The Plain Truth about Christmas

Does Christmas really celebrate the birthday of Jesus? Was He born on December 25th? Did Paul, the apostles, and the early Church of the New Testament celebrate Christmas? Do you know what the BIBLE says about the Christmas tree?

Stop and think! Very few know WHY we do the things we do, or WHERE our customs came from! We were born into a world filled with customs. We grew up practicing them, taking them for granted, but NEVER QUESTIONING WHY!

A PAGAN, Not Christian Festival

We have supposed CHRISTMAS to be the chief of the Christian holidays. Without asking questions, we have blindly assumed its observance must be one of the principal teachings and commands of the New Testament. We have supposed Jesus was born December 25th, and that the New Testament set this day aside as the chief Christian festival. We have supposed we exchange gifts because the wise men presented gifts to the Christ-child.

But, let's quit supposing, and look into history and the Bible for the FACTS!

The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ" or, as it later became shortened, "Christ-Mass." It came to us as a Roman Catholic mass. And where did they get it? From the HEATHEN celebration of December 25th, as the birthday of Sol the SUN GOD! It is, actually, an ancient rite of BAALISM, which the Bible condemns as the most abominable of all idolatrous worship!

It is not so much as MENTIONED anywhere in the New Testament. It was never observed by Paul, the apostles, the early true Christian Church!

The idea that Jesus was born December 25th, is one of the FABLES the Apostle Paul prophesied (II Tim. 4:4) would deceive the world in these latter days.

The plain truth is, Christmas is NOT Christ's birthday at all! And this festival, important as it seems to so many, is not of Christian, but of pagan — Babylonish — origin! But does that make any difference? Isn't it all right to go ahead and observe it anyway? Isn't the "Christmas SPIRIT" a good and splendid thing, regardless of how it got started? WE SHALL SEE!

Jesus NOT Born December 25th

Now let's look to the interesting PROOF! When was Jesus born?

Jesus was not even born in the winter season! When the Christ-child was born "there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8). This never could have occurred in Palestine in the month of December. The shepherds always brought their flocks from the mountainsides and fields and corralled them not later than October 15, to protect them from the cold, rainy season that followed that date. Notice that the Bible itself proves in Song of Solomon 2:11, and Ezra 10:9, and 13, that winter was a rainy season not permitting shepherds to abide in open fields at night.

It was an ancient custom among Jews of those days to send out their sheep to the fields and deserts about the Passover (early spring), and bring them home at commencement of the first rain, says the Adam Clarke Commentary, Vol. 5, page 386 (and 370).

Continuing, this authority states: "during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As . . . the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November [begins mid-October], we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole summer. And, as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground, the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact . . . See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot."

Any encyclopedia, or any other authority, will tell you that Christ was not born on December 25. The Catholic Encyclopedia frankly states this fact.

The exact date of Jesus' birth is entirely UNKNOWN, as all authorities acknowledge — tho if I had space in this booklet I could show you Scriptures which at least strongly indicate that it was in the early fall — probably September — approximately six months after Passover.

If God had wished us to observe and celebrate Christ's birthday, He would not have so completely hidden the exact date.

What Encyclopedias Say

There is not one word in the New Testament, or anywhere in the Bible, telling us to observe Christmas. The Christians of the first century, under the inspired teachings of Peter and Paul and the other apostles, never observed it. There is NO BIBLE AUTHORITY for its observance, strange as it may seem.

Then where did we get "Christmas"? Since it has come to us thru the Roman Catholic Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, published by that Church. Under the caption "Christmas," you will find:

"Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church . . . The first evidence of the feast is from Egypt. . . . Pagan customs centering around the January calends gravitated to Christmas." And, further, we find this truth acknowledged: " . . . in the Scripture, sinners alone, not saints, celebrate their birthday.

Encyclopaedia Britannica has this: "Christmas (i.e., the Mass of Christ). Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church . . . ." It was not instituted by Christ or the apostles, or by Bible authority — it was picked up afterward from paganism.

The Encyclopedia Americana says: "CHRISTMAS. It was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth . . ." (The "Communion" which is instituted by New Testament Bible authority, is a memorial of the DEATH of Christ.) ". . . a feast was established in memory of this event [Christ's birth] in the fourth century. In the fifth century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol, as no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth existed."

HOW This Pagan Custom Got Into The Church

Now notice! These recognized historic authorities show Christmas was NOT observed by Christians for the first two or three hundred years — a period longer than the entire history of the United States as a nation! It got into the Western, or Roman Church, by the FOURTH century A.D. It was not until the FIFTH century that the Roman Church ordered it to be celebrated as an official "Christian" festival!

Then HOW did this heathen custom CREEP INTO a so-called Christianity?

The Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia explains it clearly, in its article on "CHRISTMAS": "How much the date of the festival depended upon the Pagan Brumalia (Dec. 25) following the Saturnalia (Dec. 17-24), and celebrating the shortest day of the year and the 'new sun' . . . cannot be accurately determined. The pagan Saturnalia and Brumalia were too deeply entrenched in popular custom to be set aside by Christian influence . . . . The pagan festival with its riot and merrymaking was so popular, that Christians were glad of an excuse to continue its celebration with little change in spirit and in manner. Christian preachers of the West and the Near East protested against the unseemly frivolity with which Christ's birthday was celebrated, while Christians of Mesopotamia accused their Western brethren of idolatry and sun-worship for adopting as Christian this pagan festival."

Remember, the Roman world had been PAGAN. Prior to the fourth century, Christians were few in number, tho increasing, and were persecuted by the government and by pagans. But, with the advent of Constantine as emperor, who made his profession of Christianity, in the fourth century, placing Christianity on an equal footing with paganism, people of the Roman world began to accept this now popular Christianity by the hundreds of thousands.

But remember, these people had grown up in PAGAN customs, chief of which was this idolatrous festival of December 25th. It was a festival of merrymaking, with its special SPIRIT. They ENJOYED it! They didn't want to give it up! Now this same article in Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia explains how the recognition by Constantine, of Sunday, which had been the day of pagan SUN-worship, and how the influence of the pagan Manichaeism, which identified the SON of God with the physical SUN, gave these pagans of the fourth century, now turning over wholesale to "Christianity," their EXCUSE for calling their pagan-festival date of December 25th (birthday of the SUN god), the birthday of the SON of God.

And that is how "Christmas" got into our so-called Christianity! We may call it by another NAME, but it's the same old pagan sun-worshipping festival still! The only CHANGE is in what we CALL IT! You can call a rabbit a "LION," but it's a RABBIT, just the same.

Again from the Britannica: "Certain Latins, as early as 354, may have transferred the birthday from January 6th to December 25th, which was then a Mithraic feast . . . or birthday of the unconquered SUN . . . The Syrians and Armenians, who clung to January 6th, accused the Romans of SUN-WORSHIP and IDOLATRY, contending that the feast of December 25th, had been invented by disciples of Cerinthus. . ."

The Real ORIGIN of Christmas

But if we got Christmas from the Roman Catholics, and they got it from paganism, where did the pagans get it? Where, when, and what was its real origin?

It is a chief custom of the corrupt system denounced all thru Bible prophecies and teachings under the name of BABYLON. And it started and originated in the original Babylon of ancient Nimrod! Yes, it stems from roots whose beginning was shortly this side of the Flood!

Nimrod, grandson of Ham, son of Noah, was the real founder of the Babylonish system that has gripped the world ever since — the system of organized competition — of man-ruled governments and empires, based upon the competitive and profit-making economic system. Nimrod built the tower of Babel, the original Babylon, ancient Nineveh, and many other cities. He organized this world's first kingdom. The name Nimrod, in Hebrew, is derived from "Marad," meaning "he rebelled." (Gen. 10:6, 8-12)

From many ancient writings, considerable is learned of this man, who started the great organized worldly apostasy from God that has dominated this world until now. Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. After Nimrod's untimely death, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, propagated the evil doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being. She claimed a full-grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth, she claimed, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. December 25th, was the birthday of Nimrod. This is the real origin of the Christmas tree.

Thru her scheming and designing, Semiramis became the Babylonian "Queen of Heaven," and Nimrod, under various names, became the "divine son of heaven." Thru the generations, in this idolatrous worship, Nimrod also became the false Messiah, son of Baal the Sun-god. In this false Babylonish system, the "Mother and Child," (Semiramis and Nimrod reborn); became chief objects of worship. This worship of "Mother and Child" spread over the world. The names varied in different countries and languages. In Egypt it was Iris and Osiris. In Asia, Cybele and Deoius. In pagan Rome, Fortuna and Jupiterpuer. Even in Greece, China, Japan, and Tibet, the counterpart of the Madonna is to be found, long before the birth of Christ!

Thus, during the fourth and fifth centuries, when the pagans of the Roman world were "accepting" the new popular "Christianity" by the hundreds of thousands, carrying their old pagan customs and beliefs along with them, merely cloaking them with Christian-sounding NAMES, the Madonna and "Mother and Child" idea also became popularized, especially at Christmas time. Every Christmas season you'll hear sung and chanted dozens of times the hymn "Silent Night, Holy Night," with its familiar "Mother and Child" theme. We, who have been born in such a Babylonish world, reared and steeped in these things all our lives, have been taught to revere these things as holy, and sacred. WE NEVER QUESTIONED TO SEE WHERE THEY CAME FROM — WHETHER THEY CAME FROM THE BIBLE, OR FROM PAGAN IDOLATRY!

We are SHOCKED to learn the TRUTH — some, unfortunately, take offense at the PLAIN TRUTH! But God commands His faithful ministers, "CRY ALOUD, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and SHOW MY PEOPLE THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS!" Isaiah 58:1. Shocking as these facts are, they are the plain facts of history and the Bible!

The real origin of Christmas goes back to the ancient Babylon. It is bound up in the organized apostasy with which Satan has gripped a deceived world these many centuries! In Egypt, it was always believed that the son of Iris (Egyptian name for "Queen of Heaven") was born December 25th. Paganism celebrated this famous birthday over most of the known world for centuries before the birth of Christ.

December 25th, is NOT the birthday of Jesus the true Christ! The apostles and early true Church never celebrated Christ's birthday at any time. There is no command or instruction to celebrate it in the Bible — rather, the celebrating of birthdays is a HEATHEN, not a Christian custom, believe it or not!

Nowhere does the Bible tell us to worship "Mother and Child." The apostles and early true Christians never did it! The Scriptures show an angel saying to Mary, "Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee" — the addition "blessed art thou among women," is omitted in the best original manuscripts (in Greek). Elizabeth said to Mary, "Blessed art thou among women." And Mary herself said, "From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed" (Luke 1:28, 42, 48).

She was highly blessed by God, and this has been acknowledged by all generations from that time — but this does not mean she is to be deified, worshiped, made a divine being, when she was merely human. The widespread worship of Mary, as "the Mother of God," the doctrine of the immaculate conception, which refers to her as a counterfeit mediatrix between man and God, is a continuation of this ancient Babylonian idolatry, begun by the clever deceptions of Semiramis, wife of Nimrod! It is inextricably bound up with the "Christmas" idea!

Thus the ancient idolatrous "Chaldean Mysteries," founded by this wife of Nimrod, have been handed down thru the pagan religions into the Catholic Church under new Christian-sounding names, and from there into the Protestant denominations and on to all of us today!

Origin of Holly Wreath, Mistletoe, Yule Log

Now where did we get this MISTLETOE custom? Among the ancient pagans the mistletoe was used at this festival of the winter solstice because it was considered sacred to the SUN, because of its supposed miraculous healing power. The pagan custom of kissing under the mistletoe was an early step in the night of revelry and drunken debauchery — celebrating the death of the "old sun" and the birth of the new at the winter solstice. Mistletoe, sacred in pagan festivals, is a PARASITE!

Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun-god. The yule log is in reality the "sun log." "Yule" means "wheel," a pagan symbol of the sun. Yet today professing Christians speak of the "sacred YULETIDE season!"

Even the lighting of fires and candles as a Christian ceremony is merely a continuation of the pagan custom, encouraging the waning sun-god as he reached the lowest place in the southern skies!

The Encyclopedia Americana says: "The holly, the mistletoe, the Yule log . . . are relics of pre-Christian times." "PAGANISM!" The book, Answers to Questions, compiled by Frederick J. Haskins, found in public libraries, says: "The use of Christmas wreaths is believed by authorities to be traceable to the pagan customs of decorating buildings and places of worship at the feast which took place at the same time as Christmas. The Christmas tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long anterior to the Christian Era."

Yes, and Even SANTA CLAUS!

But surely dear old Santa Claus is not a creature of pagan birth? But he IS, and his real character is not so benevolent and holy as many suppose!

The name "Santa Claus" is a corruption of the name "St. Nicholas," a Roman Catholic bishop who lived in the 5th century. Look in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 19, pages 648-9, 11th edition, where you'll read: "St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, . . . a saint honored by the Greeks and Latins on the sixth of December . . . . A legend of his surreptitious bestowal of dowries on the three daughters of an impoverished citizen . . . is said to have originated the old custom of giving presents in secret on the eve of St. Nicholas [Dec. 6], SUBSEQUENTLY TRANSFERRED TO CHRISTMAS DAY. Hence the association of Christmas with Santa Claus . . . ."

Thru the year, parents punish their children for telling falsehoods. Then, at Christmas time, they themselves tell their little children this "Santa Claus" lie! Is it any wonder many of them, when they grow up and learn the truth, begin to believe God is a myth, too?

One little fellow, sadly disillusioned about "Santa Claus," said to a playmate, "Yes, and I'm going to look into this 'Jesus Christ business,' too!" Is it CHRISTIAN to teach children myths and falsehoods? God says, "Thou shalt not bear FALSE WITNESS!" It may seem right, and be justified by human reason, but God says, "There is a way that seemeth RIGHT to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH!" "Old Nick" also is a term for the devil! Is there a connection? Satan appears as an "angel of LIGHT," to deceive! II Cor. 11:4 and Rev. 12.9.

And so when we examine the facts, we are astonished to learn that the practice of observing Christmas is not, after all, a true Christian practice, but a pagan custom — one of the ways of BABYLON our people have fallen into!

What the Bible Says About the Christmas Tree!

But if the Bible is silent about telling us to observe CHRISTMAS, or recording any such observance by the apostles or early true Church, it does have something to say about the Christmas tree!

This will come as a real surprise to many. But here it is:

Jeremiah 10:2-6 "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen . . . For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a TREE out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not."

There is a perfect description of the Christmas tree, termed by the Eternal as "the way of the heathen — the custom of the people." We are commanded NOT to learn that way or follow it! It is also viewed in this passage as idolatry. The fifth verse shows that these trees cannot speak — cannot walk — must be carried. "Be not afraid of them; for they (the trees) cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good." They are not gods to be feared. Some people misread this to make it say there is no harm in having a Christmas tree, but that is not what it says.

Isn't Exchanging GIFTS Scriptural?

But when it comes to the most important part of all in this Christmas observance — the Christmas SHOPPING season — the buying and exchanging of GIFTS — many will exclaim triumphantly, "Well, at least the Bible tells us to do THAT! Didn't the wise men give gifts when Christ was born?"

Again, we are due for some SURPRISES, when we learn the PLAIN TRUTH! First, let's look at the historic origin of trading gifts back and forth, then see exactly what the Bible does say about it.

From the Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 12, pages 153-155, we quote. "The interchange of presents between friends is alike characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the Pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows."

The fact is, this custom fastened upon people of exchanging gifts with friends and relatives at the Christmas season, has not a single trace of Christianity about it! Strange tho that may seem! This does NOT celebrate Christ's birthday or honor it or Him! Suppose someone you love has a birthday. You want to honor that person on his or her birthday. Would you lavishly buy gifts for everyone else, trading gifts back and forth with all your other friends and loved ones, but IGNORE COM-PLETELY any gift for the one whose birthday you are honoring? Rather absurd, when viewed in that light, isn't it?

Yet this is exactly what people the world over are doing! They honor a day that is NOT Christ's birthday by spending every dime they can scrape together in buying presents to trade back and forth among friends and relatives. But I can say by years of experience, as I believe most pastors and ministers can say, that when the month of December rolls around, nearly all professing Christians forget to give gifts to CHRIST and HIS CAUSE almost altogether!

Now consider what the Bible says about giving gifts when Christ was born. It is in Matthew 2:1-11. "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? . . . And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto HIM gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

WHY Gifts Presented to Christ

Notice, they inquired for the child Jesus, who was born KING of the Jews! Now WHY did they present gifts to Him? Because it was His birthday? Not at all, because they came several days or weeks after the date of his birth! Was it to set an example for US, today, to trade gifts back and forth among ourselves? No, notice carefully! — they did not exchange gifts among themselves, but "they presented unto HIM gifts." They gave THEIR gifts to CHRIST, not to their friends, relatives, or one another!

WHY? Let me quote from the Adam Clarke Commentary, Vol. 5, page 46: "Verse 11. (They presented unto Him gifts). The people of the east never approach the presence of kings and great personages, without a present in their hands. The custom is often noticed in the Old Testament, and still prevails in the east, and in some of the newly discovered South Sea Islands."

There it is! They were not instituting a NEW Christian custom of exchanging gifts with friends to honor Christ's birthday. They were following an OLD and ANCIENT eastern custom of presenting gifts to a KING when they came into his presence. They were approaching Him, born KING of the Jews, in person. Therefore custom required they present GIFTS — even as the Queen of Sheba brought gifts to Solomon — even as many people today take a gift along when they visit the White House for an appointment with the President.

No, the custom of TRADING GIFTS back and forth does not stem from this Scriptural incident at all, but rather, as quoted from history above, it is the continuance of an ancient PAGAN custom. Instead of honoring Christ, it invariably RETARDS His work, often sets it back, at the Christmas season every year!

We're IN BABYLON, and Haven't KNOWN IT!

