Even a Broken Watch is Right Twice a Day

Even a Broken Watch is Right Twice a Day
Vol: 76 Issue: 31 Thursday, January 31, 2008

I suppose I am accused of being a Calvinist, on average, about twice a week. Three times if I’ve written anything about eternal security or predestination.

John Calvin was a sixteenth century Frenchmen and Reformer. One of Calvin’s adherents, John Knox, founded the Presbyterian Church, based on the Five Points of Calvinism, known by the acronym “TULIP”.

In point of fact, (for all you purists out there), Calvin didn’t actually come up with the TULIP equation — the Synod of Dort did in 1619, more than a generation after Calvin’s death in 1564.

T=Total Depravity of Man This doctrine holds that man is born hopelessly enslaved to sin. It is not in man’s nature to do good, therefore all people are morally incapable of choosing to be saved on their own.

Calvinism holds that certain people are predestined to be saved by God, which leads to:

U=Unconditional Election which asserts that those who would be saved were chosen (elected) by God, irrespective of virtue, merit or faith, but grounded entirely in God’s mercy.

To a hyper-Calvinist, Unconditional Election means there is no need for a Christian to share his faith with the lost –since God has decided who will be saved, God will accomplish that person’s salvation on His own.

L=Limited Atonement holds that the sacrifice at the Cross was full payment for all the sins one had ever committed or would ever commit.

Hyper-Calvinists believe that Jesus died only for the elect, rather than for the sins of all men, and that therefore, certain people can never be saved.

I=Irresistible Grace describes the saving grace of God overcomes the resistance of the elect to the Gospel. To a hyper-Calvinist, a person whom God has chosen cannot resist the call of the Holy Spirit unto salvation.

P=Perseverance of the Saints is the Calvinist name for the doctrine of eternal security. To a hyper-Calvinist, this means that those God has called to salvation will continue in faith unto the end.

The Calvinist view of eternal security holds that, if a person continues in apostasy or habitual sin, it means such a person was never truly saved.

Assessment:

On the surface, my doctrine sure seems to be Calvinist, since I can’t find a lot about the main points with which I disagree. But I am not a Calvinist. That sounds contradictory, but it depends on whether one views it from man’s religious perspective or from the perspective of what the Bible teaches about faith.

On the total depravity of man, I agree, but not because John Calvin says so.

The Bible says so. Romans Chapter 7 is devoted to the subject of man’s depravity, a depravity so total that Paul likens it to being chained to a corpse, crying out, “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?”

Paul used a metaphor sure to be recognized by his Roman audience. It was a common form of execution to chain the condemned to a corpse. The Romans would withhold food and water and bet on how long it took the condemned to resort to cannibalism.

Paul chose this metaphor specifically to underscore man’s depravity, and that it is total. Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

“Desperately wicked” is a dictionary definition of the word ‘depraved’.

On the issue of unconditional election, I tend to agree, but only in the broadest possible sense. Calvinists interpret ‘election’ and ‘predestination’ separately.

Calvin’s ‘predestination’ means God has substituted His will for your free will — you have no choice in the matter. That isn’t what the Bible teaches.

One is ‘predestined’ in the sense of God’s foreknowledge. If by some miracle, I could move backward and forward in time, I could peek into tomorrow and see what you ‘did’.

The mere act of KNOWING what you ‘did’ tomorrow isn’t the same thing as causing you to do it.

If predestination (in the sense of Divine foreknowledge) is some kind of heresy, then what is Bible prophecy?

Nearly 150 years before his birth, God identified the Persian King Cyrus by name, calling him “His anointed” and listing the tasks that God had predetermined Cyrus would accomplish.

Cyrus was anointed, 150 years in advance, to capture Babylon, restore Jerusalem and rebuild the Jewish Temple. (Isaiah 44:24,26-28) Isaiah’s prophecy was so detailed it even detailed the battle tactics Cyrus would use.

Isaiah predicted the Cyrus would “dry up the rivers . . . . and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” (44:27-28)

Daniel says that the Persian Army, under the command of Cyrus, dammed up the Euphrates where it passed through Babylon, walked down the riverbed and captured the city and the kingdom.

Once in power, Cyrus authorized the repatriation of the Jews from Babylon and the reconstruction of both Jerusalem and the Temple.

Cyrus did precisely as he was prophesied to do, but Cyrus did so of his own free will. God simply knew what Cyrus would do, and revealed it to Isaiah in advance. Cyrus wasn’t a robot. He did what he did of his own free will. It just so happened that God knew just which free-will decisions Cyrus would make.

Calvinism’s ‘limited atonement’ suffers from the same doctrinal excesses that collectively make up what has come to be known as ‘hyper-Calvinism’.

The Bible teaches that the Cross is all-sufficient atonement for sin, and that nothing we do can add or detract from it. But the Bible does NOT teach that atonement is ‘limited’ to ‘the elect.’

1st Timothy 2:6 clearly teaches that Jesus gave Himself as “a ransom for ALL.” The doctrine of ‘whosoever will’ is untouched — due the fact that God already knows whosoever ‘did’.

The difference is, God knows, but I don’t. It is still my duty to spread the Gospel.

‘Irresistible grace’ may have been articulated as a doctrine by Calvin, but Calvin didn’t invent it, and therefore, one can recognize when something agrees with what the Bible says without automatically becoming a Calvinist.

“For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16)

Paul wasn’t a Calvinist. The flaw in pure Calvinism is in assuming that, since grace is irresistible, there is no need to carry the Gospel message — the elect will ‘get’ it because God wills them to.

But God’s plan for salvation is in two parts: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing cometh by the Word of God.”

God’s Word imparts the faith, but it must first be carried before it can be heard.

