Battle Tactics

Battle Tactics
Vol: 20 Issue: 19 Saturday, March 19, 2016

”And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand.”  (John 10:28)

One of the questions that most regularly finds it way into my email box is this one:  Can a believer that was saved and falls away lose his salvation?  In other words, can you sin your wayout of Jesus’ Hand?

Is there an unforgiveable sin for which a believer can be condemned? Those who would argue yes are just as sincere in their doctrinal view as those who take the other side.

And both sides have Scripture to support their view.  But because things that are different are NOT the same, only one side can be right. 

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

Is this referring to the falling away of part of the True Church?

Eleven of the Lord’s disciples ‘fell away’ at the time of His arrest. The disciples deserted Jesus as was predicted and Peter denied Jesus three times.

For the true believer falling away may involve a temporary period of ‘backsliding’  — an OT term not found in the New — or a time of being out of fellowship with God.

There ARE times when for one reason or another, the believer is having difficulty in his Christian walk.

But a true believer would not, however, deny what they believe in their heart, even though their walk at that moment might not reflect what they believe.

Note that even though Jesus said they would ‘fall away’, in the very same context, He also said to Peter that He had prayed that his faith would not fail and when he returned, to strengthen his brethren. (Luke 22:32)

In other words, true believers may fall at times but their faith does not fail because Jesus intercedes for them. Concerning this intercession we are told,

“Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 11:2)

We need that intercession most when we are struggling, yet some believers will argue that it is when we need the Lord most that He abandons us to our sin.

See also John 17:6-12 concerning this intercession by Jesus for His believers. In this ‘High Priestly’ prayer, Jesus makes it clear that the ones that God has given Him, He keeps safe.

And Romans 8:32-34 cites Jesus’ intercession as proof we cannot be separated from the love of Christ.

The ‘great apostasy’ of the last days is not referring to saved believers, but is instead referencing the kind of doctrinal dumbing down that would allow an openly homosexual Episcopalian priest to be elevated to the bishopric, or the attack on the Boy Scouts for not admitting homosexuals.

Jesus said this time would be like the days of Noah and Lot – “every imagination of the thoughts of [men’s] heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5) with rampant homosexuality (Genesis 19:8).

Hebrews 6:4-6 is often used to ‘prove’ a believer can lose salvation. It 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.”

It appears on the surface to say that a believer can lose his salvation, but if you read it closely, it teaches the exact opposite.

It teaches that the believer cannot be renewed to repentance (born again – again!) because it would require crucifying the Lord again, and ‘putting Him to an open shame’.  

What could POSSIBLY shame the King of King and Lord of Lords? 

Failure, perhaps?  An inability to keep His Promise?  If the Lord promises that He will keep and preserve all those that trust Him and then loses one to the Enemy, would that not mean a promise broken? 

Is He God? Or is He not? If this passage teaches that a believer could lose his salvation, then it also teaches that believer is forever damned and beyond repentance.

You cannot interpret ‘impossible’ in this passage to mean anything except ‘impossible’. Then there is the passage in Hebrews 10:26-27 which says,

“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.”

First, the book of Hebrews was written TO the Hebrews (1st century Jewish believers). That doesn’t mean it is irrelevant to the Church, but there is a context here.

The ‘wilful sin” mentioned in verse 26 is linked to the verse before it because it starts with ‘Forif..’.

The verse before it is speaking of leaving the assembly of believers. The ‘wilful sin’ that this passage talks about is leaving Christ and going back to Judaism.

For a Jew to become a Christian in the first century was a death sentence as far as their relationship with their family was concerned. They lost any right to an inheritance and came under extreme pressure (including physical persecution) to leave Christ and go back to Judaism.

And that is what many did, even though for a while they looked like true believers.

Under the Judaism they were going back to, there no longer remained a sacrifice for sin (v.26) (God didn’t accept animal sacrifices anymore because Jesus had died for all sin, for all time.)

Another commonly misinterpreted Scripture refers to ‘a branch that doesn’t bear fruit will be cast into the fire.’

1 Corinthians 3:15 clearly states that for a true believer, even if their work is burned up (ie no fruit) they are still saved, but as one who escapes ‘as by fire’. They are in Heaven, but they have no rewards.

Scripture never contradicts Scripture.  Another proof text used to prove salvation is dependent on doing good works is James 2:26;

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

This is another verse that is purported to prove one thing, but in fact, proves the opposite. By definition, one who is saved cannot have ‘dead’ faith, since it is their faith that has saved them in the first place.

Someone may have a belief, or head knowledge that certain facts are true without giving themselves over to that belief.

