Grace and Guilt

Grace and Guilt
Vol: 109 Issue: 22 Friday, October 22, 2010

Grace is one of those Divine topics that is so deep and wide and endless that there can never been enough said about it.  It is so complex in its simplicity that a full understanding of it probably cannot be had this side of heaven.

Grace is easier to define by what it is not than by what it is.  Grace is not mercy or love.  In Ephesians 2:4-6 three doctrines are outlined in their individual and specific understandings; grace, mercy and love. 

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, 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:”

God is rich in mercy.  He loves us with great love.  But we are not saved by mercy or love.  One can extend mercy without extending grace. 

We are not saved by His love.  If we know anything from Scripture about man’s relationship with God, it is this: God loves all sinners.  Not all sinners are or will be saved.

Addressing mercy first, one could define Divine mercy as God’s compassion, which moved Him to provide a Savior in the first place.  If God could save a single soul on the basis of His mercy alone, then every soul could be saved on that basis.   In that case, Christ’s death was unnecessary.

As for God’s love, it is reflective of God’s infinite character. It is the motivating purpose behind all that God does on man’s behalf.  The Bible says that there is joy in heaven at the salvation of one sinner.

But God’s infinite character is that of holy and righteous love and since sin is an offense before Him, God cannot save a soul without first making a way to satisfy the claims that Divine righteousness makes against the sinner.

One of the dumber arguments often used by atheists to question the existence of God is the question of God’s omnipotence.  “If God can do anything, can He make a rock so big He can’t lift it?”  It is a stupid question but you’d be surprised how many people actually try to answer it. 

The atheist is trying to get the believer to admit that there are some things that even God can’t do. 

But the fact is, there are things that even God can’t do.  God cannot sin.  God cannot compromise justice.  God cannot abandon His holy nature.  And so, until Divine justice is satisfied, God’s infinite love cannot realize its desire.

Mercy and love are what grace are not.  Grace is what God is free to do on behalf of the lost after Christ satisfied the judicial requirements by paying the penalty for sin.

Although the holy demands of justice were satisfied by the sacrificial execution of Christ, the love of God can never be satisfied until He has done all that He can for the one that accepts Christ’s judgment on their behalf.

What is the greatest thing that God could do for you, a sinner?  How about elevating you to be conformed to the image of the Son of God?

Love and mercy represent the whys of salvation, but not the how.  

Since grace only represents what God can and will do for those who trust in His Savior, it must function independently of all human effort or cooperation.  Grace demands nothing beyond confidence in God’s ability to save.

Grace provides the only mechanism whereby men can be saved God’s mercy and love are not enough. God’s mercy and love were every bit as much in operation before I was saved as after.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Assessment:

Saved! Saved!
My sins are all pardoned, my guilt is all gone,
Saved! Saved!
Saved by the Blood of the Crucified One!

This is the second most difficult part of the salvation process.   If I’ve been pardoned, why do I still feel guilty?   You can tell me I’m no longer guilty all day long, but I was with me. I know better.  And I’m not much at self-deception.

I was guilty of sin before I was saved.  Some of those sins haunt me still.  And if I remain on this earth, I will be guilty of sin again. 

The guilt is real.  I know it.  So does the enemy – it is one of his most effective weapons against believers.

“Maybe you’re saved by grace, but you’re guilty. You don’t deserve salvation.” 

What makes it so effective is that it is true. Sin is rebellion against God and His authority.  Jesus may have paid for my sins at Calvary, but He wasn’t guilty of them.  I was. 

The Divine disposition of guilt is one of the greatest triumphs of grace. Note that there are two aspects to the concept of ‘guilt’.

The first aspect is personal guilt.  Personal guilt is nothing more than the historical record of your sins.  You committed them alone.  That fact will never change.   Not here and now.  Not in the hereafter.

You are personally guilty.  God didn’t make you do it.  Satan didn’t make you do it. You alone are guilty.  Personal guilt is non-transferable.  That’s why you still feel guilty even though you know that you are saved.

The second aspect is that of judicial guilt.  This is guilt as an obligation to justice. Judicial guilt is transferable – one can be personally guilty but if someone else pays the penalty due, then the law has no further claim.

The Lord Jesus offered Himself as a substitute to bear the obligation demanded of the world by Divine justice.   We need only acknowledge and stand before God under the terms of His provision of grace.

It is by faith that I recognize my judicial guilt and by faith accept that my salvation is by grace, a gift of God and not of works, lest any should boast.

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5)

That is what our faith is in – not our ability to stay saved, but His ability to keep us — by His grace.

Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!
The Father He spake, and His will it was done;
Great price of my pardon, His own precious Son;
Saved by the blood of the Crucified One!

Your sins ARE all pardoned.  Your guilt IS all gone.  It cannot work any other way.

Maranatha!

Blessed Assurance

Blessed Assurance
Vol: 109 Issue: 21 Thursday, October 21, 2010

In broad doctrinal terms, ‘assurance’ is the confidence that a right relationship exists between the believer and the Lord.  That is not to say that assurance is the same thing as eternal security.

Eternal security is a fact as a consequence of God’s faithfulness whether that fact is realized by the believer or not. Assurance is what one believes to be true respecting himself at any given time.

One’s assurance may well rest on one’s own personal righteousness.  Where one sees oneself’s standing with God is a source of either great comfort or great apprehension.   The Prophet Isaiah writes:

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” (Isaiah 32:7)

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.”  (Colossians 2:2)

“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:” (Hebrews 6:11)

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

Assurance, resting on true faith, a true hope, a true understanding and imputed righteousness, is that quality that permits a believer to say without hesitation or fear of contradiction, “I know that I am saved.”

