Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thyatira, The Corrupt Church


Of the seven churches addressed by John, the fourth church, Thyatira, is the smallest yet it received the longest message. (Rev 2:18-29) This corrupt church was located 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea in an alluvial plain between the Hermus and Calcius rivers . There were no natural geographical formations like steep mountains or deep rivers to provide it with a good base from which to defend its position. Its sole purpose was to act as the first line of defense in front of a hostile advancing army and to hinder their movement while the kingdom's main forces were mustered deeper behind the battlefront.

The history of thyatira consists of being controlled by the leading powers of the time, whether it was Alexander’s Greece, the Pergamon Kingdom, Antiochene empire, or the Roman Empire. Because it was so easily overrun, for most of it's history it remained a relatively small city compared to that of Ephesus and Pergamum. However, after Rome introduced Pax Romana, it settled into becoming a fairly peacefull city that boasted more trade guilds than in any other Asian city of its time. From excavated coins it is evident that guilds of carpenters, tent makers, bakers, bronze smiths, wool workers, potters, linen weavers, tanners and the famous dyers of purple were all active in the city. Lydia the seller of purple was from this city (Act 16:14). We do not know if this church was founded by Lydia or not, but it did grow in time to be a very wealthy church. Unfortunately it probably grew wealthy because of its members compromising their values by listening to the advice of a certain prophetess.

 
As in the rest of the Asian province, guilds, or trade unions, would often hold banquets for its members. These banquets included the eating of food offered to idols and the participation in immoral sexual acts. Coming to Christ meant the loss of their livelihood and financial resources for the Church if they abstained from the communal feasts. However, participation would be tantamount to renouncing the very faith they had come to accept, thus denying the One who suffered and died for them. A prophetess named Jezebel, managed to work out a theology that allowed them to compromise their faith in Christ with continued participation in the local trade unions, and that meant continued financial prosperity and material wealth.
In the Old Testament, Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, who became a puppet in her hands for working all wickedness in the sight of Jehovah (1Kings 21:25). She established the Phoenician idolatry on a grand scale at her husband's court, maintaining at her table 450 prophets of Baal and 400 of Astarte (1Kings 16:31-32, 1Kings 18:19, 1Kings 18:13). Since that time, the name Jezebel has been known in history as the representative of all that is designing, crafty, malicious, revengeful, cruel, and immoral. We do not know if this prophetess’s real name was Jezebel or if Christ used the name as a description for the type of woman she was. What we do know is that this Jezebel was very influential in leading members of the church into immoral practices with the above mentioned guilds for various pagan gods.
When people deliberately reject the Lord's authority, He is no longer their God. The result is that they must find another god, for it is impossible for the human spirit to live without something to live for. That is the very root of what a god is. That which you worship and live for, that which makes living worthwhile to you, becomes your god. It could be the god of entertainment, like sports, video games, and television, or the god of sexual pleasure, the god of money and wealth, or even the god of ambition that one worships trying to attain fame and fortune. The point is, wherever or whatever you direct your strongest energy towards, that will become the place of greatest temptation in this regard. It would be wise to remember, that the beast you feed will be the one that grows the strongest in your life. In Thyatira, accept for a few faithful, the members of the church were more interested in keeping their jobs than following the true God's commandments. And so, their jobs and their status became their god, while Jezebel was the person Christ pointed to as the reason for their stumbling due to her actions and refusal to repent.
I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. (Rev 2:21-23)
Because Jezebel did not repent of her evils, Christ warns of a certain punishment for her by using a strong Hebraic term that means to “kill” with a most sure and awful form of death. There is also a punishment for those who either commit sins with her, or are led into the same kind of lifestyle if they refuse to repent. As for the words “children” used in verse 23, there is a debate as to whether the words are to be taken literally or figuratively. The word itself could be interpreted either way and there is nothing in the context, nor in the original language, that can be correctly determined. I must also point out that there is precedence to show that other passages in the Scriptures have both literal and figurative meaning, a prime example would be these letters to the seven churches.
Now if the word “children” is to be taken literally, it is in accordance with what is often threatened in the Scriptures, that children shall be visited with calamity for the sin's of their parents. This is not to say that I believe in generational curses, but the very actions of parents do affect the lives of their children. Children of alcoholic or drug addicted parents would be an excellent example of this, because it is not uncommon for whole families to suffer from a parent's neglect due to their addictions. The other side of this debate comes from the understanding that the use of the word “children” is to be taken figuratively. Children would refer to those who have been so infected by Jezebel's doctrines that they would themselves be propagators of this false teaching that has so infected this church. An example would be the way false denominations have begun from the teachings of just a few, or even one misguided individual like the Mormon's Joseph Smith, or Arianism which denies the doctrine of the trinity, this heresy was first propagated by Arius in the 4th century. As for the reference of the word “death”, it alludes to a judgment so severe that it would serve as a stern warning to other churches to beware of such practices.
Prophetically, Thyatira represents the church age from about the 6th to the 16th century, a thousand years that I like to refer to as the "The Devil's Millennium”. It was a time when the church became corrupt by combining pagan rites and Christian teaching. Many heathen rituals were introduced into the churches that in time were accepted as being Biblical. These practices included the worshiping of images, the selling of indulgences to buy ones way out of hell, and various other practices of the priests which were unknown to the early church but gained approval during the devil's millennium. In time it became difficult to distinguish the clergy from the corrupt monarchs, as political power by religious authorities was widely sought. Like the church of Thyatira this age was truly corrupt and dark, as the Light did not burn very bright. Thus we have the term that aptly describes this time, at least the first 500 years or so, as the “Dark Ages”.
The range of praise regarding Thyatira’s spiritual status was perhaps the widest given to any of the seven churches, and it is also the only church that is said to have improved its spiritual condition. However, all the good works were being overshadowed by their inability to smell the stench coming from the practices of those who were corupting it from within. So while Christ did give praise for their love, faith, service, and perseverance, because they did not repent He eventually removed their lampstand. This was a warning Christ gave to the church of Ephesus if they did not return to their first love (Rev 2:5). Now all that remains of this once busy and wealthy church, is stone and dust to mark the place where it once existed. Christians must understand that we can either become corrupt like the Thyatirans or stand fast against the evils and temptations of the world. Ultimately though, the life we live in the world is but a proving ground, and we will be tested daily so that on judgement day we can stand before Christ and hear the words every Christian looks forward to, “Well done good and faithful servant, you may enter my rest”. For those of us who do overcome, we will have it accounted to us for righteousness and receive the Morning Star, Christ Himself. (Rev 22:16)
I pray that those who have ears to hear, will hear His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen

Monday, August 24, 2009

Scotty Beam Me Up!


It seems like some men around the world think that
getting a sexually transmitted disease is a badge of honor not shame. It truly is sad that we do not shame those
who participate in activities that can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering for some. But like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, evil is considered good, and good is considered evil. Just as Paul warned Timothy about when he wrote,
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2Timothy 2:1-4
So here we are in 2009 where homosexuality is not just accepted as normal sexual behavior, but it is touted by many as a healthy lifestyle. If they get married at all, men and women treat marriage like high school dating by getting married then divorced then married again without even considering the consequences. Churches even condone these practices by allowing those who practice such immoral behavior to even be priests. Now we have a portion of the world's male population looking upon sexual diseases as if they are a badge of honor, not shame. Check out this story from Sweden, “Chlamydia helps young men feel more 'manly': Swedish study
 
With other male friends slapping on the shoulders and offering encouraging comments about “success with the ladies”, young men who contract diseases such as chlamydia or genital warts can come to view their infection as a badge of honour, rather than a serious health problem.
Did not GOD destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for these type of sins? Does anyone think God has changed His mind? If GOD does not punish us for the immoral lifestyles we live, He would then have to apologize to those of Sodom and Gomorrah. However, we all know He will not be apologizing, because the end is nearer than people realize.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Christ's Message to the Church of Pergamos


In my ongoing review on the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, I began by sharing my understanding of certain aspects of the end times and how I see them. Then last week I started a review of the letters Jesus dictated to His disciple John while he was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. This week I will cover the letter to Pergamos, the compromising church.
The Roman historian Pliny called the city of Pergamum the most illustrious city in Asia because of all its statues, temples, monuments, and public buildings. Strategically located high on a humped or cone shaped hill that dominated the Caicus plain, Pergamum had an excellent view of the sea and distant mountain ranges making it an important military town that was fortified and well defended. Both Smyrna and Pergamum were a part of the same kingdom ruled by Attalus III, who was shrewd enough to help Rome defeat the Seleucids during the Punic Wars. When Attalus died in 133 BC he bequeathed his domain to the Roman Empire. Thus Pergamum realized a partnership with Rome that would last the duration of the Roman Empire’s dominance in Asia.

 
Among its public buildings Pergamum had the empires second largest library and a theatre that seated over 20,000 people. With temples dedicated to Athena, Dionysus, Asclepios, Roma, Zeus, and various roman emperors like Trajan, only Athens could boast of more respect for the gods. By the time John had his vision, Pergamum had become the very center of Emperor Worship in the Asian province. Many bible scholars believe the phrase, “where Satan dwells”, refers to this emperor worship while others claim “Satan's throne” to be a reference to the Altar of Zeus (Rev 2:13). Still others believe that Christ was referring to the worship of Asclepios the pagan god of healing.

