Forgetting Pearl Harbor

Forgetting Pearl Harbor
Vol: 147 Issue: 7 Saturday, December 7, 2013

On December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese government launched a sneak attack against the United States, striking without warning and scoring a devastating blow against a nation that thought it was at peace.

When asked what he thought the Japanese sneak attack against the US Sixth Fleet had accomplished for the Japanese Imperial war effort, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto offered a surprisingly glum assessment.

It was surprising because the Imperial Japanese Navy had scored an uncompromising victory.

The Japanese strike force had succeeded in destroying five battleships, a minelayer, and had sunk or severely damaged three battleships. One hundred and eighty-eight aircraft were destroyed on the ground, and the US Navy suffered 2,333 dead and 1,139 wounded.

By contrast, Japan’s losses were negligible: five midget subs, 29 aircraft and 64 men. Instead of jumping for joy at the victory, Yamamoto said instead, “I fear that all we have accomplished is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

On December 7, 1941, the United States was nowhere near ready for war. It’s fleet was antiquated, its military forces were still at peacetime levels, it had no air force to speak of, and those forces that it did have were poorly equipped.

Some new recruits, in the first few months following the attacks, trained using wooden rifles and mock weapons because there weren’t enough to go around.

But Yamamoto was right. The battle cry, “Remember Pearl Harbor” struck deep into the hearts of every American, and the “terrible resolve” it imbued resulted in the utter destruction of the Japanese war machine just over three and a half years later.

On September 11, 2001, forces loyal to Islam launched a sneak attack against US civilian targets within the homeland, using US civilian aircraft as improvised bombs.

Both of the towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed: the 110 story structures collapsed from the heat of the fires, killing 2,752 innocent American civilians — an even greater death toll than those lost at Pearl Harbor.

A second attack, this one launched against the heart of the US military in the heart of the American capital, destroyed a significant part of the Pentagon’s outer wall and killed another 189 Americans.

And yet a third attack, this one aimed at the US Capitol Building, or perhaps the White House, was thwarted by the passengers aboard Flight 93, who forced that plane down into a farmer’s field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

In total, 2, 974 Americans died on September 11, 2001. Unlike Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of this attack, Osama bin-Laden, danced with glee.

Assessment:

President Barack Hussein Obama was granted his first formal sit-down TV interview — with al-Arabiya TV.

According to the Associated Press, “the interview underscored Obama’s commitment to repair relations with the Muslim world that have suffered under the previous administration.” (italics mine)

Just exactly what did the previous administration do to damage relations with the Muslim world, anyway? Oh, yeah. September 11.

But Obama wants to communicate to the Muslim world that now, “America is not your enemy.”

It’s as if Harry Truman gave an interview to a Tokyo newspaper after assuming office with an eye toward repairing the damage done US-Japanese relations by the Roosevelt administration.

In the interview Barack Obama pledged, in essence, not to keep America safe from the Muslim world, but to keep the Muslim world safe from America.

“My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy,” Obama told the Saudi-owned, Al-Arabiya news channel, which is based in Dubai.

Obama said the United States had made mistakes in the past but “that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that.”

(“See? The war on terror was America’s fault. But there’s a new sheriff in town. I can do better. I am The One.”)

Obama called for a new partnership with the Muslim world “based on mutual respect and mutual interest.” He talked about growing up in Indonesia, the Muslim world’s most populous nation, and noted that he has Muslim relatives.

Quoting the AP directly, “the new president said he felt it was important to “get engaged right away” in the Middle East and had directed Mitchell to talk to “all the major parties involved.” His administration would craft an approach after that, he said in the interview.”

(Much like the Gitmo policy. Act first, plan later. And the press just loves this guy! But anybody with THIS low an opinion of America can’t be all bad.)

“What I told him is start by listening, because all too often the United States starts by dictating,” Obama told the interviewer. Those Americans! No wonder everybody hates them!

The AP went on, gushing that Obama also said that recent statements and messages issued by the al Qaeda terror network suggest they do not know how to deal with his new approach.

(Who is like unto Obama? And who is able to make war with him?)

