Finding the Lost Tribes

Finding the Lost Tribes
Vol: 156 Issue: 30 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Most people have heard of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.  For those that have not, the phrase refers to the ancient Northern Kingdom of Israel which was defeated and overrun by Sargon II of Assyria in the eight century BC.

After the death of Solomon in the 10th century BC, the ten northern tribes rejected Solomon’s successor, Rehoboam, preferring instead Jeroboan, who was not of the Davidic line.  

The Ten Lost Tribes are believed to be the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim, and Manasseh.  The Tribe of Ephraim and all Israel raised the old cry, “Every man to his tents, O Israel”.

Rehoboam fled to Jerusalem, and around 930 BC, Jeroboam was proclaimed king over all Israel at Shechem.  After the revolt at Shechem at first only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David.  But very soon after the tribe of Benjamin joined Judah.

Shechem was the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel.  Shechem is today located in the West Bank, in what was formerly Biblical Samaria.

The northern kingdom continued to be called the Kingdom of Israel or Israel, while the southern kingdom was called the Kingdom of Judah.  2 Chronicles 15:9 also says that some members of the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh and Simeon fled to Judah during the reign of Asa of Judah.

During the three-year siege of Samaria by the Assyrians, Shalmaneser V died and was succeeded by Sargon II of Assyria, who personally recorded the capture of that city: “Samaria I looked at, I captured; 27,280 men who dwelt in it I carried away” into Assyria.

Thus, around 720 BC, after two centuries, the kingdom of the ten tribes came to an end.  The Bible relates that the population of Israel was exiled, becoming known as The Ten Lost Tribes.

That left only the Tribe of Judah, the Tribe of Simeon (that was “absorbed” into Judah), the Tribe of Benjamin and the people of the Tribe of Levi who lived among them of the original Israelites nation in the southern Kingdom of Judah.

The Kingdom of Judah continued to exist as an independent state until it was conquered in 586 BC by Nebuchanezzar of Babylon.  The Kingdom of Judah (also known as Judea) lost its independence under the Babylonians and subsequently became a province of a succession of empires.

It was transferred as a possession of empires; from Babylon to Persia to Greece to Rome.  In AD 70 the Romans destroyed what was left of Judea, Jerusalem and the Temple and exiled the Jews from their homeland, which the Romans renamed “Palestina” after the Phillistines.

They settled in Asia Minor until they were driven out by the Byzantine Christians, and later, by the Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, who ruled from 1077 to 1922.   

Palestine had no independent status during the Ottoman Empire.  As European powers expanded their foothold in the region and as Zionism brought Jewish immigrants to their ancestral homeland, no one could define Palestine’s contours.

A picture emerged only in the early 1920s under the British Mandate, which extended from the Jordan River to the sea, from the upper Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba.

The 1948 war created a de facto partition, but no Palestinian state.  Jordan took the West Bank, and Egypt grabbed the Gaza Strip, filled with refugees from Israeli areas that now included 78 percent of the British Mandate territory.

When Israel captured the Egyptian Gaza and Jordanian West Bank in 1967, the ‘Palestinian people’ were created out of the displaced Arabs.

When Sargon destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, he did what conquerors did in those days; he transplanted the population of Israel to elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire, and then relocated elements of other subjugated people in their place.

From the time that Sargon II captured Samaria and the Northern Kingdom of Israel until May 14, 1948, there was nowhere on earth known as “Israel” and no such nationality as “Israelite.”  Citizens of the Southern Kingdom of Judah became known as “Jews”.

Still, the Prophet Ezekiel’s writings are filled with references to a future place called ‘Israel’, one that he describes as “the people that are gathered out of the nations” (38:12) and then further describes as “my people of Israel” (38:18)

Ezekiel wrote of Israel’s regathering in the last days. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet is shown a valley of dry bones. Those dry bones, the Lord explains, are the “whole house of Israel”(37:11) that the Lord says would be restored in the last days.

Six hundred years BEFORE the remaining Jews of Israel were scattered by the Romans, the Lord told Ezekiel of their regathering in the last days.

“Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezekiel 37:21-22)

The fulfillment of this amazing prophecy could not be more obvious. The Jews of the Diaspora have indeed ‘come from among the heathen’ from ‘every side’ and returned to the Promised Land.  Including those that were once believed lost to history.

Precisely as predicted in Scripture for the last days.

Assessment:

When I was in Arizona a couple of years back, Jonathan Bernis had just returned from Zimbabwe.  Jonathan told me that he had been home for only four days this year.  JVM has dedicated itself to ministering to the Lost Tribes of Israel, both body and soul.

Here is how Jonathan Gannon, JVM’s Director of Outreach, described the trip.

On Tuesday the adventure went to the next level. We boarded a seven-passenger Cessna twin propeller airplane and flew deep into a remote bush area of Zimbabwe. Once we arrived, we checked into a small lodge and headed even deeper into the remote southern regions of Zimbabwe. We drove for nearly three hours over unpaved roads. My body is still bruised from the bumpiness of the drive.

We drove directly to the home of Chief Mbosi, the regional leader of the Lemba community. Honorable Member of Parliament Hamandesche, also a member of the Lemba tribe, accompanied us. We quickly affirmed that these remarkable people were Jewish. Their customs and practices bore all the markings of authentic and ancient Judaism. In fact, the “head men,” or elders of the community, are called Tzadikim, a Hebrew word for “righteous ones.”

