Divine Serendipity

Divine Serendipity
Vol: 65 Issue: 16 Friday, February 16, 2007

While not the main focus of this morning’s Omega Letter, with all the hubbub about global warming raging all around, it is worth noting that it was just barely above freezing when we woke up in Jacksonville, Florida this morning.

The forecast for today in Orlando is the mid-50s, and there are warnings of a hard freeze tonight. Some of you may have also noticed that the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality canceled its hearing, Climate Change: Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Human Activities Contributing to a Warming of the Planet?

The reason? The record-breaking ice storm that layered the Washington DC area with several inches of ice and snow.

The day before we left Steve Spillman’s house in South Carolina, Steve gave me a book written by his father, Jim Spillman, in the late 1970’s. The book, called “The Omega Cometh” was an incredibly prescient examination of the signs of the times, as Jim saw them thirty years ago.

I was struck by the fact that, other than removing the dates that would have given the game away, one would have thought it had been published within the last couple of years.

The same could be said of Hal’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” published almost a decade earlier. How could both these men have been so uncannily accurate it their predictions?

The answer is simple. They followed the outline presented by the Bible for the last days. We don’t know the nuts and bolts details that God would use to paint the Big Picture, but we know what the Big Picture will look like when it is finished.

What does this mean? First, it adds to the mountain of evidence that supports the contention that these are the last days as predicted by the Scriptures. If these were not the last days, then neither Lindsey nor Spillman would have enjoyed such incredible accuracy.

Neither man was a prophet, but they did have the Ultimate Source of prophecy from which to work.

Secondly, since both books read as if they’d been written today, rather than thirty years ago, it confirms that we are as far along the road toward the fulfillment of all Bible prophecy in this generation as we think we are.

What they predicted as future events constitute the top headlines in our morning newspapers.

Jesus warned of signs in the sun, and in the moon and in the stars, the sea and the waves roaring, the distress and perplexity of nations, men’s hearts failing them for fear, etc. (Luke 21:25-26)

Both Lindsey and Spillman interpreted the Scriptures in light of what contemporary science was predicting for the near future. Science in the 1970’s was no less hysterical about the dangers lurking just around the corner, especially the dangers posed by global climate change.

Nations were just as perplexed and distressed about climate change then as now — except that in the 1970’s the global scientific consensus was that the world was facing an impending ice age.

Thirty years later, the global scientific consensus is no less hysterical, the nations are no less perplexed and distressed, the cry of “something must be done” is just as shrill, but the coming Ice Age has been replaced by Global Warming.

Jesus addressed neither an Ice Age nor Global Warming. He said that the generation that would see His return would be perplexed and distressed by the signs of “those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

All Spillman and Lindsey did was use the scientific consensus as it existed at the time to underscore the distress and perplexity over changing global weather patterns. Spillman and Lindsey were consistently accurate — they relied on the Bible. It is the scientists who keep getting it wrong.

Assessment:

While we were there, Steve and I got into a discussion about the Omega Letter membership, and in particular, the Omega Letter Member’s forums, including the Prayer Requests and Praise forums, Members Only Discussion forums, Bible Discussion Forums, Witnessing Discussion forums, etc.

I confess I bragged on you a bit. I am proud of the way you all come together to share the burdens of this existence, pray for one another, help each other with advice and answers to the ‘hard questions’ we all run into when sharing our witness of Christ, and the praise reports you share to encourage each other along the way.

Steve exclaimed, “This is like an electronic church — only without the bricks and mortar. It reminds me of my dad’s church when I was growing up.”

“Dad was not hung up with denominational divisions, and was more interested in Christian fellowship than in denominationalism. His flock were born-again Christians, rather than born again Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, etc.”

I told Steve that the regular members of our forum family often refer to themselves the Omega Letter Fellowship.

Steve got a thoughtful look on his face, and said, “That’s interesting. My dad’s Church was called ‘The Omega Fellowship’.”

Steve told me that until that moment, he’d not noticed the connection.

Then he said, “Wait! I just remembered the name of Dad’s ministry publication. It was ‘The Omega Letter’.”

Now it was my turn to look thoughtful. “Steve, I didn’t know that. Does that mean I owe your dad royalties? Your dad’s ministry was a bit before my time. Until we met, all I knew of your dad was that he had written the book that John Brown says inspired him to found Zion Oil to look for oil where the Bible said it should be.”

Steve laughed at the royalty joke, but as we talked, we were both struck by a renewed sense of what Steve called ‘Divine serendipity’.

Jim Spillman published the book that inspired John Brown to look for oil in Israel. We’ve discussed the global effect of a major oil strike in Israel in previous Omega Letter Briefs, and how such a strike would change the course of history.

Steve reminded me how he and I had met. Steve had heard of the Omega Letter and had written me to ask if he could advertise the book his dad had written and he had updated called “The Great Treasure Hunt.”

I read the book and published a column about the incredible implications of an oil strike in Israel. The column found its way into John Brown’s hands, and John Brown got in touch with me. It is worth noting that John told me while I was in Dallas;

“You know, I’ve written you twice and called you once, but you ‘blew me off’.” (his words). “It wasn’t God’s time. I believe that now it is.”

John’s contact efforts were more than four years ago. It was just last year that God had me sell everything we owned, move into an RV, and go where He would lead me. At that point, I had never met or spoken with John and had only met Steve once when he offered me a publishing contract I had not yet accepted.

As I have already said on more than one occasion, I had no idea what the mission was, and have even confessed that sometimes I thought I had taken leave of my senses.

That led to meeting Steve, who is also the president of True Potential Publishing. Through Steve, I met John Brown, whose Zion Oil was born out of the prophecies of Scripture predicting the discovery of oil in Israel in the last days first laid out by Steve’s dad, Jim.

Jim Spillman was the founder of the Omega Fellowship, whose ministry published a monthly “Omega Letter” that was, in essence, the ‘bricks and mortar’ mirror-image of our own Omega Letter Fellowship.

More remarkable than that was the fact that Steve and I had become very close friends before we’d made any of these connections.

And I’ve mentioned how, when I visited the Zion Oil offices during my recent trip to Dallas, that it seemed that God had assembled the major players in Zion Oil, most of whom shared the same refrain; “I can’t explain how I got involved in this.”

I wrote in Volume 64, Issue 28 (“Bigger Than Dallas”);

“John took me to the Zion Oil and Gas offices in Dallas, where he made a point of introducing me to the various geologists, accountants, executive officers and lawyers who work there.

It was more like being introduced to members of a church fellowship than the executive officers of an oil company.

While I was there, John called the Zion officials in Israel, including the president of the Israeli division of Zion Oil and its chief counsel. John would suddenly say, “I want you to meet Jack” and hand me the phone.”

I also wrote in that volume, “I actually heard him tell one of his marketing executives that he didn’t want them to try and entice new investors and not to waste time on such nonsense — his words, not mine.”

“This is God’s project,” he said. “God will provide in His time. We needn’t worry ourselves about that. The mission is to spread the message about what God is about to do for His Chosen People. Spread the word, and let God handle the rest.”

Right now, I find myself sitting in an RV park in Jacksonville, Florida, my rig parked beside Steve Spillman’s rig. We are here to attend the NRB convention, following last week’s “Night to Honor Israel” which I attended as John Brown’s guest.

I am attending the NRB at John Brown’s invitation. One of the reasons is to discuss an idea first broached by John Brown while we were in Dallas — to eventually write the story of Zion Oil and its role in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy for this generation.

What a powerful tool such a story would be in our efforts to lead the lost to Christ.

(And while here, as I mentioned, I will also have a chance to spend some more time with Sandra Levitt and Jeffrey Seif of “Zola Levitt Presents” — a Messianic ministry dedicated to introducing God’s Chosen People to their Messiah. That is a special ‘cookie’ for me personally.)

Let’s tie it together. The Omega Letter shares more than just its name with the ministry founded by Jim Spillman, Steve’s father, which coincidentally served as the catalyst that spawned Zion Oil, which is on the cusp of changing the course of Israel’s history by discovering the riches of the deep buried beneath the Land of Promise.

I had never heard of Zion Oil or Steve Spillman (or even Jim Spillman) until God brought us all together — through the auspices of the Omega Letter — which hosts the Omega Letter Fellowship we are all a part of.

