We DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ GUNS to Take Back Our Nation

Ran across the article below in Ammoland.

Johns Hopkins: More Gun Control Needed to Prevent Second Civil War

Gee… WHERE do I start? How about with the authors/publishers of this  “work”? The article itself supplies plenty of detail so I’ll proffer the “Cliff Notes” version:

Johns Hopkins is supposed to be a well-respected medical school and health care center. Thus their expertise is medicine NOT firearms and certainly not “Civil War”.  The very title of this hit piece should make it obvious if you also understand there  actually was no first “Civil War” in this nation. Certainly nobody in the South made any attempt to overthrow the United States Government any more than West Virginia attempted to overthrow Virginia. They simply wanted to disassociate themselves from what was becoming an unbearably oppressive centralized power – the exact opposite of the original intent of the formation of our  Constitutional Republic. Oh yeah, that brings up point #2:

OUR NATION IS NOT A DEMOCRACY! Sorry for shouting but some of those statists lurking in the back like to turn deaf ears to this simple fact.  Ours is a republic, formed by our constitution. Taken along with our other primary founding document, The Declaration of Independence, the groundwork was previously laid for the right, nay, the responsibility of a self-governing people to dump oppressive elites, scrap institutions that become too big for their britches and start over. Such is exactly what the Confederacy did. Now get this straight in your head…

It doesn’t matter what their reasoning was or if YOU agree with them. None of that has any relevance to the issue at hand and that is whether the southern states had the right to secede from the union. We all seem to forget this is the crux of the matter and they were well within their rights to take off and do their own thing. The reason I make this point is so many others, particularly fellow conservatives, hold up Lincoln and the Norther Aggression he fomented  in such esteem as the feat of some great and noble savior.  Maybe it was for the best. Maybe it was all ordained by God Almighty Himself. None of this excuses the brutal truth of the lawless and unconstitutional actions of those on both sides of the conflict.

So right in the title of this presentation, the authors begin with false premises while continuing to tout idiocy.  Need I tell you that none other than gun control freak Michael Bloomburg via  his money (at least) is behind all  this? Go figure. It all boils down to the promise alluded to in the title – more gun control is needed to save our nation. Bull Cookies! (If you like Mikey Bloomburg, you’ll love ’em – crunchy and tasty with a creamy center.)

Hey Mikey! If you’re reading this, lemme tell ya from one of those types you hate and fear so much:

We don’t need no stinkin’ guns!

Now that should take the wind out of your sails and leave your crap dead in the water. Hope you’ve stock up on Bull Cookies ’cause I, for one, ain’t coming to get ya.

Look fool, what never seem to understand is WE the People have the law of the land, the constitution on our side. Now granted, when our Southern ancestors tried to right the wrongs imposed on them, the rest of the nation rallied together to brutally rape, kill, and pillage all those who opposed them. If you ask me, they took the wrong approach and it came back to bite them. What is the right approach? It is simple – not easy, but simple.

WE the People must assert our birthright – our GOD-GIVEN authority to govern ourselves. And that means we need to dump, NOT our government, so to speak, but our party system. It is time.

We now have the technology that allows citizens to stand for whatever seat they wish AND we have the technology to hold our representatives and employeesaccountable. We don’t need anyone to ride from house to house with news or gather at the town square to discuss important matters. We can do these things, but we can also do as much from the comfort of our homes, our place of business, or a laundromat – wherever. We have unprecedented access to our government entities and to each other.

Sure we have guns. Lots of them. We have ammo. Many in our ranks also have outstanding knowledge and skills to use them. But we don’t need any of those things. The entire idea of any “insurrection” or armed takeover of our government is ludicrous. Why? Because WE the People ARE the government! What? Are we to rebel against ourselves? Leave it to Brandon to shoot himself in the foot. I’ll abstain, thank you.

If you look at it all this way, it is laughable. Are you getting this Mikey? Yours is a straw man. The ONLY thing your proposals can accomplish is to either overthrow our government by your penchant for seizing our liberty, forcing us to either surrender to your elites or rise up and toss them out on their ears. (No, we don’t need to stinkin’ guns for that either.) To that end, YOU, sir, are fomenting rebellion BY insisting on more unconstitutional gun control.

As for my fellow citizens, I urge you to stand up and be counted. And no, “voting”  alone is not enough. For right now though it is a start, unless you want to see a repeat of 2020. Let’s take action now. How?

Be vocal. Stop biting your tongue and speak up. You need not be loud. You need not be obnoxious. Some of the most effect voices are soft-spoken. While I have zero talent for this myself, do not think because you cannot be heard because you do not raise your voice. It is enough to speak your mind.

Participate. Yes, you’re gonna have to vote but please, please, PLEASE do more, even if it is just a little bit more. Even if it means holding your nose while working with the republican party. Yes, YOUR vote counts but OUR VOTES count more! To this end we need to get more citizens registered to vote and get them to to polls. We need bodies at board meetings to hold our representatives accountable.

Encourage others. The plain truth about our decentralized government is none of us can do this alone. The most daunting problem of our nation today is it is run by a slim few who have slithered themselves into positions of power. Their authority is stolen, or at best acquired by deceit when they were put in place by party bosses who then dictate the terms of their occupation of office.  No matter. It is our job to join forces and put them on notice they were elected to represent US and that they will do or be tossed out. Some will comply, most will ignore us. Nobody said it would be easy, but no one of us can begin the process of reclaiming our nation. We need numbers – big numbers, and as birds of a feather flock together, we all need to encourage those around us to join in.

There’s more to come and I fully expect to see more and better I ideas from other citizens. By all means, let’s hear YOUR ideas and suggestions. How can we get more involved? How can we involve others. How can we band together to retake our nation?

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

This is my favorite holiday, bar none. This seemed a bit strange after I thought about it because this is a day set aside by man rather than God. Then again, so is Christmas. Don’t get me started on that, but it is quite evident Christ was not born in December and much of the “Christmas Story” is entirely baseless. Nor has the body of Christ been instructed to observe the birth of our Lord and Savior. Back to Thanksgiving… why is it my favorite?

Thanksgiving is the most ignored and despised holiday by those who love holiday profits. So much so, they invented “Black Friday” and proceeded to beat the day to death. Now the prophets of profit cannot even wait until the actual day but begin their “Black Friday” deals days, weeks, even months before the day actually arrives. Insert eye roll here. My contrary nature loves the non-commercialism of Thanksgiving. More than that, I love the fact that this is the day when families get together and break bread. What I don’t like is the overachieving display of food that so often adorns tables, side tables, and sometimes side side tables. I’m a simple guy. I’d be happy with turkey with stuffing, potatoes, and rolls. Okay, don’t forget the gravy. And pie. Gotta have a piece of pie. Already I’m stuffed.

Today, of all days, at least some of us take the time to give thanks to God Almighty for all He does for us. While I try to do this every day, I do like the idea of making a particular effort on this one day each year. If nothing else, Thanksgiving almost demands turning our attention to our Creator. It is a quiet demand and too often ignore. Please do heed the call. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

God bless,

Andy

More On the Resurrection of the Dead

In my previous posts on Peter’s first spirit-filled sermon, I remarked on those things Peter stated indicating the dead are not alive now. From this I pointed out the fallacy of today’s common belief that Christians immediately go to heaven after death. Today, I take this further, looking into scriptures pertaining to resurrection and what is commonly referred to as “the Rapture”. While this second term appears nowhere in scripture, there is certainly evidence of the event it refers to. I’ll remind you another term, born again, does not occur in scripture either but few would argue whether it applies to those of us who confess Jesus as Lord and Christ. My goal here is to explore a number of scriptures pertaining to the resurrection and the coming of Christ to see how they could all fit together.

Let’s begin with Paul in Acts 23 where he faces the Jewish leadership of the day, the Sanhedrin.

Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.

The Sadducees were the ruling sect of the Temple in the first century. The other major sect was the Pharisees though they were in the minority. As the passage above states the Sadducees “say there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit”. They did not believe in an afterlife – at all. Nor did they believe in any spiritual beings other the God Almighty. Now to me, even this presents a problem because while they only accepted the first five books of the bible (and rejected the prophecies and the oral teachings), there are significant references to angels in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers. I’m not sure how they wrangled those scriptures.

So most Jews in the first century either believed in THE resurrection or that once you’re dead, your dead. Period. It looks to me like there wasn’t much room even then for… “well, you go to heaven immediately after you die.”. Huh.

Moving on, Paul was then brought to Felix, the governor of the province…

Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

…14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Notice this last bit – “here shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust”. Those words “shall be” are significant as they mean something will absolutely occur – in the future. This concept of THE resurrection (capitals mine) refers to a singular specific event. When will this event happen? Consider this conversation Lazarus’ sister Martha had with Jesus…

John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Be sure to check the context of this verse but I assure you, Jesus did not “correct” her assumption of a resurrection occurring on “the last day”.

Also note, it was established as a surety Lazarus was dead, not hanging out in heaven or some such. He was dead. Had Jesus not called him forth, Lazarus would have remained dead until the resurrection, just as Martha stated.

Look, I understand the sentiment. We hate to see our loved ones die. It hurts. We grieve. Many of us will grasp on to any straw to ease our pain. I get that – BUT, our pain doesn’t change the truth. When Jesus died, the ONLY hope for anyone (other than Jesus) was the resurrection of the just and unjust on the last day. The good news is, Jesus’ resurrection changed this. How?

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Now just wait a doggone minute here. What? Paul gives an order of events here. Christ, They that are Christ’s at his coming and THEN “cometh the end”. Doesn’t make sense that the last day would be “at the end”? Granted that word “day” here certainly refers to a period of time not limited to 24 hours. Even so, also during this period is “when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God”.

