Prophecy Update Newsletter
November 4, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Cursing and Robbing Israel - Alf Cengia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8331
It seems this world is forever cursing and robbing Israel in some way or other.
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. Gen 12:3
Perhaps it's just me, but the King James language's authoritative tone captures this warning better than most translations.
While Gen 12:3 is a favorite of those who love Israel, it rubs non-premillennialists the wrong way. See my previous article Blessing and Cursing Israel. I'm re-addressing the topic and chosen a stronger title this time around. I believe the subject warrants it.
First of all I want to mention the UNESCO Jewish-history-denial farce. I searched for stronger words to use: charade, sham, travesty etc. Farce fits nicely. The United Nations Organization is knowingly robbing Israel of its history. There's a mountain of archeological and historical evidence supporting Jewish history and UNESCO is fully aware of it.
What motivates this flagrant denial, aside from kowtowing to Islam? At its root level, it is anti-Semitism. Mitch Glaser rounds up the driving force behind anti-Semitism very well:
Why has there been such widespread Jew hatred throughout history? And why have the Jewish people been singled out? The reason is theological. To put it simply, [anti-Semitism] is the most critical arena of spiritual warfare there is... [It] has one cause - Satan. Israel plays a crucial role in God's redemptive plan for the world. Therefore, Satan seeks to thwart God's plan by concentrating his efforts on destroying the Jewish people. (Emphases mine)
Ironically, UNESCO's activism is likely to provoke Israel to embrace the very history the UN wants to cover up. Could Jews also react by striving harder for a future Temple? I think we may be seeing indications of this already.
Returning to theology: there have been innovative approaches aimed at rejecting the notion that Gen 12:3 refers to Israel. It bothers supersessionists and doesn't sit well with pro-Palestinian anti-Zionist activism.
Objectors insist that Gen 12:3 points to Jesus Christ by citing Gal 3:16. They mention Deut 28, which contains warnings to Israel regarding disobedience. They stress that Israel's blessings are conditional. They'll cite Romans 2:11 noting there is no partiality with God. In other words, Israel blew it for all time by disobeying God and rejecting the Messiah.
I appreciate the deep Christology of our Reformed brothers. They capably defend the inerrancy of the Bible; the doctrine of the Trinity, God's sovereignty, election, grace and mercy. Yet they've dropped the ball when it comes to God's eternal promises to ethnic Israel. They've shut these inside a padlocked chest and labeled it "Fulfilled in Christ."
Progressive Covenantalist, Stephen Wellum claims the Abrahamic land promise finds fulfillment in Christ and in the new heaven and earth. A reformed pastor (who I greatly respect) remarked that there's nothing special about physical Jerusalem - probably because of the recent UNESCO debacle in the media.
They're both wrong.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you." Psalm 122:6
Physical Jerusalem is important to God. Forms of the word Jerusalem appear at least 773 times in the Bible, while Zion appears 160 times. You can't disassociate Israel from Jerusalem without doing injustice to the straightforward sense of Scripture.
It's true that the last portion of Gen 12:3 refers to the nations being blessed through Christ. However, the blessing and cursing portion applies to Abraham's physical descendants (Jacob-Israel). Genesis 27:29 is stark and unambiguous proof. Numbers 24:9 again affirms that Jacob is the recipient of the Gen 12:3 blessing.
In response to Deut 28 (above), dispensationalists note that Deut 30:1 speaks of the blessing and cursing of Israel. Supersessionists can't have it both ways. If there's a curse, there will also be a blessing. The rest of Deut 30 sets out how God will restore Israel when it repents (vv 1-8). Carefully note verse 7:
Also the LORD your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you.
Leviticus 26:27-33 warns Israel of desolation and discipline as a consequence of disobedience. Then in verses 44-45 God says that even when they are dispersed in the land of their enemies, He will not cast them away, or destroy them. God will remember His covenant with them for He is the Lord their God.
Our Reformed brethren champion the doctrines of election, grace and mercy. Why don't they consistently apply them to ethnic Israel?
