When Disoriented Pigeons Can’t Come Home To Roost . . .

When Disoriented Pigeons Can’t Come Home To Roost . . .
Vol: 122 Issue: 30 Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Saturday, a powerful coronal mass ejection [CME] was sent hurtling from the sun straight towards the earth.  But like most of the sunspots and other solar disturbances, this one was all hat and no cattle.

The sun exploded.  The CME was ejected.  The earth was in its path.  On Monday, the earth passed through the sun’s magnetic field.

Nothing happened.  Planes were still able to navigate safely — none fell out of the sky.  The national power grid not only survived, the solar EMP didn’t even cause it to burp. 

Although the CME hit while North America was facing it, meaning we absorbed the full impact, my electronics are all still working just fine.  It didn’t even affect my cable TV picture. 

I don’t recall any warnings from the government.  Evidently, no warning was necessary, since nothing happened.

Still, here is yet another astrophysicist warning of solar storm activity peaking sometime around the middle to end of 2012 and of its possible effects on our planet.

In Tucson, associate astronomer Matt Penn says it won’t be all gloom and doom.  Indeed, some of it might be kind of fun:

“One of the fun things that a solar storm can do in terms of your recreation is that apparently a lot of people race pigeons, homing pigeon races are popular in some parts of the world and there’s apparently some betting that goes on with these races, it turns out that homing pigeons use the earth’s magnetic field to navigate, during a solar storm, the Earth’s magnetic field has changed and some of these pigeons become lost and people lost a lot of money because of this, so solar storms really do have an impact in some recreational sense with us here on the Earth.”

My, that does sound like fun, doesn’t it?  I’m going to start training my pigeons as soon as I finish this column!  Who knew you could bet on them?

But seriously, Matt.  Is this anything we really have to worry about?  Or is it just more shock science?

“The effects on Earth are really dramatic, and in particular, the more we depend on space assets, satellites for communication or navigation or even high altitude flights, the more of an impact it will have on us on the Earth. For instance, the particles from a solar flare can disrupt the electronics in a satellite and cause dropouts in communication so if you are using your GPS device and the GPS satellite goes out, then you’re lost and stuck without navigation.”

Ok, that does sound dramatic.  But since solar flares travel at about a million miles per hour and the sun is 93 million miles away, doesn’t that mean we’ll have more than three days advance notice? 

That would seem like plenty of time to make last minute phone calls and dig out a road atlas.  But that won’t be much help if none of the traffic lights work.

“As long as you have a disturbance in the Earth’s magnetic field you can induce currents, in particular if you have a long conductor like a long transmission line along the ground, you can get an overload of current through that line. . . in 1989 in Quebec, Canada, millions of people were without power in the winter because within 30 seconds the currents overloaded some of the circuitry and caused a massive power outage. During a sunspot cycle maximum those events are more likely to occur and so we may be facing more of those in the future.”

So, what is the federal government doing to “harden” the electrical grid against a possible solar storm burnout?

Apart from wringing its hands and “cautioning” satellite users, not much.   

Assessment:

We’ve been hearing the warnings for years.  First, there was the global warming panic.  Thanks to man-made carbon emissions, the polar ice-caps were melting and Arizona property developers were drawing up plans for beachfront condos. 

Then the sun cooled down and, not-coincidentally, so did global warming.  The more we learn about global warming, the more we learn how seriously we’ve been hoaxed.  

But the panic didn’t subside.  It just changed venues.  

The die-hard true believers are still issuing shrill warnings about carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, but some people are at last beginning to question how carbon dioxide, which is necessary for photosynthesis, and nitrogen, which is necessary for the growth of all living things, could be harmful?

Then, as the evidence began to mount that the global warming hoax was little more than an effort at massive wealth redistribution, the sun began to cool, which in turn caused the earth to start to cool, which prompted non-scientists (such as myself) to recall something about the sun being the cause of global warming.

Now the sun has begun to warm again, as it passes from its 11-year cycle of inactivity into its 11-year cycle of maximum activity and the National Academy of Sciences is warning that the danger isn’t that the sun will melt the polar icecaps so much as it will melt the US electrical grid.

“Report co-author John Kappenmann estimated that about 135 million Americans would be forced to revert to a pre-electric lifestyle or relocate. Water systems would fail. Food would spoil. Thousands could die. The financial cost: Up to $2 trillion, one-seventh the annual U.S. gross domestic product.”

According to the NAS, the earth may not actually have 90 plus hours advance warning. 

“A burst of X-rays, flares travel at the speed of light, reaching Earth in about eight minutes. While they can interfere with the electronics in satellites, they pose no direct threat to people on the ground because Earth’s magnetic field acts as a shield against this type of solar weather. This shield is weakest at the North Pole and South Pole, which is why space weather affects high latitudes the most.”

“More-precise alerts are sent to power companies just 20 to 30 minutes before a solar storm hits Earth. But if ACE fails, the space weather warning system will be crippled, said Tom Bogdan, who heads the Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”

There is much more in this Washington Post report about the potential damage it would do to the grid and to everybody who lives inside the affected area. 