There is a sequence here and this sequence begins with Christ rising from the dead, followed by those who are Christ’s as his coming. What’s missing? The rising of the unjust, as you will see below.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Now there has been lots of debate on the concept of the Rapture, a term never used in scripture. I’ve seen so much wrangling myself I’ve had my doubts as to whether to expect this event or not. While I’ve concluded that for me, personally, it doesn’t matter either way, I’m convinced this saying is true:

Jesus is coming back twice – once FOR his saints and once WITH his saints. The second return is this “last day” (again referring to a period of time not limited to 24 hours). What convinced me?

Look again at the scriptures above. Paul speaks of the resurrection of the just and unjust. Martha states this happens on the last day. Yet in Corinthians and Thessalonians, Paul marks out a precise group – “they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23) and “the dead in Christ shall rise first:

(verse 17) Then we which are alive and remain”. In case you were absent that day, those of us who confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead are justified.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The word “justified” means to be made righteous and thus gives us the right to stand before God Almighty without any sense of sin, guilt, or condemnation. Why? Because our Lord Jesus paid the price with his precious, innocent blood.

Those who are the “unjust” will need to wait for “the end”. My understanding is those “unjust” will not be alone as both the “just and unjust” will rise on the last day, referring to all those who could not or would not confess Jesus as Lord.

For those who have passed on already, these distinctions are mostly moot. Their deal is done. It’s not like they are agonizing in the waiting room for their turn. We who are alive today have the hope of Jesus’ return. If I was smarter about it, this hope would keep me more on my toes as I’d be expecting Jesus to pop up at any moment. It may not hurt to note here that in the Revelation of Jesus Christ and elsewhere some specific markers are indicated before Jesus returns again – one of the biggies being the “the abomination of desolation”

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:

17 let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house:

While I expect to be with Jesus when this happens, if I happened to see a report of “the abomination of desolation” on the nightly news, I’d getnervous – real nervous.

Now I extracted out just one tiny part of Jesus entire prophesy in Matthew 24. You might just want to go read the whole thing for, you know, context. The long and the short of it is, Jesus spoke of his coming – his return. Unlike those verses we read from Paul’s epistles, there is a whole lot going on before and after. The key to these prophesies, as I see it, is the distinction between the “just and the unjust”. Besides this key specification, the indication of the “last day” also points to two different periods.

Either way, how can anyone deny the concept of a resurrection and still claim Christ as Lord and Savior? I see no path for such a contradiction to be valid. Nor can I see any way to incorporate the false teaching that believers go directly to heaven when we die. Yes, I’ve seen the passages often pointed to. I’ve studied them. Taken by themselves, with enough twisting and turning, it surely is possible to pound those square pegs into the round holes but the result fails to stand up to scrutiny, even less when the very clear scriptures are taken into account. On the other hand, those few verses, when viewed in the light of other scriptures fit in just fine.

I’ll offer one solid example – one scripture that is often brought up is such debates:

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

So many have pointed to this triumphantly exclaiming “Ah HA! Here is your proof! Read it and weep, heretic!” (Okay, okay, yeah, I dramatized this a bit. 🙂

After all doesn’t verse 23 above state: “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”? It does indeed. And sure enough, it says what it says. But what is actually being stated here? Did the apostle state he when he died he was going straight to heaven? No.

First he said “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Okay, this tells me he has no fear of death. Great. Then he says “For I am in a strait betwixt two”. In other words, given a choice between living and dying, it would be a difficult decision. I totally understand. Now comes this: “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”. THERE! Doesn’t he say when he dies he will be with Christ? No. It does not say that.

Now if you put this last part in parenthesis, it not only agrees entirely with the context but it also agrees with the other times Paul spoke of Christ’s return. The two “choices” were between life and death. The third option was the coming of Christ! Once one understands Paul has to be referring to a third option, all difficulties vanish! So… HOW can we know Paul refers to this “third option”? Because this is the only way this passage does NOT contradict other passages. In other words, you can’t have it both ways.

This brings up another potential difficulty from II Thessalonians 2. As I read the King James Version almost exclusively, I need to be constantly diligent in ferreting out the issues posed by the translators. Believe it or not, I’ve examined this passage countless times and it still gives me pause because I naturally tend take those words I read at face value first and afterwards do the mental gymnastics to work out what it really says.

In the case below, the process became far easier simply by comparing the KJV with the WEB (World English Bible). The verse in question is 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

KJV

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

WEB

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you

2 not to be quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, saying that the day of Christ had come.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For it will not be, unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction,

4 he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself up as God.

In the KJV, the word for “falling away” is the Greek word “apostasia”. According to Strong’s the word can mean apostasy, falling away, forsake, or defection (from truth). Yet the WEB renders this word as “departure”. Furthermore there are two (at least) views of the usage this word here. One agrees with the folks at Strong’s, contending either way, we should take this to mean the world is forsaking God. I’ll grant you, the idea that the world will forsake God is hard to argue against. In fact I will not do so because, well, just look at the world around us. However is this what Paul was referring to in this verse? Not so fast!

Another way of seeing this “departure” is to view it as a literal departure – as in the Rapture. Seen this way, Paul would be describing a sequence of events that also agrees with his other teachings. This also more readily agrees with the previous verses in this passage.

In 2:1 Paul speaks of our “gathering together unto him”, again this certainly suggests the Rapture. Then Paul goes on to say they don’t want the Thessalonians “quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us”. Troubled why? By “saying that the day of Christ had come”. Next he says that is not going to happen “unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction.”.

Now let this roll about in your mind a bit. How much comfort are you finding in the fact that people are turning away from God? When “that man of sin is revealed” will you breathe a sigh of relief? What about the subsequent events? (Don’t forget Jesus warned folks to head for the hills!) If none of these these things make you feel any better then why would the apostle Paul think they would be of comfort to the Thessalonians?

I cannot speak for anyone else but the one comfort I get from all of this is the idea that Jesus will come back before the stuff hits the fan and we will join him! Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IF Jesus and/or our Heavenly Father asked for volunteers to stay behind, I’m pretty sure I’d be raising my hand. I won’t say enthusiastically but, yeah, put me in, coach. That said, let me suggest something to you… what IF, the Rapture is not just for the sake of us believers? What IF God has other purposes in mind? What IF our extraction is exactly what those who are “left behind” really need to see the truth?

My own conclusion is no matter how you view 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the verse does no preclude the Rapture. Jesus and Paul both specifically say THE resurrection will happen on the last day. We also know this resurrection pertains to those who have died. Paul also states the dead in Christ will rise first and the the living. This statement alone should give us pause for thought. If the living in Christ rise in the twinkling of the eye, who or what is left?

The only conclusion I can come to is Jesus, our Messiah, indeed will come back for those of us born again of God’s spirit, those who have accepted him as both Lord and Christ, whether asleep or awake. Then the rest will be dealt with accordingly

Below you’ll find a couple of sources used in my research. I’m listing these for your information and should not be construed as an endorsement. As you should with all such presentations (including mine) search the scriptures to see if these things are so.

Liberty University – The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2

Falling Away

Martha, Paul, and Jesus – the Resurrection of the Dead and the Rapture

In my previous posts on Peter’s first spirit-filled sermon, I remarked on those things Peter stated indicating the dead are not alive now. From this I pointed out the fallacy of today’s common belief that Christians immediately go to heaven after death. Today, I take this further, looking into scriptures pertaining to resurrection and what is commonly referred to as “the Rapture”. While this second term appears nowhere in scripture, there is certainly evidence of the event it refers to. I’ll remind you another term, born again, does not occur in scripture either but few would argue whether it applies to those of us who confess Jesus as Lord and Christ. My goal here is to explore a number of scriptures pertaining to the resurrection and the coming of Christ to see how they could all fit together.

Let’s begin with Paul in Acts 23 where he faces the Jewish leadership of the day, the Sanhedrin.

Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees,and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

7 And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.

8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

9 And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.

The Sadducees were the ruling sect of the Temple in the first century. The other major sect was the Pharisees though they were in the minority. As the passage above states the Sadducees “say there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit”. They did not believe in an afterlife – at all. Nor did they believe in any spiritual beings other the God Almighty. Now to me, even this presents a problem because while they only accepted the first five books of the bible (and rejected the prophecies and the oral teachings), there are significant references to angels in Genesis, Exodus, and Numbers. I’m not sure how they wrangled those scriptures.

So most Jews in the first century either believed in THE resurrection or that once you’re dead, your dead. Period. It looks to me like there wasn’t much room even then for… “well, you go to heaven immediately after you die.”. Huh.

Moving on, Paul was then brought to Felix, the governor of the provence…

Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

…14 But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Notice this last bit – “here shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust”. Those words “shall be” are significant as they mean something will absolutely occur – in the future. This concept of THE resurrection (capitals mine) refers to a singular specific event. When will this event happen? Consider this conversation Lazarus’ sister Martha had with Jesus…

John 11:20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.

23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.

24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

Be sure to check the context of this verse but I assure you, Jesus did not “correct” her assumption of a resurrection occurring on “the last day”.

Also note, it was established as a surety Lazarus was dead, not hanging out in heaven or some such. He was dead. Had Jesus not called him forth, Lazarus would have remained dead until the resurrection, just as Martha stated.

Look, I understand the sentiment. We hate to see our loved ones die. It hurts. We grieve. Many of us will grasp on to any straw to ease our pain. I get that – BUT, our pain doesn’t change the truth. When Jesus died, the ONLY hope for anyone (other than Jesus) was the resurrection of the just and unjust on the last day. The good news is, Jesus’ resurrection changed this. How?

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Now just wait a doggone minute here. What? Paul gives an order of events here. Christ, They that are Christ’s at his coming and THEN “cometh the end”. Doesn’t make sense that the last day would be “at the end”? Granted that word “day” here certainly refers to a period of time not limited to 24 hours. Even so, also during this period is “when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God”.