“They seem nervous,” he told the interviewer. “What that tells me is that their ideas are bankrupt.”

I’ve heard of short term memory loss but this more than a bit ridiculous. I am all for peace with the Muslim world — heck, I think it is a GREAT idea.

So how’s this for the first step towards us all lighting candles and sharing a Coke together?

You Muslim guys take out the terrorists — so we don’t have to. They’re YOUR terrorists. They’re allegedly corrupting YOUR religion. They are giving YOUR neck of the woods a bad name.

It wasn’t 19 Christian American males between the ages of 17 and 35 that hijacked four commercial aircraft on September 11th. It was 19 Arab Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 35 that murdered 3000 innocent civilians.

The problem isn’t the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The problem is the Muslim ideology that creates terrorists so dangerous that Guantanamo Bay is necessary.

The problem isn’t the way that America has prosecuted the war against terrorists. The problem is that the Muslims who watch al-Arabiya are in sympathy with the terrorists.

That sympathy won’t evaporate because Barack Obama heaps the blame on the United States instead of on core Islamic teachings. Instead, it simply confirms to the jihadists that they are right — even the President of the United States can see merit in their cause.

“Ok, we’re dictators and our previous leader was a war criminal. But we mean well. Honest! Let’s be friends. Some of my family are Muslims. Heck, I’m from Indonesia!” Gee, that’s presidential.

I was reading CNN’s analysis of the Obama interview and the reaction from the Muslim world. CNN quoted an Islamabad journalist, Imtiaz Gul: “It’s a good sign of an attempt to reconcile with the Muslim world, to say America wants to reach out to them and not to consider them as an enemy.”

Is your head spinning, too? Until America started getting attacked by the Muslim world, America DIDN’T consider the Muslim world an enemy. Even now, after almost twenty years of attacks by Muslims in the name of Islam against US targets, America STILL doesn’t consider the Muslim world an enemy.

Even after the capital cities of the Muslim world erupted in cheers at the news of the 9/11 attacks, America doesn’t consider the Muslim world an enemy. It ought to. But it doesn’t.

The Muslim world considers America as an enemy. Period. No apologies. That’s just how it is. As they see it, America’s ‘crime ‘against Islam is two-fold.

First, it is guilty of loyalty to Israel. That was the reason given for the fatwa declaring an Islamic jihad against America that kicked off the war on terror. Secondly, America is not under Islamic rule.

When those two conditions are satisfied, Islam will be a peace with America. To believe otherwise requires subscribing to a whole new reality. Like the difference between spinning castles in the air and trying to rent rooms in them.

It is almost as if we are apologizing for September 11. “America made mistakes so let’s just forget the whole 9/11 thing. “

That the interview was seen by the Islamic world as an American attempt to ‘reconcile’ as if America was somehow the aggressor against peace-loving Islam is somewhat sickening.

Reconciliation? Sounds more like dhimmitude.

Note: Today is the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Habour.  In rememberance of that day and for our learning we put together two briefs. Proving once again (as Jack loved to say); “History doesn’t repeat, it rhymns”.

Bible Prophecy: A Singing Telegram?

Bible Prophecy: A Singing Telegram?
Vol: 147 Issue: 6 Friday, December 6, 2013

According to the online dictionary, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.

According to the Mayo Clinic PTSD symptoms include flashbacks, upsetting dreams, emotional numbness, a sense of hopelessness, memory problems, irritability, self-destructive behavior (drinking, drug abuse) trouble sleeping and concentration, hallucinations, etc.

PTSD is fairly common among combat veterans and those with dangerous, high-stress jobs like police and firefighters, victims of violent crime, and sometimes eyewitnesses to violent or stressful events.

Summarized in layman’s terms, PTSD is what happens when you’ve seen too much.  Too much death.  Too much mayhem. Too much chaos. Too much terror.   Or sometimes, by knowing too much.

One can be traumatized by knowledge; it happens all the time. What is more traumatic than acquiring the knowledge that one has a terminal disease and six months to get one’s affairs in order?

