves, if they survive and end up in jail. These financial rewards are also paid for with money from Western governments.
How can Western politicians explain that they condemn the murders and still fund the incitement to kill? How come they keep giving money that rewards murdering Jews "by all available means"?
How can they say, as they so often do, that they fight anti-Semitism, and at the same time support an organization that incites people to kill Jews?
How can they define as "moderate" an organization such as the Palestinian Authority that admits sending terrorists to kill Israelis and that teaches children, on its Facebook page, how to stab Jews to death?
And how can they consider it urgent to give such an organization its own State?
Facts get set aside. Questions do not get asked. Financial rewards continue to be paid by the West.
As Leon Uris states through the protagonist in his novel, Exodus: "To most Gentiles, Jewish meat is cheaper than beef, cheaper than herring." And that was in 1958. It seems that to most Gentiles, Jewish meat still is cheap.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, no Western government helped Israeli Jews to resist the five Arab armies that tried to wipe it out at its birth.
Today, most Western governments pretend to be friends of Israel. Most are at best fair-weather friends; at worst, not friends in the slightest. Israeli Jews know they can only rely on themselves. They know that others, such as France, are holding knives that are sharpened.
On June 23, Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, delivered an anti-Semitic speech from the rostrum of the European Parliament. dishonestly accusing rabbis of urging Israel to poison the water used by Palestinian Arabs. He received an enthusiastic standing ovation from virtually all present. On June 24, he admitted his claim had been false.
A few days after that, on July 1, the "Quartet for the Middle East" (EU, USA, Russia, UN) presented a report condemning "Palestinian violence," and describing the Israeli "colonization" of "Palestinian territories" as a major cause of all problems.
The report omits that "Palestinian violence" kills innocents -- 13-year-old girls sleeping in bed; families having dinner at a mall in Tel Aviv; fathers driving their families whose only "fault" is that they are Jews -- and most of all, that this Palestinian violence is engineered and financed by the West.
The report omits is that it is the report's authors themselves who are instigating this genocide, transforming millions of Arabs into their genocidal hired guns.
ISIS Prepares for Armageddon Battle Against US Special Forces - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/76735/isis-fighting-end-days-battle-dabiq-bring-muslim-messiah/#0ZUqj4qG7jMIRQMb.97
"Therefore son of man prophesy and say unto Gog: Thus saith the Lord GOD: In that day when My people Yisrael dwelleth safely shalt thou not know it?" Ezekiel 38:14 (The Israel Bible™)
While God's judgement of the world hangs in balance during the Days of Awe between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, a battle is being fought in a small, dusty town in Syria that ISIS and many of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims believe will usher in Mahdi, the Islamic concept of Messiah.
ISIS believes Mahdi will come after the final apocalyptic battle between "Rome" (or America, in its modern incarnation) and Islam is fought in Dabiq, Syria. Though the current has little strategic military importance and the outcome seems certain, as a small group of ISIS fighters face off against American-led troops, the Koran prophesies that this battle, win or lose, will set off a process resulting in all infidels choosing between conversion and death.
One expert sees this battle as a catalyst setting off intensified ISIS terror attacks around the world in an attempt by the Islamic State to fulfill the prophecy.
"ISIS believes quite strongly that the primary eschatological battle between the Muslims and the Christian forces will be fought there," Dr. Timothy Furnish, an international media commentator and author on radical Islam, explained to Breaking Israel News. "They have been trying to goad the West, primarily the US, into inserting ground forces at that locale."
Dr. Furnish cited a hadith (Islamic teaching attributed to Mohammed) which states that the "Last Hour would not come" until a vastly superior Roman army composed of "the best soldiers of the people of the earth at that time" came to battle Islam in Dabiq.
Islam's vision of Messiah is the resurrection of a Muslim Jesus, who will convert all Christians to Islam. Those who do not convert will be killed.
Dabiq is a small Syrian town with a population of 3,000, about 10 miles from the border with Turkey. Rebel troops, including 300 US Special Forces, are currently moving to take the town back from ISIS. Fighting has been fierce and casualties are already high on both sides. Despite its relative unimportance, Islamic State has been focusing all of its efforts on the city.
The battle began on Monday, when the Free Syrian Army - Syrian rebel forces supported by America and Turkey - captured Turkman Bareh, four miles east of Dabiq. The anti-ISIS forces predicted they would capture Dabiq within 48 hours, but their advance slowed after they encountered extensively mined areas, mortars, and explosive devices in their path. Fighting was reported to be especially fierce as ISIS reinforcements poured into the region.
