A More Sure Word

A More Sure Word
Vol: 139 Issue: 22 Monday, April 22, 2013

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2nd Peter 1:16)

All the world’s large religions have their sacred texts; from Islam to Buddhism to Confucianism to the various Celtic and pagan religions. But among the world’s sacred texts, the Bible stands uniquely above them all.

That is no insignificant claim; Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘unique’ as “different from all others; having no like or equal.”

Muslims, Hindus, pagans and so on find that characterization of the Scriptures offensive, but indisputable.  There are books LIKE the Bible, but they aren’t ‘unique’ in the sense the Bible is, even among those who follow their teachings.

The Koran was composed from the oral teachings of Mohammed.  The Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith.  Confusicious was the author of the religion bearing his name, as was Buddha.

The Bible is made up of sixty-six separate books.  They were written over a period of 1600 years, roughly a span of forty generations.  The human authors of the books of the Bible came from every conceivable walk of life.

Moses was a political leader who was trained in the universities of Egypt.  Peter was a simple fisherman. Amos was a herdsman, while Joshua, a military general.

Nehemiah was a cup bearer to the king of Persia and Daniel, prime minister in the courts of Babylon.  Luke was a physician.  Solomon a philosopher-king.  Matthew was a tax collector, while Paul was a converted Pharisee who made tents for a living.

For perspective, consider this.  Imagine you could assemble your ten favorite writers and have each of them write a book on a single controversial subject.  Now, you pull the whole thing together, unedited, as the ‘definitive’ work on that particular topic.

Would the finished product, do you imagine, flow together as seamlessly as do the books of Scripture?  Would they be in harmony and without a single contradiction?  Would they be accurate in all possible areas and each progressively explain and expound upon the book that came before?

Remember, you are using your ten favorite writers, all living at the same time, all addressing only one topic.  The Bible is the product of 40 writers over 40 generations addressing every topic from science to medicine, from creation to the destruction of the world, from, as Norman Geisler once put it, “Paradise Lost in Genesis to Paradise Regained in Revelation.”

Moses wrote from the wilderness; Jeremiah from a dungeon. Daniel wrote from Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, Paul from within the walls of a Roman prison awaiting his execution.

John wrote from exile on the Island of Patmos when he was a very old man, while much of the old Testament was written on Israel’s battlefields by warriors and shepherds.

The Bible was written on three continents in three different languages; Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, yet it reads as if it flowed from a single pen.

It addresses thousands of controversial subjects, ranging from the origins of the universe and the natures of both God and man to the events that will take place in the last generation before the return of Christ.

And it does so in complete harmony.

Think of it! Now return, for a second, to your ten favorite authors analogy and look at them side by side.  No contest, right?

Assessment:

The Bible is unique in its survival against supernatural odds.  Though written on perishable material, it has been faithfully copied and recopied down through the ages, while its style, correctness, or existence did not diminish.

Manuscripts discovered at Qumran and known collectively as the Dead Sea Scrolls (including the complete Book of Isaiah), testify to the accuracy of the copyists.

Compared to other ancient writings, like those of Plato or Socrates, the manuscript evidence for the Bible is greater than for any ten pieces of classical literature combined, according to Josh McDowell’s ‘Evidence that Demands a Verdict’.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Bible is the best selling book of all time, with sales of 2.5 billion copies between 1815 and 1975.  By the end of the 19th century, the Bible had been translated into 337 languages.  There are at least portions of the Bible now in over 2,000 languages.

There have probably been as many copies of the Bible burned by dictators trying to suppress it as there were copies that survived.  In 303 AD, Diocletian attempted to exterminate the church and decreed that every manuscript of the Bible was to be seized and destroyed.  He had the words ‘extincto nomine Christianorum’ (“the name of the Christians having been destroyed”) put over the ashes of a copy of the Bible.

(In 328, Constantine ordered fifty copies of the Christian Scriptures prepared at Roman government expense.)

Voltaire, the famous French atheist, predicted that Christianity would be swept from existence and pass into history within 100 years of his time.  Voltaire died in 1778.

In a delicious irony of history, his house and printing press was eventually sold to the Geneva Bible Society — to print Bibles!

Unlike any of the other sacred texts of any religion, the Bible makes clear and precise prophecies concerning future events.  Not only does it make those prophecies, but it claims 100% accuracy, 100% of the time.

The Bible’s track record of fulfilled prophecy — up to and including the restoration of Israel in this generation — conforms to the Bible’s impossible standard of perfect accuracy.

In addition to being a book of prophecy, the Bible contains scientific, medical, historical and geographic knowledge that was impossible for anyone to know at the time.

The oldest book of Scripture, chronologically speaking, is the book of Job.  Job lived in the Middle East, probably in the area of southern Iraq.

Yet Job refers to the ‘frozen face of the deep’ and the ‘hoary frost'(38:30) as well as recording such scientific knowledge as the fact that light is in motion or that winds move in circular patterns instead of a straight line.

The speed of light and study of climatology are recent scientific disciplines.  And no science can explain Job’s knowledge of Arctic conditions from southern Iraq — centuries before Moses was inspired to write the Book of Genesis.

While sailors in Columbus’ day believed the world was flat, Isaiah referred to the Lord as ‘sitting on the circle of the earth’ 500 years before Christ. (Isaiah 40:22)

Unlike other sacred texts that portray their principle characters as men of extreme holiness, the Bible’s characters were anything but. Not only do all authors agree on the same subject, unlike any other great work, they are painfully frank about their shortcomings and failures.

From Adam and Eve blaming each other and the serpent for the Fall to Noah’s drunkeness to Lot’s incest to David’s adultery and murder, the Bible’s patriarchs and prophets are flawed human beings, just like us.

What makes the Bible unique among the sacred texts of the world’s religions is its Author.

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2nd Peter 1:21)

Because of its Divine Authorship, the Bible claims,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” (2 Timothy 3:16)

We all know people who know nothing of Scripture that are more than willing to debate its intricacies and dispute its truths.  If you were to ask those same people to debate the relative merits of the Texas Penal Code provisions on disorderly conduct, they would probably decline because they never studied the Texas Penal Code.

But they will argue about ‘whether a loving God could send people to hell’ until the cows come home, misquoting Scriptures they can’t cite and denying truths before they hear them.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

The evidence of its Authorship abounds, from its composition to its inerrancy to its unique standing among the world’s literature.

No one can be truly considered educated unless he is familiar with Scripture. And one truly familiar with Scripture could hardly be considered ignorant.

“Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.” (Proverbs 30:5)

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

This brief was originally published May 28, 2004

What’s A Christian To Do?

What’s A Christian To Do?
Vol: 139 Issue: 20 Saturday, April 20, 2013

It’s hard not to be angry.  The whole country seems to be turning itself on its head.

The total strangers of whom most of us never heard until they began to attack us are now claiming that we are the instigators of a war we didn’t know we were in until after we were attacked twelve years ago.

And our reaction is to apologize for being so Islamophobic.  Phobia is a term which means, “an irrational, unreasonable, intense and persistent fear” – in this case, of Islam.

Phobias are generally caused by an event recorded by the amygdala and hippocampus and labeled as deadly or dangerous; thus whenever a specific situation is approached again the body reacts as if the event were happening repeatedly afterward. . . In reality most phobias are irrational, in the sense that they are thought to be dangerous, but in reality are not threatening to survival in any way.

So Islamophobia can only exist in an environment in which fear of Islamic attack would be both irrational and unreasonable.  After 9/11, the United States government instituted a color-coded threat level indicator.

But since it measures the probability of an Islamist terror attack by Islamic extremists, it then follows that the United States government is suffering from Islamophobia.

Unless, of course, the government’s fear is neither irrational nor unreasonable, in which case, Islamophobia is exposed as a politically-constructed fraud.

Anybody that has ever heard a noise and nervously looked skyward already knows that the fear is rational and reasonable.  That is what causes one to look skyward in the first place.  Before 9/11 nobody was particularly worried about falling aircraft.

And nobody was particularly worried about Islam.  It was just another religion, like Hinduism – strange, but not particularly threatening.

Then a bunch of guys that claimed to represent Islamic fundamentalism declared war on America and Israel and started killing Americans wherever they found them, including New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa. and now Boston.

They promised in the name of Allah and on behalf of Islam to keep killing Americans wherever they might find them, and they kept that promise.  Twelve years and thousands of American deaths later, they continue to plot America’s demise in the Name of Allah.

But if you happen to connect the dots between their claim that the terror war is on behalf of Islam, that all the attacks are inspired by Islam, that all the perpetrators are Islamic and that the last words they utter before a suicide attack are an Islamic prayer, and reach the conclusion that Islam represents a threat, then you are suffering from an unreasonable and irrational fear of Islam.

Consequently, you deserve to be marginalized as a redneck or a reactionary — or worst of all – a conservative.

Assessment:

The sense of anger and frustration that is reflected in our member’s forums is not prompted by Islamophobia.  The fear is neither irrational nor unreasonable.  It is particularly insulting to be told that it is by folks that, by their very accusations, prove they haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

If you are angry, it isn’t because you are frustrated at being marginalized or frightened at where the government is taking you, it is because you are a racist.

You’ve worked hard all your life, paid your taxes, did your civic duty when called upon, you’ve stood up for your country and done what you could to make her proud.

Meanwhile, the government has surrendered parts of the American Southwest to Mexican drug gangs.  The borders are wide-open and the Kidnapping Capital of the World is Phoenix, Arizona, USA.  Now in the most recent terrorist attack, participating in an annual sporting event could be risking your life, especially where a crowd has gathered.

If that makes you angry, then you are a racist and an Islamophobe, and un-American, and anything else nasty that can be conjured up as an alternative explanation for your behavior besides the fact that Islamic fundamentalists want to kill you.

The simple fact is this.  We are witnessing the unfolding of events long prophesied to take place during the last generation before the return of Christ.  We knew that it was coming – we were almost eager to see this day because it means the Rapture is that much closer.

But as the day approaches, it becomes less an abstract notion and more a crushingly painful reality.  It has made that transition from theoretical possibility to actual fact.  We always knew in theory that one day Christians would be marginalized to the point of insignificance.

We always knew that one day, some new religion having two horns like a lamb but speaking as a dragon would overspread Planet Earth.  For decades we’ve made a guessing game out of what it would look like and who would be its leader.

As we see the hard-and-fast answers crowding out our best guesses, the game isn’t as much fun as it used to be.  In fact, it isn’t any fun at all, any more.

This IS what we’ve been expecting.  It is what the Bible forecast for the last days.  Jesus said the Tribulation Period would be a time so terrible that if He didn’t return to put a stop to it, there would be no flesh saved out of it.

So it is entirely reasonable to expect that the period leading up to it would be, ah, unpleasant, to say the least.   Jesus prophesied that the time will come when those who kill you will think they do God service.

He reminded us that the world MUST hate us because it hates Him  – but that doesn’t make it any easier when it happens.

There are two competing sets of values here and it is out of that conflict that all the angst arises.  If we are where I believe that we are on Bible prophecy’s timeline, then America’s (and the West’s) days are numbered.

If we are where I believe we are, then the decline we are experiencing is both inevitable and unstoppable.   This is only part of the Big Picture – there are other, bigger and scarier parts yet to come.

Why are they scarier today than they were, say, ten years ago?   It isn’t as if Bible prophecy changed in the last ten years.   What we are experiencing is the realization of our expectations.   Did anybody really think that witnessing the unfolding of last days’ prophecy would be fun?

If you did, now you know.

You also know why you were but one of only a tiny handful of ‘prophecy nuts’ in your church.  I say ‘were’ because as we move forward on the Bible timeline, prophecy doesn’t seem so nuts anymore.

In the grand scheme of things, very few Christians in these last days have been called as watchmen.  Even fewer have responded to the calling.  It’s not for everybody — for some it is too much.  That is why we are necessary – to give the warning.

God has set each of us in the place He wants us to be for this time and place in human history.  That doesn’t mean it is a pleasant place – we had our pleasant time. But God in His wisdom, and for reasons known only to Him, has called us – you and me and others like us – as witnesses.

He promises a special crown for us at the Bema Seat.  There are only FIVE crowns and this is one of them.  So what made you think that earning it would be easy?  It is supposed to be hard.  Out of all the living Christians on this planet, God called YOU to bear witness for all those too afraid to look.

Yes, it is frustrating.  Yes, it is infuriating.  Yes, it is frightening.  And YES – it is unfair. Why can’t YOU be one of those Christians just strolling through life, tra-la-la-la-la, in blissful ignorance?

I dunno. Because you can’t.  God called you and you answered the phone.  Sorry.  This is a bell that you can’t unring.   Read through your assignment again — note in particular the parts in italics.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” (2nd Timothy 4:1-5)

Somebody has to watch in all things, do the work of an evangelist and make full proof of the ministry to which God called them. That’s the charge.  You accepted it — or you wouldn’t be reading these words now.

Now the evil days are upon us and somehow, we are surprised to find we don’t like it.   I am not saying that sarcastically – I am as surprised as anybody at how surprised I am, if you can follow my drift.

I thought I was made of sterner stuff than that.

So, what are we to do as Christians?  Our job.  Be witnesses.  Watch and observe and give the warning.  You know, the Bible says that Noah preached for one hundred and twenty years and never made a single convert.

But when the rains came down, Noah still got to ride out the storm in the ark.

It is easy to become discouraged, frustrated and even angry.  It’s natural.  But it is part of a plan that the God of the Universe has not only let you in on, He has included you as a necessary part.

“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 1:24-25)

He can keep you from falling.  He will present you faultless before the Throne with exceeding joy.  He knows what He is doing, and He has let you in on some of the details.

Here’s what we know —  and we know it for sure.  There is lots to be scared of.  But nothing to be worried about. Because He is able.  And He loves you more than you know.

Maranatha!

Note:  Today’s OL was originally published September 14, 2010.  We made a few edits to bring this brief up to latest terrorist attack, other than that, the message remains the same.  We are all missing those that have been called home but that does not change what the abiding watchmen’s duties are.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)

For A Bowl of Pottage

For A Bowl of Pottage
Vol: 139 Issue: 19 Friday, April 19, 2013

“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:34)

Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau was born first and therefore, as the eldest son, heir to his father’s holdings as a right of his birth.  Esau was a ‘cunning hunter’ the Scriptures say, while Jacob was a “plain man, dwelling in tents”. (25:27)

Esau, exhausted after a day of hunting, agreed to trade his birthright inheritance to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of red stew.

In my mind’s eye, I always pictured Esau as a kind of Harrison Ford character playing off Jacob’s Gene Wilder.

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?”

His inheritance was yet future.  Esau lived in the now.  He was hungry now.  Jacob had something tangible that would address his immediate needs.  The future was only a promise.  You can’t eat a promise.

Four thousand years later, the descendants of Esau are still seething over it.  They blame Jacob for being tricky.  I don’t blame them.  The alternative explanation is that Esau was self-centered, greedy, and more than just a little bit stupid.

Nonetheless, God honors stupid.

“But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1st Corinthians 14:38)

When Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, then Jacob’s it was.  The God of Israel is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not Abraham, Isaac and Esau.

For almost two years, Barack Hussein Obama has criss-crossed the nation, telling the voters precisely what an Obama administration would offer them.  Higher taxes.  More government regulation.  Surrender in the face of the enemy in Iraq.

Obama dared the mainstream to investigate his relationships with the Black Liberation Movement, the rabidly racist and anti-American Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the unrepentant founder of the terrorist Weather Underground, Syrian-born swindler Tony Rezko, his shady deals and shadier association.

The few that took up the challenge were unprepared to answer the charges of racism and found it much simpler to look the other way than find themselves victims of “do-you-still-beat-your-wife?” inquisitions.

That the media was complicit in keeping Obama’s secrets while raking through McCain-Palin’s trash is not even an open secret.  It is a celebrated reality.  (Chris Matthew’s leg must be enduring a thrill a minute right now.)

At one precinct in Ohio, two Black Panthers, one wielding a nightstick, ensured that voters knew who the right vote would be for.  Voter registration fraud, voter fraud, voter intimidation, broken promises and outright lies were irrelevant in the end.

In the end, the election was decided by college kids, first time voters and of course, Mickey Mouse.

This morning, Barack Husseiin Obama, an hitherto-unknown politician of questionable background that emerged from the old-style Chicago Democratic political machine twenty-one months ago is President-elect Barack Hussein Obama.

What God honors in men, He honors in nations.  And God honors stupid.

Assessment:

There is a famous bit of footage shot in early 1940 in Paris of its citizens lining the streets to watch the German troops parade through the Arch de Triumph.

As the camera pans the crowd, it lingers on the face of a middle-aged Parisian, tears streaming down in his cheeks, his face contorted in grief at the catastrophe that had befallen his nation.

The image of this grieving Parisian is brief; his is but one face among many lining the street that day, but his grief was so palpable and profound that it burns into the memory of the viewer.

As Barack Obama gave his victory speech to the country, I felt a lot like that Parisian of long-ago.

Let’s face it.  President-elect Barack Hussein Obama was not elected based on his legislative record.  Nobody knows what it is, even now.

He was not elected based on his exemplary personal history.  What we know of it is pretty bad stuff.

He wasn’t elected based on the depth of his experience or foreign policy acumen.  He doesn’t have any.

America just honored the legacy of Martin Luther King by coming full circle.  America just elected a candidate, not on the content of his character, but by the color of his skin.

Barack Hussein Obama was elected so that Americans could say the color barrier has been smashed.  Ok.  It’s smashed.  Now what?

Duh.  Nobody seems to have thought very far past “now what?”  Now that we’ve made history, what are we gonna do tomorrow? (Tomorrow??)

We just elected a far left lifelong Marxist/socialist president of the United States and handed complete control of the Congress to the Far Left Marxist Democrats.

To ‘fix’ an economy that they broke in order to get elected.

America has sold its position as a center-right nation for a bowl of pottage.  (Jacob was perhaps tricky, but Esau was just plain stupid.)

America has handed over control of the Supreme Court to the most liberal president in American history at a time when America faces the greatest threat to its continued existence since the American Revolution.

Hal and I were talking a couple of weeks ago when it occurred to us that what Hal has been preaching for fifty years and I for thirty is upon us.  Indeed, while we were looking the other way, it has overtaken us.  This is what we were warning of.

But it arrived so surreptitiously we didn’t see it until it was here.

It’s going to take some time to analyze the full implications of the catastrophe that has befallen America.  I don’t want to sound like the Democrats who all promised to move to Canada if Bush won in 2000 and 2004.  (He did, they didn’t)

Barack Hussein Obama is the President-elect of the United States because God wanted Barack Hussein Obama — and no one else — to be president for the next four years. (eight years, sigh)

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

Whatever God has planned for the next four years (eight years, sigh), He needs a mysterious, charismatic but inexperienced socialist dreamer with a Muslim education and spiritual ties to the god of this world to facilitate those ends.

Nobody else would do.

Note:  Opening up the news this morning, there is plenty of stupid going on from the President.  Examples are here and here.  This disrespectful president is doing everything he can to bring down the once great nation of the United States, but there is some comfort in this brief written right after Obama was elected for his first term.  Although it looks like it is all out of control, it isn’t.

Today’s Featured Commentary: On Prophecy Rackets

A Polite Society

A Polite Society
Vol: 139 Issue: 18 Thursday, April 18, 2013

1950’s-era science fiction writer Robert F. Heinlein observed, in one of his science fiction novels in which he depicted future society as a kind of Wild West in which all citizens were armed and duels were commonplace; ”An armed society is a polite society”.

In the American West in the 1880’s, a man could find himself in a fight to the death over a perceived insult.  Shooting a card cheat caught in the act was justifiable homicide in practice, whether or not it was codified in law.

Disrespecting decent women was an offense that could put one on Boot Hill pushing up daisies before sundown.  And one thought twice about using a gun to commit a robbery, since the odds were better that even that every other person in the room was armed, as well.

That is not to say I am an advocate of returning to the era of vigilante justice as handed down from the barrel of a .44 Colt.  That said, it doesn’t change the basic truth behind Heinlein’s contention: An armed society IS a polite society.  Moreover, an armed society is a safer society.

Consider, for a moment, the terror inspired by the Beltway sniper case.  People living in the area surrounding the Washington DC area were terrified by the prospect of being gunned down at random in the streets by a crazed gunman. (Or gunmen, as it turned out)

Had John Muhammed and Lee Malvo had to worry about whether or not every person they saw might be armed with a weapon, the killing spree might never have begun.  Throughout America’s cities, gang violence runs rampant.  Gangs control entire neighborhoods in some cities, terrorizing and victimizing with relative impunity.

Some Los Angles gangs require prospective members to commit a murder as a form of initiation.  To fulfill their initiation, they just walk up to a stranger in the street at random, pull out a gun, and shoot him in public in front of witnesses.

Gangsters call that ‘making their bones.’  Such murders are seldom solved, since random shootings leave little for police to follow up on, greatly diminishing the chance of getting caught.  Remove the risk of getting shot by some bystander, and it is practically risk-free.

If the possibility existed that armed passers-by might pull out their own guns and shoot them in return, the practice would suddenly become a whole lot riskier.  And a whole lot less common.

I recall a movie I saw once in which a couple of crooks decided to stick up a neighborhood bar.  They walked in, took up positions on either end of the bar, and announced it was a stickup.  What they didn’t know was this was a bar frequented by off-duty police.

Every cop in the bar simultaneously pulled his weapon and pointed it at the bad guys.  The robbers, outnumbered thirty guns to two, surrendered meekly in what was a visually hilarious scene.

One of the many terrorist manuals confiscated in Afghanistan included a plan in which various terrorist cells would send its members out knocking on doors in American neighborhoods and then shooting whoever answered the door.  When revealed by authorities, the plan sent chills up and down spines across America, as it was intended to do.

But if behind every door was an American armed with a gun, the terrorists’ plan would have been noteworthy only because of its stupidity.

The Swiss have the most liberal gun laws in Europe.  Every Swiss citizen is required to both own, and be proficient with, his own gun.  That is the secret to the famous Swiss neutrality that has kept it free from invasion for centuries.  Even Adolf Hitler respected Swiss neutrality.  Switzerland, with its armed population of gun enthusiasts, would be too costly to take by force.

A relative handful of well-armed and motivated citizens can hold even the most powerful military forces at bay.  Just look at what a handful of armed insurgents — out of fifty million Iraqis — have been able to accomplish against the most powerful military forces the world has ever seen.

Pretty much every American concerned with homeland security recognizes the threat posed by our porous border with Mexico.  For years, the federal government argued that federal agencies were doing the best that they could.

Until armed members of the “Minutemen’ took up positions along the border and illegal immigration was immediately choked off.

Assessment:

The 2nd Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”.

The Supreme Court decided in a landmark case styled “The United States v. Miller” that the 2nd Amendment did not apply to ordinary citizens, but instead conferred a special privilege on the National Guard.

This interpretation was one of those that make you go, “Hmmm.”  In this view, the 2nd Amendment confers the right to bear arms to the government.  It would, therefore, be the only amendment specifically granting a special right TO the government among a series of amendments designed to LIMIT the rights of government and to enumerate the rights of the people.

It is simply ludicrous that the Founding Fathers would convey the right to bear arms to itself.  They already conferred the responsibility to provide for the common defense to the Congress.

Did the Founding Fathers feel the need to tell the Congress, (via the people’s “Bill of Rights” no less), that the Congress could use GUNS to defend against foreign enemies?  What did they think Congress was going to use, absent the 2nd Amendment?  Spitballs?

The Supreme Court’s interpretation grows even more bizarre when viewed in light of USC Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311 (a);

“The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are commissioned officers of the National Guard.”

And, “(b) The classes of the militia are- (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

Note that Title 10 doesn’t identify those who are qualified to join a militia, or even those who have, but identifies all able bodied Americans between 17 and 45 as already being members of ‘the militia’ by default.

Ummm, run that Supreme Court decision by me again?  The 2nd Amendment gives the right to bear arms to the militia, but not to ordinary citizens?

Despite propaganda to the contrary, guns are used in America more than twice as often for defensive purposes as they are for offensive purposes.  Bad guys choose their victims based on the likelihood they might be armed.

When I was a police officer, our department issued a cruiser to each officer to take home, and to use off duty within the city limits.  The idea was to convey the image of a much larger police presence on the street than there actually was.  In addition, an off duty officer in his cruiser was automatically available for backup as needed.

It also accomplished something else.  In ten years, I never had to lock the doors to my house when I went out, as long as that cruiser was parked in my driveway.  The homes of police officers are rarely deliberately chosen by burglars as preferred targets.

Especially if there looks like there might be someone home.

Noted John Stossel in his column from 2005,

“As Alex Kozinski, a federal appeals judge and an immigrant from Eastern Europe, warned in 2003, “the simple truth — born of experience — is that tyranny thrives best where government need not fear the wrath of an armed people.”

“The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do,” Judge Kozinski noted. “But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.”