Finally, the perseverance of the saints, or ‘eternal security.’ Calvinism holds that, once a person is saved, he will be supernaturally able to resist the sin nature. If a person later falls away, it means they were never saved in the first place.

If anything, this is the opposite of eternal security. I know that I still fall into sin — I can pretend I don’t in front of other people, but I know better, and so does God. Calvinism gets around that by saying that means I was never really saved. So how could I ever be sure?

The Bible doesn’t have such an arbitrary benchmark for salvation.

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

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

God’s benchmark for salvation is the sincerity and intent of the heart of the sinner. Calvin’s benchmark, in the final analysis, is based in works, not grace through faith.

The Bible is not Calvinist, nor Arminian, nor Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Methodist. It is the Word of God, and it is an individual love letter to each of us from God.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:21)

Bible doctrine isn’t Calvinist because Calvin expressed it. Some places Calvin got it right, others, he got it woefully wrong.

Even a broken watch is right twice a day.

Special Report: Letting God Sort It Out

Special Report: Letting God Sort It Out
Vol: 76 Issue: 30 Wednesday, January 30, 2008

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1st Corinthians 13:12)

There are as many interpretations of Bible prophecy out there as there are interpreters. Surely, they can’t ALL be wrong, or deliberately teaching falsehood, or doing the work of Satan.

[Although I am accused of all three — virtually every time I write a column teaching Dispensationalism or a pre-Trib Rapture.]

All of them are reading the same Scriptures, and presumably, all of them are sincere. It is incomprehensible to me that a person could trust Jesus for his salvation and then go out and deliberately teach error.

That is not to say that there aren’t false teachers deliberately teaching error, but I don’t believe that they are sincere Christians.

There is a lot of money to be made by telling people what they want to hear, and there are plenty of TV evangelists willing to bend the message to their advantage.

(For example, the guys who tell you if you send them $100, God will immediately send you $1000 in return.)

But, the fact remains that there ARE sincere Christians who read the same Scriptures everybody else does and come up with entirely different understandings of Bible prophecy.

To the preterist, all Bible prophecy, including that contained in the Book of Revelation, was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of the Temple and the exile of the Jews.

(As one OL member noted recently, since Revelation was written more than a decade after the Destruction of the Temple, a preterist can’t even rightly argue that the events depicted in Revelation is even prophecy.)

To a futurist, Bible prophecy has yet to completely unfold. Even among futurists, there is dispute about when certain events take place. Some believe that the Rapture takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation. Others believe it takes place at the mid-point in the Tribulation.

Others, me included, believe the Bible teaches the Rapture of the Church takes place before the Tribulation period can begin.

But, again, we are all reading the same Scriptures. And, presumably, we are all sincere in saying we believe our understanding is the correct one. After all, things that are different are NOT the same, and the Rapture can only occur once.

Is it before, during, or after the reign of antichrist? Hal Lindsey would confidently answer, ‘before’ and I know the depth of his sincerity first-hand.

Marv Rosenthal teaches something called the ‘Mid-Wrath” Rapture. I’ve met Marv, spoken with him at length, and I am as convinced as I can be of his sincerity.

I don’t know any post Tribulation teachers personally, but I would like to assume at least some of them are as sincere in their beliefs as Hal or Marv are.

About the only Christian doctrine upon which there is more or less universal agreement is that we are saved by grace through faith in the shed Blood and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

BUT, that is the only doctrine, in the final analysis, which really and truly bears eternal consequences. Preterists that trust Jesus for their salvation will meet up in heaven with futurists who trusted Jesus, who will fellowship with pre-tribbers, mid-tribbers and post-tribbers, who will fellowship with Calvinists and Arminians together.

Because if you trust Jesus Christ for your salvation, then you will go to heaven. That is the central message of the Gospel. The rest is the product of our longing to know God, and know the things of God, while blinded by the limitations imposed on us by our earthly perspective.

As the Apostle Paul put it, seeing the things of God ‘through a glass, darkly’. Paul says we know only ‘in part’ but the part that we all agree on is the only part that really counts. Salvation by faith.

In the story of the Tower of Babel, God explains how the various ethnic nations came to be.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:6-7)

By scattering man ‘among the nations’ and removing the common bond of language and ethnicity, God ensured that no one man could ever again rule all men, as Nimrod did until the construction of the Tower of Babel.

It prevented any one culture or worldview to dominate all mankind. That diversity is what allowed Christianity to flourish at the point when it was introduced into history.

The reason is because Christianity is a personal relationship with Christ, rather than a commonly-accepted cultural duty.

God built that same diversity into the Church, which accounts for how and why sincere Christians can read the same Scriptures and come up with such widely divergent doctrines as preterist historicism and pretribulationist futurism. It prevents any one teacher from becoming the only accepted source of information of the things of God.

If everybody agreed on every point of doctrine, then the guy who articulates it the best becomes the Great Oracle of God. (And what if he was wrong?)

So we have diversity of understanding, but the same Scripture. And we have diversity of teachings, but share the same salvation by grace through faith. And we are equally sincere, because we share the same awesome responsibility of accountability before the Lord.

In the end, we will be judged by how we used the doctrine God delivered to us to lead others to salvation in Christ.

The necessity of diversity of understanding in the Church Age is adequately demonstrated by a peek across the divide into the coming ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ after the Church Age is concluded.

During the Tribulation, that diversity of understanding is replaced by a universal religion imposed by the false prophet and directed toward the worship of antichrist.

Because there are no (surviving) saved Christians, indwelt and guided by the Holy Spirit during the Tribulation, the efforts of the false prophet are amply rewarded with results that are unattainable in the Church Age:

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Revelation 13:7-8)

(The ‘saints’ referred to in verse 7 are the ‘tribulation saints’. Theologically, they are distinguished from the Church Age saints because, unlike Church Age saints, they are NOT indwelt at salvation by the Holy Spirit — that is reserved for the 144,000 Jewish evangelists sealed in Revelation Chapter 7)

The point is, the success of the false prophet comes from the loss of that spiritual diversity that is unique to the Church.

