Elect of God

Elect of God
Vol: 167 Issue: 22 Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sovereign election is one of those doctrines, like eternal security or dispensationalism, upon which everybody has an opinion, but few seem to fully understand.

Election seems obviously true when viewed from the macro-level.  But it seems so unfair at the individual level that many simply choose to deliberately misunderstand it rather than deal with it head on. 

First let’s define what we’re talking about when we say “sovereign election”.  It describes a Divine decree in which a definite number of individuals were chosen by God before the foundation of the world for salvation. 

It means that God chose me before I chose Him.

When taken to its extreme interpretation, it means that an elect person will be saved no matter what that person does.  There is no need to spread the Gospel.  No need to lead someone to Christ.  God has already ordained that person’s salvation — you needn’t bother.

Of course, that is the extreme view, as expressed by its opponents, hoping to make it sound silly.

Preaching or teaching sovereign election invariably leads to a challenge to defend Calvinism, a five-point system of theological thought developed in the sixteenth century that eventually gave rise to Presbyterian and Reformed theology.  

Calvinism’s opponents are generally followers of John Calvin’s debate nemesis, Jacobus Arminius, whose teachings came to be known as Arminianism.  

Broken down to the lowest common denominator, those churches steeped in the Arminian tradition believe that you can lose your salvation, whereas those emerging from Calvinist tradition subscribe to the doctrine of eternal security.

I believe the Bible teaches eternal security.  I also believe that the Bible teaches sovereign election.  But I don’t accept challenges to defend Calvinism, since I am not a Calvinist.  Which really, really really upsets those who insist that I am so.

While I am familiar with the five points of Calvinism, I wouldn’t attempt to defend any of them as written.  They are some guy’s opinion of what the Bible teaches.  I have an actual Bible.

“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)

That seems to me to be clear and unambiguous.  The good work of salvation was begun by Jesus, Who promises He will perform it until His return.  And if THAT isn’t clear enough, is there another way to interpret what this next verse says?

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

If righteousness is a consequence of one’s conduct, then His death changed nothing from the system  — it only modified a few laws.

If eternal security is a Calvinist tradition, that’s nice.  But the Bible said it first, and in any case, it doesn’t follow that it automatically makes one a Calvinist.

(A Christmas tree is a German tradition.  But it doesn’t make one a German.  Mistletoe is a pagan tradition.  It doesn’t make one a pagan, either.) 

Arminianism denies the doctrine of eternal security in favor of limited atonement.  Limited atonement requires the believer to maintain their salvation by their conduct.  Traditional Arminianism teaches that a person can sin themselves out of salvation. 

Once this is done, one cannot jump in and out of salvation.  Once one loses one’s salvation, it is impossible for that person to return to saving faith and so that person is forever lost, based on Arminianism’s interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-6.

“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)

This also seems clear enough, except for one thing – the reason that it is impossible to renew them to repentance.  It is because IF they could be lost, then Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough.  THAT is why the writer of Hebrews said it would put the Son of God  (and not the newly lost sinner) to an open shame.   

Jesus said during the Agony in the Garden that He would keep all those given Him by the Father, including those believers that would come later. 

“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given Me; for they are thine. . . While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. . . Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” (John 17:10,12,20)

“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. . .”

(Don’t miss the key sentence in this next verse — I’ll set off the key words in italics)

“For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12-14)

Ok.  One offering (prosphora: – to offer up) He perfected (telioo: – consecrate, complete) FOREVER them that are sanctified (hagiazo: – made holy, or set apart).

If having set me apart forever as made perfect by His sacrifice, of course it would be impossible for me to be renewed unto repentance.  

Any other understanding would mean that His sacrifice was insufficient and that my sin is more powerful than His grace.  

Assessment:

We return now to where we began our discussion about that other doctrine of division, sovereign election.  Those who decry it as “Calvinism” essentially argue against it on the same grounds they use to object to eternal security, which is that it isn’t fair.

The Apostle Paul (not Calvin) took on this argument head-on. Paul was not concerned with our opinion of what seems fair.  Evidently, Paul took the whole, “I am God and therefore you aren’t” thing to heart.

“As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”  (Romans 9:13-15)

I noted at the outset that most Christians embrace the doctrine of sovereign election at the macro level, but reject it on an individual level as unfair.  The Bible makes it clear that God chose the Jews as His People. 

“As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the Father’s sakes.” (Romans 11:28)

Insofar as the Church is concerned, the Bible is equally clear on the subject of the predestination of the elect.

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30)

Yet there are those who run from the room screaming “Calvinist” the moment someone brings up the doctrine of predestination or sovereign election.

Predestination, when viewed from the macro level (from the perspective of nations) is called “Bible prophecy.”

Predestination, when viewed from the micro level, (the perspective of individuals) is immediately rejected on the grounds it is an unacceptable Divine interference with an individual’s free will choices.

When we read Bible prophecy about the burden of Damascus, or the Gog-Magog War, on what grounds do we accept it as Bible prophecy? 

Do we accept it on the grounds that God has perfect Divine foreknowledge that Gog will lead a confederation of nations against Israel in the last days?

Or do we view it as an unacceptable Divine interference in the free will decisions of the national leaders of that time?  

What is the difference?  If one is approaching that question as an Arminian or a Calvinist, it makes a BIG difference.  If one is approaching it from the perspective of the Bible, it makes absolutely no difference whatever.

The Biblical truth of predestination raises difficult intellectual problems, but you can’t escape from them by rejecting the concept of predestination while preserving faith in God’s Divine foreknowledge.  

God foreknew you before the world began.  Yes?  No?  Are you saved?  Yes?  No?  Do you think God already knew that before you did?  Yes?  No? 

If God foreknows all things, then they are just as certain as if they were predestined.  Yes?  No?   

Let’s bring it all together here.  Bible doctrine is Bible doctrine.  The fact that John Calvin stumbled upon the same doctrine before I did doesn’t make me a Calvinist. 

It is the Bible that teaches sovereign election and predestination.  Indeed, if God is omniscient, it cannot be any other way.  You think God doesn’t KNOW who won’t get saved?   Or who will?  Can you surprise God by your choices? 

It is the Bible that teaches eternal security.  If salvation is maintained by good works, then righteousness comes by the Law and Christ is dead in vain.

The difficulty that church systems have with these doctrines is that they impart no power to the church hierarchy.  The Vatican claims the power to forgive sins.  Arminian church systems claim the power to undo the efficacy of the Cross.  Evangelical church systems claim the power to spread the Gospel and change lives. 

The Bible gives all that power to the Holy Spirit of God.