There is a sequence here and this sequence begins with Christ rising from the dead, followed by those who are Christ’s as his coming. What’s missing? The rising of the unjust, as you will see below.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Now there has been lots of debate on the concept of the Rapture, a term never used in scripture. I’ve seen so much wrangling myself I’ve had my doubts as to whether to expect this event or not. While I’ve concluded that for me, personally, it doesn’t matter either way, I’m convinced this saying is true:

Jesus is coming back twice – once FOR his saints and once WITH his saints. The second return is this “last day” (again referring to a period of time not limited to 24 hours). What convinced me?

Look again at the scriptures above. Paul speaks of the resurrection of the just and unjust. Martha states this happens on the last day. Yet in Corinthians and Thessalonians, Paul marks out a precise group – “they that are Christ’s at his coming” (1 Corinthians 15:23) and “the dead in Christ shall rise first:

(verse 17) Then we which are alive and remain”. In case you were absent that day, those of us who confess Jesus as Lord and believe God raised him from the dead are justified.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The word “justified” means to be made righteous and thus gives us the right to stand before God Almighty without any sense of sin, guilt, or condemnation. Why? Because our Lord Jesus paid the price with his precious, innocent blood.

Those who are the “unjust” will need to wait for “the end”. My understanding is those “unjust” will not be alone as both the “just and unjust” will rise on the last day, referring to all those who could not or would not confess Jesus as Lord.

For those who have passed on already, these distinctions are mostly moot. Their deal is done. It’s not like they are agonizing in the waiting room for their turn. We who are alive today have the hope of Jesus’ return. If I was smarter about it, this hope would keep me more on my toes as I’d be expecting Jesus to pop up at any moment. It may not hurt to note here that in the Revelation of Jesus Christ and elsewhere some specific markers are indicated before Jesus returns again – one of the biggies being the “the abomination of desolation”

Matthew 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:

17 let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house:

While I expect to be with Jesus when this happens, if I happened to see a report of “the abomination of desolation” on the nightly news, I’d get nervous – real nervous.

Now I extracted out just one tiny part of Jesus entire prophesy in Matthew 24. You might just want to go read the whole thing for, you know, context. The long and the short of it is, Jesus spoke of his coming – his return. Unlike those verses we read from Paul’s epistles, there is a whole lot going on before and after. The key to these prophesies, as I see it, is the distinction between the “just and the unjust”. Besides this key specification, the indication of the “last day” also points to two different periods.

Either way, how can anyone deny the concept of a resurrection and still claim Christ as Lord and Savior? I see no path for such a contradiction to be valid. Nor can I see any way to incorporate the false teaching that believers go directly to heaven when we die. Yes, I’ve seen the passages often pointed to. I’ve studied them. Taken by themselves, with enough twisting and turning, it surely is possible to pound those square pegs into the round holes but the result fails to stand up to scrutiny, even less when the very clear scriptures are taken into account. On the other hand, those few verses, when viewed in the light of other scriptures fit in just fine.

I’ll offer one solid example – one scripture that is often brought up is such debates:

Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.

23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;

So many have pointed to this triumphantly exclaiming “Ah HA! Here is your proof! Read it and weep, heretic!” (Okay, okay, yeah, I dramatized this a bit. 🙂

After all doesn’t verse 23 above state: “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”? It does indeed. And sure enough, it says what it says. But what is actually being stated here? Did the apostle state he when he died he was going straight to heaven? No.

First he said “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Okay, this tells me he has no fear of death. Great. Then he says “For I am in a strait betwixt two”. In other words, given a choice between living and dying, it would be a difficult decision. I totally understand. Now comes this: “having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better”. THERE! Doesn’t he say when he dies he will be with Christ? No. It does not say that.

Now if you put this last part in parenthesis, it not only agrees entirely with the context but it also agrees with the other times Paul spoke of Christ’s return. The two “choices” were between life and death. The third option was the coming of Christ! Once one understands Paul has to be referring to a third option, all difficulties vanish! So… HOW can we know Paul refers to this “third option”? Because this is the only way this passage does NOT contradict other passages. In other words, you can’t have it both ways.

This brings up another potential difficulty from II Thessalonians 2. As I read the King James Version almost exclusively, I need to be constantly diligent in ferreting out the issues posed by the translators. Believe it or not, I’ve examined this passage countless times and it still gives me pause because I naturally tend take those words I read at face value first and afterwards do the mental gymnastics to work out what it really says.

In the case below, the process became far easier simply by comparing the KJV with the WEB (World English Bible). The verse in question is 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

KJV

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

WEB

2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to him, we ask you

2 not to be quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us, saying that the day of Christ had come.

3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For it will not be, unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction,

4 he who opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshiped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, setting himself up as God.

In the KJV, the word for “falling away” is the Greek word “apostasia”. According to Strong’s the word can mean apostasy, falling away, forsake, or defection (from truth). Yet the WEB renders this word as “departure”. Furthermore there are two (at least) views of the usage this word here. One agrees with the folks at Strong’s, contending either way, we should take this to mean the world is forsaking God. I’ll grant you, the idea that the world will forsake God is hard to argue against. In fact I will not do so because, well, just look at the world around us. However is this what Paul was referring to in this verse? Not so fast!

Another way of seeing this “departure” is to view it as a literal departure – as in the Rapture. Seen this way, Paul would be describing a sequence of events that also agrees with his other teachings. This also more readily agrees with the previous verses in this passage.

In 2:1 Paul speaks of our “gathering together unto him”, again this certainly suggests the Rapture. Then Paul goes on to say they don’t want the Thessalonians “quickly shaken in your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by letter as from us”. Troubled why? By “saying that the day of Christ had come”. Next he says that is not going to happen “unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction.”.

Now let this roll about in your mind a bit. How much comfort are you finding in the fact that people are turning away from God? When “that man of sin is revealed” will you breathe a sigh of relief? What about the subsequent events? (Don’t forget Jesus warned folks to head for the hills!) If none of these these things make you feel any better then why would the apostle Paul think they would be of comfort to the Thessalonians?

I cannot speak for anyone else but the one comfort I get from all of this is the idea that Jesus will come back before the stuff hits the fan and we will join him! Now I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, IF Jesus and/or our Heavenly Father asked for volunteers to stay behind, I’m pretty sure I’d be raising my hand. I won’t say enthusiastically but, yeah, put me in, coach. That said, let me suggest something to you… what IF, the Rapture is not just for the sake of us believers? What IF God has other purposes in mind? What IF our extraction is exactly what those who are “left behind” really need to see the truth?

My own conclusion is no matter how you view 2 Thessalonians 2:3, the verse does no preclude the Rapture. Jesus and Paul both specifically say THE resurrection will happen on the last day. We also know this resurrection pertains to those who have died. Paul also states the dead in Christ will rise first and the the living. This statement alone should give us pause for thought. If the living in Christ rise in the twinkling of the eye, who or what is left?

The only conclusion I can come to is Jesus, our Messiah, indeed will come back for those of us born again of God’s spirit, those who have accepted him as both Lord and Christ, whether asleep or awake. Then the rest will be dealt with accordingly.

Note two articles on The Rapture and the Greek word “apostasy” were helpful to me so I’ll link them here.

Liberty University – The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2

Falling Away

 

First Spirit-Filled Sermon Part 2

In my previous post I set the stage for Peter’s “spirit-filled” sermon. This was not the first time Peter preached. He was, after all, among those sent out by Jesus – specifically once and most likely the second recorded time also with the seventy.

Luke 9:1 He called the twelve (1) together, and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.

2 He sent them forth to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

Luke 10:1 Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him (1) into every city and place, where he was about to come. …

10 But into whatever city you enter, and they don’t receive you, go out into the streets of it and say,

11 ‘Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.’

While Peter was no stranger to preaching, the scriptures never hint he was prepared for for his words on Pentecost other than what Jesus prophesied.

Luke 12:11 When they bring you before the synagogues, the rulers, and the authorities, don’t be anxious how or what you will answer, or what you will say;

12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that same hour what you must say.”

While Peter wasn’t “brought there” in this instance and thus not the actual circumstances Jesus prophesied about, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn those words occurred to some in their circle. That said, let us dispense with talking around Peter’s sermon and delve into the meat of what he said. If you consider his words as “speaking by the spirit of God” and therefore true and accurate then those words speak volumes. Here is the entire sermon. I’ll break out some highlights below.

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

First things first, after Peter straightens out the audience by informing them that no, we aren’t drunken, he immediately quotes the prophet Joel.

Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There are three things in this prophesy that should stand out. First, Joel says God will pour out His spirit. I’ll leave you with those words without comment at this time.

Second is verse 20 “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:” (Italics mine, for emphasis) This indicates a specific period of time. I see this as saying God will pour out His spirit until the “day of the Lord”. This sort of kills the popular traditional teaching that speaking in tongues and other manifestations of the spirit went away when “the bible was completed”. Then there’s verse 21…

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Have you ever asked yourself… saved from what? While I suspect this may not be the end of what we are saved from, one thing that comes to mind is “the wrath to come”.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead— Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

Oh, yeah, that. Moving on… Peter next indicts the audience:

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Did you notice what Peter called Jesus? He referred to him as “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God” (Italics mine). Huh. A man. Approved of God – NOT “God”. Peter knew better. He knew who and what Jesus was and is as well as who and what God was and is. Many might want to point out Thomas’ confession recorded in John.

John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Peter was there. I’m sure he heard it. I am just as certain he took that phrase for what Thomas meant and not some indication that Jesus is God.

In Acts 2:24 above, Peter states unequivocally that God raised him (Jesus) from the dead. Many in today’s trinitarian circles seem to be confused as to who did what, saying Jesus “got up” from the dead. This implies he had no help. Everything in the scriptural record says God, i.e. our Heavenly Father, raised Jesus from the dead. It was a deliberate act by God Almighty. I point this out because I once faced a pastor who looked me in the eye stating, well, Jesus didn’t really die. He backed up his false teachings with printouts from Wikipedia no less. I kid you not.

