Special Report: Everything in Context

Special Report: Everything in Context
Vol: 129 Issue: 19 Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I believe it to be a self-evident truth that the key to having a basic working knowledge of the Bible is the understanding of Scripture as a series of progressive revelations from God about the things of the Spirit.

This understanding of progressive revelation is confirmed by the Scriptures.  The various dispensations are not difficult to identify.  Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening, Genesis tells us.  He spoke to Noah with an audible voice and prepared Noah and his family to be saved from the Flood.

God appeared to Abraham in the form of a man when warning Abraham of the coming judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  God dealt with Abraham as an individual, whereas He chose Moses to reveal God’s Law to the children of Israel.

For a time after that, God communicated with the children of Israel through a series of judges, until Israel demanded a king.  After that, He communicated through the Hebrew prophets.  At different times, in different ways, God progressively revealed more of His plan for the Ages, including the promise of a Messiah-Redeemer.

There is a difference between Israel and the Church, which is why the Scriptures are divided between the Old Testament (the Covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham through Isaac) and the New Testament (the Covenant between Jesus Christ and the Church).

There is also a distinct difference between Jewish legalism and salvation by grace through faith.  Understanding WHY the Bible is divided according to Covenant Promise helps us to rightly divide the word, reconciling apparent contradictions like, ‘an eye for an eye’ (Exodus 21:24) vs. ‘turn the other cheek’ (Matthew 5:38-39).

The first three chapters of Genesis reveal that God’s intention in the creation of man was to live in fellowship with Him in the Garden of Eden. Eve was deceived by Satan into sampling the fruit of the forbidden tree. Adam was not deceived, but willfully disobeyed God and followed Eve.

This sin represented the fall of mankind from grace.  They were removed from Paradise and through their fall, death entered the world.  God shed the blood of animals to cover their nakedness (physical and spiritual) but not until they tried unsuccessfully to cover themselves on their own with fig leaves.

This was the first example of God’s principle of ‘blood atonement’.

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11)

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

After being expelled, Adam’s descendents continued to rebel against God, bringing about the Flood and later, the confusion of speech at the Tower of Babel.  As human history progressed, so did God’s revelation to man.  Genesis 12 established the Abrahamic Covenant, in which God revealed His intention to set aside a peculiar people unto Himself, through the seed of Isaac.

Paul summarized the history of the Old Covenant in Acts 13:16-22 before giving the details of the New Covenant between Christ and the Church.  Paul stressed that the New Covenant grew out of the Old, that Jesus was of the seed of David, and that, rather than replacing Israel in God’s plan, he likened the Church to Israel as a graft on the original tree.

The Bible reveals that Jesus came first to the children of Israel, but they rejected Him, after which He offered salvation to the Gentiles — not instead of Israel, but in addition TO Israel.

In this present age, salvation is open to all men, Jew and Gentile, through faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ at the Cross.  God has NOT abandoned His promises to Abraham’s descendants.  Neither have the promises to Israel been transferred to the Church.

 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29) Instead, God reveals that “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Galatians 2:16)

The Gospel of John details the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through John, God reveals the Mystery of the Church, that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, tempted in all manner as we are, as a fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

His earthly ministry was “only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  However, about the non-Jewish Gentiles, Jesus said “I have other sheep, not of this pen. I must bring them also.”

BEFORE His blood was shed for forgiveness of our sins, Jesus commanded His disciples to “not go among the Gentiles.”

However, Jesus then explained “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”  AFTER He completed His work on the cross, in His resurrected body, the Lord Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and told them to “go and make disciples of all nations.”

He fulfilled Jewish prophecy and was crucified by both the Jews and Gentiles.  Remember, God said it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  He was buried and was resurrected on the third day, in accordance with the scriptures.

The Book of Romans summarizes the revelation of salvation by grace for all men, based on the equation of faith plus nothing equals salvation.

Paul explains the sin nature, our inability to overcome it by our own works, the principle that if a person lives by the law, he will be judged according to the law.  And that such a person is automatically condemned, since no man has ever kept the whole law as required by the Old Covenant.

Indeed, Paul reveals the purpose of the law was to establish our need for a Savior in the first place.

“Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” (Romans 7:7)

The equation of faith plus nothing equals salvation is an expression of the terms of the New Covenant, which, recognizing man’s inability to keep the law, releases him from its harsh terms.

“For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Romans 7:2-4)

Understanding that the Old Covenant demanded complete obedience to the Law and demanded blood atonement for its violation reveals how completely hopeless our condition really is.  No man can keep all its terms, and breaking the law on even one point calls for the spiritual death penalty.

Having established, through a series of progressive revelations, God’s purpose for man, the consequences of his fall, the futility of the law and the penalty for sin, the Gospel reveals that penalty of blood atonement was satisfied by Jesus Christ.

The final revelation of the New Covenant concerning the Church is the ‘mystery’ of our own resurrection at the Rapture of the Church.

“For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1st Corinthians 15:16-18)

When the Bible speaks of something as a ‘mystery’ it refers to something not previously revealed by God.

Paul likens physical death to the planting of a seed. “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.” (1st Corinthians 15:36) Paul goes on to note that what springs forth from the seed as it dies is a new creature.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” Notes Paul in stark, unmistakable terms, “There IS a natural body, and there IS a spiritual body.” (1st Corinthians 15:42,44)

Through Paul, God reveals a new truth;

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1st Corinthians 15:51-53)

That resurrection, ‘in the twinkling of an eye’ is not limited to those already dead.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1st Thessalonians 4:14-15)

Once again, Paul reveals the requirements for salvation. Faith.

If we believe, then we who are alive and remain will ALSO be changed, ‘in a twinkling of an eye’.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17)

I know that a lot of this, if not all of it, is review for most of you, but it is important material, nevertheless.  The Bible is laid out in a logical progression, line upon line, precept upon precept, with each successive revelation adding purpose and clarity to those which came before.

Misunderstanding the principle of progressive revelation, or ‘dispensationalism,’ removes context from the Scripture, giving rise to all kinds of heresies.  Like, for example, replacement theology that says God rejected the Jews after they rejected Jesus.

Not understanding the differences between the Covenant Dispensations leaves room for the Church in the Tribulation Period, since there is no recognition of the differences between them.

The Tribulation is the final ‘week’ during which the terms of Abrahamic covenant is fulfilled when Israel enters into its inheritance of the Messianic Kingdom.

The Church plays no role.

God reveals to the Church that,

 “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4)

However, during the Tribulation, Scripture says of he that is in the world, (the antichrist) “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to OVERCOME them . . .” (Revelation 13:7)

Which is it, then?  Are we overcomers during the Church Age, because of He that indwells us now, only to be abandoned by Him and subsequently overcome later by the antichrist during the Tribulation?

How does THAT work?  Obviously, it doesn’t.

Instead, the progressive revelation of God says that the purpose of the Tribulation is to fulfill the promise of Daniel 9:24 “upon THY (Daniel’s) people and upon THY holy city, (Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”

All those things were accomplished for the Church at the Cross.

“But this Man, after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOREVER, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.” (Hebrews 10:12-13)

As a hodgepodge of seemingly conflicting revelations (eg. ‘eye for an eye’) the Bible can be confusing, even misleading, giving rise to all manner of misunderstanding.

Seen as the record of the progressive revelation from God, the Bible presents a harmonious and cohesive outline of human history, past, present and future, devoid of contradictions.

“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.” (2nd Timothy 2:15-16)

A Hell of a Choice

A Hell of a Choice
Vol: 129 Issue: 18 Monday, June 18, 2012

Eternity is a long time, but simply saying eternity is ‘a long time’ is like saying a billion dollars is a lot of money.  It doesn’t do justice to the topic at hand. It takes a carefully constructed word picture to bring it into focus.

I heard ‘eternity’ described this way, once, and it helped me to visualize it.  Suppose a seagull were to take a grain of sand from the East Coast and drop it off on the West Coast.  Every ten thousand years, our seagull would transport another grain of sand from the East Coast to the West Coast.

