Prophecy Update Newsletter
December 15, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture a Selfish Wish to Avoid Suffering? - By Jonathan Brentner - http://raptureready.com/soap2/brentner12.html
During the past year, the Lord called me away from my career as a financial analyst to pursue writing on a fulltime basis. This call began with a stirring of my heart as I saw the ridicule of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture on Facebook and felt a strong desire to defend my beliefs in this regard.
I am not a scholar nor do I possess a great theological mind. However, a careful and prayerful study of many passages in the New Testament has led to my deep conviction that the Rapture happens before the start of the Tribulation.
I recently read a blog post arguing against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. In doing so, the writer made several common arguments, ones based on human reasoning rather than the Word of God. At first, I dismissed the post.
As I later reread the post, however, I felt compelled to answer his attacks on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. I have heard these arguments made many times over the past several decades; they are not new. However, in the past I have not written out a response to them.
This is the time to do so.
Is The Pre-Tribulation Rapture a Get-Out-of Jail-Free Card?
The first argument of this blog post is that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture offers believers a "get-out-of-jail-free card." Here is his exact quote:
First, believing I won't have to endure the awful end-times tribulation period, fosters in me an "early-out" mentality, in which I don't need faith to live my life. Waving my get-out-of-jail-free card, all I need do is simply hang on, and hang out until my sudden extraction. How does this jive with Jesus telling us that all who believe, will 'suffer persecution' ? It doesn't. [i]
First, there is a huge difference between persecution and the wrath of God that will be poured out on sinful humanity during the tribulation. Approximately half of the world's population will die in the judgments during first years of the tribulation. The tribulation is not the "persecution" of the church; it is God's judgment on the world.
No one who advocates a Pre-Tribulation Rapture does so to escape persecution. It is God's wrath we seek to avoid and understandably so. This is not an "early-out mentality" whatsoever. The Lord, through the apostle Paul, says the church will miss the pouring out of God's wrath on the earth during the tribulation (1 Thess. 5:9). We believe we will escape this wrath because the Lord promises we will escape it.
Second, this point only applies to believers in America. For most believers in our world today, the Rapture is most certainly not a "get-out-of-jail-free card." Many believers across our world are experiencing fierce persecution; they have seen loved ones brutally killed by ISIS and have left all their belongings behind while fleeing for their lives.
What this blogger describes only applies to the church in America. It's a totally invalid argument in almost every other nation of the world where so many believers are currently undergoing great persecution. How does this argument apply to them? It would seem foolish to them.
Yes, Jesus says His followers should expect persecution and this is what we see in many places in our world and even to some extent in America. The tribulation, however, is God's wrath poured out on the world. It's far worse than "jail."
What About Those Who Are Left Behind?
Secondly, this blogger objects to the depiction of those who will be left behind as being unscriptural:
Second, the pattern of being suddenly whisked away in a cloud, to the consternation of those unfortunate ones who erroneously thought they were believers, is a pattern I don't see anywhere in Scripture, other than in the fictional presentations so prolific on our "Christian" bookstore shelves. I suppose with Hollywood getting involved we no longer need to study our Bibles to 'be approved'!?[ii]
My primary objection here is that this will be a reality regardless of the timing of the Rapture in the tribulation. There will always be professing believers who will be left behind. How can this be avoided?
As for the lack of scriptural support, I beg to differ. Jesus' parable, The Wheat and the Tares in Matthew 13:24-30, points to this exact occurrence; there will always be real and professing believers among the followers of Christ. Regardless of when Jesus returns for us, there will be church attenders who will miss out on the Rapture. I am at a loss as to how this argues against a Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
There will never be a time when for the Rapture to occur when a number nominal believers will not be left behind. It's simply unavoidable.
The whole point of the Parable of the Ten Virgins is that when Christ returns at the end of the tribulation there will be professing believers who will not have the Holy Spirit, who are not truly saved. They will not only miss out on Jesus' Second Coming, but they will have no further opportunity to repent and turn to Jesus. Their fates will be sealed as the text indicates.
