Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Life After Death. Where Will You Be? - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
John 11: 25, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"
Hebrews 9:27 " And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Of all the trials of this life, when they are ended, there is nothing that gives the average man on the street more anxiety than thinking of his own death. Most don't want to think about that time. The young never think about it, as they are full of life, and to them, they are virtually immortal. Sadly, many come to the realization too soon, that life is fleeting and very fragile and must be guarded with caution and utmost regards as to it's safety. Every man and woman alive wants to put off that inevitable outcome of being alive, their death. That is the finality of death.
Men in their darkened hearts deny the existence of God. They are called atheist, as they see no need for God. They believe in themselves only, and deny a life after this one.
Psalms 14:1, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good."
Paul reprimanded such thinking in Romans chapter 1:20,
"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
So men seeing the world and it's creation, and clearly see the wonders of an intelligent design that even many atheist have proven by science, could not have happened by chance, or by evolution as it has been proven impossible. Then there is no explanation for what we see with our own eyes, but a Supernatural Being in our universe that made the earth, heavens and all that exist in this world by One author, we call God Almighty., namely Jehovah, the God of the Bible. If we are honest with ourselves and acknowledge that we have been gloriously made, how do we discover this supernatural power that has it's beginning with the God of creation? We begin with the only written revelation of His power and His authority, and that is found in your bible. It is God's only communication with man during the times we live in that He has chosen to reveal Himself to a sinful creation that we have become. That Bible has survived 1000s of years to be revealed in the last days for one purpose, for God to reveal Himself to us, the generation of the last days of the Age of Grace.
The Bible is a collection of Holy Spirit inspired books that deals with One subject and is about One man, Jesus Christ. God's creation was stolen because of the will of man to sin against the commands of God and believe the lie of Satan, "You will become as gods" as Satan breathed his lie. But God had a plan from the very beginning, knowing all things, He put into action the plan to redeem His creation and draw men unto Himself. He knew that men could not save himself, it was impossible. There had to be a way to satisfy the requirements of pardoned sin. The True God of the Bible is Holy and without sin, and will not allow it into His presence so sin must be covered by a perfect sacrifice. Paul speaks of this requirement for forgiveness of sin in Hebrews, 9:22:
"And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."
But it had to be a sinless offering, not an offering of sheep and bulls, but a sinless offering, which required that God come and offer Himself, as a ransom for many. He was to be our Kinsman Redeemer, born of woman, born of God, sinless and undefiled to take our place. John 3:16,
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
v.17, For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
So the greatest manifestation of eternal love laid down His life willingly for the redemption of all who believe on the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in faith to cleanse them from their sins and lead them into a new life of becoming transformed into His image, His likeness, and model the way He lived while here on earth. This is the beginning of the greatest story ever told and believed by millions of people unto salvation, but the last part of the story is even greater. On the third day, Jesus was raised to life to receive a resurrection body, and became the first fruits of those "born of the dead". Let us now turn to the chapter in the bible that some call the "resurrection chapter" found in your bible in 1st Corinthians chapter 15.
RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?
Paul tackles this question head on, as many had come to believe that there was no resurrection. Paul gives one of the clearest, most concise definitions of the "gospel" found anywhere in the Bible. He shows how a denial of the resurrection of the dead is a denial of the gospel itself, and how believing in the gospel gives one hope for the next world as well as for the present.
1st Corinthians 15:12,
12 "Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"
This heresy had come into the congregations in Corinth, as the pagans surrounding this church of the Greek citizenry did not believe in a physical resurrection. Paul reminds them of the many witnesses that saw the Lord Jesus in the flesh after His resurrection in that same chapter
v.3 "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
v4. And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
v.5, And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
v,6, After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
v. 7, After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
v. 8, And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."
Paul goes onto affirm by witness accounts the bodily resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but He makes an even more astounding pronouncement in this chapter.
v. 12, "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
v. 13, But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
v. 14, And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
v. 15, Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
v. 16, For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
v. 17, And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
v. 18, Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."