Like something out of a movie, Jonathan Bernis formally greeted the chief and presented our team and objectives for coming. It was instantly evident that they were thrilled to see us. We got excited that we would be able to offer them a clear presentation of the Gospel. Some members of the Lemba are Believers, but most are not. The Lord has yet again led Jewish Voice directly into a harvest field of Jewish souls ripe for the Good News of Yeshua!

While I was visiting their Phoenix headquarters, I witnessed what the Apostle James (2:17) was talking about when he wrote, “faith without works is dead.”   

I watched as they packed up some five truckloads of medicines and other medical supplies and shipped them to Zimbabwe for the next step in JVM’s ministry to the Lembas. 

The mission of JVM is to save souls, and to lead God’s Chosen People into a saving knowledge of Christ, which is itself a formidable undertaking.  

But here is what the Apostle James meant by “dead” faith.

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:15-17)

Jonathan told me that the nearest dentist to the Lembas is more than 200 miles away.   There are no hospitals or clinics for the Lembas.  So Jewish Voice Ministries is shipping a hospital clinic, complete with doctors, dentists, medicine and medical equipment, from Phoenix, Arizona to the outback of Zimbabwe.

It is just one of JVM’s medical outreaches aimed at presenting the Love of Christ to lost Jewish communities of the African interior.  It is one thing to say “Jesus loves you. Be saved!”  But it is another thing altogether to say, “Jesus loves you. Be fed, clothed, healed and saved.”

How far would you go to spread the Gospel?  How much time would you spend away from your home and family?  How many people have you been involved in leading to Christ?  

Consider the following statistics.   In just the past year, JVM has led medical teams and outreach workers to minister to the lost Jews of Ethiopia and India.  JVM provided medical treatment to 7200 people in Woliso, Ethiopia in February, 2011.  They also led 832 people to Christ!

In May, in Addis Ababa, JVM treated 9,043 bodies, and while they were at it, they saved 1,463 souls.  In October in Gondar, they treated 7,224 bodies and added 1,696 souls to the Kingdom.  In Manipur, India, they treated 6430 bodies and 316 souls.

Thanks to the efforts of Jewish Voice Ministries, some three thousand, four hundred and seventy-five backwoods African tribesman will never stand in judgement before the Great White Throne, but instead will be rewarded at the Bema Seat of Christ.

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” (Matthew 25:40)

Featured Commentary: The Late Great Holy Scriptures ~ Wendy Wippel

Speaking Christianese

Speaking Christianese
Vol: 156 Issue: 29 Monday, September 29, 2014

When a Jew or a Gentile becomes a Christian – or what the Bible calls a new creature – the Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in their soul.  That is the point at which the transformation takes place and the new creature is born.  It is at that point we know that we are born again.

To those of us who are saved, all that goes without saying.  It is how we know that we are saved – the Bible tells us so:

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)

I get letters all the time from people complaining about how we’ve already covered something in a previous OL. 

But not everybody is on the same page, so to speak, either in their doctrinal maturity or their time in the OL.  So sometimes it is important to go back and make sure everybody else is up to speed. 

And it never hurts to have heard a doctrine explained so many times that you can repeat it in your sleep.  My challenge is to find enough different ways to explain the same thing that you stay interested until that happens. 

But the primary objective is to translate Christianese back into an understandable form for the uninitiated.   

The first paragraph of today’s briefing serves as an example of the kind of unintelligible Christianese that we blithely rattle off and are then surprised to have it met by an uncomprehending stare.  It is intended as a summary of what it means to become a born-again Christian. 

Is there anything about it you don’t understand?  I’m guessing not.  Is there anything in it that sounds complicated?  Again, probably not. 

Do you explain it much differently when you are explaining to a lost person what it means to be born again?  Have you ever given much thought to how much information that summary presupposes is already common knowledge?

These questions are so basic that we don’t give them a second thought. Sometimes we skip right over them without explaining them.  Sometimes, I’ll get an email that reminds me that I’ve presupposed too much. 

What is a Gentile?  What do you mean by ‘soul’?  I have a soul – is that the same as my spirit? What new creature?  What do you mean, ‘born again’?

Yesterday I got an email from a lady who wanted to know, “Who or what is the Holy Spirit? “ 

Without knowing that, how complicated are concepts like “indwelling” and “born again?”

Assessment:

The simple answer is; “The Holy Spirit is the third Person in the Trinity.”  But that raises the next obvious question . . . “Trinity??”  Oh, boy – we’ve still not even covered the differences between soul and spirit.

Your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions – that intangible part that makes you ‘you’.   It is your self-awareness.  Your spirit is a fourth element which is dormant, or stillborn.  

At the point where a person cries out to the Lord for forgiveness, his spirit is ‘quickened’ or made alive, by the Holy Spirit of God.  That is the first time that His Spirit bears witness with our spirit.  It is at that point that one is said to have been born again. 

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

Ok, what about the “water” part?  Just before a baby is born, the mother’s ‘water breaks’ signalling the start of the birth process.  The birth process continues into natural birth, but the spirit is stillborn.  The process is only fully completed when the spirit is ‘quickened’ and one is reborn spiritually.

By default, every human being is born either a Jew or a Gentile.  The Bible identifies a Christian as a “new creature” reborn from that basic stock. 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

Think of a caterpillar being ‘reborn’ as a butterfly.  All butterflies were once caterpillars.   No butterfly has ever reversed the process. 