Peter then refers to David extensively referring to some golden prophesies spoken by him. The Peter boldly states yet another refutation of a now popular doctrine of man – none of us “really” die but rather are instantly transported to heaven (if we are saved). Do let me now state, that in a sense, I do partly agree with this. We don’t really “die” per se but rather simply sleep. This concept is well backed up by scriptures. However the idea of going straight to heaven, well, that is just without foundation.

Here’s what Peter said about David, whom God Himself called “a man after His own heart”.

Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

Oh, so, David didn’t instantly go to heaven? Not if you believe Peter’s words. The same can be said for Moses and Elijah. Yes, Peter and John did see them “talking with Jesus” on the mount. Can you say “vision”? This is not to say it is impossible for any man prior to Jesus to be hanging out in heaven right now. I don’t know. What I do know is, according to Peter, David was dead and buried on the day of Pentecost and is likely still dead and buried, as is “Aunt Sally”, et al. Once again, this passage does not stand alone but it alone is certainly indicative of what we should expect rather than some plethora of platitudes.

Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Peter once again states Jesus was raised up (from the dead) by God and goes on to say Jesus is at the right hand of God. Verse 22 is quite clear so let’s take a close look at verse 33.

Hoo-boy, this looks like a problem, though it is not easily seen without the help of the Greek texts, so I’ll once again consult my interlinear version. There I see the words “the Holy Ghost” is actually the Holy the Spirit (capitalizations added by me). Thus this seems to state the Father shed forth the promise of the Holy the Spirit. Now I’m just realizing this for the first time so bear with me.

If God is Holy and God is Spirit (He is both!) and He is the Giver and thus can be referred to as The Holy The Spirit – what is this in this verse? I was taught that the designation of both articles “the” in this instance always refers to the Giver who is God Almighty, the Father. Well, I do not see how this can be accurate. Oh-oh – what to do now?

What I did was take advantage of the resources available to me. In this case my resources include a software program, Theophilos, (I love this program!), and the Greek texts I have loaded into it. Now my Zondervan Interlinear New Testament says the interlinear text was Nestle’s. Okay great. I have three others loaded into my Theophilos. One of the neat things about this software is “compare mode” where I can look at several versions of the same verse on one screen. I use that a lot. For this job, I included my three Greek texts – something I normally exclude. Guess what? They don’t all agree on the text! Wescott-Hort agrees with Nestle. Two others, Scrivener’s Greek NT (1894) and Stephanus Textus Receptus only show one article “the”. Is this definitive? No, BUT, this discrepancy does indicate my interlinear may not be 100% reliable.

Now keep in mind, NONE of the texts we have today are originals – not the Greek, not the Aramaic (the common language in Israel in Jesus’ time), and not the Latin. We don’t even know what the original language of the New Testament writings were, much less have them in the original.

What all texts agree on is there was one article “the” used in conjunction with holy spirit. Also note in the Greek the words “shed forth” might more accurately be rendered “poured out”. Now if you ask a trinitarian, I’d expect to hear this verse is proof of the “third person of the trinity” as it mentions the Father and “The Holy Ghost” while referring to Jesus (who certainly is “on the right hand of God). Without the second article “the” such an assumption is really a stretch, at best. Even IF one could assume the second article, the statement is awkward. Think about it.

If such a being as the “third person of the trinity” exists, why would our Heavenly Father need to “shed (it) forth”? Rendering the Greek as “poured out” makes it even more difficult. Not to mention the “having received the promise of (the) holy spirit” refers to whom? This phrase refers to Jesus. How much sense does it make that Jesus would need to receive from our Heavenly Father this promise of the unnamed “third person of the trinity”?

On the other hand, Jesus told us our Heavenly Father would endue us with “power from on high” i.e. holy spirit. Peter, standing up with the eleven, manifesting that spirit, informs those present God has just made good on this same promise. No wrangling needed! That said WHAT did I just say? Let’s look at the verse again.

Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

If, instead, you read “holy spirit” in the above verse instead of “the Holy Ghost”, I’m saying the verse makes much more sense. So…

Acts 2:33 [Jesus] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of holy spirit he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

On to verse 34-36

Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

Again Peter quotes scripture – this time Psalm 101:1

This is a passage deserving of a very close look because the Greek does not give justice to the Hebrew when it comes to the words LORD and Lord. In the Hebrew, the word for “LORD” refers to YHWH – the Hebrew Tetragrammaton for the proper name of God. Meanwhile the Hebrew word for “Lord” is adonai meaning “master” or “ruler”. Understanding this, we can also understand David’s psalm should read

YHWH said to my lord (Jesus – David did not know his name) sit thou on my right hand…

Once again, one need not wrangle the scriptures to make sense of them. The meaning is clear. David prophesied that God Almighty would tell the Messiah Jesus to sit at His right hand until HE make his (Jesus’) foes his footstool. In the next verse (36) Peter goes on to state God indeed made Jesus both Lord (master, ruler) and Christ (Messiah).

I have yet to have any trinitarian explain to me exactly why God would need to make Jesus both Lord and Christ if he was already God. Seems like a lot of work for nothing, if you ask me.

Now lets get to the end of Peter’s sermon – Acts 2:37-40

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Here Peter wraps it all up after his audience asks what they should do now. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (holy spirit)”.

In verse 41 we are informed about 5,000 souls came to Christ at that time. Do note Peter’s instruction was quite clear here – “repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”. These instructions came with a promise that they would receive remission of sins and the gift (singular) of holy spirit.

Much wrong teaching can be refuted from this one simple spirit-filled sermon. By comparing this with other passages, such as I Corinthians 15, we can come to a better understanding of what happens when we die. I cannot explain why people have such a problem accepting the idea that death is like sleep and we will wake when Jesus returns. Instead they grasp the false idea that their loved ones immediately find themselves in the presence of God. They twist and wrestle with scriptures to understand this trinity idea. Why? What benefit is there to this? What is so hard about accepting that God Himself, our Heavenly Father is the Giver and He gives us holy spirit? Why wrangle with the misrendered word for spiritual things (pneumaticos in the Greek – rendered “spiritual gifts” in the King James) so as to entirely misread I Corinthians 13?

When Jesus was operating his ministry to his people here on earth, his greatest opposition came from the rulers of the Hebrew faith. How true his assertion concerning doctrines of men!

Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Some things never change. I cannot say I’ve done so much better myself. I know what it is like to hold my tongue while church leaders spout such doctrines when I know, I KNOW, they are not what the scriptures teach. Even posting here, on this all but entirely obscure website, I wait for the day when one of my posts rubs someone the wrong way and begins attacking me.

I’ve had brothers in Christ, good men, tell me they doubted my salvation because I stand on my belief Jesus is the Only Begotten Son of God and not God. I know what it is like fearing my family will be asked to leave a church because we do not accept trinitarianism. Things were bad enough when I challenged the idea that the dead do not immediately go to heaven. The pastor of that church looked me right in the eye and said, “Well, Jesus didn’t really die”. I understand his logic, if Jesus indeed is God, how could he die? And yet the apostle Paul stated:

1 Corinthians 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

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.

16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

Now wait just a doggone minute! Nowhere in this passage does Paul state Jesus really died! True that, but how could Christ rise from the dead unless he actually was dead? Of course, this is not the only scripture stating that God raised Jesus from the dead. My contention is Jesus had to actually die in order to be raised from the dead. While this concept is not definitive in refuting the trinitarians, one must ask, is it possible for God to die – even if only for three days and three nights? I don’t know the answer and I decline to speculate further because I do not need to answer this question to satisfy my stand. If Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, a man who lived a perfect life, never sinning, and thus was qualified to shed his innocent blood for payment of man’s sins, then his death is perfectly logical.

As you read this passage in Acts, and re-read it I hope, you will find this impromptu spirit-filled sermon given by Peter chock full of truths. For the most part, I consider this one of the least adulterated scriptures in the Bible. In other words, there’s not much in it for us humans to muck up.

It is so rich, I cannot begin to capture all of the treasures revealed in these two posts. While I have pointed to some of the fallacies taught in today’s churches – those traditions of men – that directly contradict what Peter taught here, this passage should be a starting point rather than the end all and be all for those teachings. By all means, ask questions, search the scriptures for yourselves. I am not opposed or afraid of new light shining on those things I’ve come to understand. Are you?

There is a saying, nothing I found exactly like it in scripture though it rings true. “The eye sees what the mind tells it to see.” I’ve personally witnessed, and experienced, this phenomena, as I’m sure you have too. How many times have you faced a puzzle, a riddle, or some problem where the solution evaded you until, all of a sudden, you saw it. Maybe it just came to you or maybe it had to be revealed but once you saw the solution, you could never again unsee it. This same principle is true of scripture.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Do you think Paul, after the truth of the risen Messiah was shown to him, could ever go back to hauling believers to jail? Of course not!

Surely some reading these posts will scoff and click away, shaking their heads or maybe their fists. Others may simply get bored quickly and go find something more exciting. These posts are not for them. These posts are for those who are curious, who want to know more about what God has to offer and are not afraid to seek Him out. Either you are ready to begin your journey or you are on the way already. Either way, I urge you to stay on the path. Keep searching. Do not depend on any one man to serve up God’s truth on a platter. Go directly to the source. Ask God for guidance. Search the scriptures. Pray for understanding, for the scales to drop from your eyes.

If I can say these two posts have a primary purpose, I suspect it is a demonstration of how rich just this small part of the whole can be if you just take the time to look. The scriptures are a gold mine of spiritual truths, but it is up to you to learn how to mine them.

May our Heavenly Father bless you and keep in in the precious name of our Lord Jesus the Messiah.

Is My Heavenly Father Trying to Tell Me Something Here?