People from all over the empire would come to Pergamum to be healed by Asclepios. Snakes were a symbol of this cult and Asclepios’ temple was infested with snakes, even to this day we use the snake as a symbol of the medical profession. The Greek historian Pausanias of Lydia kept a journal about his travels and the different cities he visited. In describing the temple of Asclepios he wrote,
“I looked upon Asclepios who was sitting on a throne with his hand upon the head of a serpent”. Pausanias
The serpent was actually a totem of the god Asclepios. Pausanias wrote how many harmless varieties of snakes had free run of this shrine as well as other shrines like Dionysus. Dionysus supposedly offered his followers life after death along with a meaningful life on earth through sexual indulgences and the consumption of raw meat and wine. Those who joined in on the activities of worshiping Dionysus, would get so wild in their sexual practices that the festivals were outlawed in the city Rome because they were considered to be too immoral! The images engraved on coins excavated from archeological sites are those of snakes amidst fruits & vegetables, and some coins even that portraiyed the Emperor Caracalla standing before a snake coiled around a tree. Therefore wherever the Christian went he would be confronted with cultic practices that included the very symbol of the evil one himself the, snake.
The definition for the Greek word Pergamum (Πέργαμος ) is objectionable marriage, which alludes to the church mixing the truth with lies of questionable teachers, such as the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:15). The church is being charged by Christ for compromising with the world, in that some held to the doctrine of Balaam. Just as Balaam taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel) some 1400 years earlier, there were some teachers in the Pergamos church who taught that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and that committing sexual immorality was not sinful. We read in the letter to the Ephesian church that it is credited for hating the Nicoalaitans, however in Pergamum the church was embracing the very doctrine that was detested by Christ Himself. Peter anticipated that such problems would exist when he wrote his second letter some 30 years earlier.
“They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor.” (2Pe 2:13-15)
There is no way to know if those teaching the false doctrine at Pergamos were being paid as Balaam was, but we do know that sexual immorality and compromise with idolatry was not only tolerated but even advocated by some in the church. It is wise to remember that it is not those who are outside the church structure who mislead the brethren but the sheep in wolves clothing that lead the flock astray from within the Church’s ranks. Too often believers run after words that suit their individual tastes rather than hold fast to the simplicity and radical demands that the Gospel makes upon them. Timothy was warned by Paul about this when he said that instead of following sound doctrine they will hire teachers who will scratch their itchy ears. (2 Tim 4:3-4) As that happens the church will start to resemble the church of Pergamum and compromise their walk with Christ.

While the church was admonished to repent from following these false teachers (Rev 2:13), I must point out that some held fast to their faith. One of them, Antipas, was even put to death for his faith. According to some ancient sources the second bishop of Pergamum was a dentist named Antipas. Then there ts the theory that the word Antipas describes the type of person or persons who at that time related to the phrase “ the things which are" in Rev 1:19. The word Antipas (ἀντί) in Greek, can also signify "against all, over against, opposite, or instead of. So the use of the word antipas here could be a designation of those who were faithful in their opposition to false teachers who corrupted the truth. There is no way to proof either of these explanations, but I offer them both for consideration.

The letter continues that Christ tells those who do repent, that they can expect a white stone with a new name and some of the hidden manna. (Rev 2:17). To the Greeks, a white stone was a symbol of acquittal, whereas a black stone was a judgment of guilt. The implication here being that those receiving a white stone will be justified as innocent and gain victory over the second death. The idea of hidden manna reflects a Jewish tradition, (from the Apocrypha book II Maccabees) about the pot of manna that was placed in the ark for a memorial to future generations (Ex 16:32). When Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in the sixth century BC, Jeremiah supposedly took the ark and its contents and hid them underground in Mt Nebo. There it was to remain until the coming of the Messiah when Jeremiah would reappear and return the ark and its contents to the new messianic temple in Jerusalem. (2 Mac 2:4)
Among historicists and some futurists, Pergamum is representative of the imperial church age that started with the Edict of Milan in 313 AD and lasted until about 606 AD. This is a period of time when the church and state merged, or as the meaning of Pergamum alludes to, it entered into an objectionable marriage. The majority of converts during this time became Christian in name only, bringing their pagan practices and lifestyles into a compromised church. We see the same kind of problems that the Pergamos church was faced with in many churches today. Like those of the Pergamos, they too can repent and receive all the blessings of eternal life in the glory of heaven or they can refuse to repent and face the terrifying reality of having the Lord Jesus Christ declare war on them. Far too many churches today would rather maintain the path of compromise with the world, and it is this compromise that will inevitably lead its members to eternal damnation. This letter is a warning that churches today should heed by taking a strong stand for God’s truth and refusing to compromise with the world.

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, I pray that those who read His words will call upon the name that is above all names, and gain eternal salvation.
Amen

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Messages to the Churches of Revelation


While a prisoner on the island of Patmos John was visited by Christ who told him, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." He was told to address each letter to “the angel of the church”as represented by seven stars which were the angels of the seven churches, and the ”seven lampstands” which were the seven churches. (Rev 1:20) Popular opinion says that the angel refers to the person who publicly represents the church as its leader. Some however have put forth the opinion that the angel represents an emissary or messenger sent from each church who visited John while he was in prison as Paul was visited while imprisoned in Rome.
But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. (Phil 4:18)