Originally Published: December 8, 2012

”To Know the Wickedness of Folly”

”To Know the Wickedness of Folly”
Vol: 167 Issue: 21 Friday, August 21, 2015

There are a lot of discussion threads in our member’s forums and in our Bible study forums in which the focus of study is not so much God as it is the study of Satan and his devices.

I’ve noted that some of our members have expressed some level of discomfort regarding the study subjects, with some wondering if such a study is contrary to the teaching of Scripture or even if such study violates God’s expressed will.

Let me say at the outset that there is a vast difference between Satanology and Satanism.

Satanism is the worship of Satan. Satanology is the study of Satan, and his devices, as he is revealed in Scripture. Satanology makes up an important part of the overall curriculum of Systematic Theology.

A partial list of the courses of study covered by Systematic Theology are: soteriology (the study of salvation), anthropology (the study of man and his fall), eschatology (study of the last days) angelology (the study of angels) bibliology (the study of the Scriptures and how they came to be), demonology (the study of demons), pneumatology (study of the Holy Spirit), ecclesiology (the study of the Church), and Christology (the study of Christ).

Systematic Theology is divided into four major fields of study: 1) exegetical (interpretation); 2) historical; 3)systematic (ie Dispensationalism); and, 4) practical theology.

Practical theology is precisely what it sounds like. It teaches the practical application of the other three departments of theology to our walk in this world.

One cannot understand our relationship with God without some understanding of the enemy, as well.

I’ve addressed this in the past, but it is worth repeating. Before deploying to WesPac (the Western-Pacific Theater of Operations) during the Vietnam War, Marines first had to attend an extensive training course at Camp Pendleton, California, before being deployed.

The course of instruction didn’t spend nearly as much time teaching us who we were fighting FOR as it did teaching us who we were fighting AGAINST.

The bulk of our training was focused on teaching us about our enemy; his strengths, his weaknesses, his combat tactics, his religion, his politics, his weapons of choice and even his diet.

I don’t recall spending a lot of time being taught why America was worth fighting for. Very little time was spent teaching us American politics, civics, economics, religion, or our strengths and weaknesses.

It was a given that, since we were already enlisted in the service of the country, we already had a working knowledge of why.

Our success in combat didn’t rely on our knowledge of our own forces so much as it relied on knowing as much as possible about the enemy we faced. The more one knew about the enemy, the less likely one was to step into a punji-stake hole, trip a booby-trap wire, or walk into an ambush.

We didn’t learn that from studying our own tactics; we learned it from studying his.

It is through the study of Satanology that we learn critically important things about the nature of Satan, not the least of which is that Satan is not divine. He is a created being, and has none of the attributes of Divinity.

Satan is not omnipresent; he can only be in one place at any given time.

Satan is not omniscient; he knows a lot about human nature, since he’s had at least six thousand years of experience manipulating it, but Satan is not omniscient.

The Bible is filled with examples of his mistakes;

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1st Corinthians 2:8)

Satan is not omnipotent; his power is limited. Satan must obtain permission from God before he can take direct action against a believer. (Job 2:6)

We learn these things from Scripture; and they are very valuable tidbits of information to have when preparing for battle against his forces.

Assessment:

The mission of the Omega Letter is a bit different than your average Christian website. Most are aimed at bringing non-believers to Christ through its message.

The Omega Letter aims to train and equip our members into an army of one-on-one evangelists prepared to take the battle to the enemy as we encounter the opportunities during our day-to-day interactions with unbelievers.

We aim to fulfill the Biblical command to;

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

It is our position that the most effective way to fulfill that command is to;

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

“Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2nd Corinthians 2:11)

How can one stand against the wiles of the devil if one doesn’t have a working knowledge of his devices? The next question is of equal importance. Where does one learn about his devices? One learns from Scripture.

Now, let’s get practical. Are the Freemasons, for example, a Christian organization or a Satanic counterfeit? Suppose you were invited to join a Masonic Lodge. Upon what criteria would you decide?

Would you take the word of a Mason that it is a Christian organization? Is that how you decided what church to attend? Or did you compare their doctrine to the doctrines of Scripture?

How could one compare their doctrine to Scripture WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THEIR DOCTRINE IS? Now, how does one find out what their doctrine is so one can make that comparison without studying it first?

Then, there is our obligation to our fellow soldiers on the line. Suppose a brother, less mature and less well-versed in Scripture came to you and said something like; “I’ve been invited to join a Masonic Lodge. What do you think?”

What is the correct and Godly response? “I don’t know because I refuse to learn what it teaches so I can compare it to the truth of the Scriptures?”

Is that an example of being “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you?”

Is globalism a good thing? Or is it a bad thing? Who does it serve? Without knowing anything about Satan’s aspirations and goals, how can one tell?

What about ecumenism? Does it serve God or Satan? If one is ignorant of Satan’s devices, an argument can be made that it serves God. (Scriptures teach that He wants all men to be reconciled to Himself.)

If one is ignorant of what a particular ‘ism’ teaches, how can one tell if it lines up with the Scriptures?

The most important ingredient of successful warfare is good intelligence. In combat, if you don’t have a working knowledge of the enemy and his tactics, he will kill you.

Suppose you are a platoon leader given a mission to overwhelm an enemy stronghold. Your intelligence officer gives you a complete breakdown of your own troop positions, troop strength and combat readiness, but nothing about the disposition of your enemy.

You don’t know where he has set up his defenses, his troop strength, his reserve forces or his combat readiness. You only know about your own.

On the other hand, enemy intelligence knows exactly where you are, how many men you have, how they are equipped and your probable battle plan.

Which side do you think is most likely to win the battle?

We investigate the occult in the same way that a combat officer would investigate the capabilities of an enemy force. Seeking intelligence information about the enemy is not the same thing as embracing the enemy’s philosophy.

We study the teachings of the Koran in order to gain understanding about what makes the enemy tick. Prior to 9/11, nobody knew much about Islam. And 19 guys carrying box knives were able to hijack four planes, despite the fact the passengers outnumbered them 100 to 1.

Four or five Islamic terrorists armed with box knives could overpower a plane loaded with 300 people on September 11, because the passengers thought it was a typical hijacking and that they had a chance of survival. Their lack of intelligence information about the enemy they faced cost them their lives.

Knowing what we know about Islam today, if five Islamic guys tried to take over a plane loaded with 300 people armed with nothing but box knives, they wouldn’t never make it to the cockpit alive.

“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established,” (Proverbs 24:3)

The wisdom to fight back is born out of the understanding of the enemy’s intentions. We obtain wisdom through counsel, or the seeking of information, which imparts understanding.