Isaiah 43:1-7 affirms Jacob-Israel as a chosen nation, precious in God's sight. In Deut 7: 6-7 Israel is called a holy and chosen people loved by the Lord. They are called chosen in Isaiah 45:4 and 1 Chron 16:13. 2 Sam 7:23-24 confirms that Israel's status as an elect nation will be forever. Israel is also called chosen in Acts 3:12, 13-15, 25 and Rom 11:26-29
Space prevents an exhaustive study but here's just a smattering of verses from Psalms: Psalm 122 associates the blessing with Israel and Jerusalem (esp. v 6). He who keeps Israel shall not slumber or sleep (Psalm 121:4). In context to Israel, Psalm 136 uses the term "For His mercy endures forever" 25 times! Compare it with Jeremiah 33:25-26.
Psalm 135:4 calls Jacob-Israel chosen and God's special treasure. Psalm 105:6 connects Jacob to Abraham's seed and God's chosen ones. God remembers His covenant forever (v 8). The covenant made with Abraham was an oath to Isaac and confirmed to Jacob-Israel (vv 9-10). This same everlasting covenant gave Israel the land of Canaan (v 11). Psalm 106 continues with similar themes. God's mercy endures forever (v 1). He saves Israel for His name's sake because of His covenant promise (v 45).
There's much, much more to plumb (or spiritualize away), but we should be getting the picture by now.
An amillennial pastor recently noted that eschatology isn't reason to divide over. I agree. However, the tendency in reformed circles is to dismiss dispensationalism, prophecy and Israel. In fact many amillennialists, postmillennialists and preterists vigorously defend their eschatology. So should we.
In order to defend a predetermined theology, many have robbed Israel of its biblical eschatology. They've turned the interpretation of prophecy into a complex science out of the reach of the average reader. Dispensationalists believe God means what He says and that He expects us to understand His word.
It's a grave mistake to dismiss Israel's connection to Gen 12:3. The warning exists for a purpose. Ask yourself why the world has historically heaped curses upon Israel. And why is this still all the rage among the nations?
As a final warning, note the following promise:
This is what your Lord says - Yahweh, even your God, who defends His people [Israel] - "Look, I have removed the cup of staggering from your hand; that goblet, the cup of My fury. You will never drink it again. I will put it into the hands of your tormenters, who said to you: Lie down, so we can walk over you. You made your back like the ground, and like a street for those who walk on it. Isaiah 51:22-23
Are we comfortable re-interpreting these verses in the same fashion many spiritualize Zech 14:4?
God is disciplining Israel. But that isn't our role. For the sake of God's Word and our own sake, let's not curse or rob Israel of its blessings.
It has never been about the 'occupation' - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/It-has-never-been-about-the-occupation-471343
Next year will mark many important anniversaries in the history of Zionism, Israel and its conflict with our neighbors.
It will be 120 years since the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1897, which formulated the Zionist platform and plan of action for the implementation of its goals.
It will also be 70 years since the United Nations Partition Plan, which won the support of the UN General Assembly for the creation of a Jewish state and an Arab state in Mandatory Palestine.
Significantly, it will also be 50 years since the miraculous victory by Israel against five Arab nations intent on extinguishing the Jewish state. However, after only six days Israel not only defended itself, it liberated Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish civilization.
One would assume that given Israel's opponents' and detractors' claims, this date will be the focal point of activity against Israel over the year ahead, as we are constantly being told that the root of the conflict and the lack of peace is a result of the so-called occupation. However, last week, at the House of Lords in the British Parliament a panel discussion was held to commemorate another important milestone, the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration was a letter written by British minister Lord Arthur James Balfour recognizing the rights of the Jewish People to their ancestral homeland. The declaration was then adopted by the international community at the League of Nations, the predecessor to the UN.
The event at the House of Lords took place under the auspices of the Palestinian Return Centre and was hosted by the vitriolic Baroness Jenny Tonge, who was forced to resign from her political party because of her previous anti-Israeli, and some might argue antisemitic remarks. This event was the beginning of a hostile drive, led by the Palestinian Authority, called the Balfour Apology Campaign, which has called the letter "a crime."
What this obsessive focus on a letter written 100 years ago, as opposed to the liberation of Judea and Samaria 50 years ago, tells us very clearly and distinctly is that this has never been about the "occupation"; it is, however, about opposing any recognition of the Jewish People's rights to sovereignty in their ancestral homeland.
The PA, led by Mahmoud Abbas, is sending a message to Israel and the international community, one that they express frequently in Arabic, that ending Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is not their primary objective, rather their target is Israel itself.