The Omega Letter was so named because Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet and was used by Jesus Christ to symbolize the last days:

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Our Omega Letter fellowship is dedicated to the proposition that the Lord is moving in a mighty way in these last days, preparing an army of one-on-one evangelists to carry the message of the Lord’s soon return to the lost.

We come together in our forums as a fellowship, dedicated to pooling our resources and knowledge, for the express purpose of encouraging each other as we labor to expand the Kingdom while there is still time.

When one sits down to think about it, it is truly, truly awe-inspiring. There are just too many coincidence for this all to be coincidental. If one steps back, one can see the Hand of God all over the Big Picture — and you and I are part of it.

Just imagine! God is Personally using each of you, through your unflagging support of our shared ministry, and has raised up a global fellowship (our members hail from every hemisphere, and dozens of countries) to work a work that may eventually play a role in changing the course of history that will turn Israel from international pariah to one of the world’s leading oil nations in these last days.

You — each of you — find yourself playing a leading role in the actual fulfillment of Bible prophecies recorded by Moses more than three thousand years ago.

Steve called it “Divine serendipity.” From the perspective of Jack Kinsella, a redeemed sinner of no particular importance, I’d have to call it a ‘miracle’.

A REAL miracle, not the store-bought kind you see on TV.

It isn’t me. I just write a daily column. YOU are the fellowship that makes it possible.

This is hard for me to explain. I don’t want to sound like I think I am “all that and a bag of chips.” I know better. I am just a donkey that tries to carry the Message, but it is exciting beyond words to share with you where our Rider is leading us.

As I said, there are too many coincidences for this to be coincidental.

Why am I sharing all this? It is because I believe that WE, you and I, are being used as part of evolving prophecy fore-ordained by God for the nation of Israel at exactly this moment in history.

“Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.” (Habakkuk 1:5)

Habakkuk was right. I can scarcely believe it. But God is working in our days, and I wonder marvelously. And I believe that our fellowship has been thrust right smack-dab in the middle of it.

The King IS coming! And we — all of us, have been chosen to be part of the process. Be humbled. Be encouraged.

And be excited!

And Now for Something Completely Different. . .

And Now for Something Completely Different. . .
Vol: 65 Issue: 15 Thursday, February 15, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different. . .

The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan

To learning much inclined,

Who went to see the Elephant

(Though all of them were blind),

That each by observation

Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,

And happening to fall

Against his broad and sturdy side,

At once began to bawl:

God bless me! but the Elephant

Is very like a wall!

The Second, feeling of the tusk,

Cried, Ho! what have we here

So very round and smooth and sharp?

To me tis mighty clear

This wonder of an Elephant

Is very like a spear!

The Third approached the animal,

And happening to take

The squirming trunk within his hands,

Thus boldly up and spake:

I see, quoth he, the Elephant

Is very like a snake!

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,

And felt about the knee.

What most this wondrous beast is like

Is mighty plain, quoth he;

Tis clear enough the Elephant

Is very like a tree!

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,

Said: E en the blindest man

Can tell what this resembles most;

Deny the fact who can

This marvel of an Elephant

Is very like a fan!

The Sixth no sooner had begun

About the beast to grope,

Than, seizing on the swinging tail

That fell within his scope,

I see, quoth he, the Elephant

Is very like a rope!

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong!

Moral:

So oft in theologic wars,

The disputants, I ween,

Rail on in utter ignorance

Of what each other mean,

And prate about an Elephant

Not one of them has seen!

Assessment:

Gayle and I have enjoyed a wonderful, refreshing week with our friends, Steve and Elaine Spillman at their home in upstate South Carolina.

We came to Greenville to attend the “Night to Honor Israel” but we ended up staying with the Spillmans for the best part of a week. It was the most fun I can remember in a long, long time. God is so good.

Steve shared this poem by John Saxeman with me one night, and we discussed this poem, and the poet’s point, well into the evening.

There isn’t really much to add. God is so much more than we can ever imagine, yet we tend to be like the six blind men.

Food for thought. . . don’t you think?

Note:

This morning, we are pulling out from Steve’s to head to the NRB convention in Orlando. While we were here, we hammered out the last chapters of my new book, “The Last Generation”, which we hope to have out in April.

The NRB convention promises to be a special treat — Sandra Levitt emailed me to tell me that she and Jeffrey Seif (Zola Levitt Presents) are also going to be there. I am looking forward to building on the friendship we enjoyed when I was in Dallas last month. They are great folks.

There is much more to report — as soon as we get settled in, I’ll bring everybody up to speed.

Please pray for journey mercies for us, and for the Spillmans, who are convoying down there with us in their RV.

Maranatha!

On the Lunatic Fringe

On the Lunatic Fringe
Vol: 65 Issue: 14 Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The other day, I caught another rerun of the National Geographic special, “Doomsday – the Book of Revelation” produced by Morningstar Productions and broadcast on the National Geographic Channel.

I was hesitant to participate in the program when invited, but decided to go ahead after many assurances that the purpose of the program was to take a serious look at the prophecies of the apocalypse and not to present believers as members of the lunatic fringe of Christianity.

Instead, the program was divided between ‘serious scholars’ and ‘believers’ who, of course, were portrayed as being on the lunatic fringe of Christianity.

The ‘scholars’ chosen to exegete the last Book of the Christian New Testament included a Jewish rabbi and a Jesuit, whose role was to explain where the lunatic fringe believers (like me) had gone wrong in their understanding of Scripture.

Debunking the Gospels has been elevated to an art form in this generation — particularly when it comes to those parts of the Gospel that deal with eschatology (the study of the last days.)

The “Jesus Seminar” came into being in 1985 for the express purpose of “demythologizing” the Scriptures, especially the wave of apocalyptic preachers who had begun building on the work of my friend Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth.”

Hal was among the first to popularize the fact that the prophecies of Scripture for the last days had started to fall into place, beginning with the restoration of Israel to her ancestral homeland in 1948 as predicted by the Hebrew prophets of antiquity.

Hal was by no means the first to recognize the significance of the existence of a Jewish state called “Israel” as a harbinger of the last days. Matthew Henry’s “Exposition of the Old and New Testaments” (published in 1710) addressed Israel’s restoration as the key to unlocking the prophecies of the last days.

The purpose of the ‘Jesus Seminar’ (according to the seminar’s founder, Robert Funk) is to use ‘historical methods’ to determine what Jesus, as an historical figure, may or may not have said or done.

The group retranslated (actually, they rewrote) the New Testament and then used their own translation as their primary source of reference. The Jesus that emerged from their reconstruction of the Gospels was nothing more than an itinerant rabble rouser. Their Jesus was just a “wise man and a good teacher”. The Resurrection, they concluded, was a myth.

The seminar treats the Gospels as filled with fabrications — especially the Gospel of John. They concluded that the Gospel of Thomas (upon which the “Davinci Codes” was based) was more authentic than the Book of John and that the Gospel of Thomas rightly belongs among the Canon of Scripture.

That single conclusion encapsulates the Jesus Seminar’s incredible arrogance. Irenaeus, (130 – 202) dismissed the Gospel of Thomas as a Gnostic heresy as did virtually all the early Church Fathers — many of whom lived within living memory of the events described in the Gospels.

The Jesus Seminar’s Gospels are not prophetic — and neither is their “Jesus.” According to these alleged scholars, Jesus preached what they call ‘sapiential eschatology’ (repairing the world) rather than the traditionally understood ‘apocalyptic eschatology’ (the end of the world).

Therefore, they dismiss the Olivet Discourse (What will be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world? -Matthew 24, Mark 13 Luke 21) as a pack of lies.

Indeed, according to the Jesus Seminar, of all the sayings of Jesus, only fifteen quotes attributed to Jesus were”authentic” and other fifteen were “probably authentic.” They conclude that the remaining 82% of the Gospels were complete fabrications.

The Jesus Seminar concluded that the only part of the Lord’s Prayer that was actually uttered by Jesus were the words, “Our Father.” (I kid you not)

Among their other conclusions were:

Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great, but He had a human father whose name may or may not have been Joseph.

Jesus was not born in Bethlehem, but in Nazareth.

Jesus was an itinerant “sage” Who shared meals with social outcasts.

Those who were healed by Jesus were suffering from psychosomatic illnesses.