ISIS has put great effort into attracting American attention to the backwater of Dabiq, naming its online propaganda magazine after the town of Muslim armageddon. The magazine's front cover quotes former terrorist leader and killer Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who proclaimed in 2004, "The spark has been lit here in Iraq, and its heat will continue to intensify - by Allah's permission - until it burns the crusader armies in Dabiq."
The small town was prominently featured in a video of Mohammed Emwazi, a British citizen dubbed "Jihadi John", who joined ISIS and murdered five Western hostages in 2014. He taunted American viewers with the severed head of American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, a former US Army Ranger, at his feet.
"Here we are, burying the first American Crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive," Emwazi said in the video.
Their efforts to attract America's attention seems to have succeeded, as the US-led coalition brings "the best soldiers of the people of the earth" directly to Dabiq. Nonetheless, it is not holding onto the city or even winning the battle that is significant to ISIS, but the fact of the battle itself.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic literature and a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, believes that ISIS will not relinquish its twisted version of Messiah, even if it is defeated in the prophesied Battle of Dabiq.
"No doubt, Dabiq carries a very heavy Islamic meaning," Dr. Kedar told Breaking Israel News. "I think that the Islamic State will not turn Dabiq into a fight for eternity, and will withdraw eventually from Dabiq as well as from other parts of Syria."
But Dr. Khedar believes an ISIS defeat in Dabiq will be even more catastrophic for the West than an ISIS victory.
"They will claim that the war on Dabiq can be carried out in the streets of Paris, London, Berlin, Washington DC and Jerusalem," Dr. Kedar warned. "Meanwhile we can see a war between Russia and the US on Syria. Put simply, Gog and Magog."
Are We on the Brink of World War III? - Bob Eschliman - http://www.charismanews.com/politics/issues/60400-are-we-on-the-brink-of-world-war-iii
With relations between the United States and Russia at their lowest since the fall of the Soviet Union, and with increased provocations by Russian military assets around the world, it's easy to assume a hair-trigger separates peace from World War III.
Adding to those concerns was a new report that the Russian government is in the midst of a "war game" in which 40 million people are preparing to respond to potential nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks. According to the Russian Ministry for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters:
Fire safety, civil defense and human protection at social institutions and public buildings are also planned to be checked. Response units will deploy radiation, chemical and biological monitoring centers and sanitation posts at the emergency areas, while laboratory control networks are going to be put on standby.
Last week, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, Commander of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that to implement a "no-fly zone" over Syria would require the U.S. declaring war on both Syria and Russia. But if you were to listen to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, the U.S. is already on a war footing:
The strategic resolve of our nation, the United States, is being challenged and our alliances tested in ways that we haven't faced in many, many decades. I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm ... the United States military-despite all of our challenges, despite our [operational] tempo, despite everything we have been doing-we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.
While we focused on the counter-terrorist fight, other countries-Russia, Iran, China, North Korea-went to school on us. They studied our doctrine, our tactics, our equipment, our organization, our training, our leadership. And, in turn, they revised their own doctrines, and they are rapidly modernizing their military today to avoid our strengths in hopes of defeating us at some point in the future.
Milley quoted a Russian official who said he believed the former Soviet state could launch a conventional war in Europe and win. He then said that such a war would be "highly lethal, unlike anything our Army has experienced at least since World War II."
"It's a tall order for sure-to project power into contested theaters, fight in highly populated urban areas, to survive and win on intensely lethal and distributed battlefields, and to create leaders and soldiers who can prevail," he added. "Tough? Yes. But impossible? Absolutely not.
"Make no mistake about it, we can now and we will retain the capability to rapidly deploy, and we will destroy any enemy anywhere, any time."
Do Christians Know Their Doctrine? - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=708
How well does the average American understand basic Christian doctrine?
LifeWay Research and Ligonier Ministries decided to find out and have just published the results of a second large-scale survey conducted of 3,000 American adults who were presented with 47 questions on basic Christian doctrine.
In the previous study, respondents were left free to self-identify as evangelicals but in the most recent survey, the answers to several key questions were used to identify Christians as evangelical by their beliefs.
Of the 3,000 total adults surveyed, 586 individuals provided statements that identified them as evangelicals. Allowing a comparison to the previous survey in which individuals self-identified, the result was surprisingly similar in most regards.