When every grain of sand on every beach on the entire East Coast has been transferred to the West Coast (one grain at a time, every thousand years), that would constitute the first ten seconds of eternity!

Mankind is created in God’s Image, according to Genesis 1:26, and after God’s likeness. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that we look like God, or that God looks like us. Jesus revealed,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God’s ‘image’ and His ‘likeness’ refer to His eternal nature, not His cosmetic appearance.  Monkeys look as much like men as any of the other lower order of animals.  They look enough like men to argue that, if man is in God’s image, then so are some species of monkeys.

Connecting the dots, then, Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God’s Image and in His Likeness.  Scripture teaches that man was created with an eternal spiritual component.  A Spirit, in His Image, that is eternal in nature, in His Likeness.

That which is eternal is that which, by definition, cannot die, and cannot be killed. But it can be destroyed.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

Note the subtle shift in Our Lord’s Words when He moves from the temporal to the eternal.  The body can die, the soul cannot be killed, but both can be ‘destroyed’ in hell.

There are those who teach that this means that hell isn’t a place of eternal torment, but rather a place where the condemned soul is annihilated.  This sounds reasonable enough, given our understanding of a loving God of mercy.   

The Bible speaks as much of hell as it does of Heaven; indeed, in His ministry, the Lord spoke MORE of hell than he did of heaven. Scripture divides ‘hell’ — as we understand it — into two phases.  There is hell, and then, later on, the Lake of Fire.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

It is the ‘Lake of Fire’ that some teach is the place of annihilation.  I believe that the Scriptures teach otherwise.

We are created with an eternal element, as we’ve already established.  That which is eternal cannot be killed, but it can be ‘destroyed’. But ‘destruction’ means eternal separation from God, not annihilation.

Jesus explained in the story of Lazarus and the rich man;

“There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . .”

Note that Jesus does NOT say, “learn the parable of the rich man” but rather, tells the story as fact — indicating He is talking about a real rich man and a real beggar.  Both of them died, the Lord explains, and each went to his place, Lazarus to Paradise, and the rich man to hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-20-23)

At the time of the story, Jesus had not yet redeemed humanity, and the righteous dead went to Paradise, which, the Lord taught, was separated from hell by a great gulf or chasm;

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ [which also included at that time, Paradise] in order to liberate the righteous dead and take them to heaven;

“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Once the righteous dead were taken to heaven, hell was expanded to make room.  Those in hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ at the second death, the Scriptures say.

There are those who will point out that the word ‘hell’ (sheol) has two meanings; it means both ‘the grave’ and the place where departed spirits go.  So they argue that hell is not really a literal Bible teaching.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Note the phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ and reconcile that with the idea of ‘annihilation’.  ‘Everlasting destruction’ isn’t the same as ‘annihilation’ — which is instantaneous and permanent.  And things that are different are NOT the same.

Hell is a place of punishment that the Lord described THREE times, using exactly the same words;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

When the Lord chooses to repeat Himself, it is because He wants to make sure that we get it right.

Jesus said the rich man was ‘in torments’, desiring that Lazarus “dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23)

So, from our Lord’s Lips to our ears, we know it is a place of torment, involving ‘flames’ where ‘their worm dieth not’.  Jude 13 reveals it is a place of eternal darkness.

While those in heaven will meet and recognize their loved ones, those in hell will spend eternity like the unidentified rich man, nameless, alone and in utter darkness.

The story of the rich man reveals hell to be a place of consciousness, a place of eternal remorse, a place without hope, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a place of eternal flame.

Jesus says of the hellbound sinner that it would be “better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Jesus said of Judas that “woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

Hell is worse than violent death and worse than having ever been born at all.  Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas were facing ‘annihilation’ in hell.  How could NOT existing (annihilation) be worse than never existing?

On the other hand, eternal torment would be MUCH worse than never having existed at all.  The difference is obvious without having to conduct any special Scriptural gymnastics to prove it.

And if the plain sense of Scripture makes perfect sense on its face, why seek a different sense?

Hell is given over to the Lake of Fire at the second death at the conclusion of the thousand year Millennial Kingdom Age.  The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, where, Revelation 20:10 says that “they shall be “tormented day and night for ever and ever’ — not annihilated.

Eternal life and eternal death are two sides of the same coin in that they are BOTH eternal, since we are created in God’s Image, which is an eternal Spirit.

It is often argued that, ‘a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell’ — and that argument sounds logical because it is true.  A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell — and He doesn’t.

A loving God would provide an escape from eternal condemnation, which is different than expecting Him to change the nature of the punishment.

Hell was created as a prison and place of punishment for the rebellious angels. When man joined in the rebellion, he condemned himself to share their prison. BUT

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

Heaven doesn’t require cream cheese to make it heaven, and there are no red union suits in hell.  Both are real and both are eternal because we are eternal and, as eternal beings, we have to continue our existence somewhere.

God prepared a place for those who love Him and who want to spend eternity with Him.  And He created a place for those who reject Him and rebel against His rule.

And He gave us a free choice to decide which we would prefer.

We are the watchmen on the wall. For those of us that know the truth, that choice is an awesome thing to contemplate. It rekindles a sense of urgency for the lost.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Omega Letter’s mission is to prepare the saved for the work of the ministry by comparing the Scriptures to the signs of the times and providing evidence of the lateness of the hour and the soon coming of the Lord.

Our secondary mission is to examine the deeper truths of Scripture so that we are better prepared to answer the skeptic’s questions and make clear the choices that are set before him.

It is incumbent upon us to be prepared, “and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

May God continue to sustain and provide for us as we continue in our mission.  Until He comes.

Maranatha!

Right Answer, Wrong Question

Right Answer, Wrong Question
Vol: 129 Issue: 16 Saturday, June 16, 2012

Many people think of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in terms of Dudley Do-Right and Inspector Fenwick, but the RCMP is the federal police force responsible for everything  from community policing in remote northern communities to border integrity.   What was that last bit, again?  Border what?

Border integrity. I-N-T-E-G-R-I-T-Y:

  1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character, honesty;
  2. sound, unimpaired, or perfect condition, as in, the integrity of a ship’s hull

Or perhaps as in this sentence: 

“President Obama exceeded his authority and diminished the integrity of the Congress, his office, the rule of law and the US borders by unilaterally granting immunity to illegal aliens under the age of 30.”

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That is the oath of office sworn by Barack Hussein Obama on January 21, 2009.  Given his total disregard for the Constitution and the rule of law since taking that oath, this is a good place to make note of two odd bits of historical irony.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who administered the oath, misplaced the word “faithfully” during the Inauguration ceremony on the Mall, and Obama was sworn in again, correctly this time, in the Map Room.

In the second  bit of historical irony, when Obama swore the oath of office correctly, he did so without a Bible, a most fitting start to what shaped up to become the most lawless presidential administration in the history of the Republic.

Last year, President Obama specifically noted that the Constitution did not give him the authority to unilaterally ignore Congress and invent laws out of thin air.  He also admitted that his oath of office required him to enforce existing laws already on the books.

“I just have to continue to say this notion that somehow I can just change the laws unilaterally is just not true. We are doing everything we can administratively. But the fact of the matter is there are laws on the books that I have to enforce. And I think there’s been a great disservice done to the cause of getting the DREAM Act passed and getting comprehensive immigration passed by perpetrating the notion that somehow, by myself, I can go and do these things. It’s just not true…

 [W]e live in a democracy. You have to pass bills through the legislature, and then I can sign it. And if all the attention is focused away from the legislative process, then that is going to lead to a constant dead-end. We have to recognize how the system works, and then apply pressure to those places where votes can be gotten and, ultimately, we can get this thing solved. And nobody will be a stronger advocate for making that happen than me.

Read that statement again.  It is a pretty much iron-clad acknowledgement of his awareness, (as “a former Constitutional law professor”) of the limitations his oath to the Constitution puts on his authority.