But salvation does not come from assurance and assurance doesn’t necessarily come with salvation.  I know lots of folks of whom I am more certain they are saved than they are.   

They know in Whom they have put their faith. .  .

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

But they just can’t fully believe that He is able.

Assessment:

As we see from the Scriptures and from our own experience, assurance is based on two things: the Word of God and that experience.   The inward witness of the Holy Spirit is a definite Christian experience.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

That still, small voice that you hear is the Holy Spirit.   Then there is that physical thrill that sometimes goes through you when you are praying or singing hymns or giving Him praise.  I often think of it as a spiritual ‘hug’ to lift me up and keep me going.  

But it’s actually His Spirit bearing witness to my spirit that everything is ok between us.

“If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath testified of His Son.”

“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son.” (1st John 5:9-10)

Our assurance is based on the reality of God. It is one thing to know of God and quite another to know God.  Knowledge of God is something everybody has, whether or not they care to acknowledge it.  But knowing God is something that takes place within the human heart.  

The person whose assurance is weak can take comfort from the knowledge that if they weren’t saved, they wouldn’t be worried about it.  

The reality of prayer is another place where one can be reassured.  The Scriptures say to “pray without ceasing” – if I am awake and thinking, I’m probably praying.  Not because I am some spiritual giant, but because I can’t help myself.    

I don’t have to start to pray – I’m in constant mental contact, whether I intend to be or not.  “Wow, Lord! Did You see that?” Or something good happens, and my first thought is, “Thank You, Lord.”

You can take assurance from your hunger for the Word of God.  Even when you are feeling like the low-down worthless sinner that you know that you are, you can find assurance in His Word – but the real assurance is to be found in the fact you’re looking there.  

You can take assurance from that new sense of kinship. To be born of God is to be part of the family and household of God.  Anytime I need a little assurance, I need go no further than our OL fellowship forums. 

The Apostle John presents this as a test of the reality of our relationship and the certainty of our blessed assurance:

“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” (1st John 3:10,14)

Our assurance is promised in the Word of God.  “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out,” Jesus promised.  

If you don’t have that sense of assurance, then the most obvious cure is to hit your knees and make sure you’ve got your business straight with God.  But your salvation isn’t based on your faithfulness.  It is based on God’s faithfulness.

He is faithful to keep His Word.  He will not cast out any that come to Him.  Feelings and experience have their place – but the crowning evidence of one’s salvation is not how one feels about it. 

The crowning evidence is the truthfulness of God. The Word of God is our title deed to eternal life.

“He that hath the Son hath life.” (John 5:12)

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!

“Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1st Peter 1:5)

Maranatha!

”Are you a Calvinist?”

”Are you a Calvinist?”
Vol: 109 Issue: 20 Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I get that question all the time.  And it is almost always in the form of an accusation.  It is also almost always asked in relationship to one of two doctrines espoused by Calvin, predestination and eternal security.

John Calvin (Jean Cauvin) was an influential French theologian at the time of the Reformation.

Calvin broke with the Roman Catholic Church around 1530 and fled to Basel, Switzerland where he published his reasoning in a work entitled ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’.

Calvin developed what are now called the ‘Five Points of Calvinism’ under the acronym TULIP:

  • Total Depravity of Man: The doctrine that unregenerate man is incapable of living a sinless life.
  • Unconditional Election:  God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is to say, they are not saved on the basis of their own merit.
  • Limited atonement:  Christ died for the purpose of saving the elect.
  • Irresistible Grace: When God chooses to save someone, that person will come to Christ.
  • Perseverance of the Saints: This is the doctrine of eternal security, or ‘once saved, always saved’.

Calvinism is one of two schools of thought within Protestant theology.  If one claims the title of ‘Protestant’, one is either a Calvinist or an Arminian.

Arminianism is the other model within mainstream Protestantism.  It is named for Jacob Arminius, a Dutch contemporary of Calvin. Arminianism does not advance ideas of its own, but draws its doctrine from its opposition to Calvinism. 

Are you an Arminian?

  • Arminius rejects Unconditional Election in favor of Prevenient Grace. Prevenient, or prevenial grace is that grace extended by God to the unsaved. 
  • Arminius rejects the doctrine of irresistible grace.  A person is equally free to reject the call.
  • Arminianism rejects predestination and dispensationalism.
  • It rejects unconditional election.
  • It rejects limited atonement, arguing that it was made on behalf of all people, not just the elect.
  • Believers can sin their way out of salvation.

What did you decide?  Are you a Calvinist?  Or an Arminian?  Or did you find yourself hovering somewhere between the two?  Is that even possible?  What does it mean?

Are you hopelessly confused?

If you are a bedrock Calvinist or a bedrock Arminian, then you probably self-identify with a recognized Protestant denomination; Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc.

Calvinism and Armnianism are not the basic doctrines of Christianity; rather they are the basic doctrines of Protestantism.  That is both a distinction and a difference. 

One can be a Protestant without being a Christian, just as one can be a Catholic without being a Christian.

And one can be a Christian and not be either a Catholic or a Protestant.  

Assessment:

Sometimes they are derided as ‘Fighting Fundies’ or just plain old ‘born-agains’ — and most also qualify as prophecy nuts. For my part, I’m neither a Calvinist nor an Arminian.   I’m just a Christian with a Bible.