A bit of background here. Every day I read scriptures. I read one chapter in the Old Testament, one from the Gospels or Acts, and one from the Epistles.

Today, on October 22, 2023 my mind started wandering while I read Proverbs 21. I kept coming back to focus on verse 22.

Proverbs 21:22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth downthe strength of the confidence thereof.

Bluntly put this brings to mind more questions than answers. What was I thinking at the time? I don’t really recall. I tend to jump from one thing to another. I don’t think what “I” was thinking was important… at all. When I refocused on my reading, my eyes jumped back to where I left off – verse 22. Understand, this verse wasn’t really sinking in – until it did. What sunk in?

What sunk in is less the meaning of the verse but the actual words themselves.

A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.

Put another way (World English Version)

A wise man scales the city of the mighty, And brings down the strength of its confidence.

What I do not know is whether this pertains to any particular “wise man” or any particular “city of the mighty”.

It says what it says. Time will tell. If some clarification is revealed to me, I will post on it, given permission.

The First Spirit-Filled Sermon Part 1

A warning here first – some may dispute the idea of this passage being the “first” as a way of detracting from the truths revealed here. Others might object to the term “spirit-filled” for one reason or another, including the fact that this term occurs nowhere in scripture. Do not be sidelined by petty quibbling. This passage I’m referring to is when Peter stood up with the eleven after holy spirit descended upon them. The place is not given but it is evident they were in the Temple in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The Hebrew Pentecost comes fifty days after Passover. Jesus died on the day the Passover lamb was to be killed. God raised him from the dead three days later. Peter stood up and spoke. I contend he was indeed speaking by the spirit. However you see or define it, can you honestly deny the words he spoke were absolutely from God? For the sake of argument, all I ask is you read the record for yourself and consider my thoughts.

Just after the apostles learned Jesus was risen from the dead, Peter was here…

John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

It was here where Jesus instructed them to receive holy spirit.

John 20:22 When he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit!

My interlinear bible render the words “breathed on them” as “he breathed in”. One teacher said this was instruction as to how to receive holy spirit. I have found no reason to dispute this. Note here, all of the versions I’ve seen add the article “the” and capitalize Holy and Spirit. Only the obscure “Darby version” semi-correctly puts this article “the” in italics indicating this word was added by the translators. What is the big deal here?

This topic – holy spirit vs The Holy Spirit – is one requiring a great deal of study to better understand it. The short version is those who’ve worked to bring us the Holy Bible, in particular the New Testament, have almost to the man been indoctrinated by centuries of Catholic teaching at the root. This is not meant to indict Catholics especially but one must recognize their influence on the doctrines we hold so close today. Some, such as those dealing with paying for sins, have been refuted by reformers, while others are still closely held by Protestant denominations. The confusion and outright wrong teaching about matters of holy spirit is a central cause of division among Christians today, though most fail to recognize, much less understand it. As an in-depth look at this is a topic for another day, let’s move on.

For now, I’ll ask you to simply accept the fact that there is a difference between the gift of holy spirit and “The Holy Spirit” who is God, the Giver of holy spirit. In the Greet Texts we have available today, The Holy Spirit is designated not by one article “the” (τό or sometimes τοῦ in the Greek , among other inflections) but two articles as in The (τοῦ) Holy The (τοῦ) Spirit. The King James and other translators generally ignored these things, adding the article and capitalizing the words Holy and Spirit when it suited them. In doing so they inserted the doctrines and traditions of men for God’s Word. I’ll try to sort this out as best I can but do keep in mind, I’m a layman and not a biblical scholar nor a linguist.

So, the day Jesus was raised from the dead, Peter and company were in hiding “for fear of the Jews” (John 20:19). A few weeks later, Peter boldly stands and addresses a massive crowd. What happened? What changed?

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Notice verse 4: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. According to my interlinear version published by Zondervan, “the Holy Ghost” is, pnuema hagion in the Greek or “holy spirit” with no articles. Meanwhile “the Spirit” is “ho pneuma”. With this in mind a more accurate rendering would be…

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with holy spirit (i.e. the gift), and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit (i.e. the Giver who is God) gave them utterance.

The next ten verses mostly detail what the audience thought of all this. These men, Galilean commoners, were speaking to them in their own language the “wonderful works of God”. What was going on? Peter, newly filled with holy spirit stood up as, once again, God gave him utterance – this time most likely in Hebrew or Aramaic.

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Nothing about this newfound phenomena was known or understood at the time. In I Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul lists the nine manifestations of the spirit.

1 Corinthians 12:7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Now, I admit, I’m reaching here but I’d say Peter’s speech would fall along the lines of prophecy. Prophecy can be foretelling (telling of future events) or forthtelling (telling it like it is). Then again, I don’t see a great need to try to define his words specifically. No matter what, no doubt we can all agree Peter spoke these words by the Spirit or as God gave him utterance. This last is important because of what he said. None of this was conjecture or Peter’s opinion. It was, every word, absolute truth and that is the point of this post and the post that will follow.

For now, I urge you to simply read Peter’s words. Feel free to read this passage in the King James Version here or any version you feel comfortable with such as the New American Standard or the World English Bible version or any other. (Shoot, read the NIV for all I care.) Your goal should be to understand the gist of what was said. There is a lot packed into these 36 verses. In my next post, I’ll highlight some of those things I feel are important and why.

Today, my goal was to emphasize the fact that this apostle, Peter, indeed spoke those words God gave him and this message is indisputably directly from our Heavenly Father. It is also worth noting some of the plain doctrines spoken on that day. Many of today’s theologians seem to go to great lengths to twist and turn the scriptures to wring out those things they dare not admit are, at best, sitting on the thinnest of ice. Why? Because doing so would cause their entire theological house of cards to come tumbling down.

Can a 60 Year-old Prophecy Be Coming True Today?

So today I listened to Lance Wallnau’s latest podcast on Rumble.  As usual, so much of what he says is not only pertinent, but speaks directly to my heart. And then there’s stuff like in the video below. Seriously… I don’t know where he comes up with this  things.  Before I go there, let me first expound on some highlights of what “I” took away from this podcast.

First, Lance talks about the current plight of Christians today. No, not the tribulations and abuse or other things, but rather, here we all are, facing the end times. Now what? You know I’ve asked this very thing myself.

Most fall within a couple of camps.

Camp 1: Well, the Rapture will save us all so all we need to do is sit back and wait.

Camp 2 is worse. They are simply preparing for the Great Tribulation. Laying in supplies and preparing to weather the coming storm… maybe just in case they miss the Rapture?

Lance offers another option: Occupy until Jesus comes! Imagine that?

While I never put it as eloquently as such, this is what I’ve been talking about. It makes no sense to simply sit on our cans and wait it all out. We have authority, we have power, let’s use it! In this nation especially, God has granted us the legal framework to govern ourselves. We also enjoy the express freedoms of speech and religion.  Even better, we’re already here – so all we need to to is stand up and claim what is rightfully ours!

So that part of Lance’s podcast spoke volumes to me. What else? He talked about speaking in tongues and how this creates an edifice within us. Now this one is a bit harder for me.  Not because I don’t speak in tongues. Shoot, I’ve been doing that for nearly five decades. What bothers me is I don’t seem to be seeing the fruit I think this should be bearing. Now this brings me to yet another takeaway…

Lance specifically said, “No, you are not too old!”. Well now. It is like he was speaking directly to me because it just seems so much has passed me by. Now I get the fact that Moses was 40 when he first stood up for people. Then he took off and it was another 40 years before he returned to Egypt so he was 80 when he confronted Pharaoh. And I know he’s not the only example. That much I get but none of this keeps me from feeling too old!

Well, here’s the entire podcast because what speaks to me may not be what speaks to you.

 

Then Lance talks about a prophet – Kenneth Hagin who in 1963 prophesied about communism coming to America as well as what happens next. I looked it up and added it below in its entirety.

 

Well there you have it. Now I admit certain prophecies tend to be vague enough to withstand just about any interpretation. I don’t see that here. Now I will say I still see communisms as merely a tool of the globalists and I contend the scriptures bear me out on this. The end game for American communists is not to establish a new national political-economic system but to hand our sovereignty over to a global regime.

So IS this 60 year-old prophecy coming true today? You tell me!

Ten Righteous Men?

Some of you will immediately understand the reference of the topic of today’s post. If you don’t, you soon will if you read on. Those who missed it shouldn’t feel bad, this passage is rarely taught. It came to mind last night as my wife and I watched Mark Levin decrying the rogue actions of the usurpers in our nation’s governments – the globalists who are determined to destroy our nation to make way for a one world government. My wife asked, “So what can anybody do about it?” My answer was the same as it has been for months, at least.

No man, not Trump, not DeSantis, no majority, no court, no political party is going to save our nation. There’s a saying going around “We’re not going to vote our way out of this.” The implication, sometimes veiled and at other times blatant is “we must retake our nation by force”. I totally disagree with this sentiment. However my wife’s question brought another line of thought to the forefront: will God Almighty save our nation? This remains to be seen and also dredges up the passage from Genesis and the parallels with our nation today.

This passage consists of only 13 verses from Genesis 18:20-33 – right before Sodom and Gomorrah is destroyed. The sinfulness of these two cities are later exemplified when two angels come to bring Lot and his family out. The city folk descend upon Lot’s home, demanding he turn the “men” over to them so they can sexually abuse them. Lot refuses, going so far as to offer his virgin daughters to them instead. Nothing doing, they want the men.

For those who want to compare modern-day America to Sodom and Gomorrah, I think it is safe to say we are not quite there… yet. Considering the decadence, the corruption, and the absolute disregard of the rule of law we are currently seeing, we are, as a nation, reaching for that goal as I speak.

If you saw The Sound of Freedom, you know the real-life hero of this story, Tim Ballard has stated “The United States has the number-one demand for child exploitation material and is the number one consumer of child sex in the world.” I believe him. Even if you insist on disputing this, let me ask you, is this something you want our nation to even be in the running for?