This objective is consistent with almost a century of Palestinian rejectionism.
The Palestinians rejected the Peel Commission recommendations of 1937, which would have given them the overwhelming majority of what is now Israel, the Partition Plan of 1947, the Clinton Parameters of 2000 and the offers of former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert in 2001 and 2008 respectively.
If the Palestinian leaders had accepted any of these offers they would have had a state, and Israel would have little or no presence in Judea and Samaria. The fact that they didn't means that it is not about what was liberated in 1967, but what was recognized in 1917.
The Balfour Declaration was the first modern international recognition of Jewish historic and legal rights in the Land of Israel, which had been conquered, colonized and occupied for 2,000 years since its indigenous people were expelled.
The Palestinians know that the Balfour Declaration was a pivotal point in the recognition of Jewish national rights by the international community, and that this, in turn, led to the majority support for the reestablishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel. They believe if they unravel this recognition they can undermine Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish and democratic nation and move a step closer to its demise.
Of course, this is an absurd notion, especially for a people which hadn't even formulated their current self-identity until many decades later.
Nevertheless, it is a part of a pattern of deep insecurity by a regime that seeks not just to reverse history but distort it, as the recent Palestinian-led resolution at UNESCO denying Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount amply demonstrate.
The UNESCO resolution, which has no discernible political or diplomatic significance, is another layer in this battle, a battle which elements of the international community are starting to awaken to.
That this conflict has never been about the "occupation" or the creation of a Palestinian state. It was and remains about the undermining and denying of Jewish history, rights and international law in order to undermine and seek the destruction of the State of Israel.
Iran-Backed Hezbollah Cells Preparing to Launch Future Attacks in Europe, US - By Barney Breen-Portnoy - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=775
Iran-backed Hezbollah cells are readying themselves to conduct future terrorist attacks in Europe and the US, a retired British Army officer told The Algemeiner on Thursday.
Colonel Richard Kemp -- a former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan -- was responding to a report in the Washington Free Beacon, citing an Iranian regime-aligned media outlet, that an Iranian military official claimed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was dispatching operatives to infiltrate the West.
Despite last year's nuclear deal reached between the Islamic Republic and six world powers, Iran's "hatred for America remains a pillar of the ayatollahs' foreign policy," Kemp said.
"They use their proxy -- the terrorist group Hezbollah -- to project power overseas. There are today Hezbollah cells both in Europe and the US. These elements are trained, supported and controlled by the IRGC."
Furthermore, Kemp explained, while "it is not clear exactly where the division lies between direct IRGC action overseas and action by Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies," what is certain is that "either directly or indirectly, the IRGC has been preparing and will continue to prepare for terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere in the West."
In the past, Iran is believed to have used Hezbollah to strike Israeli and Jewish targets around the globe -- including in Burgas, Bulgaria in 2012 and in Argentina in 1992 and 1994.
Also, American officials said the IRGC was behind a thwarted 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US at a Washington, DC restaurant.
Iran, Kemp emphasized, "is the number one state supporter of terrorism in the world today. And the US-led nuclear deal has released funds that are being used by Iran in its support for terrorism against the state of Israel and for its imperial aggression in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon."
Moreover, Kemp noted, "The West, and the US in particular, do their best to turn a blind eye to this very real threat, because their leaders are afraid to take action.
The reason? It is the same as the reason the US leadership ignores acts of Iranian aggression against their warships in the Gulf.
It is because they are terrified that Iran will pull out of the nuclear deal and humiliate President Barack Obama."
The Truth About Angels - By Tsivya Fox -
"And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." Genesis 28:12 (The Israel Bible™)
Angels appear hundreds of times throughout the Bible, but the essence and purpose of these celestial beings are not always clear. Much of the problem stems from the fact that artists, since the 14th century, have depicted angels as beautiful creatures adorned with wings and halos of light. Bible study and our sages enlighten the issue.
"In Hebrew, an angel is called malakh (מַלְאַךְ)," noted Roni Segal, academic adviser for eTeacher, an online language academy specializing in Biblical Hebrew, to Breaking Israel News. "The root of this word, lakh (לאך) means "going back and forth". God frequently employs angels as intermediaries between heaven and earth, God and man. They tirelessly go back and forth between worlds to deliver information and fulfill Godly missions."