Christmas has become a COMMERCIAL season. It's sponsored, kept alive, by the heaviest retail advertising campaign of the year. You see a masqueraded "Santa Claus" in many stores. Ads keep us deluded and deceived about the "beautiful Christmas SPIRIT." The newspapers, who sell the ads, print flowery editorials exalting and eulogizing the pagan season, and its "spirit." Gullible people have become so inoculated, many take offense when told the TRUTH! But the "Christmas SPIRIT" is created each year, not to honor Christ, but to SELL MERCHANDISE! Like all Satan's delusions, it appears as an "angel of LIGHT," is made to appear GOOD. BILLIONS OF DOLLARS are spent in this merchandising spree every year, while the CAUSE OF CHRIST must SUFFER! It's part of the economic system of BABYLON!

We are God's people ISRAEL! Yes, we're IN BABYLON, as Bible prophecy foretold, and we don't know it! Come OUT of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her SINS, and that ye receive not of HER PLAGUES" — now soon to fall — is the warning of Rev. 18:4.

David J. Stewart

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Why the Focused Rest of Shabbat is Important

By Michael Berg 

Rest and action are two poles of existence. Whatever one is doing, one is either resting or exerting oneself. Exertion complements rest and rest complements exertion as day complements night and night complements day. The reader knows from universal experience, that exercise leads to a deeper sleep and that without resting, one cannot have the energy to act. Therefore, the question of primary importance, as with all pairs of opposites, is the question of balance.

The issue of balance between work and rest is epitomized in the difference between the Hebrew and the Greek approaches to time and place.

In Homer’s epics, the heroes fight battles and travel on voyages. The direction of activity starts from home and extends outward to the farthest reaches of the Earth.

In the case of the ancient Hebrews, their texts describe the conquest of a homeland and its settlement. The direction of activity is inwards. The goal is to return to the pre-fallen state of man wherein man lived in a garden and the point of life was to “settle it and guard it.” The ultimate messianic vision is that “every man would sit under his vine and under his fig tree.” The ultimate goal is to arrive at a state of tranquility wherein movement is unnecessary and time is of no consequence.

The goal of technology is to quicken movement, to go faster and farther, in less time and with less effort. Let us take a step back and look at the expectations for modern technology and how it would help us. Calculators were meant to replace slower and more tedious forms of computation. Cars and planes were invented to save the time and effort of lugging baggage and one’s self to various locations. In these respects, technology has succeeded.

However, everyone expected that technology would lead to shorter workweeks, but it has not. Ever since Henry Ford came up with the forty-hour work-week, nothing in North America has changed. Instead, technology has become invasive, eliminating the boundaries between work and the rest of one’s life, thereby increasing the length of the work-week to allow it to reach to within one’s private life.

Home is no longer a refuge from work and the time in our private lives has decreased.

The reason for this failure of technology to save time is that focusing on action will not increase rest. No matter how much one focuses on getting things done, there will always be more to do. In fact, the more one focuses on getting things done, the more things one finds to do!

The only solution is to focus on rest. A focused rest is different than a rest that is merely a gap between two activities. Just as it takes focus to be active, it takes focus to properly rest. It also takes an appreciation for rest. We must set aside time to rest, to just be and to not achieve. The key is in setting aside time both for rest and activity; and in this, the Hebrew approach is worthy of emulation.

As opposed to the Ancient Greeks, who had no day of rest, the Hebrews set aside a day for focused rest, the Sabbath. This day is not considered a break from the week, but the purpose of the week! On this day one does not merely take time off, but instead actively focuses on creating an atmosphere of rest. Electronic devices are completely forbidden by Orthodox Judaism to be used on the Sabbath.

The Sabbath also exists in Christianity, the premier child of both Greek and Hebrew civilization that has inherited practice and ideology from both. In abandoning religion, western society has abandoned its Hebrew heritage to exclusively focus on continuing the Hellenic pursuit of perpetual advancement.

Ancient Greece tired itself out and vanished. The Hebrews are still here. Was tranquility the secret for their longevity? Perhaps it was. Perhaps the wise reader would like to entertain the thought of a day without technology once a week — a day of tranquility.

Source: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/23561/Default.aspx?ref=newsletter-20121212

 

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Is it True that Jesus Never Addressed Homosexuality?

By Mike Riccardi

A couple of months ago, I began responding to a couple of popular arguments for why some believe that homosexuality is reconcilable with Christianity. 

My hope was (and still is) that I might be able to serve those who are mistaken in this regard by helping them to see that faith in Jesus and His Word cannot be reconciled with attempts to legitimize homosexuality. 

I had addressed the semi-sarcastic objection that we as Christians are inconsistent in condemning homosexuality on the basis of the Levitical law, since we don’t also condemn eating shellfish and mixing fabrics. I also addressed the objection that in condemning homosexuality Christians are being unloving—getting caught up in the details while forgetting that our cardinal Christian virtue is love. If you haven’t read those, I hope you will.

But today I want to address another popular argument for reconciling homosexuality with true Christianity. And that is the objection that Jesus Himself never said a word about homosexuality. Those who make this argument grant that Paul condemned it as sinful (Rom 1:26–27; 1 Cor 6:9–10; 1 Tim 1:9–10). But the sentiment behind this objection is that Paul had corrupted the way of life and the ideology that Jesus came to propagate, and that Jesus would have been “loving” and “accepting” of homosexuals, just as they are.

But is it true that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality?

Actually, just like the other objections, there are several reasons for which this objection simply does not hold up to biblical and logical scrutiny. Today I’d like to address five of them.

Argument from Silence

First, it must be noted that this is an argument from silence, and thus rests on a shaky rational foundation. Jesus also didn’t say a word about pedophilia, bestiality, or rape. But it would be absurd to seek to garner support for any of those abominable acts on the basis of such silence.

Special Pleading

Secondly, this objection rests upon a premise that the objectors reject—namely, that the Bible is God’s infallible Word. What I mean is: the only source of knowledge for the claim that Jesus never said something about a particular topic is the Bible itself. The argument is: “Jesus never said anything [implied: as we see recorded in the Bible] about homosexuality.” Yet it is the authority of this very Bible that these folks deny when they refuse to accept Paul’s teaching on homosexuality. So the argument itself is a case of special pleading. Those who employ it appeal to an authority that they elsewhere explicitly reject—namely, the Bible as God’s Word.

No Reason to Say What Everyone Agreed Upon

Third, a great portion of Jesus’ ministry related to Israel and those familiar with the Law of Moses. They were living in an age under the Mosaic Covenant, which explicitly condemned homosexuality (Lev 18:22; 20:13). Unless there was some precipitating issue that would force Jesus to comment on homosexuality, the only reasonable conclusion—especially in light of the fact that Jesus viewed the Old Testament as the very Word of God (e.g., Matt 22:43) which was infallible (John 10:35)—is that His view of homosexuality was the Old Testament’s view (i.e., God’s view) of homosexuality.

What Jesus Did Say about Marriage

Fourth, when Jesus did speak about marriage, He affirmed it as an institution between a male and a female. In Matthew 19, the Pharisees asked Him what He thought about divorce, hoping to trap Him into disagreeing with Moses and therefore finding reason for condemning Him. Now, in Jesus’ response about why divorce is a bad thing and a result of the hardness of human hearts, Jesus says, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

Now, if Jesus wanted to simply and efficiently answer the Pharisees’ question about divorce, He could have done so by skipping immediately to verse 5: “Have you not read that the two become one flesh?” That’s really the answer to the question about divorce. God joins spouses together as one flesh, and man shouldn’t separate what God has joined together.

So why does He start, in verse 4, by reminding the Pharisees that God made human beings male and female? For two reasons, at least. One, He goes out of His way to make this point in order to underscore that marriage, by its very nature, is a divinely-ordained institution—that the originator of marriage is the Creator Himself. Number two, He makes this point, which would otherwise seem superfluous, in order to make it clear that that divinely-ordained institution exists only between one man and one woman. God created man as male and female, and then brought them together in one flesh as the husband-wife relationship illustrates the complementarity and unity-in-diversity that characterizes God’s own nature as one Being who eternally exists in three Persons.

All of Scripture is the Word of Jesus

But all of those responses are really supplementary to this final one. It concerns the inspiration of the New Testament. While it’s true that we have no record of Jesus speaking about homosexuality during His earthly sojourn, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to speak His words (John 16:12–14), superintended what Paul wrote so that he wrote exactly what God desired to be written (2 Tim 3:16–17; 2 Pet 1:20–21).

See, strictly speaking, Jesus did not stop speaking when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John finished their Gospel accounts. While Jesus was still on earth, He told the disciples that He had much to say to them, things which they could not bear at that time (John 16:12). But He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to the disciples and would guide them into all truth. This is a promise from Jesus Himself that the word that the Holy Spirit would speak through the disciples would be Christ’s own words (John 16:13). In this way, the Spirit would glorify Jesus (John 16:14).

And the Holy Spirit did just that. As the Church was being built, the Spirit spoke Jesus’ words to the writers of the New Testament. All Scripture (which, according to 2 Peter 3:16, included Paul’s writings) is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16)—that is, it is the very Word of God, His own breath. “But,” you ask, “didn’t men write Scripture?” Yes they did. But the Holy Spirit so superintended the minds and wills of the writers of Scripture such that the words they wrote under their own recognizance were precisely what God wanted to say to His people (2 Pet 1:20–21).

So the Book of Acts, the epistles of Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude, the letter to the Hebrews, and the Revelation given to the Apostle John are all the word of God Himself. And, since God exists eternally as Father, Son, and Spirit, and since Jesus is Himself God the Son, all of the New Testament is the Word of Christ. Even the words not appearing in red type are nevertheless the Lord of the Church speaking to His Church by means of the Holy Spirit through the agency of human writers.

So did Jesus address homosexuality? Yes, He did. He did so by sending His Spirit to superintend the writing of Paul such that what Paul wrote was precisely what Jesus intended, so much so that it could be said to be “God-breathed.” Jesus condemned homosexuality by means of Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality. And therefore, to deny that homosexuality is sinful is to deny Jesus Himself, and is irreconcilable with true, biblical Christianity.

Source: http://thecripplegate.com/is-it-true-that-jesus-never-addressed-homosexuality/

 

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Do you feel the world’s on the brink of chaos?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

There is a sense of urgency in the air. Our nation is on the brink of moral and economic collapse. The world is caught up in an insane frenzy of terrorism. The Middle East is about to explode. And the biblical signs of the times are shouting from the heavens that Jesus is about to return.

In the words of Charles Dickens, "It is the best of times, it is the worst of times."

It is the worst of times because the depravity of Man is manifesting itself in the increasing rejection and blasphemy of God. The result is an exponential increase in violence and immorality.

It is the best of times because the collapse of society worldwide is the fulfillment of end time prophecies that point to the soon return of Jesus.

Jesus Himself said that He would return at a time when society was once again as immoral and violent as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37).

An Exciting But Challenging Time

We are privileged to be living in such an exciting and momentous time when we can witness the stage being set for the triumphant return of Jesus. But it is a time that calls for courage.

We simply must keep our eyes on Jesus, and we must remember that even if our nation has no hope, we as individual Christians have great hope.

But that sense of hope will prevail in our lives only if we consciously and determinedly live with an eternal perspective.

God is in Control

We must keep in mind that as the world falls apart around us, God's Word says that He "sits in the heavens and laughs" (Psalm 2:4). His laughter is not prompted by a lack of concern. Rather, He laughs because God has everything under control, for He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the ultimate triumph of His Son.

He has also promised that He will walk with those who are Christians, accompanying us through fire and high water (Isaiah 43:1-3).

And God has promised us an escape before the world totally collapses into absolute chaos (Luke 21:36). That escape is called the Rapture. When Paul revealed this escape in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he concluded by saying, "Comfort one another with these words."

Additionally, we have the promise of the Millennial reign of Jesus to look forward to. What a day that will be!

Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords from Jerusalem. David, in his glorified body, will reign as King of Israel. We, in our glorified bodies, will be scattered across the earth to reign over those in the flesh. And the earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice, as the waters cover the seas (Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 11:3-9).

Maranatha!

Source: http://www.lamblion.com

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Heaven Is for Real But Are Near-Death Experiences

By Greg Stier

I just read the Newsweek magazine article "Heaven is Real" which was written from the perspective of a neurosurgeon who claims to have taken a trip to heaven while in a coma for seven days. He says that the part of his brain that drives brain function was turned off while he was under, so there was no way that he could have imagined it.

What was heaven like according to Dr. Eban Alexander? A beautiful young woman was his guide into this heavenly experience of giant butterflies and angelic like creatures who streaked across the sky. God was an inky darkness which was emanating love.

Interesting.

It reminds me of the great fervor that spilled out a few years ago when the book "Heaven is for Real." This book written by Todd Burpo was a father's recounting of his four year old boy's story when he supposedly died, went to heaven and witnessed his version of the afterlife.

So what are we as Christians to think of the doctor and the preschooler? Do we automatically stand up and say, "Amen! See, I told you!" to all of our atheist or agnostic friends? Do we theologically take them apart and prove they are wrong? Do we just leave it all alone, afraid to get on what could be an Ozzy-less crazy train?

Here are 3 things I do when approached with stories like this:

1. I'm initially suspect.

Don't get me wrong. I fully believe in heaven (and hell for that matter!) I'm convinced that heaven will be more amazing than we could ever imagine. How do I know? The great apostle John gives a firsthand account in the book of Revelation of the glory, immensity, power and beauty of heaven. 

There are times when he has trouble putting what he's describing into words which measure up, but it's obvious that his vision of heaven is overwhelming to him. It's also interesting that the apostle John did not have a "near-death" experience. He had a clear vision while he was alive and well and stuck on the Island of Patmos as a prisoner of the Romans.

So why do I tend to be suspect of firsthand accounts of those who say they died and then came back? Because the Bible has two clear promises which seem to contradict this:

"For we live by faith, not by sight"(2 Corinthians 5:7).

"Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment…" (Hebrews 9:27).

I'm not saying that God can't make exceptions to the rules he has written (after all he is God and can do whatever he wants), but these two passages loom large in front of me as a yellow light about to turn red when someone claims to have died, gone to heaven and come back.

For those (like the good doctor) who claim to have gone to heaven while still technically alive I am still suspect…at first. Bold claims must be backed up with bold evidence.

2. I weigh their description of heaven against the Bible's.

When "Heaven is for Real" came out it was interesting to me how many Christians flocked to accept this preschooler's description of heaven without thinking or blinking. Many of these same Christians, I assume, had not studied the Bible thoroughly on the subject of heaven and measured it against what the little boy said.

Christians, it seemed, would rather accept the testimony of a four year old boy (who I assume is a very sweet kid) over prophets like Ezekiel, apostles like John and Jesus Christ himself.

So how does the Bible describe heaven?

-Jesus describes it as big. In John 14 Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so I would have told you."

-John describes the capitol city of heaven (aka "The New Jerusalem") as big, brilliant and beautiful. According to Revelation 21:17 it is 1,400 miles long, high, wide and deep. If it landed on America it would extend from the Canadian border to the Mexican border and from Chicago to Salt Lake City. It would extend 1,300 miles into space.

-In heaven there are streets of gold (Revelation 21:21), walls of twelve precious stones (Revelation 21:19), gates made from giant pearls (Revelation 21:21) and a tree that bears twelve kinds of fruit (Revelation 22:2).

-There is no sickness, sadness, disease or death (Revelation 21:4).

-The Father dwells there in an unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16).

-Jesus is in the center of this city (Revelation 7:17), seated on a throne (Revelation 7:11-12) on what looks like a sea of glass (Revelation 4:6).

-Seraphim flutter around his throne singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" (Isaiah 6:3).

And on and on and on the descriptions go in Scripture. What is common to most of these descriptions is a glorious, heart-rending, mind-blowing description of Jesus being central. So, any book that comes out that doesn't drive the same theme or has a different physical description of heaven I move to the fiction side of my library.

3. I use it as an opportunity to talk to people about Jesus.

There have been several times when I heard somebody talking about "the amazing story in 'Heaven is for Real.'" I didn't challenge them theologically or tell them that it could be "a bunch of malarkey."

No, I used this book and these types of books as conversation starters to whether or not they know for sure they are going to heaven. I've had great evangelistic witnessing experiences as a result.

These kinds of books, whether true or not, get read by the general public. And the general public needs Jesus.

Whether you choose to believe the Newsweek article entitled "Heaven is Real" or the book written a few years ago entitled "Heaven is for Real" is up to you. Measure it against Scripture and make your decision. But use it as a conversation starter with those who don't know Jesus. Why?

Because heaven IS for real!

Source: http://www.christianpost.com/news/heaven-is-for-real-but-are-near-death-experiences-83578/

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‘Staying in His Lane’—Joel Osteen’s Gospel of Affirmation Without Salvation

By Dr. Albert Mohler
Source: www.bibleprophecyblog.com

Joel Osteen was back on CNN this week, appearing Thursday morning on “Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.” Osteen’s new book, I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life, has recently hit the nation’s bookstores.

Osteen’s positive thinking theology was on full display in the interview, as in the book. O’Brien asked if he really believes that speaking declarations out loud can make them come true. 

Osteen assured her that he does, promising that speaking positive words can bring positive results and warning that speaking negativity will bring negative results. “I don’t think there’s anything magic about, but those words go out and comes right back in and affects your own self-image.”

In the book itself, Osteen asserts, “you’ve got to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go.” The theme of his book is simple: “With our words we can either bless our futures or we can curse our futures.”

The most enthusiastic response to Osteen’s message came from Deepak Chopra, the New Age self-help guru, who was also on the program. He affirmed Osteen’s message and added, “I’ve believed forever that there’s no mental event that doesn’t have a brain representation, that every thought actually generates molecules.”

The two self-help experts then elaborated on their ideas, with Osteen urging “activating faith,” because “faith is what causes God to work.” Later, he even spoke of “speaking to the seeds of greatness that God’s placed in all of us.”

The appearance of Osteen and Chopra together was a priceless demonstration of the fact that the New Thought positive thinking philosophy that drives them both can be grafted onto either Christianity or Asian religion. 