The Democratic-majority Senate rejected the DREAM Act, (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in 2007 by a vote of 52-44.  It was reintroduced for debate in 2010 where was debated and shelved because there still weren’t enough votes to pass it.

In 2011 Harry Reid reintroduced it again, with the strong support of President Obama.  It failed because there still weren’t enough votes to pass it, even with the amendments and compromises, such as Reid’s agreement to require employers to use E-Verify to check the status of employees.

The Dream Act has had not one, but at least five separate hearings by the Senate, which in every case, rejected it. 

Having admitted his Constitutional limitations and having pledged to work within the law,  yesterday, Obama announced he was unilaterally granting legal status to young illegal aliens, essentially enacting the Dream Act in defiance of the Senate, the Constitution and existing federal law.

And in total defiance of his sworn oath of office.

Assessment:

There are two things I want to point out about this before moving on.  The first thing I want you to pay  attention to is the ‘debate’ to follow and how quickly it is redirected completely away from the actual issue.  (Lawlessness)

Obama has set what he hopes is a bear trap for the Romney campaign by framing it as an issue of fairness and it will quickly dominate all discussions.  Here is the ‘fairness’ argument,  as summarized by Obama himself.

“It makes no sense to expel talented young people, who, for all intents and purposes, are Americans, they’ve been raised as Americans, understand themselves to be part of this country . . . simply because of the actions of their parents, or because of the inactions of politicians . . .”

One can carry that argument a long way.  After all, from the perspective of a young illegal alien whose parents brought him here when he was a kid, it isn’t fair. 

On the other hand, from the perspective of a young American kid whose parents didn’t break the law and who can’t find a job, it’s unfair that the President just dumped another 800,000 legal applicants into an already overcrowded job market.

But lost in the debate is the fact that the President only swore an oath to ONE of them.  The President’s Constitutional obligations are first and foremost to citizens of the United States. Taking actions that hurt citizens in order to be ”fair” to non-citizens is a violation of that oath.

Also lost in the debate will be the fact that the notion of “fairness” is subjective, which is why it is not an element of law.  As we just observed, what is “fair” to one youth group is “unfair” to a another. 

That is why the Constitution was crafted in such a way as to provide equal protection under the law. What is “fair” is the law and if the law is unfair, then the 635 members of Congress are charged with using their collective wisdom to make it right.   

In a democratic republic, the will of the people is expressed by the people’s representatives. The President is NOT a representative of the people, he is the executive empowered to enforce the will of the people, as expressed by the representatives.

Kings and dictators decide if a law is fair or unfair and kings and dictators can unilaterally overturn the will of the people . . . American presidents bound by their oath to the Constitution cannot.

The “fairness” debate is a smoke screen that deserves complete disregard.  

The Right is going to argue, (correctly) that Obama made the move in order to pander to the Latino constituency, but that will fade into the white noise in the background of politics.

Of course he is pandering! He’s a politician!  For that matter, so is Romney. . .

“I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and should be solved on a long-term basis, so they know what their future would be in this country,” Romney said.

While everybody debates the fairness of the DREAM Act vs. political pandering, what will get lost in the white noise is the abject lawlessness of the administration and its total disregard for the nation as a whole.

Within a week, nobody will be talking about the fact that Obama is breaking federal law. They will be talking about fairness as an element of law enforcement, without ever giving serious thought to who will get to decide what is ‘fair’.

The gloves have come off and Obama has made it clear that he intends to keep his job, even if he has to steal it.  He’s sued Arizona to keep them from enforcing immigration law.  He’s suing Florida to keep them from purging the voter lists of ineligible voters.

He just created 800,000 brand-new voters by decree, and left an open invitation to their parents and family that if he gets re-elected,  they will be next.  All they have to do is vote, and the administration is doing everything it can to make sure they won’t get caught.

When Obama was elected, there were many Christians that believed they finally had the answer to the question of who the antichrist might be.  That was the wrong question.  

It’s more like the Jeopardy! game where the answer comes first and then you have to figure out the question. So if Obama is the answer, three and a half years in, I’m guessing the right question is this one:

“Where is America in Bible prophecy?”

Thinking, Free of Thought

Thinking, Free of Thought
Vol: 129 Issue: 15 Friday, June 15, 2012

To an unbelieving skeptic, religious faith is a little like a child’s faith in Santa Claus.  This gives rise to the skeptic’s argument that faith stands in opposition to reason and therefore mutually exclusive.

In other words, the “faithful” are those that check their brains at the door before entering church.

Those same skeptics are supremely confident that they are right and you are wrong, which brings us to the dictionary definition of “faith” which is “confidence or trust in a person or entity.”   So the skeptic has faith, as well. 

Where they differ is in where they put it.  The skeptic puts is faith in his own ability to reason, which is in and of itself a bit odd, since they cannot explain exactly how or why the ability to reason came into existence.

Over at the Skeptic’s dictionary,  they define faith as “the non-rational belief in some proposition, explaining that, a non-rational belief is one that is contrary to the sum of the evidence for that belief.”

The piece goes on to argue that theologians are playing dirty when they argue that faith means believing in something, but at the end of the day, the skeptic’s argument goes around in circles, arguing by faith in his ability to reason that religious faith is non-rational. 

In researching today’s column, I ran across a story headline that summarizes the skeptic’s position; “Choosing Reason Over Faith“.  The story was all about how a person that claimed to be pro-life was forced to resign from the pro-life movement because other members of the movement were people of faith.

“After everything that I had done for the pro-life movement, I decided to resign my leadership role at WAFL, effective at semester’s end. Why had I, a successful anti-abortion crusader, decided that the pro-life activist’s path was not one that I wanted to take? The answer is that I could no longer associate myself with a movement that willingly chose faith over reason.”

Is that the choice?  It is not possible to have reason and have faith?   In any case, after the author’s sense of reason made it intolerable for her to continue to work to advance her alleged principles, those principles began to fade. 

“In addition to promoting scientific reason, in my travels as an atheist activist, I have rethought my positions on “life issues”. While I still believe that abortion is unethical, I have less of a desire to outlaw all such procedures.”

So her sense of reason was able to cool her passion to save babies from a position of red-hot activism to “rethinking” her positions on “life issues.”  Maybe there are times when a baby has no right to live, she argues.

“In my time at Wellesley Alliance For Life, I realized that a woman doesn’t just have an abortion as another form of birth control; rather, there are legitimate reasons for terminating a pregnancy. For example, a Secular Student Alliance member confided in me that she had an abortion after being raped. Although I would have preferred that she had given her baby up for adoption, it was simply unfair for the State to force her to carry the pregnancy to term.

That is where her argument from reason took her.  To the place where she could argue that there are legitimate reasons for taking the baby’s life.  The subtitle of her piece?  “From a Pro-Life Activist to a Freethought Leader.”

I’ve always been a bit confused by the skeptic’s choice of self-description as that of “free thought.”  Free of what?  Logic?  Where is the logic in arguing that a babe in the womb should legitimately forfeit his life because of some circumstances of his birth but not others?

A reasoned question to ask at this point would seem to be, “Is it a baby in the womb or is it a blob of unfeeling, unthinking protoplasm?”  Logically, if one is pro-life, the issue is one of life, not circumstances. Circumstances change, but life, once taken, cannot be restored.

Instead, this free-thinker makes the incredibly chilling argument that it is indeed a baby, but that sometimes, it is ok to kill it.

“Although I have abandoned some of my former opinions on “life issues”, I still believe that abortion is wrong, unless the woman is raped, is a victim of incest, or if the mother’s life is in jeopardy.”

She still believes abortion is wrong . . . because. .  . ?  Because . . . ?????  Ummm, why is it wrong?  It is wrong because, ummm,  because. . . well, because. . .  is it because it means killing an innocent human being? 

Logically, if the issue is an aversion to killing babies on the basis they are innocent, then the rape and incest exception is meaningless.

Our freethinker’s thoughts are clearly free of any encumbering, er . .  thought.  And she makes it as part of an argument favoring reason over faith.   