The Bible says that adding them together gives us strength.

“Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.”

King Solomon, according to the Scriptures, was the wisest man who ever lived. Solomon explains;

“I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness.” (Ecclesiastes 7:25)

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

You can’t wrestle with the enemy until you first identify him. And the more you understand about him in advance, the better chance you have of defeating him once you’ve stepped in the ring.

When asked, “What will be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?” by His disciples on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gave a comprehensive list of the warning signs to watch for.

He spoke of wars, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, signs in the sun, moon and stars, the distress of nations, a global sense of impending doom, apostasy, and false teachers.

But before He got into any of that, the very first warning He gave His Church was this:

“Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4)

Originally Published: January 22, 2007

Featured Commentary: The Plaint of the Atheists ~ Alf Cengia

Four and Twenty Elders

Four and Twenty Elders
Vol: 167 Issue: 20 Thursday, August 20, 2015

It was the Lord Himself that outlined the Book of His Revelation in three distinct parts; “that which thou [John] hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” (Revelation 1:19)

The Apostle John had just recorded the messages to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor as given by Jesus when John was suddenly whisked in his vision from his cave on Patmos to a scene in heaven.

The Book is therefore divided thusly:

Revelation 1:1-20 – “the things which John hast seen” — the vision of the Lord Jesus Christ in Glory.

Revelation 2:1the things which are. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write”, through to Revelation 3:22 — ” . . . let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”;

And finally, “the things which shall be hereafter”

This final division is the longest, since it covers the period from the Tribulation to eternity future. But let’s examine them in order.

The first two parts of the outline are essentially undisputed by scholars — for obvious reasons. The second outline concludes after the Churches have been addressed and evaluated and promises are made to “him that overcometh”:

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” (Revelation 3:21)

Let’s examine “him that overcometh” in context. Back up one verse with me — it would seem that “he that overcometh” is he that opens the door to the Lord and invites Him in to ‘sup with him and he with Me.”

No mention of overcoming persecution or hardship or trouble or tribulation here. The counsel is offered to those that the Lord says specifically that He loves, but “rebukes and chastens” to “be zealous therefore, and repent.”

So in context, those among the churches (His Bride) that are zealous and repent and invite Him in for fellowship, Jesus calls ‘overcomers’. But Jesus says that they are those ‘who overcame even as I overcame.’

Some argue this means that overcomers are those who suffer the Tribulation Period or those who refuse to take the Mark.

The problem with this view is that the Lord is still addressing those of the present tense second outline — “the things which are.” The Tribulation,” which must be hereafter,” hasn’t started yet.

Let’s connect the dots so far. The Lord overcame by dying and being resurrected. John is being addressed by the resurrected Jesus in His resurrection Body. And Paul says that we shall also receive a resurrection body just like it.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”

There is a future event — the Rapture of the Church, which Paul describes this way. First, the dead in Christ are resurrected, then we who are alive and remain are immediately translated into our resurrection bodies, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

That is the only sense in which we human beings could EVER be said to have overcome even as Jesus overcame. Jesus never sinned. (I did and do) He paid the penalty for sin on my behalf at the Cross, (I cannot) then was resurrected and bodily ascended into heaven signifying the conquest of sin and death.

To argue that I must suffer as He did in order be an overcomer during the Church Age is to turn the doctrine of soteriology (salvation) on its head.

So the only similitude that logically fits the “overcomers” metaphor is that of the Lord’s bodily resurrection and ascension, and the Rapture’s bodily resurrection and ascension.

Finally, the angels present at the Lord’s ascension confirm that; “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.”

How was that? Quietly, and without fanfare, and witnessed only by the Apostles who represented the embryonic Church.

It makes no contextual sense to read ‘overcomers’ as those who come out of the Tribulation.

Assessment:

Chapter Three concludes with Jesus walking among the golden lampstands of the Church on the earth. At the beginning of Chapter four, a great thing has just transpired.

The third division of the outline of Revelation — that which must be hereafter — begins when John’s perspective shifts from that of the earthbound churches to that of heaven.

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

“Hereafter what?” can only have one logical answer. Hereafter is when the overcomers of the Church Age are taken up to heaven with Jesus in like manner as the Apostles had seen Him go.

“Hereafter” begins at the Throne Room of God:

“And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.” (Revelation 4:2-4)

Who are these four and twenty elders? Let’s establish who they are not, first. They are not spirits. Spirits don’t sit. Spirits don’t wear clothes. Spirits don’t wear crowns. They are not angels.

 “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders:” (Revelation 5:11)

Nowhere in Scripture are angels numbered specifically. Cherubim (living ‘beasts’) are numbered (there are four) but angels are ‘a multitude’ or an ‘innumerable company’ but never twenty-four. Angels don’t wear crowns. They don’t wear clothes and they NEVER sit in the presence of God.

“And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;” (Revelation 5:9)

The twenty-four elders are the Blood-bought redeemed of mankind — the representatives of the saints of God. They number twenty-four, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and one for each of the Twelve Apostles.

Together, they make up the redeemed society of mankind through the ages.

All twenty-four of them are seated before God’s Throne before even the FIRST of the seals has been broken. The twenty-four elders are in their places as they watch those who come out of great tribulation, their robes washed in the Blood of the Lamb, the Tribulation Saints martyred for their witness of Christ.

The outline of Revelation remains constant from the moment John arrives at heaven’s open door until it concludes in eternity future.

John’s perspective is that of heaven, where he is already in the company of the twenty-four elders when the very first seal is broken, bringing down the first of twenty-one judgments upon a sinful, Christ-rejecting world.

There is a clear division between that which is and that which shall be hereafter and the primary difference is that of perspective.

When talking about the Church, John is with Jesus is on earth, among the lamp stands.

When speaking of the Tribulation judgments, John is in Heaven with Jesus and the twenty-four elders who are not spirits, not angels, but rather the redeemed of God, who wear crowns, clothes and sit in His Presence. They are already there and seated when the first of the seals are broken.

They are already there and seated long before the first of the Tribulation saints start to show up after the 144,000 Jewish evangelists are sealed and indwelt by Holy Spirit.

No matter how one slices and dices it, the twenty-four elders are in heaven with John long before the first Tribulation saints begin to arrive. And so is the Church.

“. . . and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:17-18)

Originally Published: January 24, 2009

Featured Commentary: Supreme Court of Supreme Being? ~ J.L. Robb

An Evil Under the Sun

An Evil Under the Sun
Vol: 167 Issue: 19 Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It is pretty obvious that the Omega Letter qualifies as a ‘right-leaning publication’ in the current political vernacular. It might be useful to examine what that means, and why.