The movie, “Asteroid” was all about the trauma experienced by a core group of scientists, politicians and other officials with knowledge of an approaching killer asteroid.

Should they inform the general public when there was no hope?  What would it mean?  Would civilization break down into chaos and lawlessness? 

Knowledge is power.  Not all power is good.  It depends on who has it and what they use it for.   In the 21st century, we even have a term to describe the effects of too much knowledge – information overload. 

Think of it like electrical power.  Electrical outlets are grounded to prevent too much power from burning up the lines or frying whatever is plugged into them.

Too much information with insufficient grounding can burn out a person as efficiently as a bad ground wire can fry a computer or a TV.

Assessment:

I get emails all the time from people that say they subscribe to the OL because they just can’t bear to watch TV anymore.  They want to be in the know – but only on a need to know basis.

If I don’t need to know, I don’t want to know.  I like it here inside my bubble.  

For many Christians, Bible prophecy is like that.  Sometimes, it is just too much information.  If viewed from the perspective of the here & now, there isn’t much about it that is good news.

During a meeting the other day, somebody suggested trying to take a lighter tone.  It sounds like a great idea, except that Egypt is currently descending into chaos as Cairo goes up in flames.  

On the lighter side. . . ummm, er, well . . . (you see what I mean?)  

How does one discuss the end of the world in a light and breezy manner, anyway?  Singing telegram? 

Dum, dum da dum, da dum. . . Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth . . . for the devil is come down to you, knowing he hath but a short time. . . da, dum.

(Maybe an accompanying dance routine?)

Bible prophecy is a wonderful witnessing tool for the unsaved.  Most unbelievers are agnostic – they don’t rule out the existence of God, but they have their doubts. 

Witnessing the unfolding of Bible prophecy before one’s eyes is powerful evidence that God is real.  If God is real, then Satan is real. 

Suddenly, the choices become crystal clear.  On one side is salvation, heaven, and possibly the Rapture.  On the other side is damnation, hell, with the probability of the Tribulation first.

But for Christians happy inside their bubble, Bible prophecy is an information invasion.  They are saved but they don’t really want to know that the Lord is coming soon. 

What does a person do with that kind of information?  What do you tell your kids or your grandkids?  (I recall my own kids hoping the Lord would wait until they learned to drive.)

Bible prophecy isn’t for everyone.  For some, it is just too scary to even contemplate.  For others, it is a kind of ‘gee-whiz’ trivia game in which every single happening is somehow connected to Bible prophecy.

For others, it is evidence that the Lord God is not just real, but that He is alive and deeply engaged in human affairs.  

The chaos of the Middle East, Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons, Russia’s role as Iran’s patron, the climate change debate, global politics, America’s political decline, all these things are part of the Big Picture.

What that means is that what looks like uncontrolled chaos is really part of a larger, pre-ordained Divine Plan, already outlined in advance, like the program of a play.

Events up until now have followed that Divine Plan to the letter, which means that we can have confidence that all things will continue to play out as predicted. 

God remains on the Throne and you can trust His Word.  We will have earthquakes and famines and wars, (oh my!) together with rumors of wars, pestilential disease, ethnic unrest and strange celestial happenings.

But instead of being harbingers of doom, to us they are signs of redemption.  It is not cause for fear, but rather grounds for eager anticipation.  

The same Jesus that warned of war and tribulation and judgment also told the Church:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

How do we know He isn’t referring to His Second Coming in this passage?

When He is ready, He will come for us — and bring us to where He is – in his Father’s House.

Where is the Father’s House? That is where Jesus is preparing a place for us. It is where He is and where we will join Him. 

Contrast that with the Second Coming, Jesus brings judgment on the earth, after which He sets up His Millennial Kingdom.   Notice He is not in His Father’s House, containing many mansions, but returning in power and great glory.

He reigns during the Millennial Kingdom on earth from Jerusalem.  So He can’t be referring to taking the Church to His Father’s House — in Jerusalem.   But that’s where He will be at the Second Coming. In Jerusalem.

Right now, He is still preparing our place in Heaven.  And when it is ready, He will come for us, and receive us unto Himself.  