Relocating to an unaffected area MIGHT be possible, if you can figure out how to rewire your car, find gasoline and then navigate highways clogged with stalled vehicles.

But for the most part, relocating from, say, New York to Texas after a grid failure would be about the same process as it was in 1890.  If you don’t have a horse, get a good pair of walking shoes. 

Solar storms are nothing new.  Indeed, they are part of the whole fusion process that makes the sun burn hot enough to warm our planet.  There have been solar storms for as long as there has been a sun. 

Here is the important thing to take away from today’s report.  That solar storms are NOT new. 

The worst one on record was in 1859 and is known to history as the Carrington Event.  Nobody died.  Nobody’s life was disrupted.  It sparked a few electrical fires near telegraph stations, but that was all. 

Had it happened a century earlier, it wouldn’t have even been noticed.  

Prior to the harnessing of electricity, solar flares and CME’s were noticeable only because the Northern Lights were visible further south.  It certainly wasn’t cause for serious alarm. 

From the beginning of time until only recently, solar storms, CME’s and global warming periods came and went without much comment.  Indeed, warming periods were welcomed as growing seasons were extended and winters became less deadly.

It is safe to say that throughout recorded history, nobody had much cause to fear global warming or the Northern Lights.  It is equally fair to say that since the dawn of history, global warming and the Northern Lights have come and gone without discernible consequences.

Now let’s go back halfway through recorded history, to about the midpoint between the time of Noah and the time of Al Gore.  Back then, the Northern Lights were pretty and global warming was pleasant. 

In the Middle East, an itinerant preacher named Jesus was asked about the signs of His second coming and the end of human government.  Among the signs of His soon return, He said, were ethnic unrest, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilences.

However, even as He was predicting those signs, the world as it existed then was rocked with ethnic unrest, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes and pestilences.  What would make these different, said Jesus, was that like birth pangs, they would increase in both frequency and intensity.

But that is still fairly subjective.  Indeed, the USGS claims the huge bump in earthquake since 1948 is not actually an increase in earthquake activity, but rather an improvement in earthquake detection. 

It’s silly, but for them to argue otherwise would validate Bible prophecy.  For the government, that is an unacceptable explanation.

But there is one sign that Jesus gave that IS unique to one single generation, somewhere in time, and to no other.

“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26)

As we’ve already noted, there is nothing new about sun spots or periods of global warming.  Not only that, but until this generation, there was nothing threatening about them, either.  Both have been around as long as there has been a sun.

But Jesus said that for one generation, to the exclusion of all others, it would cause the distress of entire nations, “with perplexity”. 

The word “distress” in English is from the Greek, sunoche which means “anguished distress” or fear.  “Perplexity” means “a state of quandry” or confusion. 

Note this well. Jesus does not actually forecast anything actually happening to the sun, moon, stars or even the earth.  The sign is not that something will happen to the electrical grid — although it might.

There WAS no electrical grid in AD 33.

The sign is the fear of what that would mean to the generation affected by it.  No other generation in history would have cause to fear the sun — or have reason to fear longer growing seasons and less deadly winters.

But for this generation, it would be the ONLY issue capable of causing the kind of universal distress that would have entire nations handing their sovereignty over to the UN via stuff like the Rio Summit and the Kyoto Treaty in an effort to protect themselves from those things coming upon the earth as the powers of heaven are seemingly shaken.

Before that, the fear was that the sun would cool and the earth was entering a period of global cooling that would lead to a new Ice Age.  Before that, well, that was before the fig tree generation was born in 1948, back when the sun was our friend and summer was our favorite season.

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:28-32)

Sunspots might be coming.  The grid might get fried.  The polar ice caps might melt.  Arizona developers might get to sell beachfront property.  But as these things continue to come to pass, they continue to point to one absolute certainty.

Jesus WILL return. And the signs say that He will be coming soon. 

Apostasia Writ Large

Apostasia Writ Large
Vol: 122 Issue: 29 Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When the Tea Party held rallies in Richmond, Virginia last year, it did so over the objections of the city’s mayor, Dwight Jones.  Mayor Jones is a long-time Democrat who, before being elected mayor of Richmond, was a Democrat member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1994-2008.

Mayor Jones is also the Reverend Doctor Jones, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of South Richmond.  The First Baptist Church of South Richmond, according to its website, is 183 years old and boasts 2200 members.

OWS protestors

A note from Pastor Jones at the FBCSR website declares the church a “purpose-driven” church, “meaning we are intentional about pursuing our goals.”  

Evidently, that purpose includes pursuing the same agenda espoused by the Occupiers. 

I went to the website’s statement of faith to see what they were all about and it all sounds very Baptist, with a hint of black liberation theology — reminiscent of Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Article VII of their statement of faith;

 “The Bible tells the story which began in the garden of Eden which is in Africa and reflects, among others a history of the generations of the Cushite people.”

I’m not looking to beat up on the First Baptist Church of Richmond — I’m trying to understand them so that maybe I can get a handle on Mayor Jones’ shameful abuse of power and how he justifies it to his church, not to mention his political constituency.