Child trafficking is just the tip of the iceburg. Fact is our nation is crumbling before our eyes on every front. Even our nation’s spiritual leaders are suspect. Oh! Wait a minute! What group was determined to kill Jesus?

John 11:49 But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all,

50 nor do you consider that it is advantageous for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”

Yes. Jesus’ most vocal and active opponents was Israel’s spiritual leaders. Today, it is not just them. We are surrounded.

Our nation’s spiritual leadership has not stepped up. Most of the

All this brings me back to Almighty God, Abram, and their discussion of the future of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Genesis 18:20 (WEB) Yahweh said, “Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous,

21 I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come to me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before Yahweh.

23 Abraham drew near, and said, “Will you consume the righteous with the wicked?

24 What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are therein?

25 Be it far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, that so the righteous should be as the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn’t the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 Yahweh said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake.”

27 Abraham answered, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.

28 What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?” He said, “I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there.”

29 He spoke to him yet again, and said, “What if there are forty found there?” He said, “I will not do it for the forty’s sake.”

30 He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if there are thirty found there?” He said, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.”

31 He said, “See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. What if there are twenty found there?” He said, “I will not destroy it for the twenty’s sake.”

32 He said, “Oh don’t let the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. What if ten are found there?” He said, “I will not destroy it for the ten’s sake.”

33 Yahweh went his way, as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.

And then Sodom and Gomorrah is destroyed after Lot and his family is evacuated. So it would appear there weren’t ten righteous men to be found there. What about our nation? What about the Untied States of America? Would God spare our nation for the sake of ten righteous men? ARE there ten righteous men left here? While some might consider these questions probing or even astute, they are not. Sodom and Gomorrah was not only a different place but in a different time. The Messiah was still prophesied. Israel, indeed Abram’s very seed had yet to be established. Fast forward to our current generation.

The law of Israel has come and gone…

Galatians 2:15 (WEB) We, being Jews by nature, and not Gentile sinners,

16 yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through the faith of Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.

In this passage Paul is referring to Israelites rather than the Church. How do I know this? Context!

Galatians 2:14 (WEB) But when I saw that they didn’t walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said to Peter before them all, “If you, being a Jew, live as the Gentiles do, and not as the Jews do, why do you compel the Gentiles to live as the Jews do?

In the context, Paul was speaking of his conversation with Peter. I don’t often point stuff like this out so anyone who has an issue with my quotes, I would first urge them to read the passage in question for themselves and take in the context. While I do my best to avoid misapplying biblical concepts by taking scriptures out of context, I am not infallible so it is always a good idea to search the scriptures for yourselves to see if these things are so. Onward.

We are not under law but under grace, thus it is important to understand the reality of this principle. The book of Galatians deals extensively with this topic, particularly when it comes to the very symbolic basis of Hebrew legalism – circumcision. Circumcision was a major contention of those Jews “zealous for the law”. Read about it in Acts 15.

The bottom line is for those of us who have confessed Jesus as Lord and believed God has raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9,10)

Romans 3:21(KJV) But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Indeed we’ve been made righteous!

1 Corinthians 1:30 (KJV) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Per my understanding according to these verses, I can say with reasonable certainty there are enough “righteous men” in this nation to spare us God’s wrath. So what’s the deal here? Why does our nation crumble before our eyes? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do believe if, IF, my brothers and sisters in Christ join me in coming before God, confess our sins, and ask Him to deliver our nation, He would do so.

James 4:1 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

James is quite plain here: we have not because we ask not and when we do ask, it is to consume it upon our lusts (desires). We have a distinct advantage over Abram. This is remarkable as Abram, or Abraham as he was later called, was also called “the friend of God”

James 2:23 (KVJ) And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

What is our advantage? First of all, God Almighty has granted us sonship. We are not just “friends” but “heir of God through Christ”.

Galatians 4:7 (KVJ) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Second, as I said before, those of us in Christ have been made righteous. We need not strive to become righteous. We only need to come before our Heavenly Father, confess our sins and ask for deliverance.

Hebrews 11:6 (KVJ) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

The question is… can we “negotiate” with God as Abram did? To be best of my knowledge, sadly, no. It is evident Abram had a unique relationship with God. As much as I’ve desired even a closer, if not, similar relationship with my Heavenly Father, I’ve not even come close. Maybe others have seen success where I have not. I cannot say. Whatever God’s plans and intents are, they are above my pay grade. That said, I none of this prevents me or you, from petitioning Him for deliverance. I know for a fact God does grant deliverance. He has for me and for many, many others in various ways.

So, I do and will continue to ask God, my Heavenly Father, to deliver our nation. I’m asking you to join me in this. We don’t need a set time and place. Do what you can when you can. I’m making no promises. I’m not putting forth any predictions. All I am saying is we can ask. Maybe if ten righteous men ask God to deliver our nation, He will do so. Maybe it will take 50, or 100, or 10,000. I don’t know. Maybe God has other plans entirely and no matter what, the answer is simply “no”. The thing is, if we don’t ask, we absolutely will not receive.

Who is with me?

 

The Secret of the Kingdom

Luke 17:20 Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The Kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation;

21 neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”

Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Whether or not these are one and the same is another matter. For the purposes of this essay, I’ll treat them as one as, if these two terms do refer to different Kingdoms or different aspects of the same Kingdom, the same principles apply either way.

The sharpest among you have surely made the leap already.

How many times did Jesus say “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”? I’ll answer for you – once. He said “the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand” three times. The words “at hand” means close to us in time and/or space. What if there is another meaning?

Consider a teacher instructing an apt student. The teacher tries to convey an important albeit abstract concept. He can see the student consistently overlooks the one important aspect that would make everything crystal clear.” He says “You are almost there.”. In other words, the solution to this problem is at hand. Such is the Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

King James Version (KJV)

Wait. What?! Look at verses 3 and 4 in the World English Bible (WEB)

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we don’t wage war according to the flesh;

4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but mighty before God to the throwing down of strongholds,

Verse 4a says “for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh” (or carnal in the KJV). The word for flesh and carnal share the same root in the Greek. Let me ask you… if something is not of the flesh, then of what is it? Of course, scripture often compares the flesh with the spirit, but here, let’s consider verse 5…

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Hmmmm – imaginations and knowledge, bringing into captivity every thought. There you have it. Humans think in pictures and… words. Let’s take this one step further.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The word of God is sharper than any twoedged sword. Where else is the word of God compared to a sword?

Ephesians 6:17b …the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

This verse is near the end of the great passage revealing the true nature of our warfare.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 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.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Notice how every aspect of the armour of God is directly related to words. This is a spiritual truth. This is why prayer is powerful, why we are exhorted to renew our minds, and why Jesus said “the Kingdom of God is within you”. Ask yourself… “within you” where? In your feet? In your belly? No! In your “heart” – a figure of speech indicating the very center of your being. In other words, your mind.

What a revolutionary statement! No other creature formed on earth can rival man’s ability to communicate with words. We exist on a higher plain, just as spiritual beings exist on a plain higher than ours. I am not so sure it started out that way. Adam communed with God on a personal level. From the scriptural accounts one can ascertain their relationship was not like our own at all. While born again believers have regained the potential to operate in the spiritual realm, we are not quite complete… yet.

1 Corinthians 13:9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Some use this passage to justify their contention believers can no longer operate the nine manifestations of the spirit. Personally, I find this ironic considering this passage follows on the heels of the most detailed treatment of the manifestations of the spirit and instruction and exhortation on speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy – three of the nine manifestations. Why bother with this at all and then say “oh, yeah, use this while you can because when I pen my last epistle, all of this is done because then the new testament scriptures will be complete”. Do note, neither Paul, nor any of the early church fathers said this… ever.

The Apostle Paul, however, did indicate when “that perfect will come” will be a reality, and he was not alone. Of course I speak of the return of Christ. He is perfect and he certainly will come. At that time:

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We shall all be changed. Isn’t that wonderful? And, oh gee look, this passage comes soon after that one I wrote of before! Go figure. In the same epistle even. Huh. Context! By this I mean, rather than taking a few verses out here and there, do consider the whole – where and how it fits. Surely there are some asides in these epistles and elsewhere but overall it is our job to rightly divide and discern how these things apply.

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

The WEB presents this in a different light

2 Timothy 2:15 (WEB) Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth.

This is one reason why it can be helpful to compare different versions. I do this quickly and easily using the free software Theophilos, but one can also use online tools such as the Blue Letter Bible. To be fair the BLB is actually a stronger tool as it allows the student to instantly seek out the meanings of the words used – such as “study vs give diligence” above. The results of such studies are not always conclusive but they more often than not offer far more insight than simply reading one version or even comparing two or more.

Talk about asides. 🙂

So what is the Secret of the Kingdom? Jesus told us in the verse at the beginning of this post. Beyond that, the Kingdom of God is accessed by us mere humans by the utterly simple means of accepting Jesus, the Messiah, as Lord and Savior.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Romans 10:8a But what saith it?

Romans 10:8b The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

In part one of this post, I took to task those who scoff at “mere words”. The “mere words” they love to scoff at are God’s words i.e. His WORD. These same scoffers will then use words to justify their claims and even more words to deceive and control anyone within earshot. Controllers overwhelmingly control via words. It is only when those words are ignored do they then apply force.

Words are the substance of human society and iteration. They set us above all other earthly creatures. In Genesis, God destroyed the tower of Babel and confused man’s language. Why?

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

God knows the power of words. Read Genesis from the beginning. The phrase “And God said…” occurs numerous times in the “creation” account. (Pop quiz: How many times does Genesis says God created? The answer may surprise you.) Consider just some of those things God said about words.

Psalms 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.

Isaiah 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

Micah 2:7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?