To begin with we unashamedly admit we tend to view things from a conservative perspective, which is the political equivalent of the ‘Right’, whereas those who view things from a liberal perspective constitute the ‘Left’.

The degrees to which each side are willing to compromise their views are ‘moderates’ and the extremes to which each side put ideology ahead of common sense make up the ‘far right’ and ‘far left’.

The terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ were coined after the pattern of the post-revolution French parliament to seat liberals to the left and conservatives to the right in the debates. Got it so far?

Liberals derive their authority to govern from the will of the people as expressed by majority vote. Liberals believe that the majority is the ultimate moral force.

Liberals believe in ‘progressive thinking’ — out of which comes support for abortion, gay rights, intrusive government, mandatory state education, removal of religion from public discourse and education, etc.

To obtain the authority to govern, they advocate a kind of modified Marxist philosophy of class warfare, pitting the wider voter pool of poor voters against the somewhat smaller voter pool of affluent voters.

‘Tax cuts for the rich’ is a slogan that only thinly disguises the Marxist philosophy that private property should be reapportioned by the state — what we used to call ‘communism’.

Liberals tend to view the Constitution as a ‘living document’ — presumably so it can be tortured into saying whatever they want it to say. Hence the ‘discovery’ by a Massachusetts court of a Constitutional ‘right’ to gay marriage.

Following Bush’s re-election, thousands of what might qualify as ‘extreme’ liberals promised to pack up all their stuff and move to Canada.

Although ‘promising’ isn’t the same as actually ‘doing’, liberal newspapers like the New York Times made it appear as though a mass exodus to Canada was in the works.

Assessment:

There is no place for God in the American political left. Oh, they claim that there is, but that is another example of how liberals operate. God is invited, but only if He will tone down His opposition to the left’s political platform.

For the American right, the authority to govern isn’t derived from the will of the people, it is granted by the Creator. While the majority can rule on points of policy, the power to legislate is limited.

While the Congress can legislate tarrifs, levy taxes, and provide for the common good, they cannot overturn principles of common law such as ‘Thou shalt not kill’ in order to permit abortion, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness’ in order to excuse perjury, or overturn ‘Honor thy father and thy mother’ by encouraging kids to turn their parents in for punishing them for breaking household rules.

Conservatives don’t see America as a democracy, they see it as a Constitutional Republic. The Constitution isn’t a living document to be tortured until it says what they want it to, it is the supreme law of the land just the way it is.

To a conservative, the 1st Amendment’s guarantee that ‘Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion’ doesn’t mean kids can’t say the Lord’s Prayer in school, it means that Congress can’t pass a law respecting the establishment of a religion.

Similarly, where the 1st Amendment says, ‘nor prohibit the free exercise thereof,’ it means that Congress can’t tell kids they CAN’T say the Lord’s Prayer in school.

To a conservative, a local school board ISN’T the Congress, the CONGRESS is the Congress. The mayor of Boise, Idaho isn’t the Congress. One judge isn’t the Congress. The Ten Commandments are NOT a ‘religion’ and there is no difference between kids studying Islam in school and kids studying Christianity in school.

Conservatives find no conflict between the Ten Commandments and the rule of law represented by the Constitution.

Because the Bill of Rights extends to all citizens, no special ‘rights’ need be ‘discovered’ to permit women to practice birth control by murdering their babies in the womb, or a right to gay ‘marriage’ or the right of the state to impose an education system in place of the right of parents to educate their own children, or the right of the government to regulate what they are allowed to learn.

Conservatives believe that ‘progressive thinking’ doesn’t mean seeking ways to impose Marxist collectivism and confiscatory redistribution of wealth, but rather means finding ways to make capitalism work for all its citizens.

A quick read through Ecclesiates is illuminative;

“A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left,” writes the Preacher. (Ecclesiastes 10:2)

One need only listen to the rantings of the left to see the truth of his next statement,

“Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.” (10:3)

One thinks of the New York Times celebration of the decision of some liberals to move to Canada to protest the reelection of the president for Solomon’s next verse to fall into context:

“If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences.” (10:4)

“There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler,” the Preacher writes, before lighting into the class warfare tactics so dear to the hearts of the left. “Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place.” (10:6)

That is not to say that the rich are better than the poor. But it is folly to believe that the poor employ the rich — it is the other way around. The ‘no tax cuts for the rich’ slogan is folly incarnate, yet it is a battle cry of the liberal left.

The liberal worldview offers its adherents dependency. It promises that its leadership will take care of them and provides for their needs by confiscating resources from those who work hard and redistributing it to their dependents, calling that ‘leveling the playing field’.

They oppose putting power in the hands of the people. Consider the opposition to allowing younger workers to invest part of their Social Security taxes in high-yield private accounts, which would also make them less dependent on the government in their old age.

They oppose home-schooling, which gives parents the power to raise and educate their children as they see fit. The goal, as they ‘level the playing field’ is to bring everyone to the same level on dependency on government, making government the supreme being.

Dr. Howard Dean, former head of the DNC, exemplifies the moral bankruptcy of the Left. In a press conference after his acceptance speech in 2005, Dean promised to ‘reach out’ to the ‘evangelical community’, telling the Washington Times that “We have to remind Catholic Americans that the social mission of the Democratic Party is almost exactly the same as the social mission of the Catholic Church.”

Dean’s cynical effort to pander to the right is exposed by his inability to distinguish between ‘evangelicals’ and Catholics, and his reliance on the ignorance of his audience being equal to his own.

Can Dean possibly believe that American Catholics share the social mission of abortion on demand, the abolition of school prayer, mandatory state education and gay marriage? Or that they share the social mission of ‘evangelicals’, if he could figure out what THEY were?

Paul called this ‘having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.”

I am often accused of being a Republican, [I am not] because I have nothing good to say about Democrats [which is, unfortunately, true].

I opened by acknowledging that the Omega Letter qualifies as a ‘right-leaning’ publication, and promised to explain what that means and why we lean that way.

Ecclesiates was written by King Solomon, whom the Bible says was Israel’s wisest king ever. He calls their platform an ‘evil under the sun.’ He offers the choice between wisdom and folly and outlines how to distinguish between the two.

“A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.”

After Laodicea

After Laodicea
Vol: 167 Issue: 18 Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Book of the Revelation is divided into several sections.  Chapters 1-3 cover the first section, the message from the Lord to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor.