When the Tea Party held its rallies in Richmond, they paid a rental fee to the city for the use of the park.  They paid for and received all the necessary permits and underwrote the expenses to pay for city services.

The rally organizers scheduled with the city months in advance and held fundraisers to cover their costs, including paying for portable toilets and police presence.  In all, the Richmond Tea Party held three rallies.  There were no arrests, no incidents, no police reports and no criminal activity. 

They left the park area cleaner than they found it and the city collected a bit over $10,000 for hosting the rallies at Kanawha Plaza, a city-owned public park.  The Tea Party organizers were also required by the city to pay for a $1 million insurance policy before the city would issue them permits.

When the Occupiers moved into Kanawha Plaza, they stayed for two weeks. They did not apply for permits.  They did not make prior arrangements with the city.  They did not pay for portable toilets or for security.  At least eleven occupiers were arrested.  

Typical OWS demand

“The occupation, inspired by the anti-Wall Street protests in lower Manhattan, had blossomed into a tent city, with dozens scattered around Kanawha Plaza in the city’s financial district. The site also included a library, a volleyball net and a large blue tarp strung up on three magnolia trees.”

As of October 26, a comparison chart between the two groups broke it down by the numbers:

Tea Party: Days of Protest 989 — Arrests 0 — Rapes 0 — Cost to Taxpayers 0
OWS: Days of Protest 40 — Arrests — 2,511 — Rapes — 4  Cost to Taxpayers — $2,400,000

President Obama has repeatedly condemned the Tea Party rallies while claiming a kindred spirit with the Occupiers, of whom he said, “we are with you.”

According to another website keeping track of the Occupy Wall Street movement, there have been at least 4,268 documented arrests of occupiers in at least sixty-five different cities as of yesterday.  Charges range from assault and rape to drug possession and beyond.

At least four deaths have been reported.

Assessment:

The Reverend Dr. Mayor Dwight Jones paid multiple visits to the Occupy Richmond protesters at Kanawha Plaza during their two-week occupation of the public park.  The city of Richmond provided services like toilets and trash pickup — at taxpayer expense.

The incomplete invoices obtained from the city totaled $7,000.  This was only a portion of the actual costs to taxpayers because the costs of police, helicopter and incarcerations were not included.

Also not accounted for was the 24-hour police protection of the Mayor’s home after the Occupiers moved their camp next door to the Mayor’s house.

The Richmond Tea Party, which only used the park during the day on three separate occasions for which it paid its own bills, was understandably miffed at the preferential treatment afforded the Occupiers by the city, attended a city council meeting to demand an explanation.

Special People Deserve Special TreatmentThe Mayor refused to hear them, getting up and walking out as the Tea Party representative began to speak. 

Days later, however, Mayor Jones invited members of the Occupy movement for a private, closed-door meeting with him in his mayoral office.

Since the Mayor refused to hear their grievance, the Tea Party decided to invoice the city for the fees and expenses it paid on the grounds that the Mayor allowed the Occupiers to use the park illegally and free of charge for more than two weeks, despite the section of the city code which says;

“It is unlawful for any person to camp, tent, encamp or quarter upon any public grounds, parks, playfields, playgrounds or any public property owned or maintained by the city.”

It all seems pretty cut-and-dried, doesn’t it?  Since the park belongs to the city then Mayor Jones effectively subsidized the OWS with taxpayer funds and joined the OWS in breaking the law.  

When the Tea Party complained, the City of Richmond ordered the Richmond Tea Party to submit to a tax audit!  Don’t take my word for it, read the letter for yourself — I’ll wait.  

It gets better.  If the Tea Party doesn’t submit all the records demanded by the City, then the City reserved the right to simply issue its own assessment of what the Tea Party owes them.  

And the only reason the city can charge them is because they obeyed the law in the first place.

Because the City of Richmond did not ask, and the Occupiers did not offer to pay any of its own expenses, they need not worry about being similarly audited.  The Occupiers didn’t have to pay, didn’t have to provide insurance coverage, and don’t have to worry about an audit because everything they did was illegal to begin with!

THAT is why I began with the Reverend Dr. Mayor Dwight Jones’ affiliation with the First Baptist Church of South Richmond.  I was attempting to find some clues that would explain Mayor Jones’ naked abuse of power in support of lawbreaking by the OWS. 

Since Reverend Dr. Mayor Jones is also the senior Pastor of a Baptist Church, I was curious as to how he could justify supporting lawlessness and mayhem by the OWS while using his position as mayor to issue such a transparently vindictive tax audit against the Tea Party after they sought equal treatment.

Apparently, lawlessness is acceptable in pursuit of the Rev. Mayor’s social gospel, which would also explain the vindictiveness of one of its pastors and the silence of his congregation.   

This is a prime example of what the Lord was referring to when answering the question, “What will be the sign of Thy coming?” in Matthew 24:3.

“And because iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

Truth is no longer a virtue in America.  Not even to a Baptist minister.  If truth has any standing whatever, it appears that it is as an inconvenience to an agenda.  Which is precisely the conditions predicted by the Apostle Paul at the time the antichrist comes to power.