On doctrinal issues like the Rapture, for example, no matter what view one holds as doctrine, the essential fact that they are going go to heaven is not in dispute. So, in the eternal sense, it doesn’t really matter.

So why include it at all? Because we DO see through a glass darkly, because that is the way God intended things on this side of eternity.

I believe that the Bible teaches a pre-trib Rapture and I believe it because to me, it is utterly obvious from the plain reading of Scripture. But I don’t believe that those who disagree with me are deliberately teaching falsehood.

When the Rapture happens, we’ll all go at the same time. Whether they got the timing right or not.

So we’ll continue to teach what we believe to be true and let God sort out the rest.

Note:

Interesting morning. The cold front that swept the Midwest yesterday arrived in our neighborhood about four-thirty this morning, with accompanying winds approaching 70 mph.

I was halfway through my first paragraph when I heard what I thought was a thunderclap — but it was only half a thunderclap . . . no echo. At the same time, the lights went out.

No wonder. A sixty foot tree in my front yard toppled, taking out the power lines, cable lines, the top of a power pole . . . before coming to rest on our little gray car (which was completely crushed).

That poor little car. Its really sort of ironic. I bought it specifically to tow behind our RV during the Road Tour. In the past two years, its covered some 30,000 miles, choking on the RV’s dust, up the mountain and down the mountain, across burning desert and the vast expanse of the Midwestern heartland.

It’s been on the trailer and off the trailer, never failed to start, always had enough room, GREAT gas mileage. . . sigh. I really liked that car.

We’re still without power and operating off the RV’s generator and two extension cords. Winds are still gusting over sixty, but the utility guys are already out there, barely past dawn, and the debris should be cleared and power restored by mid-day.

But it’s already been an interesting morning. . .

Two For One is Two Too Many

Two For One is Two Too Many
Vol: 76 Issue: 29 Tuesday, January 29, 2008

“Clinton lied ten years ago about Monica Lewinsky and he’s lying about a very viable candidate and somebody who could really bring change in this country [Senator Barak Obama]. He [Clinton] is embarrassing poor Democrats.”

Who said that? Rush Limbaugh? Brit Hume? Bill O’Reilly? Would you believe . . . liberal talk-show host Ed Schultz appearing on uber-liberal Chris Matthew’s MSNBC program, “Hardball.”

As the primary season continues, more and more of the focus is on Bill Clinton, almost zeroing out Hillary’s best efforts to remind the electorate that it is she, and not Bill, who is running for president.

To be fair, it is a unique situation — nobody — not the Clinton campaign, the Democrat Party, the electorate or the pundits have any historical precedent to fall back on.

Bill has trotted out about the only precedent that applies, dredging up his 1992 campaign promise of “two for the price of one” in which he offered Hillary up as a kind of ‘co-president.’

Hillary first two terms as ‘co-president’ included “Billing-gate” ([the Rose Law Firm billing records that went ‘missing’ from 1994-1996);

“Cattlegate” where Hillary turned $1000 investment in cattle futures into $100,000.00 in a matter of weeks;

“Travelgate” where Hillary fired the entire White House Travel staff, gave their jobs to pals Henry and Susan Bloodworth Thomasson and then lied about it;

“Filegate” where Hillary was using FBI files against Clinton enemies — and then lied about it.

Hillary’s co-presidential staff included Craig Livingstone, an ex-bar bouncer with a history of cocaine use;

“Fostergate”, when Hillary’s former law partner [and a central figure in Whitewatergate, Filegate, among others] Vince Foster was found dead in a Washington park of an apparent ‘suicide’ in which he evidently shot himself in the head with his left hand, rolled himself up in a carpet, and then evidently unrolled himself and disposed of the carpet in Marcy Park before being found dead.

Leading Democrats have considered the ramifications of yet another Clinton co-presidency, and suddenly, the FOB list (Friends of Bill) began to shrink.

Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich accused Billary of “leading a “smear campaign against Obama that employs some of the worst aspects of the old politics.”

“Bill Clinton’s ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks on Barack Obama are doing no credit to the former president, his legacy, or his wife’s campaign. Nor are they helping the Democratic Party,” Reich wrote on his blog.

In a recent conference call with reporters, former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle criticized “President Clinton’s inaccurate descriptions of the differences between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the war, about his inaccurate portrayal of Barack’s comments … he made about Republicans.”

Former Clinton pal John Kerry warned that Obama’s record was being “swift boated” – to Kerry, a euphemism for being unfairly attacked.

Kerry did not name the Clintons directly as the perpetrators of the “swift boating,” but the implication was clear.

“The fight is just heating up,” Kerry said. “We won’t let them steal this election with lies and distortions.”

Nicholas von Hoffman, a veteran liberal columnist, wrote in the liberal flagship, “Nation Magazine” that Hillary Clinton is an “experienced political thug.” He also accused both Clintons of “playing demolition derby politics” likening the Clinton political machine to ‘a skunk’.

Hillary’s post-White House fundraising practices are also making former Friends of Bill nervous;

Hollywood mogul Peter Paul claims he spent about $1.7 million and arranged for hundreds of thousands of dollars of other in-kind contributions for both the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s Senate race.

Campaign finance laws required that those in-kind contributions be reported to the FEC. They were not, but since, like most Clinton allies, Paul was a twice-convicted felon, a Grand Jury refused to indict her.

Assessment:

The most crushing blow of all came yesterday when the entire Kennedy family came together to officially and loudly endorse Barak Obama’s candidacy.

Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving member of former President John F Kennedy’s family, has not endorsed a presidential candidate since 1980 when Uncle Teddy was running for office.

So when she not only endorsed Obama, but compared him favorably with her father, it was a double gut punch to the Clinton campaign.

Teddy’s endorsement also compared Obama to JFK, saying that Obama “inspires me, who inspires all of us, who can lift our vision, and support our hope and renew our belief that our country’s best days are still to come.”

The Kennedy mystique still resonates among Democrats, despite the best efforts of the surviving Kennedys to erase it with the Kennedy-Scandal-of-the Month.

(Being too scandalous for the Kennedys (!) is like being too liberal for Moveon.org or too Far Left for the New York Times. It boggles the mind)

The Clinton nomination is in serious trouble — trouble so severe it might possibly even be fatal to her presidential hopes.

It also creates a real problem for the GOP — who is betting it all on facing off against Hillary Clinton in the general election.

The GOP doesn’t think that Hillary can win, and they are probably right. I only chose the Hillary scandals that sprang off the top of my head — if I did a bit of digging, I could fill a whole page. (That’s what the GOP hopes to do during the general election.)

The worst thing that could happen to the GOP’s election year hopes is a Barak Obama candidacy.

Let’s face it — Barak Obama is an attractive candidate.

Leaving aside the ‘first black president’ (a first woman president cancels it out) Barak Obama’s negative baggage is limited to his middle name (“Hussein”), the fact his father and step-father were both Muslim, and that the pastor of his church is a supporter of Louis Farrakan’s Nation of Islam . . . and all that remains is his half-term Senate record.

His speeches are mesmerizing, his eloquence is almost musical, and his message of hope and unity are inspiring. Were it not for his pro-abortion, antiwar, ultra- liberal credentials, I think I’d be supporting him myself.

It is a real conundrum — one summed up well by David Limbaugh, who wrote:

“When you contrast this negative side of the Clintons against Obama’s image of hope and change — as shallow as that might sound to us conservatives — the Clintons might have just written the final chapter on themselves, just maybe.

As one who has never been an admirer of the Clintons, I would be celebrating over all this but for the stark reality that Obama could very well be much tougher to beat than Hillary Clinton. So it is with a profound sense of the bittersweet that I observe what could be the Clintons’ political demise.”

And with it, the real possibility that come November, America could elect its first wartime Democratic Chief Executive since FDR.

“This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come. . .” (2nd Timothy 3:1)

Special Report: The Other Side of the ‘Great Debate’

Special Report: The Other Side of the ‘Great Debate’
Vol: 76 Issue: 28 Monday, January 28, 2008

If one sits down with a Christian Reconstructionist to discuss the major doctrines of the Church, including salvation, sin and the Deity of Christ, one discovers that the proponents of that doctrine are as sincere as you and I, and love the Lord as much as we do.

They are as well-versed in Scripture as you and I and are as confident of their understanding as we are. Moreover, and maybe most importantly, they are as sincere and unshakable in their beliefs as you and I.

Did you ever wonder whether or not the Rapture detractors might be right when they make their arguments against what they deride as the ‘Great Escape’?

I mean, when you sit down and try to explain to someone what the Rapture is all about, doesn’t it occasionally make you wince? Don’t you ever wonder whether or not the Rapture really WAS an invention of J.N. Darby in the early 1800’s as the preterists often argue?

And don’t you sometimes wonder, if the Rapture is such a key component of Bible doctrine, why there are so many mainstream Christian denominations that neither teach nor believe in it?

Dispensationalists make up but a tiny minority of the professing Church, while almost all mainstream Protestant and Catholic Churches ignore Bible prophecy as irrelevant.

Indeed, the world’s largest Christian denomination, the Roman Catholic Church, denies any possibility of a Rapture at any time. Catholicism teaches that, even saved people still have unforgiven sins at the time of their deaths.

Purgatory, according to the Catholic encyclopedia, is a ” place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions. ”

Depending on one’s sins, one could spend hundreds, or even thousands of years, in Purgatory, unless some living person prays you out of there by obtaining from the Church something called a ‘Plenary Indulgence’.

A Catholic Rapture therefore stands in direct contradiction to the Vatican doctrine of Purgatory.

Christian Reconstructionism, which represents the majority of mainstrean theological thought, teaches that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled with the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

It teaches that Jesus will not return again until the Second Coming and His Second Coming will not occur until Christianity becomes the world’s dominant religion and the world itself is prepared by the Church to accept Him when He comes.

So, we return to the central question. Since they represent the majority of the professing Church, and are as studied, as certain and as sincere as you and I are, is it possible that maybe they are right, as well?

After all, each of us claims to serve the same Jesus and each of us uses the same Bible to gain our understanding of both Jesus and our faith. But we reach entirely different conclusions from our studies.

And things that are different are not the same.

When applied to a sinner seeking forgiveness for his sins and trusting in Jesus for salvation, sincerity is an essential element.

One cannot fool God. But sincerity is no substitute for scholarship, and one can be sincere and be sincerely wrong.

The doctrine of the Rapture, when expressed out loud and described to an unbeliever, sounds almost like a science-fiction story or a religious fable. Especially when one is articulating it to a skeptic.

Until one compares it to the more mainstream interpretations. They share a common denominator that, to a discerning Christian, leaves no doubt as to which view is in error.

Note that Catholics must finish paying for their sins in Purgatory before they can enter heaven. And whether or not they enter at all depends on their state of grace at the time of their death.

Whether or not they make it to Purgatory depends on their own works, and when they get out is conditional on their making their own payment for sin.

Note that Reconstructionism demands that man purify himself by his actions and conduct, thereby influencing the world for good until eventually, all men turn to Christ, at which time, the Lord will return.