James 2:19 says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

Believing in God is not the same has having faith in Christ. Dead faith is simply a head knowledge that cannot save.

Consider this; I know all about President Obama, but he doesn’t know me — that is to say, I have no personal relationship with Obama, but I believe he is the president.  

That is not the same as saying, “I have faith in the president.”

There are many who know all about Jesus, and might even profess to believe He is God, but have no personal relationship with Him.  They have no faith that He can save, or that they even need saving. 

Works arising from that kind of relationship are by definition, dead, since they can bear no eternal fruit.

The Scriptures clearly establish that a genuine conversion will stand no matter how great the adversity.

“Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down” (Psalms 37:24)

The Apostle Paul told believers to put on the whole armor of God.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:13-17).

On the battlefield, the most effective way to dispatch an opponent is to go for a head shot.  Paul refers to the ‘helmet of salvation’ — if you know you are saved, eternally, the enemy can never take you out of the game.

He can’t use guilt to stop you from witnessing. He can’t convince you that you aren’t really saved. He can’t convince you that you are unworthy to carry the Gospel to the lost. In short, he can’t take that ‘head shot’ that would render a believer useless to the cause of Christ.

In these last days, the Scripture says that Satan will pull out all the stops, ‘because he knows he hath but a short time’.

Those of us who are properly equipped with the truth, the knowledge that we are covered by the righteousness of Christ, are prepared with a knowledge of the Gospel, which we are prepared to share in peace, secure in our faith and certain of our standing before Him are formidable opponents in the battle for the souls of men.

“And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27)

The battle has been joined. And our victory is assured.  Don’t let anyone rob you of your weapons.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 9, 2011.

Another Angel, Another Gospel, Another Prophet . . .

Another Angel, Another Gospel, Another Prophet . . .
Vol: 20 Issue: 18 Friday, March 18, 2016

In the year 610 AD, an itinerant merchant named Mohammed ibn Abdullah was in a cave on Mount Hira, as had become his practice, when the angel Gabriel appeared to him and commanded him to memorize (Mohammed could not write) what Gabriel dictated to him.

According to traditional Muslim history the verses of the Koran were written on palm trees and fiber and memorized during the life of Mohammad and collected shortly after his death. At Medina, about forty companions are believed to have acted as scribes for the Koran. 

One thousand, two hundred and ten years later, a young farmer and treasure hunter named Joseph Smith was praying for forgiveness for the “gratification of many appetites” when the Angel Moroni appeared to him and directed him to a buried book of golden plates and a set of silver spectacles with lenses composed of seer stones.

The golden plates contained the religious record of when Jesus appeared to the native American Indians. Smith said he used the seer stones, called Urim and Thummin, for some of the earliest translations.  

Later, Smith said he was able to translate the golden plates by reading the reflections in a seer stone at the bottom of a silk top hat. The translation, now known as the Book of Mormon, was published in Palmyra, New York on March 26, 1830.

The Book of Mormon was not well received in Palmyra.  Smith and his followers established small churches, known then as the “Church of Christ” but Smith and his followers were soon run out of town ahead of a gathering mob. 

During that flight, Smith said he heard the voices of Peter, James and John, who gave Smith and his scribe, Oliver Cowdery, Apostolic authority.

When Mohammed first began to preach his new religion in Mecca, he didn’t win many new converts.  But as time went on and Mohammed grew stronger, he and his followers were considered a threat by the local merchants, particularly those of the Quriyash tribe. He was eventually forced to flee from Mecca to Medina.

They fled at first to Kirtland, Ohio, which Smith announced was “the eastern boundary of New Jerusalem” and that the Saints must gather there while Oliver Cowdery headed to Missouri to find New Jerusalem’s true location. 

While in Medina, Mohammed’s followers swelled in numbers and soon controlled the city.  From there, they began to raid Meccan merchant caravans.  The Koranic verses from this period are those that call for religious tolerance and practical issues (like how to divide the spoils of war.)

Smith also dictated a lost “Book of Enoch,” telling how the biblical Enoch had established a city of Zion of such civic goodness that God had taken it to heaven.  Smith taught that the Book of Mormon was a corrected version of the Old and New Testaments, which Smith claimed had been corrupted by apostate Christians and Jews.

 Mohammed’s new religion claimed to be a corrected version of the Old and New Testaments, which Mohammed claimed had been corrupted by apostate Christians and Jews. 

While in Kirtland, Smith converted Disciples of Christ Pastor Sidney Rigdon and took over Rigdon’s 100-member-strong congregation.  

At Rigdon’s suggestion, Smith began revising the Bible as new converts started pouring into Kirtland. By the summer of 1835, there were fifteen hundred to two thousand Mormons in the vicinity of Kirtland, virtually taking over the town.