As for the meaning of the letters, you will find different opinions depending upon which scholar you reference. Probably the most prevalent belief is that of Cyrus Scofields who is considered the father of the modern day dispensational view of the end times. It could be said that his bible commentaries have had more influence in shaping the modern view of the end times than other published writings. In his companion commentary of the Scofield Bible, Cyrus saw four different meaning in the messages to the churches.
(1) Local, to the churches actually addressed; (2) Admonitory, to all churches in all time as tests by which they may discern their true spiritual state in the sight of God; (3) Personal, in the exhortations to him "that hath an ear," and in the promise "to him that overcometh"; (4) Prophetic, as disclosing seven phases of the spiritual history of the church from, say, A.D. 96 to the end.
Each letter followed a similar pattern that begins with a greeting, and then a description of the risen Christ. Next there is praise for each church then criticism, followed by a warning an exportation and finally a promise of what to be expected for those following His advise. By close examination, the reader will see that the description of our risen Lord is different for each of the seven letters. These various descriptions are not cute little extras phrases added to make the letters more colorful, but instead they are descriptions that enforce Christ’s message to follow. (Rev 2:1; Rev 2:8; Rev 2:12; Rev 2:18; Rev 3:1; Rev 3:7& Rev 3:14) It is small but not so insignificant nuances like these that make studying the Book of Revelation a true blessing as John’s introductory statement says in (Rev 1:3). For the next couple of weeks I will attempt to give a brief but concise description of each church and what its message means, starting with Ephesus and on through to the last, Laodicea.
The first church Christ mentions is Ephesus, the loveless church. Ephesus means darling, and with over 300,000 people it was the largest city and the Capital of the Asian Province. Founded by Paul around 50 AD it was also the location of the third ecumenical council in 431 AD. With an important seaport it boasted of being the home of the Greek goddess Diana, known to the Romans as Artemis the moon goddess, and to the Asiatic as the nursing mother of gods, men, animals, and plants. The Temple of Artemis was one of the seven ancient wonders of the world whose goddess was commercialized as a trinket god supplying great wealth to the local silversmiths. Paul’s preaching interfered with the commerce of this idol and aroused violent opposition from the merchants.
About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, "Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business.(Act 19:23-25)
At the time when Paul founded this church hardly anyone there knew of the true Gods temple. Now, two thousand years later, no one knows of Artemis. This ancient wonder was burnt and rebuilt and finally destroyed, and the world is better for that destruction. Meanwhile the true temple is majestically nearing completion with new members being added to the Lambs Book of life every day. Christ recognized the Ephesians tireless perseverance in bearing up under trial for His name’s sake, and how they opposed false apostles and the heretical Nicolaitians; (Rev2:2-3)& Rev 2:5) However, he reproved them for having left their first love, (Rev 2:4) and admonished them to remember where they had fallen from, (Rev 2:5). They are warned to repent and to do their first works or else He will come and remove the candlestick out of its place. As a reward to all that overcome and persevere, the fruit from the tree of life is offered. Those who allegorize the churches to represent the different ages match Ephesus with the early church age roughly from 33 AD to 70 AD, marking the fall of Jerusalem.
The second church John writes to is Situated at the head of the Gulf of Izmir where the Hermus River flows into the Agean Sea. Smyrna the persecuted church is the only church that remains to this day. The city had worshiped Rome as a spiritual power since about 195 BC, explaining Smyrna’s historical pride in its Caesar Cult. A fact that was not overlooked by Rome, as the Emperor Tiberius granted them the right to build a temple to him in 26 AD. Resembling a diadem, many beautiful and majestic public buildings formed a circle around the summit of Mt. Pagos that the locals called the “Crown of Porticoes”. Thus we have the reference in (Rev 2:10) to a crown of life for those who are faithful unto death.
Smyrna was famous for science and medicine and was a wealthy city, but the church itself suffered in abject poverty because its professing members would not renounce Christ in order to get work from the local trade unions. Smyrna means myrrh, like myrrh Smyrna was to be crushed to release its fragrance, thus its Saints were to be persecuted, becoming a sweet aroma to the Lord. Recognizing their spiritual commitment to Him, Christ encouraged them to persevere in the face of trials and tribulations that will last for ten days. As a result of persecutions, many Saints from this church would be martyred for their faith. The most famous of these would be Polycarp, a disciple of John who was martyred by fire in 155 AD.
Those who lean toward a literal interpretation often consider the ten days as representing ten waves of persecutions the Christians suffered in the first three centuries until Constantine became Emperor and legalized Christianity. Between five and seven million Christians were martyred in this period. Like all Christians throughout history, Christ tells the Smyrna Christians to hold fast to their faith and stay true to Him and the second death will have no effect on them. To the allegorist, Smyrna represents the church age from the time the Temple was destroyed by Titus until Constantine became Emperor, 70 AD to 313 AD.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Have you ever just wanted to say Do Wah Ditty and couldn't remember the words?



I just wanted to put this here for the love of my life, my wife

Sharee


I LOVE YOU MY SWEET

If I knew how to write a song
I’d write one everyday
It would say that I’m in love with you
And why I feel this way

It would have to say you’re pretty
And as rare as a desert rose
It would say you’re a looker
From your head down to your toes

You are funny, dainty, fragile
And as feminine as can be
You’re smart charming lovely
And everything to me

You’re my comfort when I’m lonely
You’re my peace when I need rest
Of all the women I’ve known
I must rate you the best.

You’re the orchard in the jungle,
you’re the better half of me
You’re all of this and so much more,
you mean the world to me

Still so much is left unsaid,
It would take me far to long
I know how much I love you,
If only I could write a song.

by, Stormbringer

Monday, August 10, 2009

THE GREATEST MOVIE LINE EVER!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Understanding of The End Times



As I watched the events of the week unfold before my eyes, I was struck by the way we as a nation have been transformed from a fairly stable capitalist Republic into a very shaky Socialist state almost overnight. Then as I prepared my outline on the seven churches of Revelation for my Sunday sermon, I found myself reading the term paper I wrote in seminary class a few years back on the book of Revelation. Considering the speed at which things have evolved in the past year, it is my opinion that what I wrote back then is relevant to today's discussion. Remember, I wrote this four years ago when George Bush was still our President, and Barack Obama was still an absentee voter in the Illinois state senate. Well, here is the summary I wrote for that term paper.