In other words, Jesus can’t come back to the world until we human beings make it a fit place for Him to set Foot on. It is therefore not up to Him, but up to us.

Both views subtly deny His Deity, while elevating man to the place where he plays a role in his own salvation.

In this view, the forgiveness of Christ is not all-sufficient and His power is limited and conditional upon human behavior.

Jesus cannot keep you after salvation unless you are somehow able to keep from sinning from there on in. If you sin hard enough, you will sin yourself out of His Hands, in spite of His promise;

“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s Hand.” (John 10:28-29)

Man cannot help but want to play a role in his own salvation. It is a matter of pride. The very first time it rears its head in human history is in the Garden of Eden.

Compare the First Lie with the doctrine of conditional salvation:

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Starting back to front, is it possible for a fallible human being to know good from evil? We can know right from wrong, but good and evil are not actions, they are outcomes, and only God knows outcomes.

One can give a bum on the street some money for food. That is a good thing.

The bum spends the money on crack cocaine, and then kills an innocent person while under the influence. That’s an evil thing.

Both events sprang from your gift of money. Was giving the bum the money a good thing, or an evil thing? Right and wrong are obvious. Good and evil are the provinces of God.

But according to Reconstructionism, the world is too evil a place for the Lord to return to, and it is the role to the Church to make it ‘good’.

The next lie, in reverse order, is that ‘we shall be as gods’. James writes that, “There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy . . .” (James 4:12) Salvation is the sole province of God.

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

Note there are two elements to this verse, ‘grace’ and ‘faith’. One of them is a ‘gift of God’. Which? Is it ‘grace’? Only if one redefines an action to become a thing. ‘Grace’ means ‘a gift’.

One cannot give grace AS a gift. It is not a thing, it is the extension OF a thing. Which brings us to the second element, the element of ‘faith’.

FAITH is the gift of God, not grace, which is the extension of the gift itself. That means that even that saving faith is not of ourselves, but is God’s gift to us.

Our role as an active participant in our salvation is therefore excluded. We are not ‘as gods’ — no matter how sincerely we want to believe otherwise.

The third lie, in reverse order, is that by straying away from the Word of God, ‘our eyes will be opened’ to truths that would have otherwise escaped us.

Note that when the serpent asked Eve to repeat God’s prohibition, she replied, “of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” (Genesis 3:3)

God never told her not to ‘touch it’ — she added that part, which provided the serpent with all the leeway he needed to cast doubt on her understanding of the rest.

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired TO MAKE ONE WISE, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat . . ” (Genesis 3:6)

Returning to the original question, is it possible that our understanding of eternal security is wrong and that the mainstream was right all along?

That there is no Rapture, that Bible prophecy was all fulfilled already, and that we are simply seeking some mythical “Great Escape?”

After all, they argue, why should one generation, out of all those who came before, be chosen as the generation that will never die? It is a compelling argument. Viewed that way, it doesn’t really seem fair. Who do we think we are?

The Rapture is as unearned and undeserved as our salvation, which we obtained through God’s extension of grace whereby He gifted us with saving faith. That saving faith is in the unearned remission of our sins which was obtained on our behalf on Calvary’s Cross.

We’ve explored the Scriptures that clearly promise a coming Rapture, and examined all the various views at one point or another. A pretribulation Rapture of the Church is in harmony with the Scriptures for the last days. Fairness, insofar as mankind views fairness, is irrelevant.

‘Fairness’ as we understand fairness, would be when each of us pays our own way. But all of us are saved on the understanding that Jesus was condemned ‘unfairly’ for sin and His payment was therefore acceptable payment for our own sins.

Faith in Christ means faith in Christ, not in men, or in our own actions, or in what we believe sounds fair.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)

Compounded Tragedy

Compounded Tragedy
Vol: 76 Issue: 26 Saturday, January 26, 2008

First, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. I am terribly sorry to hear that actor Heath Ledger died at the tender age of 28.

The only thing that might mitigate my sorrow would be a revelation that at some point in his life, Heath Ledger had trusted his eternity to Jesus Christ.

In that case, what is a tragedy from our perspective would be a splendid blessing — from the perspective of young Heath Ledger. If Ledger put his faith in Christ, then his race is run.

No more tears, no more pain, no more sleepless nights, no fear. No more death, no more aging, (no more taxes. . .) — only peace, and joy and fellowship with the Lord. It sounds wonderful.

If his eternity was hid in Christ, then Heath Ledger went to sleep on this side of life and woke up to unspeakable joy in the presence of God and His angels. I am still sorry to hear of his untimely death, but I am not sorry for Heath Ledger. I am sorry for his parents, for his friends and for his daughter who will grow up without a father.

But if Ledger, the picture of health and vitality, possessed of youth, riches, good looks and an impossibly bright future, convinced himself that he had plenty of time left and put off that decision, then my sorrow is mostly for Heath Ledger.

If that is the case, he closed his eyes on this side of eternity and awoke to unimaginable horror on the other side.

According to the Word of the Lord, the poor man is now suffering the torments of the damned, tortured, nameless and alone with his memories of his own opportunities and in fear for his loved ones, that they may also end up in hell.

The Bible teaches us that hell was once divided between a place of torment for the damned and a place of comfort for the righteous dead. In Luke Chapter 16, the Lord tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

According to Jesus, there was a ‘gulf’ or chasm separating hell from Paradise, where Abraham, Lazarus and the OT saints awaited their redemption.

We learn from that story of the rich man’s torments, and are told he is conscious, ‘tortured by this flame’ and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his father and brothers of what awaits them.

Jesus did not tell the story as a parable; He didn’t say, “Learn the parable of the rich man” — He said, “there WAS a CERTAIN rich man.” He was speaking from Divine Knowledge of a specific rich man and a specific beggar named Lazarus.