Assessment:

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” (Psalms 14:1)

Our freethinker’s argument stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of the Psalmist’s words.  So do all of the skeptic’s arguments, when broken down into their component parts.

To begin with, none of them are in support of their own position, to wit; there is no God.  It then follows that “nothing is responsible for creation.”  It is an odd argument to make, since it is even less possible to argue the existence of nothing than it is to argue the existence of God.

It is at least theoretically POSSIBLE that God can exist.  Nothing is the absence of everything, and therefore CANNOT exist.  So, the skeptic’s argument MUST come in the form of an attack on Something, to wit:  a Creator God.

But even then, they cannot launch a direct attack on the existence of a Creator God since they have ‘nothing’ to use to prove their position, so instead, the attack is centered on what you believe about God vs. what they believe about God. 

Because make no mistake, they also believe in God in some sense, or logically, there would be nothing upon which to base the discussion.  They just don’t want to believe and are seeking justification for that disbelief. 

(That’s where our free-thinker ended up when she started splitting hairs about the wrongness of abortion. Notice how abortion got “righter” after she began distancing herself from the concept of God?)

Have you ever been in a debate about God in which you didn’t find yourself trying to prove that God exists?  The skeptic’s argument doesn’t offer alternative answers — it only raises questions in the hope you can’t answer them either.

The atheist needs to sucker you into the positive position of proving God exists, because he cannot prove the negative proposition.

Why is that?  It is the atheist whose proposition demands positive evidence, since his proposition demands a belief in the existence of nothing.  Not an absence of knowledge, but a positive declaration of certainty in the existence of nothing.

There are libraries full of books attempting to prove the existence of God or to argue against the existence of God.   There aren’t very many books that attempt to prove the existence of nothing.

The very concept of nothing is something and therefore is instantly disqualified from existence.

Free thinkers believe in nothing.  They reach that conclusion by putting all their faith in their own ability to apply reason.  The fact that such a conclusion is impossible, based on logic, science and reason, is no obstacle.

If you can believe in nothing, then you can fall for anything.

One Isn’t Far From Zero

One Isn’t Far From Zero
Vol: 129 Issue: 14 Thursday, June 14, 2012

We discussed the conditioning process that must be necessary in order for the antichrist to accomplish all that the Bible sets out for him in a brief seven years.  It is one thing to control the global economic, governance and religious systems, it is another thing altogether to centralize it first.

It takes no time at all to assume power over something, provided that something is fully developed to that purpose.  The antichrist doesn’t have the time to develop the systems or prepare the public to accept them. 

The Scriptures say that he takes control of the levers of power, he doesn’t create them.  While the Scriptures say that he has a “look more stout than his fellows” and a “mouth speaking great things” — he must first have a willing and receptive audience, or he is just another fierce-looking politician.

When the One was elevated to office in 2008, he certainly looked and sounded pretty fierce.  And he had a willing and receptive audience.  But what he didn’t have at his disposal in 2009 was the necessary global infrastructure.  

Nonetheless, the practices and policies of the Obama administration are so similar to those outlined by the Scriptures for the last days that he’s made a lot of people to wonder aloud, “Could the One be THE One?”

Not likely.  Some of the stuff ascribed to the antichrist for the last days will require real leadership, not just empty words and lofty rhetoric (although he will be good at that, too.)

So on that score, Obama isn’t likely to be THE One.  But it could be argued that he has done more to move the world in the direction necessary than any leader of any nation since World War Two. 

One of the main obstacles holding back the revelation of the man of sin is public acceptance.  While the conditioning process is complete across much of the world, America has, to this point, remained a stubborn hold-out.

The Russians, Chinese, Europeans, NATO and the UN are more than merely prepared to turn over the reins of power to a strongman, they are actually seeking one. 

The EU has been attempting to create a super-dictator to impose the EU’s will on an unwilling population since the Treaty of Rome set European reunification as its ultimate goal back in 1957.

The Euro-planner’s chief difficulty is in creating a leader powerful enough to impose his will on the people but NOT one powerful enough to impose his will on them.

The UN and NATO are equally eager to put their bets on some kind of global authority that can cut through national self interests and impose solutions to such problems as global climate change or threats to the global economy.

Unfortunately for them, America has always been a main obstacle to their globalization plans.  No global system could be “global” without the inclusion of the world’s only military and economic superpower.  It would take a lot of time and conditioning to convince Americans to surrender their sovereignty to a central power.

Over the years, we’ve gradually come to accept the truth of the statement that a politician only lies when his lips are moving.  But it wasn’t that long ago that lying to the public was the kiss of death.

Richard Nixon assured the nation; “I’m not a crook.”  Until the country learned that he was lying, making Nixon the first President to resign from office in disgrace.

The One has conditioned much of America and the world to accept that there is nothing exceptional about America and that it needs UN supervision as much as does Russia, China or any of the other hegemonic dictatorships around the world.

America has been conditioned to accept the idea that laws are only applicable to certain segments of society and that other segments are exempted based on their color, creed, national origin or sexual predilection. 

Americans are constantly bombarded with propaganda highlighting their differences.  America is more race-conscious today than it has been at any time in the past fifty years.  The new racial epithet is direct and to the point . . . the new, all inclusive “n” word is racist. 

Call someone a ‘racist’ and he is immediately moved to the back of the intellectual bus, to be isolated and ignored as a person whose views are intolerant, which is the socially-acceptable word used to exclude that person from having any influence in mainstream society.

It doesn’t matter if the label is accurate once it has been made; the damage has been done.  What can one say in response? “Some of my best friends are black?”  

(We could call that argument, the Zimmerman Defense.)

To my point, there is zero evidence in Florida shooting defendant George Zimmerman’s background to suggest racism. 

Zimmerman is himself a mixed-race registered Democrat who mentored black kids.  One of his defenders was a personal friend and former local TV reporter who scoffed at the notion Zimmerman might be racist and who incidentally happened to be black.

The only reason that Zimmerman was ultimately arrested and charged with murder was because of race.  Zimmerman was accused of gunning Martin down because Martin was black and Sanford officials were accused of letting Zimmerman go because he was white.

Remove the racial elements and you have a legally-armed citizen using deadly force to stop an attack in which Zimmerman was clearly injured by Trayvon Martin.  His use of deadly force was in accordance with Florida law, and was one of nearly 200 similar instances since the law was passed in 2005.

America has been conditioned to accept the tyranny of the minority as a sort of ‘penance’ which it owes to special interest groups wronged by previous generations. 

Consequently, parents must allow their children to be indoctrinated into gay culture, Islamic culture, black liberation culture, or any other culture (except Judeo-Christian culture) or face the social consequences of exclusion meted out by the Left to anyone so hateful, intolerant and racist as to dare to object.

Meanwhile, the most lawless administration in American history continues to scoff at subpoenas, Acts of Congress, federal immigration laws, states’ rights and demands for impartial investigations.

This is pretty much exactly the way the Bible predicts the last days will unfold. 

“Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

Assessment:

But wait!  While all those things apply to the current administration, all the political signs point to “the One” as the nickname for his historical legacy, as in the “one term” Obama administration.

Most of the national political headlines show him slipping against Romney, while a recent global Pew Poll showed his approval slipping on a global basis.  It seems increasingly clear that any resemblance between Barack Hussein Obama and the prophesied antichrist are merely coincidental. 

What caused Obama to fail?  Where did he go wrong?

Let me put it another way.  If there is one segment of American society that you could point to and say that segment is THE most responsible for the failure of Obama’s policies, which would you choose?

Let me throw out some choices for the one segment most responsible for Obama’s failure. 

The list can be infinite, but I’ll get the ball rolling with;  1) Republicans;  2) Islamic terrorists; 3) the Tea Party; or 4) the Blood-bought Church.

Everything in American politics is about compromise.  The public demands political compromise between Republicans and Democrats.  

The White House is compromising with terrorists in order to extricate the US from Afghanistan.  Even the Tea Party’s staunchest stalwarts recognize the need for compromise in order to get anything done.