A Pre-Tribulation Rapture actually benefits those left behind. With the Rapture occurring just before the tribulation, they will have a much better opportunity to recognize their need for the Savior and respond to the gospel. If the Rapture occurs in the middle of the tribulation, many of these professing Christians would possibly be killed before realizing their lack of saving faith.
What About the Lucky Few?
The last point he makes is also weak and lacks not only an understanding of history and Scripture, but also of what is happening throughout the world:
Third, with the Pre-Trib scenario, there is little or no reason to think the "last" generation of Christians will undergo anything resembling what all the preceding generations of Christians had to face in the way of persecution and trials. Does this point to a fair and impartial God? I believe this is inconsistent with Scripture and history, and it thereby allows for the immediate translation to heaven of a "lucky" few who will arrive on the shores of Glory with empty hands and perhaps relatively unchanged hearts.[iii]
Besides reflecting a viewpoint totally devoid of what is happening in the church around the world, this writer ignores Jesus' message to the churches in Revelation 2-3 where individual churches experienced much variation in regard to persecution. The church at Smyrna suffered greatly at the hands of the Jews (2:8-11) while other churches experienced significantly lesser amounts of oppression.
Jesus promised the church at Philadelphia they would escape "the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth" (3:10). Does Jesus' promise to them make the believers at the church somehow the "lucky few" as compared to those in Smyrna? Does this make Jesus unfair and impartial because one church gets spared and another does not? Absolutely not!
Jesus' promise to keep His church out of the coming turmoil, the Tribulation, does not make Him unfair as the writer suggests it would. If it's His purpose to do so, who are we to complain?
In addition, many generations of believers in America have walked faithfully with Christ and died without experiencing the persecution of which the writer talks about in his post? Why must the current generation of believers in America suffer in order for God to be fair and just?
Significantly, this third argument applies if the church only exists in the United States. If the truths of the Rapture in Scripture apply to the church worldwide, and they certainly do, this argument is totally meaningless.
The whole argument of this blogger is based solely on the American church. That's highly dangerous ground on which to base any theology.
Besides, we may still yet face fierce persecution here in the United States. What happens then to these arguments against the Pre-Tribulation Rapture made by this blogger? They go out the window.
The Lord tests the faith of every believer. Regardless of our experience on earth in regard to outward persecution, no believer arrives in heaven "with empty hands and perhaps relatively unchanged hearts." This is a highly ridiculous and hurtful assertion that contributes nothing to the argument for the time of the Rapture. It makes no sense whatsoever!
God's Word must be our standard regarding the Rapture, not human experience. Careful interpretation of the text of Scripture must always determine theology, not the experience of a few or even of a great number.
This is why I write. My passion is to show the biblical grounds for not only premillennialism, but also the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church. To this end . . . I am just getting started!
[i] John Miltenberger, Rapture
Jonathan C. Brentner
North Liberty, Iowa
Eternity Versus the Moment
Fall of Aleppo Signals Entrenchment of Assad Regime, Iran in Syria, Bad News for Israel - Ruthie Blum - https://www.algemeiner.com/2016/12/14/mideast-analyst-fall-of-aleppo-signals-entrenchment-of-assad-regime-iran-in-syria-bad-news-for-israel/
Israel should be extremely concerned over the fall of Aleppo, as it means that Iran and its proxy Hezbollah have achieved free rein in Syria to try to establish a foothold along the Golan Heights, a Mideast expert wrote on Wednesday.
In an analysis for Israel's Channel 2 News, Ehud Ya'ari said that, aside from the "heart-wrenching carnage and destruction" the world is witnessing in Syria, "it is now clear that [President] Bashar Assad will remain ensconced in his palace...as long as US President-elect Donald Trump does not offer Russian President Vladimir Putin the right price for abandoning him."