“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 4:16-17)

At the Rapture, the Lord descends, the Church rises, the Tribulation falls and the Church dwells with the Lord forever.

At the 2nd Coming, the Lord descends, the rebellion is crushed, the Jews are redeemed, the Messiah is anointed and He rules from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.

On the earth, gloom and doom and destruction and judgment on a Christ-rejecting world.   But for the Church, it’s a singing telegram.

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

Dum, de, dum dum dum dum.

Note: Today’s Letter from Jack is a reminder that we are in a battle and like any soldier; there are afflictions to our minds.  Alf Cengia’s “A Tale of Two Conferences” outlines one of the major battles we face in the defense of Truth.

The Christian Hate-Literature Paradox

The Christian Hate-Literature Paradox
Vol: 147 Issue: 5 Thursday, December 5, 2013

Paradox: “A seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true;” e.g., the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking.

Two thousand years ago, becoming a Christian meant becoming an enemy of the state. The simple act of believing meant, under Roman law, being guilty of a ‘hate crime’.

It wasn’t because the Romans were anti-religious. Ancient Rome was one of the most religious empires of antiquity. The Romans had dozens of their own gods and were willing to embrace pretty much anybody’s else’s god, as well.

The only ‘god’ rejected by Rome was the God of the Jews and Christians. To be accepted by the God of the Jews required converting to Judaism and forsaking all other gods. To be accepted by the God of the Christians required converting to Christianity and forsaking all other gods.

Your average Roman had room to worship his own gods, (and anybody else’s) but he drew the line at worshipping one God exclusively. And the doctrine that only worshippers of the One True God could go to heaven left out all the pagans.

That’s why Christianity qualified as a hate crime in AD 55.

Christians were persecuted in revenge for what the pagans perceived as Christian persecution of pagans in the afterlife.

Sounds a bit simpleminded, no?

No.

The reason for modern persecution is the same reason given by the Emperor Nero’s forces. It violated the Roman socio-religious principle of ‘vive et vivas’ [live and let live].

That same principle is at the heart of secular humanism, and its variations are found throughout pagan religious systems, from Buddha’s karma to Wicca’s ‘Do no harm’.

The Christian doctrine specifically consigned followers of all other religions and gods to an eternal hell.

As such, Christianity is exclusive, intolerant, and therefore, hateful.

Assessment:

The concept of Christianity as a ‘hate crime’ seems so foreign to believers that they can’t really believe that anybody really thinks that.

Christianity’s Golden Rule dictates that Christians love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Jesus also said that, on those two commandments, “hangs all the law and all the prophets.” In other words, it is the distilled essence of what it means to be a Christian. Love.

This is where the world gets hung up. “If Christians are so loving, why can’t they leave the rest of us alone?” A loving God, they argue, would not exclude good people just because of a religious tag.

Imagine for a second that you are an honest, law-abiding atheist. You are driving down the freeway at the speed limit when some bozo comes screaming by you at 30 mph over the limit and sporting a bumper sticker proclaiming, “Honk if you love Jesus.”

You think, “And that hypocrite thinks you aren’t good enough for heaven, but he is? Grrrr.”

Christianity is, of course, a religious worldview singularly devoted to the causes of peace and love. We’ve noted in the past that where the spiritual dimension makes contact with this dimension, it creates a paradox.

The Temple Mount is claimed by all three world religions, but the weakest claim is, paradoxically, Israel’s, whose claim is both the oldest and best attested to.

Israel’s land grant comes directly from God, as recorded in the Old Testament.

Both Christians and Muslims claim the Old Testament as one of their Holy Books and Abraham as their spiritual kin. Yet Israel’s claim is the weakest.

It is a paradox.

When the spiritual dimension meets this physical dimension, things get topsy turvy. Christians obtain victory by surrender, for example. Islam can claim a reputation of peace and love based on its history of violence and repression, and nobody blinks.

The Koran has become so sacred that our military forces take sensitivity training on how to handle it without desecrating it, but the Bible is forbidden in public.