Malakh is also related to the word melakha (מְלָאכָה), which means hard work. Angels created by God are "programmed" to perform a specific task in this world and work hard to fulfill their mission. In fact, the mystics explain that one of the tasks allotted to angels is to transport our prayers and time spent in Bible study to the Heavenly throne.
Amazingly, God is not the only one who can create angels. Man has also been given this power. In the "Ethics of the Fathers" we are told that man creates angels through his deeds. Rabbi Eliezer is quoted as saying, "He who fulfills one mitzvah [Biblical commandment], acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser."
Angels often appear in the Bible as human beings. For example, when God sends angels to Abraham after his circumcision, they appear as men; "and he [Abraham] lifted up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth." (Genesis 18:2)
The Sages teach that these men were actually angels sent by God to fulfill individual missions. One angel was sent to heal Abraham from his circumcision. Another was sent to tell Abraham that Sarah would conceive after nearly a century of being barren. The last angel was sent to destroy the corrupt city of Sodom.
"Angels are one-dimensional beings with one mission, performing their Godly duty without any distraction or inclination to disobey," said Segal to Breaking Israel News. "Human beings, on the other hand, must use their free will to serve God and are placed in this world for many reasons. This is an incredibly high spiritual level."
As Jewish belief generally states that angels are spiritual beings without physical characteristics, this conflict is resolved by the sages' understanding that those who experienced angels in human form have earned that experience through reaching a high level of spirituality. Part of the confusion stems from the anthropomorphic descriptions found in prophets. For example, Ezekiel describes his vision of angels has having faces, bodies, wings and more.
Maimonides, the foremost Torah authority of the 12th century, explains that angels are ranked based on the degree to which they comprehend God's actions and creations. Yet, Segal notes, irrespective of how high a rank an angel receives, man is considered on an even higher level as man is created in the image of God, B'tzelem Elohim בצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים (Genesis 1:27) while angels are simply assigned a mission by God.
Some angels are known by name. For example, Gabriel is an angel who executes severe Godly judgements. Michael fulfills missions of Godly kindness. Rafael comes to heal the sick, to name a few.
Additionally, angels are bound by location. Concerning the story of Jacob having a dream where he sees angels ascending and descending, "... and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it" (Genesis 28:12), the famous medieval rabbinical authority Rashi comments, "The angels who escorted [Jacob] in the [Holy] Land do not go outside the Land, and they ascended to heaven, and the angels of outside the Holy Land descended to escort him."
"It is heartwarming to find that most people have some believe in angels," noted Segal to Breaking Israel News. "By digging deeper into Biblical Hebrew people come to a true understanding of the words of the Bible."
Will the Waiting Ever End? - By Jonathan Brentner - http://raptureready.com/soap2/brentner8.html
With my little transistor radio in hand, I followed every pitch. I heard the crack of the bat as Hank Aaron hit a deep fly ball. I was sure he had ended Ken Holtzman's bid for a no-hitter; I remember the disappointment in the voice of the radio announcer as he described what he believed would be a homerun for Aaron. However, the wind was blowing in that day at Wrigley Field.
As Billy Williams, the Cubs' outfielder, went back to the wall, he seemed to give up on the play. Then at the last second, Williams put up his glove, caught the ball, and preserved the no-hitter. (I later saw a video clip of the catch.)
I thought the Cubs were well on their way to winning the National League pennant that year. However, the New York Mets, not the Cubs, won the World Series in 1969.
Today, 108 years since they last won the World Series, the Chicago Cubs are now the reigning champs! It seems surreal to write those words. Did they really win last night?
If the Cubs had won it all last year, their fans would still be celebrating today. The storyline, however, would not be near as dramatic. Since last night, every mention of the Cubs' victory contains a reference to the 108 years of waiting.
As believers, we yawn at the mention of waiting 108 years.
The year was approximately AD 50. That's when Paul preached the Gospel in Thessalonica causing many of the people in that town to turn from idols to Christ and as a result, wait for Jesus' return (1 Thess. 1:9-10).
Yes, it's been 1,966 years since the apostle preached that message of hope to the Thessalonians and still . . . we wait. The longsuffering Cub fans have nothing on us in terms of waiting.
Waiting for Jesus' Appearing
Almost every epistle in the New Testament contains a reference to Jesus' soon return for His church. As the apostles preached the Gospel throughout the Roman Empire, their preaching included Jesus' future appearing as something that could happen at any moment.