  • I believe in the depravity of man because the Bible says all men since Adam are born sinners.
  • I believe in predestination because 27% of the Bible is prophecy – that is to say, certain sequences of events are predestined there is no other way to understand it. (Romans 8:29)
  • I believe in dispensationalism because the Bible says history is divided by dispensations. (1st Corinthians 9:17, Ephesians 1:10, 3:2, Colossians 1:25)
  • I believe that God foreknew who would be saved and that He predestined them to be conformed to the image of His Son because that’s what the Bible says.

And I believe that the Bible lays out twelve undertakings of God concerning salvation, any one of which are sufficient to prove eternal security is a Bible doctrine, not a religious one.

There are four undertakings related to the Father:

  1. The Sovereign Purpose and Unconditional Covenant: (John 3:16, 5:24, 6:37)
  2. The infinite power of God to set free and to save: (John 10:29, Romans 4:21, 8:31, 38-39, 14:4, Ephesians 1:19-21, 3:20, Philipians 3:21, 2nd Timothy 1:12, Hebrews 7:25, Jude 1:24)
  3. The infinite love of God: (Romans 5:7-10; Ephesians 1:4)
  4. The Father’s acceptance of the prayer of the Son of God (John 17:9-12,15,20)

There are four undertakings related to the Son:

  1. His substitutionary death: (Romans 8:1, 1st John 2:2)
  2. His Resurrection: (John 3:16, 10:28, Ephesians 2:6)
  3. His advocacy in Heaven: (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 9:24;1st John 2:1-2)
  4. His Shepherdhood and intercession: (John 17:1-26, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:23-25)

There are four undertakings related to the Holy Spirit:

  1. Spiritual regeneration – partaking of the Divine nature: (John 1:13, 3:3-6, Titus 3:4-6, 1st Peter 1:23, 2nd Peter 1:4, 1st John 3:9)
  2. Indwelling Presence: Jesus promised He would abide and indwell believers until Jesus comes for them: (John 7:37-39, Romans 5:5, 8:9, 1st Corinthians 2:12, 6:19,1st John 2:27)
  3. Baptism – through which the believer is joined to Christ: (1st Corinthians 6:17, 12:13, Galatians 3:27)
  4. The Sealing of the Spirit: (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30)

Any one of these twelve undertakings is sufficient to guarantee eternal security to the believer.  There can be no genuine distinction between salvation and eternal security, since by definition, eternal salvation is the only kind there is.

I’ve given you a lot of verses and provided links that you can follow to see the context in which they were written. 

The Bible doesn’t contradict itself. Don’t let anybody steal your victory with a bunch of religious claptrap about Calvinism and tulips and Arminius.  Religion never saved anybody.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Accident-Prone Iran

Accident-Prone Iran
Vol: 109 Issue: 19 Tuesday, October 19, 2010

During his visit to ‘Iran’s southern border with Israel’ in Lebanon, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a point of threatening Israel with annihilation from just outside that nation’s borders.  

Ahmadinejad chose the site of a pitched battle between Hezbollah and the IDF during the 2006 Lebanon War as the venue for his first tirade.  

Let’s revisit the cause of that war briefly for context.  Hezbollah invaded Israeli territory and killed several Israeli soldiers and captured Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.   That’s what started it.  Israel invaded in an effort to recover their lost soldiers.

Although Hezbollah was required to release the hostages under the terms of UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 War, they didn’t.  Instead, they used them as bargaining chips — in clear violation of international treaty law and Resolution 1701.

(Two years later, after swapping four live terrorists and hundreds of prisoners for them, Hezbollah handed over two coffins.)

Resolution 1701 also required Hezbollah to be disarmed. It required the deployment of Lebanese soldiers and an enlarged UN force to the south to keep the peace and prevent Hezbollah from rearming. 

Lebanon and the UN force defied the order to disarm Hezbollah and looked the other way while convoys of trucks bearing weapons and missiles from Iran drove unhindered into the Bekaa Valley.   Hezbollah, founded by the Iranian Republican Guard in 1982, now controls all of Lebanon.

And so, standing only meters away from Israel and able to look across into the eyes of Israeli border guards,  Ahmadinejad began to bluster:

“The world should know the Zionists are mortal.  Today the Lebanese nation is alive and is a role model for the regional nations. The world should know that Bin Jbeil is proud and will stand against the [Israeli] enemy to the end.”

From there, he moved on to Qana, the scene of a Hezbollah-staged massacre that claimed 28 civilians including 19 children.

 “You will stay and your enemies, who are the enemies of humanity, are on their way to demise and annihilation. You are honored and your Zionist enemies are humiliated and weak.”

But while he was blustering abroad, it appears that it was Iran that was humiliated – most probably at the hands of the Zionist weaklings.

Iran continues to evade questions about the impact of the Stuxnet computer worm that was custom designed to take control of Iran’s nuclear command and control systems.   At first Iran denied that Stuxnet actually infected any of its major systems.

Then last week it announced that Stuxnet had been successfully cleared from its major systems.  Iran claimed Stuxnet did no damage.  But the timetable for the Bushehr nuclear plant going online was pushed up from last month to January and now until sometime next spring. 

Initially, everybody thought it must have been the Israelis – except Iran, who called it ‘cyber-terrorism’ that was created by “the domineering powers.”  

On Wednesday, Iran acknowledged an explosion at a military base near Khoramabad killed eighteen Revolutionary Guardsmen and wounded fourteen more. 

Debkafile identified the base as a missile facility where Iran had stockpiled most of its medium-range Shehab-3 missiles and launchers Iran planned to use in a counterstrike against Israel and US forces in Iraq in the event of a military attack against its nuclear program.   