No American politician or mainstream media outlet would dare refer to “Jesus the Savior” but show no hesitation at using the designation, the “Prophet” Mohammed.

America is a culturally-Christian secular republic populated almost entirely by Christians, either cultural or born again believers. And Islam is a theocratic religion with almost no presence in either American society or American history. But officially in America, the Bible is hate literature. The Koran is sacred.

It is a paradox.

We know Christianity to be rooted in the greatest of love. Christianity defines love itself as being God himself.

“Love is of God, for God is love” (1st John 4:7-8)

But at the same time, Christianity IS intolerant of other religions. It IS exclusive:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me,” (John 14:6) is both intolerant and exclusive.

Jesus is the ONLY way to Heaven, so by definition, all other faiths are condemned, along with their adherents.

Jesus said of Himself,

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

Christians know their faith to be rooted in peace and love. But the Founder of Christianity says He is come to ‘bring a sword’ rather than peace, and to bring ‘variance’ instead of love.

The Bible explains this paradox in a manner that makes perfect sense to indwelt believers to whom it was given to understand it. And that explanation infuriates the world even more.

“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.” (1st Corinthians 2:14)

To the natural man, Christianity is a hateful, exclusive and intolerant faith. To the Christian, it is the exact opposite.

Christians know, in their living spirit, a definition of love that escapes the natural man.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36)

The most loving thing a Christian can do is lead someone to Christ and eternal salvation. The most hateful thing a Christian can do is stand idly by and let someone die in their sins. To the world, it is a paradox.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18)

To the world, the Bible is hate literature and Christianity is a hateful religion. We know it to be the exact opposite.

That paradox is by itself, clear evidence of the power of God — but discernible only to we who are saved.

Ever have doubts? Remember the paradox. If it all makes sense to you, put your doubts away.

Note: Today’s Letter highlights the paradox of the natural and spiritual realms.  J.L. Robb’s, “The Third Temple Prophecy: True or False” also explores the consistent contradictory mindset of the world.

Why the Heathen Rage

Why the Heathen Rage
Vol: 147 Issue: 4 Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sometimes, as events overtake us and the horror of the situation threatens to overwhelm us, it helps to take stock of the actual situation we are eyewitnessing.

Paul, writing to the Romans who were under the reign of the mad Emperor Nero, reminded them to,

“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.” (Romans 13:1)

Note there are a number of key points Paul made that speak to us across the centuries as we consider the wisdom of what our government is about to do in our name.

First, Christians are strictly enjoined to be “subject to the higher powers” (our government). But what if we think our government isn’t following Scripture to our satisfaction?

Or if we disagree with our government’s foreign policy? Or if we oppose the current administration. Or what if we just plain think our government is wrong and not following God’s leading?

Paul writes, “For there is NO power but OF God” because God put them there for His sovereign purpose. From George Bush to Saddam Hussein to Jacques Chriac. “The powers that be are ordained of God.” How else does one interpret that?

Every government interacts with other governments which then have an effect on how history plays itself out.

Since God is the Author of history, ‘Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done,” as He says in His signature passage in Isaiah 46:10, then it stands to reason that whoever is in power in any nation at any point in history is there because it will interact with history in order for it to play itself out according to God’s overall plan.

Because He has already declared it, and declared its outcome.

This is something that is very important to understand as we enter the dark days ahead.

Paul continues in Romans 13:2,

“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”

This doesn’t infer that there is something wrong with criticizing our government. That is our right because of the kind of government we have.

And Paul himself invoked his right as a citizen of Rome, because it was his right to invoke by virtue of his citzenship.

That is different than resisting our government. There is an unusually thin distinction between ‘criticism’ and ‘resistance’ during wartime, especially given the vulnerabilities exposed on 9/11, and to my mind, some have come pretty close to the line, if not actually crossing it.

That said, Paul enjoins Christians to show due allegiance to our leadership, because God put him there according to His purposes.

We as Christians have our own duty to accept God’s purposes as our purposes, or else what does surrendering our will to God really mean?

But with that assurance that Paul gives us that “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), we can face the gathering clouds of potential global war with a bit less fear.