Most interpretations of the “End Times” contain good arguments and can, with enough quotes from the Scriptures, persuade even the best scholars that their claim as to what John’s visions mean, is correct. I have personally spent endless hours in an attempt to get a better understanding of the many prophecies about the end times. With an endless supply of differing opinions available for research and extensive study into the validity of these opinions, I am prepared to agree that the futurists probably come closest to what John saw while on the Island of Patmos. While I do agree with the essentials of the futurist’s beliefs, I must point out that I do not wholly agree in the way many futurists see the events taking place. I do not pretend to know how the Lord will bring about the end, but as I stated I do agree with the gist of the dispensational futurist view of the end times. I just currently disagree with many of their minute details. I say “currently lean” because as my study of the Scriptures continue, along with new insights and unfolding events presenting themselves, in time I might think differently then I do at the present.


As an historical and political enthusiast I tend to look at certain aspects of the end times prophecies in a different light than many futurists. I look at the time we live in as being dominated by the ‘Rule of the People”, and whether it be democratic socialism or democratic capitalism, it is still a system ruled by the people. This egalitarian type of political rule allows for many absurd and dangerous aspects of society to flourish that could not survive in a totalitarian system. A cursory look at the way Cuban dictator, Castro dealt with those afflicted with AIDS compared to how we deal with them in Democratic societies will make my point. Cubans who have AIDS are locked away in institutions to keep them from infecting the general population. While in America and Western Europe we champion the very act that spreads the sickness, homosexuality, in the name of freedom we allow the dreaded disease to promulgate through out our society. It is important to understand that Christ will not return because governments make us bad people. He will return because we have willingly refused to turn from our evil ways and follow His teachings. That is not to say there are no bad people living under tyrannical rulers, it just means that in places like America we have the freedom to practice our evil ways openly thus influencing others to follow suit. Our society is not unique in this aspect however, because history shows us that a similar problem caused Israel to continually fall out of grace with God during the time of time of Judges. (Jdg 17:6)

I also take into account the nature of man that always plays into God's prophecies. This nature is seen continually, from the time when Jacob schemed with his mother to steal Isaac’s blessings for Esau (Gen 27:26-35), on through to the time the Jews revolted against Rome and the Temple was destroyed fulfilling the prophecy of Jesus (Matt 24:2). The first act sent Jacob on a journey to His uncle’s home where he ended up with twelve sons and enormous wealth. The other act ended the sacrifice of animals for sins, something that was not needed anymore because the perfect Lamb had been sacrificed almost forty years earlier. With many other examples of prophecies fulfilled due to the desire of man to control his own destiny, one must take into account this desire when looking at the events of the end times.

Many look at the Scriptures that point to a rebuilding of the Temple with all the ceremonies that accompany it as an inevitable sequence in the end times. I look at how this could come to fruition and see, as I write this, many evangelicals supplying money to different Jewish organizations to make this prophecy come true. I know that God knew this would happen before He made the world and so He uses our controlling nature to bring us into His glory (1 Co 2:7)). I also look at the Scripture that states we will not be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast (Rev 13:15-18). As I look at the world as it is today, I see things being set up for a One-World society, one that will inevitably usher in the return of Christ. However, I believe the mark spoken of is one of a common mind set. An example of what I mean is how we see the main stream media constantly agreeing with each other on various topics from pro choice advocacy to global warming. They do not have a mark to distinguish them from other forms of the media that disagree with them, but they are in accord just the same. This is the way I believe the “Mark of the Beast” will be seen. We all will know who agrees with the Beast and those who do not, and without being on his or its side one will not be able to buy, sell, or trade. All it will take is a personal denial of Christ as your Lord and Savior, as in the time of Emperor worship alluded to in the letters to the Seven Church’s. As for communism, it is on its way out. Like Russia and the Eastern Block nations before them, the few remaining communist regimes will wither away for Democracy to flourish. I also see the current threat of the Muslim extremist movement dying away and in time a more dangerous religion will take hold, that of Democratic Socialism. This new religion will, in my opinion, usher in the New One World Government that the people will demand.

I Then look at the signs that Christ mentioned in (Mark 13:8). As the world gets smaller and smaller we can be informed of what happens as the occurrence takes place. There was a time when an earthquake on the San Andreas fault would never have been reported because no one we cared about lived there. However, now we have millions of people living on and around the very epicenter of the world’s most dangerous fault. Through out our history there have been wars and rumors of wars, but without a modern media to inform us 24-7 we were not aware of them. I believe that the way we perceive events around us goes a long way to effecting our future reactions, and the outcome of our reactions to various events is what God knew ahead of time. It is these outcomes that work into the plans of God to show us His glory. A perfect example is when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Gen 37:18-28). God did not make it happen, but He used their evil for His good (Gen 50:20). Another example is the way God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to strengthen his resolve against Moses, thus using Pharaoh’s evil intentions for His Glory (Ex 10:1). In this way God uses man’s evil intentions to control his destiny, as a way to bring forth His will for our salvation and His plan for our eternal existence with Him.