As we’ve discussed in previous briefs, each of the seven churches was a literal church that existed during the first century.  They were real churches with real problems.  The letters to the seven churches addressed the most egregious problems facing each of these embryonic churches.

But, as they say, “hindsight is 20/20” and using the benefit of hindsight, scholars have determined that each of the seven churches in Asia Minor is also representative of various epochs within this present dispensation, or the Church Age.

When you get right down to it, it is both fitting and logical that the letters to the seven churches would be prophetic.  The Book’s formal name is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John” but its short name is from the Greek “apocalyptos” which means ‘unveiling’ or ‘revelation’.

All three of those words can be used interchangeably with ‘prophecy’ – which also means unveiling, revelation or, simply the speaking of God’s Word.

The first church addressed by Christ is the Church at Ephesus:

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. . .”

Let’s stop here for a second.  Notice first to whom each letter is addressed.  It is not addressed to the church – it is addressed to the ‘angel’ of the particular church in question.  Does that mean that there was a guardian angel assigned to each of the seven churches?

It might – the Scriptures aren’t specific enough for me to be dogmatic on the issue of guardian angels.  Daniel does say that Michael is Israel’s assigned guardian angel.

But there is nothing so specific concerning the Church.  In any case, the Church is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God.  So there are two senses of understanding here.

In the first sense of understanding, there were seven literal, existing, flesh-and-blood 1st century churches to whom the Lord was speaking.

In the second sense of understanding, there is a corresponding epoch, or period of time within the overall Church Age whose characteristics are represented by one of these seven churches.

That the ‘angel’ in this instance refers to a ‘messenger’ rather than to a celestial angel, is supported by the fact that it is followed by a message addressed to that church.  The message is addressed to those within each Church Epoch charged by Christ with its delivery.

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers, For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Just as in the 1st Century, when all seven churches co-existed in the same time periods, the characteristics of each continued down through history.

The Epochs of the Church reflect the general characteristics of overall Christendom at various points in history – it doesn’t mean all Christians of the Middle Ages were of the Church of Sardis, for example.

The Church at Ephesus corresponds to the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of the 1st century, or Apostolic Epoch. But the 1st Century Church continues to exist – indeed, it is resurging, of all places, on the internet.

The main characteristic of the 1st Century Church is that its Founder was Jesus Christ. Its doctrine was purely apostolic and its churches were organized according to the framework outlined by the Pauline Letters to the Churches.

The 1st Century Church was non-denominational, obtained its doctrine from the Apostles and claimed salvation by grace through faith. The 1st Century Church was commended by Christ for its patience, but condemned for its lapses into legalism.

“But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” (Revelation 2:6)

It is from the Nicolaitanes that we get our concept of ‘laity’ and ‘priests’. Jesus taught His disciples to be humble and lowly, saying the last shall be first and the first last, washing their feet by example.

The Nicolaitanes were big on titles and robes and all the trappings of clergy and the attendant power enjoyed by the Jewish Pharisees. They introduced that concept into the church — in defiance of Jesus’ clear teaching that all Christians are both priests and saints.

There are 1st Century Christians within this present church epoch – a non-denominational Bible church is a 1st century church. (In terms of organization and doctrine, the Omega Letter Fellowship is a 1st century ‘church’.)

The Church at Smyrna reflected the overall characteristics of the Body of Christ from the end of the Apostolic period until the time of Constantine in the early 4th century.

Smyrna was the ‘persecuted’ Church that suffered under the Ceasars.  There have been persecuted and suffering churches throughout Church history, but during the Smyrna Epoch, persecution, suffering and martyrdom were the main characteristics.

The Church at Pergamos was reflective of the period from Constantine until the beginning of the sixth century, which corresponds with the Church at Thyatira.

Thyartira marked the beginning of the Dark Ages and corresponds with both the suppression of the Bible by the Vatican and the birth of Islam in 622 AD.

The Dark Ages of Thyatira witnessed the rise of Islam, the Papal Crusades against Islam, Islam’s wars against the Christian world all the way to the Reformation, which roughly coincided with the birth of the Islamic Ottoman Empire in 1617.

The Epoch of Sardis begins at roughly this time, and is historically parallel with the European Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  The Protestant Reformation gave rise to the Epoch of Philadelphia, the “Missionary Church” and the only Church for which the Lord had no words of condemnation.

The Church of Philadelphia Epoch began around the middle of the 18th century.  It corresponded historically with the Great Global Christian Revival, the overspreading of the globe with the Gospel, from the founding of the United States in 1776 to the first years of the 20th century.

The seventh and final church Epoch began sometime in the early 20th century – the Laodicean Church.

“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. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked . . .” (Revelation 3:15-17)

The Church at Philadelphia was unique in that the Lord offered it no word of condemnation.  The Church at Laodicea was unique in that the Lord offered it no word of praise.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:22)

Assessment:

“After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” (Revelation 4:1)

For all of the past three chapters, John has been in the presence of Jesus, walking amidst the golden candlesticks, but John wasn’t in heaven. He was in exile on the isle of Patmos.

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:9-11)

John is on Patmos, off the coast of Greece, on Planet Earth.  He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, heard a voice and turned.  Still on Patmos, Greece, Planet Earth.  John takes dictation and writes out the seven letters to the seven churches located in various corners of Asia Minor, Planet Earth.

When Jesus finishes dictating, He concludes His letters: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Look at the Big Picture with me as it stands at this moment.

Jesus has finished His revelation to the churches of Asia Minor and to the Epochs of the Church from the days of the Apostles to the days of the Televangelists.

Jesus says, “Pay close attention here . . .” and WHAM – in the very next verse, John is whisked into heaven.

There are several other things I want you to be sure to notice.  The first is the presence of the trumpet.  John was in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day and the Lord came to John, accompanied by the sound of a trumpet.

The second is that when the Lord was finished dealing the the earthly Church, John hears another trumpet, and he is whisked away into Heaven.

Paul writes of the believer’s resurrection, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1st Corinthians 15:52)

The third is that John heard the call, “Come up hither” and Revelation 4:2 says, “And immediately I was in the Spirit.”

Fourth, note that John was already ‘in the spirit in the Lord’s day’ on the Isle of Patmos, Greece, Planet Earth at the time when he received his vision for the seven churches.

John is now literally ‘in the spirit’ and present in heaven, where he remains for the remainder of the revelation.

Finally, notice that when John is called, it is to “shew thee these things which must be hereafter.” (4:1)

The Voice from Heaven tells John these things MUST be ‘hereafter’.  ‘Hereafter’ what?  The answer is obvious. It means after what just came before.