God is in charge. Or nobody is. (Now, THAT’S a scary proposition!)

As the war progresses, we are going to run into a lot of worried people. And they’ll have a lot of questions. We have the answers because we have a Bible.

This is one of those times when the fields are white with the harvest, but the laborers are few. But that’s who we assemble your Omega Letter for — the few. You.

You are the ones that people are going to ask, ‘what does this mean?’

Every month you put your money where your heart is, which makes my job enormously easier because I know I am addressing dedicated fellow one-on-one evangelists. Not lurkers in the shadows.

God’s army for the last days conflict.

So take heart in the dark days ahead! God has a plan for our government, He has a plan for Iraq, He even has a plan for this war.

And He has a plan for somebody who sees all this begin to come to pass and wants to know that he too can look up and know his redemption draweth nigh.

And all that is needed to advance God’s plan for that person is you.

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

In short, to be equipped for our own battle in our own spiritual war.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.” (Psalms 2:1-4)

May God bless you all in the days ahead, and may God bless America.

Note: In today’s Letter, Jack reminds us of our mandate while we are in this world.  Pete Garcia’s “Dispensational Truth: Part 1” gives us some of the essential tools to fulfill that mandate.

Faith in Something

Faith in Something
Vol: 147 Issue: 3 Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Faith, the Bible says, is the substance of things hoped for and the expectation of that not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) It is indeed a divine description (pun intended) of something all of us have but few of us can describe.

In saying all of ‘us’ having faith, I mean the entire human race. There is no person, lost or saved on this planet that doesn’t have faith in something.

Consider an atheist with a job and a credit card. He goes to work on Monday because he expects to be paid on payday. Midweek and out of cash, he uses his credit card to pay for lunch, spending on Wednesday.

He works in exchange for the expectation of that not seen, (paycheck), his faith so strong that he spends some of it (the substance of things hoped for) on Wednesday, although he doesn’t see it until Friday.

When you get right down to it, that takes a lot of faith. But billions of us live that way, day after day, week after week, for our entire adult lives, and never really give it much thought.

One has faith in a spouse. By her presence, she is both the substance of things hoped for (a happy, lifelong marriage) and the expectation of things not yet seen.

I place my faith in the fact that Gayle wants the same thing and the two of us are working toward the same end to our mutual benefit. But the chief requirement for a happy marriage is mutual love, and that is where my faith is rooted. In her love. Without it, the rest would be impossible.

I am no different in that regard than anybody else, believer or unbeliever. It takes incredible faith and nobody gives it much thought.

Faith without trust is impossible. If I didn’t trust that my employer would meet the payroll, I would be less inclined to stay on that job. Or even show up for work.

If I couldn’t trust Gayle, there would be neither the substance of things hoped for nor the expectation of that not seen (a happy future together).

In the spiritual context, I believe in the promises of Scripture. The substance of things hoped for is my current relationship with Christ. It has substance because my faith has changed my life. I know what it was before Christ. I know what happened when I surrendered to Christ. I know how much different it is now.

There is evidence of things not seen.

But my relationship with Christ is not perfect. Not yet and not now. I remain a sinner, trapped in what Paul referred to as the ‘body of this death.’

“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)

Paul speaks of the imperfect relationship with Christ thusly;

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1st Corinthians 13:12)

It is that second part of that verse that contains the substance that I hope for; when I see Him face to face.

For now, as Paul says, my relationship is like looking through a piece of smoked glass, I only know ‘in part’. My sin nature keeps getting in the way, blocking my view, and obscuring the details.

It is that sin nature than caused Paul to echo my frustration and pain when he wrote:

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. . . For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. . . “(Romans 7:7-25)

It takes a lot of faith to overcome that kind of spiritual conflict. I am saved, I am going to heaven, I will see Jesus face to face, and I am a habitual sinner.

I do what I hate, I want to do good and fail, I hate evil before I do it . . . if I were God I wouldn’t wait for me to stand before the Judgment Seat, I’d just dissolve me into a pink mist and start over.

That is where ‘trust’ makes its appearance. The guy who doesn’t trust his boss will meet payroll will quit and start looking for another job.