Paul is testifying that if Jesus was not resurrected, and by extension, we will also not be resurrected, then His sacrifice meant nothing. For if Christ is not raised, we are not raised, if He be still dead, then we are dead as well. The resurrection of Jesus Christ to life, a well documented historical fact seen by hundreds of witnesses who actually touched Him, ate with Him, and listened to His Words and untold hundreds into the thousands in this near time period that went to their death with the knowledge of His resurrection and their own future resurrection to eternal life as well.
Paul goes onto explain that there is an order of those born of the dead. Jesus Christ, the first of the first fruits and the 1st resurrection at Jesus Coming for His church. 1st Corinthians 15:20-23,
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.
-For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
-For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
-But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."
Paul goes onto explain that we will be same as Jesus is, in the same resurrection that He experienced.
"But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
"There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." (I Corinthians 15:38-44)
John wrote about what we can expect, when we finally see Him in our glorified bodies. 1 John 3:2,
"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."
This is the final fulfillment of our eternal lives that begin right then. But some say, what about the dead in Christ now? What are they and where are they?THE DEAD IN JESUS CHRIST.
Of one aspect of the life hereafter, many interpretation have been made of what our dear departed love ones are enjoying, or not enjoying right now...All of us have seen the popular depictions of winged spirits floating on clouds playing a harp, or walking around on streets of gold, or of people alive contacting long dead relatives in a forbidden act called "necromancy". The plane of existence between spirit world and the world of flesh is a parallel existence from what I can gather from reading our bibles. There is a war that goes on in the spirit world that is played out in a mirror image of the fleshly and material world we live in. Paul warned us of this spiritual warfare when in Ephesians he encouraged each of us who call on the name of the Lord, to take on the whole armor of God, Ephesians chapter 6:
"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."
I read a very good analogy of this spirit world that surrounds us and is populated with the power and the prince of the air. To speak to souls departed, is most likely speaking with demons and is forbidden. The dead cannot reach us and we cannot reach them. From scripture we can learn several things and that is, people go one place or another, one is good, the other is bad. One is with God, the other is devoid of everything that is God. In the Old Testament, it was called Paradise and the souls that departed this life dying in faith believing the coming of the Messiah, found peace in the "bosom of Abraham" as noted in the lesson spoken by Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus. Some try to make this just a parable that Jesus spoke of to make a point, but Jesus used real life examples to state a spiritual truth. In this we see Lazarus who died a poor man in the bosom of Abraham comforted, and the rich man who had everything enduring torment in Sheol, called hell. Jesus mentions flames that torment and the rich man needing only a drop of water to quench his thirst. In picturesque terms a very graphic picture of lost hope. Note Lazarus is mentioned by name, but the rich man is faceless, as he could be anybody that dies in their sins and is forgotten.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 9, Solomon speaks of the grave.
v. 5, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten."
If you speak of that material body, that is correct. That flesh turns back to dust and knows nothing...but what of the spiritual part that man is made of? v. 7 of the same chapter,
"Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."
II Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
So according to scripture, the body which is flesh goes to dust, but the spirit that God gave goes back to Him. In what form? That is when the bible goes silent. We are not told, but glimpses of the glory we will share. We are told of the City of God, but that is after Jesus Christ comes back and God lives with us. There are many testimonies of experiences of seeing a glimpse of the life on the other side. I have in my library, the book by Terry James, who I believe experienced glory in an all too brief encounter that he wrote about in his book, "Heaven Vision" and It will bring a sense of awe that a person can experience just a taste of what we can expect when we are with the Lord for all eternity.
I go back to the explanation that Jesus gave of those who are found in Jesus Christ, when He spoke to the thief on the cross. "Today thou shalt be with me in paradise". We cannot fully comprehend, apart from what the bible describes of the glory that will be found in us at the end of this age, to understand what transpires at the last breath we take, and the angels of God usher us, those that be found in Jesus Christ, to be with God.
Yes, I can hear the naysayers quoting scripture, and I am aware of those as well. Jesus made mention of that,
John, 3:13, "No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man."