For purposes of the survey, an evangelical Christian is someone who believes that the Bible is the highest authority, the spreading the Gospel is important, that Christ's sacrifice on the cross is the only way to atone for our sins and that belief in Jesus Christ is the only means of salvation.
The research extracted from the full forty-seven questions shows a wide range of differences within Christian orthodoxy, either in the form of differing belief or admitted confusion over specific points of doctrine.
Some of the questions that set evangelical Christians apart from others include:
- People have the ability to turn to God of their own initiative (82% agrees)
- Individuals must contribute to their own salvation (74% agrees)
- Jesus is the first and greatest being created by God (71% agrees)
- God is omniscient but does not control all that happens (65% agrees)
- My good deeds help earn my place in Heaven (39% agrees)
As a common point of agreement from nearly all evangelical Christians, the respondents expressed their belief that God is triune (97%), perfect (97%), and responds to our prayers (94%).
Those polled showed a surprising tendency for relativistic thinking, especially in contrast with their affirmations that Jesus is the only path to salvation.
Although all the evangelicals in the survey expressed their agreement that "the Bible is the highest authority for belief" and a strong 95% also believe that the Bible has the power to command our lives. Fully 30% of evangelical Christians expressed their belief that "the Bible was written for each person to interpret as he or she chooses."
The effect of this belief should not be underestimated because, ironically, it is through personal interpretation that the Word of God continues to be taken as the basis for new belief systems that are each further from orthodoxy.
There is a sense of personal freedom, yes, but also a hint of the postmodern among professed believers who claim both an authoritative, infallible divine text but also their right to interpret it as they believe best.
Larson urges that it seems like the "Protestant principle of the right of private judgment" and that "It would take a series of additional questions to figure out what is really going on here".
Also surprising was the response that God "accepted the worship of all religions including Christianity, Judaism and Islam".
Whereas 64% of non-evangelical Christians surveyed agreed with that statement, evangelicals concurred, at 48%, though they did also affirm that salvation is only possible through Christ. This was still an unusual pluralistic streak amongst an otherwise fairly conservative group.
As the survey authors point out, simply accepting the worship of other religions doesn't necessarily mean that God will heed their prayers and additional questioning may be needed to explore such grey areas.
Confusion exists particularly around the nature of the Holy Spirit with 28% expressing the belief that the Holy Spirit is not equal to God the Father or Jesus Christ the Son, and 56% believing that the Holy Spirit is a force and not a personal Being.
"I'm surprised that people seem to know and affirm the formula for the doctrine of the Trinity, but aren't able to connect that to the Gospel truth that Jesus and the Spirit are truly and fully divine".
Speculating on the causes and effects of numerous points of confusion on basic issues of orthodox doctrine, the study authors write that "The survey underscores our desperate need for sound doctrinal teaching in the local church.
"I fear we're spending too much time in cults of personality around charismatic superstar pastors who often focus more on their personal theological idiosyncrasies and pet ideas than on basic Christian orthodoxy."
An American spirit of individualism and independence pervades the list of responses to the 47 questions. The danger is, of course, a continued process of fracturing of the church and drifting away from established, orthodox belief.
As individual interpretation and charisma in the pulpit grow in disproportionate value, so does knowledge of the word of God shrink. While the survey showed great common ground in some points, it also revealed surprising levels of liberalism and relativism even within the generally traditional and conservative evangelical community.
Timothy Larsen, professor of Christian thought at Wheaton College, explained the confusion on basic points of theology as a product of later-in-life conversions to Christianity. Even internal contradiction between responses on the same survey are possible from believers who are not firm, consistent and certain in their beliefs.
Thus, if nothing else, the survey indicates the need for consistent and disciplined teaching of Christian doctrine in a population that has grown more diverse, accepting and open to other, even aberrant, views.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Sound Doctrine will not be Endured - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Timothy 4:3-4. We are living in the time that Paul was talking about. New Age, Yoga, Meditation, Contemplative Prayer, political correctness, Prosperity Gospel, and many more heresies are creeping into Christian congregations and none of these are sound doctrine. Even the outright rejection of Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation is being preached from some pulpits. How did we get to the place where sound Biblical doctrine is rejected, but satanic lies are embraced? It's sad to think of how many people refuse to accept Christ because Biblical truth doesn't fit their lifestyle. Sound doctrine is not endured by many people today.