About this time, Oliver Cowdery announced he found New Jerusalem was really in Independence, Missouri.  There were some disputes, principally surrounding Smith and underageservant girl, Fanny Alger.  

Mohammed’s new religion permitted polygamy, deception in the furtherance of Islamic ideals, and forced conversion. Mohammed had thirteen wives, his youngest wife, Aisha, was reputed to be just nine years old.

To reduce the whiff of scandal, Smith declared Fanny Alger was one of his plural wives, introducing the doctrine of polygamy into the Church.  

Oliver Cowdery called it a “filthy affair” and threatened to leave the Church.  Instead, Smith charged him with slander and excommunicated him.

Later, Smith and Rigdon established a wildcat bank called the Kirtland Safety Society.  It failed within a month, wiping out its depositors and investors. They fled in the middle of the night, just ahead of the sheriff bearing an arrest warrant, and headed for Jackson County, Missouri and the New Jerusalem.

There, he renamed his church “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.” He also organized a Mormon ‘militia’ called the Danites, to intimidate Mormon dissenters and defend against “anti-Mormon militias.” 

The Danites soon expelled all ex-Mormon dissenters from Jackson County, including Oliver Cowdery and his group.

Mohammed eventually made a ten year truce with the Quriyash of Mecca, known as the Treaty of Hudabbiyah. Two years into the truce, Mohammed attacked and destroyed the Quriyash, seized Mecca and imposed the Zakat – a tax imposed on non-Muslims which allowed them to live there without converting to Islam.

In a fiery speech given that fourth of July, Rigdon issued similar threats to non-Mormons in thecounty, promising them a war of extermination if they attacked the LDS.  In 1838, after promising to “establish our religion with the sword” his followers attacked the Missouri State Militia at the Battle of Crooked River.

Governor Boggs ordered all Mormons be “exterminated or driven from the state.” On November 1, 1838, the Saints surrendered to 2,500 state troops, and agreed to forfeit their property and leave the state.  Smith was imprisoned, along with Rigdon, in Liberty, Missouri on charges of treason. 

Smith and Rigdon escaped after bribing the sheriff, and fled to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Brigham Young had set up a new LDS headquarters.

Nauvoo grew rapidly, and so did LDS doctrine.  In Nauvoo, Smith established polygamy as a Mormon doctrine.  He established secret ceremonies whereby righteous people could become gods in the afterlife.

Smith also introduced his “First Vision” which later became regarded by the LDS as “the most important event in human history since the resurrection of Jesus.”

In 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois while being held on charges of treason. Their deaths caused a succession crisis with Brigham Young assuming command of the LDS and excommunicating the splinter groups that disputed his leadership.

Mohammed died of a fever when he was 63 years old. After his death, a succession dispute caused Islam to split into the Sunni and Shi’ite factions. Islam became the dominant religion everywhere that it went.  And everywhere it went, it established itself by war.

As the LDS began taking over Nauvoo, tensions rose with the local Illinois residents. After Smith’s death, Brigham Young and sixty thousand Mormons headed to Utah territory.  Brigham Young was appointed Utah’s first territorial governor.  

And everywhere that the LDS went, from Palmyra to Kirtland to Nauvoo to Utah, they established their religion by war; the Missouri Mormon War, the “Illinois Mormon War” the “Utah War” the “Morrisite War” and the “Black Hawk War”.

Does anybody else see a pattern of similarity here?  Anybody want to hazard a guess as to why? 

Assessment:

It is a matter of provable fact that Muslims are allowed to lie to infidels (non-Muslims) if it advances the cause of Islam.   Mormons are also allowed to lie to “gentiles” (or non-Mormons) if it advances the cause of LDS. (Milk before meat.)

Islam doesn’t integrate itself with infidel communities, it establishes itself as a separate entity, and then through proselytizing and intimidation, seeks to dominate and impose its own laws.  

LDS pretends to integrate within gentile communities, but immediately establishes itself as a separate entity and then through proselytizing and intimidation, seeks to dominate and impose its own laws. 

Both claim a kind of Jesus and a kind  of Gospel.  Islam claims Isa (Jesus) and the ‘injil´ or ‘gospel’.  But Isa is not God, but rather, an exalted prophet, second only to Mohammed.  The Islamic “injil”is the “true” gospel of Jesus, before it was corrupted by Christians and Jews.