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

The Reverend Dr. Mayor Dwight Jones’ abuse of power and vindictive assault on the Tea Party wouldn’t be all that big a deal, if it didn’t exemplify the apostasia that the Bible said would be the standard for the visible church of the last days.

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for THIS cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11)

Classical, But Wrong

Classical, But Wrong
Vol: 122 Issue: 28 Monday, November 28, 2011

For most of the history of the Church, the classic interpretation of Bible prophecy was the historicist, or preterist view that virtually all Bible prophecy was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Historicism is the view of Bible prophecy espoused by Roman Catholicism since its foundation in 323 AD by Constantine of Rome. It was the view of virtually all of the Reformers and the Reformed Confessions.

It has survived as the classical, Protestant interpretation of prophecy for nearly 500 years.

Most historicists take a preterist view of the Olivet Discourse, but disassociate it from the tribulation as found in Revelation and some New Testament Epistles.

During the last 150 years, within evangelicalism, futurism has grown to dominate and overcome historicism.

In a nutshell, the preterist/historicist view of Bible prophecy is that everything Dispensationalists expect to happen during the Tribulation has already occurred.

Preterists/historicists believe that the Great Tribulation already occurred, culminating with the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70, and thus is not a future event.

The Great Apostasy spoken of by Paul, they believe,  happened in the first century. In this view, instead of expecting increasing apostasy as history progresses, preterists expect the increasing Christianization of the world.”

Most historicists would argue that the phrase, “the last days” is really just a Biblical expression for the period between Christ’s Advent and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 — the “last days” of Israel.”

There is also no room in the historicist/preterist understanding of Scripture for a last days’ Antichrist. They conclude that John was symbolically referencing widespread apostasy of the Christian Church prior to the Fall of Jerusalem.

From this perspective, any apostate teacher or system can be called ‘antichrist’; but the word does not refer to some future Fuhrer.  As to the Rapture, the historicist view is either that the Rapture is an invented doctrine, or it is part of the Second Coming of Christ.

It takes a lot of Scriptural gymnastics to make it all work.

For example, The Thousand Years of Revelation 20:2-7:

“is a large, rounded-off number. . . . the number ten contains the idea of a fullness of quantity; in other words, it stands for “many-ness”. A thousand multiplies and intensifies this (10 X 10 X 10), in order to express great vastness. . . . represent a vast, undefined period of time . . . It may require a million years.”

(Or maybe it means a thousand years?)

To many Jews, the symbol of the Cross is the symbol of ultimate anti-Semitism. To them, all Christians are secret anti-Semites and (accurately) argue that Christianity is the well-spring from which sprang two thousand years of pogroms and persecution, up to and including the Holocaust.

The preterist/historicist view of Bible prophecy, held by both Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism, teaches the following about Israel and the Jews.

“Ethnic Israel was excommunicated for its apostasy and will never again be God’s Kingdom.” Thus, “the Bible does not tell of any future plan for Israel as a special nation.”

The Church is now that new nation (Matt. 21:43) which is why Christ destroyed the Jewish state. “In destroying Israel, Christ transferred the blessings of the kingdom from Israel to a new people, the church.”

One of the basic tenets of preterism is that the Great Harlot of Revelation was

“Jerusalem which had always been . . . falling into apostasy and persecuting the prophets . . . which had ceased to be the City of God.”

The Beast “of Revelation was a symbol of both Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general.”

Finally — and allow the implications of this one to fully sink in . . .

“The False Prophet “of Revelation was the leadership of apostate Israel, who rejected Christ and worshipped the Beast.”

Think about this. If the preterist/historicist view is correct [it is not] then the false prophet of Revelation are the Jews and their descendants.

Warring against the Jews could easily be seen as working against the antichrist and false prophet. In that view, killing them off would be doing God a favor! 

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)

If the Lord can break His covenant with the Jews, then we are no more secure than they.

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29)

And so, among historicism’s chief difficulties is the fact that if the preterist view is true, then the Bible cannot be.   

Assessment:

It is a fact of history that the ‘Dark Ages’  (the fifth to sixteeen centuries) were so-called because, during that time, Bibles were denied to the common man by papal decree.

The Vatican had developed the preterist/historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy — and offering any other interpretation would get you burned at the stake. (So would possessing a Bible)

THAT is why historicism is often called the ‘classical’ interpretation. Because it dates back to the 5th century.  The Dark Ages lasted until the Protestant Reformation. But Protestantism sprang OUT of Catholicism, bringing many of the Vatican’s doctrines along when it did. 

The split was over salvation by grace [Protestant] vs. salvation by works [Catholic] but, other than that, Protestantism embraced and continued to accept much Catholic doctrine and dogma.

Wrongly dividing the Word of God has resulted in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to the Jews (John 16:2) being the standard operating practice of mainstream Christianity until the middle of the 20th century.

Preterists generally see Israel as the modern-day antichrist, believing that embracing Israel as God’s Chosen People is spiritual adultery. That is why debates between preterists and pretribulationalists get so nasty.