If you aren't interested in Biblical truth, it's easy to find someone who teaches a "warm and fuzzy" lie. Itching ears can always find someone to scratch them. If you're looking to condone a particular sin, you can find a book to support your error or a group that makes you feel good about unsound doctrine. Are you old enough to remember Flip Wilson and his comedy routine about the "Church of What's Happening Now"? It was funny then, but today it isn't so much a joke as reality. Instead of preachers speaking sound Biblical doctrine their sermons are silenced by laws that require them to sidestep God's truth and we seem to think that's acceptable. In order to remain tax free they become politically correct instead of Biblically correct. The same sin that gripped Sodom and Gomorrah is gripping people today, but sound doctrine is not endured...it's not politically correct. Is it wrong for the man in the pulpit to speak against adultery? What if he offends Mr. Smith and Mrs. Jones, or even Mr. Smith and Mr. Jones? Will they keep giving money if their sin is preached against? After all, this is 21st century and we've become more tolerant, right? Wrong. God hasn't changed and Christians need to hold fast to Scripture and live to please Him rather than expect Him to change to accommodate us. God wrote on the stone tablets "Thou shalt not commit adultery. " Exodus 20:14, and Jesus said "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28. That's sound doctrine. God wrote it on stone tablets, Jesus confirmed it, and this truth hasn't changed. Always look to God's word for doctrine instead of to a denomination or the government. Then live by what God says.
It's time for men of integrity who are not afraid to stand on the sound doctrine as found in God's word to speak out. Women too need to hold fast to God's truth and stop compromising. The first Christians faced many troubles and persecution. People from both Greek and Hebrew backgrounds joined together to serve Christ and care for each other. Disputes arose and the need for overseers was evident. To be sure everyone's needs were met, men were appointed who could be trusted to serve honestly and without showing favors to one group or the other. "And the saying please the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them." Acts 6:5-6. Stephen is described as "... full of faith and of the Holy Ghost" and that quality should be evident in every Christian. He was a man who didn't follow false doctrine or scratch itchy ears to appease others. He served God and studied Scripture. "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." Acts 6:8. Could he have done those wonders and miracles if he had compromised his faith? God can use us in spite of failures, but standing firm on God's word will allow us to be used by Him in powerful ways.
When we take time to study God's word it becomes easier to see the sin in our own life and ask for God's forgiveness. It also helps us to take a stand against false teaching. Stephen's miraculous activity was noticed by Jewish leaders who were trying to stop Christianity from spreading, and so Stephen was arrested. False witnesses were brought in with false accusations. Stephen could have compromised his faith by tickling ears in order go along with political correctness, but he chose to stand on God's word. He had studied Scripture and wasn't afraid to speak truth, even in the face of death. Stephen gave a Jewish history lesson to the high priest and all who were within earshot and didn't back down from the truth. From Abraham to Solomon and the building of the Temple, Stephen told of how they had always resisted God. "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murders: who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it." Acts 7:51-53. Stephen showed how they had rejected God in the past and how they had rejected their Messiah, the Just One. His words brought anger to those who accused him of blasphemy, but as Stephen didn't back down. People who will not endure sound doctrine will always refuse to listen. "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, and cast him out of the city, and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul." Acts 7:57-58. How ironic. The very man who held the cloaks of those who stoned Stephen for preaching sound doctrine would years later write the letter to Timothy warning that sound doctrine would not be endured and people would have itchy ears. Because Stephen was not afraid to speak truth he bore a strong witness for our Lord, Jesus Christ. Saul later would be known as Paul. After his conversion he fearlessly spoke God's truth and wrote many letters encouraging us in sound doctrine.
Stephen began his speech with God's call to Abraham and the establishment of the line that would bring the Messiah to the world. The foundation of Christian faith is rooted in Jewish history, but Christianity has not replaced Israel in God's plan. Many Christian denominations teach the heretical doctrine that the ekklēsia (the called out body of Christ) has replaced Israel in God's eyes. This is absolutely not true. Our faith is in the Jewish Messiah who entered His creation just as the Jewish prophets foretold. He fulfilled the Law but did not abolish it. The Law gives us a good idea of what God expects from us; the Ten Commandments are still valid and are to be obeyed. Jesus' blood sacrifice took away our sin instead of just covering it. "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." Hebrews 10:4. Sound doctrine begins in the Old Testament and is fulfilled in the New Testament. Sin is defined in the Law, but forgiveness of that sin is found only through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
The only way to discern sound doctrine is to study God's word. God's truth runs from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21. God has not changed and neither have humans. We still try to twist Scripture to make it say what we want so we can pretty much keep on sinning and figure it's okay with God. We don't want to endure sound doctrine because that might require us to change our mind about sin in our life and view it as God does. It might cause us to repent and live our life so as to please God. Paul is a good example of how our life should change to please God. Once Paul met Jesus his life was changed forever. He never again held cloaks as stones were thrown at someone for preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. In fact, he was stoned, beaten, imprisoned, and beheaded for speaking God's truth. Paul never spoke false doctrine, but through his knowledge of Old Testament Scripture and the truth of the Gospel taught others sound doctrine. As he travelled he would often begin teaching in a synagogue in spite of the fact that they usually rejected his message of the Good News of Jesus Christ. One such place he taught was in Berea and they were astute enough to check Scripture to see if what he preached was true. "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11. Do you search the Scriptures to see if what you are being taught is true? If you're willing to have your itchy ears tickled, then you won't care one way or the other about God's truth. That's a pity.