The rich man is not addressed by name because his name is irrelevant. He will hear it but once more — when he is summoned before the Great White Throne to be judged and condemned. Then he will have no need of it again — for eternity! This, Revelation 20:14 assures is, is the ‘second death’.

Lazarus has a name, the rich man doesn’t. Lazarus lives on, will interact with others, his family, his friends, the rest of Heaven’s citizens — he’ll need his name. The rich man will spend eternity in a kind of waking death — nobody will ever call his name again.

Heath Ledger is at this moment awake and conscious in one of these two places. I’d pray that he is in heaven, but at this point, the only prayer that counts is the one in which Heath Ledger either cried out, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner,” or he did not.

And if he didn’t pray that prayer sometime before Tuesday, January 21, 2008, then he is forever beyond the reach of anybody’s prayers now.

Assessment:

You may be thinking, “Good heavens, Jack, that’s harsh!” I agree. It is very harsh — so harsh that most Christians would rather talk around it than address it head-on.

It seems incredibly insensitive, as well. For all I know, some member of the Ledger family might read today’s OL, and if so, I would feel terrible. It isn’t very comforting — assuming Ledger followed the path of the rich man.

But it is what it is. God is either real or He is not. He either sent His Own Son into the world to convict the world of its sin and to secure a Pardon for sin for ‘whosoever will’, or He did not.

If He did, then Ledger’s eternity was decided, not by God, but by Heath Ledger. God did everything possible to prevent it — except make the choice for him. Each of us must make that choice for ourselves.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Heath Ledger was found face-down, dead in an apartment that reportedly rented for $24,000.00 per month. Having that kind of money didn’t save him.

He was, by all accounts, in perfect health and, at age 28, no doubt expected to live a long, successful and productive life. But being young, vibrant and healthy didn’t save him.

Jesus DID tell a parable about another rich man. It was a parable, because He identified it as a parable:

“And He spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12:17-19)

That is pretty much a description of us all. 401ks, IRAs, Social Security — we’re all worried about our retirement. We’ve all got plans for what we will do when we can finally rest from our labors.

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20)

It is heartbreaking when a loved one dies young. It is a tragedy of incomprehensible proportions when there is no hope of resurrection.

(I don’t know what Heath Ledger’s spiritual condition was — but his role in “Brokeback Mountain” doesn’t exactly fill me with optimism.)

So what’s the point here? Heath Ledger’s untimely and unexpected death is an object lesson for us all. Everybody you meet in the course of a day is as close to eternity as Heath Ledger was — the day before he died.

He had no plans to die. As recently as two months ago, Ledger gave an interview in which he said, “I don’t plan to die young.”

There’s an old saying that goes like this: “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

I didn’t know Heath Ledger. But somebody did. Somewhere out there, there is a Christian grieving a double measure of grief — they remember when they had the opportunity to share the Gospel and they remember that they thought, like Heath Ledger, that there was still “plenty of time”.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (Ezekiel 3:18)

If prayers in the Heath Ledger story are appropriate, (other than a prayer that I am wrong and Heath was indeed saved — God knows, I don’t) it is for that now-suffering Christian, whoever it might be, that failed to give him warning.

And for ourselves, that we don’t fail in our own mission.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15)

And may our God strengthen and encourage us as we continue in our service to the Kingdom — and may we all be found faithful to our calling — until He Comes. Amen.

Not That It Matters . . .

Not That It Matters . . .
Vol: 76 Issue: 25 Friday, January 25, 2008

Up until 2003, the general consensus among Western intelligence agencies was that Saddam surrounded himself with ‘yes-men’ who told him what he wanted to hear and misled him into believing he had stockpiles of non-existent weapons.

On October 7, 2004 your Omega Letter told you that: “they got the situation exactly backwards. It was Saddam who kept his generals in the dark. Saddam was actually micro-managing Iraq’s weapons policies and kept even his most loyal aides from gaining a clear picture of what was going on and, more important, not going on with the program. . .”

“Saddam was convinced that the UN sanctions – which stopped him acquiring weapons – were on the brink of collapse and he bankrolled several foreign activists who were campaigning for their abolition.

He personally approved every [Oil-For-Food voucher]. Saddam focussed on Russia, France and China – three of the five UN Security Council members with the power to veto war. Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers. . . .

Russia, France and China — all permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — were the top three countries in which individuals, companies or entities received the lucrative vouchers. “

What I want you to pay attention to, almost as much as the content, is the publication date — October 7, 2004. The information itself came from the Iraq Survey Group, headed by Charles Duelfer, who reported the ISG’s findings to the Congress.

Why is that important? Because for the past four years, the politicians, media pundits, political activists and bloggers on the Left have built their worldview around the mantra, “Bush Lied, People Died.”

In the process, they’ve managed to convince a lion’s share of the American public, and the majority of the global public, that the President of the United States knew in advance of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that Saddam did NOT have WMD and invaded anyway to seize control of Iraqi oil.

This week, CBS “60 Minutes” — perhaps recognizing that it can do the Bush administration no more damage — let the cat of the bag officially, so to speak, running an interview with George Piro, the FBI interrogator who spent nearly seven months questioning Saddam Hussein after his capture.

Piro gained Saddam’s confidence by convincing him he was a high-ranking official of the Bush administration who answered directly to President Bush. Piro became Saddam’s new best friend by ‘smuggling’ him treats like writing materials, snacks and extra toiletries.

That, and the fact that Piro is of Arab descent and spoke perfect Arabic, eventually convinced Saddam to open up to his interrogator.

Saddam told Piro that he was running a bluff because he was certain the US would not invade. Saddam expected something more along the lines of the 1998 four-day aerial attack dubbed “Operation Desert Fox”.