The LDS claims a kind of Jesus and a kind of Gospel.  The LDS Jesus is “a” god, (one ofuncounted millions) but the Mormon Jesus is just a man who became a god.  And the Mormon Gospel is the Book of Mormon, which the LDS claims is superior in accuracy and doctrinal truth to the Bible. 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the members of the Church at Galatia:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6-7)

Paul is quick to say that while it is ‘another’ gospel, in the sense that it is different, there IS no other Gospel, in the sense that it can be legitimate.  The Gospel is the “good news” because it points the way to salvation.  There is but one way to salvation, according to John 3:16 and Acts 4:12.

Which is why Paul follows up with this carefully parsed statement;

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8)

We’ve been discussing two claimants to the gospel, both of whom received their new gospel directly from an angel; in one case Gabriel, and in the other, Moroni.  Each of those conflicting gospels, delivered by angels, claim to the be true Gospel before it was corrupted by Christians and Jews.

Both deny that Jesus Christ has the power to save on His own, unless one also obeys an impossibly complex series of laws and ordinances that by their very existence, make salvation impossible, according to the Scriptures:

“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 keeping the law was the path to righteousness, then Jesus didn’t have to die.  His death and His resurrection advantage us not at all, if our salvation is dependent on keeping the law. That is as it has been since the time of Moses – why add Jesus? 

He wasn’t necessary under the Mosaic Law. Why is He necessary to Mormon or to Muslim salvation? Answer: He isn’t. Neither faith requires a Messiah, since in either faith, salvation comes by keeping the Law. 

There is another similarity worth exploring Islam had a founder.  His name was Mohammed. He died on June 8, 632 and was buried where he died.  His tomb is still there, housed within the House of the Prophet in Medina.

The LDS had a founder. His name was Joseph Smith. Smith was shot several times inside his jail cell by an angry mob he had bilked out of a fortune. He died where he fell, and was buried in Nauvoo, Illinois.  His tomb is still there.

Christianity had a Founder.  His name was Jesus Christ.  He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities.  The chastisement we deserved fell upon Him. And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

He died on a Cross at Golgotha, crucified between two thieves.  He was buried in the tomb set aside for Joseph of Aramathea.  But His tomb is empty.  He is not there.  

He rose on the third day, was seen of over five hundred witnesses and ascended into Heaven in broad daylight in front of witnesses. If Jesus is not risen, we remain dead in our sins and our faith is in vain

Why do I risk the wrath of the LDS, not to mention Islam, every liberal on earth, the various self-appointed anti-hate groups, a lot of well-meaning but deceived Christians, and the probability that most ISP’s will bounce today’s OL?

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3)

That is the only Gospel.  Any other gospel leads people away from the truth and away from salvation. As such, it is accursed, according to the Scripture.  Even one revealed by an angel.   

The best way to determine the identity of the revealing angel is to compare his ‘truth’ to the simplicity of Christ.  The TRUE Gospel is simple.  It can be boiled down to just two words:

“Jesus saves.”

This letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 6, 2011.

Featured Commentary: The Gathering of Israel ~ Alf Cengia

The Gift

The Gift
Vol: 20 Issue: 17 Thursday, March 17, 2016

One Christmas, my son gave me a book on the history of the Irish race. I was stunned to learn that the history of the Irish kings dates back to the time of Solomon, and that the Roman historians of antiquity considered Ireland to be an ancient kingdom when Rome was young.

The Irish nation has maintained its history with an attention to detail surpassed only by the nation of Israel. The book, “The Story of the Irish Race” by Seumas MacManus, was published in 1921 and contains more than seven hundred pages of history.

Today, I want share my Christmas gift with you. A little bit of that history –specifically, the story of King Conor MacNessa. Stay with me, it will be worth the effort. I promise.

King Conor was the Ard-Righ, or High King of Ireland in the first part of the first century.

King Conor was described by a contemporary historian of his day as,

“A tall graceful champion of the noble, polished and proud men stood at the head of the party. This most beautiful of the kings of the world stood among his trops with all the signs of obedience, superiority and command.He wore a mass of curling drooping, yellow hair. He had a pleasing, ruddy countenance. He had a deep blue, sparkling, piercing eyein his head and two branching beard, yellow, and curling upon his chin. He wore a crimson, deep-bordered, five-folding tunic; a gold pin in the tunic over his bosom; and a brilliant white shirt, interwoven with thread of red gold, next to his white skin.” – the herald MacRoth to Queen Medb of Connaught.”

In King Conor’s day, Rome had not yet constructed the Colliseum and had just conquered what would become Britain. While King Conor’s life was fascinating, it was the circumstances of his death that are of interest here.

Conor died from a brainball that sunk into his skull, fired in battle by Cet MacMagach, a Connaught champion, whom Conor had pursued following a Connaught cattle raid.