And so. . . .  what just came before?  The Seven Epochs of the Church Age.  What follows Revelation 4:2 when John finds himself translated into heaven?

First is the worship of the Lamb of God as the One worthy to open the seals of judgment. Then comes the actual opening of the first seal.

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:1-2)

Bible scholarship is more or less unanimous on the identity of the rider on the white horse as the antichrist.  The opening of the 1st seal begins the series of twenty-one judgments that are pronounced against a Christ-rejecting world.

Now let’s summarize:

  1. Jesus outlines in detail the future history of the Church Age, divided into seven epochs and concluding with a description of Laodicea that is a mirror-image of 21st century mainstream Christianity.
  2. Jesus concludes with an admonition to ‘listen up’ to hear the spiritual message behind His words.
  3. John hears a trumpet, hears a voice saying ‘come up hither’ and says he is now literally ‘in the Spirit’ but instead of merely ‘in the Lord’s Day’ as before, now he is “in the Spirit” but present in heaven.
  4. It is not until AFTER John arrives in Heaven that the first seal is broken, allowing the judgment of antichrist.
  5. Make no mistake about it.  The antichrist is a judgment on all those that rejected Christ.  Paul says he is a “strong delusion” that the world will embrace because ‘they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.”

The antichrist is the first seal judgment specifically pronounced as a judgment against those who rejected Christ.  Jesus was speaking of the rider on the white horse when He said,

“I am come in My Father’s name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43)

The judgments of the Tribulation are ALL for the purpose of judging a Christ-rejecting world, beginning with the first seal.  According to the prophet Daniel, that first seal is broken with the restoration of Temple sacrifice and worship.

Daniel says it isn’t until three and a half years AFTER the restoration of Temple sacrifice and worship that the antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel.

The Third Temple is as sacred as the Second or the First, according to Jesus Christ, Who ought to know.  He calls the antichrist’s desecration of the Temple “the abomination of desolation”.

It could only be an abomination if the Temple were sacred and it could only be made desolate by being desecrated.

During the Church Age, I am the Temple of God.  Not a building.

Do you see the chronological flow?  Now, interrupt it and see what happens.  There is a sudden, loud and discordant clang when one tries to change the order of operation.

First the redemption, then the Church Age, then the conclusion of the Church Age, then the open door in heaven, then the celebration of the Lamb and then the breaking of the first seal.

And THEN the antichrist, the restored Temple, the resumption of Temple worship, the interruption of Temple worship, the persecution of Christians and Jews, Mark of the Beast, etc., etc.

Change the order and it changes the logic of what came before and what is to come ‘hereafter’.  And hereafter comes just after we hear a trumpet and a voice saying, “come up hither.”

If hereafter doesn’t mean, ‘after Laodicea’, then ‘hereafter’ can’t really mean anything at all.

Originally Published: September 10, 2009

Featured Commentary: Pitch Perfect ~ Wendy Wippel

The Land Nobody Wanted

The Land Nobody Wanted
Vol: 167 Issue: 17 Monday, August 17, 2015

The land claimed by Israel is smaller than the state of Rhode Island. In comparison to the Arab Middle East, Israel is like a single piece of sod on a football field.

Carrying the analogy further, imagine that one team has to defend that single piece of sod from an opposing team that outnumbers them 650 to 1.

The other team, claiming unfair advantage, is demanding the single piece of sod be divided and half of it be awarded to them.

The referees agree, and penalize the defending team for refusing to concede half of its 1/6th of one percent of the field to the opposition [that outnumbers them 650 to one]. The crowd loudly boos the defenders.

That is roughly analogous to the rules of engagement under which the Middle East conflict is being played out.

The Arab side makes two concurrent claims; 1) Israel has no historical right to the land; and 2) Israel, by its existence, has dispossessed the indigenous Palestinian people, leaving them with nowhere to go.

Except for a few decades of Christian control during the Crusades era, the land claimed by Israel was under Islamic control for 1300 years. This is one of the principle arguments advanced in favor of the Palestinian claim that Israel has no historical right to the Land of Promise.

That argument is bolstered by the existence of an Arab mosque atop what the Jews claim as Temple Mount, a mosque that has graced Mount Moriah for some 1,350 years.

According to modern Islam, the mosque atop Mount Moriah is the third-holiest site in Islam. Recenty Islamic tradition says the al Aqsa Mosque marks the place where Mohammed ascended into heaven aboard a winged horse.

For that reason, it now ranks third in line behind Mecca and Medina as Islam’s holiest cities.

In ancient times, Israel sat atop the most strategic crossroads of the known world. One couldn’t get from Babylon to Egypt by chariot without passing through it.

Israel and Jerusalem have been fought over and conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, Arabs, Turks, and finally, the British in 1917.

In each of its conquests, Jerusalem was strategic because of its strategic value as Israel’s God-given capital. From Nebuchadnezzar to Titus, each successive conqueror acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews.

When the region was conquered by Islam, taking Jerusalem was a strategic, rather than religious necessity. Whoever controlled the Jewish holy city controlled the remaining indigenous Jews.

The reconquest of Jerusalem became a holy religious duty only after the Crusaders claimed the city for Christianity. Since the city was holy to Judaism and holy to Christianity, it became holy to Islam, as well.

But ‘holy’ doesn’t mean the same thing to Islam as it does to Christians and Jews. To Christians or Jews, ‘holy’ means worthy of reverence, whereas to Islam, ‘holy’ means worthy of possession.

Under Islamic possession, Jerusalem was just another dusty city of the province of Southern Syria. In the four hundred years Jerusalem was under Ottoman rule until 1917, the city was never even a regional or provincial capital.

After the Ottoman Empire fell to the Allies in the First World War, British foreign secretary Lord Balfour put into writing Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

When the League of Nations made Palestine a British mandate after the war, Lord Balfour’s declaration was assumed as part of the deal and the allied powers of the Great War all agreed. By 1935, there were more than 300,000 Jews in Palestine. Tel Aviv, founded in 1909, had 100,000 people.

In 1947 Britain, which had been handed the Palestine problem by the now-defunct League of Nations passed it on, with relief, to the newly born United Nations. The UN agreed to partition Palestine into a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a neutral UN zone containing Jerusalem, a city sacred to three religions.

The Jews were thrilled, the Arabs adamantly opposed.

In late 1947 the plan was ratified by the UN, and the State of Israel proclaimed on May 14, 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled the country.

The the British pulled out completely, and most of the Arab world- Egypt, Transjordan (now Jordan), Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, as well as Palestinians- immediately attacked in an attempt to destroy Israel.