Luke 9:26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword

Thus I urge you to take the words and Word of God to heart. The day will come when you will either be glad you did or woe your decision to ignore them.

Just Words… Again

How many people today snort in contempt when someone mentions God’s Word? How many roll their eyes when God is mentioned? Are you one of them? For those who believe – how much do you believe? My own confession may surprise you. I’d have to say – it depends. Depends on what? How much I believe depends on how certain I am what is held forth as God’s Word truly is just that – God’s Word. It depends on my understanding. While I don’t have to understand something to believe it, I tend to believe more strongly in those things I understand best. Don’t we all?

No matter how much, or little, stock you put in God’s Word, as you understand it, let’s say we consider the concept of words in general. As a writer, I know words can be powerful. They can also be as wimpy as that 98 lb weakling on the beach. Then again, you need not be a writer to understand this. We’ve all been hurt by words. Many times words can cause pain far worse than a beat down. Ironically, much of the pain depends on the source. Keep this in mind…

If you would, stop for a moment and consider the events of your day. Pay particular attention to those things you see. Single out the “news” items. Let’s dump the news items concerning actual, physical violence for now. Instead let us zero in on, oh say, government doings, shall we? What do you see?

Depending on the day, chances are you are seeing some sort of legal action. You might be viewing reports on what law enforcement is or is not doing. Congress is sure to be up to one thing or another, as is our state legislatures and governors. You might notice none of them, with the exception of law enforcement, carries weapons. We’ll get to the law enforcement bit in a moment.

First let’s consider the lawmakers. By now you know where I’m going with this. Whether they are current involved in actual legislative action or they are jockeying for one agenda or another, they are using words. Laws are words. Political platforms are words. Don’t all legal actions boil down to what the words really mean? Ask any lawyer, the heart of any law is comprised of the definitions included.

Moving on to law enforcement, of course weapons are typically used. That said, the true force of law is not in weaponry but in the words. Without words, there are no laws to be enforced. Indeed, without our the words of our Constitution, we have no basis to even define laws. Warrants are words empowering those enforcing the law to search, to seize, to arrest. Summons call citizens and non-citizens to courts of law where their fate is determined on the words presented.

Beyond the realm of legislatures, laws, and courts, now consider some other stories vying for your attention. Is it fair to say words, in one way or another, influenced or are even directly involved in these acts? Violence does not happen in a vacuum. Even accidents often are the result of someone ignoring the rules of the road expressed in words.

In fact, the deeper you dig the more you will discover the roots of nearly all human activity are either expressed in or the direct result of… words.

Our nation was founded upon our Constitution – words. Our forefathers’ beliefs were based on what they learned in their youth, be it from the scriptures, from the classics, or from their elders. All words. Our laws take form in words. From the highest offices of the land to the most secret places in the darkest depths, the most damning and damaging weapons used against us are words.

So… and I’m speaking to you unbelievers and neer believers – go ahead – scoff at God’s Word. For those of you to envision an angry, vengeful god, take note, you are so very, very wrong.

Mark 10:17 And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, even God.

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother.

What did Jesus tell this fellow? Did he laugh in his face? Deride him? No. He told him simply to heed the commandments he’d been taught from his youth. You know what they are but I’ll post them here as a reminder.

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

12 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.

Note Jesus listed only seven of the ten. Which ones did he omit? Have no other Gods, do not make idols, and remember the sabbath. Those first two were likely a given considering the man was asking one he addressed as “good master”, in other words, a respected rabbi and not some priest representing any false god. As for remembering the sabbath, I don’t know why he didn’t include it.

None of these omissions detract from my point – only one of the above even hints at possible vengeance and that one merely states “Jehovah will not hold him guiltless”. More importantly, what do these commandments actually require?

For the most part that we treat others decently. How awful! What terrible god would require such things? (Do I need a sarcasm tag here?) So many have and will point out all the killing and such detailed in the scriptures. Two of these are among the most brutal.

In Judges, there is the story of a Levite who takes a concubine. Scripture says she “played the harlot”. Many verses later, the man literally cuts her into twelve pieces and “sent her throughout all the borders of Israel”. Ouch. Again, this man was a Levite or one of God’s priests class.

The second passage results in Israel’s first king, Saul, losing his kingdom.

1 Samuel 15:28 And Samuel said unto him, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou.

Why? What did he do? What commandment did he fail at keeping?

 And Samuel said unto Saul, Jehovah sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of Jehovah.

2 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, I have marked that which Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt.

3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

That’s right. God commanded King Saul to totally obliterate Amalek – everyone and every thing, even the babies. And Saul did just that… almost. Where did he fail?

1 Samuel 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

You read right. Saul spared the Amalek King Agag, and the best livestock. In other words he showed mercy (and a bit of greed) and lost his Kingdom because of it. As brutal as this seems, our Heavenly Father’s logic turned out to be absolutely infallible. Go figure. Because the Amalek line was allowed to continue, this tribe caused no end of trouble for Israel. It was an Amalekite who eventually killed Saul. So much for mercy.

Moving on to the main point, the scriptures overwhelmingly encourage and exhort us to be good and do good. This is particularly true of the New Testament. If we were to heed God’s words in these pages, this world would indeed be a peaceful and joyous planet.

To you they may just be “words” to me they are words of life. Just words? You tell me. Out of all the words in all the places in the world today – what words are better than those found between the the covers of the Holy Bible? If our understanding of the significance of words ended there, we could all lead very blessed lives. But what if there’s more… much more? Well there is. Stay tuned for part two – the Secret of the Kingdom.

The End Times, The Church, and The Seven Mountains

The Seven Mountains is a Lance Wallnau thing. Since he brought all this up on The Lance Wallnau Show on RAV, I’ll offer some random thoughts on his commentary.

If I understood Lance correctly, he was saying the return of Christ has more to do with the Church (or the Body of Christ) than what this government or that media outlet or some technology does. Moreover he emphasized how important it is for Christians to spread out and take territory on each of these mountains. In part he issued a caveat about depending leaders in the Church or in politics to be the tip of the spear.

The example of Church leadership was one I found fascinating as I nodded my head in agreement. He spoke of pastors of small and large churches whose whole focus was on growing their church rather than preparing parishioners to spread out into the world.

Now I don’t see this in every church, in fact, one church my wife and I were involved in, “The Vineyard”, was taking steps to take more territory. The focus of this particular group was Ukraine and, more specifically Ukrainian orphans. This was nearly 20 years ago, long before Ukraine was in the daily world headlines. While I had and have some problems with their efforts, I participated and supported them. It’s not that they were “wrong” but my question was about the outreach in our own community, or the lack of thereof.

Overall, I think it would be worthwhile to study those churches that have grown rather than shrunk to see what we can learn about them. Then one can determine what efforts are worth attempting to duplicate. To me, the key to growth would logically be tied to outreach. And that brings us right back to the gist of what Lance was saying.

Much of what Wallnau was saying dovetails into some of my recent posts. Okay, so you might have to actually think about all this a bit. What have I been saying? Grow where you are planted. I guarantee you, wherever you are in life, you are on one of those seven mountains. Grow how? Grow as a Christian and grow as a professional. Better yet, grow as a Christian professional. I don’t care if you are management in a Fortune 500 company or waiting tables – you are there for a reason. What you make of it is up to you.

Where I struggle with Lance’s ideas is where he seemed to say what God does will be dependent on what the Church does. To me this suggests the Church, not God is in control – or at least we have have the wheel. There is some precedence for this line of thinking for example:

It is often stated by some scholars that if Jews had accepted Christ as their Messiah the earthly kingdom would have been established then. If this had indeed happened, then what of this current age? It seems it would be skipped. So, along with this same line of thought, could the return of Christ Jesus be tied to what the Church does? Lance seems to think so. I’m not so sure.

Lance himself quoted Jesus who stated before his return the gospel must be published to all nations. This suggests to me at least one specific criteria. Jesus also said only our Heavenly Father knows the exact day and time when he, Jesus, will return. This makes me think that God does indeed has a punch list of specific criteria and He’s keeping most of it to Himself. Who am I to argue? Should this be true then the idea of an open-ended period of time for everything that must happen to come about is unlikely. In short, I do not think God Almighty is going to wait on us to make things happen. However there is another aspect to all this that seems to support my contention that the time and date for Jesus’ return is set and thus a “done deal”. What is that?

God already has people on all seven mountains. The Church has never operated in a vacuum. Sure, there have always been certain Christians or groups that keep mostly to themselves, but most of us, wards and all, live and work in the real world. By all means, each of us should do our best to live God’s Will to the fullest but I do believe we all fulfill His purpose even when we fail. If my life is any example, I can point to it and say for certain: we can do better. I know I surely can. The good news is I am doing better, most every day. What about you?

I cannot say because I have no idea who you are or what your place is in this world. Maybe your reading this on your break before heading back to finish mopping that floor. Or maybe your preparing to enter the boardroom and take your place at the head of the table. Chances are, you are somewhere between those two extremes. None of that matters. What does matter is what you choose to do in the next minute and every next minute after. No doubt whatever you do will have some effect on the world. Don’t count yourself out by thinking that clean floor won’t make any impact. For all you know, it could create a far greater ripple than that multi-billion dollar decision of the executive that just stepped around the wet spot. We won’t know until we’ve “leveled up”.

Meanwhile, well, let me ask you… what can The Church do in today’s world? Yes, it is a loaded question. It hints that “The Church” is a unified entity that can act in concert. Putting it that way, the fallacy is glaringly easy to see. The Church is the body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.

13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all given to drink into one Spirit.