In the end, it all sounds the same. Chopra’s New Age spirituality and Osteen’s updated version of the word-faith movement end up as the same message, just with different trappings.

Soledad O’Brien then shifted the topic to homosexuality, as would be expected. As she said to Osteen, “almost every time we have a pastor on, it’s a conversation we have.”

She then said to Osteen, “when you say homosexuality is a sin and there’s a bunch of people who clearly are gay in your church. You’re calling them sinners. I mean, that’s the opposite of uplifting, I would think.”

She established the perfect platform for Osteen to respond with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he did not. “Well, Soledad, I don’t necessarily focus on that. I only talk about that in interviews.”

So this pastor only talks about sin on televisions interviews, and then only when forced to do so. He then tried to broaden the talk of sin to being critical and even “being negative.”

Osteen then tried to explain that he has tried to avoid such issues by intention. “I think part of my, if you want to call it success, I’ve stayed in my lane and my lane is lifting people’s spirits and there are issues that good, Bible-believing people see on both sides of the fence.”

So, “good, Bible-believing people” are found on both sides of the fence when it comes to the issue of homosexuality, Osteen says. His intention is clearly to straddle that fence.

As he has said previously, he affirmed that homosexuality is not “God’s best” for humanity. Even then, the words had to be put into his mouth by others, including a major homosexual activist also on the program.

Pressed again by Soledad O’Brien, Osteen repeated, “first of all, in my services I don’t cover all those issues that we talk about here.” Later, he responded to another question by stating: “And I don’t understand all those issues and so, you know, I try to stick to the issues that I do understand. I know this, I am for everybody. I’m not for pushing people down.”

Viewers of CNN saw a display of confusion, evasion, and equivocation coming from one presented as a Christian pastor. What they were really seeing is the total theological bankruptcy of the word of faith movement and the gospel of positive thinking. 

Osteen cannot, or at least will not, speak even the simplest word of biblical conviction. He states his intention to stay in his “lane” of glib affirmation.

Affirmation is important, and humans crave it. But affirmation as a sinner is the worst possible form of pastoral malpractice. Christianity is based on the truth that sinners need a Savior, not merely a coach or a therapist.

Joel Osteen’s appearance on CNN Thursday revealed little that is new. It was Osteen as always—evasive and confused, but constantly smiling. This is now his calculated and well-practiced approach. He offered no word of the gospel, and no reference to Jesus Christ, but he was introduced as “one of the most recognizable faces of Christianity in America today.”

There, for all to see, was Joel Osteen . . . staying in his lane.

 

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America in Bible Prophecy

By Jack Kinsella

King Nebuchadnezzar lived and reigned over Babylon when the city was home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was Nebuchadnezzar that constructed the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar was a real guy who really lived. In 597 BC he captured Jerusalem and deposed King Jehoiakim. The Jews rebelled and in 587 Nebuchadnezzar destroyed both the city and the Temple and deported Judah’s most prominent citizens to Babylon.

Uncounted thousands of Jews died in the siege, with the defenders eventually even resorting to cannibalism in their efforts to survive. The Temple of God was defiled. The Holy of Holies was desecrated and the Temple treasures looted.

Where was God when all this was happening? The Jews were His Chosen People; the Temple was His place on the Earth. Why didn't He interfere?

When the Ark was being transported aboard an oxcart, one of the oxen stumbled and an Israelite named Uzzah put out his hand to steady it. According to 2 Samuel 6:7, the moment Uzzah’s hand touched the Ark he fell over dead.

So how could a Gentile king and his hordes manage to sack the Temple without having to worry about Divine retribution?

“Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:” (Daniel 2:20-21)

“Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.”(Daniel 2:37-38)

Do you see it? Nebuchadnezzar was able to sack the Temple, touch the Temple treasures, defile the Holy of Holies and even steal from God, so to speak, because God appointed him.

God sets up kings. God removes kings. God made Nebuchadnezzar ruler over them, according to His purpose. The Prophet Daniel, a victim of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest, understood this principle well.

Nebuchadnezzar was king because God wanted him to be king and he would only stay king as long as God wanted him to.

God also appointed Cyrus the Persian, Alexander the Great, Caligula, Pilate, Kaiser Wilhelm, King Leopold II, Czar Nicholas, Emperor Hirohito, Kim il Sung, Mao Tze Tung, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot and every other murderous dictator in history.

Bible prophecy is the telling – in advance – of how these tyrants who had absolute power on earth, were mere pawns in the overall Big Picture of history.

God sets up kings and He brings down kings according to His will.

No tyrant, no matter how terrible, achieved his rank through his own effort. And while Satan is certainly capable of corrupting them, he is powerless to appoint them.

This is one of the harder sayings of Scripture, but it is nonetheless true. Every tyrant in history was either appointed by God or the Bible is not true.

When the Apostle Paul wrote his Epistle to the Romans, Nero was emperor of Rome. Ultimately, Paul was beheaded on Nero’s orders. It is especially important to keep Nero in mind when reading Paul’s admonition to the Romans as recorded in Romans 13:1-6.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. 

Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 

Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”

Let me repeat myself here: when Paul was speaking of the higher powers being ordained by God according to His purposes, Paul was speaking of Emperor Nero!

Nebuchadnezzar could lay siege to Jerusalem because God permitted it. Indeed, the Siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar was part of the overall plan of God for the ages.

It was from Babylon that Daniel was given the outline of future history from the order to rebuild the Temple to the reign of the antichrist in the last days.

No detail was left to chance – if we learn anything from Bible prophecy, we learn that every event is interconnected with the events that came before and those to come afterwards. Remove some of it and all of it collapses.

Now we come to the point of today’s briefing. What does Barack Obama, American politics and the Election of 2012 have to do with Bible prophecy?

Let’s look first at what we know as opposed to what we think. Barack Obama would not be president of the United States if God didn’t want him there. We know that as a certainty.

So by observing Obama’s agenda, if we are as far along the timeline as I believe we are, Obama’s agenda should provide insights into God’s agenda for the last days as articulated by Scripture.

As we’ve discussed previously, right or wrong, America is perceived by the world as the world’s most Christian nation. It is that perception that is relevant.

If I wanted to convey a message, I would use symbols that would make sense to those I was trying to reach. So if I wanted to convey a message to the Church about the collapse of Biblical Christianity at about the same time as the end of the Church Age, I would probably start this way:

“This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come” – and then I would describe the prevailing moral state of the world’s most Christian nation.

I wouldn’t describe the moral state of the whole world, since the moral state of the whole world, apart from Christ, has remained unchanged since Adam.

I’d describe a primarily Christian people in what is recognized as a primarily Christian nation — one whose moral state was in obvious and discernible deterioration from a less immoral state.

The president sets the moral agenda for the nation – that’s just the way it is. America under Reagan was more moral than under Clinton. It was more moral under Bush than under Obama.

That isn’t to say the presidents were, but rather their agendas – since their agenda reflects that of the people that elected them.

America elected Barack Obama in 2008. The moral agenda of the nation has since reflected Obama’s morals. What are they?

Obama marks every Muslim holiday with a speech. When Obama mentioned Passover, he likened it to the uprisings in the Arab world.

It is hard to imagine showing more disrespect for Judaism than to link the Passover celebration with the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And Obama remained absolutely silent during the most solemn feast day on the Christian calendar, (apart from hosting an Easter Egg hunt).

Obama’s agenda has accelerated America’s decline exponentially. When Obama took office, the IMF was warning that if America didn’t get its financial house in order, it would lose its status as the world’s most powerful economy by 2030.

The IMF recently issued a revised forecast saying that at the present rate, the Age of America will come to an end in 2016 – the final year of an Obama second term.

Obama is president because God wanted Obama in the Oval Office at this exact moment in history.

Comparing Obama’s agenda with the agenda of the antichrist –a global government, centralized global economy and a global religious system and a global religious system hostile to Christians and Jews – American presidential politics takes on extreme relevance to Bible prophecy.

The antichrist is a politician who presides over a political system that has a form of godliness but denies the power thereof; gives lip service to the god of forces but who ultimately views himself as being above any god.

America is the country the rest of the world looks at as the world’s most Christian country. So when the world’s most Christian country elects a guy who claims to be Christian, gives lip service to Islam, despises the Jews and whose agenda guarantees America’s fall within two terms, whether or not he gets a second term is useful to the interpretation of unfolding Bible prophecy.

Obama is the president of the United States right now because God put him there. If he gets a second term, is that relevant to Bible prophecy?

Source: http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7422

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Why Does God Allow Hurricanes?

By Jerry Newcombe

The shortest sermon I ever heard was delivered whimsically.

On a Sunday night, many years ago, an associate pastor of a popular mega-church got up to preach. He said that the topic of his sermon was, "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?" Then he said, "The answer to that question is very simple: There are no good people." Then he pivoted and began to walk away.

A half minute later, he returned to the pulpit and delivered his actual message. I don't remember a word of what followed, but I've never forgotten his humorous prelude.

With Hurricane Isaac causing some havoc and threatening a lot more (as of this writing, it seems to be following the path of Katrina), we remember again the problem of reconciling a good God with suffering.

Some politicians have weighed in on the hurricane, tying it into the Republican Convention in Tampa. On August 24, US Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), told WLS radio in Chicago, "Well, it means that the gods are favoring Democrats. Not that we wish any kind of difficulty in terms of the weather." The next day, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm tweeted, "R convention delay due to Isaac: I guess God has ways to shut the whole thing down."

When it looked like the GOP convention was going to be spared and New Orleans might be hit, actor Samuel L. Jackson tweeted in a profanity-laced message on Monday that it was "unfair." And an actress tweeted a message, also with swearing, regretting that Isaac wasn't going to wash away the pro-lifers, et al, into the ocean.

All politics aside, how could a good God allow hurricanes or other forms of natural disasters?

This is a core question that keeps resurfacing. Presumably, it is part of what keeps some from believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

There's only so much you can say in this type of forum. But here are a few observations I make, as a student of the Bible and as a student of history.

1) Ultimately, we don't know why God allows these things. His ways are not our ways.

The whole book of Job deals with the issue of Job's suffering-why did God allow it? Throughout the book, Job's "friends" or "comforters" insist he must be guilty of secret sin; otherwise he wouldn't be going through all this pain. Job maintains his integrity throughout the ordeal, but does question God's justice in all this.

At the end of the book, God rebukes Job's comforters. But He also asks Job many pointed questions, such as, "Where were you when I created the heavens and the earth?" Over and over, for four chapters, God puts Job in his place. He also says words to this effect: Will you condemn Me to justify yourself? That's precisely what many do today.

2) We live in a fallen world. Fallen because of humanity's sin. Bad stuff happens to everyone. So does good stuff. Someone once said, "The real question isn't, 'Why do bad things happen to good people? But, why do good things happen to bad people?'" In any event, hurricanes are a reminder that things are not right between us and the Creator. Jesus said the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

Despite the hurricane, or anything bad that may come our way, faith can provide comfort. Even in the midst of the storm, God can help. It's reported that minutes before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot on that hotel balcony in Memphis in 1968, he was requesting the hymn, "Precious Lord, Take my Hand," to be sung at that night's meeting.

The words are instructive: "Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on; let me stand. I am tired; I am weak; I am worn. Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light. Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home."

Come what may, even a hurricane, faith in the Lord produces endurance, even in very difficult circumstances. As is often said, "There are no atheists in foxholes."

3) Christ experienced suffering on the cross for the sake of our salvation. To paraphrase the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, Jesus experienced the hurricane of God's wrath when He died for sinners. So in Jesus, the God of the universe experienced things even worse than a hurricane, so that He might secure our salvation. We are blessed to know that Christ will never leave or forsake us during our time of suffering.

4) Believers can bring glory to God's Name through the storm. And when the storms are over, we can provide needed help. Frankly, millions of faithful Christians rise to the occasion, storm after storm. Even an atheist marveled at this. When Hurricane Katrina hit, skeptic Roy Hattersley wrote an editorial for the UK Guardian (9/11/05), in which he said of the groups providing post-hurricane relief: "Notable by their absence are teams from rationalist societies, free thinkers' clubs and atheists' associations-the sort of people who not only scoff at religion's intellectual absurdity but also regard it as a positive force for evil."

He added, "… faith comes with a packet of moral imperatives that, while they do not condition the attitude of all believers, influence enough of them to make them morally superior to atheists like me." I appreciate his honesty.

A hurricane might be a wake-up call from on high, and when (and if) it comes, I hope you'll join all those of good will who will do what they can to improve the circumstances for those hurt and needy.

Source: http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-does-god-allow-hurricanes-80769/

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Bible Predicted Date Of Israel’s Return

Source: http://www.wnd.com

The author of “Covenant: G-d’s Plan for Israel in the Last Days,” a book by Baruch Battlestein published in Italy, cites prophecies by Ezekiel and Moses that pinpoint with precision the date of Israel’s return to the land in May 1948.

“Was May 14, 1948, chosen by G-d as the exact day in time to resurrect the nation of Israel, or was it just some random date in human history?” Battlestein asks. “Could it be possible that this exact date was prophesied thousands of years before in Scripture?”

Battlestein cites three verses to reach his conclusion that the date of Israel’s return to the land after 1,900 years was indeed prophesied accurately.

The first is Ezekiel 37:21-22: “And say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.’”

This verse, Battlestein points out, shows “that it was the will of the Lord to bring them back to their own land and make them one nation in the land.”

The second citation of interest is Leviticus 26:23-24: “And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; Then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins.”

“As a stand-alone verse this is very strange, and when applying it to the history of Israel it seems impossible to fully understand,” writes the author. “However, when we read the Book of Ezekiel we find another strange prophecy that leads us back to G-d’s prophecy in Leviticus. It is through these prophecies that we come to an understanding that May 14, 1948, was the exact date chosen by G-d for the resurrection of Israel thousands of years before it took place.”

That second Ezekiel citation is Ezekiel 4:4-6: “Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.”

“In this strange prophecy, Ezekiel is commanded to first lay on his left side for 390 days and then on his right side for 40 days, for a total of 430 days, as punishment for the iniquities of the house of Israel,” explains Battlestein. 

“We are told that this punishment represents one day for each year. Taken alone, the prophecies in Leviticus and Ezekiel do not take on any specific significance. However, when we combine them, the results are astonishing.”

He continues: “G-d decreed to Israel a total of 430 years of punishment for her sins against Him. That punishment consisted of physical removal from the land G-d had promised His people. Israel’s captivity in Babylon was exactly 70 years as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10). Therefore, the first 70 years of Israel’s punishment was completed when the Babylonian captivity ended. 

By the decree of King Cyrus, conquerer or Babylon, the Jews were set free from their captivity in the year 538 B.C.E. The year 538 B.C.E, therefore becomes the base year with which we begin our calculations: 430 years minus 70 year captivity equals 360 years of remaining punishment to come.”

That’s where the Leviticus prophecy kicks in, says Battlestein. The 360 years needed to be multiplied by seven, for a total of 2,520 years.

Using the 360-day Hebrew calendar, that totals 907,200 days. When converted to the 365-day calendar, the 2,520 years or 907,200 days becomes 2,485 years and five months or 2,485.5 years and months. If you subtract 538 years B.C.E, you get 1,947 years and five months.

Battlestein reminds that there was no year zero.

“Therefore, the year 1,947.5 we call the year 1948.5,” he explains. “So exactly 1,947.5 years after 538 B.C.E., we come to the year 1948.5,” he writes. “May is the fifth month of the modern calendar, and on May 14, 1948, Israel arose from the ashes of extinction to become a nation!”

Battlestein is a messianic Jew who lived in Israel until moving to the U.S. He is the author of several books.

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What type of Christian are you?

By Dr. David R. Reagan
Founder & Director, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Source: www.lamblion.com

Cultural? — A Barna Group research survey revealed that America's churches are full of cultural Christians. Such people have grown up in Christianity, they attend church regularly, and they profess to be Christians. What distinguishes them from other Christians is their lack of a personal relationship with Jesus. In short, they are Christians in name only because they have never been born again.

Former President Jimmy Carter was the one who made Americans conscious of the term "born again Christian." That is the label he applied to himself in 1976 when he was campaigning for the presidency. I remember how many Christian leaders rushed to the press to proclaim that they were not "one of those born again types." I found their protestations very interesting in view of the fact that Jesus Himself said that no one can enter Heaven unless they are born again (John 3:3).

The cultural Christian is just that — a person who considers himself to be a Christian because he has been raised in a Christian culture. Al Gore is a good example. He was raised in a Southern Baptist heritage, but during his presidential campaign, he made it clear that Christianity was only his "faith heritage" and nothing more. The cultural Christian, if he has any commitment at all, is committed to religion or a church, and not to Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior. Such a person is unsaved.

Born Again? — The Barna Group defines the next step up as the "born again Christian." Born Again Christians are those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and who believe that salvation is dependent upon their relationship with Jesus. These people are saved.

Evangelical? — Barna defines Evangelical Christians as having the highest level of Christian commitment. This is a born again person who strongly holds to certain fundamental biblical truths. Only 7% of Americans qualify as evangelicals, as opposed to 41% who could be classified as born again.

What are you? Could you qualify as an evangelical Christian?

Good News — The Americans who were polled, whether Christian or not, strongly agreed on three biblical points.

1) Almost 75% agreed that God created the universe — an incredible number when you consider all the evolutionist propaganda we are bombarded with daily.

2) Almost 70% rejected the idea that sin is an outdated concept — another incredible response when you consider the "different strokes for different folks" mentality that seems to predominate today.

3) Not surprisingly, 50% stated that they believed in the reality of angels and their influence (I guess we can thank old shows like "Touched by an Angel" and "Highway to Heaven").

Bad NewsThe number of born again adults who held views contrary to the Bible was astonishing. Almost 70% agreed that the Bible teaches that God helps those who help themselves. Fifty-three percent denied the existence of the Holy Spirit as a person! Forty-seven percent stated that they did not believe in the existence of Satan. Thirty-one percent said they felt a good person could earn his way into heaven; 30% denied the physical resurrection of Jesus; and 24% said they thought Jesus had committed sins!