By the time of armistice in 1949 Israel held three quarters of Palestine- twice as much land as the UN had proposed- Jordan had taken the land on the West Bank of the Jordan River, and Egypt had taken the Gaza Strip.

It is at this point in the story of the Middle East that history ends and the modern myth of the Middle East is born.

Assessment:

The modern myth is that at the end of the Israeli War of Independence, the indigenous ‘Palestinian’ people were dispossessed by Israel and left with nothing.

The historical fact is that, until the mid 1930’s, the term ‘Palestinian’ was a label applied to the Jews.

Until 1950, the name of the Jerusalem Post was THE PALESTINE POST; the journal of the Zionist Organization of America was NEW PALESTINE; Bank Leumi was the ANGLO-PALESTINE BANK; the Israel Electric Company was the PALESTINE ELECTRIC COMPANY; there was the PALESTINE FOUNDATION FUND and the PALESTINE PHILHARMONIC.

All these were Jewish organizations. In America, Zionist youngsters sang “PALESTINE, MY PALESTINE”, “PALESTINE SCOUT SONG” and “PALESTINE SPRING SONG”

In general, the terms ‘Palestine’ and ‘Palestinian’ referred to the region of Palestine as it was prior to 1948.

Thus “Palestinian Jew” and “Palestinian Arab” are straightforward expressions. “Palestine Post” and “Palestine Philharmonic” refer to these bodies as they existed in a place then known as Palestine.

The adoption of a Palestinian identity by the Arabs of Palestine is a recent phenomenon. Until the establishment of the State of Israel, and for another decade or so, the term ‘Palestinian’ applied exclusively to the Jews.

The claims of the Arab ‘Palestinians’ to be a separate people is an utter fiction. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Arab Palestinians.

Arab Palestinians are indistinguishable from Jordanians (recent British inventions all), Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc.

Syria was created by the British and subsequently given to France as the French Mandate. The Syrians declared independence after the British left in 1946, two years before Israel did the same thing. Jordan was created by the British in 1921.

The same British government that created the modern Arab world in 1920 at the San Remo Conference in Italy — by decree — also created a Jewish homeland the same way at the same conference.

And the Jewish Palestine of the Balfour Declaration as confirmed at San Remo encompassed a much bigger chunk of ground than Israel claims today.

Until the Jews renewed their claim to the land of Palestine, nobody else wanted it. The Jews petitioned for statehood on the principle that Palestine was “a land without a people” and that the Jews were “a people without a land.”

Arab revisionist historians say that claim was ‘a myth.’ History and mathematics tell a different story — if anybody were interested in the facts, that is.

In 1948, there were about 735,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs in Palestine. There were about 716,000 Jews. Since the same land now supports a population of more than 12 million combined Arabs and Jews, the argument that the Arabs were ‘crowded out’ by the Jews makes no sense.

The ‘Palestinian refugees’ languishing in ‘refugee camps’ in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere, were not interned by Israel. They were interned by their own governments after those governments lost the war with Israel.

Those Jordanian citizens that lived in Jordan’s West Bank and the citizens of Egypt’s Gaza Strip (who, on May 30, 1967 were still Egyptians), became instant ‘Palestinians’ on June 7, 1967.

From the moment of its declaration of statehood, the Jews of Israel have lived under the constant threat of annihilation by the surrounding Arab states.

As Golda Meir observed during the Yom Kippur War, “the Arabs can fight, and lose, and come back to fight another day. Israel can only lose once.”

What makes this significant is that NONE of this is a secret. Knowing this, the entire world prefers the fictional account advanced by the Islamic world; that the Palestinians pre-existed the Jews, that the Jews stole ‘Palestinian land’ dispossessed its inhabitants and locked them away in refugee camps.

Remember the football field and the single square of sod analogy. To the world, dividing that single square of sod defended by a team outnumbered 650 to one that holds the rest of the football field is an example of ‘leveling the playing field’.

It is nothing short of madness. But it is a madness that seems to have infected the world at large. The Islamic version of the Arab-Israeli conflict is a monstrous lie being advanced in favor of a claim to land that nobody wanted until the Jews did.

In the midst of a global war on terror, the world is prepared to countenance an openly terrorist government ruling over a ‘people’ that do not exist, (a people whose only goal is the ANNIHILATION of another people whose history is THE most documented record of ancient times) based on the argument that the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is historically invalid.

That lie is so delusional that it boggles the mind. Yet it is the basic reason for a global war on terror that now threatens to spill over into an all-out war of civilizations.

Israel, by its very existence, is a stench in the nostrils of the secular world. It is a constant reminder of the existence and reality of God, and therefore, man’s accountability before Him. Paul explains it this way:

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

The secular world’s war, blind anti-semitism so ingrained in its psyche it is blissfully unaware it even exists.

Any critically-thinking person can see the truth, yet the UN consistently finds the ‘anti-truth’ when it involves Israel. It is almost supernatural in its scope and breadth. In fact, scratch ‘almost’ from that last sentence.

It IS supernatural.

Originally Published: April 11, 2006

Featured Commentary: Worthy is the Lamb ~ Pete Garcia

Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light
Vol: 167 Issue: 15 Saturday, August 15, 2015

To the average Muslim or the average Jew, Christianity is a polytheistic religion.  Christians can explain that we worship only one God, but in three Persons, but that makes it about as clear as mud.  Jews worship YHWH, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

If there is one verse of Scripture that defines Judaism, it would be the “shema”.  

Shema Yisra’el YHWH Eloheinu YHWH Eḥad – “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

Muslims find the doctrine of the Trinity to be even more confusing than do the Jews. The Old Testament makes reference to the Son of God on any number of occasions, whereas the Koran’s references are all negative.

“Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” (Psalms 2:12)

“The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle . . .God is but one God. GOD FORBID THAT HE SHOULD HAVE A SON!” (The Koran: 4:171)

“Those who say: “The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son, preach a monstrous falsehood, at which the very heavens might crack . . .” (The Koran: 19:88)

”God forbid that He Himself should beget a son!” (The Koran 19:29)

Although the New Testament is all about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Redeemer of the World, King of King and Lord of Lords, there is but one verse in the New Testament that clearly outlines the doctrine of the Trinity — and it is suspect.

John Calvin wrote of the Trinity doctrine, “I would insist only on the direct words, unexplained, just as they lie in the text:

“There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: And these three are one.” (1 John 5:7 KJV)

“As they lie in the text. . . “ Calvin’s wording here raises another question:  Is the text itself genuine?

There are those that argue that 1st John 5:7 was added by some scribe or copyist later and that it was not among the earliest doctrines of the Church.