When a Jew or a Gentile becomes a Christian, it is a transformation that begins with changing one’s mind (repenting) about one’s sin, and is completed when one is forgiven by grace through faith and indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Now we’re back to ‘indwelling’ by the Holy Spirit.  Who or what is the Holy Spirit?  Oh, and what about the Trinity?  

The Bible presents each Member of the Trinity as having a distinct ministry insofar as man is concerned.  God the Father sits on the Throne of Heaven as the One Who holds the universe together.

In this light, it is interesting that, although science can split the atom, it cannot explain what holds it together in the first place.  Whatever holds it together also contains its energy.  It is the splitting of a single atom that releases the explosive power of the atom bomb.

In His capacity as God the Father, He is the Force that binds the atom.  If God forgot me for one second, I would be a radioactive crater the size of Manhattan.

The Bible tells us that the Second Person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ, is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. John 1:1-3 reveals of Jesus that,

“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1)

Jesus is also the Savior of the world.  He created it, He justified it by His blood, and He will judge the world according to His Word.

The Third Person in the Godhead is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.  He is our source of spiritual power and authority and it is through His indwelling presence that He guides and leads us into all truth as we journey through this life.

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Let’s look at the context.  Jesus has just revealed that He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him. (John 14:10)

Then He promises another Comforter He says will “abide with you forever.” 

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

Who is this Comforter, this Spirit of truth, He that ‘dwelleth with you, and shall be in you’?

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

All this information is lost to the lost when we lapse into Christianese. 

“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)

So it helps when one doesn’t need a translator. 

Featured Commentary: The Pre-Post Tribulation Rapture ~ Pete Garcia

”I Believe”

”I Believe”
Vol: 156 Issue: 27 Saturday, September 27, 2014

I just can’t get the results of a 2008 Pew Poll on Religious Attitudes in America out of my head. It so troubled me that I kept going back to it, thinking that somewhere I must have misread something.

But no, there it is, big as life. The question was formed as an agree/disagree statement.

When asked, “Do you agree that many religions can lead to eternal life?” fully 83% of mainstream churches, (including both mainstream Protestant and Catholic) indicated that they agreed with the statement.

What does that really mean? These are, ostensibly, Christian churches. That is to say, churches founded on the teaching of Jesus Christ and the writers of the New Testament.

We often speak of ‘milk’ issues and ‘meat’ issues in our briefings and discussion forums. The ‘meat’ issues are the ‘deeper’ things of Scripture; like Bible prophecy, Dispensationalism, eternal security and so on.

But one cannot grasp the ‘meat’ issues until one first has a handle on the ‘milk’ issues. The most important of these is salvation.

If one is not saved, according to the Scripture, there is no possible way one can grasp the deeper doctrinal issues.

“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 1:18, 2:14)

The milk doctrine of salvation is summed up in a single verse of Scripture delivered by Jesus Christ Himself:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

Does this mean that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation? Let me put it another way: does this leave room for another path to salvation?

Not according to the Apostle Peter:

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

If Jesus Christ is NOT the only way to heaven, then, by definition, Christianity cannot lead to heaven at all.

The essence of Bible Christianity is this: “You can’t do it, so Jesus did.” Whether or not one is saved depends on whether or not one agrees with that statement.

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Romans 2:12)

This is the condition of every human being — either they are under the Law of Moses or they are not; spiritually, all humanity is either Jew or Gentile.

But the Bible also speaks of a third creation of God — a ‘new creature’ in Christ.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It teaches that those sinners who recognize their hopeless state under the Law can be justified through faith that;

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

What does ‘believing in Him’ mean? Does it mean believing that there was once a Jewish carpenter named Jesus who was a wise man and a good teacher who was put to death by the Romans?

In a word, no. Not even close.

It means understanding that God loved me so much He stepped out of eternity and into space and time in the Person of Jesus Christ, to live the life expected of me.

And, having lived the life God expects of me, He suffered the penalty that I so richly deserved — on my behalf.

It is that understanding that breaks down the barrier between me and God. Without that understanding, the death and resurrection of Jesus is irrelevant to my own condition. If my condition is not hopeless apart from Christ, then it isn’t hopeless at all.

And if Christianity is not the only way to heaven, then, again by definition, there must be several ‘heavens’. No man has ever seen heaven. So how do we know that it exists?

Because it says so in the Bible. That’s where we learned of it. If the Bible is accurate about the existence of heaven, then it is equally accurate about its entrance requirements.

According to the Pew poll results, 83% of mainline Christian churches do not meet the minimum requirements necessary for admission.

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. ” (Revelation 3:16)

While the response to the first question stunned me, the response to the question: “There is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion” absolutely floored me.

In the first place, the premise of the question itself assumes that there can be more than one ‘truth.’

This is illogical to the point of delusional. There can be many variations of truth, in the sense that there are many variations of ‘red’ — but only one of them is pure ‘red’ — the rest contain shades of red.

There is only one ‘truth’. Everything else is different. And things that are different are not the same. For example, the Bible is the Word of God, and therefore, infallible “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2nd Timothy 3:16)

Today’s column contains the Word of God — but it is NOT infallible on any of those issues. And if this column were to conflict with the Word of God — (ie; by denying Jesus is the only way to heaven) it would NOT be an alternate ‘truth’ even though it contains the word of God.

This may be a good place to restate the bedrock truths upon which the Omega Letter is founded.

First, we believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as FULL propitiation (payment) for our sins.

“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1st John 2:2)

There is NO alternative religion that can lead to eternal life apart from Christ. If there is, then Christ is dead in vain.