To which of the groups in my little list is “compromise” a dirty word? 

How much room does a Blood-bought, born-again Christian have to compromise on such issues as abortion, gay marriage and other matters of faith and conscience?

The answer, of course, is zero.  Which is why the One is so close to zero now.  

The Apostle Paul expanded on his teaching of the Rapture in his First Letter to the Thessalonians after word reached him that a heresy had crept into the church at Thessolonika that the Rapture had happened and they had been left behind.

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

The Apostle went on to explain that that Day (of the Rapture) shall not come until there is a great falling away, a period of great apostasy, that must come first.  

Clearly exasperated, Paul even reminds them that he explained this to them in his first teaching of the Rapture.  

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? “

Having brought his earlier teaching to mind, Paul reminds them;

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”

What withholds the antichrist from being revealed prematurely, which would result, not in his becoming the One, but being revealed as the Zero, Paul reveals in the next verse:

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

The “what” is actually a “Who” and that “Who” is the Holy Spirit.  Since He is God, the Holy Spirit can’t be literally removed — He is “taken out of the way” figuratively, by removing the vessels He indwells. 

It isn’t the Holy Spirit that votes in elections or writes letters or answers polls — it is the vessels that He indwells that do that.  Strictly speaking, it isn’t the Holy Spirit that revealed the One to be a big, fat zero.

It is the vessels that He indwells that did that.  And the Bible says that it is those indwelt vessels (you, me, the Blood-bought Church) that will withhold the revealing of the antichrist until his time.  

What does it mean?  It means that the Enemy dare not tip his hand for fear the Church will recognize his man.  We’ve already demonstrated our vigilance with a test case.  The next guy would get the same scrutiny. 

The Enemy can’t move forward until his rear is secure.  And that won’t happen as long as the indwelt Church is on the job.

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

Until that happens, the Church will be here to reveal when the One is really just a zero.

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

Member’s Only Report: I Wanna Talk About Me . . .

Member’s Only Report: I Wanna Talk About Me . . .
Vol: 129 Issue: 13 Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I enjoyed my interview last night with Matt Buff and Jim Fletcher on the Rapture Ready Radio program carried by Blogtalk Radio.  Matt and Jim were very gracious and allowed me to babble on without significant interruption.

The interview didn’t even begin until 9 pm, which is just about the time that I usually go to bed in the summertime. 

(I’m not much of a night owl — I tend to get sleepy as soon as the streetlights come on.  It’s not so bad in summer when it gets dark around 9:30. In the wintertime, I start yawning about 5:30).

I also discovered last night that after about nine pm, something happens to me that causes me to blurt out every thought I ever had in one gigantic sentence.  But the hosts didn’t seem to mind.  

I don’t know Matt Buff or Jim Fletcher personally, although Jim Fletcher and I have corresponded via email over the years.  But Rapture Ready is one of my favorite Bible prophecy websites and its two main personalities, Todd Strandberg and Terry James, have been my warrior-comrades since the early 1990s.

Today, instead of hammering you with more horrifying headlines, I’d like to take a break from the front lines and talk a bit about the warriors instead of the war.  Because I just finished an interview on Rapture Ready Radio, I’ll begin there. 

By talking about me. (Learned that from the prez)

I consider myself one of the early pioneers on the internet, going back to the days when internet access was metered by the minute, but Todd Strandberg founded Rapture Ready as an internet newsgroup back in 1987, back when Compuserve was king and I was buying my first computer.

Todd Strandberg is the author and developer of The Rapture Index, which is billed as “the prophetic speedometer of end-time activity.”

The Rapture Index is an algorithm that examines 45 different categories of end-time events, from False Christs (#1) to Floods (#45) and spits out an index number that Todd calls his “prophetic speedometer.”  As Todd describes it at his website:

“The Rapture Index has two functions: one is to factor together a number of related end time components into a cohesive indicator, and the other is to standardize those components to eliminate the wide variance that currently exists with prophecy reporting.  The Rapture Index is by no means meant to predict the rapture, however, the index is designed to measure the type of activity that could act as a precursor to the rapture. You could say the Rapture index is a Dow Jones Industrial Average of end time activity, but I think it would be better if you viewed it as prophetic speedometer. The higher the number, the faster we’re moving towards the occurrence of pre-tribulation rapture.”

The Rapture Index is unique in that it provides a visible benchmark where those things that make you go “hmmmm’  are aggregated, providing a real sense of the totality of signs pointing to this as the last generation before the Return of Christ.

In a sense, the Rapture Index does for Bible prophecy’s Big Picture what a photograph does for the description of a battlefield. 

Terry James is the other half of Rapture Ready and one of the nicest, most genuine guys I know.  Terry has been blind for much of his adult life, but that hasn’t stopped him from authoring, producing, or editing dozens of books on Bible prophecy.

Among Terry’s books are several in which I was honored to play a small role; I wrote the foreword to Terry’s book American Apocalypse and was a contributing editor to a book that Terry edited called Departure a collection of essays on Bible prophecy by some of the leading experts in the field.

But while I was doing the interview, Kari was doing her homework, which is the other reason I decided to talk about it with you this morning.

I confess that for a guy that practically lives on the internet, there are vast reaches of it into which I never venture.  For example, I almost never watch video clips or listen to radio programs on the web.  For me, it is too slow. 

(And now, more about. . .  me.)

I’ve been a speed reader since I was ten years old when my dad gave me a book on speed reading by Evelyn Wood. I can read and comprehend the contents of a standard paperback in about 45 minutes.

There are probably millions who can read faster than I can, but I can read fast enough that people don’t believe it until they test me. So, in the forty minutes it would take to watch an internet video or listen to a radio broadcast, I can read a lot of background reports.

Another something most people that know me would find surprising is that I am painfully shy.  I practically hyperventilate right before doing a radio or TV spot.  The only way I am able to do it at all is to remember that I am just a donkey carrying a message.  

I once asked author and apologist Dave Hunt how he kept so humble, given that so many hung on his every word.  He told me about a Jerusalem donkey who, after being hired out for a day, described it to the other donkeys in the stable when the day was done.

“It was fantastic!” he said.  “They were throwing down palm leaves in front of me and hollering “Hosanna!”  Y’know, I think they’re gonna crown me king!”

The point is obvious. Nobody remembers the donkey.  It is the Message he carries that people pay attention to — the donkey is part of the background. 

Very helpful information to have when you’re shy.  

So where am I going with all this?  BlogTalk Radio.  Or more specifically, an Omega Letter internet radio broadcast. This is in addition to the daily OL, not to replace it.  It would be produced primarily from the perspective of our fellowship, but anybody that wants can tune in. 

Kari has some interesting ideas and evidently, BlogTalk Radio makes producing something like that fairly uncomplicated.

So I’ve been thinking about it and praying about it all night.  One Scripture kept repeating itself in my mind — Proverbs 24:6

“For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.”

It would be a big responsibility, but if there is enough interest among the membership, we’ll move forward with the idea.  If not, then we’ll put it back on the shelf.   

But I want to hear from you before we take another step.  So, what do you think?  Are we better off seen and not heard?  What is our best battle strategy?

Kari is putting up a poll question, and I’d love to hear your expanded comments in today’s briefing forum. 

Maranatha!

The Question Nobody is Asking

The Question Nobody is Asking
Vol: 129 Issue: 12 Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Bible has, over the past two thousand years, been subjected to every form of criticism; textual criticism, archeological or historical criticism, criticism of its form, authorship and content, but has survived every effort to find even a single, documentable, provable mistake in its pages.

The Bible is the #1 best-seller in history.  It has been translated into 2,123 languages and dialects.  Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

There are plenty of folks who claim they’ve found mistakes in the Bible, but the simple fact is this.  If somebody actually found a verifiable, provable error contained in Scripture, they have yet to demonstrate it.

While there are clever and articulate Bible-haters who have dedicated their entire lives to disputing Scripture, not one of them has made it into the history books as the one who disproved the foundational text of Judeo-Christianity.