Alluding to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reported coordination with Putin - regarding IDF operations aimed at preventing the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah and Russian air strikes too near to Israel's northern border - Ya'ari said that if the Russian president decided to ignore the unwritten contract, he could simply order his air force to crush rebels in southern Syria.
Fortunately, however, Ya'ari continued, "This scenario is not materializing in the meantime, because Putin has his own priorities: seeking understandings with Trump over Europe and the Mideast, and - if that doesn't bear fruit - trampling the rebels in the province of Idlib, the last important Syrian area under their control."
Still, Ya'ari asserted, "It is important to remember that Trump and his team have no great interest in removing Assad. If anything, they want to keep Tehran at bay and make a deal with Russia, which does not want to see Iran become hegemonic in the Fertile Crescent."
The bottom line, whichever way one looks at it, Ya'ari said, is that "there is no longer any real threat to the regime that has become a protégé of Tehran in every respect."
This is all bad news for Israel, he noted, which "has been left without the ability to influence events beyond the strip of villages along the Golan Heights" - a situation that might have been avoided, he said, if Israel had assisted the rebels in posing a threat to Assad. "But since Israel was hesitant to do this, and [US President Barack] Obama withdrew his hand from Syria, the Russians entered," he wrote.
As a result, Ya'ari argued, rather than losing Syria and putting a dent in its other expansionist regional aims, Iran now has a "diving board" from which to catapult itself. "In another decade, when Iran finishes upgrading its outdated army, all of this will be greatly significant," he pointed out.
In an interview with The Algemeiner last Thursday - following a week in which Israel was reported by Arab media outlets to have struck Hezbollah convoys in Syria - a former IDF military intelligence analyst said that the possibility of the Lebanon-based Shiite terrorist organization being equipped by the Syrian regime or Iran with chemical and biological weapons could not be ruled out.
Palestinians preparing new Security Council draft - http://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-preparing-new-security-council-draft-report/
Aim is to win UN approval for resolution condemning settlements before Obama leaves office
The Palestinian delegation to the United Nations has reportedly circulated a new draft of a resolution condemning Israel settlements that they hope to bring to a vote before US President Barack Obama leaves office next month.
The draft is reportedly softer than one circulated earlier in the year, but still calls all the settlements, including Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, illegal, Israel Radio reported, noting that Egypt would submit the text for the Palestinians.
The Palestinians pushed for the Security Council to adopt a resolution against settlements in February 2011 but it was vetoed by the United States. The 14 other Security Council members voted in favor of the resolution, reflecting the wide support for the draft which had over 100 co-sponsors.
Palestinians have said that the new resolution would draw from the 2011 text.
There was speculation that Obama would not veto the new resolution, however, the chances of that are thought to have gone down significantly since the election of Donald Trump to succeed him on January 20.
Following a meeting in Washington on Tuesday between a Palestinian delegation and US Secretary of State John Kerry, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that as regards any potential UN action relating to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "nothing's changed about our view on that."
Longstanding US policy has been for years that any resolution to the conflict should come from direct negotiations between the parties and not be imposed from the outside.
However, speaking to the Saban Forum in Washington earlier this month, Kerry did not completely rule out the possibility that the US would support a move at the United Nations.
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Netanyahu said Israel remains concerned that Washington could back a Palestine-related resolution at the Security Council before January 20. "With every passing day that possibility becomes less likely, but until then it's still there," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu in Steely Message to Iran: Don't Underestimate Us - By Abra Forman -
"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." Isaiah 54:17 (The Israel Bible™)
During a visit to Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the country's president to pass a stern message to Iran: If the Islamic republic chooses to threaten Israel, it will pay.
"Don't threaten us. We are not a rabbit, we are a tiger," he said. "If you threaten us, you endanger yourself."
The warning was given after President Nursultan Nazarbayev asked Netanyahu if he had any particular words for the Iranians, offering himself as a conduit, as Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is slated to visit Kazakhstan next week.
"Ask him why Iran continues to threaten us with annihilation," Netanyahu responded.