It said that the strike was actually three separate blasts triggered in “quick succession deep inside the storage tunnels, destroying a large number of missile launchers and rendering the facility unfit for use.”

Most analysts instantly assumed that the attack was carried out by the Mossad. But Iran denied it, saying instead that it was an accidental fire.  Then the mainstream media reported that it was probably perpetrated by Kurdish rebels.  

Way to go, Israel!

Assessment:

I’m going way out on a limb here, but all the signs suggest to me that Iran has been hit a lot harder than it is prepared to admit. 

Last month, Iran was defiant, mocking and undeterred by the newest round of sanctions.  This month, post-Stuxnet and only a week after the Imam Ali sabotage, “Iran is ready to return to nuclear talks tomorrow” according to Reuters.

Israel (or whoever) has set Iran back months, if not years, in its quest for nukes, and possibly temporarily crippled much of its conventional warmaking ability.  But Iran has already let loose the dogs of war and may not be able to recall them in time to allow Iran to regroup.

We discussed King Abdullah of Jordan’s ‘prophecy’ that if the settlement question lingered beyond September 30th, war would break out by year’s end.   Syria continues to ratchet up the war rhetoric as Hezbollah continues to train with and deploy batteries of missiles stockpiled in the Bekaa Valley.

Hamas is spoiling for the fight and Mahmoud Abbas is reportedly opening the West Bank to Hamas fighters and intelligence units.

The Bible forecast two major wars against Israel in the very last hours of the last days.  The first involves the Arab nations prophesied by Isaiah, Obadiah and in Psalms 83.

Psalms 83 names the Ishmaelites (Saudis) the tents of Edom (southern Jordan, West Bank) the Moabites (central Jordan) the Hagarites (Egypt), Gebal (Hezbollah and Lebanon) Ammon, (northern Jordan), and Phillistia (Hamas, Gaza). 

Finally, Psalms 83 names Assyria (Syria and northern Iraq) and Tyre, (Hezbollah and South Lebanon.) Ezekiel 17 names Damascus specifically, predicting its overnight and utter destruction.  

Obadiah indicts these same nations for celebrating Israel’s catastrophes (v.10) for “entering the gates of my people” (v.13) for “handing over the Jews in their day of trouble” (v.14)  and predicted judgment for the  Mount of Esau sitting upon the Mount of Zion (the al-Aqsa Mosque upon Temple Mount).

Obadiah identifies the emblem of the Palestinian Authority (the eagle) (v.4) and even identifies Hamas.

“For thy violence (Heb –chamac [pronounced Hamas] against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.” (v. 11)

I want you to see with me the incredible attention to detail here, keeping in mind the thousands of years that have passed since these prophecies were penned.

The Ishmaelites of Obadiah, Psalms 83, et al are the Arab peoples.  Iranians are not Arabs. They are Persians and they have a different appointment with destiny. 

The Gog Magog War that involves Iran takes place at a time when Israel is a land of unwalled villages dwelling in peace and safety.  There is no Palestinian conflict, no threat from Syria or the surrounding Arab states, no mention of Hamas, violence or conflict.    

They are two different conflicts and Iran is only in one of them.   That’s what the prophets said thousands of years ago. That is how it is shaping up now. 

Because the Bible is true.  Amazingly, painstakingly, undeniably and incontrovertibly true.   Every word of it. 

“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)

Be encouraged!

Seared by Hot Irony

Seared by Hot Irony
Vol: 109 Issue: 18 Monday, October 18, 2010

Putting the words “political” and “hypocrisy” together in a sentence (or in this case, a title) is as redundant as putting “wet” together with “water” but for one thing.

Water HAS to be wet.

The conventional wisdom that says “all politicians lie” proves itself a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If they ALL lie, then your choices are limited to the most attractive liar peddling the most attractive lies. 

Accepting the premise that political hypocrisy is the only kind of politics there is means that is the only kind that there CAN be. 

If overt hypocrisy is not automatically disqualifying, then logic dictates it must become the lowest common denominator.  That is why it is said that a ‘nation gets the government it deserves.’

Especially when the government consists of freely elected representatives.  Think about what the word ‘representative’ MEANS. 

‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ — America’s reputation isn’t earned BY its leaders.  It is earned THROUGH its leaders — we freely and openly offer our leaders to the world as representative of ourselves.  

That is who we SAYING we are by our vote — we’re like just the leaders we sent to represent us.

Politics and hypocrisy have always been two sides of the same coin.  It isn’t as if there were a way to quantitatively measure an increase in political hypocrisy, but I think it fair to say there is a measurable increase in popular acceptance of it.

Something that would have haunted a disgraced politician forever forty years ago (think Richard Nixon), has sinced morphed into an oddly endearing quality (think Bill Clinton).

In America, voter acceptance of political hypocrisy seems, ironically enough, to follow the same five stages as the grieving process; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

Jimmy Carter’s America was America in denial.  Ronald Reagan’s America reflected the anger at what it saw itself becoming.

Bill Clinton’s America was at the bargaining stage; “everybody lies about sex – it all depends on the meaning of the word is – who cares anyway, it’s nobody else’s business” and so on. 

George W Bush’s America reflected a nation working through the depressing realization that, to the rest of the world, there is no difference between America’s elected leaders and the people that elected them.

September 11th proved that. 

Barak Obama’s America seems to reflect an America having reached the stage of accepting what it had become.  Obama’s campaign message could be summarized thusly:

“Hypocrisy is to be expected, all politicians lie, you get what you pay for, so what are you complaining about?  After all, it could be worse.”