In all their preaching and writing, they assumed we would wait in great expectation of Jesus' return.
In Romans 8:23, Paul wrote that we as believers "groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." Then in verse 25 he added, "But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Notice the emphasis on waiting "with patience" for what Jesus promised us. We believe; we hope for what we do not see; we wait.
In 1 Corinthians 1:7 Paul used the same Greek word for "wait" to describe the believers in Corinth as those eagerly awaiting Jesus' appearing.
In Philippians 3:20 Paul wrote, "But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus, Christ." As believers, we live in eager expectation of seeing our Lord at any moment.
Peter instructed his readers to "set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). Peter's instructions echo Paul's words on waiting.
The apostle John also emphasized our hope in Jesus appearing as something that would have a purifying effect on us (1 John 3:2-3). James added these words, "The coming of the Lord is at hand . . . . the Judge is standing at the door" (5:8-9).
The New Testament church waited for Jesus' appearing as something that could happen at any moment. We refer to His return as something "imminent;" it can happen at any time. That was the hope of the New Testament church and nothing has changed since that time to diminish such anticipation, unless you count the passing of a couple thousand years.
Waiting for Justice
Along with waiting for Jesus' return, we also wait for His justice to prevail in our world.
We frequently hear daily terror attacks somewhere in our world. We read of brutal atrocities committed against believers in places throughout the Middle East and in Nigeria. Scenes of intense suffering as a result of all this violence appear on television and Internet news sites.
The stories of Planned Parenthood profiting from abortion through the selling of body parts grieves me deeply. Does not the Lord see this? How can He let this continue? Where is He?
I'm almost embarrassed to recount the number of times I have needed to go to Psalm 37 for God's perspective on those things. I did so this morning as I felt stirred by another instance of evil prevailing.
And what do I find in Psalm 37? The Lord, through David, tells me this, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devises . . . For evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land" (vv. 7 and 8). I have a tendency to fret and hence the need for the Psalm.
Psalm 37 is clear on two things: First, God will surely judge wickedness. Second, we may not see it. This is because Lord patiently allows time for sinners to repent. I've benefited from this many times as He graciously gave me time to return to Him in my life as a believer.
So many times I wish the Lord would show up and punish the evil I see in the world. However, I believe that day is coming and in the meantime, I wait. We wait. Sound familiar?
Waiting for the End of Suffering
Tonight, my wife and I are going to the visitation for a baby boy who died earlier this week of cancer at the age of seven months. We do not have to look far to see great suffering in our world. Little Lincoln endured so much pain during the three months in which cancer ravaged his tiny body.
In my favorite passage from Isaiah, the prophet tells of a great celebration and foresees a day in which the Lord "will swallow up death forever . . . and wipe away tears from all faces" (25:8). Notice the tender touch of the Savior; the text does not simply say Jesus will end our tears but will gently "wipe" them away from our faces. He is able even now to ease the grieving for little Lincoln.
I love the response recorded in Isaiah 25:9 of those enjoying the feast of this still future day, "Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Someday we will echo those very words as we praise the Lord.
Notice that even in eternity, after all suffering and pain have ended; we will emphasize the waiting as we rejoice in our great salvation.
The apostle Peter tells us that in the last days some will give up on the waiting and mock our hope in Jesus' return. In 2 Peter 3:3-4 he says, "Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming?'"
We see this all around us today. Many today mock the rapture. They cannot believe the Lord would keep us waiting almost two thousand years for His return. Surely we have misunderstood prophecy; there must be a different interpretation to the passages regarding His appearing.
"Jesus has already returned," the scoffers tell us, "your hope is not to be found in His return."
But is this not why Peter warned against such scoffing? The Lord knew the wait would be long and many would give up believing in His return and push aside their hope. He knew scoffers would arise and through Peter warned us about these modern day naysayers.
Today, Chicago Cub fans celebrate the end of a 108 year wait for a World Series victory. Someday, perhaps very soon, we will celebrate the end of a much longer wait, that of waiting for Jesus' return to take us to His Father's home (John 14:2-3).
Some old Cub fans, like me, doubted the Cubs would ever win the World Series, However, if there is one thing their victory teaches us, things we wait for can happen.