A marriage where one cannot trust one’s spouse will end in divorce, and both sides will go out looking for somebody else to put their trust in. ‘Faith’ and ‘trust’ are two sides of the same coin, but they are not the same thing.

I trust that Jesus will do what I cannot.

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

There are believers that believe in Jesus. They believe that He lived a sinless life. That He died for the sins of the world, and that He was Resurrected on the third day. They believe that He washed their sins away when they were saved.

But they don’t trust Him. Having surrendered their lives to Him at salvation, they take back both control and responsibility the next day. They construct an artificial table of rules, and then despair when they still fall short.

There are some pretty famous atheists who proudly boast that they are former ‘born again’ Christians — Ted Turner comes to mind, but there are others.

I often wondered how this could be. How someone could have expressed faith in Christ, only to divorce Him later? I have also heard of ex-preachers who lost their faith.

This also gave me pause. How could someone whose faith was so strong they became preachers of the Gospel just quit and start looking for another job?

Faith cannot exist without trust. As trust diminishes, so does faith. If I cannot trust that Jesus will sustain my relationship with Him, then how can I have faith that I will see Him face to face?

If I put my trust in my ability to meet His perfect standard, then my expectation of things hoped for is based on the substance of that which IS seen, i.e., my ability to conduct myself in a sinless manner. No wonder there are those who lose their faith! They put it in the wrong place.

James writes; “O vain man . . .faith without works is dead?” Those who have faith in God but trust in their own works to sustain their faith often point out James 2:20 as evidence that salvation is the product of faith AND works.

They miss the context of the next verse;

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (James 2:21)

In context, James is speaking of trusting God, not doing good works. Trust me, if you kill your son on an altar, you won’t be doing a ‘good work’. Instead, James explains,

“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.” (James 2:24)

Abraham ‘believed God’ — he was willing to kill his son at God’s command because he trusted God would not hold that sin to his charge. THAT is what God ‘imputed unto him for righteousness’.

Trust. Not ‘good works’ as defined by a religious sect or church group. Trust. (Abraham was gonna cut his son’s throat, for crying out loud.)

A young man asked Jesus what he lacked for salvation;

“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” (Matthew 19:21-22)

Jesus was making the opposite point to what many Christians come away with.

Jesus KNEW what the young man would say. He put an impossibly high standard on salvation to make a point His disciples immediately picked up on.

“When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?”

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25-26)

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” . . . “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 11:6)

“Now unto Him THAT IS ABLE TO KEEP YOU FROM FALLING, and to present you FAULTLESS before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

Note: Jack shares with us today that everyone has faith in something. Wendy Wippel’s “Isaiah in the High Places“, explains where “the enlightened” place their faith.

And the Moon Into Blood . . .

And the Moon Into Blood . . .
Vol: 147 Issue: 2 Monday, December 2, 2013

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:31)

Throughout history, solar and lunar eclipses have been taken as a sign from Deity. In 585 BC, a solar eclipse darkened the battlefield during a pitched battle between the warring Medes and Lydians.

At the sun’s disappearance, both sides laid down their arms and declared a truce.

The ancient Chinese believed it was the sign of a dragon which had swallowed the sun. They believed that the dragon had to be slain to prevent the end of the world. 

So every eclipse, they would sweat it out, praying that whoever was facing the dragon would prevail.

China’s ancient astronomers were tasked with predicting when the dragon would arrive to swallow the sun – a time dominated by rituals of drums and chanting.

The emperor depended on the advance notice in order to send his archers to scare off sun-swallowing dragons.  Dragons played a similar role in explaining eclipses in ancient India and Indonesia.

Ancient astrologers were very good at predicting eclipses.  Besides the Chinese, the Magi of Mesopotamia kept very detailed records and both the Greeks and Romans had similar astrological systems incorporated into their religions.

There was a total lunar eclipse just before Christmas. It was the first total lunar eclipse in almost three years. It was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice (December 21) since 1638 and only the second since the time of Christ.

In addition, the December 21 eclipse was unusually red, due to the eruption of Mount Merapi in Indonesia in late October.