But does that limit God? Who are we to say what God does with the spirit that belongs to Him?
v. 8, "Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
v.9, (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
v. 10, He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)"
If manifestations were mentioned in the story of Lazarus and the rich man, would it not make sense that when Jesus rose from the dead, that He released captives who were captive and brought them with Him? Brought them where? Scripture does not say definitively, but we are left wondering about life after death. For one thing we know for sure, life does not end with physical death. But let us make an assumption, just for the sake of argument for your naysayers of the concept of the resurrection of the dead, and life after death....
BELIEF VS. UNBELIEF IN GOD (two examples)
Scenario one....."Billy" is an atheist and has lived like the devil for most of his natural life. He relies on no one, but Billy proclaims no god but the god of his flesh, which he satisfies in any ungodly manner he can think of....when he dies, he is like the cock roach, or the animal who dies in the wilderness. He goes to nothing, nobody remembers him, and his time of glory is over. Then there is the Christian who dies, "Joe" about the same time, believed and followed a God of the Bible most of his life. He has attempted to live a life that was taught by Jesus Christ his whole life. He also dies, but as the atheist, there is nothing out there and he goes to be as the animals...to the dust. Both have lived their life of their own free will, and both have received the same reward....NOTHING.
Scenario two- "Billy" finds out one second after his death, that his belief in their being no resurrection, no life, no nothing after death, finds out he was terribly, and horribly mistaken. He finds himself in a black pit. There is no light, no laughter, no joy, sounds of anguish fill his ears. He is bumped once in a while by someone or something in the dark that he can't see, but feels. He senses total loss, total hopelessness, total despair and wonders, is this real? His throat is dry and parched. His mind is in a whirl of what is happening and he screams out in emotional pain of total loss. At the same time, the Christian "Joe" opens his eyes and peers back at loving eyes holding his hands pulling him up, standing him on his feet. Light is all around, people are laughing. Children are running and playing. the sights and smells are most intense than he ever experienced in the life he just left. He feels joy, everlasting hope, and an intense emotions of gratitude washes over Him, as the loving eyes, are his Lord and Savior welcoming him home. Where is this place? He doesn't know, but doesn't care, as he knows he will be taken care of, as His Lord is by his side.
Tell me reader, in the conjecture of each scenario starting with number one...what has each lost? Nothing, if there be no resurrection, and no life after death. They are both equal. They lived their life and the result is blackness...nothing...void...
But what of scenario #2? If the Christian "Joe" who believed on the Only Begotten Son of God is correct, what has he gained...? Answer....everything!! And conversely, what has the atheist lost.....again......EVERYTHING!!
Jesus rightly said in Matthew 16: 26
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"
You who are reading this, you don't like to think of yourself as a "fool", nobody does. But the bible says those who do not believe in God, or His Son, are just that. Concerning those two scenarios, I'm not a gambling man. Never did well at betting on an unseen or unknown quantity. I sure am not so foolish to play Russian Roulette with my eternal destination for all the tea in China, let alone fleeting pleasures of this world. That is an over simplification of what I have spoken of. Who amongst you are so SURE in your belief that there is no God, that you would risk your very soul for all eternity, when this life is but a vapor in the wind, and gone so quickly? If you knew that if I am right, and I have testimony of countless millions outside the bible, and thousands insides of it's pages that say I'm right, that eternity is forever either with God, are apart from Him forever, would you go one more day denying your need for putting your faith in the Only Begotten Son of God? . One is pure joy and the other is pure ...well, for a lack of a better word...HELL and all that it implies.
Ladies and gentleman, citizens of this fast dying world, where will you spend eternity? If the grim reaper came calling tomorrow, would you be "Billy" or "Joe" in my scenarios? Will you bet your soul on it? So my question to you, "Are you ready to die?" What will be your life after death? Think about it, and then seek my Jesus for rewards in that life that is coming.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying the salvation of Jesus Christ find it's way into your life. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical lessons from the Word of God..... God bless you all.
Israel and the U.S. Have Common Interests in the Middle East - Caroline Glick -
Some Israelis were concerned when they read President Donald Trump's recent statements to the media about the reasons for his support of Saudi Arabia.
In an interview with the Washington Post last week, Trump linked his support for the Saudi regime, and his unwillingness to punish Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) for the Jamal Khashoggi killing, to Israel.
Trump said of the Saudis, "They've been a great ally. Without them, Israel would be in a lot more trouble. We need to have a counterbalance to Iran."
Trump added, "It's very important to have Saudi Arabia as an ally, very important to maintain that relationship ... if we're going to stay in that part of the world. Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel. Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we're producing more oil now than we've every produced. So you know, all of the sudden it gets to a point where you don't have to stay there."
As senior Israeli defense analyst Ron Ben Yishai wrote on Thursday, Saudi Arabia needs Israel just as much, if not more than, Israel needs Saudi Arabia. Iran and its nuclear program threaten Saudi Arabia even more acutely than they threaten Israel. Saudi Arabia is across the Persian Gulf from Iran and is weaker than Iran. If Iran develops a nuclear arsenal, it could destroy the Saudi regime.
Ben Yishai noted that Saudi Arabia's greatest potential assistance to Israel would come in the form of permission for Israeli fighter jets to overfly Saudi airspace en route to bombing Iran's nuclear installations.
But, he notes, Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf states arguably have more to gain and less to lose from an Israeli strike on Iran than Israel does. In other words, if the Saudis were to permit the Israeli Air Force (AIF) to traverse their airspace en route to Iran, they would be doing so more for their own benefit than for Israel's.
Saudi Arabia is apparently playing a major role in the thaw in relations between Israel and a growing number of Arab and Muslim states. According to a report in the Arabic media, MBS and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah a-Sisi have decided to encourage Arab states to trade with Israel. That is good for Israel but it also provides political space for the Saudis to work with Israel to thwart Iran's hegemonic and nuclear ambitions in the region.
This, then, brings us back to Trump's statement.
Israelis are relating a twofold concern about Trump's remarks. First, he appears to be saying that Israel would be helpless without the Saudi regime, and that the U.S. needs to retain its close ties to Saudi Arabia to secure Israel.
This is not the case. True, Israel and Saudi Arabia gain from their alliance with the U.S. And the potential for Israeli-Saudi relations has increased since Trump embraced them both as key allies. But the two sides reached out to each other before Trump became president. The Saudi-Israeli partnership began in response to then-President Barack Obama's decision to appease Iran at their expense through the nuclear deal.
The second - and deeper - concern Israelis are expressing in relation to Trump's statement is that he appears to be saying that the U.S. is only in the Middle East to protect Israel.
As Ben Yishai wrote, it is likely that some of the American servicemen who are deployed today in multiple theaters in the region will be killed in action at some time, in some places. Ben Yishai argued that Trump's statement effectively says that "the American military presence is necessary mainly because of Israel." And as a consequence, when American servicemen in Syria, or Iraq, or Jordan, or elsewhere are killed, "many in the United States will blame Israel for the[ir] deaths."
The truth is that Trump is right to view Israel as central to American policies in relation to the Middle East. The problem with his remarks is that he did not explain why. He did not point out the roots of Israel's significance in U.S. calculations, for example.
It is worth explaining that now.
The root of Israel's enduring significance to the U.S. is found in the fact that the Jewish state shares all of America's core interests in relation to the region.
The first U.S. core interest in the Middle East is to prevent any competing superpower from taking over. The U.S. does not want China or Russia to supplant it as the preeminent superpower in the region, both because such an event would harm the U.S. economically, and because it would make America's rivals significantly stronger and the U.S. significantly weaker.
Israel shares this U.S. interest. Israel can develop close ties with both Russia and China on a transactional level based on episodic common interests. But unlike the U.S., Russia and China do not share Israel's permanent perception of its interests the way the U.S. does.
Along these lines, the second permanent U.S. interest in the Middle East is to prevent local powers from dominating the region, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, or acquiring intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Israel's acute concern with all of these issues has caused it to develop intelligence agencies second to none in gathering and acting on intelligence relating to all of these issues - not only in Israel, but worldwide. Israel's Mossad's seizure of Iran's nuclear archive in Tehran this past January is a testament to Israel's capabilities.
The Middle East remains the world's largest incubator for terrorism and the largest exporter of terrorists. Israel's unhappy distinction is that it has been fighting these forces since before it was established. The U.S. and Israel share a key interest in destroying terror groups operating in the Middle East to prevent them from attacking in the region and throughout the world.
Israel's intelligence capabilities have foiled Iranian terror attacks around the world and have exposed Iranian agents engaged in purchasing dual-use technologies to advance Iran's nuclear work.
The final interest that Israel and the U.S. share is enabling the smooth flow of oil from the region to ensure the stability of global oil prices - and, through them, the stability of the global economy.
Israel's interest is not that of a supplier, or even that of a purchaser, but as a victim of Arab oil power.
In 1973, the Arab members of OPEC imposed an oil embargo on the U.S. and other states that supported Israel during the 1973 Arab war against Israel. In response to the embargo, western European nations largely abandoned their previous alliances with Israel. The U.S. maintained its support for Israel, but adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism - even when it was directed against Americans - and of providing only conditional support for Israel in its wars with its Arab neighbors.
Given this last interest, the strategic implications of America's recent restoration of its position as the largest global oil producer become clearer. Trump's essential insight - that reduced dependence on Arab oil is good for the U.S. - does not, by itself, spell out how that reduced dependence makes the U.S. safer or stronger.
Reduced dependence on Arab oil frees the U.S. to stand up for itself and its interests more forthrightly than it was able to do when the Arab states could impose oil embargoes at will and raise or lower prices whenever they wished.
The implication, as far as Israel is concerned, is that for the first time, perhaps since the 1973 OPEC embargo, the U.S. is today free to stand with Israel. Since they share the same permanent interests in the region, the stronger America is, the better off Israel is, and the stronger Israel is, the better off America is.
America may yet find a way to diminish its presence in the region. But the key to accomplishing that goal is to ensure that Israel defeats its enemies and develops and maintains its ability to protect itself, by itself - and so defend American interests - on a permanent basis.
Nearing Midnight: China's Orwellian State Gets a Thumbs Up from the World - Todd Strandberg -
China has announced that it will soon be able to judge each of its 1.3 billion citizens based on their social behavior. The plan was rolled out earlier this year, and it is rapidly moving closer to reality, with Beijing set to adopt a lifelong points program by 2021 that assigns personalized ratings for each resident.
Each citizen will be given a score on an 18-digit national identification code that is based on their criminal and credit history, their shopping habits, profession, and if they post negative articles or opinions about the government on social media or are connected to people that do, among other things. If a person's score is low, they may lose the ability to land a new job, rent cars, travel domestically, and they may lose access to the internet or other forms of communication.
A system of public shaming is also being used to keep citizens in line. Some cities have replaced the citizens' dial tones with recorded messages stating their shortcomings and encouraging callers to chastise them for their failures. The pressure is even being applied to people's love lives. A cartoon TV advertisement by Credit China shows a man being rejected by his dinner date after she sees a billboard declaring that he's a blacklisted citizen.
China has long experimented with systems that grade its citizens. The tracking of individual behavior in China has become possible by economic life moving online. Today, you can get loans, pay bills, and travel by using smartphone apps. The Chinese government has made Big Brother a reality by simply adding a kill switch to these functions.
I am just amazed to see how readily people are embracing technology that allows corporations to monitor our activities. It has been well over a decade since anyone cared about the camera that now records all public activity. Now, what we do in our own homes is coming under watch. Google has revealed plans to monitor our moods, our movements, and our children's behavior at home.
Parents in a research group said Google is developing smart-home products that are capable of eavesdropping on us throughout our home in order to learn more about us and better target us with advertising. It goes much further than the current Google Home speaker that's promoted to answer our questions and provide useful information, and the Google-owned Nest thermostat that measures environmental conditions in our home. What is planned is a system with sensors and cameras mounted in every room to follow us and analyze what we're doing throughout our home.
They describe how the cameras can even recognize the image of a movie star on a resident's t-shirt, connect it to the person's browsing history, and send the person an ad for a new movie the star is in.
One patent, No. 10,114,351, reads, "According to embodiments of this disclosure, a smart-home environment may be provided with smart-device environment policies that use smart-devices to monitor activities within a smart-device environment, report on these activities, and/or provide smart-device control based upon these activities."