I am not making that same mistake with Jesus' return. He is coming again, just as He promised.
When that happens, we will not complain about the wait. But like Cub fans today, we will greatly rejoice that the day has finally arrived.
Jonathan C. Brentner
North Liberty, Iowa
Eternity Versus the Moment
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
The God Code - J.L. Robb - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8330
"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrase-mongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot." Albert Einstein
Quote taken from "What Life Means to Einstein," The Saturday Evening Post, October 26, 1929. Einstein was a physicist and professor at Princeton University. He lived from 1879-1955.
"Jesus does not exist," the gentleman in the booth across the aisle said, talking to his companion. She and the gentleman looked about the same age, maybe forty, and were absorbed in their somewhat heated discussion.
I was at Ruby Tuesday's having an early lunch and tried not to listen, well, not really; I couldn't help but listen. I have heard these comments before but have always considered the sources as ignorant, stupid and non-informed. This was not the case with these two.
The lady had a Bible, well-worn, a Bible that had been studied and analyzed diligently. She took him to the cleaners, telling the man he would not believe DNA evidence were it available. Her comment was true, and it meant I did not have to butt my nose into the conversation. But I know my ears grew as I continued to listen to her rebuttal. She mentioned Flavius Josephus and Disraeli and quoted them knowingly. I made mental notes.
When I got back home, the first thing I did was conduct a Google search for Flavius Josephus quote about Jesus.
It is difficult to fathom that anyone would believe that the story of Jesus is mythology. There is just too much evidence that proves otherwise. There are the Gospels, there is the story of the Roman Jew, Paul, and there are all those predictions that Jesus made that are coming to fruition. Mythological predictions never come true.
Last week I read an article from National Geographic that Jesus' tomb had been uncovered, again. This was news to me, because I did not know that the location of Jesus' tomb was confirmed. If I had known this when I was at Ruby Tuesday's, I could have ended the discussion in the next booth. Proof.
After uncovering Christ's burial slab for the first time in centuries last week, archaeologists have examined the interior of the tomb in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb is a limestone shelf or burial bed hewn from the wall of a cave, National Geographic reports. Covered by marble cladding since at least 1555 A.D., it was exposed Oct. 26 as part of a major restoration project at the church. An initial inspection by a team from the National Technical University of Athens revealed a layer of fill material beneath the marble cladding. Additional work revealed another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface, according to National Geographic. FOX News Science, October 31, 2016
It turns out that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built by Emperor Constantine around 325 AD, after he demolished a Temple to Aphrodite built by one of his predecessors, Hadrian. Hadrian built the pagan temple over the site of Jesus' burial site according to the Christian community at that time.
Emperor Constantine brought a lot of changes to the early church, not all good; so I wonder how we would know for sure that this truly was Jesus' burial site or a legend. How would we know? It was about 300 years after the crucifixion that Constantine built this church.
The National Geographic article continues, stating that Christ's burial bed was carved out of the limestone wall of the cave "according to Christian tradition." This assumption makes little sense, because there was not a "Christian tradition" at the time of Jesus' crucifixion. It would have been Jewish tradition.
Suppose that the researchers who reopened Jesus' tomb had found samples of blood staining the limestone bed. Then they could compare the DNA in the blood with the blood on the Shroud of Turin and possibly get a match.
Were this to happen, the gentleman debating the existence of Jesus probably would think the DNA results were doctored. If there is blood, sweat or tears present, there is DNA. In the case of Jesus, there were blood, sweat, tears and serum from the piercing of his side, a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Almost two thousand years ago in the land of ancient Israel (Judah), a Jewish man was chosen by Rome to write a history of the Jewish people and a history of their wars. He was well-aware of the existence of the man everyone called Yeshu'a, the Teacher and Miracle Worker, and declared he may not have been a man at all.
About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared. Flavius Josephus- Jewish Antiquities, 93-94 AD
Throughout the years I have heard very few Jewish people deny the existence of Jesus. They may not consider Jesus to be the Messiah but recognize his reality. Many famous Jewish scholars have documented their belief in the reality of Jesus. Here are some examples:
"In all church discussions we are apt to forget the second Testament is avowedly only a supplement. Jesus came to complete the law and the prophets. Christianity is completed Judaism, or it is nothing. Christianity is incomprehensible without Judaism, as Judaism is incomplete without Christianity." Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England, 1804-1881
When asked why he had "given up the synagogue for the church," Zolli replied, "I have not given it up. Christianity is the completion of the synagogue, for the synagogue was a promise, and Christianity is the fulfillment of that promise."