He told Nazarbayev that he takes the words of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, whose constant vitriol against the Jewish State includes military threats against its existence, very seriously.
The Israeli premiere did not back down from his strong message, repeating it to Khazak Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev when they met later in the day. "I intend to repeat this message many times," he said.
His visit to Kazakhstan and neighboring Azerbaijan, both majority Muslim countries, was intended to strengthen ties between Israel and the few Muslim states which consider it an ally. Netanyahu praised Kazakhstan's "attitude of tolerance towards Jews" and noted that Kazakh Jews "speak very warmly of Kazakhstan and of the attitude towards all religions here."
In Azerbaijan, the prime minister commended President Ilham Aliyev for being part of the effort to work against the attitude of "intolerance and lack of acceptance and mutual respect" found towards Israel in most Muslim countries.
"Here you have an example of Muslims and Jews working together to secure a better future for both of us," he said warmly.
Hope from a messed-up family tree - Greg Laurie - http://www.wnd.com/2016/12/hope-from-a-messed-up-family-tree/
Pastor Greg Laurie notes Jesus' line included 'liars, cheats, adulterers and prostitutes'
It has become very popular to look into your genealogy. I have a friend who is really into this, and for a while, every time I saw him he had a new discovery about his heritage.
Of course, most of us would like to think we are related to someone important, like a member of a royal family, a celebrity, some great intellect, or a hero from American history.
But what if you were researching your family tree and discovered you had some unsavory characters in it? Would you want to let others know? Let's say that you found out you had a number of prostitutes in your family tree. Is that something you would tell people about? Imagine hanging around with some friends, and one person says, "I'm a distant relative of George Washington."
Another says, "Well, I have royal blood flowing in my family."
And you say, "Well, I have three prostitutes in my family." Is that something you would be proud of?
You may be surprised to know that the most famous family tree in human history had some unsavory characters, including liars, cheats, adulterers, and prostitutes. I'm talking, of course, about the family tree of Jesus Christ. He knows all about having relatives who might be embarrassing.
Yet in his family tree, we can see the amazing grace of God clearly on display, long before Bethlehem, showing us that God gives second chances.
Now, when we tell the Christmas story, we usually cut to the chase. We usually go straight to the beautiful narratives that are found in Matthew, and especially in the gospel of Luke. We often skip over what precedes that story, which is another lengthy genealogy, because we think it doesn't mean anything to us.
Yet this genealogy affects every one of us. It is as much inspired by God as any other passage in the Bible.
And for the Jewish people in Jesus' day, genealogies were a big deal for a number of reasons. A genealogy would determine whether someone was related to the priesthood. It also would determine if a person was in the royal line. And, it would influence how the family inheritance would be passed on. Therefore, they were sticklers for genealogies.
The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1 reads like a biblical soap opera. There is David, who was plucked from obscurity and became the greatest king in the history of the nation Israel, the man after God's own heart. David's name is usually associated with two others, which represent both his greatest victory and his greatest defeat. The name Goliath reminds us of his greatest victory when he killed the 9-foot-6-inch Philistine in the valley of Elah. And then there is the name Bathsheba, with whom he fell into the sin of adultery. And not only was David guilty of adultery, but in his attempt to cover it up, an innocent man lost his life. The repercussions of that sin were repeated not only in David's life but also in the lives of his children. Yet David made it into the most exclusive family tree in human history.
Then there is Abraham. Though he was a great man of faith and is considered the father of faith, he had his flaws and shortcomings. We know that he lied about his wife, Sarah, out of fear for his life and a lack of trust in God. Yet God established Abraham as the father of the Jewish people and clearly placed him in the Messianic line.
Tamar is named in this famous genealogy, which is really shocking. In Genesis 38, where we read about her prostitution and deception, there is no redeeming value, no silver lining to her story. She is pretty much a corrupt character. Yet amazingly, by the grace of God, Tamar is in the messianic line.