It is hard to imagine how it could get worse. . .

Said NOW’s president, it is wrong for anyone to call a woman a whore, but in Meg Whitman’s case, “Yes, that’s an accurate statement,” which is why NOW is endorsing Jerry Brown, whose wife used the slur against Whitman.

National NOW President Terry O’Neill condemned anyone who would call someone else a “whore,” even as the state group endorsed Brown for governor.

“This term is hate speech that carries with it negative connotations associated with women, and it has no place in contemporary society,” O’Neill said in a statement Wednesday. “NOW calls on Brown, from this point forward, to fire any member of his staff who uses this word or any hate speech against women.” 

I don’t know much about Meg Whitman apart from her having become a self-made billionaire by founding and running E-Bay.   (But  it confirms what I know about NOW, who famously endorsed Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Teddy Kennedy).    

It would be easier if the Republican candidates were any less openly hypocritical.  In the races where the Democrats manage to hold onto their seats, it is primarily because the opposition candidates are no better.

It is hard for uncommitted Delaware voters to decide whether to vote for the former teenage witch or the former bearded Marxist . . . after all, for four decades voters had the option for four decades of pulling the lever on a candidate who was as uncommitted as they were.  

But now Joe Biden isn’t on the ticket.   

MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinkski pointed out over the weekend, (amid the White House attacks on the Chamber of Commerce claiming foreign involvement) that the Democrats have raked in at least a million dollars “from political action committees affiliated with foreign companies.”

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, speaking lies in hypocrisy and having their conscience seared by a hot iron.” (1st Timothy 4:1)

 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)

Assessment:

As noted at the outset, there’s nothing new about political hypocrisy. What is new is the complete shamelessness of it. 

In a democratic republic, the government reflects the majority of the voters. The pols don’t care because they know the public doesn’t either.   The pols reflect their constituencies.   The country might be center-right, but the majority of the voters in the last two elections weren’t.

America’s international standing on the skids and sliding.  Before Obama, the Left said it was because of Bush.  Before Bush, the Right said it was because of Clinton.   If you ignore both sides and look at reality, it was because of the voters.

“This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come,” the Apostle writes.  What follows isn’t an assessment of the political leadership of the last days.  It is an assessment of the voters that elect them.

‘Lovers of their own selves’.  Politicians get elected based on what they promise to do for the voter, not the country.  We are where we are because of entitlements – bribes to buy votes using the voter’s own money.

‘Covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers’.  The most effective weapon in the political arena is class warfare.   Marxism is founded on exploiting these flaws – without them, Obama and the Far Left would be standing in thin air. 

‘Disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy’ – sounds like a typical day in the public school system. 

Then there is the biannual campaign season: 

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness by denying the power thereof:”

But instead of turning away, these values have been embraced in increasing numbers.  But Paul’s letter to Timothy doesn’t stop there.   Paul says that there is a point beyond which this slide cannot go — on this side of the Church Age.

“Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (2nd Timothy 3:8)

The demonization of Tea Party, the equation of Christian values with bigotry and racism – it is rapidly becoming an indictment against them leveled by people of faith. 

They are recognizing that a great evil has overtaken the government and they are rising enmasse to try and take it back.

“But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.” (2nd Timothy 3:9)

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)

Do you see it?  We’re still here.  As long as there is a remnant indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the strong delusion cannot take hold.   There is a point beyond which it cannot go. 

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth [restrains] will let [restrain], until He be taken out of the way.” 

The One that restrains is the Holy Spirit and His restraining influence is exercised through the vessels He indwells.  The antichrist could only go so far before the restraining influence of the Church would manifest itself.   

The restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is felt far beyond the Body of Christ.  Take the 9/12 Rally, for example.   I don’t believe that everybody there was a believer.  What it demonstrates is the influence of believers on their unbelieving friends, co-workers, spouses, children and so on.

As long as the Holy Spirit’s ministry is active in the Church that He indwells, the unrestricted evil of the Tribulation Period cannot move forward. There is a limit – one we see in action this year – a point beyond which evil cannot go.

Until the Restrainer – and the vessels He indwells — are taken out of the way.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming:” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

 But not before.

Thy Word IS Truth

Thy Word IS Truth
Vol: 109 Issue: 16 Saturday, October 16, 2010

Nobody would classify the Bible as a work of science or a medical text book, but the Bible does make certain scientific and medical statements.

Assuming that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and given that it claims a 100% accuracy rate, 100% of the time, it is only reasonable to conclude that it should be completely accurate in every scientific and medical detail.

Taking it another step further, if the Bible is Divinely inspired, then the scientific and medical errors found in the pages of other ancient, non-inspired texts should be entirely absent from its pages.

The bulk of the medical information in Scripture is found among its first five Books, the Pentateuch, and are generally accepted as being written by Moses.

Moses, according to Scripture, was educated with “all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) so it would be entirely natural for the Pentateuch to reflect some of that Egyptian ‘wisdom’ — if Moses were writing according to his own knowledge.

While some medical practices in the Pentateuch are similar to those found in ancient Egyptian documents, the Pentateuch exhibits a conspicuous absence of those harmful malpractices that plague the writings of the Egyptians.

Moses penned the most advanced, flawless medical prescriptions that had ever been recorded. Moses taught the Israelites to practice sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

(The Egyptian prescriptions generally involved rubbing oneself with . .  ahem, camel poop.)