Type ‘Hal Lindsey’ into Google and look around. You’ll find his critics don’t just disagree with him, they HATE him with a passion. He’s been accused of every known heresy and then some.

Hal wrote a book entitled “The Road to Holocaust” in 1989 that directly challenged the preterist worldview as espoused by Dominionism and its champions. He’s been the target of every slander imaginable since.

The reason is because Hal demonstrated preterism was the root and branch of Christian anti-Semitism — and his critics despise him for exposing them.

The Omega Letter’s mission is to provide you with the evidences you need to answer challenges from skeptics and to provide you with the evidence you need to prove that these are the last days, that Bible prophecy is unfolding in this generation, and that the time is short.

The Scriptures admonish us to,

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. . . Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2nd Timothy 2:15-16,18)

You can be confident that we are NOT following some newly invented doctrine, despite the charges of historicist/preterism.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2nd Peter 1:19)

Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled into buying into what I believe Paul was referring to when he wrote:

 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils . . .” (1st Timothy 4:1)

God’s Word, rightly divided, says:

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

Don’t let your faith be shaken by cleverly-wording arguments that almost seem to make sense. Remember Jesus’ warning to Israel.

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)

The gaping holes in the preterist/historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy confirms the truth of Dispensationalism. The Lord IS coming back. And He is coming back soon.  

Maranatha!

Special Report: Saved?

Special Report: Saved?
Vol: 122 Issue: 26 Saturday, November 26, 2011

Being ‘saved’ — by definition — means that until the moment of salvation a person is ‘lost’.  To someone that IS lost, this is a very difficult concept to communicate.

Generally speaking, the Omega Letter is primarily aimed at those who are already saved, and today’s is no exception, so don’t write this one off as a refresher that you don’t need. 

If salvation means to be ‘preserved or delivered from destruction, danger or great calamity’ the skeptic cannot even consider his need to be saved unless he first recognizes such destruction, danger or great calamity exists.

There is something to be learned from the atheist that denies the existence of heaven and hell, but admits to fearing death.  If there is no certain judgment beyond the grave, what is there to fear?

To the atheist or “free thinker”, death is merely a cessation of consciousness, an end to existence.

But absent the fear of judgment, what is so terrifying about death?  We aren’t terrified to go to sleep.  We aren’t terrified of general anaesthesia, in and of itself, before an operation.

Humanity fears death because of the existence of God, whether the atheist wants to admit it or not.  This instinctive knowledge of God colors our every action, whether one is a believer or not.

We are all built with a God-shaped vacuum in our being.  Humans try and fill that void with all kinds of things; money, drugs, sex, pagan religions, personal relationships, and on and on, but nothing ever quite fits except God.

The problems arise when one attempts to communicate the need for salvation without first communicating what one is being saved from.  The atheist demands to know, “how can a loving God condemn people to hell?”

That seems a fair question, but it isn’t.  It`s as loaded as a set of crooked dice.

It is the nature of all human beings to sin, which further separates them from God, which turns that aching void into an insurmountable chasm.  It seems too wide to cross.

All human beings are sinners, by nature and by personal action, and none are righteous.  Some may sin to a greater or lesser degree, but all have failed to attain to the standard of God, which is perfection of character, spiritual righteousness and performance (Romans 3:9-10)

Since God created man in His eternal image, all human beings have an eternal destiny.  We were created to spend eternity in God’s presence, but the fall of man and our inherited sin nature render us ineligible for heaven.

But being created in God’s image, that is to say, with an eternal spiritual component, we have to go somewhere.

The Lord created the Lake of Fire for the devil and his rebellious angels, and not for mankind.  But sin bars us from heaven.  And since we are eternal, when we shuffle off this mortal coil, we cannot simply cease to exist, can we?

So if not to heaven, well, then, there is only one other place left.  God doesn’t condemn us to hell, we condemn ourselves by choosing to go there.

It IS a choice, but it is NOT God’s choice.  If it were God’s choice, He would not have provided the way of salvation.

Confronted with the choice of condemning the human race, God’s choice was to bear the condemnation in His Own Body at the Cross, so that the human race might be saved through faith in His accomplished work.

Through Jesus Christ, God paid our ransom to deliver us from the bondage (and the consequences) of sin.

Sin places humanity into a state of captivity from which a price must be paid in order that a person might be redeemed or purchased out of that state.

The state of captivity, brought about by the sinful condition of humanity, is like a slave market where people are sold as the possession of the purchaser, and in order to be free, the slave must pay for a release or deliverance; this is a ransom.

Humanity is “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14) and therefore falls under the judgment of God.

The judgment has already been pronounced by God and the penalty is eternal death.

The death of Jesus Christ is the ransom paid in order to redeem the human race from the penalty of sin.  The ransom is paid to God, as a payment for the release of humanity from the penalty of their sinful state. (cf. Matthew 20:28, 1 Peter 1:17-19, 1 Timothy 2:5-6, Galatians 3:13)

God’s perfect justice demands that a penalty for sin be paid.  Jesus Christ is a propitiation that satisfies the justice of God and allows Him to forgive sinful human beings through His mercy and grace.