Instead, they generally find themselves on the list of folks who take the more difficult parts of Scripture that they don’t understand and call them ‘errors’.

And despite the Bible’s record for being 100% accurate in every area in which its accuracy can be measured, there is no shortage of folks willing to step up to the plate, put their reputations on the line, and announce that they, of all the skeptics that have lived in the past two thousand years, have discovered ‘evidence’ the Bible contains mistakes.

Entire organizations and groups have been created for the express purpose of disproving the accuracy of Scripture, from avowed atheists to ‘professing Christians’ like the self-appointed members of the ‘Jesus Seminar’ who vote on which quotes attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by Him.

As an example, the Jesus Seminar’s theologians once considered Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer and concluded that the only words of that prayer actually spoken by Jesus were ‘Our Father’.  (They say the rest was added later.)

Christians are use to seeing the world twist and pervert the Bible, deny its Authorship, question its teachings and condemn it as ‘hate literature.’  There are entire collegiate-level curriculums exclusively devoted to Biblical criticism.

Even the phrase, ‘Biblical criticism’ refers to anyone who takes a position, pro or con, on the accuracy of Scripture.  Although almost 90% of Americans identify themselves as ‘Christian,’ Bible critics are among America’s most respected thinkers.

Critics of the Koran are among America’s loneliest.

Assessment:

Ever notice that other religious books, like the Hindu Upanishads, the writings of Buddha or Zoroaster, and, most particularly, the Koran, are never subjected to a scholarly analysis of their historical or textual accuracy?

Well, maybe ‘never’ is a strong word, but I can’t think of any famous Koran critics.

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Mohammed: “This book is not to be questioned.” That is an article of faith among Muslims — subjecting the Koran to the same kind of textual criticism given the Bible would be suicide for a Muslim.

Questioning the Koran isn’t a popular enterprise among non-Muslims, either. It’s a great way to wake up one morning to discover you are dead.

The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly.  His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window as a result.

Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Mohammed.  Islamic scholar Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be ‘irreligious.’

One scholar of Semitic langugages, writing under the psuedo-name Christopher Luxenberg, published a criticism of the Koran in which he claims the text is both mistranslated and misread.

His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from preexisting Aramaic texts.  These, he says, were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran as it is circulated today.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs. Rather than ‘virgins,’ Luxenberg observes that in the original text, the Koran actually promises “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

This, one would think, would be a verse carefully scrutinized by Islamists.  Especially those Islamofascists planning to blow themselves up.  Who would want to commit suicide in exchange for a box of transparent raisins?

Those Semitic scholars who dare to voice an opinion are unanimous in their contention that there is no historical evidence of the existence of the Koran prior to 691 AD, about sixty years after Mohammed’s death. Much of what is known of Mohammed is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.

John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says the text of the Koran now used appears to have been a composite of different texts complied over perhaps hundreds of years.  It appears to academicians to have continued to evolve until the end of the seventh century.

There are three schools of thought about who actually wrote the Koran and how it was assembled.  The first school of thought maintains Mohammed wrote the Koran.  The second says the Koran was simply assembled from notes left behind after the prophet’s death.

(It is a matter of accepted historical fact that Mohammed was illiterate. Illiterate men don’t leave behind notes so copious that, assembled together, they could form a six hundred page book.)

The third school of thought maintains that Mohammed dictated the Koran to a trusted [unknown] aide who faithfully transcribed the words of the prophet.

The Koran itself is more accurately an Arab commentary on the Bible, of which the Koran claims to be the final testament.

However, the Koran contradicts both the Old and New Testaments in both spirit and substance.  So Islam claims that the original Bible was changed by the Jews.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed in 1948 at Qumran as part of the larger collection known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.  Although the exact age of the document is unknown, what is unquestionable is the fact it lay hidden (and untampered with) since at least AD 70 — five hundred years before Mohammed.

The Isaiah Scroll is now on display at the ‘Dome of the Tablets’ in Israel.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  Scholars universally agree that the 2000 year old scroll is identical to the Book of Isaiah in a modern Bible.

Christianity welcomes, even invites textual criticism of the Scriptures.  Each effort merely serves to confirm the Bible’s Divine Authorship.  And, logically speaking, who would want to trust their eternity to a God Who might not be real?  (If the Bible wasn’t true, I know that I’d want to know about it).

But examining the Koran for accuracy and textual consistency is not just unpopular, it is dangerous to the point of being deadly.

If it is true, then what is there to fear?

Hagiasmos

Hagiasmos
Vol: 129 Issue: 11 Monday, June 11, 2012

One of the most controversial (and least understood) points of doctrine –apart from eternal security or a pre-trib Rapture — is the doctrine of predestination. 

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29)

‘Predestination’ suffers from the same malady as do many other controversial doctrinal issues — political correctness.

(WHAT? No, really. It’s true. Hear me out.)

There are two main objections to predestination. One is doctrinal, the other, political. Let’s look at the political objection first.

If the doctrine of predestination is true, then it follows that those who were not predestinated to be conformed to the Image of His Son were predestinated for hell. That is politically incorrect; it is hateful and exclusionary.

The second objection to predestination is that it negates free will. Of the two objections, this seems to be the one standing on the shakiest ground. Simply because God knows what your decision is going to be doesn’t mean that you don’t have any choice.

Would it be doctrinally accurate to say that God knows what time you will get up tomorrow morning?  Put another way, do you think you could surprise God by doing something unexpected?  Or do you believe that God is omniscient (all-knowing)?

If God knows that tomorrow you will sleep in,  does that mean God made you sleep in?  That because He knew you would, you had no choice?  Does that make sense?

I could offer you a million dollars, tax free, without any strings or a good swift kick in your behind. I could also predict in advance what your choice would be.

You may surprise me and choose the kick in the rear. But my prediction would not affect your choice.

The difference is that in my case, I could be wrong on my prediction, whereas God isn’t guessing. He already knows. But YOU don’t know what your choice is until you make it.

Your free will is unencumbered.

Assessment:

Many of the same people that just can’t seem to get their head around the concept of predestination have absolutely no problem in believing in Bible prophecy. Bible prophecy is indistinguishable from predestination, when you come right down to it.

If God prophesied that Russia will be the leader of the Gog-Magog Alliance, is that predestination?  What if God said that He would put hooks in his jaws to draw him (Gog) into the conflict?  Is that predestination? 

It appears that it is prophecy when it is writ large, as in the destiny of nations, but that same foreknowledge becomes predestination when it is applied to an individual. Does that make logical sense?

Consider the following Scriptures:

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.”

“For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.” (Psalms 22:14-18)

Did Psalms 22 predestinate the Crucifixion? Or does it simply predict it? Is there a difference? In what way?

Did God foreknow Judas? Did God foreknow Caiaphas? Did God foreknow the Roman soldiers who scourged Him, spat upon Him, drove the nails into His hands and feet? Did God foreknow which of them would gamble for His robe?

Is this really even a question? Of course God foreknew each of them — or He couldn’t have foreknown me. Which then means the Bible cannot be true, since it says that He foreknows us all.

Foreknowledge is the same thing as predestination in the sense that God’s knowledge is perfect. But since you don’t know your own future, how can your free will decisions be encumbered by the fact that God does?

The politically correct response to predestination being advanced as a doctrine is to shout “Calvinist!” at the top of one’s lungs, cover one’s ears with one’s hands and run screaming from the room.

One needn’t be a Calvinist to believe that God is omniscient. One needn’t be a Calvinist to believe that the Old Testament prophets predicted Christ’s First Advent. Isaiah wasn’t a Calvinist when he wrote of the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53.

“Calvinist” is a label applied to the five major points of doctrine outlined by French theologian John Calvin in the mid-14th century. Calvin’s five points are identified by the acronym TULIP.

1. Total Depravity of Man 2. Unconditional Election 3. Limited Atonement 4. Irresistible Grace 5. Perseverance of the Saints.

Calvinism teaches that salvation is entirely the work of God; God chose His elect, the Son died to pay their sin debt, and the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel.

I am not a Calvinist, primarily because the general understanding of Calvinism is that Calvinists need not witness to the lost because God’s irresistible grace nullifies our obligation under the Great Commission.

So according to that understanding, I am not a Calvinist. But that understanding is so totally flawed that it astonishes me that anyone can actually believe it. Obviously, because God knows, it doesn’t mean that we do.

If prophecy is foreknowledge, why is it not predestination? And if it is predestination, then what is the argument against predestination? If prophecy were to fail, what would that mean?

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners encourages others to hope in His grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by anything done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;” (Titus 3:5)

It is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our perseverance to holiness.

‘Holiness’ (Gk hagiasmos) means ‘purification’ which is a PROCESS, also accomplished by God through Jesus.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it UNTIL the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6)

There are no Christians more deserving than others. Because you have not yet achieved the state of holiness others have does not mean you are less favored. We all come to the Cross equally lost, and we all came away equally saved.

Salvation is an eternal state for which each of us were called before the world began, or else the Bible is not telling the truth.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that CANNOT LIE, PROMISED before the world began. . .” (Titus 1:2)

Let’s bring it together. Nobody can come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father, who provides us with both the extension of the offer of salvation and the faith necessary to receive it, a calling that was sealed in heaven before the world began, according to His purpose and grace.

Our salvation is immediate and eternal, but our purification is a process, which, having been begun in us at the moment of salvation, will be performed in us — BY CHRIST — until the day we stand before Him. Lest anyone should boast.

That’s not my opinion of what the Bible says — look up the verses in context and see if you can make them mean something else.

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:23-24)

Legalism runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture. This is a very difficult doctrine to both teach and understand. It sounds like a license to sin. It is not.

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

We don’t think like God does, which is why He inspired the Scriptures. To provide us with the tiniest bit of insight into the way God sees things.

Our relationship to Christ is unique — that God knows our hearts, and has already judged us accordingly. So that sin cannot reign supreme in our mortal body and thereby render us useless to our calling.

If the enemy can convince us of our own personal unrighteousness (of which each of us is acutely aware) or cause us to doubt the truth of Scripture or of our faith (which is a gift from God, lest anyone should boast) or cause us to doubt our own salvation, then we will not be able to effectively wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

God has a plan for each of us, and His plan is to send us to seek out and introduce others to their Savior. That is our assignment on this earth. THAT is our ‘calling.’

To spread the Gospel.

As Christians, we have an awesome responsibility before God. We have been assigned to seek out the lost and offer them the Gospel. To accomplish our mission, we need to be fully equipped for the task.

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

The most effective weapon we have in our war with the enemy is the knowledge that he cannot take away our salvation. We walk in the light of the Gospel, but we remain human beings and sinners, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, but still trapped in the “body of this death“.

Consequently, there is never a time when we are unworthy to tell others of Jesus Christ.

“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1st John 1:7-8)

Bible prophecy isn’t Calvinism. Is Bible prophecy predestinated? Well, it is written down in advance. The choices necessary for its fulfillment have not yet been made by the participants.

And God says that Bible prophecy will all be fulfilled to the letter. What else could it be?

Predestination plays no role in your free will, or in the free will choices of anyone else.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Trust Him. The more hopeless you think you are, the more you have to rely on Him.

Don’t let the enemy convince you that you aren’t worthy to carry the message. After all, your prospect is just as liable to say, “Heck, if he can be saved, then there must be hope for me.”

God knew what He was doing when He gave you this job. Trust Him.

And get ‘er done! Maranatha!

Silencing the Lambs

Silencing the Lambs
Vol: 129 Issue: 9 Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Internal Revenue Service has been enlisted by the administration to strong-arm 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt organizations by threatening to revoke their tax-exempt status.  The IRS is threatening both religious groups and partisan political organizations with revocation, decimating their donor base and subjecting them to huge tax assessments.

The latest target was a decoy; the IRS revoked tax-exempt status for Emerge America, a non-profit that trained Democrat women to run for office.  Note the reason given for the revocation.

“You are not operated primarily to promote social welfare because your activities are conducted primarily for the benefit of a political party and a private group of individuals, rather than the community as a whole,” said the IRS letter telling the group it was losing its exempt status.”

But while the IRS made a big deal out of revoking a left-leaning organization for being overly partisan, Emerge America is nowhere nearly equal to the household name status of such rabidly partisan non-profits like moveon.org or ACORN.  

The Emerge America case is a red herring designed to give the administration cover while it silences its critics by threatening their tax exempt status.

The IRS is also quietly revoking the status of organizations like “Pro-Israel”; “Friends of the Border Patrol”; “Renewal Ministries”; “Help Ministries” and “Sunlight Ministries”.  

Now I admit that I know little to nothing about any of those organizations — so I am not defending any of them.  But none of them sound like they are particularly friendly to the Obama administration.

(I am certain that moveon.org isn’t on the revocation list.  Neither is ACORN.)

I don’t want to mention any names, (thereby waving the red flag in front of the government’s bull), but a certain ministry with whom I am associated is also under IRS scrutiny for being “too partisan”.  The effect was immediately chilling. 

Here is the problem.  How does one track and detail unfolding Bible prophecy apart from politics?  The antichrist is a politician.  The signs of the times outlined by Jesus are primarily social reactions to political realities.

Jesus spoke of “nation [ethnos =ethnic groups] rising against nation and kingdom [baselia=countries] against kingdom.” 

Could you expound upon the various fulfillments of that prophecy without discussing the politics involved? 

How does one discuss how the rising racial tensions across America fit into the overall prophetic tapestry without discussing such political events as the administration’s handling of the Travyon Martin case?

How does one explain the prophetic significance concerning the massacres in Syria without discussing the politics surrounding them? 

What about the potential for a Middle Eastern war?  Can one explain the significance of Gog-Magog without delving into the political events that will bring it about?  Does American politics play a role? 

Where is America in Bible prophecy?  That is a pretty important question, particularly if one happens to live in America.  But try and answer it without any discussion of the role played by domestic politics.

How does one discuss the role that the global warming hoax plays in the fulfillment of Luke 21:25-26 without a complete understanding of the domestic and international politics involved?

How could anyone understand what the Apostle Paul was explaining to Timothy about the last days the perilous times to come without the Democrat Party being there to exemplify Paul’s description as recorded in 2 Timothy 3:1-5?

Take away the ability to relate Bible prophecy to the politics of the last days, and it means whatever anybody wants it to mean.  Devoid of politics, the preterists have just as solid a prophetic worldview as the futurists.

And they believe that Bible prophecy was all fulfilled 2000 years ago, these aren’t the last days, and Israel isn’t really Jewish.

Assessment:

For many ministries, the loss of their 501 c 3 status is the kiss of death.  Contributions to tax exempt organizations are tax-deductible to the contributor.  Tax-exempt donations are deductible to the “full extent of the law”.

So in a sense, a donation to a tax-exempt organization is simply redirecting money that would have gone to the taxman anyway.

It turns a tax-exempt charity into a tax shelter.  As a taxpayer, a certain part of your income is really the government’s.  You don’t get to keep it, no matter what. (If you try, you go to jail.)

But the IRS will accept tax-exempt donation receipts as cash.  While folks are reluctant to part with their own money, they don’t mind spending the government’s — it isn’t theirs anyway.

So if you are facing a hefty tax bill, why not just donate that money to your favorite ministry instead?  It is good for the ministry, it is good for you, and fewer of your tax dollars go to fund gay rights, abortion rights or whatever other government policy you oppose philosophically.

The problem is that when a church or Christian ministry accepts 501(c)(3) status, in so doing, it surrenders to the government the authority to determine what they are allowed to teach.

If the IRS decides, using its own sliding scale, that a 501(c)(3) exempt ministry has strayed into the realm of political advocacy, the IRS can withdraw that tax-exempt status, levy whatever it wants in retroactive taxes, and effectively shut down that church or ministry.