Solution

Such an abysmal lack of biblical knowledge about the fundamentals of the faith points to a famine of Bible study and preaching in the churches of America. People are obviously hearing inspirational ditties or warmed over homilies from the Reader's Digest.

We can be thankful that we are not saved by biblical knowledge, but by a relationship with Jesus. But a lack of biblical knowledge stunts spiritual growth and opens people up to doctrinal heresies and cultic deception.

The churches of America need to stop focusing on entertaining people. They also need to stop tiptoeing through the tulips doctrinally for fear of being seeker insensitive. We need to get back to the Word of God, to the fundamentals of the faith, and we need to be willing to step on toes when necessary by confronting people with the truth of their sin and their need for repentance.

As Paul told Timothy, "Preach the Word!" (2 Timothy 4:2).

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Solar Flares, Radioactive Decay, and The Age of the Earth

From their first books on dinosaurs, our children are told that life was evolving "millions of years ago." The majority of geologists today tell us that radioisotope dating has narrowed the age of Earth to about 4.5 billion years, give or take 330 million. Recently, two dating methods have been updated, and scientists say the earth might not be as old as they thought it was, but they may not recognize how "off" the dating methods truly are.

How accurate is radiometric dating? Should we accept the "millions of years" scenario that easily, or are there alternate possibilities that get rejected because they don't fit an evolutionary model of origins?

The Grand Canyon:
The age of the earth is not a purely academic matter. The deepest held values and beliefs of many people are tied into whether the earth has been around billions – or only thousands – of years. The Bible says God created the physical universe in seven days. That doesn't leave a lot of time for life to evolve from primordial amino acids.

Where does the evidence honestly lead? On one hand, Hadrian's Wall has survived the erosional forces of wind and rain and ice for nearly 1900 years. With that in mind, it is obvious the Colorado River would have required a great deal more than 6,000 years to scratch out the Grand Canyon. On the other hand, perhaps the mighty Colorado River did not carve the Grand Canyon at all. Consider, mud flows after the eruption of Mount St. Helens gouged sizeable canyons through solid rock in just a few days…

Radioisotopes:
The measurable breakdown of radioactive isotopes, like the Grand Canyon, appear to give an ancient age for the Earth. Measuring the amount of uranium-238 parent material as well as the lead-206 daughter material in a zircon theoretically allows geochronologists to date the zircon in which these "before" and "after" materials are found. By comparing the derived date to that produced by U-235 and Pb-207 in the same sample, geochronologists believe they can get fairly close results.

The age-dating methods are not perfect, however. There is far less U-235 than U-238 in natural uranium, and by consensus, geochronologists have long used a U-238/U-235 ratio of 137.88 to simply calculate the amount of U-235 in a zircon rather than try to measure it. The original consensus ratio was determined to have some flaws, however, and researchers from the British Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently did do some careful measuring. They found the average ratio to be a more accurate 137.818 ± 0.045.

"Firstly, the consensus value of 137.88 couldn't be traced back to international standard units like the kilogram. Secondly, the old consensus ratio had no uncertainty assigned to it, [and] thirdly, the previous measurements were made on materials like uranium ores — and not on naturally occurring minerals that are routinely used for U-Pb dating studies," wrote Joe Hiess, a Marie Curie ITN Experienced Researcher.

This ratio adjustment would take a few hundred thousand years off the widely accepted view of the planet's age. That's not much, but it does raise a question: how many other dating method particulars have been accepted by consensus while including glaring flaws?

Decay Rate Changes:
Last year, researchers at Purdue and Stanford published evidence that radio decay rates are not as constant as geochronologists have thought. Dating the earth through radiometric methods may therefore be even less simple than previously believed.

Dec 13, 2006, a magnificent solar flare flung radiation and solar particles toward Earth. Purdue nuclear engineer Jere Jenkins had been measuring the decay rate of manganese-54, and he noticed that a day and a half before the flare, the decay rate of Mn-54 started to drop a little. That was interesting.

Ephraim Fischbach, a physics professor at Purdue, had already found a variety of disagreements on decay rates in the literature. Fischbach had been looking for a good way to generate truly random numbers and had turned to radioactive isotopes. Chunks of radioactive elements might decay at steady rates, but the individual atoms within them decay unpredictably. Fischbach could therefore use the randomly timed ticks of a Geiger counter to generate lists of numbers.

As he did more research, though, Fischbach found variations in the published decay rates of certain isotopes. He also found that the decay rates of silicon-32 and radium-226 showed seasonal variation, according to data collected at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island and the Federal Physical and Technical Institute in Germany. When the decay rate of Jenkins' Mn-54 dropped during the solar flare, Jenkins and Fischbach stood up straighter and paid attention.

"Everyone thought it must be due to experimental mistakes, because we're all brought up to believe that decay rates are constant," Peter Sturrock, Stanford professor emeritus of applied physics, commented on the issue.

There was more to the issue than instrumental error. Jenkins, Fischbach and their colleagues proceeded to publish papers on the variations in radiometric decay rates in journals like Astroparticle Physics, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research. They argued that the variations were not caused by weaknesses in their detection systems, but were actual variations in the decay rates themselves.

Radioisotope Dating 101:
While radiometric dating sounds like a jazzy way to find a mate, it's actually about unruly isotopes.

The world around us is made up of atoms, each with a specific number of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons, and neutral proton-sized neutrons in their nuclei. Neutrons and electrons are important, but it is the proton number that defines an element. All carbon atoms have six protons, iron atoms have 26, and platinum atoms have 78. If a sodium atom loses an electron, it's still sodium, it's just a positively-charged sodium ion, ready to ionically bond with a negatively charged chlorine ion to make table salt for mashed potatoes. If iron loses electrons, it starts to rust, but it's still iron.

If carbon gains an extra neutron, it still behaves like carbon. Carbon generally has six neutrons with its six protons, giving an atomic weight of 12. Adding one neutron makes carbon-13, a stable isotope that makes up about 1.1% of the carbon on Earth.

Not all isotopes are stable, though. In a crowd of one trillion carbon atoms, one can always find a single unstable carbon-14 isotope sipping on the punch. Over the course of about 5730 years, half of a sample of C-14 will decay into nitrogen-14. A scientist can take a carbon sample, measure the amount of C-14 among its trillions of C-12 atoms, measure the N-14 in the mix, and put together a ratio of the two isotopes. C-14 has a half-life of 5730 years – the amount of time it takes half a sample to decay. Theoretically, if the scientist measures a sample and finds an equal amount of C-14, the parent material, and N-14, the daughter material, then 5730 years should have passed since that hunk of carbon formed. Theoretically. This is the idea behind radioisotope dating.

Chemists have been able to measure the half-lives of most isotopes and, for the most part, have found their decay rates consistent. The accuracy of the dating methods hangs on a few assumptions, though. First, we have to assume that no extra daughter material contaminated the sample from an outside source. We have to assume that only parent material and no daughter material was in there at the start. We have to assume than no parent material leached out of the sample during its lifetime. Ultimately, we have to assume that the decay rates for various isotopes are the same now as they always have been, without variation. To deal with these obvious problems, geochronologists work to correlate dates through the use of several different dating methods – as in the U-238/U-235 method.

Not all half lives have been precisely determined. The half-life of samarium-146 has been measured at between 50 million and 103 million years, and the older age was accepted. Only recently, using better instrumentation, have researchers dropped the half life of Sm-146 to 68 million years. While Sm-146 dating is not used often, it raises the question of how precisely certain well-accepted half lives have been measured. 

Meteors:
In Brent G. Dalrymple's book The Age Of The Earth (1991), he includes lists of meteorites that have been dated between 4.23-4.88 billion years old. These lists are often cited as evidence for the age of the earth, because meteorites are believed (by most parties) to be from material that formed at the same time as Earth. Earth has a dynamic crust that is constantly changing; it wears away and gets torn up in earthquakes; it gets cooked and crushed and covered with volcanic ash and ocean sediments. Earth's surface has taken a lot of abuse through the years. On the other hand, meteorites have been floating around in space untouched, and the trace elements in them are fairly evenly mixed. They are therefore considered good subjects to determine Earth's age.

Dalrymple includes the specific radiometric dating methods that were used to date the meteorites. Argon-argon dating was used most frequently in dating the meteorites, but rubidium-strontium and samarium-neodymium dating methods were also used. Dalrymple makes the case that three different dating methods, measuring three different mother-daughter pairs, all gave basically the same age dates. This has been seen as solid well-correlated evidence that the given chondrite age-dates are reliable.

Dalrymple's lists do raise some issues, however. It is worth noting that all three of the methods used to date those meteorites involved parent isotopes with massively large half lives. The half life for rubidium-87 is approximately 50 billion years. The alpha-decay of Sm-147 to Nd-143 has a half life of 1.06×10^11 years. That's 100 billion years! The argon-argon method depends on the 1.25 billion year half life of potassium-40 decaying to argon-40, which is still high. Geochronologists using these dating methods have to detect trace amounts of elements that would hardly have had time to decay, even with billions of years at their disposal. The dates of these specific meteorites may correlate, but it is difficult to determine whether there was just so little of each element in the first place that there was not much room for variation. It is also difficult to know whether the chondrites did not have relatively homogenous amounts of parent and daughter materials from the start. 

Were there outliers that Dalrymple didn't list? Were there other meteorites that gave significantly higher or lower ages? Did Dalrymple only include the meteorites that fit his position, or did all the meteorites truly date between 4.29 /- .06 and 4.55 /- .33 billion years? Also, should we consider the age-date span of 650 million years – more than half a billion years – as significant?

Discordant Dating:
There is reason for skepticism. Age dating methods do not always produce correlating results. [See links below.] Wood buried in igneous rock in Queensland Australia has been dated to 40,000 years, while the basalt around it dated to 45 million years. Both dating subjects should have given the same date, since the igneous rock was formed at the same time the wood was buried (and the wood still had plenty of carbon-14 in it). Dalrymple himself reported "excess argon-36" in three out of 26 lava flows in his article, "40Ar/36Ar Analyses Of Historic Lava Flows". The excess argon gives negative age-dates because of too much daughter product. Since it is impossible to date a rock that hasn't formed yet, there was a good indication that the Ar-36 wasn't coming from just the parent material.

Geologist Steve Austin describes discordant age dates in his article "Excessively Old 'Ages' For Grand Canyon Lava Flows." He tested different layers of the Grand Canyon and got age dates for older layers that tested younger than the layers above them. The science of geochronology has a lot of room for error.

Ultimately, the researchers who age-dated the meteorites on Dalrymple's lists assumed the rocks were billions of years old, they used methods that fit their presuppositions, and they got results that fit their presuppositions. Would they have gotten younger chondrite ages if they had used different dating methods?

It is always dangerous to come to science with assumptions, regardless of one's position. Scientists have long assumed that radioisotope decay rates are constants, but the evidence now indicates that decay rates vary over time. If, as Jenkins and Fischbach have argued, solar neutrinos zipped through space, effecting Mn-54's decay rates in a Purdue laboratory, then those tiny energetic particles certainly have had the capacity to affect the decay rates of trace nuclides in chunks of rock floating out in space.

Are the observations of Jenkins and Fischbach minor fluctuations, or have decay rates actually slowed down over time? Has the very speed of light slowed through the years, and how might that have affected decay rates? Are there truly any physical constants in the universe?

These are the questions that astrophysicists and geochronologists can have a fun time trying to answer. In the meanwhile, we'll keep on watch for further developments. The variability of decay rates has massive implications – for medicine, for technology, and for mankind's longing to produce a birth certificate for the Earth.

Source: http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2012/1927/print/

 

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America’s Most Biblically-Hostile U. S. President

By David Barton

When one observes President Obama’s unwillingness to accommodate America’s four-century long religious conscience protection through his attempts to require Catholics to go against their own doctrines and beliefs, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Catholic. But that characterization would not be correct. Although he has recently singled out Catholics, he has equally targeted traditional Protestant beliefs over the past four years. So since he has attacked Catholics and Protestants, one is tempted to say that he is anti-Christian. But that, too, would be inaccurate. He has been equally disrespectful in his appalling treatment of religious Jews in general and Israel in particular. So perhaps the most accurate description of his antipathy toward Catholics, Protestants, religious Jews, and the Jewish nation would be to characterize him as anti-Biblical. And then when his hostility toward Biblical people of faith is contrasted with his preferential treatment of Muslims and Muslim nations, it further strengthens the accuracy of the anti-Biblical descriptor. In fact, there have been numerous clearly documented times when his pro-Islam positions have been the cause of his anti-Biblical actions.

Listed below in chronological order are (1) numerous records of his attacks on Biblical persons or organizations; (2) examples of the hostility toward Biblical faith that have become evident in the past three years in the Obama-led military; (3) a listing of his open attacks on Biblical values; and finally (4) a listing of numerous incidents of his preferential deference for Islam’s activities and positions, including letting his Islamic advisors guide and influence his hostility toward people of Biblical faith.

1. Acts of hostility toward people of Biblical faith:

  • April 2008 – Obama speaks disrespectfully of Christians, saying they “cling to guns or religion” and have an “antipathy to people who aren't like them.” 1
     
  • February 2009 – Obama announces plans to revoke conscience protection for health workers who refuse to participate in medical activities that go against their beliefs, and fully implements the plan in February 2011. 2
     
  • April 2009 – When speaking at Georgetown University, Obama orders that a monogram symbolizing Jesus' name be covered when he is making his speech. 3
     
  • May 2009 – Obama declines to host services for the National Prayer Day (a day established by federal law) at the White House. 4
     
  • April 2009 – In a deliberate act of disrespect, Obama nominated three pro-abortion ambassadors to the Vatican; of course, the pro-life Vatican rejected all three. 5
     
  • October 19, 2010 – Obama begins deliberately omitting the phrase about “the Creator” when quoting the Declaration of Independence – an omission he has made on no less than seven occasions. 6
     
  • November 2010 – Obama misquotes the National Motto, saying it is “E pluribus unum” rather than “In God We Trust” as established by federal law. 7
     
  • January 2011 – After a federal law was passed to transfer a WWI Memorial in the Mojave Desert to private ownership, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that the cross in the memorial could continue to stand, but the Obama administration refused to allow the land to be transferred as required by law, and refused to allow the cross to be re-erected as ordered by the Court. 8
     
  • February 2011 – Although he filled posts in the State Department, for more than two years Obama did not fill the post of religious freedom ambassador, an official that works against religious persecution across the world; he filled it only after heavy pressure from the public and from Congress. 9
     
  • April 2011 – For the first time in American history, Obama urges passage of a non-discrimination law that does not contain hiring protections for religious groups, forcing religious organizations to hire according to federal mandates without regard to the dictates of their own faith, thus eliminating conscience protection in hiring. 10
     
  • August 2011 – The Obama administration releases its new health care rules that override religious conscience protections for medical workers in the areas of abortion and contraception. 11
     
  • November 2011 – Obama opposes inclusion of President Franklin Roosevelt’s famous D-Day Prayer in the WWII Memorial. 12
     
  • November 2011 – Unlike previous presidents, Obama studiously avoids any religious references in his Thanksgiving speech. 13
     
  • December 2011 – The Obama administration denigrates other countries' religious beliefs as an obstacle to radical homosexual rights. 14
     
  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis. 15
     
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration forgives student loans in exchange for public service, but announces it will no longer forgive student loans if the public service is related to religion. 16

2. Acts of hostility from the Obama-led military toward people of Biblical faith:

  • June 2011 – The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burial ceremonies at Houston National Cemetery. 17
     
  • August 2011 – The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory to officers in California because the course is taught by chaplains and is based on a philosophy introduced by St. Augustine in the third century AD – a theory long taught by civilized nations across the world (except America). 18
     
  • September 2011 – Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of programs and services available to them from chaplains. 19
     
  • September 2011 – The Army issues guidelines for Walter Reed Medical Center stipulating that “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or facts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” 20
     
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child, a program to send holiday gifts to impoverished children across the world, because the program is run by a Christian charity. 21
     
  • November 2011 – The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 to add a Stonehenge-like worship center for pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans. 22
     
  • February 2012 – The U. S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three star Army general and decorated war hero Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin (retired) from speaking at an event because he is an outspoken Christian. 23
     
  • February 2012 – The Air Force removes “God” from the patch of Rapid Capabilities Office (the word on the patch was in Latin: Dei). 24
     
  • February 2012 – The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read a letter to parishioners that their archbishop asked them to read. 25
     

3. Acts of hostility toward Biblical values:

  • January 2009 – Obama lifts restrictions on U.S. government funding for groups that provide abortion services or counseling abroad, forcing taxpayers to fund pro-abortion groups that either promote or perform abortions in other nations. 26
     
  • January 2009 – President Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of state asserts that American taxpayers are required to pay for abortions and that limits on abortion funding are unconstitutional. 27
     
  • March 2009 – The Obama administration shut out pro-life groups from attending a White House-sponsored health care summit. 28
     
  • March 2009 – Obama orders taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research. 29
     
  • March 2009 – Obama gave $50 million for the UNFPA, the UN population agency that promotes abortion and works closely with Chinese population control officials who use forced abortions and involuntary sterilizations. 30
     
  • May 2009 – The White House budget eliminates all funding for abstinence-only education and replaces it with “comprehensive” sexual education, repeatedly proven to increase teen pregnancies and abortions. 31 He continues the deletion in subsequent budgets. 32
     
  • May 2009 – Obama officials assemble a terrorism dictionary calling pro-life advocates violent and charging that they use racism in their “criminal” activities. 33
     
  • July 2009 – The Obama administration illegally extends federal benefits to same-sex partners of Foreign Service and Executive Branch employees, in direction violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 34
     
  • September 16, 2009 – The Obama administration appoints as EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum, who asserts that society should “not tolerate” any “private beliefs,” including religious beliefs, if they may negatively affect homosexual “equality.” 35
     
  • July 2010 – The Obama administration uses federal funds in violation of federal law to get Kenya to change its constitution to include abortion. 36
     
  • August 2010 – The Obama administration Cuts funding for 176 abstinence education programs. 37
     
  • September 2010 – The Obama administration tells researchers to ignore a judge’s decision striking down federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. 38
     
  • February 2011 – Obama directs the Justice Department to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 39
     
  • March 2011 – The Obama administration refuses to investigate videos showing Planned Parenthood helping alleged sex traffickers get abortions for victimized underage girls. 40
     
  • July 2011 – Obama allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, reversing a policy originally instituted by George Washington in March 1778. 41
     
  • September 2011 – The Pentagon directs that military chaplains may perform same-sex marriages at military facilities in violation of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 42
     
  • October 2011 – The Obama administration eliminates federal grants to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for their extensive programs that aid victims of human trafficking because the Catholic Church is anti-abortion. 43

4. Acts of preferentialism for Islam:

  • May 2009 – While Obama does not host any National Day of Prayer event at the White House, he does host White House Iftar dinners in honor of Ramadan. 44
     
  • April 2010 – Christian leader Franklin Graham is disinvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer Event because of complaints from the Muslim community. 45
     
  • April 2010 – The Obama administration requires rewriting of government documents and a change in administration vocabulary to remove terms that are deemed offensive to Muslims, including jihad, jihadists, terrorists, radical Islamic, etc. 46
     
  • August 2010 – Obama speaks with great praise of Islam and condescendingly of Christianity. 47
     
  • August 2010 – Obama went to great lengths to speak out on multiple occasions on behalf of building an Islamic mosque at Ground Zero, while at the same time he was silent about a Christian church being denied permission to rebuild at that location. 48
     
  • 2010 – While every White House traditionally issues hundreds of official proclamations and statements on numerous occasions, this White House avoids traditional Biblical holidays and events but regularly recognizes major Muslim holidays, as evidenced by its 2010 statements on Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-ul-Adha. 49
     
  • October 2011 – Obama’s Muslim advisers block Middle Eastern Christians’ access to the White House. 50
     
  • February 2012 – The Obama administration makes effulgent apologies for Korans being burned by the U. S. military, 51 but when Bibles were burned by the military, numerous reasons were offered why it was the right thing to do. 52
     

Many of these actions are literally unprecedented – this is the first time they have happened in four centuries of American history. The hostility of President Obama toward Biblical faith and values is without equal from any previous American president.