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

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, inerrant in its original languages, and preserved by God through the ages. It contains the full and complete record of God’s interaction with man.

We reject any suggestion that there can be more than one ‘truth’ on the basis of ordinary logic and the dictionary’s definition of the word, ‘truth.’

We believe that salvation is eternal, and that, while man has free will to accept or reject the offer of salvation procured for him by Jesus, God in His foreknowledge is already aware of the choice each of us will make.

This in no way eliminates free will from the equation. When my kids were little, I often knew what choices they would make before they did.

The fact that I knew what their choices would be had no effect on the choices that they made at the time that they made them.

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

This is by no means a complete statement of faith — but it is the bedrock upon which Biblical Christianity rests. It is the ‘milk’ of the Scriptures. Without an understanding of the Cross and the role it plays in one’s salvation, one can never grasp the meaning of the word ‘truth.’

“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)

Pew’s poll results DO serve as a wake-up call to us all, however. Don’t assume that just because somebody goes to church on Sunday that they have already ‘finished their milk’ — so to speak.

Odds are 83% in favor of the assumption they haven’t even picked up the glass.

Mystery Babylon

Mystery Babylon
Vol: 156 Issue: 26 Friday, September 26, 2014

A question was posed in one of our forums asking if it could be that America is actually Babylon the Great of Revelation.  It’s an excellent question and well worth looking into.

“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Revelation 18:21)

As one reads through all of Revelation 18 it certainly sounds like a word picture describing America; with her multi-billion dollar drug habit, multi-billion dollar porn industry, addiction to oil, and so forth.

Revelation Chapter 17 describes the great scarlet whore, a word picture of the decadence debauchery and prostitution of religious Christianity upon the earth. 

“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” (Revelation 17:3-6)

Daniel spoke of four world empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.  John speaks of seven — and then speaks of an eighth.   

“And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come, and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eight, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Revelation 17:11)

History records six great empires; two before Daniel (Egypt, Assyria) and four afterwards (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome).

Confused yet?  Wait. I’m not done.  Five have fallen, John says, and one is.   The one in existence in John’s day was the Roman Empire.  

John says the next empire, the seventh, which is not yet come, will be short-lived. John appears to say that the seventh is also the sixth, and simultaneously the eighth.  It’s not as confusing as it sounds. Not really. 

Revelation 17:2 interprets the ten horns on the beast as, “ten kings which have yet received no kingdom” these are future kings, not kings of John’s day.

The future beast is a government of ten kings who yield their power and strength over to the center, to an arch-regent, as described by the Prophet Daniel.

“And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.”

John pictures the beast as an empire. Daniel’s horn had eyes and mouth speaking great things.  Which is right? Actually, both are right. 

The beast is a system, personified by a man, but actually administered by two men, separated according to specialty.

Revelation 13:1 introduces the political beast, who rises up out of the sea (of nations).  Revelation 13:11 introduces the religious beast, “coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.”

Both the first beast and the second beast derive their power from “the dragon” or Satan.   In John’s day, the seat of secular authority was Imperial Rome. 

By the 3rd century AD, Rome had become the seat of religious authority when Emperor Constantine declared Christianity the state church of Rome and the Emperor as Pontifex Maximus of the Christian Church.

“Pontifex Maximus” literally means “the greatest bridge builder” and was the title conferred on the high priest of the College of Pontiffs in ancient pagan Rome. 

The College was ancient Rome’s most sacred priesthood of advisors to the Roman Emperor-god.

The Pontifex Maximus has been applied to the Roman popes since at least the 3rd century.  When political Rome collapsed in the early 5th century, it transferred much of the political power from the state to the Pontifex Maximus. 

The Roman Empire which in John’s day was present tense (beast that is) became the beast that was and is not and yet is. 

The papacy openly ruled Western European Christendom from early 4th century until well after the French Revolution and continues to be the single most politically powerful religious figure on earth.

Is the False Prophet the Roman Catholic pope?  I don’t know.  That often gets me accused of Catholic bashing, but that’s not a fair assessment. I believe the Rapture takes place before either the political antichrist or the False Prophet show up.  

What is a Church after all the Christians are gone?

Assessment:

Whether one wants to take issue with me over the Vatican being the seat of Satan’s power after all the Christians have been Raptured or not is secondary to the question I originally set out to answer. 

Could the Babylon of Revelation be America?  Revelation’s Babylon is presented in two parts; religious Babylon, as described in great detail in Revelation 17, and economic Babylon as described in Chapter 18.

The fall of economic Babylon could easily be interpreted as a description of America in decline:

“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

It sounds like America, home of Nashville, Hollywood and Wall Street, breadbasket to the world and home to the great merchants of the earth.   Certainly, one could line America up with the deception of ‘sorceries’ (Greek, pharmakea, or use of drugs), but that’s as far as one can take America before the Bible shuts it down.

“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 18:22-24)

America is not soaked in the blood of prophets and saints – that honor belongs to Rome.

It is just as difficult to find a major role for America during the Tribulation Period as it is to find a role for the Church.   The Bible makes it clear that during the last days, all eyes are on the battlefield.

God’s attention will be turned to Israel and Satan’s attention will be focused on Europe.  America isn’t the Babylon of Revelation. 

Laodicea, maybe.  But not Babylon.