He neither walked on water, fed the multitudes with five loaves and seven fishes, changed water into wine at Cana nor raised Lazurus from the dead.

Jesus was executed for being a public nuisance, not for claiming to be the Son of God.

Jesus was not raised from the dead, and the empty tomb was a fiction perpetrated by Paul, Peter and Mary, all of whom were suffering from delusional hysteria.

Of the 74 ‘scholars’ listed in their publication, “The Five Gospels” only 14 could be considered leading figures in New Testament studies.

Almost half got their degrees from the same three liberal universities, Harvard, Claremont or Vanderbilt. The majority teach at such bastions of higher education as local community colleges.

Among the “scholars” are Catholics, Jews, mainstream Protestants, admitted atheists, various professors at universities and seminaries, one pastor, three members of the Westar Institute in California which sponsored the project, one filmmaker, and three others whose current occupations are entirely unidentified.

Noted William Lane Craig in his paper, “Rediscovering the Historical Jesus: Presuppositions and Pretensions of the Jesus Seminar:

“The real, historical Jesus turns out to have been a sort of itinerant, social critic, the Jewish equivalent of a Greek cynic philosopher. He never claimed to be the Son of God or to forgive sins or to inaugurate a new covenant between God and man. His crucifixion was an accident of history; his corpse was probably thrown into a shallow dirt grave where it rotted away or was eaten by wild dogs.

Now if these conclusions are correct, we who are Christians today are the victims of a massive delusion. To continue to worship Jesus today in light of these conclusions would be either idolatry or mythology idolatry if you worship the merely human figure who actually lived, mythology if you worship the figment of the Church s imagination.”

Ya think?

Assessment:

It is no accident of history that the Jesus Seminar came into being in this generation. When Jesus was asked to outline the signs of His soon return, the first thing He said was, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)

He warned; “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11)

The Apostle Peter warned; “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

Peter called such ‘willfully ignorant’ — which is a pretty good description of the so-called ‘scholars’ of the Jesus Seminar.

I have always found it fascinating that so many have invested so much effort in ‘proving’ the Gospels are fiction and that Jesus was just a wise man and a good teacher.

As we’ve discussed on many occasions, Jesus claimed to be the Son of God sent to redeem the world from its sins and to restore fellowship between God and man.

If it were not true, He could not have been a “good teacher.” Good teachers do not teach lies. Neither could He have been very wise. Wise men don’t go to their deaths for a lie.

If Jesus was not the former, He could not logically have been the latter, either.

We have people who claim to be the Son of God in our world today. You can usually find them in nice, clean rooms, dressed all in white and playing Scrabble with the guys who claim they are Napoleon, not universally acclaimed by their critics as wise men and good teachers.

All of the Apostles (except John) were put to death for refusing to recant their testimony of Jesus Christ, His Deity, His Resurrection and His miracles.

(The Apostle John was boiled in oil but was miraculously delivered from death. Unable to kill him, the Emperor Domitian ordered his banishment to the Isle of Patmos.)

Matthew was run through by a sword in Ethiopia. Mark was dragged to death by horses in Egypt. Luke was hanged in Greece.

Peter was crucified upside-down. James, the brother of Jesus, was thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple. (James survived the 100 foot plunge and was finished off by beaten to death with a fuller’s club)

James, son of Zebedee was beheaded in Jerusalem. Bartholomew was whipped to death in Armenia. Thomas was speared to death in India. Jude was killed by archers.

Mathias, chosen by lot to replace Judas Iscariot, was both stoned and beheaded. Paul was beheaded in Rome on orders from Nero.

Every single one of the Apostles were ostracized by their families and friends for their witness of Jesus Christ. They lived as homeless beggars, were beaten and imprisoned on a regular basis, and each could chosen to recant their witness to save their own lives.

What else would motivate them to live the lives that they did and willingly embrace the deaths that they suffered? (Every single one of them — without exception?)

The Jesus Seminar has yet to offer an alternative explanation apart from mass hysteria. Instead, they simply argue that it never happened.

It is easy for me to understand why Christians want to preach the Gospel to the lost. The Gospels offer hope. They extend the promise of eternal life and reconciliation with God. The Gospel message answers the age-old question, “What is the meaning of life?”

What I cannot understand, in the natural, is the zeal with which atheists, agnostics and “scholars” like the Jesus Seminar preach their empty message.

The message they carry is utterly empty. The meaning of life remains an unanswered and unanswerable question. It offers no hope of redemption, holds out no promise of eternal life, and provides no incentive for doing good.

All that life offers is a cold grave at the end of a miserable and painful existence. If they are right, why should they care if others believe in an eternal existence in either heaven or hell? It isn’t any more real than believing in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

Why expend so much effort to proclaim a gospel of misery? It makes no sense whatever.

There is only one context in which such devotion to emptiness makes sense. If God exists, so does Satan. As God is the embodiment of love, so too, is Satan is the embodiment of hatred.

The Bible says that Satan’s hatred of mankind is so intense that he will expend any effort to ensure that man eventually joins him in hell.

C.S. Lewis once remarked that Satan’s most effective tool is the belief that he doesn’t exist.

The most effective way to ensure he will have plenty of company in his eternal place of torment is to convince man that there is nothing beyond the grave to either aspire towards or fear. Which is precisely the ‘gospel’ advanced by the Jesus Seminar.

Logically speaking, there can be only one answer that explains such dedication to debunking the Gospels as myths and portraying Jesus as just another historical nut case.

Because Jesus was EXACTLY Whom the Gospels portray Him to be; the Son of God, sent to make atonement for the sins of the world.

No other answer passes the logic test.

“Grace, Grace, God’s Grace”

“Grace, Grace, God’s Grace”
Vol: 65 Issue: 13 Tuesday, February 13, 2007

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Ephesians 2:8)

In reading Ephesians 2:8, one notices four important words; grace, saved, faith and works. The reason they are so important is that each has only one logical meaning.

Grace is unmerited favor. My car insurance company gives me a grace period. The bill is due on a certain date, but my company allows me a few days ‘grace’ before canceling my policy.

They don’t have to. If I had an accident during this grace period, the insurance company could easily deny my claim. I didn’t earn this grace period, I can’t even claim I deserve it.

The company grants it because it wants to keep my business, but if I were a lousy driver and a bad risk, it could just as easily (and legally) revoke my policy for non-payment the day my policy expired.

That is why it is called a “grace” period. This life is our grace period. When it is over, that grace period has expired.

Saved is another word that has but one logical meaning in the context of this verse. “Saved” means to rescue or keep safe from harm or danger.

“Faith” means complete trust or confidence in someone or something. One cannot partially trust someone or something, since it implies a partial lack of faith.

Finally, there is the word “works” which means, “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.”

Let’s put it all together in a logical syllogism (deductive reasoning as distinct from induction).

God’s grace is extended to all men, but not all men will be saved.

In order to be saved, one must have faith (a complete trust in Someone or something) in this case, trust that the shed Blood of Christ is sufficient payment for our sins.

Ephesians 2:9 says our salvation is not of works, “lest any man should boast,” eliminating the argument that man can create his own path to salvation.

Note that even saving faith is a work of God. “And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God.”

“Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD, that YE BELIEVE ON HIM Whom He hath sent.” (John 6:28-29)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus . . . Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:23-24,27-28)

Pulling it all together, the Bible says that ALL men are sinners without exception. Doing good works cannot undo bad works. One cannot be ‘good enough’ to be saved.

God grants all men a ‘grace period’ during this life before demanding payment for sin.

During this grace period, man can be saved by having faith that God, Who cannot lie, will accept the payment for sin extended by Jesus Christ as sufficient payment for one’s sins.

To be saved, one must believe.

“Believe” verb, [trans.] as true; feel sure of the truth [intrans.] have faith.

Assessment:

There are many who believe God exists, and may even believe that Jesus was the Son of God, but they are not necessarily saved. It depends on whether they trust His Promise, or if they put their trust in their own righteousness.

Merely believing in God is not enough. Satan believes in God. But Satan isn’t saved.

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)

Salvation demands faith that Jesus is able to keep safe all those who put their faith in Him to do so, no matter the circumstances.

The central theme of Scripture centers around three main points;

1) Man is a sinner constitutionally incapable of keeping the law.