As I have already stated, there are over a hundred million different opinions as to what will happen before Christ returns. However, regardless of how the end times unfold, or how I interpret the prophecies concerning these events, I am secure in the fact that they will have no effect on my eternal salvation. Christ said He will return like a thief in the night (Luke 12:39); (1 Th 5:2), for it is not our purview to know that which the Father has fixed for His own authority (Act 1:7). Now while the Revelation of Jesus Christ states that blessings come to those who read, heed, and understand the prophecies given to John, nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that anyone will know the time of His return Matt 24:36); (Mark 13:32). The best we can do is look to the Scriptures to prepare ourselves for His return. I guess that is one reason I have decided to be like Ezra (Ezr 7:10) and the Berean’s (Act 17:11) so as to follow Paul’s advise to Titus (Tit 2:7-8) and properly spread the Good News and help prepare others for His return.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sarahs Choice



It seems that the biggest response I see from questions about the GOP is who will lead. It's quite understandable when you consider that the GOP has not had a real leader since Newt Gingrich. Oh yea we all rallied behind GW, but other than the war on terrorism, he would not lead. Even in his defense of the war he was more willing to get along with the opposition than to defeat them. Well, here we are in mid summer 2009, and we are still wondering who will lead us.

Sad when you consider that the way Obama and his allies in the MSM are attempting to roll over the American people as if we were no more than bums in the street. I kept asking my self, where is the Republican voice? Who will stand up with us, the people, and demand that evil be called evil? Who will dare step on the toes of the anointed one and tell him he is naked? Where is the the voice of reason from the the GOP? Well here she is ladies and gentleman, I give you Sarah Palin, the Bear from Alaska, a Kodiak. Or if you would, a tiger the Democrats cannot tame. Yes a woman who has more gonads then the whole Republican leadership combined.


In her first online comments since leaving office, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called President Obama's health plan "downright evil". She went on to say that he would create a "death panel that would deny care to the neediest Americans. Those Americans who will suffer the most when they ration care, will be the sick, the elderly, and the disabled."

Well we know she is telling the truth because Obama and his minions in congress have said so. If you are too old and will be dead in five to ten years, we will not waste the money to help you. Obama said he would advise us that a pain killer would be better for the patient and for America. Against this evil intent is Sarah, who defends the protesters and encourages them to continue their struggle against this evil and overreaching idea of nationalized Health Care.

"We must step up and engage in this most crucial debate. Nationalizing our health care system is a point of no return for government interference in the lives of its citizens. If we go down this path, there will be no turning back. Ronald Reagan once wrote, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” Let’s stop and think and make our voices heard before it’s too late." Sarah Palin

Think about that for a moment. We live in a society that does not want to admit that evil exists, that as long as we can all just get along the bad in this world will not infect us. Of course, this is exactly how evil wins. Don't believe me? Look at the history of the world in just the last century. We were told at one time or another that Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Chavez, and others were all misunderstood men who had good intentions. Well look what their good intentions have wrought upon mankind, 110,000,000 people murdered in the name of good intentions. Added to that evil, is another 50,000,000 babies aborted around the world every year.

Yes evil exists, and it is nice to hear a politician say so. Sarah Palin is spot on, she knows the name and face of the enemy tearing at all that's good about America and she calls it what it is, evil. Palin is one brave soul to take on Obama and his goons, while using a term that the fools of the world like to scoff at. She also wrote in her posting,

”The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's, 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their level of productivity in society, whether they are worthy of health care or not. Such a system is downright evil. Nationalizing our health care system is a point of no return for government interference in the lives of its citizens. If we go down this path, there will be no turning back. Let's stop and think and make our voices heard before it's too late"

It is no secret that I am a huge Sarah Palin supporter, but I am not foolish enough to think that a few lines in her Facebook means she has reached her "Evil Empire" moment. However, from what I have witnessed since she came to the national stage is that, "when Sarah speaks the liberals tremble". It's my belief that she needs to get out and protest with the people, bring this spotlight on the situation, because right now the MSM is only giving us lip service. This moment and this issue is demanding her attention. This would be a great springboard opportunity for her to lay the ground works for her challenge if she is willing. If she could make herself the face of Obama's Health Care defeat, she will be a lock in 2012. If she wants it she can have it, but we have yet to hear her make that claim. Imagine the crowds this woman could draw if she got out there front and center.

Beating Down The People

Obama has given the orders and his Chicago style thugs have taken the challenge to the the people to beat them down and force them to accept the Messiah's decrees. During the Presidential campaign we learned many things about Obama that most Americans would not heed. On June 14, 2008 Obama told a crowd in Philadelphia on June 14, "If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun, because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” Then a few months later on September 17, he told a crowd in Las Vegas, "I want you to argue with them and get in their face". We even saw Obama's supporters using Chicago style tactics on election day to intimidate anyone who might not vote for him. Black Panthers Intimidate Voters in Philadelphia. So I am not surprised to see what is going on across this country where union thugs are intimidating and beating up Americans who are just practicing their constitutional right of questioning their representatives to Congress.
After all just a few days ago that David Axlerod, Obama's senior advisor, told the Democrats to "Punch back twice as hard". Then just yesterday in front an invitation only fundraiser crowd for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, Obama said "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess." Well what do you know, the man who's only experience has been that of a community organizer mow wants to demonize community activism. Welcome to Chicago politics my friends.