Featured Commentary: Dreaming About Islam ~ Alf Cengia

Real Christianity

Real Christianity
Vol: 156 Issue: 25 Thursday, September 25, 2014

For most Christians, there are two kinds of Christianity.  There is the kind of Christianity everybody else should embody — and there is the kind of Christian that they are.

Generally speaking, one bears little or no resemblance to the other.

The kind of Christianity we expect from other Christians is one of sinless perfection; a person who explodes into profanity when he hits his finger with a hammer is not a ‘real Christian’ or he would have been able to check his language.

A Christian who drinks or goes out for a drink in a restaurant or bar isn’t a real Christian.  Christians don’t drink.  A Christian who is going through a divorce isn’t a real Christian.  A real Christian would tough it out, remembering Christ’s admonition about divorce.

A Christian who still smokes isn’t a real Christian.  A real Christian would have been delivered from that nasty habit by the saving power of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

There are Christians who think other Christians shouldn’t have a weight problem — ‘gluttony’ is one of the few besetting sins actually named in Scripture, together with drunkeness and adultery.

(In general, other fat Christians don’t see obesity as a sin — it is a ‘disease’ or it ‘runs in the family’ or it just isn’t as bad as smoking or drinking.)

Still, a fat Christian going through a divorce, who turns to the bottle to drown his sorrows isn’t a real Christian.

Real Christians are never out of fellowship with the Father.  If they are, then they are ‘lost’.  That begs the question, were they ever ‘found’ in the first place?

There are two sides the question of eternal security.  One school of thought is that one can lose one’s salvation through sin and must be reborn again.

The other school of thought says ‘once saved, always saved’.  The latter view says that if someone continues to sin after salvation, then they probably weren’t really saved in the first place.

A quick look at the former view and how that stacks up to Scripture: “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26-27)

Those who believe one can lose one’s salvation through wilfull sin point to this verse, focusing on the “if they sin wilfully” part as evidence that it IS possible to ‘fall away’ and be condemned to ‘certain’ ‘judgment and fiery indignation’ in hell.

But Hebrews 6:4-6 says, “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6)

The other side points out that it is ‘impossible for those who were once enlightened’ TO fall away.  Both miss the message.

What this Scripture teaches is that it is impossible, if one DID ‘fall away’ to ‘renew them again to repentance’ , since that would mean crucifying’ to themselves the Son of God afresh,’ putting Him ‘to an open shame’.

Renewing AGAIN to repentance would mean that the first Sacrifice was insufficient, and His Power to save is subordinate to our power to sin.

As Hebrews 10:10-11 tells us, “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right Hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.”

Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, assumed the form of sinful man so that He could pay the penalty for sin forever.  On the Cross, He was reviled, beaten, crucified naked, and bore in His Body the sins of all mankind on their behalf.

If His one sacrifice for sins was ‘forever’ but was insufficient to keep those Whom He had saved, then His shame at the Cross is not over.  He must continually be ‘sacrificed’ for sin.

Moreover, if it is impossible, having once been saved, to be renewed unto repentance, then the lost Christian is in much worse condition than the lost sinner.  The lost sinner still has a chance to be saved.

The lost Christian is, on the authority of Scripture, lost forever.

He had his chance, he blew it, and now there remains ‘no more sacrifice for sins’.

He might as well continue in sin for all he is worth. He has no hope of further redemption.  Or Hebrews 6:4-6 is meaningless.

Something cannot be simultaneously possible and impossible — things that are different are NOT the same.

Assessment:

Often, I am accused of preaching a ‘license to sin’ — usually by the ‘temporary security’ crowd, but also sometimes by those who believe their eternal security is eternal and cannot be lost.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  There is no ‘license’ to sin, and all sin will be judged by God.  But that doesn’t mean Christians DON’T sin.

Now the questions grow more confusing.  If a Christian can sin his way out of being saved, which sin is the one that constitutes ‘falling away’?  Is it murder?  Rape?  Lustful thoughts?  Drinking?  Smoking?  Drug abuse?

I know of Christians who became addicted to prescription drugs.  Are they lost?  At what point did they slide across the line?  When they doubled up their Valium prescription, or when they started buying them on the street?  Should Christians even TAKE Valium?

Is taking a prescription tranquilizer the start of the slide — or evidence the slide has already occurred?  Is your doctor contributing to your sin by practicing medicine?  Should you avoid doctors?  Or just ignore their advice?  Why even go SEE a doctor?

What IS sin?  James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

If a Christian ‘knoweth to do good’ but doesn’t do it, Scripture says that to him, that is sin.  Christians, therefore, either ALWAYS do good, or they sin.

Do you know anybody who ALWAYS does good?  Do you?

If not, then are you lost, condemned forever to hell, since you blew your only chance? (Hebrews 6:4-6)

There are two kinds of Christianity, as I noted at the outset.  The kind of Christian you expect your pastor to be, and the kind of Christian that YOU know you are — while despairing your shortcomings.

But only one of them is real.

Your pastor will NEVER live up to the standard of Christianity you expect of him.  You just don’t know his secret sins.  But you can bet they exist..

Just like yours do.

How many sins does it take to get out of fellowship with God?  The answer is one.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

How much obedience does it take to get right with God?  The obedience of One is sufficient to make us righteous, if we trust Him for our salvation.

Of the two kinds of Christianity, there is only one that is real.

Yours.

Not your pastor’s — or your perception of your pastor, or his perception of you.  Or your Christian friends who continually point out your need to ‘put away your besetting sins’.  They have their own.