2) Nobody is qualified to enter into the Presence of God based on his own merits and,

3) That “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Remove any of those key points from the equation and the theme of salvation makes no sense. If point 1 were not true, then it would negate point 2, which would then eliminate the necessity for point 3.

If eternal security is a false doctrine, that means we each play a role, through our works, (either sinful or righteous) in maintaining our salvation.

In that case, maintaining one’s salvation would require working at it by maintaining our personal righteousness. But the Scripture says that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Remember, our native unrighteousness is the central theme of Scripture — and it demands the necessity of a Savior.

Therefore, if maintaining one’s personal righteousness is a condition of salvation, then point 1 is not true, point 2 is partially untrue and point 3 is unnecessary. That would defy the central theme and context of the revealed Word.

The first lie of the Garden of Evil was that man should trust in himself and on his own understanding. The Scriptures teach the precise opposite.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

The doctrine of eternal security flies in the face of that first lie by removing man from the equation altogether. Eternal security says that human righteousness is as ‘filthy rags’ before the Lord, therefore, Jesus paid the FULL penalty for sin.

It teaches that man plays no greater role in his salvation than that of accepting the gift of Pardon offered him by repenting (which means to change one’s mind) about his sin and trusting in the shed Blood of Christ as a completed work.

The Scriptures teach us we can be, “confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phillipians 1:6)

One doctrine, that of salvation plus works, teaches that once He hath begun a good work in me, it is up to ME to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The other, that of eternal security, teaches that, once He hath begun a good work in me, HE will continue to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Which doctrine lines up best with the main theme of the revealed Word of God?

We return to the message of salvation, but presented WITHOUT the implicit promise of eternal security for the believer.

“You are lost and deserve to go to hell. But Jesus has made a way for you to be saved. All you have to do is believe in Him and not sin again. Go to church, learn the Bible, quit smoking, drinking, swearing, having lustful thoughts, avoid all your old sinful friends, do good and don’t sin, and you shall be saved. But if you continue in sin after trusting Jesus, you will go to hell anyway.”

If one discounts the doctrine of eternal security as some kind of Satanic lie, then giving the Gospel in any manner differently that the one above is deceptive advertising.

But the Scriptures teach, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

If one is turned into a ‘new creature’ through God’s extension of Sovereign grace accepted through faith, how then does one turn ONESELF back to the old creature by an act of human will (sin)?

“Grace” is not a license to sin, it is Divine permission to get back up and try again. Sin is burdensome because it tends to pile up so fast. Soon, it becomes so heavy you CAN’T get back up on your own.

The burden is lifted by the grace of God so that we can get back up, heal our wounds and return to battle. Grace is not license to sin. It is medicine to heal and bandages to cover our sin so we can fight on.

Understanding grace is to understand what Paul meant when he told the Galatians, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Be encouraged. If you’ve trusted Jesus, not only will you make it to heaven, in God’s eyes, you are ALREADY there.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6)

Trust “Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

You can trust Him. He won’t let you down.

The Real “Prophets of Doom”

The Real “Prophets of Doom”
Vol: 65 Issue: 12 Monday, February 12, 2007

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth and latest report on the state of scientific knowledge on global warming concluded that human activity — primarily increased greenhouse gas concentrations due to fossil fuel burning — is “very likely” responsible for the overall increase in global surface temperatures.

But the conclusions were by no means unanimous. Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing. Svensmark carbon dioxide emissions due to human activity are having a smaller impact on climate change than scientists think.

According to Svensmark, the calculations used to make this prediction largely overlooked the effect of cosmic rays on cloud cover and the temperature rise due to human activity may be much smaller.

“It was long thought that clouds were caused by climate change, but now we see that climate change is driven by clouds,” he was quoted as telling the London Telegraph. “This has not been taken into account in the models used to work out the effect carbon dioxide has had.”

Moreover, say Svensmark, “We may see CO2 is responsible for much less warming than we thought and if this is the case the predictions of warming due to human activity will need to be adjusted.”

A team of more than 60 scientists from around the world are preparing to conduct a large-scale experiment using a particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland, to replicate the effect of cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere.

They hope this will prove whether this deep space radiation is responsible for changing cloud cover. If so, it could force climate scientists to re-evaluate their ideas about how global warming occurs.

Assessment:

Right after the report was released, Arctic temperatures plunged most of the northern hemisphere into a deep freeze. Upstate New York is digging out from a snowstorm that dumped as much as ten feet of snow in a matter of days.

Sub freezing temperatures were recorded from Southern California to Southern Florida, destroying as much as 80% of the citrus fruit in the affected areas.

The week that Al Gore unveiled his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” predicting catastrophic effects from global warming was the coldest day in New York City history.

That is not to say that temperatures haven’t been rising. The two hottest years on record were 1998 and 2005. But records only go back about 100 years. According to Svensmark, “Evidence from ice cores show this happening long into the past. We have the highest solar activity we have had in at least 1,000 years.”

The UN is talking about PERMANENT climate change. And that is where meteorologists differ in their opinions. For example, the UNIPCC report cites an increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricane activity since the 1970s as evidence of permanent climate change.

Meterologists point out that a similarly severe increase in hurricane activity also occurred during the 1930’s and 1940’s before subsiding for three decades. In the 1930’s, nearly a decade of severe heat and drought in the MidWest was symbolized by the nickname, “Oklahoma Dust Bowl.”

They were talking about global warming, then, too. But then the weather patterns shifted the other way, and in the sixties and early seventies, scientists were warning of a coming Ice Age.

The UN assessment is based on weather forecasts extending fifty years or more into the future. Anybody who has ever relied on the accuracy of a ten-day forecast knows any forecast extended beyond after the day after tomorrow is just an educated guess subject to change.

What IS significant is not whether or not the climate is actually changing. God promised us in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

When answering the question “What will be the sign of Thy Coming?” Jesus warned, not of global climate change, but rather, of the fear of global climate change in the last days.

In Luke 21:25-26 Jesus warned, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring.”

That certainly captures the global warming controversy in a nutshell; “the distress of nations, with perplexity.” Jesus continued, saying, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

Now consider the controversy again. Nobody knows for sure if global warming is permanent, or just part of a normal weather cycle. But to read the newspapers, one would think the sky is falling.

Global warming advocates are shouting “Something must be done” before we know what that “something” really is.

And without a clue what it is that “must be done.”

Global warming proponents declare as fact that in fifty years, half of Florida will be under water. The coastlines will shrink by fifty miles, putting most of the world’s coastal cities under water. But nobody can be absolutely sure if it is real. Nobody has any way of know if it is permanent.

And the cause, if there is one, remains a matter of scientific dispute. Since 2000, solar eruptions have broken all standing records, both in frequency and intensity. With each solar storm, scientists warned of communications disruptions, dangerous radiation, and other, unspecified, but dire consequences.

Are man-made greenhouse gases affecting the sun 93 million miles away?

This is the key issue: Jesus didn’t warn of global warming, He warned of the PERCEPTION of global warming He also warned, “And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Jesus made His prediction 2000 years ago. But you still can’t trust the Weather Channel’s ten day forecast — which is both distressing and perplexing.

Because it is the weather forecast that has everybody’s hearts palpitating.

Olive Oil? Or Petroleum Oil?

Olive Oil? Or Petroleum Oil?
Vol: 65 Issue: 10 Saturday, February 10, 2007

“And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.” (Deuteronomy 33:24)

John Brown has dedicated his life and his personal fortune to the search for oil in Israel based, in part, on this verse from Deuteronomy.

I received an email from a subscriber recently regarding those Bible prophecies upon which John Brown and Zion Oil are basing their search for oil in Israel. Specifically, my correspondent challenged the whole premise, arguing that the verses that refer to oil in the Bible are referring to olive oil, not petroleum oil.

He is not alone in that assessment.

Many skeptics and critics point out that the word translated “oil” in this verse refers to olive oil. And in some verses in Scripture, that is what the Hebrew “shemen” means.

Unfortunately, English is a very imprecise language when compared to either Hebrew or Greek, which is why God inspired the Scriptures to be written in those two languages.

In Hebrew, context is as important as is the word itself.

“Shemen” can mean “olive oil,” but it can also mean “a staple” (a necessity of life) or an “ointment” or “for anointing” or as a metaphor, as in “fat of fruitful land or valley” or even “a feast of fat things.”