Yes across this country we are being forced to accept what the Messiah thinks is good for you. From St. Louis to Miami Florida thugs from different unions are intimidating citizens and beating up protesters. In some cases the protesters are not even allowed to be in the meeting with their own representatives. Check out all these incidents that Obama has not only condoned, but has ordered.
1) Black man gets beat up by a white SEIU union thug where is Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton? (just so you know it is not just angry white people protesting)
2) Democrats sneak union thugs into Carnahan's town hall, citizens against Obamascare locked out!
4) Slide show and video of Pelosi getting a reality check in Denver.
5) Rhino Republican Congressman Bob Inglis get an earful (just so you know that it is not just democrats being protested, it is the healthcare bill that is being protested.)
Now, check out this little video of what I believe makes the perfect analogy of what is going on with this administration. Remember, this is not Iran, it what America has become under an authoritarian administration. The Messiah is using his army, the largest union to support him, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Sometimes referred to as the “purple ocean” because of the purple shirts they wear, this labor union represents over 2 million workers in over 100 occupations in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The main divisions are health care (around 50% of the union’s membership), including hospital, home care and nursing home workers, public services (government employees), and property services (including janitors and security officers). With over 300 local branches, SEIU is affiliated with the Change to Win Federation and the Canadian Labour Congress. It is based in Washington, D.C., and has seven internal divisions: Communications, Education, Human Rights, International Affairs, Organization, Political, and Research.
Obama and the Democrats have put out the talking points by claiming the "right wing extremist base" is out to "destroy" Barack Obama, so it has unleashed "angry mobs ... mob activity straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives. They have no plan for moving our country forward, so they've called out the mob." Remember, there was not one incident of violence until Obama's thugs showed up to shut down the opposition, just as his Authoritarian friends in the third world countries do. Obama in action, "I want you to argue with them and get in their face, punch back twice as hard, and if they bring a knife to the fight, we will bring a GUN!”

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where Are Today's Patriots Who Are Willing To Sacrifice Everything?

In the times we live, I am often reminded of the men who gave all, so that I can enjoy the freedom I do. I guess that is why I get so angry when I see what the current rulers of this country have in store for me, you, and our descendants. Men, greater than I could ever hope to be, offered everything they had in this world, because they wanted freedom for their descendants, us. Freedom that Obama and his socialist friends desire to take away from us all. Well, I have only one question to ask, "Where Are Today's Patriots Who Are Willing To Sacrifice Everything"?
What follows is a what many only read around July 4, but today is a good time to read it again. It is about the sacrifice 56 men offered so that we could be free. As you read what happened to them, consider how afraid we are to even talk about what we must do.
 
Of the fifty six patriots who signed and pledged their lives, fortunes, and their sacred honor, nine of the fifty six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. Five men were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died, two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured, while another twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.
What kind of men were these patriots? Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured. Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags. Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton. At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. Thomas Nelson quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. His own home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months. John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart. Norris and Livingston suffered similar fates.
Such were the stories and sacrifices of the American Revolution. These were not wild eyed, rabble-rousing ruffians. They were soft-spoken men of means and education. They had security, but they valued liberty more. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: “For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
Each one of us may be able to tell stories our families have handed down from generation to generation. Fathers, grandfathers, great grandfather, uncles, mothers, and grandmothers who sacrificed everything for a generation of people they would never meet. A generation of people who would one day spit upon their sacrifice, and give back to the king that which they sacrificed all for. God help us, because we don't seem to want to help ourselves like our ancestors did time and time again.
These patriots gave you and me a free and independent America. However, something that the history books never tell you, is that these men were not just fighting against the British Crown and King George. These men "WERE BRITISH SUBJECTS", fighting and willing to die rather than accept what the "ONE" of their day wanted done. Today, many of us have taken our freedom and liberties for granted while traitors like Obama, Kennedy, Ried, Pelosi, and others are prepared to take away the last vestige of freedom we will ever know.
[author unknown w/liberties taken]

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Isaiah, the Fifth Evangelist

In today's message, I would like to broaden your understanding of the book Christ read from while in the synagogue of His home town, Luke_4:16-30 so that you may better appreciate the book written by the Fifth Evangelist. While Isaiah is the most often quoted prophet in the New Testament, his book can be as obscure as it is interesting. Even many Christians will admit they know very little about the book and what it has to offer for their walk with Christ. Other than being familiar with a few famous passages that foretold the advent of Christ Isa_9:6 and his suffering Isa_53:1-12, most people don’t know that there are prophecies that coincide with the book of Revelations. Isa_13:1-13, Isa_14:1-22. Unfortunately, because of their unfamiliarity they miss out on the true gift Isaiah has to offer.