Endnotes

1. Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama: ‘They cling to guns or religion’," Christianity Today, April 13, 2008. (Return)

2. Aliza Marcus, "Obama to Lift ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Bloomberg, February 27, 2009; Sarah Pulliam Baily, "Obama Admin. Changes Bush ‘Conscience’ Rule for Health Workers," Christianity Today, February 18, 2011. (Return)

3. Jim Lovino, "Jesus Missing From Obama’s Georgetown Speech," NBC Washington, April 17, 2009. (Return)

4. Johanna Neuman, “Obama end Bush-era National Prayer Day Service at White House," Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2009. (Return)

5. Chris McGreal, “Vatican vetoes Barack Obama’s nominees for U.S. Ambassador,” The Guardian, April 14, 2009. (Return)

6. Meredith Jessup, “Obama Continues to Omit ‘Creator’ From Declaration of Independence,” The Blaze, October 19, 2010. (Return)

7. "Remarks by the President at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta, Indonesia," The White House, November 10, 2010. (Return)

8. LadyImpactOhio, " Feds sued by Veterans to allow stolen Mojave Desert Cross to be rebuilt," Red State, January 14, 2011. (Return)

9. Marrianne Medlin, “Amid criticism, President Obama moves to fill vacant religious ambassador post,” Catholic News Agency, February 9, 2011; Thomas F. Farr, “Undefender of the Faith,” Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012. (Return)

10. Chris Johnson, “ENDA passage effort renewed with Senate introduction,” Washington Blade, April 15, 2011. (Return)

11. Chuck Donovan, “HHS’s New Health Guidelines Trample on Conscience,” Heritage Foundation, August 2, 2011. (Return)

12. Todd Starns, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,” Fox News, November 4, 2011. (Return)

13. Joel Siegel, “Obama Omits God From Thanksgiving Speech, Riles Critics,” ABC News, November 25, 2011. (Return)

14. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “Remarks in Recognition of International Human Rights Day,” U.S. Department of State, December 6, 2011. (Return)

15. Ted Olson, “Church Wins Firing Case at Supreme Court,” Christianity Today, January 11, 2012. (Return)

16. Audrey Hudson, “Obama administration religious service for student loan forgiveness,” Human Events, February 15, 2012. (Return)

17.Houston Veterans Claim Censorship of Prayers, Including Ban of ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’,” Fox News, June 29, 2011. (Return)

18. Jason Ukman, “Air Force suspends ethics course that used Bible passages that train missle launch officers,” Washington Post, August 2, 2011. (Return)

19. "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion," Department of the Air Force, September 1, 2011. (Return)

20. "Wounded, Ill, and Injured Partners in Care Guidelines," Department of the Navy (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

21. "Air Force Academy Backs Away from Christmas Charity," Fox News Radio, November 4, 2011. (Return)

22. Jenny Dean, "Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans," Los Angeles Times, November 26, 2011. (Return)

23. Ken Blackwell, "Gen. Boykin Blocked At West Point," cnsnews.com, February 1, 2012. (Return)

24. Geoff Herbert, " Air Force unit removes 'God' from logo; lawmakers warn of 'dangerous precedent'," syracuse.com, February 9, 2012. (Return)

25. Todd Starnes, "Army Silences Catholic Chaplains," Fox News Radio, February 6, 2012. (Return)

26. Jeff Mason and Deborah Charles, "Obama lifts restrictions on abortion funding," Reuters, January 23, 2009. (Return)

27. "Obama pick: Taxpayers must fund abortions," World Net Daily, January 27, 2009. (Return)

28. Steven Ertelt, "Pro-Life Groups Left Off Obama’s Health Care Summit List, Abortion Advocates OK," LifeNews, March 5, 2009. (Return)

29. " Obama Signs Order Lifting Restrictions on Stem Cell Research Funding," Fox News, March 9, 2009. (Return)

30. Steven Ertelt, “ Obama Administration Announces $50 Million for Pro-Forced Abortion UNFPA,” LifeNews, March 26, 2009; Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

31. Steven Ertelt, "Barack Obama’s Federal Budget Eliminates Funding for Abstinence-Only Education," LifeNews, May 8, 2009. (Return)

32. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Budget Funds Sex Ed Over Abstinence on 16-1 Margin," LifeNews, February 14, 2011. (Return)

33. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Terrorism Dictionary Calls Pro-Life Advocates Violent, Racist," LifeNews, May 5, 2009. (Return)

34. "Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies," The White House, June 17, 2009. (Return)

35. Matt Cover, "Obama’s EEOC Nominee: Society Should ‘Not Tolerate Private Beliefs’ That ‘Adversely Affect’ Homosexuals," cnsnews.com, January 18, 2010. (Return)

36. Tess Civantos, "White House Spent $23M of Taxpayer Money to Back Kenyan Constitution That Legalizes Abortion, GOP Reps Say," Fox News, July 22, 2010. (Return)

37. Steven Ertelt, "Obama, Congress Cut Funding for 176 Abstinence Programs Despite New Study," LifeNews, August 26, 2010. (Return)

38. Steven Ertelt, "President Barack Obama’s Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation," LifeNews, February 11, 2012. (Return)

39. Brian Montopoli, "Obama administration will no longer defend DOMA," CBSNews, February 23, 2011. (Return)

40. Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Ignores Planned Parenthood Sex Trafficking Videos," LifeNews, March 2, 2011. (Return)

41. Elisabeth Bumiller, "Obama Ends ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Policy," New York Times, July 22, 2011; George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, John C. Fitzpatrick, editor (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1934), Vol. XI, pp. 83-84, from General Orders at Valley Forge on March 14, 1778. (Return)

42. Luis Martinez, "Will Same Sex Marriages Pose a Dilemma for Military Chaplains?," ABC News, October 12, 2011. (Return)

43. Jerry Markon, "Health, abortion issues split Obama administration and Catholic groups," Washington Post, October 31, 2011. (Return)

44. Barack Obama, “ Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, September 1, 2009; Kristi Keck, “ Obama tones down National Day of Prayer observance,” CNN, May 6, 2009; Dan Gilgoff, “ The White House on National Day of Prayer: A Proclamation, but No Formal Ceremony,” U.S. News, May 1, 2009. (Return)

45. "Franklin Graham Regrets Army's Decision to Rescind Invite to Pentagon Prayer Service," Fox News, April 22, 2010. (Return)

46.Obama Bans Islam, Jihad From National Security Strategy Document,” Fox News, April 7, 2010; "Counterterror Adviser Defends Jihad as 'Legitimate Tenet of Islam'," Fox News, May 27, 2010; "'Islamic Radicalism' Nixed From Obama Document," CBSNews, April 7, 2010. (Return)

47. Chuck Norris, “ President Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 2),” Townhall.com, August 24, 2010; Chuck Norris, "President Obama: Muslim Missionary?," Townhall.com, August 17, 2010.(Return)

48. Barack Obama, “Remarks by the President at Iftar Dinner,” The White House, August 13, 2010; "Obama Comes Out in Favor of Allowing Mosque Near Ground Zero," Fox News, August 13, 2010; Pamela Geller, "Islamic Supremacism Trumps Christianity at Ground Zero," American Thinker, July 21, 2011. (Return)

49. "WH Fails to Release Easter Proclamation," Fox Nation, April 25, 2011; "President Obama ignores most holy Christian holiday; AFA calls act intentional," American Family Association (accessed on February 29, 2012).(Return)

50. "Report: Obama’s Muslim Advisers Block Middle Eastern Christians’ Access to the White House," Big Peace (accessed on February 29, 2012). (Return)

51. Masoud Popalzai and Nick Paton Walsh, “ Continue reading

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The President & The Prophet:

Obama’s Unusual Encounter with Eric Metaxas
 
By Mark Joseph

If the organizers of the national prayer breakfast ever want a sitting president to attend their event again, they need to expect that any leader in his right mind is going to ask — no, demand — that he be allowed to see a copy of the keynote address that is traditionally given immediately before the president’s.

That’s how devastating was the speech given by a little known historical biographer named Eric Metaxas, whose clever wit and punchy humor barely disguised a series of heat-seeking missiles that were sent, intentionally or not, in the commander-in-chief’s direction.

Although Obama began his address directly after Metaxas by saying, “I’m not going to be as funny as Eric but I’m grateful that he shared his message with us,” both his tone and speech itself were flat, and he looked as though he wished he could either crawl into a hole or have a different speech in front of him.

In fact, one could be forgiven for thinking that somehow Metaxas had been given an advance copy of Obama’s talk, then tailored his own to rebut the president’s.

Metaxas, a Yale grad and humor writer who once wrote for the children’s series Veggie Tales, began his speech with several jokes and stole the show early on when he noted that George W. Bush, often accused by his critics of being incurious, had read Metaxas’s weighty tome on the German theologian Bonhoeffer; he then proceeded to hand a copy to the president while intoning: “No pressure.”

Obama has been under pressure for some time now to somehow prove his Christian bonafides, for it’s no secret that millions of Americans doubt his Christian faith. A Pew Poll taken in 2010 found that only one third of Americans identified him as a Christian, and even among African-Americans, 46 percent said they were unsure of what religion he practiced.

Obama came to the prayer breakfast with a tidy speech that was clearly designed to lay those doubts to rest. He spoke of his daily habit of prayer and Bible reading, his regular conversations with preachers like T. D. Jakes and Joel Hunter, and even told a story of the time he prayed over Billy Graham.

But before the president could utter a word, it was Metaxas who delivered a devastating, albeit apparently unintentional critique of such God-talk, recounting his own religious upbringing which he described as culturally Christian yet simultaneously full of “phony religiosity.”

“I thought I was a Christian. I guess I was lost,” he matter-of-factly stated.

Standing no more than five feet from Obama whose binder had a speech chock full of quotes from the Good Book, Metaxas said of Jesus:

“When he was tempted in the desert, who was the one throwing Bible verses at him? Satan. That is a perfect picture of dead religion. Using the words of God to do the opposite of what God does. It’s grotesque when you think about it. It’s demonic.”

“Keep in mind that when someone says ‘I am a Christian’ it may mean absolutely nothing,” Metaxas added for good measure, in case anybody missed his point. 

The eerie feeling that Metaxas was answering Obama on a speech he had yet to give continued, as he spoke about the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and the Christian religion. Moments after Metaxas finished his speech and sat down, Obama took great pains to describe the other great religions of the world as mirroring his own Christian faith.

“I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’” Obama noted. “I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs — from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato.”

Translation: Christianity is great and so are the other major religions, which essentially teach the same stuff.

“But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’” he added. “It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”

Metaxas, speaking minutes earlier had a radically different take on the centrality of both his Deity and his faith, and although he never put down other faiths, he methodically recounted the story of what motivated the actions of the abolitionist William Wilberforce, noting:

“The reason Wilberforce fought so hard was because around the time of his 25th birthday he encountered Jesus.” He continued, “The idea to care for the poor or that slavery is wrong — these ideas are not normal human ideas, they are Biblical ideas.”

But Metaxas’s most blistering attack, albeit sheathed carefully in good humor and rapier wit, was still to come, for next on his agenda was his careful but dogged determination to link previous attitudes among churchgoers toward slavery and Nazism with those of some present day churchgoers toward abortion. Surrounded by three of the most powerful supporters of the right to choose, Obama, Vice President Biden, and former speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — two Catholics and a Protestant — Metaxas said:

“Wilberfoce suddenly took the Bible seriously that all of us are created in the image of God, to care for the least of these.”

After carefully describing the inhumane treatment of both Jews and Africans by those claiming to be Christians, he asked then answered a question:

“You think you’re better than the Germans of that era? You’re not,” adding: “Whom do we say is not fully human today?”

Promising to come back to that question later, Metaxas then attempted to link his two main points: that Jesus was unique and distinct from all other religions or teachers and that a correct understanding of his role would lead to a correct view on what Metaxas considered to be the defining issues of today as well as eras gone by:

“I would say the same thing about the unborn. Apart from God we cannot see that they are persons. So those of us who know the unborn to be human beings are commanded by God to love those who do not yet see. We need to know that apart from God we would be on the other side of that divide, fighting for what we believe is right.”

By the time he wrapped up his speech with a rendition of Amazing Grace, one got the feeling that this was a modern-day, and perhaps more humorous version, of what Old Testament prophets regularly did to Kings of Israel: deliver brutally honest messages from Yahweh with little regard for their personal safety. Only this time, there were no beheadings, only the difficult-to-watch spectacle of seeing a president forced to uncomfortably read a speech which had just been shredded to pieces by a man who couldn’t possibly have known what was coming. And as he did so, the audience in that room likely left with Metaxas’s four-word condemnation, intentional or not, of the 44th president of the United States ringing in their ears:

“God is not fooled.”

Still, throughout his speech, Metaxas seemed to dangle a carrot in front of the president, seeming to beg him to reconsider his stands on various issues by coming to a different view, Metaxas’s own, of the centrality and uniqueness of the man whom Christians like Metaxas regularly sing about in church as having the “name above all names.”

“How did they see what they saw?” Metaxas asked of those who bucked the religion of their times and took strong stands against slavery and Nazism. “There’s just one word that will answer that. It’s Jesus. He opens our eyes to his ideas which are different from our own.”

Source: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/290393/president-prophet-obama-s-unusual-encounter-eric-metaxas-mark-joseph

 

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Is Israel Preparing for an End-Times Attack on Iran?

Is Israel on the verge of launching a military strike against Iran? Strong evidence seems to point to this inevitability.

Israel has been warning the West that the window of opportunity to halt Iran's nuclear progress is closing. Israeli Foreign Ministry officials state that Iran's nuclear progress is outpacing political and sanction efforts, which means that the clock is ticking on Iran's efforts to achieve nuclear weapons.

While evidence continues to emerge that Iran is on the verge of getting the bomb, sanctions have clearly not worked, as Russia and China continue to enable Iran to skirt around them by offering them all that Iran needs. However, the U.S. presses for more. 

President Obama just announced that he and French President Sarkozy have agreed that the U.S. and France will "maintain unprecedented pressure on Iran"; but why? What has "unprecedented pressure on Iran" accomplished?

Israel, alone, has been somewhat effective at delaying the Iranians from obtaining nukes. Its combination of targeted assassinations and cyber-warfare have brought about delays in the nuclear process, but the Iranians have overcome these setbacks and are now back on track in their pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Since God has allowed this focus on ineffective sanctions to continue, it means, of course, that it is in God's plan for Iran to continue its unfettered progress toward nuclear capability. 

Does that mean God wants Iran to carry out its threat of eliminating Israel, a threat that nuclear weapons might allow it to accomplish? 

The answer to that is a resounding NO! God has guaranteed that Israel will be a nation before Him forever, and He has laid out in detail His future plan with Israel at its center.

This simply means that God has another way of stopping Iran's quest, and it appears to involve the Jewish nation. In an article this week, author Joel Rosenburg (who has excellent sources in Israel) declared that there is increased speculation about Israel launching a preemptive strike against Iran. 

This speculation began two weeks ago when Israel's largest newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, ran a front page story claiming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak had already determined that a strike on Iran was necessary and were pressing the cabinet to give the go ahead for the attack.

But the indicators that Israel is prepping for a possible strike on Iran go beyond those signals. Recently, the Israeli military successfully test-fired an advanced missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and striking Iran. 

In addition, the IAF (Israel Air Force) has been in Italy carrying out air combat drills for long-range attacks. Interestingly, the Washington Times declares that the prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit may be a sign that Israel is "clearing the deck" to get ready for an attack.