Every statement that pertained to the health and medical well-being of the Israelite nation recorded by Moses could theoretically still be implemented and be completely in accord with every fact modern medicine has learned in regard to germ spreading, epidemic disease control, communal sanitation, and a host of other medical and scientific discoveries.

In 1872, a German Egyptologist named Georg Ebers discovered an ancient Egyptian papyrus (the Ebers Papyrus) that outlined what constituted the Web MD of the ancient world.

Altogether, the papyrus contains 811 prescriptions for what ails you, including “salves, plasters, and poultices; snuffs, inhalations, and gargles; draughts, confections, and pills; fumigations, suppositories, and enemata,” wrote Cyril Bryan of the Ebers Papyrus in “The Ancient Egyptian,” published in 1930.

The ancient Egyptians were renowned in the ancient world for their progress in the field of medicine.

During the days of the Medo-Persian Empire, the ancient historian Herodotus recorded that it was king Darius’ practice “to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession.”

Could the amazingly advanced medical knowledge reflected by the Pentateuch have come from Moses’ Egyptian education?

In ancient Egypt, if you went to the doctor for a splinter, he would write you out a prescription for a poultice consisting of “worm blood, mole and donkey dung.”

Of course, if you followed that prescription, the tetanus spores in the donkey poop would probably result in an agonizing death from lockjaw.

Got pimples? The Egyptian free clinic prescribes a poultice made of “a hog’s tooth, cat dung, dog dung, eau-of-samu-oil, berries-of-the-xet-plant,” which the patient is to “pound and apply as a poultice” to their skin.

Various other ingredients recorded by “The Ancient Egyptian” for the plethora of remedies concocted included “dried excrement of a child” (p. 98), “hog dung” (p. 115), and “a farmer’s urine” (p. 131).

One recipe to prevent hair growth included lizard dung and the blood from a cow, donkey, pig, dog, and stag (p. 102).

Let’s face it. The active ingredient in most of these Egyptian prescriptions is, umm poo poo.  And ancient Egypt is reputed to have had the most advanced medical knowledge in the world at that time.

For three thousand years, when medical ‘science’ wasn’t advocating better living through the liberal application of poop, it recommended blood-letting as a way to allow diseases to leave the body.

Blood-letting was considered a legitimate medical treatment until the early 20th century.

An eyewitness account of George Washington’s death relates that he came down with a chill, and in an effort to cure him, those who attended him resorted to bloodletting; “a vein was opened, but no relief afforded.” (“The Death of George Washington,” 2001).

We know now that bloodletting was exactly the wrong treatment, regardless of the malady. Victims of a traumatic injury are given glucose IV’s to strengthen the blood and prevent the patient from going into shock.

Thousands of years before the lethality of blood-letting was discovered, mankind had been informed by God that blood was the key to life. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.”

How could Moses have known almost 3,500 years ago that life was in the blood, something it took the rest of the scientific and medical community thousands of years to discover?

In 1847, a German doctor, seeking to reduce the mortality rate among pregnant mothers, noted that medical students would perform autopsies in the morning, then go directly from the morgue to the hospital wards without washing their hands.

He ordered everyone in his ward to wash his or her hands thoroughly in a chlorine solution after every examination. In three months, the death rate fell from 18% to 1%.

Had Dr Semmeliweis simply read the Pentateuch, he could have learned what the ancient Israelites knew three thousand years before;

“He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.” (Numbers 19:13)

Moses also gave instructions for the mixing of the ‘water of separation’ [or ‘purification’.] Numbers 19:17’s ingredient list sounds like a typical ancient superstition.

It calls for the combination of the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, cedar wood and scarlet.

In point of fact, this combination of ingredients produces what amounts to an antibacterial soap. Lye soap is made by pouring water through ashes.

Hyssop’s medicinal properties include expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic. Its active constituents are volatile oil, flavonoids, tannins and bitter substance (marrubin).

A strong tea made from the hyssop leaves and flowering tops is used in lung, nose and throat congestion, and externally it can be applied to bruises, to reduce the swelling and discoloration.

Cedar has long been favored for use in storage cabinets because of its ability to repel insects and slow decay. In oil form, applied to humans, it is an antiseptic, astringent, expectorant (removes mucus from respiratory system), anti-fungal, sedative and insecticide” (“Spa Essential Oils,” 2005).

Cedar leaves and twigs are rich in vitamin C, and it was their effectiveness in preventing or treating scurvy that led to the tree’s being called ‘arbor vitae’ or’ tree of life’.

Lastly, Moses called for the inclusion of ‘scarlet’ — mostly probably scarlet wool. (Hebrews 9:19) Adding wool fibers to the ‘water of purification’ would make it gritty, like Lava soap.

The education Moses received in Egypt taught him to treat open sores with animal dung, but Moses taught the Israelites how to make lye soap.

The book of Leviticus lists a number of diseases and outlines ways by which an Israelite would come in contact with germs. Those with such diseases as leprosy were instructed to “dwell alone” “outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:46).

If and when a diseased individual did get close to those who were not diseased, he was instructed to “cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!” (13:45).

Here’s another seeming superstition; the ‘covering of one’s mustache’ to prevent disease. Until you give it about three seconds thought — what do you do when you cough — and why?

We are taught to ‘cover our mustaches’ to keep from spreading germs!

So, Moses, having been educated in the finest schools in Egypt in the many uses of poop in the treatment of disease, prescribed the use of soap and water to prevent disease and instituted the practice of quarantine to prevent its spread — three thousand years ago in the middle of the Sinai desert!