Less than two weeks later and only four days into 2011, a partial solar eclipse darkened the skies over Europe, North Africa and western Asia.  

In most years, a solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on earth twice a year, with a corresponding lunar eclipse a couple of weeks later.

Mark Blitz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonner Lake, Washington, noted the unusual pattern of lunar and solar eclipse activity included a rare ‘tetrad’ to occur in 2014.   A ‘tetrad’ is the name NASA assigns to the occurrence of four consecutive lunar eclipses, an event so rare this will be but the 8th time since the time of Christ.

The years 2014-2015 overlap into a Jewish Sabbatical year.  Finally, Blitz noted that they will occur on the Jewish Feasts of Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and again in 2015.

J.R. Church noted that the two solar eclipse events will ALSO occur on Jewish Feast days; the first on Nisan 1, the Jewish New Year and the second on Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashana):

“On each of these six Jewish Holy Days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light, Will this happen again in the 21st century?  No.  Did it happen in the 20th century?  Yes, in 1949/1950, the year following Israel’s statehood, and 1967/1968, the year Jerusalem was liberated in the Six-Day War!  Before that, you have to go back to 1493 for four successive lunar eclipses on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.”

According to J.R. Church, Pastor Mark Blitz, and a number of others, this means that the coming 2014-2015 Sabbatical year is probably the beginning of the “final week of the end of this age”  or the Tribulation.

Could they be right? 

Assessment:

You will probably be surprised at the answer to that question.  Yes, they could be right.  Jesus said that among the signs of His soon return would be signs in the sun, moon and stars. 

He wasn’t specific – He didn’t spell out what the signs would say. But He DID say where to look for them.  He said they would be in the sun, moon and stars – but there is more to it than that.  He said the signs would be accompanied by the distress of nations with perplexity, or confusion.

The ISV translates Luke 21:25 this way: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and there will be distress on earth among the nations that are confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves.”

The signs in the sun are undeniable. For the last two solar cycles, and since the turn of the 21st century especially, the sun has been misbehaving in ways never seen in living memory. 

“We’re witnessing something unlike anything we’ve seen in 100 years,” said David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama in a June 14, 2010 article at space.com.

Typically, a cycle lasts about 11 years, taking roughly 5.5 years to move from a solar minimum, a period of time when there are few sunspots, to peak at the solar maximum, during which sunspot activity is amplified.

The previous cycle 23’s extraordinary minimum recorded the highest number of days without sunspots that researchers had seen since 1913, said Hathaway.

According to the report, the sun is “out of synch” and has been since about the turn of the 21st century. And recent observations by astronomers using the space-based Hubble telescope almost always include the word “unusual.”

The unusually weak solar minimum has baffled those True Believers convinced that global warming is both a threat to the planet and caused by human activity.   The planet appears to be cooling and human activity seems to have nothing to do with it.  

But they continue to warn that without immediate and expensive remedial changes, melting ice in the oceans will cause the sea levels to rise and wash away coastlines. 

So we have the sea and the waves roaring, causing worldwide fear and confusion. Particularly since melting ice doesn’t add water volume, but that is another story.

This story is about the possibility that Pastor Mark Blitz and J.R. Church could be right in their observation that the 2014-15 Sabbatical Year could be the first year of the Tribulation Period. 

The admonition against date-setting is pretty precise.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up” (Matthew 24:43)

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Revelation 3:3)

Notice just how specific the admonition against date-setting really is.  “The day and hour” – “which watch” and “what hour” – what Blitz and Church are looking at is what year.

Could they be right?  Could we be but three years from the Rapture, at the most?  Is it possible that they have, by watching the signs, have correctly predicted the year the Tribulation will begin?

Sure, its possible!  That is why Jesus GAVE us the signs of the times.  So we would know what to look for.  So we would know when it was near, even at the doors.  

I’ll go a step further and say I even think they are probably right.  The Lord is coming. And He is coming soon.  Very soon.  Maybe even before 2014.

It’s as sure as the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

Maranatha!

This brief was originally published January 6, 2011.