14 For the body is not one member, but many.

This last verse is the wrench in the works of the “unified entity” concept. Surely if each of us perfectly served Christ, well, that would be something, but as members, we are all flawed – each and every one of us. The good news is, God knows all this. He’s got a handle on it so we need not worry about what anyone else is doing. Each of us only needs to focus on our walk. That doesn’t mean we cannot or should not lose sight of The Church, The Body of Christ, as a whole. Scripture says a lot about edifying, building up, the body. We have each other for a reason. The danger is for us to look to one individual, other than Jesus himself, to lead. The Catholic Church has their Pope. No matter what one might think of the current Pope, I think we can all agree he is vastly different than those who preceded him. My understanding is Catholics are taught not to question the Pope. I’d have a hard time reconciling the doctrine of Pope Francis with say, Pope John Paul II. Both served in my lifetime. From my non-Catholic perspective their doctrinal views counter each other significantly. Since in Popes are never supposed to be in error, how can one reconcile the two? This difference in the Catholic Church seems to have a parallel in some of our nation’s SCOTUS decisions. The current court says previous courts had certain things all wrong. This is not the first period in history where SCOTUS has overruled previous Supreme Court rulings. So what does all this have to do with The Church and the end times?

Just this: as believers in Christ, members of the Body of Christ, The Church, we should expect to hold our brethren in Christ accountable when circumstances arise. But our primary focus should be our own walk. We need to live our lives, keep those beams out of our own eyes, rather than watching to see whom we can accuse. The adversary is the accuser. We are not.

Now maybe you are a modern day Apostle Paul, such is not for me to say. You are what you are and you belong where God has placed you. I’ve no doubt Paul never once thought his letters to the churches would one day be canonized and published for billions of believers to live by. He humbled himself to serve as best he could as a man who once persecuted the Church. Certainly he knew he was a man of great influence, how could he not? But I suspect he lived each day with a heart and mind of how he could best serve his Lord Jesus and his Heavenly Father.

If there was ever an example we could learn from, a model to follow after, this would top the list. Paul’s example was simple. Walk in love. Walk in the spirit. Put on the whole armor of God. Having done all… stand.

Review of Sound of Freedom

Unless you’ve been lost at sea or something, the movie Sound of Freedom is causing quite a stir these days. All I needed to know is the globalist shills, i.e. the mainstream media is agin it. I knew I’d have to see it sometime. So what made me shell out nearly $20, drive to the nearest town big enough to have a movie theater, and blow half a day? Well, a couple of things. (I SO want to put a “THE” in front but this article doesn’t seem to be in the title.)

Not in any order but first off, my wife told me an associate had seen the movie locally. She said it was good and worth watching. Okay, so much for that but not much. I tend to ask a couple of questions of anyone who recommends any movie to me. For instance… what other movies would you recommend? This I learned back in the good ol’ days of video stores. Too often a clerk at the store would rave about a movie. I’d rent it only to find out it sucked – big time. So… what other movies do you like? Keep naming until you hit on something I recognize. If you say “Natural Born Killers”, I’m gone. On the other hand, if you list “Shawshank Redemption”, then I’m interested. I’ll pay even more heed if you agree it should have won the Academy Award over Shindler’s List. Now don’t get me wrong, I like both movies but I thought Shawshank was more deserving. Either way, it’s not a deal killer.

Then there’s the media. Calling the movie a “Q-anon conspiracy” or the like, and “filled with Hollywood tropes” gets my attention. Again, I stand by my contention that “Q-anon” was a federally sponsored psyop so such linkage suggests someone wants to ward off the sheep herd. As for “filled with Hollywood tropes”, uh, what does that mean… exactly? For me it is an empty phrase that offers no significant information.

What really got me was Disney. You know, the mega-corporation whose main bidness is marketing to kids. Word is they had the rights to the story and sat on it. Then they sold it to Angel Studios. Huh. Now, we’ve been there before but I’ll say it again. If your branding with an eye on youngsters (not in the creepy Joe Biden way) then wouldn’t it make more sense to spend more time and effort championing kids? Instead they seem more intent on wooing the pedo crowd. I’m surprised they sold those rights instead of sitting on them forever. I see the hand of God here.

So, Sound of Freedom. In short, I went, I saw, I liked. It was not what I expected at all. The crowd watching was thin on this Thursday afternoon. Most of the audience was older. Everyone was quiet. There is a special message at the end of the movie signified by a countdown timer. It was only a couple of minutes. Bluntly put, I would have ignored it but I wanted to see the casting credits to confirm one of the actors was whom I thought played the part. (It was.) Funny thing, we all stayed. Every one of us. It was interesting. I won’t offer a spoiler here. Nor will I go into detail about the movie.

I will tell you this much, it is based on a true story. How much of this is true? Well the facts stated at the end of the movie are likely accurate and this is enough for me to ignore any literary license. Pedophiles exist. Children are taken and sold, traded, and prostituted as sex slaves. As one character put it “You can sell cocaine once. You can sell a child ten times a day, every day, for ten years.” (I’ll call this a paraphrase but I think it is reasonably true to the actual words.)

What this movie is not is – it is not a documentary. It is a story, well-told and riveting. If it were total and complete fiction, it would still be a good movie. It is not political. If you happen to belong to a political party or activist group that glorifies pedophilia then you will likely scream at me about now. Have at it. Don’t expect me to visit you in hell. (Check out Matthew 18:6)

My reasons for seeing this movie are mostly above but there is one more reason I wanted to see this in an actual movie theater instead of my usual “I’ll wait for it to come out on disk.” – I wanted to financial support this movie – to make a small but clear statement to the globalists. You can’t have our children.

Now there was a surprise, and a pleasant one at that. I’ve learned there you can see the movie, in a theater, even if you are strapped for cash. The link is below to get free tickets or if you can and so desire, buy tickets for someone else.

Sound of Freedom Tickets

If you missed the trailer…

As a nation, as a people, we should be ashamed that this sort of activity is not only going on right under our very noses but we are turning deaf ears and blinding our eyes to such atrocities. Kudos to those who have stood up to school boards and so-called “educators” coming after our children. Now we need to stand up for those children who have been forced into a world not of their choosing – who are trapped by evil adults who care only for their own perverse pleasures. God will deliver them but WE need to do our part.

Happy Independence Day 2023!

The true name of our July 4th borders on irony today. “Independence Day”, yeah, right. Our nation has become the exact opposite of independent. We are dependent on foreign oil. Our government is dependent on foreign cash to keep spending. More and more citizens are dependent on that spending to live their lives. Worse, those of us who are fiercely determined to remain independent are criticized, ostracized, and often targeted for legal and possibly lethal actions. Call me “Debbie Downer” but I’m calling it as I see it. Is it all really that bad? Well… yes. Yes it is. However down is not out. I do not believe we are done yet.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know I’ve long emphasized how our nation can be restored. Scoff if you will, but until and unless we turn to God Almighty, repent and ask for deliverance then all our hopes and dreams are likely to fade away. Can God save us? What!? Are you serious? If God cannot save us, He wouldn’t be worth worshiping now would He? Of course He can. WILL God save us? Now that is a question I cannot answer. What I can say is… salvation, at least as it pertains to our nation, is secondary. Primary is your salvation and the salvation of all of us called by God. The whole idea of sacrificing yourself to save the person next to you is somewhat silly, eternally speaking.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah was already sacrificed for us. Offering Jesus innocent (sinless) blood for our sins was the whole idea.

Ephesians 5:2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell.

Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

Jesus had his purpose, we have ours.

Romans 8:28 And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.

29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:

30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

We were called “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, to be a living sacrifice…

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.

This is the essence of our duty to God. Thus, getting right with God should be first for each of us – not just once but continuously – every day. For me, this means several times a day because, well, I’m a slow learner, I suppose. I’m still a work in progress and I don’t see myself completed before Christ returns or my time on this earth expires. It’s not for lack of trying. But wait! There’s more…

While the idea is often attractive, I’m not a hermit. To that end, my actions among others also need to be in line with how God would have me act. Included in this is a duty to speak the truth when appropriate. By this I don’t mean to refrain from lying, but to speak words that exhort and comfort others, words that bless those around me, and to promote godly thoughts and ideas. Now this latter may cause shudders among some of you. We’ve all been around a “bible thumper” at one time or another. This is not at all what I mean.

Certainly there are times when it is appropriate to open up a bible and share what we know. There are also times when we need to take a stand as Christians. But there are also times when our words and actions simply demonstrate our beliefs. Here’s one example:

One day, a few years ago, I was heading to the office when I realized I needed water for my coffee machine. Our town water isn’t fit for drinking so bottled water is a must. I stopped by the store to grab some. At the checkout there was an older gentleman and his wife ahead of me with several items on the belt. As one might expect, there was only the one cashier. It was no big deal. I was the boss as well as the only worker so even if I was late, it made no difference. However the fellow ahead of me took one look and told the cashier to scan my bottle so I could be on my way. He wouldn’t accept payment and simply told me to have a blessed day. If you haven’t guessed, he made my day by that simple act. His simple kindness boldly stated his Christian walk.

Beyond these things is yet one more (at least) consideration. If you are a citizen of this United States for America, you have been blessed with one of the greatest gifts Almighty God has ever bestowed upon a nation – our Constitutional Republic. Our nation is comprised of self-governing citizens. True, a cadre of usurpers have seized power they’ve no right nor authority to claim but their hold is tenuous. Really. It is. Our founding document, our Constitution remains the law of the land and the rights enumerated within are deemed unalienable. Once we, as citizens, recognize this, we can take back what is rightfully and legally ours. It’s that simple and with God backing us up, who will stop us?

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things?

Today we recognize that day in 1776 when our forefathers signed the document declaring our independence from King George and England. Our Constitution had yet to be written, much less ratified, but this day they took a huge step towards receiving this wondrous gift from God Almighty. The road ahead was to be long, hard, and bloody. I cannot say what our road ahead has in store for us. I do not believe further bloodshed is necessary but this does not mean the usurpers will give up without resistance. Nor will the road be easy but, as our forefathers did, we need to decide to move forward and claim the liberty that we and our loved ones have been granted.

God bless and Happy Independence Day!