From the beginning of time the Lord had a plan of salvation for mankind, Gen_3:15. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."Ecc_3:15 "That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by." However, the first mention of His plan to give us the gift of His Son is Gen_3:15. The last mention of His plan for our salvation is in the book of Revelations, Rev_22:20 "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus". A promise that may be truly said to every person in every age, Jesus the Judge is at the door. In Isaiah, you will find God's plan for the salvation of mankind Isa_53:10, His plan of judgment for the world, and those who would refuse his gift Isa_13:6-13. His birth Isa_9:6, His death Isa_53:8, and His resurrection Isa_53:10are also foretold within the pages of this book. We can either ignore Isaiah's prophecies like the Jews did or, as Christ taught, we can embrace them.

This is the first time the Lord spoke of a savior for mankind and He did so at the very dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the deadly poisonous wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. The Lord had planed from the beginning that the one who was first deceived would be the one through whom the guilt of the world would fall. Since sin is handed down through the man, the sin nature of man was not handed down to the Messiah. So He is truly the unblemished Lamb whom the Lord accepted as the perfect sin offering. One can even glean from the Scriptures that the Lord had a plan for salvation even before He spoke the heavens and the earth into existence.

I called Isaiah the “Fifth Evangelist”, and I did so because Isaiah described what would happen to Christ for our salvation in such a way that one would think he had a front row seat at Golgotha. Not even John, the most beloved and only apostle to witness His crucifixion, wrote as detailed an account as Isaiah did. No, Isaiah the Prophet was not present, instead he received a first hand account from the very One who would suffer on that cross. So when you look at the way Isaiah spoke of future events, as if they were in his past, it’s easy to see why he is often referred to as either the fifth Evangelist or the first Apostle of Christ.

Isaiah's first reference to the Messiah is not a prophecy of His birth but a prophecy that the Jews would reject Him Isa_6:9-10. When you look at the traditions of the ancient writers you find that very seldom is the birth or childhood of a famous person mentioned. The Jews were exceptions in that they often mentioned the day of birth, but it was a man's accomplishments as an adult that gave the scribes a reason to write about him or his childhood. While Isaiah foretells many aspects of what the Messiah's life would entail, such as His birth Isa_7:14, His ministry Isa_9:1-2, and His many miracles Isa_35:5-6, it is the Lords rejection by the Jews that Isaiah mentions first. Without the Jews rejection of Christ the gentiles would not have been saved, thus it only makes sense that this would be the first prophecy Isaiah mentions. So just as they rejected the Lord time and time again throughout their history, they would also reject the very One they looked forward to for salvation.

Like many other prophets, Isaiah was also rejected and ultimately murdered by those he was sent to by the Lord. Christ would even allude to these rejection and murder in his parable of the absent landowner. Matt 21:33-44Isaiah came bearing a plan, given by God, for the restoration of the remnant of Israel who would truly return to Him. This plan also included the redemption for all mankind as Isaiah repeatedly pointed out Isa_11:10, Isa_49:1, Isa_53:10-12, Isa_59:15-16. Through Isaiah's writings, the Jews should have known that the Lord was also sending the Messiah to save the hated gentiles. As we now know, the Jews would be the first to persecute the Christians. Even before they crucified their Messiah they were expelling his believers from the sanctuaries John_9:28-34. Isaiah also conveys to us the compassion the Lord has for His chosen people and His desire for their redemption. Isa_65:19, Isa_65:24.

What an amazing prophecy! Long before I was born God knew I would be knee deep in transgressions against Him, and even before I called on His name he came to my rescue. When God destroyed the world by water, Noah and his family needed an
Ark designed by God Himself to survive the Flood. As Christians, we realize that we also need a type of an Ark and for us that Ark is Christ. Through Isaiah, God gives us the blueprints for that Ark. Unlike the Ark that saved Noah and his family however, the Ark Christians depend upon was completely constructed by God. It is this Ark that was promised from the day Adam and Eve ate from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”.Gen_3:1-7 Isaiah wrote about this some 760 years before the birth of Christ. Throughout the Bible we have evidence of the Lord's promises, and all we need to do is have faith in those promises, just as we have faith in the promise Jesus gave Nicodemus . “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Jhn_3:16 For those who are skeptical about the timing of these prophecies, the evidence we have is backed up by many overwhelming facts as to the Historicity of the Scriptures. When the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were discovered, it was learned that the current translation of Isaiah has not changed through the years, other than a few nondescript grammatical errors. But probably the best proof of God's promises is the fulfillment by Jesus of the more than 120 Isaiah prophecies about the coming Messiah. Along with hundreds of other Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, I believe it takes an act of mental ignorance to ignore the prophetic evidence of God's faithfulness to follow through on His promises.

As for me, I have no reason to doubt the future fulfillment of the Lord's remaining promises. By studying Isaiah and his many prophecies, I have learned to see what they really represent; the Eternal as opposed to the temporal. The when, where, who, and how are just temporal, but the Eternal is what is promised and that is where my hope lies. My faith through the grace of God has allowed me to be washed by the Blood of the Lamb. My parched soul has been renewed by the life giving water flowing from the Rock that follows me through this desert of sin called the world. My salvation was paid for Christ' victory on Calvary, and I am assured of eternal life because of His resurrection. While I anxiously await His return so that I may enjoy an eternal rest in His Glory, I invite you to join me by accepting Christ as your Lord and savior.


I pray that those who have ears to hear will hear His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen