The Day God Saved America

The Day God Saved America
Vol: 146 Issue: 30 Saturday, November 30, 2013

On August 19, 1814 British warships sailed into Chesapeake Bay and up the Patuxent River headed toward Washington. The British mission was to capture Washington DC and take revenge for the burning of the British capital of Upper Canada at Newark, (now Niagara-on-the-Lake.)

Forty-five hundred British soldiers landed at Benedict, Maryland and headed towards Washington, where a force of 7,000 colonial troops waited nervously. The two armies met on August 24 along the banks of the Potomac during 100 degree heat.

The British Army quickly routed the less disciplined American volunteers, mostly due to a series of American blunders and a new British rocket that did little damage, but unnerved the raw American troops with a very loud, shrill noise.

President Madison and Secretary of State Monroe, who had led a group of officials to watch the battle, were almost captured in the confusion. After the battle, the British Army marched quickly into Washington while American soldiers, United States government officials, and residents fled the city.

The only reason the war didn’t end right then and there in favor of the British was because there were no officials left in Washington from whom the British could seek terms of surrender. The British admiral ate dinner in the White House and then gave the order to set fire to Washington.

George Gleig was part of the British force that invaded Washington in the summer of 1814 and later penned this eyewitness account:

“In this general devastation were included the Senate House, the President’s palace, an extensive dockyard and arsenal, barracks for two or three thousand men, several large storehouses filled with naval and military stores, some hundreds of cannon of different descriptions, and nearly twenty thousand stand of small arms. There were also two or three public rope works which shared the same fate, a fine frigate pierced for sixty guns and just ready to be launched, several gun brigs and armed schooners, with a variety of gunboats and small craft. The powder magazines were, of course, set on fire, and exploded with a tremendous crash, throwing down many houses in their vicinity, partly by pieces of the wall striking them, and partly by the concussion of the air whilst quantities of shot, shell, and hand grenades, which could not otherwise be rendered useless, were thrown into the river. . . “

“. . . When the detachment sent out to destroy Mr. Madison’s house entered his dining parlor, they found a dinner table spread and covers laid for forty guests. Several kinds of wine, in handsome cut glass decanters, were cooling on the sideboard; plate holders stood by the fireplace, filled with dishes and plates; knives, forks, and spoons were arranged for immediate use; in short, everything was ready for the entertainment of a ceremonious party. Such were the arrangements in the dining room, whilst in the kitchen were others answerable to them in every respect. . .”

“. . . having satisfied their appetites with fewer complaints than would have probably escaped their rival gourmands, and partaken pretty freely of the wines, they finished by setting fire to the house which had so liberally entertained them.”

Within hours, the White House, the Capitol, and many other public buildings and residences were burning. On the morning of August 25, Washington was still burning.

Throughout the morning and early afternoon, the British soldiers continued to set fires and destroy ammunition supplies and defenses around the city.

As the soldiers spread fire and destruction throughout the city, the early afternoon sky began to darken and lightning and thunder signaled the approach of a thunderstorm. As the storm entered the city, a funnel dropped out of the clouds and right into the center of the British occupation.

Buildings were lifted off of their foundations and dashed to bits. Other buildings were blown down or lost their roofs. Feather beds were sucked out of homes and scattered about.

Trees were uprooted, fences were blown down, and the heavy chain bridge across the Potomac River was buckled and rendered useless.

A few British cannons were picked up by the winds and thrown through the air. The collapsing buildings and flying debris killed several British soldiers.

Many of the soldiers did not have time to take cover from the winds and they laid face down in the streets. One account describes how a British officer on horseback did not dismount and the winds slammed both horse and rider violently to the ground.

It was followed by a soaking rain that lasted more than two hours. The heavy rains quenched most of the fires in the city, preventing the British from burning the city completely to the ground.

As the British were preparing to leave the city, the following conversation was noted between one of Washington’s fine ladies and a British admiral:

“Great God, Madam! Is this the kind of storm to which you are accustomed in this infernal country?” The lady answered, “No, Sir, this is a special interposition of Providence to drive our enemies from our city.”

Whether the admiral believed that Providence was against him or not, the British were soon forced into a difficult withdrawal. Many of the roads out of town were blocked by fallen trees and other debris.

Many of the waiting British warships were damaged; two had broken free of their moorings and run aground.

The tornado saved the city of Washington from certain and deliberate destruction. It prevented the fall of the American capital. The British were forced to withdraw by the storm, not by an American counter-attack.

President Madison and his Cabinet returned to Washington several days later to begin the city’s reconstruction. Never again would Washington be occupied by foreign troops and to this day, tornados are an extreme rarity in Washington DC.

Since 1814, only seven tornadoes have hit the DC metro area, the most recent being in 1995. Damage in that storm was limited to a few uprooted trees.

Assessment:

That Washington DC was saved by an act of Divine intervention is questioned only by contemporary historians – nobody alive at the time had any doubts.

It astonishes me that there is anybody alive today that has doubts, but even more astonishing is the number of Americans who have been convinced by secular writers that the Founding Fathers were not Christians, but Deists.

Deism is defined by Mirriam-Webster as:

“a movement or system of thought advocating natural religion, emphasizing morality, and in the 18th century, denying the interference of the Creator with the laws of the Universe.”

Of the fifty-six men that signed the Declaration of Independence, twenty-four were ordained Christian ministers or held seminary degrees.

George Washington is cited as an example of a Deist, based on selected comments taken out of context and repeated over and over. If Washington was a Deist, then he was also a liar:

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” –The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.

John Adams was both a signer of the Declaration of Independence and America’s second President. His Christian worldview was expressed as follows:

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.” – John Adams

Of all the supposed Deists among the Founders, the two most often cited are Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson didn’t think he was a Deist. Jefferson thought he was a Christian. Or else Thomas Jefferson was also a liar.

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.” –The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

James Madison, whose administration witnessed the firing of the Capitol and its subsequent salvation, had this to say:

“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.” –America’s Providential History, p. 93.

Finally, we have Patrick Henry, ratifier of the Constitution whose stirring words, “Give me liberty or give me death” still reverberate across the ages. Patrick Henry is often accused of Deism, if not outright atheism.

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”

“The Bible … is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”

Every year the attacks on the Christian nature of America’s founding grow louder and more boisterous, but somebody is lying. It is either those that deny the Christianity of the Founders or it is the Founders themselves.

Personally, I think the truth here is self-evident. That is why America is called the “Great Satan” and Israel only the “Little Satan.”

The Enemy has no idea when the Rapture will happen or when the end will come, anymore than we do.

But he knows numbers and he knows from the Bible that there are a finite number of believers that will come to Christ before the Rapture takes place. After that, Scripture says, he knows he has but a short time.

His goal is to forestall that full company of believers from being completed and thereby end his dominion over the earth.

Eventually, he knows, as we do, that the Lord will return for His Church and from there, his days are numbered.

The only thing he can do to stall his fate is to separate America as much as possible from its Christian roots and convince America that Christianity is a myth. It is a losing tactic, but it is the only one left to him.

“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.”

“That day” is fast approaching. You can tell by how desperate he is getting. . . “America wasn’t founded as a Christian nation” — are you kidding?

Desperate times call for desperate lies.

This brief was originally published July 5, 2011.

The Prophecy Conundrum

The Prophecy Conundrum
Vol: 146 Issue: 29 Friday, November 29, 2013

In every generation of Christians since the time of the Apostles, there have been devout souls who have pored over the Scriptures, comparing the signs to the times and looking for evidence suggesting the imminent return of Christ.

In most previous generations, they were either revered as sages or dismissed as harmless nut-cases. But in this generation, something is different. Students and teachers of Bible prophecy find themselves in great demand or shunned like lepers.

Depending on how one receives the message, we are perceived as either hateful or hopeless, but we are certainly not harmless. In this generation, the first mental image most people have when they hear “Bible prophecy” is of a burning compound outside Waco.

It doesn’t matter that David Koresh was certifiably nuts or that he claimed to be Jesus Christ. To most people in this generation, “Bible prophecy” and “apocalyptic cult” are synonyms.

I typed in Bible prophecy apocalypse as Google keywords and the most popular returns all referenced 2012 in some way.

Very few actually had much to do with Bible prophecy, all of them had something to do with doomsday, and none of them offered much in the way of either understanding or hope.

Since the 1960’s ‘evangelical’ and ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘conservative’ have all sort of run together into an image that then-candidate Obama summed up (rather well, really) in his “bitter redneck” comment.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

When you get right down to it, there isn’t much about Bible prophecy that this generation should be eager to embrace. I feel for one of our younger members who lamented in one of our forums that we older folks at least knew what it felt like to have a future worth planning for.

I feel it for my own children. I came to Christ in my early 20’s. God called me almost immediately to be a watchman — my kids grew up never expecting to grow up.

My son Rick will be thirty-six in August. I can still hear him in my memory, his squeaky voice just beginning to crack, asking me if I thought the Lord would tarry long enough for him to learn to drive.

I’ve been expecting the Rapture to take place at any second now for almost my entire Christian life. Every new event seems to signal that ‘this is IT!” but then it isn’t. I get my hopes up, and then I realize that my reach has exceeded my grasp.

I am not alone — I am one of an entire generation of similarly disappointed Christians who keep listening for a trumpet that never sounds. This collective disappointment is reflected by a number of recent surveys that suggest Christianity in general, and evangelicalism in particular, are on the wane in the United States.

Michael Spencer, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, paints a rather grim picture of where he sees American evangelical Christianity headed, not just in the United States, but the Western world.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

This is perfect example of the “prophecy conundrum” — that’s pretty much the way the Bible predicted it, too.

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

Assessment:

“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. ” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

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

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

Prophecy is knowledge of future events — and that has considerable weight. If you don’t believe knowledge has weight, think back to some time when you were in deep trouble when you were a kid and you were waiting for a punishment you KNEW was coming.

You already knew what you did. That was past. But punishment, although certain, was still future. Weighed heavily on your mind, didn’t it? (Multiple puns intended to make the point)

Knowledge has weight. And some knowledge is heavier than other knowledge.

The end of the world is a fairly heavy subject.

The knowledge imparted to students of Bible prophecy in this generation is almost crushingly heavy — I believe that is the reason that the Lord promises a special crown to those who willingly shoulder its burden.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

Watching God work has another unexpected consequence. It tends cause us to see ourselves in the reflected light of His glory –and it isn’t a pretty sight. Sometimes when that happens, it also manifests itself in one of our forums.

There was an entry by a brother just the other day lamenting his spiritual condition before the Lord. He begins by confessing he is ‘haunted’ by the fact he isn’t sure he is saved.

Let me address that brother first, before returning to the wider issue at hand, since we all struggle with that issue at one time or another.

If you can follow me around this mental circle. . . If I DIDN’T wonder if I was saved from time to time, THAT would be a reason to worry. I KNOW how far short of the glory of God I come. I know me in my innermost, darkest places.

If I was God . . . well, let’s just say that it is a good thing for ME that I’m not.

So if I started to think that I was good enough to be saved, and that’s why I wasn’t wondering, then maybe I wouldn’t be.

Stay with me, here. This is one of those circular thoughts that, once you get it, slings you out the other side where the light is better.

If you are wondering how can it be that you are saved, as unworthy and unfit as you are to be saved, then by those very doubts you qualify as one of God’s redeemed.

“Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” When John Wesley penned the words to that hymn, he was haunted by his sin, too.

When God works all around you, when you watch Him change the course of nations, set up and tear down rulers according to His Word, when you actually witness Him manipulating events to conform to His prophetic outline, it tends to remind you of who you ought to be before Him.

There is another lesson taught by prophecy that is often overlooked — not who you ought to be, but who you actually are before the Lord.

He knew, down to the tiniest detail, what you would be thinking and doing as you committed the worst and most unforgivable thing you ever did in your entire life — and He saved you anyway.

You are the one that He loved so much that He paid the penalty for all yours sins on Calvary so you and He could be friends for eternity.

You are the one He loved so much that He told you, in advance, what to look for in the last days, so you wouldn’t be scared.

“Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God. Believe also in Me.”

There is a crown of righteousness laid up for you and me at the Bema Seat as a special reward for carrying the weight of what we know and being willing to share it while there is still time.

I believe that Michael Spencer is right. The end of evangelicalism is close — it’s no more than a trumpet note away. We can see it. We can feel it. The weight of this sin-sick world is too heavy for us to bear for much longer.

Which is why, praise the Lord, we won’t have to. He’s coming.

Note: This Letter is even more luminous today than when it was written.  Alf Cengia’s “Iran – Now they’re Talking! ” reveals through the happenings in the Middle East further evidence that our faith is not in vain.  Tick. Tock.

My Favorite Holiday

My Favorite Holiday
Vol: 146 Issue: 28 Thursday, November 28, 2013

Of all of the various holidays, Christmas is the most fun. To my mind, it always has been. I loved it as a kid, but I’ve loved it even more since becoming an adult.

It is the one time of the year when I get to express my love and appreciation to my family and friends without anybody feeling awkward about it.

But Christmas isn’t my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving Day is.

I love its historical purpose. It is the one time of the year when America expresses its collective love and appreciation to our Creator God for the many blessings showered upon us as a nation.

Thanks to the foresight and faithfulness of America’s Founding Fathers, even in the rabidly secular post-Christian America of the 21st century, there remain a significant number of Americans who still heed 2nd Chronicles 7:14:

“If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The fact that despite America’s many sins, America remains the most Divinely favored nation on the face of the earth is evidence that God heeds His promise in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 as well.

That is what I love most about Thanksgiving Day. The opportunity to witness God’s continued involvement in the affairs of men.

During the American Revolutionary War the Continental Congress appointed one or more days of thanksgiving each year. And each one carried a recommendation to the executives of the various states for the observance of these days in their states.

George Washington, leader of the Revolutionary forces in the American Revolutionary War, proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving in December 1777 as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga. The Continental Congress proclaimed annual December Thanksgivings from 1777 to 1783 (except in 1782).

The concept of setting aside a day of thanksgiving is as old and as universal as mankind.

Many countries, such as for example, Asia, Japan, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka have celebrated in gratitude for their rich rice harvest for many, many centuries.

In Africa, many tribal expressions of gratitude are similar as this ancient prayer:

“The Year Has Come Around Again, Great Lord Of Our Land – Never Can We Thank You For Your Good Deeds And All Your Blessings.”

In South America you find many of the native Indian cultures have expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving. Modern Brazil has a special public day of thanksgiving and prayers and has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November since 1949.

In Chaldea. ancient Egypt and Greece, harvest festival has been celebrated with great rejoicing.

The Hindus and the Chinese marked their harvest with a holiday. The Romans celebrated their Thanksgiving early October. They dedicated it to the Goddess Of The Harvest, Ceres, and the holiday was named “Cerelia.”

Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia, offered the first or last sheaf of wheat to the “Great Mother” or the “Mother Of The Wheat”, believing that earth power was a feminine force.

The annual “Declaration of World Thanksgiving”, is signed by 12 world leaders — religious leaders, scholars, scientists, philosophers, artists — representing various religions and cultures from around the world.

Assessment:

If everybody celebrates thanksgiving in some form or another, and if the tradition goes back to the ancient Chaldeans, then what is so American (or Christian) about Thanksgiving?

The answer should be obvious. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Scripture tells us.

America is, hands-down, the most abundantly blessed nation on the face of the earth. Sharing in that blessing are Canada, Australia, New Zealand and some of the nations of Western Europe.

Those nations also share the tradition of offering thanks to the Almighty God of the Bible for their blessings.

Israel also has a tradition of thanksgiving, called Sukkot. Sukkot has three names: Hag HaAsif – The Festival of Ingathering, Hag HaSukkot – The Festival of Booths, HaHag – The Festival), which comes on the fifth day after Yom Kippur, lasts for seven days.

During that time the Israelis remember the protection God gave them during the forty years they spent traveling in the desert. The Jews also celebrate the ingathering of crops during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Like the Christians, the Jews offer their thanks to the True Author of blessing, and like the Christian nations, are among the biggest recipients of God’s provision and protection.

Places like India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, etc., have traditional celebrations in which they give thanks to pagan gods.

What the pagan gods are able to deliver in return is self-evident.

“Yet ye have forsaken Me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more.” (Judges 10:13)

The reason that I love Thanksgiving Day above all other holiday seasons isn’t the turkey (but I love that) and it isn’t the feasting (but I love that) or the parades, or the football games or any of the secular trappings that go along with it.

It is because I get to watch God keep His promises. When God told Abraham of the coming destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham pleaded with God until the Lord agreed that if there remained yet ten righteous men in the city, He would stay His execution on the city.

Even though not ten righteous men could not be found, for the sake of Lot and his family, the Lord arranged first for their evacuation, before bringing judgement on the city.

Each Thanksgiving Day, Americans acknowledge the Creator and offer Him thanks for His blessings. And a walk through American history shows that every year was more abundantly blessed than the year before, with one notable exception.

The longest period of economic stagnation in US history was the period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War. Economic growth was all but non-existent and banking panics were commonplace.

The Banking Panic of 1837 almost tanked America — in 1861, Abe Lincoln had to issue ‘greenbacks’ — in essence government IOU’s — to finance the Civil War.

It is especially interesting in light of the fact that, from 1816 to 1861, there were no presidential Thanksgiving proclamations issued.

America was therefore ‘blessed’ accordingly.

We live in a post-Christian era, but there remain a few righteous men left, in a handful of nations, that still heed the national call for thanksgiving and prayer.

Thanksgiving Day renews my hope that, as in Lot’s case, the Church will be evacuated before God executes judgement on a lost and sin-sick world.

“And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.” (Jeremiah 30:19)

Offer up thanks to Our Creator, the Almighty God of Israel, Isaac, Jacob. Let Him hear the ‘voice of them that make merry’ — wherever you may be.

I pray each of you have a happy Thanksgiving Day. God bless you all.

Note: From all of us at Omega Letter we pray these messages from Jack and J.L. Robb add a little extra blessing to your day.  We are very thankful for all the Lord has bestowed on us during these perilous times. Maranatha!

Lawful, But Not Expedient

Lawful, But Not Expedient
Vol: 146 Issue: 27 Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It therefore seems probable that Peter expected to encounter some.

Assessment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Note: This OL caused quite a stir for Jack back in 2011. Tonight begins Hanukkah which rarely coincides with Thanksgiving so it seems appropriate to update the fellowship with this LetterAlthough Butterball claims they no longer practice Halal, there may have been consequences. Is this just another conspiracy theory? Pete Garcia’s column today, “Conspiracy Theory” shows us that often times the truth is stranger than fiction. 

And If The Dead Rise Not. . .

And If The Dead Rise Not. . .
Vol: 146 Issue: 26 Tuesday, November 26, 2013

“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)

Throughout the New Testament, the word translated as ‘mystery’ comes from the Greek ‘musterion’ which literally means ‘secret’ or ‘hidden thing’. In our modern English, however, ‘mystery’ is understood in the Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmesian sense of the word.

Paul’s use of the word ‘mystery’ when describing the Rapture in 1 Corinthians 15:53 means a truth that had not yet been revealed.

Paul cannot be referring to the Second Coming of Christ; His return at the end of the Tribulation is one of the oldest prophecies recorded in Scripture.

Daniel 12:1-3; Zechariah 12:10; 14:4 all mention the 2nd Coming, and Jude quotes Enoch, the “seventh from Adam” who “prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints.” (Jude 1:14)

The Rapture, therefore, is a previously unrevealed secret, a ‘hidden thing’ of God previously unknown to men.

As the end of this present Age approaches, there are many Christians who are beginning to wonder if we might already be in the Tribulation now.

We aren’t.

Assessment:

There are lots and lots of folks who think I am ‘way out there’ for adhering to a pre-Tribulationist doctrine. (I know this to be true, also, because I get emails from them every time I comment on the Rapture, saying, “Kinsella, you’re way out there!”)

They’ll go on smugly (and endlessly), playing word games like “the word ‘Rapture’ isn’t even in the Bible’ — as if that meant something.

(Try and find the word ‘Bible’ in the Bible. Does its absence from the Scriptures mean there is no Bible?)

Or babble mindlessly about Margarent MacDonald and C.I. Schofield, before pronouncing Dispensationalism and a pre-Trib Rapture a modern-day ‘invented’ doctrine.

I say ‘mindlessly’ because they don’t know what they are talking about — they are just quoting somebody else’s research as if it were the Gospel itself.

We have dealt with the Margaret MacDonald argument in previous Omega Letter reports, so we won’t address that particular ‘controversy’ here, other than to note that the Apostle Paul wrote of the Rapture 1800 years before Margaret MacDonald.

Instead of building the argument based on what the Bible doesn’t say about the Rapture, it is helpful to take a good close look at what it DOES tell us about the Rapture.

First, notice that the Rapture involves the movement of believers from the earth to Heaven:

“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.” (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

The ‘dead in Christ’ rise first, those believers who are ‘alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. The operative word here is ‘rise’.

On the other hand, at the Second Coming, the Lord returns WITH His saints;

“To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (1st Thessalonians 3:13)

So the Rapture is not the same event as the Second Coming.

And things that are different are NOT the same.  What would be the point of Rapturing the Church then, anyway? The Lord returns to establish His kingdom on earth, so why pull out all the Christians?

Who is He gonna rule?

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on His right Hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:32-33)

If all the believers are raptured at the Second Coming, that would also include the Tribulation saints. Where would the believers in mortal bodies come from, if they are raptured at the Second Coming?

Who would be able to enter into Christ’s Kingdom? Enquiring minds want to know.

Then there is Daniel’s 70 weeks. The Church was absent for the first sixty-nine weeks — the countdown was suspended at the Cross so the Church could be born.

Daniel makes it clear that all 70 weeks are determined upon Israel.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8)

If the Bride is made ready to accompany Christ to the earth at the Second Coming, (while part of the bride is still on earth during the Tribulation) then how does the Bride (the Church) also come with Christ at His Return?

There is the example of Enoch: “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) Not only does Enoch prefigure the Rapture, note that Enoch’s Rapture was pre-Flood,  and not mid-Flood or post-Flood.

The Scriptures are plain, clear and concise on the topic of a pre-Tribulation Rapture — provided one interprets the Bible literally, instead of figuratively or symbolically.

While no man knows the day or the hour of the Rapture, the Second Coming can be accurately predicted, since Daniel tells us He returns exactly 1,290 days after the antichrist;

“opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)

The pre-Tribulation Rapture is often called the “Blessed Hope” by those who look for His return before the Tribulation begins. Those who believe the Church will go through the Tribulation sneeringly call it the ‘Great Escape’.

Don’t let anybody steal away your Blessed Hope:

“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. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1st Corinthians 15:16-19)

The Rapture happens before the Tribulation, which means that He is coming for us soon! Call it the Blessed Hope or the Great Escape, He IS coming.

And given the current state of global affairs, it  can’t be too much longer until we hear that trumpet.

Maranatha!

Note: Today’s Letter points out the common misconceptions of what the Rapture is. Wendy Wippel’s “Choosing Sides“, gives us an overview of Israel’s global popularity status.

Concerning Edom. . .

Concerning Edom. . .
Vol: 146 Issue: 25 Monday, November 25, 2013

Edom is the name given to Jacob’s brother Esau after Esau sold his share of his inheritance to Jacob for a bowl of red bean stew.

Esau and Jacob were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau, the first-born, was so named because he was born covered with red hair.

The root meaning of ‘esau’ is ‘hairy’. The root meaning of ‘edom’ is ‘red’.

Esau was a hunter and outdoorsman and evidently not the sharpest tool in the shed, whereas Jacob was more of a dreamer and schemer.

Jacob conned Esau out of his share of his inheritance from Isaac, which Isaac had inherited from Abraham, who ‘inherited’ it directly from God.

Being first-born carried great status; the first-born was presumed to be God’s choice as default heir to the father’s wealth, power and authority.

But even before Esau’s birth, the Lord told Rebekah that her older son would serve the younger.

The Bible says the battle between the two brothers began in the womb; Jacob was born clutching Esau’s heel, as if attempting to claw his way out first.

The Bible says that after an unsuccessful day of hunting, Esau came home “famished” and found Jacob cooking a pot of red bean stew, or ‘pottage’.

He asked for some, and Jacob asked if he would be willing to trade his inheritance for it.  Esau agreed.  The whole story only occupies a few lines of Scripture, so I am sure the exchange was broader than that.

The Bible account makes it sound like Esau was being flippant: “thus he despised his birthright.”  Maybe Esau meant it, maybe he didn’t.  But Jacob clearly intended to take it seriously.

So Jacob made good on the deal by tricking Isaac into giving Jacob the blessing that traditionally would be reserved for the first-born.

The blessing, once given, could evidently not be retracted. When Esau found out, he swore to kill Jacob.  So Jacob moved to Haran in what is now Iraq to work for Rebekah’s brother. (Follow along with me, here. The lineage is important.)

Esau intermarried with the Hittites and the Ishmaelites, including Mahalalath, the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.

After Isaac died, Esau took his wives, his children, his servants and his cattle and moved away from his brother to Mount Seir in Edom, a territory bordered by the Jordan River and including much of modern Jordan, including Petra.

After the Babylonian captivity the Edomites, (called Idumeans by the Greeks and Romans) were driven north by the Nabataeans to the areas around what is today southern Judah and Samaria in the West Bank.

The Idumean’s chief city was Hebron, which was captured by Judas Macabeeus in 163 BC. The rest of the West Bank area was conquered by  John Hyrcanus in 127 BC, who compelled the Idumeans to be circumcized and convert to Judaism.

King Herod Antipater and his son King Herod the Great were Idumeans, or Edomites, who were set up as puppet kings by the Roman occupation.

After Jesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin, He was sent to stand before the Idumean King Herod. Thus any lingering claim by Esau was satisfied as the descendent of Esau stood in judgment over a descendent of Jacob innocent of any sin of His own.

Justice was satisfied.

Assessment:

The Book of Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament at only 21 verses. But Obadiah’s theme could have been lifted directly from the pages of the Jerusalem Post.

“The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a message from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the nations, Arise you, and let us rise up against her in battle.” (Obadiah 1:1)

It is all about the abuse of God’s people, God’s land, and God’s Holy Hill, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The villain, the guilty party, will end up devastated. Obadiah identifies the guilty party as Israel’s twin brother Esau (Edom), together his physical (Edomite) and spiritual (Ishamelite) descendants.

Obadiah accuses Edom of “violence against your brother Jacob.” (v 10) This is not an isolated incident of violence, but systematic, repetitive, unrelenting violence.

The Book of Obadiah reads as a formal indictment against Edom and their allies. One of the first things to examine in prophecy is the time frame in which it applies. Some prophecies were given for the near-term, others are for the long term.

In Obadiah’s case, it is both.

Or, put another way, Obadiah looks at Edom from beginning to end in a glance. The abuses accumulate throughout history, and end with the establishment of God’s rule on earth.

It is a broad chronological perspective ranging from the Destruction of the First Temple to the end of days.

Visions that prophets were given are not always restricted to a thin slice of time. Some encompass a very long period of time, as is the case in the Messianic prophecies.

Some were fulfilled at Jesus’ First Advent, others will be fulfilled in His Second. Some verses contain prophecies that address both Advents in the same verse.

The prophecy concerning Edom is one such “dual-fulfillment” prophecy, as we’ve discussed in previous briefings.

Verse 10 indicts Edom of violence against ‘thy brother, Jacob’.

Verse 12 indicts Edom for celebrating Israel’s catastrophes;

“Neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.”

Compare that verse to images of chanting crowds of Palestinians dancing for joy at the news of a new bombing attack against Israeli civilians. Or the cheering crowds that celebrated Saddam’s missile attacks on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War.

Verse 13 indicts Edom for ‘entering the gates of my people’. When the British Mandate ended in 1948, the Arabs immediately seized the Old City of Jerusalem.

It took until 1967 for the Jews to re-take the city. They still have no control over the Jewish Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount, remain at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict, as God said they would.

Completing Obadiah’s identification of modern ‘Edom’  is his mention of the emblem of the Palestinian Authority.

“Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.”

The PA’s official emblem is the eagle. And the timing is right.

“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the nations: as you have done, it shall be done unto you: your reward shall return upon your own head.”(v. 15)

“And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD has spoken it.

“And they of the south [the southern Kingdom of Judah – the Jews] shall possess the mountains of Esau; [The West Bank] and they of the lowlands the Philistines: [The Gaza Strip] and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, [Judea] and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. [the Galilee.]” (v. 18-19)

Tick . . .tick. . .tick.

Note: Today’s Letter is a lesson from the Book of Obadiah.

Unrepentant Christianity?

Unrepentant Christianity?
Vol: 146 Issue: 23 Saturday, November 23, 2013

There was a post in our member’s forums under the heading, “Unrepentant (Christian) Sinners” asking the question I am sure every Christian struggles with throughout their walk with the Lord.

“What about someone who professes to be a Christian and accepts they are a sinner, and admits Jesus died for their sins — yet they continue to live an unrepentant sinful life?”

We all know someone that went to church, accepted Jesus, then fell away and right back into the life they were living before they got saved.   They still talk about Jesus and use Christian buzzwords when around other Christians, but that is about the visible extent of their conversion.

They don’t go to church but they still go to bars. They seldom pray but they swear like sailors. They claim to believe, but they don’t seem to obey.   Are they really saved?  

Taking the perspective of the forum questioner, the transformation of an angry, worldly person over a long, painful period didn’t just happen.  It took a lot of willing sacrifice.  It isn’t a question of salvation by works — the question is, if there are no works after salvation, then is the salvation itself real, or imagined?

Can someone believe themselves to be saved and heaven-bound without demonstrating any kind of relationship with Christ?  Quoting the forum post directly, can a person  “just claim knowledge of the saving grace of God, but never put it into practice?”

“I fully understand works don’t save — but works are a product (fruit) of our being saved.  I’m just fully confused by this particular dynamic of a so-called Christian who lives a completely non-Christian life.”

I sympathize with the questioner and the question.  Living the Christian life isn’t easy, and the transformation process from one extreme to the other is so painful that a lot of Christians prefer not to make the trip.  

But is the transformation a requirement of salvation?  For that, in the final analysis, is the actual question.    

One of the most familiar parables of the New Testament is the one about the prodigal son. First, a little background.  Jesus was responding to criticism that He associated with tax collectors and sinners.  

“Tax collectors” were those Jews who collected taxes (often brutally) from other Jews on behalf of Caesar and were universally despised as traitors.  To a Jew living in Jerusalem at that time, a Roman tax collector was a sinner so egregious as to warrant his own category.

By way of reply, Jesus told the parable of the man with two sons. The younger requested his inheritance early, which he then took and squandered on riotous and sinful living.  Ultimately, the younger son found himself competing with pigs (the most foul and unclean destiny an observant Jew could imagine) for husks of corn in a pigsty.

Meanwhile, the elder, more serious son stayed at home and put his love for his father into practice, working the fields,  obeying his father’s commands, serving him faithfully.  

The contrast here is stark and deliberate.  And if it sounds like the questions posed in the member’s forum, I don’t believe the similarity is accidental.  

On one hand, we have an unrepentant, lustful, disobedient son squandering his inheritance on sinful living, shaming his father everywhere he goes. He cares about nothing but himself and wastes all that his father gave him.

On the other, we find the obedient, hardworking and honorable son, working at his father’s business, because he loves his father.  He isn’t working at his father’s business to earn his inheritance.  He already has that by virtue of his sonship.  He is working  that  hard out of love.

So when the disobedient, lustful son shows up and is received as an equal to the obedient son, the obedient son says, “How can this be?” 

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” (Luke 15:29-30)

The elder son had a legitimate point — when viewed from the perspective of the elder son.   Still, the lesson seems to be that, even as the elder son wasn’t being obedient to earn his inheritance since it was his by sonship, the younger son didn’t lose his sonship because he squandered his inheritance either.

So the answer to at least one of the questions, which is, “Can a person be a son of God without putting their faith into practice?” would appear to be, yes. 

One is a son of God or one is not.  It is an issue of relationship, not behavior.  One does not behave oneself into a family relationship.  One need not even be in fellowship to be in a family relationship. 

I know of many a father and son who have no fellowship to speak of, but that doesn’t make them unrelated.  They are still father and son.   

Which brings us to the next, and most obvious question.  How does one enter into a family relationship with God? 

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  ” And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31)

“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.”  (Romans 10:9)

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.: (1 John 1:9)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15)

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

(“Abba” is the Hebrew equivalent to “Daddy” — and that is how the Lord pictures the relationship between the Father and a Christian.)

Then there is this: No matter how one slices or dices or restates it, there is a moment of salvation.  For each of us, there was a moment before we were saved, then there was that moment when we were saved, and then came the moments afterwards.

The English Bible translates repent from the Greek word metanoeo,  which means, “to change one’s mind” — in this case, about one’s sin.  So an “unrepentant Christian” is an oxymoron.  If one is a Christian, one has already changed one’s mind about one’s sin.

The moments that come afterwards cannot undo the moment that has already occurred.

Assessment:

There are some other important lessons to be gleaned from the story of the prodigal son that apply here. First, note the status of the prodigal son. He is welcomed with a party and the father has killed the fatted calf.  

He is still his father’s son. 

But as the father tells the obedient son,  ” Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  The obedient son’s reward is that his full inheritance is intact.  The prodigal son gets nothing but a warm greeting and a place to call home.

The obedient son lived a sheltered life, protected by the father and never suffered the indignities, pain, hunger, shame and guilt that racked the prodigal’s life.  The obedient son will always be in charge. The prodigal is grateful to have a bed.

We get another picture of the difference between the obedient son and the prodigal son in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians describing the Bema Seat.

“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. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14)

This is the obedient son standing before the Judgement Seat of Christ.  

He is the one that is confused by the Christian who seems to live a completely non-Christian life.  When he stands before the Bema Seat, he will receive the rewards due him for his struggles and for his obedience. 

Then comes the prodigal son. 

Notice that he is also standing before the Judgement Seat of Christ.  Not because of his obedience, but because of his status as a son.  That status was extended to him at the moment of salvation. 

At the moment of salvation, he changed his mind about his sin and accepted the Pardon extended to him.  He asked to be washed clean of his sins and to be forgiven and adopted into the forever family of God and he was saved. 

Now he stands before the Bema Seat of Christ to be judged for his rewards, or “inheritance.” Like the prodigal son, he has status as a son, but he squandered his inheritance on riotous living. He didn’t work alongside his brother out of love for their father.  But he is still family.

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15)

Those Christians that are like the prodigal son aren’t “getting by.”  We have no idea what Heaven will be like.  We only know what we’re told.  Like the fact that some Christians will be made rulers over ten cities, others only five, and still others will have what little they have taken from them.

“Once saved always saved” does NOT mean one has a license to sin. Your sin WILL find you out. If it is a habitual sin, it will kill your body.  It will kill your witness.  It will kill your effectiveness for Christ. 

Sin has consequences in this life. It also has consequences in the next.

There will be kings and princes among us.  That means there will also be subjects and servants.   There will be mansions, some greater than others, which suggests that there will also be shacks. 

If one looks at the Bema Seat in terms we can understand, the reward for the one that is saved as by fire is that he is allowed to live.

That is what “being saved” means.  You are saved from the second death.  You are allowed to live.  The rest is determined by your rewards, which is what you earn by obedience.

Maybe as a servant. Maybe as a citizen in one of those cities.  Maybe as a city official.  Maybe not. Maybe in a mansion.   Maybe in an apartment.  

Obedient Christians aren’t wasting their time being good when they could be out partying.  They are laying up for themselves treasures in heaven, like contributions to a heavenly 401k.  

You don’t have to have a 401k to retire, but if you don’t, you will regret it when the time comes, and for the rest of your life afterewards.

You don’t have to be an obedient Christian to make to heaven, either. But you’ll regret it when the time comes. 

For an eternity.

Originally published June 27, 2012