As the Israeli prime minister declared in his speech to the Knesset Monday, "peace is made with the strong, not with the weak." There is no truer proverb when considering the Middle East. 

In considering the ultimate show of strength at this time, an attack of Iran would be at the top of the list. Thus, a powerful show of strength by Israel—by launching a successful military attack on Iran—could open the way for a peace treaty with Israel like nothing else could.

Yet, even so, Israel is still willing to hold off, for now, the launching of an attack against Iran in order to allow the involvement of Western nations to stop Iran's quest for nukes. 

Clearly, Israel's training sessions for an attack against Iran are not secret. No doubt Israel is serious about launching a strike, since Iran's quest for nukes may threaten the Jewish nation's very existence. However, Israel leaked its preparations to unnerve Iran and to move the West to work harder at halting Tehran's nuclear progress. 

Since the West could pay a price for Israel's attack—via Iran's retaliation of a strike—Israel is hoping Western nations will be motivated by Israel's preparation to go after the Iranian regime.

However, in the end, it seems God will move Israel to launch a military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, which could prompt a regime change when the Iranian opposition movement takes advantage of the resulting chaos to overthrow the government. This, in turn, may also create a domino effect to take down terrorism in the Middle East. 

If so, it will likely prepare the region for alignment with Israel for the end-times (seven-year) treaty—the treaty that starts the clock ticking on the final seven years leading to the return of Christ. In addition, this strike on Iran could result in Israel becoming the hero, which God could also use to move regional leaders to work with Israel on the treaty. Thus, if Israel does in fact launch this strike in the near future, then the coming of Christ for His Church may not be far away.

As an important aside, one of the fascinating factors at work here is the rare phenomenon of the Israeli prime minister and defense minister acting as one—together on such a serious and controversial matter. 

To add to that phenomenon, the two are from different parties; yet both believe a preemptive attack on Iran must be launched before it is too late. Because this fraternal alliance is so unusual, it seems obvious that we are seeing God at work—to put these two men in power for "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14) and to align their hearts (cf. Proverbs 21:1) for His plan. So keep looking up!

Source: http://blogs.christianpost.com

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‘Chrislam’: Straight from the pits of hell

BY EARL COX, JPOST

Maybe we should not be too surprised. Maybe we should have seen it coming. Incredible as it seems, it is now a shocking reality. What people would have thought impossible not so long ago is now coming to pass. While not actually new on the scene, it is relatively new to America. What is it? The answer is Chrislam!


Christian and Muslim leaders have been meeting together for months to work on mixing together Christianity and Islam into one religion. They are trying to form an ecumenical merger of these two opposing creeds into a new and strange partnership. And they are giving it the combination name of “Chrislam.”

It is incredibly true that some well-known Christian leaders are encouraging Christian pastors across America to embrace this ecumenical concept of combining Christianity and Islam. The conservative Christian Coalition newsletter reports that already some 130 Christian leaders in 22 states have revealed their involvement. They are falsely declaring that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, and they are ridiculously claiming that Christianity and Islam are both peaceful, monotheistic religions with similar beliefs and values. This is a lie straight from the great deceiver himself. Islam and Christianity are exact opposites. Just as water and oil do not mix, it is impossible for Christianity and Islam to mix. The Bible calls on Christians to seek peace and love their neighbor. Islam calls on its followers to kill all who will not convert to Allah’s teachings. In other words, fundamental, Koran believing Muslims believe everyone must convert to Islam or die.

Informed Christians and Jews know that Allah was an Arab moon god whose name Mohammed elevated to be the name of Islam’s highest power. That is why the crescent moon and a star are on the Islamic flag and on Islamic houses of worship. Informed people know that fundamentalist Muslim clerics have loudly and clearly declared jihad, or holy war, against all infidels ― that is, all non-Muslims of the world. And informed people know that the Koran says that by killing an infidel, a Muslim is assured of a place in heaven. We must stand against the evil spirit of Islam which says all who love the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must be eliminated. This is extremely problematic and a real stumbling block when it comes to forming friendships or cooperative relationships with those of the Islamic faith.

In an article dated January 22, 2011 written by Debra Rae in NewsWithViews.com, she reports that Memorial Drive Presbyterian church in Houston, Texas has joined with other Presbyterian churches in Atlanta, Seattle and Detroit to encourage ecumenical reconciliation between Christianity and Islam. In the article she said, “Theirs was a celebration of a worldview potpourri mixing together elements of Christianity and Islam.” In her article, part 6 of the “Lost Art of Critical Thinking,” Ms. Rae went on to reveal that these churches have declared the Bible and the Koran to be of equal authenticity as sacred texts and even placed copies of the Koran in the pews next to the Bibles. Ms. Rae points out that some Christian supporters of Chrislam believe that “if American tolerance of ‛Chrislam’ were rejected, then the ongoing conflict between East and West would escalate beyond repair. This slippery-slope fallacy presumes a sort of chain reaction, destined to end with dire consequences that otherwise might have been averted.” In other words, it would be purely the Christians’ fault for not joining hands with those of the Islamic faith.

The Bible clearly states that Christians are to be ‘in the world but not of the world.’ Furthermore, we are to be salt and light to the world. We are warned against losing our saltiness which means losing our flavor. If we seek to “blend” with society and the un-Christian practices of those around us, then we have lost our saltiness and our ability to shine. Christian leaders who are embracing “Chrislam” and encouraging others to do the same are literally playing with fire. Have they not studied their Bibles? Are they hearing and believing the voice of the serpent in the Garden of Eden when he enticed Eve to be disobedient by saying, “Surely thou shalt not die?”

What does any of this have to do with Israel? By now we all know that the heart and soul of Islam is to see all Christians and Jews removed from the face of the earth. If proponents of Chrislam are successful in recruiting numbers of people who call themselves Christians, then not only will the Muslims want to see Israel and all Jews annihilated, the Chrislamists will also become of part of this evil, anti-Semitic force. Chrislam is apostasy and anyone who buys into this false concept is on a very slippery slope. The Bible teaches that the Jews are God’s chosen people therefore we, as Christians, are to love the Jews. What does Islam, or Chrislam, say about this?

Source: http://www.thejerusalemconnection.us/blog/2011/10/06/chrislam-straight-from-the-pits-of-hell.html

 

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Video: Prophecies from Africa & Signs in the Heavens

South Sudan has only existed as a country for a little over two months. But already in that time the fledgling nation has found itself embroiled in the Israeli-Arab conflict.

And South Sudan has clearly marked itself as a friend of the Jewish state.

During a visit to South Sudan last month by Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said that he was recently approached by Hamas and told he must sever all ties to Israel because Sudan is an Arab state.

After reminding the Hamas leaders that South Sudan, unlike its northern neighbor, is not an Arab state, Kiir noted that there are Israeli embassies in Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan.

Rather than cut ties with Israel, Kiir said South Sudan intends to strengthen its relations with the Jewish state.

Demonstrating that his friendship for Israel goes beyond just words, Kiir reportedly agreed to Danon's request that South Sudan buck the international trend and build its embassy in Jerusalem. Every other nation in the world that has diplomatic relations with Israel refuses to accept Jerusalem as its capital, and instead those nations maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv.

South Sudan's affinity for Israel goes beyond the diplomatic considerations of the current government.

The young country's deputy parliament speaker, Daniel Akot, declared that "Israel is like a big brother to South Sudan," and recalled seeing more than one person waving an Israeli flag when South Sudan declared independence on July 9.

Danon and Kiir also discussed the many black Sudanese refugees currently living in Israel after fleeing oppression by Arab militias allied with the Sudanese government in Khartoum.

Kiir asked Danon to help facilitate vocational training for the refugees so they can return home and become productive and successful members of their new nation.

Both Danon and Kiir said that Israel and South Sudan have a bright future as partners in combining the former's vast technological abilities and the latter's enormous natural resources.

Source: http://israeltoday.co.il/tabid/178/nid/22933/language/en-US/Default.aspx

Video: Prophecies from Africa & Signs in the Heavens

Pastor Ray Bentley shares some interesting insights about recent and current events in the Middle East from a biblical prophetic perspective. Isaiah 18 &19. Pastor Ray also speaks about the Zodiac and the true biblical meaning of the 12 signs, what they mean and how the ancient viewed them as the gospel story.

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Video: Young Age of the Earth

This 1 hr program presents geo-physical evidence
hat seems to firmly suggest that the Earth is not 4 billion years old.

Young Age of the Earth – Part 1 (38 minutes – English)

Young Age of the Earth – Part 2 (38:32 minutes – English)

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Iran in End Times Prophecy

By David Dollins

The nation of Iran was called Persia, its Biblical name, until 1935. Persia was one of the former great empires of the world, ruling from 539 B.C. to 331 B.C, until they were conquered by Alexander the Great. Kings such as Cyrus the Great, Darius, Ahasuerus (commonly known as Xerxes), and Artaxerxes ruled this once great empire. Persia was also the setting for the book in the Bible entitled Esther. Ironically, the book of Esther tells how a Jewish girl became the queen of Persia and how God used her to save her people from a plot to destroy them. The book also explains how a special festival, called Purim, was established to remember and celebrate the deliverance that the Jews had experienced. Purim is derived from the Persian word pur, meaning 'lot'. It recalls how Haman, the enemy of the Jews, cast lots to determine the best day to carry out his plan to exterminate them.

It would appear not much has changed in 2,500 years. A 'spirit of Haman' still influences the leaders of Iran in the present day. I quote now from The New York Times (October 27, 2005). "Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be 'wiped off the map'…Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, 'As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map". Don't think it is just Iran's President who believes this. He is only a puppet of the Ayatollahs who actually run the government. Amazingly, Psalm 83:2, 4, is prophetic for our day. It says, "For behold, your enemies make an uproar; those who hate you (God) have raised their heads. They say, 'Come, LET US WIPE THEM OUT AS A NATION; let the name of Israel be remembered no more". Iran's leaders, in their hatred of Israel, have become a self-fulfilling prophecy by quoting Psalm 83:4. One day soon, according to the prophet Ezekiel, Iran will experience a 7-fold judgment from God. Its end has been decreed.

Unknown to many, Iran is an important player in the Bible's prophecies of the end of days. It was 2,600 years ago, prior to Persia even becoming a world empire, that the prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the future that most every Biblical scholar agrees is speaking of the time period in which we are currently living. Specifically, in Ezekiel 38, there is a list of nations that will come together at the end of days for the express purpose of destroying the nation of Israel. This battle has been traditionally called the 'Gog and Magog' war. Among those nations listed is Turkey, who is identified by multiple ancient place names/locations that existed within that country's current borders (i.e., Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, Togarmah). Also, Libya is identified. Some Bible translations use the word 'Put', which is simply the Hebrew place name for the area currently occupied by present-day Libya. Finally, Iran has been singled out by its ancient name Persia (Ezekiel 38:5).

This coalition of nations, and the Bible implies many more nations with them, will make an all-out assault on Israel at the end of days with the intention of destroying her. God told Ezekiel that this event would occur in the "latter years" (Ezekiel 38:8). At the last moment it will look like Israel will be wiped out, but God will intervene and Iran and the other nations will suffer a 7-fold judgement from God – a great earthquake, pestilence, bloodshed, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone (Ezekiel 38:19-22). To be sure, God will not need Israeli airplanes and troops to get this accomplished. In fact, the context of the Scripture implies that this event occurs when Israel is isolated by the nations, as is happening now, and is vulnerable to attack precisely because they are unable to rely on friends and allies. This is also occurring with each passing day.

When God makes Iran and the other nations an example of His divine judgement, He also reveals His divine purpose. Seven times, God's perfect number, He makes similar statements as the one found in Ezekiel 39:7, "my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel…and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel." There you have the reason for God's intervention. God's coming judgement on Iran and the other nations with them will be to reveal Himself, to magnify Himself, to reveal His holiness, to glorify Himself, and to make Himself known in the eyes of many nations – all these phrases found in the Book of Ezekiel. God intervenes on behalf of Israel in order to reveal to the nations that He is God alone, that the prophecies of old that spoke of Him are true, and that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah who came to bring salvation to all of mankind.

Additionally, revival will come to Israel. At the end of Ezekiel 39 it says that God will pour out His Spirit upon the house of Israel. God says, "then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their land (prophecy fulfilled May 1948), and left none of them captive any longer. And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel, says the Lord God" (Ezekiel 39:28-29). According to the Apostle Peter in the New Testament, only Jesus Christ has been given this authority to pour out the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:33, Peter said, in referring to Jesus upon His resurrection, "…being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear". On that day, Jesus Christ will gloriously reveal Himself to Israel and an unbelieving world as the one true Savior, Lord, Messiah, and God!

As it regards the nation of Iran and the other participating nations, they may want to consider the Bible's graphic description of the aftermath of this judgement captured in Ezekiel 39. It says, "For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land" (v. 12). Then the Lord, speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel says, "Speak to the birds of every sort and to all the beasts of the field, 'Assemble and come, gather from all around to the sacrificial feast that I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial feast on the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth…" (Ezekiel 39:17-18). God says that one day He is going to make a feast out of these fallen armies for all kinds of scavengers. Iran's destiny and end has been decreed. The Persian people need Jesus Christ. They need their eyes to be opened, the same way that King Ahasuerus' eyes were opened because of a young Jewish girl named Esther.

Source: http://blogs.christianpost.com/bibleprophecy/2011/08/gods-decreed-end-of-iran-05/

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The Norway Shooter Is No Fundamentalist Christian

When Anders Behring Breivik shot and killed 68 people at a Labour Party summer youth camp on Norway's Utoeya island and killed another eight in a bombing in Oslo on July 22, the media immediately began bellowing that a right-wing Christian fundamentalist had just committed the most deadly attack in Norway since WWII. The slaughter of dozens of children under any banner is not simply tragic, but abhorrent. Media outlets spoke too quickly when they asserted that Breivik was a fundamentalist Christian, however. Regardless of what Breivik's Facebook page might have claimed, his actions and words demonstrate no relationship with fundamental Christianity, "right-wing" or otherwise. He in fact supports Darwinism and human logic, demonstrating a rationalist worldview rather than a Christian one.


As we consider the Norway shooting, we first and foremost must pray for the families and friends of those who lost their loved ones. We especially grieve for the families of the teenagers - unarmed kids – whom Breivik murdered in the name of freeing Europe. This man did not come upon armed enemies. He came to an island filled with children, dressed as a police officer to gain their trust. He called them to himself and then began to shoot them down at close range, following them to where they hid in tents and where they fled to the lake to escape. The grief felt in Norway right now is unimaginable, and our hearts and prayers go out to all the living victims of the rampage.

It is a horrific shame that the news outlets immediately began proclaiming that Anders Behring Breivik, the Norway Shooter, is a Christian fundamentalist. Breivik has willingly admitted that he has no personal relationship with God or Jesus, and his actions have nothing to do with what Jesus Christ taught.

What Breivik Believes:
On Friday, Breivik released a pdf file describing his beliefs and motivations for his attacks. His major complaint is against the Muslim invasion of Europe, along with the Marxists and multiculturalists he believes are letting it happen.

Breivik's stated goal was to, "cause maximum amount of damage to the Labour Party to stop its recruitment" and to stop "a deconstruction of Norwegian culture and mass-import of Muslims."

Breivik is not pro-Christianity. He is simply anti-Muslim. He possesses a desire to preserve the historical Christian culture of Europe, as though he were preserving apple pie and baseball in America or wieners and schnitzel in Germany. In fact, while the papers declared Breivik to be a Christian fundamentalist, he specifically placed himself against a government based on Christian fundamentalism.

He writes. "It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a 'Christian fundamentalist theocracy' (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want)."

Breivik's version of Europe's Christian culture has nothing to do with faith in God at all. It's all about the non-Islamic cultural legacy of Europe. He says:

"So no, you don't need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage. It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy (Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter)). The PCCTS, Knights Templar is therefore not a religious organisation but rather a Christian 'culturalist' military order."

While seeking to preserve Europe's cultural heritage, Breivik envisions a perfect Europe coming about through 'Logic.' He states, "'Logic' and rationalist thought (a certain degree of national Darwinism) should be the fundament of our societies."

Ah. Rationalist thought. That's just it.

Breivik did not kill those kids because of any verse in the Bible or because he believed God told him to. He's a believer in the human mind. He killed those teenagers and set off a car bomb in Oslo because, according to his rationale, it was the first step in achieving his purposes. He used his perfectly decent, albeit twisted, reasoning ability to justify the slaughter of dozens of unarmed human beings.

Many will argue that Breivik is insane, but Breivik's writings are not the ravings of a lunatic. His writings are lucid and practical. He has simply taken the human ability to make logical choices and has removed from his equations all morality and the value of individual human life. Breivik, like the Nazis or Communists or any other group that justifies mass murder, demonstrates where human logic can lead in the absence of moral absolutes.

Fundamentalism:
Islamic fundamentalists have been repeatedly guilty of using violence in their efforts to bring humanity into submission to Allah, and there is a general world assumption that religious fundamentalism always eventually leads to violence in God's name.

True Christian fundamentalism, however, would never lead to the shooting of teenagers. It couldn't, because true Christian fundamentalism bases itself on the teachings and person of Jesus Christ. The real problems we Christians sometimes cause do not come from obeying Jesus, but from not obeying Jesus.  Joshua took over the Promised Land, and David killed Goliath, but Jesus Christ never told his disciples to go out and commit violence in his name.

Jesus said:

 

"But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise," (Luke 6:27-31).

That's what Jesus taught.

Jesus told his followers he would send them the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13), and the Holy Spirit truly sets those who love Jesus apart from the members of all of the world's religions. The Spirit of God does not promote evil and destruction.  As Paul the apostle told the Galatians, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law," (Galatians 5:22-23).

The problem we Christians have is not that we are too filled with the Holy Spirit or too in love with God. If we were, we would obey God. We would be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, full of the wisdom and love of Christ. We Christians cause problems not when we stick to the fundamentals, but when we are not fundamentalist enough.