Then there is Rahab, who also was a prostitute. She was a Gentile and an inhabitant of Jericho. When Israeli spies were sent in to check out the land before the Israeli army occupied it, they were hidden by Rahab in her home. Because of her act of kindness toward the people of God, the Israelites spared her and her household. And then, even more amazingly, she was brought into the messianic line as the wife of Salmon and the mother of the godly Boaz, who was David's great-grandfather.
Next we come to Ruth. She, too, was a gentile. She married one of two sons born to a woman named Naomi. When Naomi's husband and sons died, she decided to return home to Israel. This prompted Ruth to make the famous statement, "For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God" (Ruth 1:16 NKJV).
This is amazing when you consider the fact that Ruth was a Moabite, and the Moabites were among the worst enemies of Israel. Yet here was this Moabite, this pagan woman, who came to faith in God. Then she married Boaz and became the grandmother of Israel's greatest king, David.
It certainly gives hope to those who have failed in life. In this genealogy we have God, in his mercy, doing for sinners what they can't do for themselves: mending their broken lives and putting together their shattered hopes.
This is why Jesus came to earth. We like to think that he came to make good people just a little bit better or to give us a cause to celebrate. Those are fine things, but the real reason he came was because we were irreparably separated from God by our sins.
God's message to Joseph was, "You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21 NKJV). Christmas is about God's solution for sin.
You see, Jesus came to redeem us. He came to free us from the power of sin, from the penalty of sin, and from the ultimate repercussions and judgment of sin as well. That is the message of Christmas.
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
Joseph and Mary - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
The Christmas story is one of hope and joy. It's evidence that when God makes a promise He is faithful to fulfill it and He allows people to be a part of bringing His promises to fruition. How often do we read about Joseph and Mary but don't stop and really think about the story behind these people who were willing to do what God asked of them? They took on a great responsibility and they were up to the challenge, but the choices that each had to make were life changing. God asked Mary to give birth to the Messiah and she and Joseph were to raise and protect Him until He became an adult. Every parent should take raising a child as a serious responsibility, but when the Child is the Saviour of the world, that takes very special people.
Many people think that Mary was more than a mere human. This idea doesn't come from the Bible and cannot be supported by Scripture. Mary was a normal young woman, possibly a teenager who had hopes and dreams of marriage and a family like all young women. Her lineage is given to us by Luke who traces it back to King David through his son Nathan (Luke 3:31), and further back to Judah (Luke 3:33), and right on back to Adam. The birth of the Messiah had been prophesied by Old Testament prophets and women throughout the ages hoped to be the one to give birth to Him. When a woman married, her desires changed. She and her husband would have children, and she would be disqualified because she was no longer a virgin. "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14. With God, all things are possible, and the virgin birth was no exception. In Mary's day, if a woman who wasn't married became pregnant she would be condemned under Jewish Law and could be stoned to death. The choice Mary would soon make could have meant her death. She was promised in marriage to a carpenter named Joseph, but the wedding ceremony hadn't taken place; Mary was a virgin. Her life was normal and nothing out of the ordinary until the angel Gabriel appeared to her. "And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be." Luke 1:28-29. "Troubled" means she was scared! Gabriel saw her fear and calmed her saying that she had found favor with God. That must have made her feel a little better but his next words would have been shocking. "And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." Luke 1:31. I often wonder what went through Mary's mind. She knew the penalty for being pregnant and not married and Joseph would have every right to walk away from his commitment to marry here. There would be gossip to face and what would her parents say? Scripture doesn't say that Mary hesitated nor did she ask for time to think about it. She didn't discuss the pros and cons with friends about it or flip a coin. She simply asked how. "Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" Luke 1:34. God always gives us a choice, and Mary chose to obey God. No wonder He chose her for such a special task. She had a heart to obey God no matter what it might mean to her personally. Christians can learn from Mary's attitude and not question God, but simply obey Him. "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Luke 1:35. Mary's next words show strength of character. She didn't understand how it would be accomplished, but trusted God to make it happen. "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." Luke 1:38. It was a simple answer but very profound. Her life would be changed, but her willingness to serve God is a beautiful testimony of faith.