By committing sins, which all have their direction toward God, humanity has become separated and alienated from God.  A reconciliation cannot be effected because humanity cannot meet the requirements of God in a sinful state and cannot be removed from the authority of judgment by God.

It is Jesus Christ who is the Mediator of the reconciliation between man and God.

Finally, God Himself provided a Substitute to pay that penalty for us.  The perfect and sinless life of Jesus Christ is the substitute for that of sinful human beings, and His death is also a substitute for the eternal spiritual death that has been pronounced as the judgment against all sinful human beings.

The problem with salvation, from the perspective of the lost, is admitting that they have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Pride will not let them depend entirely on the substitutionary payment made on their behalf — pride demands that they participate in some way in the process.

But to the lost, participation in the process means giving up all the stuff they like, living like a monk, wearing a hair shirt and walking around praying all the time.  It is too much to contemplate, so they prefer not to contemplate it at all.

Being saved means BEING saved.  One doesn’t save oneself from drowning — in fact, a drowning person’s panicky flailing about can pull down both parties.  Being saved means relaxing and allowing Jesus to save you.

Your participation is limited to accepting the fact you cannot save yourself.  The world would have you to believe that it is up to you.   It seems to make sense, at least on the surface.  I’ve used the following analogy before, but it bears repeating here.

Imagine you have a child that gets lost in the woods for days. You are out there, searching under every bush for your lost child, when suddenly, you see him afar off.  You run to the child, calling his name, as he runs to you, in slow motion, like in the movies.

Both of you have your arms outstretched, but, just as you are about to embrace your lost child, you notice that he is all dirty and smelly and matted from his time in the wilderness.

So, instead of embracing your lost child, you hold him at arm’s length, scold him for being dirty, and tell him you will embrace him after he’s had a bath.

That is the way the lost generally understand salvation.  That before they can embrace Jesus, and He them, they must first clean themselves up.

That is too big a job to contemplate, and so when they hear Him calling, they hide under a bush.

The lost fail to grasp the simplicity of salvation. Ephesians 2:8 explains,

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: “

Look at the elements: For BY GRACE are ye saved — through FAITH — and THAT not of yourselves — it is a GIFT of God.

It is so simple that most people can’t explain it, and even if they can, even more can’t accept it without further complicating it.

God grants the ‘grace’ (an unmerited, undeserved gift) which you received through faith — a faith that is ‘not of yourselves’ but is rather a gift from God.

There is no room in that equation for us to play any greater role than to accept that gift with humble gratitude.

Thank you, Jesus, for the Gift of eternal life.  I pray right now that You will burn its truth into my soul, and help me to communicate to others their need for salvation.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude:24-25)

Because He IS able.  Trust Him.

Special Report: Thanking Nobody

Special Report: Thanking Nobody
Vol: 122 Issue: 25 Friday, November 25, 2011

This morning, let’s begin with a little game of role-playing.  You’re the President of the United States. About half the country disbelieves your claim to be a devout Christian. You’re about to address your nation on the day set aside to thank God as a nation for His blessings.

You know that whatever you say is going to be parsed, examined, picked apart and used by your enemies to prove you’re a religious fraud.  So do your speechwriters and your advisors. 

So you give your Thanksgiving speech — but say NOTHING about God. 

Can this possibly be an oversight? Since the speech was about giving thanks, is it reasonable to believe that he simply forgot?   

Why is it that you think Obama was unable to bring himself to thank God directly for America’s blessings? You know it had to be a conscious decision to leave God out of the speech — indeed, it took real effort to craft such a speech without mentioning God.

Obama cannot divorce himself from his roots. His mother was an atheist, his father and stepfather both, by Obama’s own account, were “lapsed Muslims.” 

He attended both Muslim and Catholic schools, but he didn’t find religion for himself until he discovered Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s brand of rabidly antisemitic, anti-American, anti-white, anti-capitalist, pro-Marxist Black Liberation Theology.

And so, instead of thanking God for blessing America, Barack Hussein Obama, the man who sat under Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s teaching for 20 years, chalked it up to dumb luck.

The closest the President came to mentioning God or prayer or any form of supernatural blessing, was when he said he and his family were “reflecting on how truly lucky we truly are.” Truly.

Then he invoked his own god’s blessing on America, saying the “most American of blessings” is the “chance to determine our own destiny.” 

What the heck does that mean?  Does he mean that America blesses its citizens with freedom?   

Obama does pay homage to his god, calling the very first Thanksgiving a “celebration of community.” 

“Community” is very important to Obama’s collective salvation theology.  

“We’re also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay,” he said. “This sense of mutual responsibility – the idea that I am my brother’s keeper; that I am my sister’s keeper – has always been a part of what makes our country special.”

The president went on to say that belief is “one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured.” He mentioned the Civil War, two world wars and the Great Depression.

But not once did he credit God for America’s blessings, although he did manage to find a way to credit George W. Bush and the Republicans for America’s economic crisis.

“The problems we face didn’t develop overnight, and we won’t solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part.”

“With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country.”

Following his Thanksgiving speech, I’ve little doubt that Karl Marx would have been proud to claim Obama as his greatest student.