If Zion Oil’s search were based on Deuteronomy 33:24 alone, perhaps I might be among the skeptics. As an honest student of Scripture, rightly dividing the word is everything. I want to be sure of what the Bible says, not what I think or hope that it says.

In the limited context of Deuteronomy 33:24, it COULD mean olive oil — but it could just as easily refer to a “staple necessity of life” a definition that, in this generation, could certainly refer to petroleum oil.

Which is correct? For that, we need to examine the whole context in which it is being presented.

The promise is not given to an individual, but to the Tribe of Asher, and, by extension, to the his descendants — or, the nation of Israel, since the land grant of Asher is an inseparable part of modern Israel.

“Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, AND let him dip his foot in oil.

God also promised, “Joseph is a fruitful bough by a well … blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that couches beneath shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head.” (Genesis 49: 22-26)

What else could the “blessings of the deep” refer to, when taken in context? I can find no logical alternative explanation that fits the context.

Deuteronomy 33:13, 16 promises, “And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath. . . And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.”

What are the “precious things” that “couch beneath” and the “precious things of the earth and the fulness thereof”? Remember, this is Bible prophecy we are dealing with. What, in this generation, is more precious than petroleum oil?

Gold? Silver? Diamonds? A nation blessed with an abundance of these would be rich, indeed. But what would a nation so blessed do with its wealth?

It’s a “chicken and the egg” equation. Which comes first? First and foremost, that wealth would go to buy oil, without which it couldn’t even mine the gold or diamonds.

In this generation, oil is the well-spring of national wealth. If you have material wealth, you can buy oil. If you have oil, the wealth IS the oil.

America is the wealthiest nation on earth. Despite our riches, we are held hostage to tiny, otherwise barren and insignificant countries like Saudi Arabia, because they are the ones who have the oil. And we have no choice but to pay any price to get it.

Isaiah 45:3 promises Israel: “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”

The Hebrew transliteration of this verse literally reads, “”I will shoot up to you deposits stored in valuable dungeon-type containers, so that you will know that I Am the Lord your God, who called you by name.”

What else could “deposits stored in valuable dungeon-type containers” under the earth refer to BESIDES oil? Nothing else fits either the logic or the context except oil.

Assessment:

Givot Olam Oil, Ltd, an Israeli oil exploration company not affiliated in any way with either John Brown or Zion Oil, recently announced the discovery of what is, so far, the largest proven oil fields ever found in Israel.

The discovery was made with the assistance of Zion Oil, who shared its expertise (and its experts) with Givot Olam. John Brown told me that the assistance was given freely, as an example of how Christians and Jews can work together.

And it paid off for Givot Olam — and especially for Israel. It is estimated that this discovery could yield as much as a billion barrels of oil.

So the oil is there.

This morning, I received another email, from another subscriber, who said he had received an investment prospectus from Zion Oil. He asked me about Zion Oil, saying, “Please give me your opinion. I want to help Israel and the John Brown project but have no one who is on the inside to talk to. Maybe you can help.”

I am not exactly on “the inside” since I don’t know a thing about oil or oil drilling or the difference between Jurrasic oil and Triassic oil, (or even if I have the terms right.) But I trust what the Bible says. My discussions with John Brown have centered around the Bible’s predictions — I confess that he lost me whenever the subject turned to the science of oil exploration.

In the interest of full disclosure, I own a small number of shares in Zion Oil. I am hardly a major investor — the stock I hold wouldn’t be enough to buy a good used car, but it is the only stock I own. It is the only stock I would ever personally invest in. I am less interested in the value of the stock than I am in helping Israel — which, selfishly, will also help the USA.

Think of the implications. Financially, and geopolitically, a major oil strike could potentially make Israel as wealthy as any Arab oil kingdom. It is unlikely that the Arab states would allow Israel membership to OPEC, which could signal the end of the oil cartel’s power and its stranglehold over the US economy.

Then there are the implications for Bible prophecy and the spreading of the Gospel. Finding oil in the exact spot prophesied by Scripture would be an undeniable proof of the Divine inspiration of the Bible. Only an idiot or the willfully ignorant would attempt to trot out the dusty old ‘coincidence’ theory in the face of such undeniable evidence.

An oil strike in Israel made entirely on Bible prophecy would become a powerful evangelistic tool for the last days.

That said, it is difficult for me to offer financial advice on investments. I know nothing of investing, and could care less about material wealth. We live in a heavily-mortgaged RV. We sold our house and have given away pretty much everything else we owned.

All I own are my books, what furniture is useful and fits inside a 33 x 8 foot bus, and 500 shares of Zion Oil valued at about seven bucks a share. The bank owns everything else.

We’ve dedicated our lives to the service of the King, and income we have is pretty much eaten up by our RV payments, gas and maintenance, our car payments, redundant internet access, and salaries for Mike and Renea. We have neither an RRSP nor can we afford private health insurance.

We don’t even have a savings account, since we don’t have any excess to put into one. Whenever we do find ourselves running a surplus, we always seem to run into someone who needs it more than we do.

I say all that to say I am hardly a financial guru that anyone should trust for investment advice. Indeed, I am the LAST person I would seek financial advice from.

But I believe the Bible. And the Bible seems to indicate that there is oil in Israel. Agreed, the Bible doesn’t specifically say that there are vast deposits of petroleum in Israel. But it does say that there are vast deposits stored in valuable dungeon-type containers under the earth.

The Bible says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2)

I’ve “searched it out” and on no less an authority than the Resurrected Christ, believers are made both kings and priests by virtue of our salvation.

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:6)

Personally, I will invest in Zion Oil as God provides the increase to do so. Not because of any potential financial gain (although it would be nice) but because I believe the Bible. And having gotten to know John Brown, I know that he believes it as well. And that’s good enough for this old preacher.

Now, to the question, should anyone else invest in Zion Oil? The only answer I am comfortable in giving is the one found in the pages of the Scriptures.

“. . .Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5)

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)

After all, you can’t take it with you.

“Unto the Church of Laodicea. . .”

“Unto the Church of Laodicea. . .”
Vol: 65 Issue: 9 Friday, February 9, 2007

Former president Jimmy Carter is once again at the center of controversy, proving once again that the only job he was worse at than president is that of former president.

Before going on, let’s revisit those thrilling days of yesteryear during the Carter presidency. He presided over the worst period of economic malaise since the Great Depression – a malaise he blamed, not on his administration, but on the American people themselves.

If one were forced to choose low point of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, it might be his July 15, 1979, “national malaise” speech. The country was suffering under inflation, recession, and an “energy crisis”–and we were about to undergo the national humiliation of the Iran hostage crisis. But what was Carter’s diagnosis of America’s problem?

It was not his policies that were to blame. The problem was the American people, who had suffered an inexplicable “crisis of confidence”:

“We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America.”

The problem, in his mind, was neither the discredited socialist programs of the Left or his weak and vacillating leadership.

The problem was that we weren’t strong enough to make his policies work, so we had to be scolded for allowing ourselves to succumb to a “national malaise.”

By the Jimmy Carter left office, the “Misery Index” had risen by more than 50%.

During the Carter years, I was in my twenties and raising a young family. I can recall going down the supermarket aisles and seeing store clerks re-pricing everything from cans of soup to fresh meat and fish.

A can of soup would have as many as five or six price stickers on it as prices rose before the inventory even left the store. Even perishable items like meat and fish would sometimes have price stickers over price stickers as inflation raged at more than 18%.

Interest rates hovered at about the same level, peaking in some markets at more than 21%. For those of you too young to appreciate that kind of economy, this is how it worked (or didn’t).

In 1970, the average ‘grocery basket’ cost $38.00 according to figures supplied by the USDA. By 1980, the same basket of groceries cost $84.00.

Suppose you bought a house in 1970 for $20,000 with a twenty-year mortgage at 6.5% interest. (In 1970, you could buy a pretty nice house for $20,000)

You would be looking at a mortgage payment of $149.11 per month. By 1980, the last year of the Jimmy Carter administration, the same mortgage– at 18% — had jumped to $308.66 — and your house was still only worth $20,000.

In 1977, Iranian radicals seized the US Embassy and held fifty-two Americans hostage for 444 days. Carter authorized one failed rescue attempt that was so feeble that Defense Secretary Cyrus Vance resigned in protest.