Stephen was martyred because he spoke the truth, but his reward was great. He used Old Testament Scripture to show that Jesus was the Messiah. The Bereans also used Old Testament Scripture to test Paul's teaching and found it to be the truth. Today we still need to study all of Scripture to be sure that we understand God's word and have been taught sound doctrine; we need to rebuke false teachers. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2 Timothy 4:2. It takes time and effort to study Scripture. Get busy.
We live in the time that sound doctrine isn't politically correct, but there's no excuse for accepting what is unacceptable to God.
God bless you all,
Ron 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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Daily Jot: Ignoring the obvious - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:11-13: "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." The order of wickedness emanates from the devil. His minions are established in spiritual principalities, extending to those who are placed in the hierarchy here on earth-those of this world. We need to recognize this and understand it, especially as it relates to our leadership.
On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy faced such an example with the Cuban missile crisis. Kennedy addressed the nation, saying "This Government, as promised, has maintained the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island. The purpose of these bases can be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere. The Soviet leadership lied about the missiles up to the very day of Kennedy's address. It was obvious, even though many did not want to suspend their disbelief to see the imminent threat of death or surrender that was facing our beloved country.
This is no different than the current Administration. It has been revealed that the White House and its minions deliberately lied to the American people and the news media, misled them intentionally, about dealing with the world's foremost sponsor of terrorism-Iran. According to a Washington Free Beacon investigative report, the Administration lied to the media, lawmakers and the citizenry for over nine months as it reached agreement to release $1.7 billion to the very Iranian bank that funds the country's ballistic missile system. Instead of curtailing Iran's nuclear program, the White House has accelerated it. For over seven years, the White House has appeared to work against the best interest of Americans.
We, as a law abiding people, chose to right these types of wrongs peacefully rather than with bloodshed. We do it through elections. We cannot ignore the obvious. Continuing the takeover of our nation by those who wish to destroy it in the name of change is ignoring the obvious. Continuing this is detrimental to ourselves and our offspring. The scriptures say that the devil wishes to steal, kill and destroy. That is what is facing us with this election. We can either chose peacefully to begin to change it with this election, or ignore the obvious and reap the consequences as children of disobedience. It will lead to more theft, death, and destruction. As for me and my house, we chose to take a course where us and our seed may live. We have to draw the line in the sand somewhere. We must repent, pray, and most certainly, ACT.
Daily Devotion: God Chose Marriage - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8
Of all of the pictures that God could have chosen to show His love for us, He chose marriage.
Husbands are told to love their wives as Christ loves the church. Wives are told to be submissive to their husbands as unto the Lord. Here is what the Lord is essentially saying: "Hey world, want to know how much I love My people? Check out the way that Christian husband loves His wife. Hey nonbelievers, want to see how much My people love Me? Check out the way that Christian wife loves her husband."
From that perspective, can't you see how bad it is when Christians divorce? It devastates our witness. We tell the world how to live-how to be changed by Jesus-but then we can't work out our problems in our own marriages. It should not be so.
God has chosen marriage as a representation to a lost world. Therefore, when you have a strong marriage, you are a powerful witness. How did God show His love for His bride, the church? By sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us. Talk is cheap. Words are easy to say. But God put His own Son on the cross to die in our place, in order to demonstrate how much He loves us.
"But Greg," you might say, "Those are tall orders! There's no way we can love like that on our own!" That's true; we can't.
We need the Holy Spirit's power to be the husbands God has called us to be. We need the Holy Spirit's power to be the wives God has called us to be. We need the Holy Spirit's power to be the parents God has called us to be. We need His help.
So be filled with the Spirit, walking thought by thought, decision by decision, act by act under His control.
FROM THE HEART
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