 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. . .  (Romans 1:28)

 Obama doesn’t have to pretend anymore.  So he doesn’t.

Thank You, God, For Every Thing. . .

Thank You, God, For Every Thing. . .
Vol: 122 Issue: 24 Thursday, November 24, 2011

In 1863, President Lincoln formally and officially established the last Thursday in November as the day set aside for Americans to tally their blessings and give thanks to God.

Prior to the Lincoln proclamation, days of thanksgiving were proclaimed to give thanks only sporadically, and often for specific reasons.

In October of 1777 a Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed to enable the entire nation to give thanks to God for the victory over the British at Saratoga.

The first observance of Thanksgiving in America was entirely religious in nature and involved no form of feasting.

On December 4, 1619, a group of 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on the James River…a location now known as Charles City, Virginia.  The charter of the group required that the day of arrival be observed as a Day of Thanksgiving to God.

The Thanksgiving feast day was first celebrated in the fall of 1621 to celebrate a bountiful harvest.  It was a three day festival patterned after the traditional English Harvest Festival.  It is from this tradition that our modern Thanksgiving Day celebration emerged.

It is this tradition of recognizing God as the Author of national blessing that is uniquely American and undoubtedly the principle reason for America’s greatness.

Tracing the history of the tradition of Thanksgiving Day utterly destroys the mythical ‘wall of separation’ between Church and State.

I’m indebted to John Whitehead for researching this quote from Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas from a case entitled Zorach v. Clauson.

Douglas wrote his decision the year I was born. In his decision, he ruled,

“We are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being. We guarantee the freedom of worship as one chooses.”

President Washington’s proclamation of Thanksgiving begins;

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to “recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

President Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation begins;

“The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”

During the 20th century, Thanksgiving Day has been dumbed-down considerably from its original intent and purpose. In the 1930’s President Roosevelt moved it back a week to add an extra week to the Christmas shopping season.

(It took an Act of Congress to restore it to its original date).

As the century progressed, God has been systematically removed from almost all American holidays, but so far, nobody has figured a way to effectively remove Him as the Reason for the season.

There hasn’t even been that much success at commercializing it.  Commercially, Thanksgiving Day is the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season, but the day itself is still set aside to share our blessings with our families and thank God for them.

And, praise the Lord, it is still an American tradition for American families to gather around the Thanksgiving feast.

Despite the constant rulings from the courts removing God from public discourse, every presidential Thanksgiving proclamation from Roosevelt in 1936 to this present year, all acknowledged God as the Author of American prosperity, (including, although obliquely, the Oval Office`s current occupant.) 

Reagan quoted Scripture. Even Bill Clinton acknowledged God, saying,

“Out of our right and proper rejoicing on Thanksgiving Day, let us give our own thanks to God and reaffirm our love of family, neighbor, and community.”

President Bush proclaimed,

“As the Pilgrims did almost four centuries ago, we gratefully give thanks this year for the beauty, abundance, and opportunity this great land offers. We also thank God for the blessings of freedom and prosperity; and, with gratitude and humility, we acknowledge the importance of faith in our lives.”

And as promised, there is the Barack Hussein Obama humanist edition, circa 2011:

“As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives.  Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.”

Note the order — to each other first, and then to God, and only according to the secular doctrine of “collective salvation.” 

(That could help to explain the mess America finds itself in today. How is trusting in each other instead of God working out in your slice of America?)

The American tradition of Thanksgiving Day is more important to our national security than we realize.

Thanksgiving Day is uniquely the source and reason for our strength.It is the one day that the proud American nation humbles itself before God, from the most liberal Supreme Court justice to the President of the United States, by official proclamation.

It is the one day that America confirms Justice Douglas’ 1952 ruling that America’s system PRESUPPOSES a Supreme Being.

That is to say, America, despite the best efforts of the ignorant among us, could not function without the explicit recognition of God. Every elected official still takes his oath of office with his hand on the Bible.

I am thankful I was born at the time and place that I was, and was able to experience a brief period when it wasn’t unfashionable to recognize God. I am thankful I am saved.

I am exceedingly thankful for you, my Omega Letter family.  I am thankful for my health, my children, and for blessings to numerous to count.

But this Thanksgiving Day, it is for the day itself that I am the most thankful.

May God extend His richest blessings to each of you and to your families on this national day of Thanksgiving.

“Unto Thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto Thee do we give thanks: for that Thy name is near Thy wondrous works declare.” (Psalms 75:1)

Note: Today`s OL was stitched together from previous Thanksgiving OL messages so we can also take the day off to enjoy with our families.  It is our prayer that you and your family have much to be thankful for and that you have a wonderful and restorative Thanksgiving Day.  

Happy Thanksgiving from Jack, Gayle, Mike, Kari, Char and the rest of the OL family! 

Lawful, But Not Expedient

Lawful, But Not Expedient
Vol: 122 Issue: 23 Wednesday, November 23, 2011

If a Christian knows that his Butterball turkey has been slaughtered in such a way as to qualify as having been “sacrificed unto idols” should he eat it?