It didn’t kill him directly — the brainball lodged in his skull, and his physician, Faith Liag, would not remove it because it would have instantly killed Conor.

With care, Conor might live long, provided he live quietly, avoiding passion and violent emotion and live a life of peace such as few kings of antiquity knew.

Under Liag’s care, Conor lived seven more years.  One day, writes the historian, the pagan-King Conor MacNessa’s court was, quoting MacManus directly,

“thrown into consternation by finding broad day suddenly turned to blackest night, the heavens rent by lightening, and the world rocked by thunder, portending some dread cataclysm.”

Conor asked his Druids and wise men for explanation of the fearful happening.

The Druid Bachrach, a noted seer, told him that there had been in the East, in one of the many countries under the dominion of Rome, a singular man, more noble of character, more lofty of mind and more beautiful of soul, than the world had ever known, or ever again would know — a divine man, a God-man, who spent his life lifing up the lowly and leading the ignorant to the light, and giving new hope to a hopeless world — one too, who loved all mankind with a love that surpassed understanding — one, the touch of whose gentle hand gave speech to the dumb, sight to the blind, life to the dead. He was the noblest, greatest, most beautiful, most loving of men.

And now the heavens and the earth were thrown into agony because on this day the tryant Roman, jealous of his power over the people, had nailed him high upon a cross, and between two crucified thieves, had left the divine man to die a fearful death.

Fired to rage by the thought of the terrible injustice meted out to such a noble one, Conor MacNessa, snatching down the sword that had not been unsheathed for seven years, and crying, “Show me the accursed wretches who did this base deed!” burst through the restraining ring of courtiers, leapt into the storm, fiercely hewing down their bending branches and shouting, “Thus would I treat the slayers of that Noble man, if I could but reach them.”

Under the strain of the fierce passion that held him the brainball burst from King Conor’s head — and he fell dead. (The Story of the Irish Race by Seumas MacManus, pp. 26-27)

King Conor lived three hundred years before St Patrick introduced Christianity to the Emerald Isle. The story of Conor MacNessa and the circumstances of his death, were known and recorded in Irish history before Patrick arrived to tell The Greatest Story Ever Told and was surprised to find it was already part of the history of the Irish kings.

Macmanus says in a footnote on the page, “Some say that it was a Roman consul (who informed Conor of death of Christ).

Still others say it was the Royal Branch champion, Conal Cearnach, who had been a prisoner of the Romans and who had been taken to the limits of their Empire.

In the course of which expedition, he was in Jerusalem on the day of days, and witnessed the Crucifixion. “A representative of every race of mankind was on the Hill of Calvary at the dreadful hour.”

Conal Cearnach represented the Gael (Irish). The beautiful story of Conal Cearnach at the Crucifixion is related by Ethna Carberry in her book, ‘From the Celtic past’.”

This is not just a beautiful story, but is part of Irish history attested to by the pagan generations who recorded the events long before Christianity came to the Emerald Isle.

“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.” (Luke 23:45-47)

When Jesus was crucified, the Bible says the darkness was all over the earth for three hours. Not just in Jerusalem, or in Israel, but the whole earth — a FACT of history attested to by Scripture, and also attested to by the history of the pagan High-Kings of pagan Ireland.

Causing even the pagan-King of pagan Ireland, Conor MacNessa, to echo the Roman centurion who stood at the foot of the Cross.

“Truly, this Man was the Son of God.” (Mark 15:39)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 5, 2003,

Featured Commenary: Genocide is Genocide ~ J.L. Robb

Why We NEED To Know What We Don t WANT To Know

Why We NEED To Know What We Don t WANT To Know
Vol: 20 Issue: 16 Wednesday, March 16, 2016

From time to time it becomes necessary to revisit the central purpose of Bible prophecy for the last days insofar as it impacts the Church.  It is to give the warning that time is running out.  Not for the Church.   But for those who will be left behind.

The destiny of the Church is to participate in the Blessed Hope articulated by the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the Thessalonians:

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. . .  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 Rapture of the Church signals the conclusion of the Age of Grace in the same manner in which it began.  The Lord explained the equation to the Apostles before His crucifixion.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16:7)

It isn’t too difficult to follow – it doesn’t need much interpretation.  If the Lord does not “go away” then the Comforter (the Holy Spirit) will not come (indwell) them.  Still, the Apostles didn’t get it.  Right up to the moment of His Ascension, they were still expecting Him to usher in the Millennial Kingdom. (Acts 1:6)

They wouldn’t get it — until the Holy Spirit clued them in.  But to this point, the Lord was stillamong them, and so the indwelling Holy Spirit was not.  So there they stood, clueless and afraid, while the Lord explained the Holy Ghost would soon empower them for the Great Commission.