Mary had to trust God to work out the details. If she was given a reprieve from being stoned, she was still without a husband to care for her and would be an outcast. God doesn't do a half-way job when He asks us to step out in faith. Though she wasn't married, she was promised in marriage to Joseph who must have been a remarkable man. God had chosen him for the task of caring for Mary and for the Baby she carried. The Gospel of Matthew tells us a little about Joseph. Like Mary, Joseph was also a descendent of King David, but his line was through David's son Solomon (Matthew 1:6). This was the royal line. Scripture doesn't tell us much about Joseph, but what it does say describes a very honorable man. He and Mary were to be married, but suddenly she became pregnant. He knew the child wasn't his and he would have been within his rights to publically bring charges against her. He thought about his options and was considerate of Mary when deciding what to do. "Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily." Matthew 1:19. Though the marriage hadn't taken place, the betrothal was a binding agreement upon both of them and had to be dissolved legally. Joseph didn't want Mary to suffer public humiliation so he decided to quietly step out of the picture and let her move on with her life as best she could. What he didn't know was that God had chosen him for a great purpose. Though Joseph wasn't the biological father of the Child, God chose him to be the man that would act as the earthly father of the Messiah. The angel came to Joseph and reassured him. "...fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 1:20b. Joseph had known Mary was pregnant, but apparently she hadn't told him that the Child's Father was God! That would be hard to explain. The angel said that Joseph wasn't to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, and so he did. Mary must have been relieved. Joseph also proved himself to be worthy of God's favor because he was willing to wait until after her Child was born to consummate their marriage. "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had biddenhim, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS." Matthew 1:24-25. This dispels another myth. Some people believe that Mary was a perpetual virgin, but that's just another of man's fabricated stories. Joseph and Mary did consummate the marriage after Jesus was born. Scripture says Jesus was her "firstborn" which implies at least a "second born" child. Joseph and Mary did have children together, and their names appear later in Scripture.
Don't let anyone convince you that Jesus wasn't God incarnate. He had no biological human father, which means His blood wasn't tainted by Adam's sin. That allowed His pure blood, which He willingly shed on the Cross of Calvary, to take away the sin of anyone who sincerely comes before Him and asks for forgiveness. It was through Mary that Jesus was human, which qualified Him as our Kinsman. "If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold." Leviticus 25:25. When Adam ate the forbidden fruit he sold what he possessed. No longer could he walk with God and Paradise was lost. Unlike the sacrificial blood of animals to cover sin, only God's pure blood can take sin away. Because Jesus was fully God and fully human He was qualified to be our Kinsman Redeemer and purchase back what Adam lost. "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 2:16-17. Jesus is God and His love for us is the reason He entered His creation as one of us. He was born in a manger in Bethlehem in order to offer us the gift of redemption that can only come through His shed blood. There is no love that can be compared to the love of God.
Joseph took care of Mary and was obedient to follow God's instructions. They travelled to Bethlehem because of a census, and that's where Mary gave birth to the Messiah, which fulfilled prophecy. The lowly shepherds were the first to visit Jesus in the manger where He was born and sometime later the wise men came from the east to worship the newborn King. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and these gifts probably financed the hasty trip to Egypt, another fulfilled prophecy. "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him." Matthew 2:13. Herod was evil and, in an attempt to thwart God's plan of salvation, Satan inspired him to send soldiers to murder all children in Bethlehem who were younger than two years old. If Joseph hadn't been obedient, Jesus would have been killed.