I’ve seen this debated many times over the years – the argument over the authenticity of the text baffles me.  If the text is not authentic, then what is it doing in the Bible?

If the answer is that it shouldn’t be in the Bible, then the next question should be, “who says and how do they know?”

The New International Version is translated from the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts. The NIV version waters down the Trinity proof text this way:

“For there are three that testify: 8 the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.”

The verse in the NIV is footnoted. The footnote reads;

“Late manuscripts of the Vulgate testify in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the fourteenth century)”

That’s where one moves from the realm of doctrine into that of opinion. Nobody can say for certain if the text was a later insert.  If it was certain, then it wouldn’t be part of the Bible.  But there it is.

So for many scholars, it is a matter of opinion if it is supposed to be there.  

The word translated as “mystery” is musterion which means, “a Divine secret, not previously revealed.”

The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a mystery.  So let me throw this out for your consideration.  The Bible does not require you to believe a ‘mystery’ as a condition of salvation. 

The Bible requires that we believe the facts as they are, not necessarily the Divine mechanics behind those facts as they may be revealed later.

Genesis records that God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.”  That is a fact and I believe it.

There is no mystery in the existence of light.  Only in how it sprang from nothing.  But I don’t need to know that in order to believe that God created light.

“And the Word was made flesh.” I believe this as a fact – my belief is not based in my understanding of the details of how, but in my faith in the factualness of that statement.

I believe the Bible’s statement that God is both Three and One.  I believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person in the Godhead, and I also believe that God is One. 

HOW this can be is a matter of faith and not one of understanding.  That’s why it is a mystery.

But it is absolute absurdity to reject the facts which God has revealed because we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how it all works.

The ‘mystery’ does not lie in the fact itself, but rather in how that fact comes to be a fact.   Paul wrote,

“Behold, I shew you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.”  (1st Corinthians 15:51)

There are many Christians that don’t believe in the Rapture. They have a different opinion about what that verse means.  But their eternal destiny is not in jeopardy.

Nobody is saved by faith in the Rapture.  We are saved by our faith in the Promise of salvation by grace.

 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God . . . “ (Ephesians 2:8)

The mystery is not relevant to the facts.  As a Christian, you are not required to believe the mystery or even to understand it.  But you are required to believe the Scriptures.

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

The objection that the text describing the Trinity was inserted into Scripture later by a copyist means, by definition, that 2nd Timothy 3:16 is ALSO unreliable.  Doesn’t it? 

If 1st John 5:7 was a later insert, meaning that 2nd Timothy 3:16 must be unreliable, what does that say about Ephesians 2:8? 

How does one know which verses to trust? There is a Latin phrase that deals with these kinds of Bible objections.

Si erro, libenter erro; et me redargui valde recusem.”

It means, “If I err, I err willingly; and I vehemently refuse to be convinced of it.”

Assessment:

There is much that we know but can’t explain.  You are NOT your body.  You are a soul who has a body. You don’t need to be a religious scholar – or even a Christian – to know that.  Consider a few examples:

  • Aircraft routinely carry the bodies of deceased persons as cargo. Airlines therefore report the number of ‘souls’ on board an aircraft to differentiate with the number of bodies. 
  • An injury to the body is felt by the soul.  An animal will flee from an injury and be done with it.  It takes an injured soul to plot revenge for an injury to the body. 
  • On the other side of the equation, when the soul feels shame, the body blushes.  When the soul feels anger or fear, it is the body that trembles. 

You know it as fact.  The Bible only confirms that it is true, it doesn’t explain how it works.  Neither can you.  Nor should you necessarily have to know how it all works in order for it to be true.

It will be true whether you understand it or not.  That doesn’t mean that nobody should study.  Everybody should.  But it is a command with a purpose:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)

These are marching orders for those called to serve — not everybody who gets saved is called to lead others to Christ.  Some are called to the work of evangelism, others are not.

But all need to be saved.  Salvation does not come by scholarship.  Salvation does not come by understanding the mysteries of God as revealed.  One doesn’t need to have ever cracked a Bible in order to be saved.

The Bible says that “faith cometh by hearing . . . the Word of God.”    (I believe it safe to say that Heaven is full of people that never learned to read on earth.) 

John tells us that these Three are One in unity and testimony and also in essence.  1st Timothy tells us that ALL Scripture is Divinely inspired and useful for doctrine.  

Jesus Christ said that every hair on your head is numbered and that not a sparrow falls from the sky without God’s knowledge and permission.  

It then follows that God is equally capable of preserving His Word as He wants each of us to have it, according to His purpose.  That’s another no-brainer that is often overlooked in the quest for scholarship.

The Bible says that God has revealed Himself as one God in Three distinct Persons; the Pater, the Logos and the Hagios Pneuma.  But the Divine mechanics — exactly how God can be one God in three Persons — is not revealed by Scripture.

Where is the wisdom in rejecting what is revealed, based on that part which has not been revealed?

The doctrine of the Trinity is not nearly as difficult as it is made out to be.  Try this for an illustration.  Take three candles into a dark room and put one in each corner.  Light them and go stand facing the other corner.

From that perspective, facing into the corner, you can only see one light.  But you know that there are three candles.  You can’t see the three candles, but you know that they are there.

Do you know how the light from each candle behind you was diffused in order to create the single light illuminating your corner?

Now for the next question.  This is the big one.  Do you NEED to know how in order to be able to use the light to see?  

What if you were already standing in the corner in the dark when somebody else comes in and lights the candles?  Would it change anything about the light if he said there were three different candles in different corners and all different colors?

Would you have to inspect the three candles before you could use the light to see with?  Or is it enough to simply know how many candlepower the light is?  Do you see it?  The Light illuminates the doctrine.

Trying to create a doctrine away from the Light gets the equation exactly backwards. Turn around from your imaginary corner and stare directly at one of the candles for a minute.

Now turn back around and see if you can still see as well into the darkness of your corner as you could — before you blinded yourself by staring too hard into the Light.

It is incumbent upon us to learn all we can from the Word of God because the more we learn, the more we understand how little we know.  That is where wisdom begins. 

In knowing that God is God.  And that we are not.  

The Scriptures tell us; “him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”

It is easy for God to be a Trinity and still be One God because He is God. Everything is easy for God.

But it is impossible for us to fully understand it because we are not God.  God says it takes three Divine Candles to produce the Light that illuminates my dark corner.

Now that He’s defined that Light for me, I need only worry about using it to see what He is illuminating. 

There will be lots of time to learn about the Candles in detail when I get to Heaven.

Originally Published: April 4, 2012