The IRS defines 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt organizations as;

“charities or churches which do not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”  

The IRS crackdown won’t affect your Omega Letter.  We decided early on that since the Bible forecasts an eventual government crackdown on all things Christian in the last days, we were better off without it.

Besides, as we’ve already discussed, one cannot separate Bible prophecy from secular politics and hope to make sense out of any of it.  So it seemed to us that it would give some future, dictatorial government just the leverage it needed to silence the opposition. 

And so it has.

tick . . . tick . . .tick

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Loose Lips Sink Ships
Vol: 129 Issue: 8 Friday, June 8, 2012

US Senator Dianne Feinstein is one of THE most liberal members of the Congress.  The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) rates Senator Feinstein’s pro-abortion voting record at 100%.  She favors same-sex marriage and rates an 88% pro-gay voting record.  She has a 91% voting record from the NEA.

She supports the UN Framework on Climate Change, opposes domestic oil exploration, favors cap and trade legislation and is a strong supporter of the EPA.  She holds a 0% voting record by the Christian Coalition. 

Feinstein is an advocate for strict gun control and votes consistently against private gun ownership while favoring draconian restrictions on gun sales. 

She supports Obamacare completely and has an 88% record of voting for government health care initiatives.

She favors sanctuary cities, opposes restrictions on illegal immigration, voted yes on giving illegal aliens SSI benefits, opposes limiting welfare for illegal aliens and opposes legislation that would make English America’s official language.

Senator Feinstein has a lifetime voting average of voting 94.1% of the time with the Democrat Party and has a 100% voting record on issues separating church and state.  

She stands proudly with the Marxist wing of the Democrat Party, supporting pretty much every class warfare initiative, especially taxing the rich.

In short, Senator Dianne Feinstein is, on almost every issue, Barack Obama’s ideological twin.  ALMOST every issue.  But when she read details of a classified covert cyberwarfare operation in Iran in the pages of the New York Times, she sounded more like Dick Cheney than she does Nancy Pelosi.

“What we’re seeing…is an Anschluss, an avalanche of leaks. And it’s very, very disturbing. You know, it’s dismayed our allies. It puts American lives in jeopardy. It puts our nation’s security in jeopardy,” Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s “Situation Room” program.

Interesting choice of words.  “Anschluss” is a German word meaning “link up” or “unify” but in its historical context, it refers to Hitler’s annexation of Austria in 1938.

The specific report that torqued Senator Feinstein’s wingnut was the New York Times report confirming US involvement in the development of the computer virus, Stuxnet.

“I read ‘The New York Times’ article and my heart dropped, because he [the reporter] wove a tapestry which has an impact that’s beyond any single one thing,” Feinstein told CNN.

Senator Feinstein is reliably liberal. . . and so is CNN.  For Obama to have both Dianne Feinstein and CNN as critics shows just how far the White House is coloring outside the lines.

“This is unbelievable … absolutely stunning,” a former senior intelligence official said about the level of detail contained in the cyberattack story.

The official noted that the article cited participants in sensitive White House meetings who then told the reporter about top secret discussions.  The article “talks about President Obama giving direction for a cyberweapons attack during a time of peace against a United Nations member state.”

In May, the AP reported that U.S. national security agencies had foiled a sophisticated underwear bomber plot timed for the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death.

Additonal leaks led newspapers to report that America had planted a spy in Al Qaeda’s Yemenese affiliate, causing al-Qaeda operatives to burn everything and scramble.

“Leaks such as this threaten ongoing operations, puts at risk the lives of sources, makes it much more difficult to recruit sources and damages our relationships with our foreign partners,” said FBI Director Robert Mueller at the time.

The New York Times “Kill List” story had Senator Saxby Chambliss worrying that America’s allies are afraid to trust the White House with their secrets.

“With each leak, our allies are left to wonder how much they can trust us with their secrets. Some in the administration have decided that scoring political points in an election year outweighs intelligence operations.”

Senator John McCain went as far as to directly accuse the White House of leaking secrets, he says, “to paint a portrait of the president of the United States as a strong leader on national security issues.”

The New York Times also revealed classified details about how US intelligence located Osama bin Laden, revealing that a Pakistani doctor working for the CIA staged a fake vaccination program in order to get DNA samples.

That information led to Pakistan’s arrest of Dr. Shakil Afridi who, based on what Senator McCain called “a flurry of anonymous boasting” was convicted of treason against Pakistan and sentenced to thirty-three years in prison.

And of course, there was the unprecedented (and some say unlawful) access to the CIA and reams of classified information the White House granted to Hollywood producers so that they can make a movie about Obama’s “heroic” decision to issue the order to kill Osama.

Leon Panetta, who at the time was the director of the CIA and is now the defense secretary, penned a letter to CIA staff warning against loose lips.

In the letter, obtained by CNN, Panetta wrote that the operation, “led to an unprecedented amount of very sensitive – in fact, classified – information making its way into the press.”

“Disclosure of classified information to anyone not cleared for it – reporters, friends, colleagues in the private sector or other agencies, former agency officers – does tremendous damage to our work. At worst, leaks endanger lives,” the letter said.

In the latest case, the White House denied it was orchestrating the leak. Asked Friday if the Times’ story detailing the cyberattack on Iran was an “authorized leak,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest disagreed “in the strongest possible terms.”

“That information is classified for a reason. Publicizing it would pose a threat to our national security,” Earnest told reporters.

To the Obama administration, Obama is America.  And so anything that would help with his re-election is good for America.

Assessment:

Senator John McCain upped the ante on Wednesday when he accused the White House directly of orchestrating the leaks to make the president look strong on national security.  This is about as close as anybody has come so far to accusing the White House of treason.

“With the leaks that these articles were based on, our enemies now know much more than they even did the day before they came out about important aspects of the nation’s unconventional offensive capability and how we use them. Such disclosures can only undermine similar ongoing or future operations and, in this sense, compromise national security,” McCain said on the Senate floor. “For this reason, regardless of how politically useful these leaks may be to the president, they have to stop.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney denied charges that the leaks came from the White House, calling the charges ‘grossly irresponsible.’  (That is how you know they did it.  When they are guilty, the White House always responds by accusing the accuser.)

Noted columnist Peter Goodwin about the sensitivity of the leaks, together with the sheer number of them, “This is insane.”

“This is stuff that should remain secret for 20 or 30 or 40 years. These are not the things you let out during a campaign and I believe that David Axelrod is at – listening to ‘terror Tuesday’ meetings –for David Axelrod, the President’s campaign strategist, to be at these meetings and then to tell the New York Times who says what – it’s clearly a coordinated leak designed to make the President look tough in the war on terror.”

Goodwin goes on to point out;

The Allies broke German military codes in World War II, but it remained secret until the 1970s. Now our president leaks secrets in real time.

The Times says the virus program, code named Olympic Games, started under President George W. Bush and was an effort to stop Iran from getting the bomb. While Bush “had little credibility,” the Times says, Obama “concluded that when it came to stopping Iran, the United States had no other choice.”

See, when Bush does it, it’s bad; when Obama does it, it’s good. Give the Times a gold star for its campaign contribution.

The paper also hinted that one or more Iranian technicians helped introduce the virus into the computers.

So right now, the Iranian government has agents rounding up and interrogating Iranian technicians.  If they find the culprit, they will hang him.  Whoever helped us must be caught and punished, if only to deter future spies. 

If they can’t find the actual culprit, they’ll hang somebody else and claim he was the culprit.  That is the price the White House (and the New York Times) is willing to pay, in order to make Obama look good. 

Anybody that ever helped the United States in any capacity must now be terrified at the prospect of seeing his involvement detailed in the New York Times as part of some Obama campaign effort.  One can only imagine the effect it might have on those who were considering helping us.

Just the leaks that have come out so far have done immeasurable damage to US intelligence efforts and national security — not to mention the future intelligence we’ll never get.

Why would anybody lay his life on the line if he is sure that Obama will take it — if it will help Obama?  The message heard ’round the world is ‘trust the United States at your peril’.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

I think that about covers it.