Norway shooter Anders Behring Breivik is definitely not a fundamentalist Christian, and his justifications for murdering 76 people on Friday should give pause to any who think that human rational thought will ultimately lead to utopia.

Source: http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2011/1807

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Pastors: Homosexuality not a sin

By Russ Jones

A group of Omaha pastors has issued a proclamation that states homosexuality is not a sin.

More than 100 ordained Christian ministers have signed the proclamation, including leaders from Lutheran, Episcopalian, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, and Presbyterian churches.

David Bydalek is executive director of Family First, the family policy council for the state of Nebraska. He deems this effort troubling for many Nebraskans and contends the ministers involved are from liberal denominations that do not respect the orthodox biblical teaching on homosexuality.

"When they come out with this sort of statement, I think they really do not reflect the mainstream feeling in the state of Nebraska," Bydalek suggests. "When we passed our marriage amendment years ago, we had about 70 percent of those in Nebraska who opposed 'gay marriage.'"Dave Bydalek

But when Christians take a stand to support traditional biblical teaching on the issue, the Family First executive director laments that they are often perceived as "bigots" or "homophobes." He suggests, however, that the loving response to those trapped in homosexuality teaches that the lifestyle is indeed sinful, but that freedom can be found through Christ.

"It's going to be more difficult, the more these…activists [gain] inroads into our culture and the more common it becomes," Bydalek warns. "So we have a very difficult task ahead of us as those who stand for truth."

Meanwhile, creators of the proclamation argue the document displays full acceptance of lesbian, "gay," bisexual and transgender people.

Source: http://www.onenewsnow.com/Church/Default.aspx?id=1387802

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Pray for Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani

By Bob Unruh

 

Yousef Nadarkhani (Image from Christian Solidarity Worldwide

The U.S. State Department has issued a statement condemning the "hypocrisy" of Iran, which while publicly proclaiming its tolerance for human rights, in practice has condemned to death a Christian pastor because of his faith.

In a statement from department spokesman Victoria Nuland, the U.S. said, "While Iran's leaders hypocritically claim to promote tolerance, they continue to detain, imprison, harass and abuse those who simply wish to worship the faith of their choosing."

The statement said, "We are dismayed over reports that the Iranian courts are requiring Yousef Nadarkhani to recant his Christian faith or face the death penalty for apostasy – a charge based on his religious beliefs. If carried out, it would be the first execution for apostasy in Iran since 1990."

The department noted that Nadarkhani is "just one of the thousands who face persecution for their religious beliefs in Iran, including the seven leaders of the Baha'i community whose imprisonment was increased to 20 years for practicing their faith and hundreds of Sufis who have been flogged in public because of their beliefs."

Nuland said, "We join the international community in continuing to call on the Iranian government to respect the fundamental rights of all its citizens and uphold its international commitments to protect them."

The international Christian organization Christian SolidarityWorldwide had more details on the case.

Officials said the Iranian Supreme Court asked the lower court in Rasht to re-examine a few procedural flaws in the case, but gave local judges a free hand to determine whether Nadarkhani should be released, retried, or executed.

"Since the court in Rasht had based its original verdict on fatwas by such important religious figures as Ayatollah Khomeini, the 'father' of Iran's revolution in 1979; Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran; and Makarem Shirazi, currently the most influential religious leader in Iran, the Supreme Court may have been reluctant to overturn the verdict for fear of inviting controversy, even though there is no death sentence for apostasy in Iranian civil law," the organization reported.

CSW also noted that Article 23 of the Iranian constitution states no one should be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.

Nadarkhani is a leader in the evangelical Church of Iran denomination and was arrested in his home city of Rasht of Oct. 13, 2009, while trying to register his church. He originally was charged with protesting, but those charges later were upgraded to apostasy and evangelizing Muslims.

CWS said he was found guilty of apostasy in September 2010 and written confirmation was delivered two months later. Since then he's been held in Lakan Prison.

His lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, appealed that December, but now has been informed the appeal was denied.

"This is clearly a devastating outcome for Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and the Church of Iran network, and our thoughts and prayers are with them," said Andrew Johnston, the CWS advocacy director.

"CSW condemns the decision to uphold this verdict in the strongest possible terms. The death sentence for the charge of apostasy is not codified in Iranian law. The ruling has deeply worrying implications for all Christians in Iran, and is yet another indicator of the regime's disregard for basic human rights and freedoms. Of particular concern is the fact that the Iranian regime often enacts death sentences without advance notice to prisoners' families, lawyers or even the prisoners themselves. Consequently, the international community must urgently apply pressure on the Iranian regime to rescind this unjust decision," he said.

Source: http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=322125


 
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Is God Judging Us?

By Jack Kelly

The weather is in the news again and I've received a number of questions about it. With another 500 year flood along the Mississippi and the worst tornado season since the 50s people are once again wondering if God is judging us for our sins. So we can better understand what's going on here's some perspective on the issue.

Based on my study of the nature and power of God, I'm convinced the world was perfect when He finished creating it. After all He pronounced His work of creation good 7 times during the week in which He performed it and when He was finished He declared the whole project very good. I don't believe there was a single thing wrong with the way it worked. I think there was a world wide sub-tropical climate and every day was perfect. There were twelve thirty day months and a year was 360 days long. I think the leap years, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other natural disasters we're all too familiar with were unknown to Earth's earliest residents.

But when sin was introduced into the world things began to work differently, the way a computer program works differently after a virus has been introduced into it. And life on Earth really changed when that sin had to be judged. The world has literally never been the same since.

Paul confirmed this when he wrote that we humans are not the only ones in bondage due to sin. He said the creation itself eagerly awaits to be liberated from its bondage and has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth ever since it was subjected to frustration. (Romans 8:18-22)

We need to understand that when sin entered the world it knocked the finely tuned creation out of balance, and when God judged the world in the Great Flood it caused both short and long term consequences. As subterranean water broke through the Earth's surface, God collapsed the giant water canopy He had placed above the sky (Genesis 1:6-8) providing enough water to completely cover the earth's surface (Genesis 7:11-12, 18-19).

How Old Are You?

One of the earliest consequences of the flood was the reduction in life spans. A quick comparison of pre and post flood life spans in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11:10-32 is all that's necessary to confirm this. Some believe it happened because the water canopy had prevented harmful rays from outer space from entering earth's atmosphere and damaging the regeneration process of human cells. They claim the loss of this protection caused the aging process to accelerate rapidly.

So while Adam lived 930 years and 9 generations later Noah lived to age 950, his son Shem, who was 98 years old when the flood came, lived only a total of 600 years. But even so he outlived 8 of the first 9 generations of his post flood descendants. Although Abraham wasn't born until 291 years after the flood came, he was already 59 years old when Noah finally died. Abraham died at the age of 175 years, 35 years before Shem. And Moses died at 120. ( Source: http://gracethrufaith.com/ikvot-hamashiach/from-adam-to-abraham/)

The collapse of the water canopy along with the increased size of the oceans also meant that weather would no longer be perfect and mankind would be subject to periodic storms. The first mention of wind blowing on earth is in Genesis 8:1 just after the flood, and storms are first noted in Exodus 9:24, but Job, who probably wrote about the time of Joseph, also spoke of storms several times.

The next change in the creation was when the single land mass was divided into the continents of today. In Genesis 1:9 we see that God caused the land to be separated from the water on the third day of creation. Scientists speculate that there was originally only one large land mass. (In the early 1900's the German scientist Alfred Wegener named this super continent Pangea, meaning all land, in connection with his theory on continental drift.) But Genesis 10:25 says that after the flood, the land was divided, eventually resulting in seven continents. This division may have caused the earth's outer crust to be fractured into giant pieces, called plates, on which the continents and oceans rest. It's the movement of these plates that causes earthquakes.

Baby It's Cold Outside

Then came the Ice Age. The huge increase in the surface area of Earth's water caused by the flood caused increased evaporation which led to the world becoming almost completely enclosed in dense cloud cover. The cloud cover brought lower temperatures which caused the supersaturated clouds to condense into precipitation. Outside the equatorial zones the precipitation fell as sleet and snow instead of just rain and as more of the earth's surface became covered in snow the temperatures fell even lower. When the clouds finally cleared the sun melted much of the snow and ice but the polar regions have never recovered from this and are still frozen even though undigested tropical vegetation has been found in frozen animal carcasses chipped out of the polar ice. The increased precipitation combined with snow melt caused ocean levels to rise submerging numerous coastal settlements. Remnants of these settlements can still be seen 100-300 feet below the surface at many points around the world. The land bridge that once connected the British Isles and Europe disappeared. (Source: Ice Age Civilizations, James Neinhuis)

About 701 BC what was apparently a close flyby between Earth and Mars knocked both planets off their orbits. Having taken 360 days for Earth to circumnavigate the Sun ever since the creation it thereafter began requiring 365.25 days. All the calendars of the world had to be changed. Somewhere along the way the Earth's axis began to tilt, a process that continues to this day. This has the effect of making summers hotter and winters colder in much of the world than they were before. And lately we've learned that the Earth's magnetic poles are adrift and are probably going to be reversing within the next year or so.

So, as soon as sin was introduced Earth's days were numbered and things were destined to get progressively worse. Natural disasters have been part of man's existence ever since the Flood and at many times have been much worse than they are today. In fact one could logically wonder how the earth has managed to survive this long. The answer is in Paul's letter to the Colossians. Speaking of Jesus he said:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Because of all this, when people ask if the Lord is judging us for our sins, my response is not yet. We're still experiencing the consequences of the last judgment. Besides the Church has already been judged and the penalty paid for our sins. It happened at the cross. Unbelievers won't be judged until the Church is gone and when they are it will make what's happening now seem like small potatoes.

Therefore it's my opinion that for the most part the extreme weather the world is currently experiencing is part of the ongoing effect of the judgment the Lord visited upon Earth at the time of the Great Flood.

Times Of The Signs

But I think there are also two things happening that may be unique to our time and both are signs from the Lord. One is for the Church and the other is for America's leaders.

Both Jesus and Paul indicated that we would see signs in the creation that would alert us to the nearness of the End times. These signs would appear before the end times scenario actually unfolds, in other words before the 70th Week begins, but would hint at its closeness. He called them the beginning of birth pangs (Matt. 24:8) Paul used the same phrase in Romans 8:22 referring to the creation. Birth pangs begin mildly and are far apart, but as the time for the birth approaches they become more frequent and more intense. Jesus specifically mentioned earthquakes, so let's see if the trend in earthquakes meets the pattern of birth pangs. In the 1930s and 40s earthquakes measuring 5.0 or larger averaged around 17 per year. In the 1990s the average was just under 30 but for the last 4 years we've averaging about 50. (Source: National Geophysical Data Center) I believe this is the Lord alerting the Church to get ready for the rapture.

The other one is a warning to America's leaders to take their hands off His land. By selectively relaxing His hold on the now flawed creation to coincide with American led demands that Israel trade some of His land for the false hope of peace, He's trying to get their attention. While the disasters His relaxation permits are no where near the record setters of world history, some have been bigger than anything this generation of Americans is used to. (You can easily Google up a list of the 20th Century's worst disasters to verify this.) As you can see from the list below, these warnings have conspicuously followed on the heels of American decisions to pressure Israel into forfeiting part of the Promised Land for peace.

1. October 30, 1991: The Perfect Storm – As President George H. W. Bush is opening the Madrid (Spain) Conference to consider "land for peace" and Israel’s Middle East role, the "perfect storm" develops in the North Atlantic, creating the largest waves ever recorded in that region. The storm travels 1000 miles from "east to west" instead of the normal "west to east" pattern and crashes into the New England Coast. Thirty-five foot waves pound Kennebunkport,Maine, the summer home of the Bush family.

2. August 23, 1992: Hurricane Andrew – When the Madrid Conference moves to Washington DC and the peace talks resume, Hurricane Andrew, the worst natural disaster ever to hit America, comes ashore and produces an estimated $30 billion in damage and leaving 180,000 homeless in Florida.

3. January 16, 1994: Northridge Earthquake—President Bill Clinton meets with Syria's President Hafez el-Assad in Geneva. They talk about a peace agreement with Israel that includes giving up the Golan Heights. Within 24 hours, a powerful 6.9 earthquake rocks Southern California, This quake, centered in Northridge, becomes the second most destructive natural disaster to hit the United States, behind Hurricane Andrew.

4. January 21, 1998: Lewinsky Scandal – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with President Clinton at the White House and is coldly received. Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright refuse to have lunch with him. Shortly afterwards on that day, the Monica Lewinsky scandal breaks into the mass media and begins to occupy a major portion of Clinton's time.

5. September 28, 1998: Hurricane George – As Secretary of State Albright works on the final details of an agreement in which Israel would give up 13 percent of the West Bank, Hurricane George slams into the United States Gulf Coast with 110 mph winds and gusts up to 175 mph. The hurricane hits the coast and is stalled there. On September 28, Clinton meets with Yasser Arafat and Netanyahu at the White House to finalize this land deal. Later, Arafat addresses the United Nations about declaring an independent Palestinian state by May 1999, as Hurricane George pounds the Gulf Coast, causing $1 billion in damage. At the exact time that Arafat departs the country, the storm begins to dissipate.

6. October 15-22, 1998: Texas Flooded – On October 15, 1998, Arafat and Netanyahu meet at the Wye River Plantation in Maryland. The talks are scheduled to last five days with the focus on Israel giving up the aforementioned 13 percent of the West Bank. The talks are extended and conclude on October 23. On October 17, awesome rains and tornadoes hit southern Texas. The San Antonio area is deluged with rain. The rain and flooding in Texas continue until October 22 and then subside. The floods ravage 25 percent of Texas and leave over one billion dollars in damage. On October 21, Clinton declares this section of Texas a major disaster area.

7. November 30, 1998: Market Capitalization Evaporates – Arafat comes to Washington again to meet with President Clinton to raise money for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capitol. A total of 42 other nations were represented in Washington. All the nations agreed to give Arafat $3 billion in aid. Clinton promised $400 million, and the European nations $1.7 billion. On the same day, the Dow Jones average drops 216 points, and on December 1, the European Market had its third worst day in history. Hundreds of billions of market capitalization were wiped out in the U.S. and Europe.

8. December 12, 1998: Clinton is Impeached – As Clinton lands in the Palestinian-controlled section of Israel to discuss the "land for peace" process, the House of Representatives votes four articles of impeachment against him.

9. May 3, 1999: The Powerful Super Tornado – On the day that Yasser Arafat is scheduled to declare a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital, the most powerful tornado storm system ever to hit the United States sweeps across Oklahoma and Kansas. The winds are clocked at 316 mph the fastest wind speed ever recorded. The declaration is postponed to December 1999 at the request of President Clinton, whose letter to Arafat encourages him in his "aspirations for his own land." He also writes that the Palestinians have a right to "determine their own future on their own land" and that they deserve to "live free, today, tomorrow and forever."

10. Week of October 11, 1999: Hurricane, Earthquake and Dow Collapse – As Jewish settlers in 15 West Bank settlements are evicted from covenant land, the Dow-Jones financial averages lose 5.7 percent in the worst week since October 1989. On October 15 the Dow lost 266 points, and a hurricane slams into North Carolina. On the next morning, October 16, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake rocks the southwest in the fifth most powerful earthquake in 20th Century. The earthquake was centered in the California desert and did little damage but was felt in three states. (source: www.truthorfiction.com)

11. August 29, 2005. Hurricane Katrina. One week before Katrina made landfall, Israel carried out the evacuation of 9,500 residents from Gush Katif and four Samaria communities. Residents were forced from their homes by Israeli troops, some dragged away kicking and screaming and placed on buses that took them from the area. The Gaza evacuation had been supported and even urged upon Israel by the US. Estimated to have caused damages in excess of $100 billion Katrina was one of the most expensive natural disasters in US history (Source: www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46178)

12. Sept. 1, 2010 US Pres. Obama welcomed PM Netanyahu (Israel) Pres. Abbas (Palestinians) Pres. Mubarak (Egypt) and King Abdullah (Jordan) to the White House, having invited them all to dinner on the eve of the first direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians in nearly two years. As the talks began, Hurricane Earl (a category 3 storm) was headed for North Carolina where mandatory evacuation orders were issued in some coastal areas. Hurricane warnings were established all the way up the East coast to Cape Cod. Although many experts felt the timing was wrong, and in fact no tangible results came from the talks, over $40 million in damages were attributed to hurricane Earl.

The Law of Cause and Effect is clearly established in the incidents I've described above. Even those who deny the existence of God have seen the trend. More than one observer has commented that it takes a lot of effort to miss the point of these warnings. And that is, of all the places on Earth, God has claimed that land for Himself. There's no nation powerful enough to give even one inch of it to anyone else at any time for any reason without suffering the consequences.

So back to the original question. Is God judging us for our sins? Not yet. But is He warning us that His judgment is coming soon? You bet. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

06-04-11

Source: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack176.html

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The Case For Eternal Punishment

By Jack Kelly

“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:24)

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matt. 25:41,46)

If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)

For most of mankind’s existence the belief that punishment for unbelievers is eternal was taken for granted.  The above verses were the basis for what’s become known as the traditional view of hell.

But recently an alternative, called the conditional view, has come on the scene. This view is based primarily on Rev. 20:12 which says the unsaved dead will be judged according to their works. Proponents of the conditional view interpret this verse to mean that while no unbeliever can go to heaven, their punishment in hell will be based on the quality of their lives while on Earth. They contend that those who’ve led meritorious lives on Earth but aren’t believers will receive less severe punishment for a shorter period of time than say a Hitler or Stalin before being destroyed altogether. They claim that this view makes more sense because it shows God to be fair, making the punishment fit the crime so to speak, before mercifully ending their existence altogether.

On the surface it seems to make sense and some people are more comfortable with this view than the traditional one that appears excessively harsh to them and serves no purpose other than making people suffer. But is the conditional view the result of greater enlightenment in our understanding of Scripture or just another in a long line of attempts to re-cast God’s word into a kinder gentler document as it pertains to those who’ve rejected Him?