The ancient Israelites were instructed in peculiar dietary habits such as avoiding certain animals, birds and fish as sources of food. (Leviticus 11:1-3)

In 1953, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine did a test in which he planted a certain seedling in the fresh muscle juices of various ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ animals as cited by Leviticus.

He would then record the percent of seeds that grew in the meat juices as compared to those that grew under normal circumstances. Seeds grown in the juices of ‘clean’ animals, like the ox, sheep, calf, goat or deer, grew 90% of the time.

Those nurtured in the juices of an ‘unclean’ animal; swine, rabbits, camels and horses failed to grow more than half the time, due to their natural toxicity. Similar tests between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ birds yielded similar results.

The same experiment was conducted with fish, both those with fins and scales [clean] and those without [unclean].

Clean fish had almost zero toxicity while unclean fish were exceeding toxic to the seedlings. How could Moses know all that?

Lastly, let’s look at the Bible’s instructions for circumcision. For centuries, Western medicine considered it to be a barbaric practice of no medical value.

Modern research proves that circumcision virtually eliminates any risk of penile cancer. Circumcised infants suffer 20 times fewer urinary tract infections than uncircumcised infants.

Circumcision reduces the risk of getting or transmitting many sexually transmitted diseases. Again, how could Moses have known all this in the Sinai desert three thousand years ago?

But wait! As long as we’re on the subject, there’s more!

The 1953 edition of Holt Pediatrics contains a section titled, “Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn.” The section deals with the occurrence of occasional spontaneous bleeding among newborns that can sometimes cause severe damage to major organs such as the brain, and even death.

In the discussion pertaining to the reasons for such bleeding, the authors note that the excessive bleeding is primarily caused by a decreased level of prothrombin, which in turn is caused by insufficient levels of vitamin K.

A chart outlines the levels of available prothrombin in a newborn. It dips from about 90% of normal on its day of birth to about 35% on its third day of life outside the womb.

After the third day, the available prothrombin begins to climb. By the eighth day of the child’s life, the available prothrombin level is approximately 110% of normal, about 20% higher than it was on the first day, and about 10% more than it will be during the rest of the child’s life.

That means that the best possible time to perform such a procedure is on the eighth day after birth.

Genesis 17:12-14 specifies that circumcision be performed on the eighth day after birth — even if the eighth day fell on a Sabbath.

Assessment:

There is simply no explanation for the advanced medical knowledge outlined by Moses in the middle of the Sinai desert three thousand years ago.

Moses couldn’t have learned it in Egypt. What Moses learned about medicine in Egypt would kill more often than it would cure.

He couldn’t have learned it while tending Jethro’s herds. He couldn’t have learned it while leading the Exodus out of Egypt.

But there it is. Medical knowledge so advanced that most of it was unknown to Western medicine for another thirty centuries!

The Bible contains more than just amazing medical knowledge. Let’s briefly consider a few other examples of Divine inspiration.

Paul notes that each star in the heavens is unique. (1st Corinthians 15:41) It wasn’t until man invented advanced telescopes in the 20th century that it was learned the light spectra of every star is different with no two stars being alike.

Jeremiah 31:35-36 details the precision with which the universe is governed. Job 26:7 reveals that the earth is suspended in outer space.

Ecclesiates 1:6 reveals the movement of the wind — something not discovered by secular science until the early 20th century, when meteorologists discovered that the wind circulates in cyclonic patterns, rather than a straight line.

Job 28:25 includes principles of fluid dynamics, AND it reveals that air has weight, (something only learned by science in the last 300 years.)

Psalms 135:7, Jeremiah 10:13 and Job 36:27-29 offer a complete description of the earth’s hydrological cycle.

Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10 describe the recirculation of the world’s water supplies. Job reveals that it is condensed water vapor in clouds that is responsible for rain. Isaiah 40:22 reveals that the earth is round.

The Apostle Peter describes the eventual destruction of the current universe using precise scientific terms unknown to secular for another fifteen centuries.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

It wasn’t until the mid 1940’s than man discovered nuclear fission, wherein splitting the atom causes the elements of that atom to ‘melt with fervent heat’ — heat so fervent that splitting the atom of a single element triggers a nuclear explosion that can vaporize a city.

Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press).

These manuscripts vary in size from a part of a page to an entire Bible (Old and New Testaments).

The earliest New Testament manuscripts date from the second century (100-199) AD.

These manuscript copies were written in different languages by people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds.

In spite of all those differences between the authors, each book of the Bible melds seamlessly into the entire work, as if penned by a single individual. Because, in the final analysis, it was.

“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 1:20-21)

You can trust the Bible. Because it’s true.  It HAS to be. Logic demands it.

All The Gold in the World . . .

All The Gold in the World . . .
Vol: 109 Issue: 15 Friday, October 15, 2010

The OPEC Crisis that created the gas lines and recessions of the 1970s forced the US to sever the link between the dollar and gold.  But in order to keep the dollar (and the global economy) from collapsing, the US had to find some economic replacement for the gold standard.

In 1973, Washington cut an iron-clad deal with the Saudis. The US would prop up the Saudi regime in exchange for a Saudi pledge to accept only US dollars in payment for oil sales. With Saudi support, the rest of OPEC followed suit resulting in a global financial architecture known as Bretton Woods 2.

Bretton Woods created, among other things, the IMF.  The IMF is little more than a subsidiary of the Federal Reserve which regulates the global money supply by redistributing it to Third World countries in the forms of ‘international loans’. 