The hostage crisis ended on January 20, 1980. Five minutes after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, Iran released them. Standing up to Jimmy Carter was one thing. Standing up to Ronald Reagan was something else altogether.

Since leaving office, Carter has become an international spokesman for all that is wrong about America. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, not for his work in advancing peace, but as an expression of protest against the Bush administration by the Nobel Committee.

Nobel Selection Committee member Gunnar Berge explained that the prize was awarded to Carter as a “kick in the leg” to George Bush.

Being an international symbol of anti-America didn’t phase Carter. In his acceptance speech, he noted that, “Now there is only one superpower (America) the world is now, in many ways, a more dangerous place.”

Only the United Nations, Carter said, was equipped to impose global standards of “peace, freedom, human rights, environmental quality, the alleviation of suffering, and the rule of law.”

Carter, who ran for office in 1976 largely on his credentials as a born-again Christian, told the Nobel Committee in 2002 that “Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews and others can embrace each other in a common effort to alleviate human suffering and to espouse peace.”

More recently, Carter published a book entitled; “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid” in which he compared the Israeli government to the apartheid government of South Africa.

The book was so full of factual errors and anti-Semitic rhetoric that most of the directors of the Jimmy Carter Center resigned in disgust after its publication.

Assessment:

Despite his almost unbelievable record of opposing anything that favors US or Israeli interests and his embrace of dictatorial regimes from North Korea to Cuba to Venezuela, Southern Methodist University is proud to host a Jimmy Carter Library on its campus.

But when a selection committee approached SMU about hosting a George W. Bush library and think tank on campus, William McElvaney, an emeritus professor of preaching and worship at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, told the Religion News Service that a Methodist University hosting a Bush library would be ‘heresy’.

“Some of us don’t believe that starting a pre-emptive war against anybody, especially a country that had no role in 9/11, is on our list of religious values,” he said.

“I think that George Bush has been in his presidency so inconsistent with fundamental Christianity that he should not be associated with a Methodist university,” declared Rev. Andrew Weaver, a graduate of SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. “He’s about as far away from the fundamental teachings of Jesus Christ as you can get.”

Methodist Bishop Kenneth Hicks told Cybercast News; “I happen to feel that the Bush administration has transgressed human rights, the way you go to war, the issue of torture and retaining political prisoners.

The problem, said Hicks, is that “President Bush has been influenced in his theology and his religion by right-wing religious interests more than he has by the traditional United Methodist social policy.”

I found that argument particularly interesting. Bush’s religion is too right wing for “United Methodist social policy”.

SMU recently defended the publication of a book by an SMU SEMINARY professor accusing Bush of being behind the 9/11 attack on the grounds of “academic freedom”.

But they draw a line in the sand when it comes to George Bush — because he isn’t liberal enough.

SMU is owned by the Methodist Church and is responsible for turning out the next generation of Christian teachers, pastors and religious leaders.

What they are taught is that Jimmy Carter is an example of a good Christian. One who embraces globalism, ecumenism, socialism and terrorism, provided it is directed against such oppressors as the United States and Israel.

But George Bush is a right-wing religious heretic.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)

Big Brother Comes Into His Own

Big Brother Comes Into His Own
Vol: 65 Issue: 8 Thursday, February 8, 2007

One of the most remarkable examples of Bible prophecy making the leap from the pages of the Bible to the front pages of the daily newspapers is also among the most well-known — the Mark of the Beast.

“And he causeth all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:17-18)

Now, take a few moments to think about what would be necessary to fulfill this prophecy as written. Keep in mind the fact that the Apostle John penned this prophecy sometime around AD 87.

In AD 87, literacy was largely limited to members of the upper classes. It was a world in which a person was whom he claimed to be. A person who lived in Asia Minor, for example, could travel a few hundred miles away and become a completely new person.

Say you are a petty thief wanted by the Romans in Judea, so you move to Athens. In Judea, you were Joseph, son of Barnabas. But when you move to Athens, you identify yourself as Dionysius, son of Alexander.

Unless you run into somebody from your home town in Judea who knows you well, (an unlikely prospect) you are now Dionysius. Joseph might be wanted by the Romans, but Dionysius has a clean slate.

Who is to say any differently? It isn’t like you have to carry an identification card — as already noted, most people couldn’t read it if you had one.

But according to the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast, the antichrist would not only be able to positively identify every single person, but would be able to restrict individual freedoms based on their identification.

Sure, there is the “mark” — but the economy of the ancient world was based on the barter system. Currency was whatever the seller would accept in exchange for goods and services.

While it might be possible to hamper an individual’s ability to engage in commerce in the big cities, many people in the ancient world lived their entire lives without ever setting foot inside one.

At best, the restrictions described by John would make it more expensive for someone outside the system to buy or sell, human nature and greed dictate that it could never be universally imposed.

For the right price, anybody can buy anything. It is true today, and it was even more true in AD 87 when currency was as anonymous and untraceable as the buyers or sellers.

In the modern world, we have strict laws against trafficking in drugs, human slavery, child pornography, stolen merchandise, etc. But if one is willing to pay the price demanded, one can still buy any or all of the above.

Even in a literate world like ours where our wallets and purses bulge with different forms of identification, our faces can be identified by biometric scans, our fingerprints are cataloged and the examination of a single hair can not only identify an individual, but can also identify members of an entire family.

If it were not so, there would be no drug cartels, child porn rings, organized crime, etc.

In short, the details of John’s prophecy was impossible in John’s day. It was impossible fifteen hundred years later when Columbus embarked on his voyage of discovery in 1492.

It was even impossible only sixty years ago. Even the Nazis weren’t able to round up EVERY Jew, or completely eliminate a Jew’s ability to buy and sell. Even concentration camp inmates were able to bribe their guards, if they had the wherewithal to do so.

But John’s prophecy says “all” and “no man” — and if we are to take the Bible literally, then this prophecy, to be valid, must be literally fulfilled. Even to this moment in history, John’s prophecy has not been literally fulfilled.

One cannot open a bank account without satisfactory identification, and one cannot make a major purchase using large amounts cash, but small cash transactions are still relatively anonymous.

The proof is that drug dealers, terrorist rings, child porn rings, etc., etc., still exist.

For now.

Assessment:

That window of economic opportunity is slowly closing — and the technology exists, for the first time in history, to slam it shut completely.

All that is missing is someone with the political clout and popular support needed to impose a system such as John describes.

In some cities in the US and, especially in Europe, citizens are already under round-the-clock surveillance by the government. Combining motion detection technology with the learning capabilities of video game software, new surveillance systems can detect people loitering, walking in circles or leaving a package.

New microphone technology can isolate the sound of a gunshot and direct the attached camera to swivel and zoom in on the source. Sensitivity may reach the point where microphones could pick out the word “explosives” spoken in a crowd. Since 9/11, sections of New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago are already under such round-the-clock surveillance.

And in Great Britain, the government has more than 4.2 MILLION security cameras trained on its citizens. Each person can be identified by software that can identify someone’s face by scanning it and comparing it to public photographic records.

If a photograph of your face has ever been linked to your name, via a driver’s license, passport, newspaper clipping, student identification card, etc., then you can be picked out of a crowd, positively identified, and your location pinpointed without your ever knowing it.

Moreover, the implementation of technologies like the VeriSign implantable chip has the potential to forever eliminate anonymous economic activity.

Such chips can carry the equivalent of more than 11,000 pages of information about you.

Your name, medical history, driving record, banking records, etc., can be retrieved by simply scanning your chip using the same RFID scanning that WalMart uses to make sure you don’t walk out of a store with merchandise you didn’t pay for.

Or it can be revoked or flagged as belonging to a ‘person of interest’ — using the same remote RFID technology. Your bank account balance could be zeroed out, or your location could be pinpointed and instantly transmitted to law enforcement.

There are already pilot programs in existence in which purchasers can pay for merchandise by simply walking by a scanner in the story.

The RFID reads the chip on the merchandise, then reads the information on your chip and deducts the price electronically from your bank account. You need only come within range of the scanner.

The technology necessary to fulfill John’s prediction never existed until this generation.

The political will and popular support needed to implement this kind of technology didn’t exist until the events of first year of the 21st century demonstrated the need to implement it on a universal basis for reasons of public safety and security.