“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

If they were clueless and afraid while the risen Lord Jesus was standing there talking to them, one can only imagine how clueless and afraid they were as they stood there, staring into the clouds hoping for one last glimpse of the Master.

“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.”

There it is.  Do you see the chronological order?  The Holy Spirit will not indwell men until after Jesus is “taken away” at the Ascension.  How is He taken away?  That is extremely important to this study.  Look again.

He is raised up from the earth alive, in His Resurrected and transformed Body, and taken up until He vanishes in the clouds.   That is how He is taken away – and the Promise given is that is how He will return.

Now fast forward from the event that kicked off the Church Age to the event that signals its conclusion. 

The Apostle Paul described it in detail to the Thessalonians in his first letter.  He returns in reverse order to His departure.  The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, where He will resurrect the dead in Christ and then those living will be ‘caught up’ into heaven at the Rapture.

But the Apostle Paul evidently left out a few details that caused the Thessalonians some confusion.  Apparently, it left them confused enough that he felt it necessary to write them again to straighten things out.  

There was a heresy in circulation that said that Nero was really the antichrist, and the Thessalonians were afraid they had been left behind. 

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”

No, no, Paul says. “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” he asks, before filling in the missing blank spot in the equation

Remember, the issue under discussion here was a rebuttal of the false doctrine claiming that Nero was the antichrist.  Nero can’t be the antichrist, Paul says, and here’s why.

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the real antichrist] might be revealed in his time.”

Let’s go back and quickly review what we’ve covered about the beginning of the Church Age.

  1. Jesus is bodily taken out of the way by rising from the earth and ascending into heaven
  2. The two witnesses in white reveal that Jesus will return in the same manner in which they watched Him go.
  3. The Holy Spirit comes upon and indwells the Church.

Here is what the Apostle Paul says will signal the end of the Church Age.  It ends in reverse order to the way it began.

  1. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven into the air in like manner as He left,
  2. The restraining Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way, together with the vessels He indwells.
  3. The antichrist is revealed and the Tribulation Period begins.

 First the Holy Spirit must go away, then Jesus will come.  In like manner as we saw Him go.

Assessment:

There is but one purpose for the indwelt Church of Jesus Christ to be on the lookout for signs of the antichrist.  For the same reason that meteorologists look for signs of bad weather – to give the warning.

But in order to obtain an accurate forecast, it is necessary to look at all the signs in their totality – we can’t just pay attention to the ones that make us feel good about ourselves. 

It is a good news-bad news situation, which makes it a difficult balance.  The Bible is the epitome of good news – the very word “Gospel” means good news.  Bible prophecy is also a message of good news – but from a somewhat more limited perspective.

The good news is that the Bible predicted all the bad things that we are seeing unfold upon the earth, because it means that God still has everything under control.  The bad news is that all the bad things the Bible predicted would unfold upon the earth is, well, unfolding upon the earth.     

There are no signs to signal the Rapture.  There is nothing to look out for.  There isn’t even a perspective that anyone can hang their hat on.  The Rapture is ‘the vanishing’ – but we only vanish from the perspective of those left behind. 

We can’t look at signs like earthquakes, famines and wars and conclude anything about the Rapture.  Those signs aren’t of the Rapture.  They are signs of impending Tribulation.  They are only important because the Rapture comes first.  

So as much as we really WANT to be looking for the approaching Christ, the only tangible thing we can nail our hopes to, weirdly enough, is the signs of the coming antichrist.  If we can discern the approach of the antichrist, then it means that the Rapture is just that much closer.

There are many well-meaning Christians that believe that pre-tribbers do the Church a great disservice because the pre-trib doctrine doesn’t prepare Christians for what to do about the Mark of the Beast.  To my way of thinking, this is one of the more baffling arguments, but it must gain traction somewhere because I hear it so often.  

Here is my rebuttal to that argument.

In the event that a world leader demands to be worshipped as a god as a condition of economic participation and requires you to accept a mark in your right hand or forehead as a token of worship, don’t do it.

There. 

Now, to justify the title of today’s OL – why we need to know what we don’t necessarily wantto know.

Since there are no signs preceding the Rapture, the only benchmark measurements available to us are the signs that precede the antichrist, of which there are many.  

The antichrist is a politician.  He carries a bow, but no arrows, because his principle weapon ispolitics.

By all accounts, the antichrist does not seize power, he achieves it by universal acclamation – “Who is like unto the beast?  And who is able to make war with him?”