(How many of them are walking advertisements for the sin of gluttony?  Do they have a ‘license’ for that sin that you don’t have for yours?  Is John Hagee forever lost?  Sure, he can lose weight.  And YOU can quit smoking, drinking, or whatever.  But he is still fat, and you still smoke)

There is no ‘license’ to sin.  There is only sin.  Our natural state is that of a sinner.  Evil is the absence of good.  Note that the default position in this world is that there is first evil.  Evil is dispelled by good — not the other way around.

Consider a totally dark room.  Darkness is the absence of light.  The default is darkness, not light.  It takes energy to make light to dispell the darkness.

Absent the energy given off by light, it remains dark, and not the other way around.

You cannot shine a beam of darkness into a lighted room.

Jesus said that we are ‘children of the light’ that is, we are energized by the inherent goodness of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  His Presence in the life of a believer dispells the darkness by shining through the clear Light of truth.

It is that Light that exposes the darkness of sin — a lost person sees sin as his natural and inevitable state — how many times has somebody told you that they actually would RATHER go to hell where he will feel comfortable around his friends?

On the other hand, a saved person, indwelt by the Light, wants nothing more than to be in the Presence of Christ for eternity.  Even as he struggles with his sin nature.

The worst thing about hell to a Christian isn’t the torment so much as the eternal separation from Christ — “Having once tasted the heavenly gift” — the writer of Hebrews puts it.

Sin has consequences — their is no ‘license to sin’ in Scripture.  Smokers get lung cancer.  Alcoholics get liver disease.  Drug abusers overdose.  Divorce brings its own misery.  Getting saved eternally doesn’t mean you are exempt from the earthly consequences of your sinful actions.

There is only one REAL Christianity.  And it isn’t your pastor’s, or that person who seems to have conquered sin in their life, or Bill Graham’s kind of Christianity, or Hal Lindsey’s or mine.

There is only one kind of REAL Christianity.

Yours.

You know whether or not you sincerely try to do good, whether you always make it or not.  So does the One Who went to the Cross for you because He KNEW you wouldn’t always make it.  That’s why He did it.

Your relationship with Jesus is unique; it isn’t like anybody else’s. Jesus saves us individually.  He loves us individually.  He answers our individual prayers.

He walks with us as individuals, He talks with us as individuals.  His Spirit indwells us individually, and guides us through our individual trials and tribulations.

Paul wrote to the Phillipians; “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)

“Work out your OWN salvation” with the Individual with Whom you have a personal relationship.  Through His Spirit, Jesus will guide you into all truth, but it takes time.

For some, it takes more time than others. Like the fat guy who criticizes you for smoking — he clearly hasn’t gotten it yet.

He misses the fact that when he points a finger at you, there are three pointing back at him.

Jesus was crucified, arms outstretched and palms up.

The biggest besetting sin of all is the one that keeps you from doing ‘good’.  In this life, the Scripture says that the only time we do good is when we obey God’s will.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)

Our purpose in this life is to lead others to Christ — according to God’s will that none should perish.

Be grateful that He accounted you worthy of salvation.  Put your life and your sin nature in His nail-scarred Hands.

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

You will never be ‘good enough’ — but He is.

Trust Him to make the changes in your life that He sees fit.  Know that you are a work in progress and that your life is ordered according to a Divine Plan — one God has for YOU.

“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)

The only REAL Christianity is the kind that brings victory, not defeat.  Leave defeat in the world it was designed for.

Pray instead that God will, “Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His Sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:21)

That is NOT a license to sin.  It is a license to persevere, getting back up when you fall, doing God’s Will — despite the trials of this world — none of which are news to Jesus.

Don’t let the enemy steal your victory.

It came at too high a Price.

Featured Commentary: Christianity Lite ~ J.L. Robb

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption
Vol: 156 Issue: 24 Wednesday, September 24, 2014

It is easy to see why secularists — and even many Christians — have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of what is called the Rapture of the Church.  When you take a step back and look at it, it does sound a little, er, weird.

Describe it without using Bible terms and see how it sounds:  People will suddenly disappear without warning, and will be transported — alive — into the air, and from there, it’s off to heaven.

What people?  Only the ones that believe. . .  if you aren’t a believer, you will be left behind.  If you aren’t a believer, how does that sound to you?  A little nuts, right?

Some years ago, I appeared on a National Geographic program called, “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” that pitted “believers” against “experts” over how literally one should take doctrines like the Rapture, the Tribulation and Bible prophecy in general.

“Fundamentalists who believe in the apocalypse call it the Rapture,” the narrator intoned.  Nat Geo played the whole thing strictly for laughs, I thought, taking the Rapture about as seriously as it does Nostradamus.

Is the Rapture doctrine something made up by believers?  Or is it a legitimate part of the whole endtimes’ scenario?  How far back can we trace it?  Is there evidence that God had it planned from the start?

Or is it, as the skeptics say, a recently-invented doctrine from the early 19th century?

Assessment:

In the Book of Leviticus, God issued instructions to His chosen people, the children of Israel, concerning how they were to worship Him.  Leviticus gives instructions regarding the priesthood, the Law and the system of sacrifices.  God also issued instructions for seven designated feasts that Israel was to celebrate each year.

Each of the feasts is significant both to Israel and to the Church in that both highlight God’s provision for His people.  Both His provision for the needs of His Chosen People and His provision for mankind by the coming of the Messiah and His redemptive Work on the Cross.