I can think of many wonderful positives of having Big Brother in our house. If you have a medical emergency, the smart-home device can register that you are having an attack and can call 911. If there is a fire, the fire department can be notified. It would be great to have extra eyes to keep a watch on children that like to get into trouble.
I would never ever have one of these Alexa devices in my house because of the danger to human nature. If something can be used for evil, it will be used. With an open microphone to Big Brother, I would quickly get on the secret naughty list for all my ranting about the liberal media and other leftist groups. During the tribulation, people will have to hide in their garage or basement to read their Bible.
A few days ago I noticed Amazon.com was selling a voice-controlled microwave oven. Since ultra-liberal Jeff Bezos is running the corporation, the day will come when someone will learn that Alexa refuses to warm their Blueberry muffin until they switch their political party affiliations.
When I first heard of China's blacklist systems, I thought initially it would be strongly condemned by most Western governments, but there is very little said about it. One Democratic congressman said that it's a good idea. Venezuela likes it so much, it will likely be the first nation to copy China's ID system. Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp has been working with the Venezuelan government to provide ID cards to all citizens of that South American nation.
When I first heard about the mark of the beast as a kid, I was puzzled over why people would welcome a system that would mean their enslavement. The old saying "give me liberty Or give me death" has been replaced by "give me convenience Or give me death." The 666 mark will be very deadly because it offers a host of conveniences.
"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six" (Revelation 13:16-18).
Survey Reveals Many Christians Deeply Confused About Biblical Theology - http://prophecynewswatch.com
Ligonier Ministries and LifeWay Research has published their most recent State of Theology study, and the results show a confused collection of beliefs held by American Christians and especially evangelicals.
The study consisted of interviews with 3,000 adult Christians and follows similar surveys given in 2014 and 2016. Startlingly high percentages of respondents again revealed clearly heretical beliefs when they were asked about the nature of God and belief, their opinions on certain sins and the role of the Bible.
How much of this heretical belief is the result of poor education in Christian theology and how much indicates the influence of external cultural factors that are slowly warping what millions of Christians across the country believe? That remains to be answered, but the results of these questions show several interesting trends in belief following the previous surveys as well as demographic trends among generations.
To give an example of how the survey exposed heretical beliefs held by the majority of the Christians interviewed, 52% responded that most people are basically good, 51% believe that God accepts the worship of all religions and 78% subscribe to the Arian Heresy, which teaches that Jesus was the first and great being created by God the Father. In fact, Jesus is not a created being; He is God the Son.
Ligonier concluded that "Overall, US adults appear to have a superficial attachment to well-known Christian beliefs. For example, a majority agreed that Jesus died on the cross for sin and that He rose from the dead." When examining issues of theology that go deeper than these basic Christian beliefs or ask the interviewed Christians to wrestle with difficult ethical issues, their reliance on popular opinion and cultural relativism became clear.
A majority of 59% stated that the Holy Spirit is a force, not a personal being, and most shocking of all, the survey showed that 62% of American Christians surveyed believe that "religious belief is a matter of personal opinion and not of objective truth."
A majority still believes that salvation comes through faith rather than good works and although they believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, they also hold contradictory beliefs that put Jesus outside of the Trinity. The belief that Jesus was a created being is a heresy refuted and condemned at the Council of Nicaea in 325 and also at the Council of Constantinople in 381. This belief was held by 71% of Christians in 2016 and rose to78% in 2018, even though it has not been taught in any American church.
Only 52% of Christians identified abortion as a sin and as many as 38% declared it not to be a sin (others were unsure). Likewise, 41% of Christians interviewed believe that the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality does not apply today. The effects of cultural relativism are clearly visible here across the spectrum of beliefs.
Christians who classify themselves as evangelical claim they see the Bible as the highest authority, but on other survey questions clear contradictions emerge as 30% of Evangelicals admit that the Bible is open for each individual to interpret as he chooses and as society changes.
In the end, whereas some questions seem to indicate increasingly heretical beliefs and others reflect more orthodox Christian theology, the majority of the survey exposes a deep confusion about Biblical theology in general. As Christians interviewed were easily swayed by changes in question phrasing or the inclusion of certain popular "catchphrases" a general lack of theological knowledge was apparent.
Clearly, there is more work to be done not only to identify as Christian but truly to engage with what that means; to educate ourselves not just on a few theological touchstones or fixate on a few words, but to really understand the Bible as the Word of God.
Daily Jot: When science takes a "u" turn - Bill Wilson -
Ever notice how the more science and history tries to disprove the Biblical accounts, the more they are confirmed? Archaeological findings repeatedly confirm the historic accounts written in the Bible. Scientists long have tried to disprove the Bible with their postulations that somehow arrive at "factual" conclusions. Global warming is questionable because it is now documented that scientists cooked the data that man's affect on the climate is causing the polar ice caps to melt, leading to a worldwide flood. Yet the Bible is very clear in God's Genesis 9:11 covenant that "neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood." Now there is new evidence suggesting that man didn't come from apes after all.
Researchers Mark Stoeckle of Rockefeller University in New York and David Thaler of the University of Basel in Switzerland studied the genetic codes of five million animals from 100,000 species. The results, published in "Human Evolution," suggest that humans and animals came from a single pair of adults after a catastrophic event that nearly ended the human race. The study concluded that 90% of all animal species come from parents that began giving birth at about the same time less than 200,000 years ago. The study in reality calls into question the current theory (taught as fact) of evolution, but the researchers and the media deny any relationship to the Biblical historical account.
The UK Daily Mail and the researchers themselves deny any connection to the Bible's creation account. The Daily Mail wrote: "The study has been misunderstood by some religious parties who thought it meant that we all came into being in some seminal Big Bang-typed event 100,000 ago... What Stoeckle and Thaler's findings point to is that our species has to revamp far more often than we thought, and we do so in unison with all animals." Stoeckle and Thaler made the following statement: "Our study is grounded in and strongly supports Darwinian evolution, including the understanding all life has evolved from a common biological origin over several billion years. Our study follows mainstream views of human evolution. We do not propose there was a single 'Adam' or 'Eve'. We do not propose any catastrophic events."
The study, however, concludes: "The simple hypothesis is that the same explanation offered for the sequence variation found among modern humans applies equally to the modern populations of essentially all other animal species. Namely that the extant population, no matter what its current size or similarity to fossils of any age, has expanded from mitochondrial uniformity within the past 200,000 years." In lay terms, this could mean that at some point within the last 200,000 years, modern populations of all animal species and humans originated from a male and female pair, or as Genesis 6:19 says, "And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shall you bring into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female." Strange how "scientists" want to stick with their humanist theories, even when science takes a U-turn.
Daily Devotion: Conquer the Green-Eyed Monster - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. -James 3:16
William Penn said, "The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves." And Shakespeare called jealousy "the green-eyed monster, which doth mock."
What a wicked thing jealousy and envy and are. They're among the most deadly sins in the satanic arsenal. Left unchecked, envy and jealousy can lead to far worse. James 3:16 says, "For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind" (NLT).
Envy is what motivated Cain to kill his brother, Abel. He was envious that God accepted Abel's offering but not his.
Envy is what caused the religious leaders, the Pharisees, to crucify Jesus. The Roman governor Pilate accurately diagnosed it, according to Matthew 27:18: "(He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy)" (NLT). They envied Jesus because He was bad for business.
Jesus cared about people. They preyed on the people. Jesus wanted to open up access to the Father. These religious leaders wanted to drive the people away. It was envy that motivated them.
I heard about a crab fisherman who was walking along with a pail full of crabs that was almost full. Someone suggested to him that without a lid on the pail, the crabs could get out.
"Oh no," the fisherman replied, "they won't get out. Every time one of them tries to climb out, the others reach out and pull him back down."
That is the way jealousy works. When you are jealous of someone, it hurts you more than it hurts them. Whatever mockery you use makes you feel better, but envy and jealousy are actually why you're saying it. It has been said that envy shoots at another and wounds itself.
Never let envy and jealousy get a foothold in your life.
FROM THE HEART
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