The antichrist of whom the Bible speaks does not arrive in secret – he explodes onto the world stage at a time when the world is looking for answers from anyone but Jesus.   He is not one of many choices – he is the ONLY choice available.

He is a liar whose rise to power is accompanied by many lying signs and wonders – but he is thrust into power by the people ­– if we are right on the timing, by people that are alive right now.

So it is extremely illuminative of the lateness of the hour when a charismatic politician rides into power on the back of lies and disinformation, shows total disregard for Congress, or any law, buys off the money trust, starts wars in the name of peace and reverses sixty years of friendship with Israel as part of his commitment to globalism.

It isn’t that Obama is the antichrist – I expect the antichrist will be far more competent.  But before Obama, it was a lot harder to imagine how the antichrist would be able to accomplish all that the Bible sets before him in just seven years.

Until you look at what Obama has accomplished in less than five.

I am as sick of the Obamanation as you are.  And there are a lot of things I am learning that I really, really would rather not know.

But it isn’t possible to understand unfolding Bible prophecy without an understanding of the political machinations that bring the antichrist to power or enable him to accomplish his mission.

It isn’t possible to explain how he will use the economy to enforce his edicts without understanding how it works.  I don’t believe that the Lord provided us with such a clear and unambiguous model if we weren’t to learn from it.

The three main pillars of government during the Tribulation Period are the antichrist’s control of a global economy, religion and government.

If we are to be watchmen on the wall prepared to give the warning, we need to know what we are warning of.  The antichrist isn’t a cartoon character wearing a red union suit and carrying a pitchfork.

Neither is he an amateur buffoon with no concept of how to lead or any clue of the Law of Unintended Consequences.  (That’s how we know it isn’t Obama.)

In any case, he won’t be wearing a name-tag.   

Since there are no signs preceding the Rapture, the only signs we have are those that warn of the Tribulation.  But they are not there to prepare the Church to endure it.  

“Hey, bad things are coming.  Nothing you can do about it, though. If you manage to avoid the Mark of the Beast, you’ll die a horrible death.  If not, you’ll spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.  Being saved has nothing to do with it.  So suck it up, buttercup!”

What kind of warning is that?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 1, 2011.

Religiously Christian

Religiously Christian
Vol: 20 Issue: 15 Tuesday, March 15, 2016

”Religion” is system of worship whereby man attempts to make himself acceptable to his God.  That is why the word can be universally applied to any system of theology.

Catholicism is a religion.  Hinduism is a religion.  Islam is a religion.  Even secular humanism is a religion, recognized as such by no less a secular authority than the Supreme Court. (Torcaso v Watkins, 1961).  Secular humanism dictates man is his own supreme being, and is the systematic endeavor to reconcile man unto himself.

Of all the world’s great religions, the only one for which the appellation ‘religion’ is wholly inaccurate is that of Christianity.

Religion, with all its rituals, sacrifices and dogma, is man’s way of making himself acceptable toGod, while Christianity is a system where God makes man acceptable unto Himself.

That is not a distinction without a difference.  Christianity is the mirror image of ‘religion’ — its core doctrines might even be called ‘anti-religious’.

Religions demand adherence to certain rules and regulations as a condition of salvation.  Those rules are compiled by religious men, set forth as the defining characteristics of that religion, and followed by its religious adherents, if they are to remain in good standing with their religion, and therefore, with God.

Religion, in all its forms, is a series of theological laws that must be kept by its followers in order to make themselves acceptable to whatever their understanding of God might be.  Christianity is accepting God’s definition of Himself.

Jesus Christ was put to death for exposing the hypocrisy of religion. Not just the religious leaders, but religion itself.  When the religious leaders tried to trap Him with the Law, He exposed the hypocrisy of religion for all to see.

“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

Loving God above all things and loving one’s neighbor as oneself is God’s ‘law’.  Religion is a man-made substitute system that offers alternative choices.  Historically, more wars have been fought over religion than any other cause, many in the name of the ‘Christian religion.’

But Bible Christianity teaches that our war is this life is spiritual; “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)

That is not to say true Christians are forbidden to go to war, as in the case of the current war on terror.  Christians are not OF this world, but we are IN it.

As secular national citizens, Christians are admonished “to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,” (Titus 3:1) But that is not the same as banding together to conquer for Christ’s glory. That is a religious concept, not a Christian one.

The true source of religion — and its underlying concepts — was revealed in Scripture BEFORE the fall of Adam.

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

Let’s break the oldest lie in the Book down into its component elements;

1) “Your eyes shall be opened.”

The serpent begins by hinting that God is deliberately withholding beneficial information from them. The argument that some Scriptures seem to require salvation by faith plus works, while others seem to support eternal security stems from that seminal deception — that God’s Word is ambiguous when examined closely.