Piro told 60 Minutes’ Scott Pelley, “He survived that one and he was willing to accept that type of attack.”

According to Piro, Saddam wanted Iran to believe he had nuclear weapons because he feared an Iranian attack. If he admitted to the West that he didn’t, the US and its allies might stand down, but he was convinced that Iran would seize the moment and launch their own invasion.

Evidently, Saddam was less worried about his chances with the Americans than he was with the Iranians. Saddam fooled Western intelligence because he convinced even his top generals that Iraq had both a stockpile of WMD and an ongoing nuclear program.

Saddam knew that Western intelligence had compromised his military high command and that they were feeding the West information, so he constructed this elaborate ruse to maintain the fiction.

Saddam still wouldn’t admit he had no weapons of mass destruction, even when it was obvious there would be military action against him because of the perception he did. Because, says Piro, “For him, it was critical that he was seen as still the strong, defiant Saddam. He thought that [faking having the weapons] would prevent the Iranians from reinvading Iraq,” he tells Pelley.

Assessment:

I told you earlier to pay attention to that particular OL’s publication date — not to pat myself on the back — the Duelfer Report wasn’t exactly a secret — but to make the following point.

For almost four years, the Left has been constructing an edifice upon which to run this November — “Bush Lied, People Died.” I’ve amused myself during the Democratic presidential debates by listening to the various candidates compete for the title of “Most Anti-American”.

(John Edwards) “I was against the war from the beginning.” (Barak Obama) “Oh, yeah? I’ve been against the war since BEFORE the beginning.”

But my favorite is Hillary Clinton’s slogan, “It’s time we had a leader in the Oval Office that will tell the truth to the American people.”

In 2003, it was at least possible to argue that Bush knew something nobody else did — because nobody actually knew anything to the contrary. The ISG’s Duelfer Report plugged that loophole in 2004.

The effort to paint President Bush as a war-mongering liar, a global thief intent on swiping oil from a defeated Iraq, and a loose cannon on the deck of Good Ship America by America’s own elected officials, was a carefully crafted, deliberate lie — a transparent one, but a lie, nonetheless.

I knew (and therefore, so did you) that it was a lie in 2004 — while the Democrats were still calling the Bush coalition “a coalition of the bribed, coerced and extorted.”

And if I knew, then you can bet your bottom dollar that the Democrats knew it, too. (I don’t get regular briefings from the Senate Intelligence Committee — they do)

Still, this is how Jay Rockefeller, [D-W. Va] and co-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee characterized it in 2004:

“Despite the efforts to focus on Saddam’s desires and intentions, the bottom line is Iraq did not have either weapon stockpiles or active production capabilities at the time of the war. In short, we invaded a country, thousands of people have died, and Iraq never posed a grave or growing danger.”

Rockefeller knew the truth in 2004. And it IS the truth. Saddam had little reason to lie to Piro, particularly since maintaining the lie would hurt his arch-enemy George Bush, and that admitting the truth would vindicate Bush’s invasion of his country.

Duelfer told the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004: “The Iranian threat was very, very, palpable to him [Saddam], and he didn’t want to be second to Iran, and he felt he had to deter them. So he wanted to create the impression that he had more than he did.”

That is exactly what Saddam told Piro.

It is impossible to claim ignorance. At best, it was what the Apostle Peter termed “willfully ignorant” — or what Paul described as a “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” — and for the same reason — because they “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Or, more accurately for this particular instance, because they rejected the truth because there was greater political advantage in lying. It didn’t — and doesn’t — make any difference to them that maintaining the lie has done more damage to America’s international image than Watergate, Whitewatergate, Monicagate and the Clinton impeachment trial combined.

In the various ‘gates’ the allegations concerned the actions of corrupt individuals — the “Bush Lied, People Died’ allegation is an indictment against the entire sitting US government.

If the Left is correct, then the entire Congress and Senate are corrupt for authorizing the war. The entire Pentagon leadership is corrupt for prosecuting it.

And our brave military forces are merely pawns in a deadly game of political chess.

It is worth noting that in 2004, John Kerry got Osama bin-Laden’s endorsement, and the 2006 Democratic takeover of both Houses of Congress earned America a second Osama Seal of Approval. It would have been worth noting — had anybody noted it.

But by 2006, Osama bin-Laden had more credibility left than did the President of the United States of America. The truth is out there — not that it matters. The damage is done.

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. . .” (And currently leading in the national polls.)

Perilous times indeed!

Understanding the Times of the Signs

Understanding the Times of the Signs
Vol: 76 Issue: 24 Thursday, January 24, 2008

From time to time, it is good to take a step back from all the minutiae and historical details and current events relative to Bible prophecy, and reconsider the awesomeness of Big Picture overall.

For two millennia, the faithful have kept watch, looking hopefully for signs that indicated that they might be among the generation whose time would see the coming of the Lord.

For the generation actually living in the times of the signs, there are so many signs to juggle that they almost become routine. There is yet another old saying to the effect that “familiarity breeds contempt.”

“Contempt” is too strong a word to apply here, except in the sense that when the miraculous becomes commonplace, it becomes somewhat less awe-inspiring, somehow.

We are living eyewitnesses to events for which the ancient prophets had no words, but somehow managed to describe in symbols decipherable only to one generation, somewhere in time.

The prophet Daniel was so confused by what he had witnessed, and so unsure of how to describe it adequately, that he actually complained to God’s Messenger about it:

“And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?”

Just try and see it from Daniel’s perspective. He had just absorbed a vision of Israel’s future, divided into seventy weeks of years.

God revealed to Daniel the rise and fall of four successive world empires; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Much of Daniel’s vision would have been somewhat familiar; the mechanics of government and technology of war didn’t change that much from the 5th century BC to the 1st century AD.