That political will and popular support is by no means universal — yet. Privacy advocacy groups and civil libertarians still oppose it — but public opposition is balanced by the recognition that without it, the events of September 11 would be repeated over and over.

It wouldn’t take too many more attacks of the magnitude of September 11 before the public would begin DEMANDING some form of universal electronic identification system.

Post 9/11, the most effective tool in the fight against terror has been the effort to cut off funding to the terrorists. Bank transfers, large cash transactions, and all kinds of suspicious financial activity is already being closely monitored.

Recently, two guys from Richardson, Texas bought a bunch of pay-as-you-go cell phones from a Wal-Mart in Michigan. They weren’t required to produce identification, they paid cash for their purchases, and walked out of a store located 1200 miles away from home.

They never made it out of Michigan before they were busted by Homeland Security. Nobody was complaining about privacy rights or even questioned how Homeland Security was able to catch them.

Since cell-phones are often used by terrorists as remote-control detonation devices, if anything, the public breathed a collective sigh of relief and heaped praise on the government’s ability to intercept them.

John says the Mark of the Beast can be identified by its connection to the number 666.

“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:18)

Take a look at any barcode — most have numbers printed below the bars.

Find a barcode that contains the number “6” and locate the parallel bars that correspond to it. Now look at the three slightly longer parallel bars that divide the number into three sections.

Do you see it? Each of these dividers corresponds to the barcode that represents a “6”.

This isn’t the Mark of the Beast. Before there can be a Mark of the Beast, there must first be a beast, and secondarily, there must be a mark imposed by his system.

But what are the odds that the Apostle John’s prophecy of the Mark of the Beast and link it to computer-sensitivity to the number ‘6’? Or that it would be used in multiples of ‘3’?

Everything about John’s prophecy demands the existence of a global computer network tied into a global economy and overseen by a global governmental authority. Until this generation, it was impossible.

Since September 11, it is inevitable.

“And when these things BEGIN TO COME TO PASS, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

How much more specific can it get?

Special Report: “A Night To Honor Israel”

Special Report: “A Night To Honor Israel”
Vol: 65 Issue: 7 Wednesday, February 7, 2007

In Greenville, South Carolina last night, several thousand Christians came together with several hundred Jews to celebrate our common spiritual ancestry.

It was a star-studded event; among the guests were Congressman (and Presidential candidate) Duncan Hunter, the leaders of Greenville’s Jewish community, the Israeli Consul-General, Israel’s chief Washington lobbyist, plus True Potential Publishing’s Steve Spillman, Steve Strang of Strang Communications, Dr. John Hagee, and the Morningstar Ballet Troupe.

As a “VIP” guest, I had the opportunity to go backstage during rehearsal to watch the troupe prepare for the evening’s performance.

Although my older sister is an accomplished ballerina and one of only five Chechetti ballet examiners in America, I was never much for the ballet.

(My most vivid memory of ballet was walking into the kitchen as a kid while my sister was practicing. Her back-kick caught me under the chin. I woke up in the living room)

But the Morningstar production was a thing of beauty. They told the story of Israel, from the Diaspora through Israel’s rebirth in 1948, and her subsequent wars, right up to last year’s war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It is hard to describe. Like trying to describe a rose to a person blind from birth — the best one can do is say, “it’s beautiful.”

The conference opened with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a gigantic American flag. At the conclusion, “Old Glory” was raised like a curtain to reveal an equally-gigantic Magen David and the Israeli national anthem.

The title of the Israeli national anthem is HATIKVA, which means The Hope. It was written by Naftali Herz Imber, a Galician Jew, and set to music in Palestine in the early 1880s.

Hatikva is about hope, the undying hope of the Jewish people, through the long years of exile, that they would someday return to independence in their homeland.

The third stanza of the anthem goes like this: “Ode lo avdah tikvatenu

Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim:” (“Our hope is not lost, Our hope of two thousand years”)

Given the guest list, I expected it to be much more political than it was. Instead, the main focus of the evening was our shared spiritual heritage through Abraham.

As one of the guests observed, without Judaism, there could be no Christianity. One of the speakers asked the Christians in the audience to stand while the Jews present expressed their appreciation with a round of applause. It was a surprisingly moving gesture.

Gayle and I went with John Brown of Zion Oil. (The more I get to know John, the more I like him. )

There was one amusing moment when a lady in the audience rushed up to John, literally shoving me out of the way, to exclaim, “Didn’t I see you on Daystar last week?”

I was not only on the same program with John, I was wearing the exact same suit I wore at DayStar. (It’s a good thing I don’t take myself too seriously. I might have developed a complex.)

The conference was held at Greenville’s Fuhrman University, and the place was, as I noted, packed to capacity — mostly with Christians.

For me, the low moment didn’t come until John Hagee took to the podium, where he received the rock-star treatment, including several standing ovations.

The Morningstar Troupe had been rehearsing since 8 that morning and still had another number to perform. Hagee’s speech was the same speech he gives at every “Night to Honor Israel” conference. I’ve no doubt he could have given it in his sleep.

But as soon as he was done speaking, about half of the audience got up and left. It didn’t seem fair, but I’ve long since reconciled myself to the phenomenon of ‘Rock Star Christianity” — although I always find it somewhat spiritually embarrassing.

Afterwards, the conference hosts held a “VIP” gathering in a board room at the university. Rep. Hunter was there, as were many of the Jewish VIP’s. But no John Hagee.

I thought it was a shame, given that so many had made it so obvious that the only reason they attended was in hope that they might touch the hem of his garment, so to speak.

It reminded me of the story Dave Hunt told me about the donkey who, having being hired out for the day, went back to the stable to describe his day to the other donkeys:

(“It was amazing. People lined the streets, throwing palm fronds before me and shouting “Hosanna!” Y’know, I think they are gonna crown me king!”)

But as for Gayle and I, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, despite the fact we didn’t crawl into bed until after two in the morning.

We plan to spend a few more days up here at Steve Spillman’s place. It’s absolutely beautiful here, despite the frigid morning temperatures. (As I type this, I am fully dressed, including socks, shoes, and a jacket. Every few minutes I have to get up and walk around until I can feel my feet again.)

Steve and Elaine live on top of a mountain outside Greenville and their nearest neighbor is more than a mile away. It is a great place to write, which is fortunate, since I am still three chapters away from finishing the manuscript for my book that Steve still plans to release in April.

The plan is to knock out the last three chapters while we are here, before heading to Orlando for the NRB conference February 17th.

Steve and Elaine also have an RV, and we are planning to ‘convoy’ down there together. It should be buckets o’ fun — they are not only one of the nicest couples we’ve ever met, but they are loads of fun to hang out with.

Overall, (my criticisms notwithstanding) the “Night to Honor Israel” was a smashing success. I wish you all could have been there.

Finally, you may have noticed that Mike has uploaded our “new and improved” Omega Letter website. I am very, very proud of all the work Mike has put into it. It is the product of many, many 18-hour workdays for Mike over a period of many months. It is truly a labor of love.

You may notice a few burps and glitches at first. If so, it is my fault they slipped through the cracks. Mike has been very thorough, but a website as large as the Omega Letter is a very complicated undertaking. And I’ve been pushing Mike pretty hard to release it live.

So please, let us know if you find any.

Also, you may notice Mike has added an extra option. Those who prefer the original Omega Letter color scheme have the option to revert to the original design. There is a link at the top of the main page labeled “Use Old Style”.

There are still many new features to roll out, including a dedicated multimedia audio/video streaming section, (and some other stuff that Mike can explain better than I. I confess to being a bit punchy this morning — an old man like me needs more than four hours sleep.)

One new feature already in place is the new MP3 audio version of the King James Bible. Go to the ‘Content Archives” menu on the left side menu bar and select “King James Bible”.

Above the text is a little speaker icon. Click on that icon and you can listen to an audio version of the Bible chapter you have open before you.

Our new email system is located behind the ‘Help and Information” link on the left menu bar. There is a drop-down menu where you can select the intended recipient.

To contact me, select ‘Editor’ to contact Mike, select Webmaster/Technical Support. To contact Gayle or Renea for billing questions, email address changes, etc., select Sales/Billing.

And Mike has also included a way to select both Mike and Jack simultaneously.