The seven Levitical feasts played significant roles in the Lord’s earthly ministry and are symbolic of the whole redemptive story, from His death as the Passover Lamb to His Second coming when He will “tabernacle” (or dwell) with His people forever.

The first three feasts take place almost back-to-back, just as do the events that they symbolize.  Passover recalls the day the Lord visited judgment on all those that rejected Him, passing over those whose homes were sprinkled with the blood of a lamb.

Jesus was God’s Passover Lamb offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus died on the Cross and His Body was placed in the grave.  

The Feast of Passover is followed the very next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts one week, and it recalls Israel’s hasty escape from Egypt, (symbolic of the world) during which time there was no time to let bread rise. They ate it without yeast.

The Feast of the Unleavened bread symbolizes when Christ descended into Paradise (with the thief), where He led the righteous dead out of their captivity in Abraham’s bosom and into the presence of God.

The second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Firstfruits.  Jesus is the first-fruits of the Redemption Who conquered death and Hell and rose from the grave on the third Day after Passover.

Fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits is the Feast of Pentecost.  The Feast of Pentecost celebrated the end of the grain harvest.  Pentecost was also the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven, ending His earthly ministry, but not before promising to send another Helper, the Holy Spirit.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit is a reminder that the promise of salvation and future resurrection is as sure as the harvest and His indwelling empowers believers for ministry to bring in the harvest until He returns.

The Book of Acts records Jesus’ ascension into heaven at Pentecost, saying He rose into the air and was received into the clouds.

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Pentecost concludes the spring-time feasts for Israel just as it concluded the Lord’s earthly ministry for the Church.  After Pentecost, there is a period of time before the Fall Feasts begin.   This is symbolic of the Church Age — the Lord has fulfilled the first four feasts of Leviticus to the letter.

To recap, the first three Feasts symbolized His death, His time in the grave and His Resurrection. His sacrifice and Resurrection are past, we have received His Holy Spirit and now we await His Return.  

The first three symbolized the major redemptive events of His First Advent — the remaining four tell the story of His Second Coming.

The Feast of the Trumpets is next on the calendar and it celebrates the waning of the agricultural year.  The growing season is over and the harvest is in the barns.   The Feast of the Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, marks the start of ten days of repentance, or “Ten Days of Awe.”

There are many that believe Rosh Hashanah symbolizes the “Fullness of the Gentiles” and that the Rapture will occur at some time during this ten-day period. How important is that? 

If there is no pre-Trib Rapture,  then the Feast of the Trumpets has no symbolic counterpart and the whole dual fulfillment interpretation falls apart. 

Recall Jesus’ admonition was that “no man would know the day or the hour,” but we COULD know when it was “near, even at the doors.”

A ten-day window out of one generation, somewhere in time, does no violence to the traditional understanding of either of these relevant Scriptures.  

And it fits perfectly with Paul’s description of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

“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.”

The Day of Atonement was the day the High Priest would make an offering for the sins of all Israel.  It symbolizes when God will turn His attention away from the Gentiles and back to Israel.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:25)

Finally, Sukkot, the seventh feast day on God’s calendar takes place five days after the Day of Atonement.  It is the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles and lasts for seven days. It recalls the time the Israelites lived in huts made from palm branches prior to entering the Land of Canaan.

It also foreshadows entry into the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule from Jerusalem and people from every kindred, tongue and nation will be able to “tabernacle” or dwell in His presence.

Israel is back in the Land of Promise.  The fullness of the Gentiles is almost complete.  The Lord is coming back to reap His Harvest and we can almost hear the trumpet.

What a time to be alive!  Maranatha!

Featured Commentary: For Such a Time as This ~ Lea Sylvester

When Even the Bad News is Good

When Even the Bad News is Good
Vol: 156 Issue: 23 Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A scientific study conducted in Europe has shown a direct link between the sun and periods of extreme cooling. To me, it sounds a bit like a headline saying that a new study has shown a link between air and breathing, but evidently, it is news to somebody.

The study’s author is Frank Sirocko, professor of Sedimentology and Paleoclimatology at the Institute of Geosciences of Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany.

(Wouldn’t you love to see how he fits all that on his business card?)

Anyway, the effect of the sun on temperatures has evidently escaped modern science until now, in part because they say accurate seasonal weather records don’t go back far enough to establish a pattern.  

The other part is because Western governments issue grants to scientists that can link global warming to anthropogenic (man-made) pollution.  They don’t issue grants to scientists that fail to draw the preferred conclusions.

In the late 1980’s Britain’s Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, was fighting off the environmentalists that opposed expanding Great Britain’s nuclear power generation system.  Part of her war strategy was to demonstrate that the use of fossil fuels did more harm to the environment than the use of nuclear energy does.

So the British government began giving research grants to scientists that reached the conclusions that she wanted them to.  In 1989, Senator Al Gore seized on the British findings as the “next big thing” and quickly made it his own.  

Gore published his tome, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit just in time for the 1992 Democratic Convention and the party adopted it as that year’s vice-presidential platform. Once the Clinton-Gore ticket became the US federal government, Gore was in a position to emulate Thatcher’s successes with the scientific community.

Unlike Thatcher, however, Gore wasn’t advancing the anthropogenic theory for policy reasons, but for his own.  By the end of the 1990’s, Gore’s scare tactics had proved so successful that they nearly carried him to the White House.

Failing that, he turned the fear of global warming into a cash cow that won him a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar, uncounted millions of dollars and the adulation of his peers. 