Bretton Woods 2 was designed to hide the fact that, under the 1945 Bretton Woods Agreement, the US had spent all the gold in the world already.

Total US gold reserves equal 8965.65 tons.  That is the official total – how much is actually there is questionable. Representative Ron Paul is demanding an audit.

But assuming that we actually do have nearly 9000 tons of gold what does that mean? Officially, all that gold is worth about $358 billion.

We overspent more than three times that amount in just the past year.  Today any number that doesn’t end in ‘trillion’ is mere pocket change.

How can that be? Here’s how it’s worked so far. The world had to buy oil. And since they could only buy oil with US dollars, they had to hold US dollars in reserve. 

For example, as long as China has to keep $750 billion US in reserve, that is $750 billon is out of circulation. And so on for all the rest of the oil-consuming nations of the world.  

Since these nations had to keep a lot of dollars in reserve, the Federal Reserve felt safe in printing an equal number of dollars to keep in circulation. 

America’s huge and expanding debt is supported largely on the reserve requirements of oil consuming nations and our currency pegged to the price of oil.

The Obama administration has been waging war against Big Oil since coming to Washington, effectively hacking away at the economic foundation upon which the US dollar is propped. 

America has a ton of economic problems, all of which are directly related to global confidence in the dollar.   

Keep in mind that America’s official gold reserves don’t even cover the interest payments on an impossible debt propped up by the price of a commodity the administration is trying to run out of business.

Assessment:

For the very first time since the Islamic Revolution that spawned the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, OPEC has elected Iran to the rotating presidency of the twelve-nation oil cartel. 

OPEC ministers announced in Vienna that Iran’s oil minister, Masoud Mirkazemi, will chair the 12-nation organization during 2011.  

OPEC was founded in Baghdad in 1960 by five countries. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.   They were later joined by Qatar, Indonesia, the UAE, Algeria, Nigeria, Equador, Gabon and Angola. 

From December 1992 until October 2007, Ecuador suspended its membership. Gabon terminated its membership in 1995. Indonesia withdrew its membership effective January 2009.  OPEC currently has twelve member-states.

Iran is OPEC’s second-largest oil producer and boasts its second-largest proven reserves, after Saudi Arabia. In 2009, Iran’s crude production was approximately 3.8 million barrels per day, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency.

Many OPEC nations – and in particular, Saudi Arabia are hostile to Iran.  Saudi hostility to the Shi’ite Islamic republic is so overt that nobody was surprised when rumors began circulating saying the House of Saud had given Israeli warplanes the green light to overfly their territory to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

It is therefore particularly significant that Iran won unanimously!   Why?  At the OPEC summit in 2007, Iran championed a plan to de-link the US dollar from the international price of oil.   Iran has championed linking the price of oil to a different currency, like the Euro, or perhaps a basket of currencies.

The plan was backed by Venezuela and Ecuador but failed to win over the Saudis and the OPEC majority – in 2007.  But that was then. This is now. 

And now, OPEC has unanimously elected Iran to its rotating presidency.   

So where does this put us on the Bible’s timeline? 

According to the Book of the Revelation the order of events are these.  With the breaking of the first seal comes the rider on the white horse, symbolizing the ascension of the antichrist to a position of global power.

It is significant to note that the rider on the white horse carries a bow – but no arrows.  He conquers in a bloodless, ie, political conquest. He’s not a warlord.  He’s a politician.

The second seal is then broken, releasing the rider on the red horse, War.   This rider is given power to take peace from the earth and “there was given to him a great sword” symbolic of what today might be called a weapon of mass destruction.

The third seal releases the rider on the black horse, Famine.  He symbolizes world-wide economic depression.  References to a measure of wheat or three measures of barley for a penny is symbolic of a day’s food for a day’s pay, whereas oil and wine are symbolic of great wealth.

In the Bible’s Great Depression, the poor will suffer catastrophic poverty, but the rich will appear to weather the storm quite comfortably. It almost sounds like we’re there now.

Almost.  We’ve been almost there since the dawn of the 21st century.  It felt like at any moment, the trumpet might sound.  We are so close that many argue we are already somewhere between the breaking of the first and the third seals. 

We’re not.  We can’t be.  The Tribulation Period is but seven years long.  We’re almost three years into the economic collapse and ten years into the war. Israel has yet to achieve any measure of peace and safety.  No covenant has been confirmed.

The world is ready for the rider on the white horse, but nobody of sufficient stature has showed up yet to fill the void.   We are on the brink of global war, but we’ve been on the brink of global war since September 11th 2001.

The global economic situation is unsustainable; we’ve spend all the money in the world several times over and we’re trying to find a way to spend it one more time.  But it’s been unsustainable since the first Bretton Woods Agreement gave way to Bretton Woods 2 forty years ago.

It began to crumble after the Dot Com Bubble burst at the close of the 20th century and passed the point of no return seven years later.  But it hasn’t collapsed.  Not yet. 

All four horses are saddled and ready, but as yet, none of the riders have swung themselves aboard. But they could have at almost any point since the turn of the century. 

All the conditions necessary are in place. But still, something is restraining the collapse, holding back the floodgates of evil. 

Something is keeping the dollar afloat, the economy chugging, al-Qaeda at bay, Iran in its box, America from collapsing and Europe from eclipsing the US as the premiere global power.

We can almost see the events of Revelation 6:1-6 unfolding before us in the immediate future.  But we’re still somewhere just before Revelation 4:1.  And so, that’s where we stand, according to the timeline of Bible prophecy.  

Directly in the way.