Please use this form to email us with suggestions, questions, comments, etc. Sometimes, our spam filters trap legitimate emails by mistake and they don’t get delivered.

Our contact form bypasses the spam filters, ensuring your email gets delivered without delay.

We want to know your thoughts about the design, the color scheme, font sizes, etc., plus any suggestions you might have to make the site easier to navigate.

So, take a look around. Do a little exploring. We want to know what you think. After all, it’s YOUR Omega Letter.

We hope you enjoy it.

The Abomination of Desolation

The Abomination of Desolation
Vol: 65 Issue: 6 Tuesday, February 6, 2007

“And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.” (Daniel 11:31)

Six hundred years after Daniel, Jesus Christ also made reference to both the ‘abomination’ and the Prophet who foretold it.

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

There are those who argue that, because of Daniel’s astonishing accuracy in foretelling the rise and fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire, the Book of Daniel must be a forgery written long after the prophet’s death.

Opines the Encyclopedia Brittanica: “Because its religious ideas do not belong to the 6th century BC, numerous scholars date Daniel in the first half of the 2nd century BC and relate the visions to the persecution of the Jews under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175 164/163 BC). . . The unknown author may have drawn inspiration from Ugaritic and Phoenician sources that speak of a legendary figure notable for his righteousness and wisdom.”

These ‘scholars’ run into a bit of a problem with their argument, since the Gospels specifically identify Daniel as a prophet. If Daniel wasn’t a prophet and if he did not pen the book bearing his name, then it follows that Jesus Christ could not be the Son of God.

It is impossible for Jesus to be Whom He claimed to be and not know whether Daniel was a Divinely inspired prophet or whether Daniel was just the name ascribed to a later work of forgery.

If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is also the One Who makes an appearance in Daniel’s narrative. King Nebuchadnezzar demanded that he be worshipped as a god. Three Hebrew captives (and companions to Daniel), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused.

Nebuchadnezzar ordered the three men thrown into a furnace to be burned alive. Later, he looked in, and then questioned his counsellors:

“Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.”

But there were four figures visible in the flames, and it was Nebuchadnezzar who identified the mystery figure: ” He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. ” (Daniel 3:24-25)

Jesus identified Daniel as a prophet and quoted from the Book of Daniel in His sermon. If Daniel is a forgery, then Jesus could not be anything more than a fraud.

If Jesus is a fraud and Daniel is a forgery, then the Bible isn’t worth studying. If it isn’t worth studying, then what does that make these ‘scholars’? (Hint: see Psalm 53:1)

Jesus trusted Daniel enough to quote him in a sermon. I trust Jesus for my eternal salvation. Logically, I can also trust the Book of Daniel as a Divinely inspired work of God.

Now, what is the ‘abomination of desolation’ to which Jesus refers? There are two answers — one from history and the second from prophecy. When Alexander the Great’s empire broke up, it resolved into four major kingdoms.

Seleucus was one of Alexander’s generals, and came to control the Syrian portion of the empire. Syria was one of the two dominant divisions of the empire, and continued through twenty kings. Antiochus IV was the eighth king of the Selucid Empire.

Antiochus IV had two key passions which are worthy of note, since they bear on the prophecy: He hated the Jews, and he fancied himself a conqueror in the mold of his father, Antiochus III Magnus (“the Great”).

In 167 BC, Antiochus Epiphanes raided the Temple, entered into the Holy of Holies and sacrificed a pig on the altar. Of singular importance for our understanding of prophecy is that Antiochus did not destroy any part of the temple.

He did build extra structures, including pagan “enhancements” to the altar of sacrifice. However, none of this can be considered “throw(ing) down” the foundations of the sanctuary.

Jesus referred to the “abomination of desolation” in the context of the signs of His return.

Jesus was not referring to an historical event as the fulfillment of His prophecy, He was providing an example from history of what such an event meant.

The abomination of desolation, therefore, is a future event that involves the desecration of the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple.

Jesus is clearly describing events that take place during the Tribulation Period and He is just as clearly addressing the Jews in the last days, and not the Church. He speaks directly to those Jews who will live in Judea (the West Bank) at that time.

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For THEN shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:20-21)

Some argue that Jesus is addressing the signs of His return in the last days to the Church, in an effort to support their argument that the Church will be present during the tribulation.

A Jew is not permitted to undertake a journey exceeding 1000 steps on the Sabbath. The Church isn’t bound by Sabbath day restrictions.

So why would Jesus warn the Church to ‘pray’ that the time for flight does not occur on the Sabbath? Applying Jesus’ warning to the Church doesn’t make sense.

But to a religious Jew, it makes perfect sense.

Assessment:

Jesus divides the Tribulation into two parts, splitting it at the point in which the antichrist replicates the abomination committed by Antiochus Epiphanes.

The Apostle Paul reveals that the antichrist will, in the last days, “AS GOD, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

Paul provides another important clue that is often overlooked or omitted when trying to find the presence of the Church during the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” (Jeremiah 30:7)

Many critics of a pre-Trib Rapture call the Third Temple the “antichrist’s temple.” Paul describes the Temple in the last days as “the Temple of God”.

The Tribulation is the 70th Week of Daniel. Jeremiah refers to it as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Jesus warns of persecution that will come on Sabbath-keeping Jews.

Where is the Church? What is the role of the Church during the Tribulation?

To answer that question, we need look at the role of the Church in the Church Age.

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (Matthew 28:19)

But during the Tribulation, the Great Commission is carried out, not by the Church, but by an angel appointed to the task by God.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to PREACH TO THEM THAT DWELL ON THE EARTH, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people. (Revelation 14:6)

If the indwelt Church is present during the Tribulation, why did the Great Commission get passed from the Church to an angel? Again, what is the Church’s role during the Tribulation?

Those who argue against a pre-Trib Rapture claim the role of the Church in the last days is to be massacred. To what purpose? To bring the Church to Christ? Clearly not, since by definition, the Church is already Christ’s.

Jesus promised the Church in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” But we then read in Revelation 13:7 “And it was given unto him (the religious beast) to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”

Which is it? Do we prevail, or does the antichrist? Apart from Dispensationalism, the two statements contradict.

But if the Church Age is over and the Tribulation period is the time of ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ and judgment against ‘them that dwell upon the earth’ rather than for the Church, then Scriptural harmony is restored.

One can only conclude the Pre-tribulation Rapture scenario is the view that is most harmonious with Scripture, particularly when given the added dimension of actually watching the preparations unfold before our very eyes.

But our faith isn’t in WHEN Christ comes, it is in the fact that Christ IS coming soon. And the Rapture Debate is one more evidence of that fact.

Notice that the debate isn’t over whether or not the Lord will come in this generation. For most, that is not even an issue.

A century ago, they were debating over whether He was coming at all. Today, we’re fighting over His coming within a seven-year time frame.

Regardless of what you believe concerning the timing of the Rapture, the soon coming of the Lord is proved by the fact such a debate exists at all. And no matter what you believe about the timing of the Rapture, and no matter who turns out to be right in the end, the important thing to remember is WHAT we are debating.

The evidence (and logic) both indicate that we are living in the last generation in history. It also indicates that there are people reading my words — right now — who will never, ever die in the traditional sense, but will be caught up alive to be with the Lord.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

If that event is to take place at some point after all the Christians are massacred by the antichrist, then Paul’s next words make very little sense:

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Note:

Steve Spillman was able to locate an RV mechanic who makes house calls to come and take a look at the problem we were having with our coach battery charging problem.

It turned out to be nothing more serious than a faulty ground wire and the problem was fixed in less than fifteen minutes, praise the Lord.

(The guy even knocked $45.00 off the estimate he gave us over the phone because it was such an easy fix — God is so good.) So that problem is behind us.

Tonight we will attend the “Night to Honor Israel” meeting in Greenville. John Brown arrived last night. John Hagee is due to arrive today. So, too, I am told, is presidential candidate Duncan Hunter (R- California).

It should be an interesting evening. I wish you could all be there. But I will give you the highlights tomorrow.

Steve Spillman and his wife Elaine have worked for months pulling this all together. Please pray with me that God will bless the event and use all their hard work to His glory. And pray that He will reveal His Son to those in attendance who don’t know Him.

Until tomorrow, then.

Maranatha!