To this very day, there are millions, if not billions of people convinced that human development has become a planetary cancer.  They also believe that the only solution is to shrink the tumor. 

Ahem. They are talking about us.

Assessment:

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

The anthropogenic global warming theory and its solution could not possibly be a better fit to this prophetic Scripture.  The theory assumes that man is supreme on the earth.  Further it assumes that the solution is to reduce the population to “sustainable levels”.

Since that is a euphemism for killing off or otherwise reducing our own species, one might argue the solution is both reprobate and inconvenient.    

Returning to the German study we referenced earlier, the authors discovered another way to map historical warming/cooling periods to provide them with the weather data necessary.

From the early 19th through mid-20th centuries, riverboat men used the Rhine for cargo transport.  And so docks along the river have annual records of when ice clogged the waterway and stymied shipping.  The scientists used these easily-accessible documents, as well as additional historical accounts, to determine the number of freezing episodes since 1780.

“The advantage with studying the Rhine is because it’s a very simple measurement .  .  . Freezing is special in that it’s like an on-off mode. Either there is ice or there is no ice,” Professor Sirocko explained.

Sirocko and his colleagues found that between 1780 and 1963, the Rhine froze in multiple places 14 different times.  The sheer size of the river means it takes extremely cold temperatures to freeze over making freezing episodes a good proxy for very cold winters in the region, Sirocko said.

Mapping the freezing episodes against the solar activity’s 11-year cycle – a cycle of the Sun’s varying magnetic strength and thus total radiation output – Sirocko and his colleagues determined that ten of the fourteen freezes occurred during years around when the Sun had minimal sunspots.  Using statistical methods, the scientists calculated that there is a 99 percent chance that extremely cold Central European winters and low solar activity are inherently linked.

“We provide, for the first time, statistically robust evidence that the succession of cold winters during the last 230 years has a common cause.”

The common cause?  The sun.  And so, the sun is the proven historical cause of global cooling.  Gasp!  Could that mean that the sun is the cause of contemporary global warming?  What does the evidence say?Sunspot chart

Let’s avoid going deep into the weeds and look at the most obvious evidence.  As this chart shows, sunspot activity has been steadily on the rise since 1900.  So have temperatures.  When the sunspot activity begins to slow down, temperatures start to cool.

That is the same conclusion reached by the German study, (which evidently wasn’t getting research grants from either the UK or US).

“When sunspot numbers are down, the Sun emits less ultraviolet radiation.  Less radiation means less heating of Earth’s atmosphere, which sparks a change in the circulation patterns of the two lowest atmospheric levels, the troposphere and stratosphere. Such changes lead to climatic phenomena such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, a pattern of atmospheric pressure variations that influences wind patterns in the North Atlantic and weather behavior in regions in and around Europe.”

The author of the column obviously still believes in the anthropogenic theory, and was careful to selectively quote the author of the study to make sure he sounded properly skeptical:

“Climate is not ruled by one variable,” said Sirocko. “In fact, it has [at least] five or six variables. Carbon dioxide is certainly one, but solar activity is also one.”

It is worth noting at this point that NASA is also able to monitor weather on Mars.  And when global warming happens on earth,  it also happens on Mars.  

If the cause of global warming is the sun, then all the money being thrown at “green” companies and “green” energy plans (that don’t work) is a waste.  So the debate ignores the sun as if it were irrelevant and instead, blames Western use of fossil fuels.

Not China, or India or the former Soviet Union, none of whom are gullible enough to believe the nonsense, primarily because they don’t need climate change to scare their populations into going along — they have other, more convincing methods.

No, it is only the West that needs climate change in order to convince their populations to go along with the program, which, if one is paying attention, is to force the West to submit to some form of global authority empowered with the ability to pass laws, impose taxes and even make war in the name of saving the planet.

Note that it is the West in the crosshairs.  The Kings of the East, Gog-Magog and the Kings of the South aren’t in a panic about their own emissions, although they don’t mind sharing in our panic about ours.

Note also that it isn’t climate change that is the debate.  Nobody is questioning the fact the climate is changing, including me.  The debate is about whether or not it is man-made — or part of existing weather patterns and cycles that go back as far as we can trace them in the fossil record.

The debate has been raging for almost a quarter-century.  Should we fear what appears to be coming upon the earth?  Or is it a case of confusion about the cause?  What is the cause?

Well, signs in the sun seem to suggest solar flares, but if the sun is the cause, then there is nothing we can do about it.  A perplexing situation, is it not?  We have people practically keeling over with heart attacks out of fear of rising seas washing away places like Manhattan.

To listen to the climate change alarmists, one would almost assume that the powers of heaven are about to sweep us all away.

Which is exactly how the Lord described it when He was outlining the signs of His impending return to the earth in the last days.  He said there would be:

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

Apart from the Flood, never before in history has there ever been a serious, GLOBAL threat to the continued existence of humanity.  And never before in history was it possible for the whole world to perceive such a threat — had there ever been one.

But more than nineteen centuries after the Lord outlined a series of signs that would all occur within the space of a single generation, that is precisely the situation the threat of man-made global warming has created.

Fear, confusion, perplexity, all spawned by changes in the solar patterns, as we prepare for what NASA says could be the most dangerous solar season our technology-dependent world has ever seen.  And right after He prophesied the global warming scare, He had this to say to His Church:

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

And that’s what I love about being a Christian in the last days.  For us, even the bad news is good.  Maranatha!

Featured Commentary: Sometimes It’s Just Too Easy ~ Wendy Wippel