"Once a Jew always a Jew." Israel Zolli, Chief Rabbi of Rome 1943
I think DNA is God's special code for life. It is abundant in all forms of life, plant or animal; and I am convinced that God knows each-and-every code. We are made in His image, and His only Son bled and cried for us. Based on what is happening in the present world, I think Jesus is still shedding tears for the lost. I think Jesus is rejoicing for those who believe without DNA evidence.
Back to the couple in the booth across the aisle- her final question to him before I left: How do you explain the Jews? I should have awaited his answer.
Daily Jot: Why Clinton's carelessness is important to your life - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
There is much discussion about Democratic Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's careless disregard for protecting America's secrets. But the debate should go much deeper into the hearts and souls of American citizens because these types of secrets are important to life itself. In the Huma Abedin deposition conducted by Judicial Watch, Abedin admitted that the clintonemail.com server was down for a spell and that internal Clinton and State Department personnel believed it to be hacked. No concern expressed, because all Clinton and Abedin wanted was their email service back. This kind of reckless neglect for protecting US data is a pattern with the Clintons and there are deadly results.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have a long-held belief on nuclear weapons, for example, that if everyone had them, nobody would use them and the world would be a safer place. Case in point, on June 11, 1993, the US agreed to not use force or nuclear weapons against North Korea if it remained in the nonproliferation treaty. North Korea continued to develop its nuclear weapons program. On October 18, 1992, President Bill Clinton signed a deal to give North Korea light water reactor nuclear technology if it stopped building nuclear weapons, saying, "Today all Americans should know that as a result of this achievement on Korea, our Nation will be safer and the future of our people more secure." North Korea went on to develop nuclear weapons and to assist Iran in its nuclear weapons program. The world is not safer as a result.
A similar event has occurred with communist China. Red China revealed its Chengdu J-20 Stealth Fighter jet. The story behind this fighter jet is the Chinese wanted to build a stealth jet from the US plans. They embarked on an espionage scheme to steal the plans beginning in 2008, culminating in success in 2014. Iran says it built a military drone based on plans it obtained from the US. These deadly enemies were able to become more deadly by stealing plans and designs from the US. Given this espionage environment, anyone seeking to be the leader of the United States should take extraordinary care to protect its secrets. It could mean life or death to millions of Americans.
Because there is no eminent threat regarding the shenanigans of the Clinton organized crime scheme, people seem to yawn and go about their work. But this has an impact on you and your family. It is important. The Clintons are not only breaking the law or leveraging it to enrich themselves-and have been doing it for a long time-they are giving up vital information that could lead to your death or destruction. Think terrorist state Saudi Arabia where Hillary received over $20 million through the Clinton Foundation, but gave access and weapons deals worth billions through the State Department. We've got to be discerning about this. As Jesus said in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no man deceive you."
Daily Devotion: Wanted: Disciplemakers - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus. -Acts 9:27
Sometimes new Christians have a difficult time finding their way in their newfound faith. They need someone who will stand with them and love them.
A guy named Mark did this for me. After I came to Christ on my high school campus, no one came up to me afterward and said, "Now Greg, you are a brand-new Christian. We have this Bible here for you. You also need to start going to church." Instead, the school bell rang, and I went back to class.
I went on with my plan for that weekend, which was to go off into the mountains and smoke dope. But as I was sitting out on a rock and getting ready to do this, I felt God was speaking to my heart and telling me I didn't need to do that. Although I didn't know how to pray, I asked God to make Himself real to me and to help me. And God answered that prayer.
When I returned to school on Monday, some guy named Mark, whom I had never seen before, walked up to me and introduced himself. He told me that he had seen me give my life to Christ at the Bible study on Friday. Then he invited me to church, and, in a very direct but loving way, he wouldn't take no for an answer. So I went to church with Mark. I started hearing the Word of God, and my life started to change.
I didn't need a Bible scholar. I didn't need an evangelist. But I did need a friend. And that is what Mark was for me.
So here is my question for you: Can you be a friend to someone? Because our commission is not only to preach the gospel, but to make disciples.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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