Both Joseph and Mary were asked to step out in faith and trust God. Even though they didn't understand the whole picture, they obeyed God step by step and day by day. Their goals in life were honorable: Joseph had a carpentry business and was able to support a wife and family and Mary's desire was to be a wife and mother. Their lives were changed because God had higher plans for them. Because of their obedience the entire world was changed. You are an important part of God's plan. Even though you don't understand how God will accomplish His will through you, are you obedient? Instead of trying to out-think God, simply obey Him. He worked out the details for Joseph and Mary, and so He will work out the details of what you are called to do. Simply trust Him.
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: The Stein-Clinton coup attempt - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
With all the brouhaha of Russian interference in the presidential election and the subsequent false flag emergency of recounts, the fake news vassal of the progressive agenda-the mainstream news media-is complicit in a failed coup attempt by losers Hillary Clinton and her Green Party minion Jill Stein. Thanks to Pennsylvania District Court Judge Paul S. Diamond, the legal coup that threatened the results of the presidential election and the composition of the Electoral College vote was put down. The news media reported only that the judge, a Republican appointee of former President George W. Bush, summarily rejected Stein's recount as having no credible evidence. But there's a lot more to the story.
The 31-page decision indicates that the real reason behind Stein's effort was to delay Pennsylvania's certification of the presidential election results to prevent the casting of the state's Electoral College votes. This would have disrupted the election, and if there were similar successful actions in Wisconsin and Michigan, Clinton may well have become president, a virtual coup fomented by a third party crusader designed to make Clinton look innocent in all of the chicanery. Stein said that she didn't want voters to be disenfranchised and that every vote should count, especially since the Russians could have hacked the results. In reality, Diamond said Stein wanted to "ensure that no Pennsylvania vote counts."
Judge Diamond wrote that granting the recount would have made "it impossible for the Commonwealth to certify its Presidential Electors by December 13 (as required by federal law), thus inexcusably disenfranchising some six million Pennsylvania voters." He went on to state in his decision that Stein did not file the necessary affidavits nor follow the procedures for a recount, but rather filed law suits in counties across the state claiming that the election was fraudulent. Diamond said that Stein presented "absolutely no evidence of any voting irregularities." In other words, Stein (funded in part by Clinton and supported by the Clinton legal team) was just trying to steal the election.
Diamond elaborated on the procedures taken to ensure integrity of the state's voting machines. Moreover, there is no central computer that could result in a hacking of voter results because the machines are not connected to the internet. Diamond wrote that Stein/Clinton's computer "expert" made hacking accusations in the lawsuit based on what he knew of the Democratic Party email server's hacking and media reports, which "do not remotely relate to Election Day hacks of offline voting machines in Pennsylvania." You see, there was no Russian interference in the US election and the fake news is a product of the mainstream media. 2 Timothy 3:13 is in play: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." Judge Diamond stood in the breech for America. The media and the Clinton team lies.
Daily Devotion: Forget Something? - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, "Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?" -Matthew 2:4
Imagine for a moment that you are living in first-century Israel. You hear mysterious visitors from the east speak of a star that has been leading them. Now, don't you think it might be a good idea to make the short journey of about five miles from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to check it out?
Herod was right in expecting an answer from the chief priests and scribes as to where the Messiah would be born, and they interpreted the writings of Micah properly. Yet they should have known better.
These men were the theological scholars of their day and knew the Scriptures inside and out. It was their job to study the Scriptures and number the letters and lines to ensure careful copying. They knew the Scriptures so well, but they cared so little. They knew where the Messiah would be born, but they didn't care about a baby king as much as an adult monarch who could line their pockets with gold. They were too busy to bother with Him.
Do you know one thing that can keep you from Christ more than anything else? It's religious pride. When you say, "I already know that" or "I've already heard that," it could actually dull your spiritual senses to the Word of God.
Sometimes when you hear the Word of God again and again, you can essentially enter into a place of complacency, a place of apathy. You might even find yourself asleep. I find it interesting that many of the Bible's warnings about waking up are actually addressed to believers. Believers can be asleep like these religious scholars who missed out on that epic event.
Even at Christmas, with all our celebrating of the birth of Christ, we can forget about Christ and fail to give Him a passing thought.
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