Note:  “An armed society is a polite society”, is the same principle that is within the Omega Letter forums.  Each member is armed with a “dust button” as an alternative to an offensive post.  But just like a weapon, the dust button is used as a last resort.  If you would like to know more about the forums please don’t hesitate to contact us.  This brief was originally published October 19, 2005.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Terrorism in the United States is Not New

Non-Prophet Profits

Non-Prophet Profits
Vol: 139 Issue: 17 Wednesday, April 17, 2013

”And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:7-8)

Of course, the ‘Church at Philadelphia’ of which Jesus speaks is not a church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The Biblical Philadelphia was located about twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis.

The city was founded in 189 B.C. by Attalus Philadeiphus, for whom it was named.  Some believe it was so named because of the love and loyalty existing between Philadeiphus and his brother, the king of Lydia, hence the nickname, “The City of Brotherly Love”.

Philadelphia was also known as Decapolis, because it was one of the ten cities of the plain.

Philadelphia has been given a number of new names.  It was sometimes called Little Athens because of the magnificence of its public buildings.  Its modern Turkish name is Ala Shehr, which means “The City of God” or “The Exalted City.”

The modern US city of Philadelphia took its name directly from the Book of the Revelation.  The name was chosen for its meaning, “The City of Brotherly Love” — and its commendation from Christ.  It was a Church that had “not denied My Name” (Revelation 3:8)

The Philadelphian Church Age corresponded to the release of the common Bible issued by King James in 1611 through to the end of the missionary age, sometime around 1900.

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10)

Assessment:

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

The “New Thought” movement that swept Europe and eventually made its way to the shores of the United States ushered in the Laodicean Church Age — the “last days” Church.

That isn’t to say there are no Philadelphians left and that we are ALL members of the lukewarm Church of Laodicea.  But it is the Laodicean Church that best fits the overall Church in these last days.

A historian wrote of the contrasts of Philadelphia and Laodicea.  He said Philadelphia as a missionary center was successful because it was more interested in the message than the money.

On the other hand, Laodicea was a great failure as a missionary center because it was more interested in the profit than the message.

Turn on a little ‘Christian’ TV and you will immediately notice the similarities with Laodicea.  Check out Christian websites and you will see the same thing.

How many lost people do you think will watch a televised 58 minute pitch for money followed by a two-minute altar call?

The only people who watch such stuff are Christians — no lost person gets saved by promises that sending $1000 to a televangelist will return you a profit of $9000.

That kind of for-profit ‘prophet’ merely confirms to the lost that all this ‘God-talk’ is designed to separate an idiot from his money.  It edifies no one.

Five minutes into it, a lost person will change the channel.

Those TV ‘preachers’ aren’t reaching out to the lost, they are pandering to the saved.  They are Laodicean preachers preaching to a Laodicean audience.

A Laodicean preacher realizes that an appeal to the highest level of spirituality doesn’t pay off as well as an appeal to our base nature of greed.  So, if you send money to them, God will reward you with a ten-fold increase — in cash.  It isn’t a gift — its an investment. (Why don’t they just send money to each other?)

A Philadelphian preacher puts the message first.  A Philadelphian trusts the Lord.  He would ask Jesus to speak to their hearts as to what should be given.  It is from this obedience people are willing to give everything the Lord wishes of them.

There aren’t many Philadelphian preachers that ever get their own TV shows.  I don’t know of any Philadelphian preachers that have their own private jets.

The same applies to Christian websites.  If a website follows the Laodicean model, it is filled with flowery phrases, speaks ‘Christianese’, and talks more about the expense of maintaining a website than it does about fulfilling the Great Commission.

Read through some of them and ask yourself if YOU would have even understood what they were talking about, before you were saved, and you will see who their target audience is.

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Revelation 3:17)

If they are more interested in checks than they are salvation testimonials, they are of the Church of Laodicea. A Laodicean preacher will preach what is politically correct in a social context, avoiding topics like Islam, homosexuality and false doctrines.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Revelation 3:19)

They pepper their messages with admonitions of what Christians ought NOT to do, but spend almost no time telling the lost what they NEED to do to be saved.  Lost people don’t send contributions, Christians do.

That’s why they are on Christian TV and not secular TV where the lost people are.  They aren’t seeking the lost.

There’s no ‘prophet’ in it.

Note:  This straight shooting brief was originally published March 12, 2009.  “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

Today’s Featured Commentary: A Famine of the Word

If We Make it Idiot-Proof, They’ll Just Invent a Better Idiot

If We Make it Idiot-Proof, They’ll Just Invent a Better Idiot
Vol: 139 Issue: 16 Tuesday, April 16, 2013

During the Second World War, historians tell us, it wasn’t the Germans who perpetuated the Holocaust — it was the Nazis.

So it wasn’t something rotten at the heart of German culture that prompted it to start two world wars in the space of two decades after all.

World War I and its aftermath sowed the seeds of Nazism– it wasn’t — repeat, wasn’t — the German culture or its people that was behind the systematic murder of 12 million Jews, Poles, homosexuals, gypsies and Russian POW’s.

It was the Nazis.

Need proof?

Once the Nazis were defeated and their leadership was all dead or imprisoned, Germany became a model world citizen.

The mere possession of Nazi-era memorabilia can be a crime — speaking warmly of Hitler’s regime or its goals IS a crime.

Nazism, historians carefully explain, was not merely a political ideology — it was a religion. Schoolchildren prayed their nightly prayers to Hitler. Grace before meals was directed at Hitler.

The Nazi Shutzstaffel (SS) was a religious organization that swore a blood oath of worship to Adolf Hitler. The Nazi doctrine was a mixture of Aryanism, Thulism and Theosophy covered by a thin veneer of Catholicism.

The war against the Imperial Japanese was not a war against the Japanese people. It was a war against the militaristic Shinto religion that spawned it.

Like the German people, the Japanese were forgiven for their part in wartime atrocities — it wasn’t the people, but the evil religious ideology of Japanese Imperialism.

Once the Nazis were gone, Germany became one of America’s most reliable allies in Europe. After MacArthur had Emperor Hirohito renounce claims of deity, post-war Japan became America’s most reliable ally in the Far East.

It wasn’t the German people that were the enemy — it was the Nazi ideology that the Allies smashed to rubble. Similarly, the Japanese people were not the enemy, but the Shinto-inspired emperor-worship that inspired Japanese fanaticism.

World War II wasn’t fought to smash a people. It was to smash the ideology that inspired them to make war.

The Cold War raged between the US and Soviet Union from 1948 through to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet system. It was a war between East and West; between the ideologies of capitalism and communism, but NOT a war between people.

America was never at war with the Russian people, or with the people of Eastern Europe. When the Wall came down, the people from both sides embraced like long lost relatives, not as conquerors or the conquered.

No sanctions were imposed on the victims of Soviet ideological domination. It wasn’t a war against the Soviet people.

It was against Soviet ideology.

There is a good reason why the US separated the ideology from the people in past wars. If the war is between a people, no peace can be possible, ie, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Making the war one of ideologies allows the people who fought it room to make peace by renouncing their ideology. Germans couldn’t renounce being Germans or Japanese renounce being Japanese.

But if they didn’t have Nazism or Shintoism to renounce, we would still be at war. The North Koreans lost the Korean War, but maintained their ideological worship of Kim il Sung and his successor, Kim Jong il.

We defeated North Korea’s army, but never made peace with North Korean people. The Korean War never ended — no peace treaty has ever been signed.

Assessment:

Some brainwave in Washington has issued a memo advising US officials to avoid linking al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups to Islam and not to use Islamic terms like “jihad” or “mujahadeen” which, according to this government genius, might “unintentionally legitimize’ terror.

“There’ s a growing consensus [in the Bush administration] that we need to move away from that language,” said a ‘former senior administration official’ quoted in the Washington Times.

What ‘language’ is that?

“Avoid labeling everything ‘Muslim.’ It reinforces the ‘U.S. vs. Islam’ framework that al Qaeda promotes,” according to “Words that Work and Words that Don’t: A Guide for Counter-Terrorism Communication,” produced in March 2008 by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

Instead, in two documents circulated by the NCTC officials are urged to use terms such as ‘violent extremists’, ‘totalitarian’ and ‘death cult’ to characterize al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Instead of calling terrorist groups Muslim or Islamic, the guide suggests using words like totalitarian, terrorist or violent extremist — “widely understood terms that define our enemies appropriately and simultaneously deny them any level of legitimacy.”

By employing the language the extremists use about themselves, the guide says, officials can inadvertently help legitimize them in the eyes of Muslims.

“Never use the terms ‘jihadist’ or ‘mujahedeen’ … to describe the terrorists,” the guide says. “A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war.”

“In Arabic, jihad means ‘striving in the path of God’ and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions,” the memo says.

Where do we get such idiots? Do they come in a box or something? Shouldn’t some — at least peripheral — grasp of history be a requirement for government service?

It is as retarded as divorcing the Irish Republican Army from Catholicism or declaring Northern Ireland’s Protestantism irrelevant.

What you are left with is a war that cannot be won by either side because there ARE no sides. Just Irish national suicide.

America is not fighting a war against terrorism — it is fighting a war against Islamic-inspired religious terrorism based on an ideology that is central to Islamic history and basic religious doctrine.

Islamic ideology demands either conversion to Islam or submission to Islamic authority. There are but three acceptable conditions of existence under Islamic law.

One is as an observant Muslim, the second is that of dhimmi and the third is as guest of honor at an execution.

If Islamic ideology is removed from the equation, then WHO is the war against? The Arab people? Iran is not an Arab country — it’s Persian.

The most populous Muslim country in the world is Indonesia, not Saudi Arabia. The Chechens are neither Arab nor Persian.

The 9/11 hijackers were not “Saudi” — even though most of them were Saudi nationals, they weren’t acting on behalf of the Saudi government — they were acting on behalf of Islamic jihadist ideology.

Remove Islam from those three planes and September 11, 2001 was just another warm and pleasant late-summer day.

Take Islam out of the rubber dinghy and the USS Cole would never have been attacked, and our embassies in Africa would still be intact.

Remove Islam from the equation and the Iraq War would have ended five years ago. Without the Islamic Taliban, who would we be fighting in Afghanistan?

What is there about Pakistan having nuclear weapons that makes it more disturbing than the fact that India has nuclear weapons?

Why is the West more worried about Iran obtaining nukes than the fact Israel has had nukes for at least thirty years?

WHO are we at war with? If you ask the brainwave in Washington that authored this memo, then the answer is as simple as it is terrifying: “I dunno.”

As to the idea of ‘victory’ how will we know when we’ve achieved it? What are you asking me for?

I don’t even know who we’re fighting.

This brief was originally published May 7, 2008; it summarizes how facts can be twisted based solely on the word usage.  There is a lot of spin circulating concerning the Boston Marathon bombings.  Jack’s insight to the way things are trending helps to clear up the ‘doublespeak’. Our prayers go up for those victims and their loved ones of yesterday’s terrible tragedy.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Dry Bones Revisited

When There Is No Law

When There Is No Law
Vol: 139 Issue: 15 Monday, April 15, 2013

Death was not part of God’s original creation.  The introduction of death was made necessary by the fall of man; sin is the ultimate affront to God and death is therefore the ultimate penalty for sin.

Since it is a penalty, such portions of it will be removed and dismissed forever; the eternal part of death, however, is, well, eternal.

There are three aspects to death; the physical, the spiritual, and what the Bible calls “the second”.  There is the death we know; the separation of soul and spirit from the flesh.

There is the spiritual death; the separation of the soul and spirit from God.  That is the condition of each of us through Adam — the ‘original sin’ which results in spiritual still-birth.  If one rejects fellowship with God in the physical life, one therefore remains separated from God in hell after physical death.

And finally, there is the ‘second death’ — the final and permanent form of spiritual death following sentencing at the Great White Throne.

The death we all know — physical death — is described in respect to its cause by the Apostle Paul:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)

In this passage we learn several things concerning death.  First, that death is the result of Adam’s sin.  Sin, like death, is passed on to all men from Adam in that we all sin, and we all die.

Note also that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”  The point Paul is making relates to Adam’s sin being sufficient cause for invoking the death penalty on all men.

Genesis 2:17 reads:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

In the Hebrew, it says, “dying, thou shalt surely die.”

In the day Adam sinned, he began to die physically.  This judgment includes all forms of death, including the second death, which Paul says “reigned from Adam to Moses.”

We also learn that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”  What does Paul mean here?

Suppose you owned a large piece of property on which there was a stretch of paved road.  How fast can you drive on that road before you break the law?  70mph?  80?  120mph?

Since it is private property, there is no applicable law here.  You can go as fast as you want without breaking any law or incurring any legal penalty.

Sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Assessment:

One of the biggest doctrinal controversies within the modern Church concerns the doctrine of eternal security, or, as its critics term it, “once saved, always saved.” (OSAS)

But the Apostle Paul writes;

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Roman 6:14)

If a saved Christian is not under the law, and sin is not imputed where there is no law, the search for a proof text to the contrary requires way more gymnastics than I am comfortable with.

If God’s intention in inspiring Scripture was to make plain to the simple the plan of salvation, well, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. . . . For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9,13)

I’m an heir to Adam’s sin and an heir to his sin nature.  Sin, like death, was passed on to me and there is nothing I can do that will eliminate either.  But as one washed in the Blood, I am saved by the grace of God from the eternal penalty of my own sin.

I am still under the curse of Adam.  I will still sin.  And will surely die physically.  But the second death has no power over me.  There is no law under which I can be convicted because there is no law to which I am made subject.

I am not under the law, but under grace.  And where there is no law, no sin is imputed.  I cannot sin my way out of Jesus’ Hand because there is no applicable law I can break.

At the Bema Seat where the saved are judged for their crowns, every detail of one’s life will be examined.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1 Corinthians 3:13)

It is at the Bema Seat that we Christians will give an account of every word spoken, every work committed or omitted, whether bad OR good:

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthian 3:15)

We will be judged according to our works, but we will be sentenced according to the finished Work at the Cross.  At the Bema Seat, we will acknowledge our guilt, will suffer loss for our sins, but will still gain entrance into eternal life.

Revelation 17:8 says;

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Those whose names were “not written into the Book of Life from the foundation of the world” will stand before the Great White Throne.  Those whose names were already there before the world began are those of whom Paul was speaking when he wrote:

“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 8:29-30)

From what I can find in Scripture, there is but one charge for which those who stand before the Great White Throne will be sentenced.  The Scriptures say that at the Great White Throne, the Lord will open the “books” and the Book of Life.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12)

The ‘books’ are the record of one’s life, just as at the Bema Seat.  Just as at the Bema Seat, one will give an accounting of every thought, word and deed.  At the Great White Throne, all those who rejected Christ will bow their knee and confess Jesus is Lord.

They will be judged, as were Christians at the Bema Seat, according to their works.  But they will not be sentenced according to their works.

Christians are saved at the Bema Seat because of who they are in Christ, not according to what they did in the body.

At the Great White Throne, the lost will be sentenced, not according to their works, but according to who they are in Christ:

“And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

This brief was originally published December 2, 2008