But Daniel’s vision took a hard right turn following the ‘cutting off of the Messiah’ (Daniel 9:26) and jumped from the middle of the 1st century to somewhere in the 21st century.

Daniel was transported from the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AD to the confirmation of the seven year treaty by the antichrist and the start of the Tribulation Period — Daniel’s 70th Week.

Daniel had seen things that staggered him so much he didn’t know where to begin.

Consider the angel’s reply carefully:

“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:8-9)

There is a principle in Scripture that dictates that God does not repeat Himself unnecessarily. If God tells you something twice, it’s because it is so important that He really, really wants you to get it.

That is the case here. Earlier, Daniel had voiced a similar complaint, and the angel had already told him:

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end,” but in more detail, adding that, ‘in the time of the end’, “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

As I said, this is something important enough for God to tell us twice. The events that so perplexed the prophets, even Daniel, who was so in tune with the Mind of God that he could divine dreams, would remain a mystery to every generation except the one that would see its fulfillment.

Every generation since Christ has watched for the signs of the times pointing to His return.

The Church at Thessalonika, for example, was so convinced that the Lord had come and they’d been left behind that Paul wrote his 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians specifically to reassure them. (2nd Thessalonians 2:1)

But the angel told Daniel that the Signs of the Times would only be understandable during the Times of the Signs.

Assessment:

There is a world of difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’. One can have great wisdom without much knowledge. Some of the wisest men I ever knew had little or no education.

And it is equally true that one can have a tremendous amount of knowledge and be utterly devoid of wisdom. The bookstores (and universities) are crammed with examples of Ph.D’s who have dedicated their careers to proving that proposition.

Wisdom and knowledge are but two components of understanding and in context, it was ‘understanding’ that Daniel was seeking from the revealing angel. Indeed, the angel went on to say;

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

The Proverbs of Solomon explain ‘understanding’ as an equation that could be expressed this way: “wisdom plus knowledge equals understanding.”

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

That is the whole purpose of the Proverbs; “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding.” (Proverbs 1:2)

Daniel had wisdom, but the kaleidoscope of images from our time imparted no useful knowledge, so he therefore had no understanding of what he had just witnessed.

As I said, sometimes it is good to step back and take in the Big Picture in order to fully understand where waiting for signs of the times ended and living in the signs of the times begins.

It began when, for the first time since the times of Daniel, there is, in this generation, a political and national entity called “Israel” composed of Daniel’s people and living in Daniel’s city. (Daniel 9:24)

From the day that Israel was reborn (shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8) on 14 May 1948, the countdown clock began ticking down.

One needn’t turn to Matthew 24’s ‘fig tree’ analogy to make that point. The point makes itself. Virtually every major component of Bible Prophecy’s Big Picture traces its genesis to the same point in modern history.

The same 1948 restoration of Israel is also the seminal event responsible for the current war on Islamic terrorism.

Daniel’s antichrist is a prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem and burned the Temple. (Daniel 9:27).

Those ‘people’ were the legions of the Roman Empire. In 1948, the modern version of the Roman Empire, the EU, was born out of the Benelux Treaty.

The current East/West geopolitical alignment in the Middle East is a direct result of the US/Soviet Cold War which officially kicked off with the 1948 Berlin Airlift.

The first Constitution for a global government, the Universal Declaration of Rights and Freedoms was ratified by the UN Member States in 1948.

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Treaty establishing global economic policy rules (and ultimately evolving into the World Trade Organization) was signed and ratified by the UN in 1948.

The World Council of Churches was established under UN auspices in Amsterdam in August, 1948.

China and Taiwan were divided by the 1947-1948 Communist takeover of the mainland, giving birth to the inscrutable People’s Republic of China.

Muslim Pakistan broke from newly independent India in 1948, creating the Islamic republic that ultimately gave the world the first Islamic Bomb, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

All that is history, and therefore, common knowledge. But devoid of ‘wisdom’ (i.e., that it is evidence of the soon fulfillment God’s Plan for the Ages) the world can’t understand the Big Picture for what it is.

What they see instead is chaos and terror and war and upheaval and, more than anything, fear. That’s why so many people mutter “I don’t know what this world is coming to,” but flee the moment you start to tell them.

It is discouraging to wear the label of ‘prophecy nut’.

(But Noah preached for 120 years without a convert — now that is discouraging.)

So I think it is good to step back once in a while and drink in the awesomeness of the events to which we are now almost daily witnesses.

Our individual setbacks pale in comparison to the awesomeness of witnessing of the Hand of God directly interacting in our world to fulfill His Word in our generation.

If that isn’t encouraging, I don’t know what is.

Paul tells us of a special crown, the ‘crown of righteousness’ that is reserved in heaven, “not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

Titus 2:13 says that, believers with understanding aren’t quaking in fear “at looking at the things that are coming upon the earth,” but that, instead, they are;

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

Looking at the signs of the times is terrifying. Understanding the times of the signs means a ‘crown of righteousness’ and represents our ‘blessed hope’– the soon Rapture of the Church.

Still, is natural to feel a sense of fear. After all, we all want to go to heaven, but none of us is eager to hasten the process by dying. Being afraid once in a while is not evidence of a lack of faith.

Paul explains that we are dual-natured creatures, part carnal and part spiritual, so it is not disloyal (or schizophrenic) to be afraid with the natural part and overjoyed at its spiritual implications.

That is what ‘understanding’ is all about.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 1:7)

Maranatha! (“the Lord cometh”)

Note:

We’ve been watching the mail logs, and in a number of cases, (especially Yahoo) delivery is being delayed after arriving at the ISP, sometimes by several hours from the time we are sending it out.

If you are still having delivery problems, please email Frank at the ‘contact us’ page on the website and let us know.