Yesterday’s OL set off an unintended firestorm of controversy and I want to make sure to set the record straight.

I chose Acts 10:14-15 to explain why Christians are not subject to the Old Testament dietary laws because it is such a simple and direct statement.  I didn’t expect it to be such a controversial choice.  

Peter sees something like a tablecloth filled with all manner of unclean beasts.  Peter hears a voice, saying, “Rise, Peter. Kill and eat.”

“But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:14-15)

More than a few of you emailed me to explain that I had misinterpreted that verse and that it really referred to whether or not Peter, a Jew, could enter the home of a Gentile, specifically, Cornelius.

That is an interesting observation, although in terms of Christian doctrine, a bit confusing. 

It’s a bit like the interpretation of the Second Amendment that says the right to bear arms is granted to the militia and by extension, reserved for the government.  Nobody ever discusses why a government created by armed revolution would feel the need to retroactively grant ITSELF the right to bear arms.

Why would the (primarily) Gentile Church need a lesson in Judaism?  It is hard to see the lasting doctrinal value to the Church exemplified by a Jew entering the home of a believing Gentile such as Cornelius.

Especially at the expense of ignoring what actually WAS a doctrinal controversy, to wit; whether or not the Church is subject to Mosaic Law.

The passage DIRECTLY references unclean foods and only obliquely links to Peter’s meeting with Cornelius;

“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

This is a lesson applicable to devout Jews that come to Christ. But I was born a Gentile. An entire chapter of Scripture devoted to the lesson that Jews won’t be defiled by coming to my house seems a bit, ummm, unnecessary?

Even before Peter had this vision, Peter said he had been chosen specifically to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. 

“And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.” (Acts 15:7)

It therefore seems probable that Peter expected to encounter some.

Assessment:

We need to address the question of the halal Butterballs first.  I think the question was articulated best in a post in our members-only forum;

“If I’m served a butterball turkey on Thanksgiving day will a prayer breaking the curse placed on this food and then giving thanks to God for his provision be acceptable to my Lord?  Or must I refrain from eating food sacrificed to this false god? In other words will the power of the spoken word by a child of the King remove the curse and cleanse the food?”

Absolutely. The point is not that Butterball turkeys have some spiritual power because they were butchered as an offering to Allah — unless one sees Allah as something more than a false god. 

“As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.” (1 Corinthians 8:4)

So for a blood-bought, born-again Christian, eating a Butterball is not a sin.  No faux blessing by a false god can have any significance to food blessed by the God of Heaven. “What God hath cleansed, call thou not common.”

“Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.” (1 Corinthians 8:7-8)

Whether or not we eat a Butterball turkey makes no difference to God, either for the better or for the worse, Scripture says.  So what’s the big deal?

“But take heed lest by any means this liberty of your’s become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” (1 Corinthians 8:9-11)

What it means is that there is no sin in your eating a Butterball turkey, or any other halal-certified food, UNLESS doing so might be seen as endorsing halal as having spiritual significance by someone who is weak in the faith. 

The point is not that Christians cannot or should not eat a Butterball turkey.  We have the liberty in Christ to eat whatever we choose.  But if eating a Butterball turkey validates halal as spiritually significant in the eyes of someone else, THEN it is sin.

“But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1 Corinthians 8:12-13)

And THAT is the beef with Butterball (pun intended.)  When it was just a turkey, it didn’t matter to me who blessed it before it got to my table.  I blessed it in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Name above every Name. 

But now that I know that it was first sacrificed to idols, I won’t ever eat one again because everybody else knows that I know that it was first sacrificed to idols.  It doesn’t mean anything to ME — but it might mean something to them.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” (1 Corinthians 10:23)

“Lawful” means “unrestricted by law.” “Expedient” means, “advantageous for practical rather than moral reasons“. 

For example, it is “lawful” for a Christian to smoke — there is no law forbidding it.

But if you are preaching the power of Christ to change lives while still chained to a tobacco addiction yourself, well, I think you can see where that would not be advantageous to your effort.

It is lawful for a Christian to eat anything, but if you are preaching the power of Christ to change lives while unable to bring your own weight under control, then it would not be expedient to make your case while downing your third ice-cream sundae.

So, it is lawful to eat foods that have been sacrificed to idols, but it may not always be expedient.  Because you know that idols have no spiritual power and so their blessing is equally powerless, however, doesn’t mean that others understand your liberty in Christ.

In this particular instance, appearances are important.  The question isn’t what it looks like to God — God knows the heart.  But let’s look at it from the human perspective.

Here you are, Joe Christian, sitting down to your Butterball turkey which you bought to symbolize the generosity of God and also as a symbol of your dependence upon His provision and gratitude for His bounty.  

But you choose as your symbol, a turkey butchered in the name of a different ‘god’ because you like that brand better.  

What does that say to a new Christian, or someone contemplating that first step of faith, about how seriously you take your faith? 

So this year, we’re still having roast turkey with all the trimmings.  But it won’t be a Butterball.  Eating a turkey sacrificed to Allah is certainly lawful.

But under the circumstances, it wouldn’t be expedient.