My Ways Are Not Your Ways

A closer look reveals that the idea of a conditional hell is decidedly biased toward the world view of unbelievers. Conditional hell proponents say, “All they did is not believe that Jesus died for them.  Other than that many unbelievers tried to live a good life and helped a fair amount of people along the way. What did they do to deserve eternal punishment?”

What these people don’t realize of course is that unbelievers will have failed to do the only thing God required of them. Since the cross, God has only asked one thing of us.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)

If God is going to judge unbelievers by how they’ve done the work He requires of them, it’ll all be over pretty quickly because without belief in Jesus even the good they might have accomplished is considered evil in God’s sight. How do I know that?  Read the Lord’s own words;

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matt. 7:22-23)

So much for the value of a meritorious life!

Unbelievers don’t think rejecting the Lord is a big deal because they don’t realize that their rejection of His sacrifice for their sins has eternal consequences. Because of their unbelief they’re only thinking in terms of a 70-80 year lifespan, not an eternal existence.  So let’s take a look at this from the eternal perspective and try to understand how different it is.

First let’s understand that the man who is executed or given life in prison for taking someone’s life is not being taught that murder is wrong. He’s suffering the consequence of his crime by forfeiting the balance of his physical life . It’s an adaptation of the Biblical injunction, a life for a life (Lev. 24:17).  On Earth we’re in a physical environment so it’s a physical life for a physical life.

But a person who rejects the pardon God provided for him has in effect murdered his own soul and spirit.  Both are eternal, so there has to be an eternal consequence to fit the crime. Our physical bodies are only intended to serve a temporary purpose, and that’s to house the eternal part of us for a little while. Compared to our eternal existence, putting our physical existence to death is a minor infraction.  Refusing to accept the Lord’s completed work on the cross as payment in full for our sins is a crime against our eternal life and therefore the only just punishment is eternal punishment.

And That’s Not All

But there’s an even more powerful legal argument for eternal punishment that for centuries was modeled in human existence as well.  Until the mid 19th Century it was common practice in many parts of the world to incarcerate a person for failure to pay his or her debts.  Jail time was not an alternative method of repayment, it was the consequence they suffered for their inability to pay their debt.  No matter how long they were locked up they still owed as much of their debt as they did on their first day behind bars. They could only be freed by repaying the money they owed.  Jesus referred to this practice in His parable of the unmerciful servant (Matt. 18:23-35).

It’s the same with our sins.  Punishment is not an alternative method unbelievers can use to pay the penalty for their sins, it’s the consequence they’ll suffer for their inability to pay the penalty.  No matter how long a person suffers in eternity, they will still owe the same penalty as they did on day one. The only acceptable payment for sin is the blood of an innocent person, and nothing else will suffice.  Hebrews 9:22 explains that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Therefore no one can “work off” his or her penalty through suffering.

This is the fatal flaw in the Catholic concept of purgatory.  It calls for a person who dies with certain unconfessed sins  to “work off” the penalty for those sins through their suffering and the intercessory prayers of living relatives in order to qualify for entry into heaven.  But there’s only one way  for humans to qualify for entry into heaven and that’s by accepting the blood of Jesus as payment for our sins (John 3:3).  Once we do that  all of our sins are covered (Colossians 2:13-14).  But we have to do it before we die (Hebr. 9:27) or else it’s too late.

It’s also the flaw in the conditional view of hell.  If the blood of Jesus is the only way to be released from the penalty for our sins, then there’s no escape for those who reject it.  No matter how numerous or noteworthy, the “good works” unbelievers perform during their lifetime can’t be applied to reduce their sentence and neither can the “time served” after they die, so they’ll always owe the same penalty as they did on day one of their incarceration.

The bottom line is the only acceptable payment for our sins is the blood of a sinless man, and the only sinless man is Jesus. He died for all the sins of mankind (John 1:29) but only those who choose to accept His death as payment for their sins can be forgiven. The refusal to accept it leaves everyone else unable to pay and requires that they be incarcerated.  Since they’re eternal beings and since they’ll never be able to pay, they’ll have to remain incarcerated forever. Selah 06-25-11

Source: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/kelley/jack179.html

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What Is the World’s Largest Church?

By Dr. David R. Reagan

The world's largest church is one that teaches a New Age theology that denies all the fundamental truths of the Bible. The church has over 20 million enthusiastic members in the United States who adore their pastor — Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah's life story is a rags-to-riches sensation that could happen only in America. She was born in 1954 to an unwed teenager in Mississippi. She was given the name of Orpah at birth, after the biblical character in the book of Ruth, but her family and friends always mispronounced it, calling her "Oprah" instead.

On September 8, 1986, the Oprah Winfrey Show began broadcasting nationally, and in short order it replaced Donahue as the number one day-time talk show in America. Since that time, the Oprah Show has set all sorts of records. It is the highest-rated and longest-running television talk show in American history. The show has 22 million viewers in the States and 49 million worldwide in the more than 120 countries in which it is broadcast. Her O Magazine readership is over 3 million. Her website is visited 1.3 million times each day.
All of this has propelled Oprah to immense wealth and popularity. Her net worth is estimated to be more than one billion dollars. A Gallup poll ranked her as the 4th most important woman in the entire history of the world! CNN and Time magazine have both referred to her as "arguably the world's most powerful woman." She has received similar laudatory rankings from Life, USA Today, and Ladies Home Journal. Forbes named her the world's most powerful celebrity in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010. And in 2010, Life magazine named her one of the 100 most important people who have changed the world — right up there with Jesus Christ and Elvis Presley!

An Incredible Danger

There is no doubt that Oprah Winfrey is the world's most popular and powerful woman. And there is also no doubt that she is the most dangerous.

I make that assertion without hesitation because she has emerged as a New Age High Priestess who is deceiving millions into rejecting God's Word and embracing, instead, a convoluted theology that is straight from the pit of Hell.

Her Role As A Spiritual Leader

She is widely recognized as a spiritual leader. In 2002 Christianity Today declared she "has become one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America." In 2006 USA Today pointed out that she has been referred to as "a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa," "a symbolic figurehead of spirituality," "America's pastor," and "today's Billy Graham."

The spiritual pornography that Oprah is peddling is called The New Age Movement. The irony is that Oprah claims to be a Christian and denies being a New Ager! On one of her programs when a Christian in the audience challenged Oprah about being a "New Ager," Oprah responded:

I am not New Age anything, and I resent being called that. I am trying to open a door so that people can see themselves more clearly and perhaps be the light to get to God, whatever they may call that. I don't see spirits in the trees, and I don't sit in a room with crystals.

Unfortunately for Oprah, this very denial revealed her New Age mentality. Notice that she refers to God as "whatever" a person "may call that." And she asserts that human beings can be "the light" to get to God. This denial is either a lie about her New Age beliefs, or else she is totally deceived by them.

The essence of the New Age Movement is pantheism — the pagan belief that God is in everything and therefore everything is God. This belief stands in direct opposition to the biblical teaching that God exists separate and apart from His creation. A corollary of pantheism is the belief that Man is god and therefore the key to spiritual enlightenment and salvation is to recognize one's divinity and release it to achieve Christ-consciousness.

Oprah can deny all day long that she is a New Ager, but the truth is to be found in her writings and public statements and in the guests that she features on her programs.

Oprah's Words

For example, during a program when she was interviewing New Age guru Shirley MacLaine, Oprah said that being born again is the same as "being connected to the higher Self," and she added that when the Bible says, "ask and it shall be given," we are being prompted to seek answers from our "intuitive Self."

On a program featuring a panel of New Age authors, Oprah said she does not think God is "hung up" on what we believe about Him. "Whatever that force is, it doesn't care what you call it. He doesn't have an ego problem." She went on to say, "I believe in the FORCE. I call it God." On the contrary, the Bible reveals God as our Heavenly Father, as a person, and not as some impersonal force or "it."

On another program featuring a panel of New Age gurus, Oprah said, "…one of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe that there is only one way. Actually there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God." When one of her audience members disagreed, testifying that she believed Jesus is the only way to God, Oprah lost her temper and shouted, "There couldn't possibly be only one way!" She added that she felt like God cares more about our hearts than He does about what we believe about Jesus.

In her 2005 book, Live Your Best Life, Oprah described her theology as a belief that everything is one and Man is divine and Man can thus create his own reality. She encouraged people to meditate and pray (to any god!) and say, "My heart is open to find the flow, the flow, the flow, the flow that is my life…I am willing to surrender to the flow that is my life." Does that sound like a Christian prayer to you? The Bible teaches that we are to surrender our lives to Jesus.

Oprah claims that one of the most important books she has ever read is one by Eric Butterworth called Discover the Power Within You. In that book the author wrote, "Jesus did not come to teach us how divine he was but to teach that divinity was within us." Commenting on this totally unbiblical and blasphemous statement, Oprah said that for Jesus to claim exclusive divinity "would make Jesus the biggest egotist that ever lived."

One of Oprah's severest critics, David Cloud, says that "in a nutshell, Oprah's gospel is ME." As he further points out, she has said repeatedly, "God wants you to love yourself. It starts with you." Newsweek magazine quoted her in 1997 as saying that spiritual gurus are here "not to teach us about their divinity, but to teach us about our own."

Source: www.lamblion.com

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Churches Promoting Islam

Dozens of Christian churches, from Park Hill Congregational in Denver to Hillview United Methodist in Boise, Idaho, and First United Lutheran in San Francisco to St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Honolulu, are planning to send "a message both here at home and to the Arab and Muslim world about our respect for Islam" with a time to read the Quran during worship this Sunday.

It's not just wrong, but dangerous, according to Christian trends analysts.

The aim of the program, which is promoted by social activists behind the Faith Shared website, is to counter the message from Islamic activists who say opposition to their religion is the product of what they call a cottage industry of hate.

So the Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First is calling on Christian clergy to read portions of the Quran during their services Sunday.

The readings, supporters say, will "counter the anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases, violence."

Not so fast, says apprising.org religious trends analyst Ken Silva.

"I would think they need to have their spiritual heads examined. It's foolish to think that we're going to read something that originates with demons and read that in a Christian church," Silva said.

The action amounts to "spiritual treason," he asserted.

Pastors of participating churches declined to discuss their programs with WND.

But Silva said, "Second Corinthians 6:14-18 (the verse warning against partnering light with darkness) says we're forbidden to do that kind of thing. It's one thing to be friendly with someone in Islam, but it's a whole other thing in a Christian community to be reading something that is antithetical to Christianity and is hostile to Jesus Christ himself."

Silva isn't the only analyst who has objections to the program. Worldview Weekend President Brannon Howse said he's not surprised with the development.

"I expect that of the mainline churches. Many of them have denied the essential Christian doctrines," Howse said. "They have denied the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. They have denied the inerrancy of Scripture; they've denied the inspiration of Scripture. So I'm not shocked that pagans would united with pagans."

His critique of what he sees as the failure of the mainline churches grew more severe.

"I'm not shocked that apostates would unite with apostates. I'm not shocked that people who practice the occult of Christian yoga or practice the occultism of contemplative prayer, which is another name for Transcendental Meditation," Howse said.

Howse said he believes Islam is also rooted in the occult.

"I am not shocked that an occultic religion of mainline liberal Christianity would lock arms with the occult of Islam. They're both steeped in the occult and paganism. So I'm not shocked by that at all," Howse said.

Howse also has a word of caution for evangelical Christians.

"If you're an evangelical, you better defend the exclusivity of Jesus Christ and the deity of Jesus Christ, the inspiration of Scripture and the inerrancy of Scripture. If you're not willing to defend that, then you really shouldn't be calling yourself a Christian," Howse said.

Neither the Interfaith Alliance nor Human Rights First responded to WND's repeated requests for interviews.

The Faith Shared website paints a different picture of the objectives. The site says that tensions between Islam and Christianity have grown in the past year.

"Tensions around Islam in America have erupted throughout the country in the past year, leading to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases violence. News stories on the rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry and violence abound, with graphic and often searing images of the antagonists, the protagonists and the battlegrounds where they meet," the site said.

"All too often, media coverage simplistically pits Muslims against would-be Quran burners, neglecting any substantive representation of where the majority of Americans actually stand: a shared commitment to tolerance and freedom," the site read.

"We are committed to ensuring that the storyline changes dramatically in 2011 by helping to create an environment of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s faith traditions," the site said.

The Human Rights First site said the group simply wants to fight what members believe is rampant anti-Islamic prejudice.

"Faith Shared seeks to counter the anti-Muslim bigotry and negative stereotypes that have erupted throughout the country in the past year and led to misconceptions, distrust and in some cases, violence," the statement said.

"This countrywide, day-long event will engage faith leaders on the national and community levels in a conversation with their houses of worship, highlighting respect among people of different faiths," the site said.

The sites make those claims despite reports that the actual number of anti-Muslim incidents has gone down in the United States in the past 10 years.

Culture and Media Institute analyst Alana Goodman reports that anti-Muslim actions as a percentage of all anti-religious acts never went above 13 percent of the total number of anti-religious hate crimes.

"Since 2001, hate crimes against Muslims have decreased significantly, according to FBI statistics. After 2002, hate crimes against Muslims have not risen above 13 percent of all anti-religious crimes, and the most recent data from 2008 calculates them at 7.8 percent," Goodman's report stated.

Silva believes the real reason for the Shared Faith event is spiritual emptiness in the country.

"So many Christians talk to each other and they read other Christians rather than read the Scriptures themselves. There's a real move inside our country right now for an ecumenism and a syncretism trying to bring everyone together and it's rooted in contemplative spirituality," Silva observed.

"There's a deception that comes. They're under the impression that God is trying to bring all people together, and bring in God's dream for the world to make the world a better place," Silva continued.

"The Gospel has been changed from repentance and forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name to God wants to make the world a better place, get involved with where He's working and bring about His dream," Silva added.

"It's what Walter Martin would say spiritually obtuse Christians are easy marks for the more militant of the Muslims who are presenting this as some big Islamophobia," Silva said.

"We are not hateful to Muslims, but we are hostile to Islam because it enslaves people. We want people to be free," Silva said.

Howse says his warning to Bible-believing Christians is simple.

"Be aware of these people who have crept in secretly, unnoticed, with destructive heresies. I want to warn the church to be a 'Watchman on the Wall' for the 'Religious Trojan Horse' who is trying to draw people away from the faith," Howse said.

"Some of this deception is going to be so deceitful, so camouflaged, that we're going to be shocked at the Christian leaders who will follow it," Howse said.

WND reported only days earlier on a clash over Islam in Christian ministries.

It happened when Jack Van Impe Ministries launched a campaign to expose what it views as false teachings in Christianity and named several major ministry leaders. Trinity Broadcasting Network halted broadcast of a Van Impe program over it, and Van Impe decided to take his broadcasting elsewhere.

"I Will Not Be Silenced! I will not allow anyone to tell me what I can and cannot preach," Van Impe said in a statement when TBN would not allow his program to air.

"When I see heretical teaching leading to apostasy, I will speak out," he said. "The Bible says 'All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:' (II Timothy 3:16). The Apostle Paul also gives instructions in Titus 1:9-11, 13 'Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers … Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake…Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.'"

Van Impe said he immediately called his media agents and told them, "I no longer wanted to air my program on Trinity Broadcasting Network; we will take the tremendous amount of money that we were spending there to obtain new stations that will allow us to continue to reach every square mile of America with the truths of the Bible without this network."

The dispute arose over the issue of advocating for "Chrislam" and other efforts that are designed to find "common ground" between Christians and Muslims. TBN declined to air one of Van Impe's programs that contained sharp criticisms of leaders such as Rick Warren of "The Purpose Driven Life" fame and Robert Schuller.

In a statement from Van Impe Ministries, Executive Director Ken Vancil said his organization rejected an effort by TBN to reinstate the programming and would work to develop alternative broadcast outlets where they were needed.

"We would not be able to minister effectively if we had to look over our shoulder wondering if a program was going to be censored because of mentioning a name," Vancil said. "While there is hurt over this incident, we hold no animosity towards TBN. Dr. Van Impe has often expressed his appreciation to Paul and Jan (Crouch, of TBN) and all that they have accomplished."

But he confirmed that Paul Crouch Sr. continued to "caution" him "regarding Dr. Van Impe's naming of names and publicly rebuking ministers and their teachings."

Other ministries have voiced criticism similar to Van Impe's.

Joe Schimmel, senior pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Southern California and chief of the Good Fight Ministries, openly has questioned whether church leaders are affirming Allah.

Schimmel, who is best known for "They Sold Their Souls for Rock n Roll," which exposes satanic influences behind much of yesterday and today's popular music and how it negatively influences youth, suggested in a WND column, "Could it be that we are witnessing the formation of the prophesied one-world religion under the Antichrist? (Revelation 13:1-18) "

He cited Brian McLaren of the emerging church movement, who planned for an Islamic Ramadan celebration. And he mentioned Warren's agreement to address the Islamic Society of North America, which "the Department of Justice categorized two years ago as a co-conspirator in financing a foreign terrorist group!"

Another church leader, Tony Campolo, "a proponent of the so-called 'evangelical left' claimed that 'even if' Muslims 'don't convert, they are God's people,'" Schimmel wrote.

"Even more chilling is the fact that over 300 prominent Christian leaders signed a letter issued by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture claiming that world peace is dependent on Muslims and Christians recognizing 'Allah' and 'Yahweh' as the same God. This letter, titled 'Loving God and Neighbor Together,' was written in response to a signed document by 138 Muslim leaders titled 'A Common Word Between Us and You.' McLaren, Warren, Robert Schuller and Bill Hybels were just several of the signatories to this outright betrayal of Christ!" he said.

TBN previously had a conflict over its intolerance for criticism of Islam. It was in 2006 when Hal Lindsey, WND columnist and one of the world's most popular non-fiction authors, clashed with the network because TBN wanted him to soften his views on Muslims. Lindsey refused.

Source: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=314661

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