2) “Ye shall be as gods.”

It goes against the grain of human pride to believe that the only role we play in our own salvation is to accept a free gift of unearned pardon. Most human religions — including most Christian denominations — insist that mankind play some role in his redemption.

In this view, the sacrifice of the Cross is not enough — it is just a kick-start that gets us going. We must then perform at a certain level or that sacrifice is negated by our own failed efforts.

3) “Knowing good from evil.”

This goes back to the belief that we humans can know WHICH sins are sufficient to disqualify us from heaven and which ones God will let slide because they weren’t as evil — which is the ONLY rationale for rejecting the doctrine of eternal security.

There are seemingly as many religions within Christianity as there are religions outside Christianity.  Religions within Christianity are Christian in the sense that they claim Christ as their Lord, but write their own rules to substitute for His standard of salvation by works.

The Lord’s standard for salvation by works is somewhat harsh:

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

So religion attempts to rewrite the rules, claiming unto itself special righteousness and understanding provides it with insights that make it unique in that it ‘seeketh after God’, claiming unprofitable rituals and sacrifices are now profitable, and organizing itself to ‘do good.’

Religious Christianity is a system that substitutes its own, more attainable standards of conduct for God’s standard of perfection, adding temporal punishments and penalties as atonements for the inevitable failure of its adherents.

When discussing the doctrine of eternal security, I note that most argue the phrase, not the doctrine.  The doctrine of eternal security is the essential difference between religion and Bible Christianity.

The terms used to describe salvation scream ‘eternally secure’; “Eternal life” (John 3:161st John 5:11), “full assurance” (Hebrews 6:11Colossians 2:2), “hope. . . sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19)

Salvation is described in Scripture, not as something yet to come, but present-tense. Each true believer is described as “forgiven” (Romans 4:71st John 2:12), “justified” (Romans 5:1,9,Titus 3:7), “reconciled” (Romans 5:19) “risen with Christ” (Romans 6:3-6Colossians 3:1-2) a “new creation” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

Believers are “complete in Him” (Colossians 2:10), already “citizens of heaven” (Philippians 3:20), “sanctified once and for all” (Hebrews 10:10) and “perfected forever.” (Hebrews 10:14)

The Bible says of believers that we ARE: “God’s family” (Galatians 3:261st John 3:2), effectively ALREADY “seated in the heavenlies with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5-6) and “translated into the kingdom of His dear Son” Colossians 1:13)

Salvation cannot be lost unless one discounts the following core doctrines: Salvation is eternal (John 3:1636), it is a present possession (Romans 51st Peter 2:24-25) it is imputed, not earned, (2nd Corinthians 5:17Galatians 2:20Hebrews 9:10Romans 3:24Ephesians 2:8-9,Titus 3:3-7Romans 3:19-284:4-511:16)

Eternal security is NOT a license to sin.  It is important to understand that eternal security does not apply to a person who merely professes Christ.  Salvation demands repentance.

Repentance means a change of mind resulting in a change of life.  The person who has never changed his mind about God, sin, Christ, the Bible, etc., has never repented and has never been saved.

Rather than granting license to sin, the Bible teaches that the grace of God actually motivates believers to serve God with a thankful heart. (Romans 2:4Ephesians 3:14,-19Titus 2:11-14)

A sinning believer is out of fellowship with the Lord, but the relationship remains the same. He is helped and loved by the Lord Jesus Christ (1st John 2:1-2). He is chastened by the Father (Hebrews 12:5-11) BECAUSE the relationship remains intact.

Although forgiven, a sinning Christian cannot regain lost opportunities or the hurt caused by his sin. And the sinning Christian will suffer loss at the Bema Seat. (1st Corinthians 3:11-152nd Corinthians 5:101st John 2:28)

Logically, to deny the doctrine of eternal security is to embrace religion as an acceptable way to please God.

But God says those who stand before Him trusting in their works will be judged ACCORDING to their works.  Those who stand before Him trusting in the Promise that Christ’s Work at the Cross was all sufficient will be judged according to that standard.

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

Religion doesn’t save us. It can’t keep us. There is only One Who can “keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude 1:24)

Trust Him.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 6, 2006.

Featured Commentary: One Thorny Question ~ Wendy Wippel

Heaven From the Cesspool

Heaven From the Cesspool
Vol: 20 Issue: 14 Monday, March 14, 2016

It’s been observed that, ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die’.  It makes you wonder – why is that?  Since the worst thing anybody can do to another human being is killthem and the most desirable outcome for any Christian is to go home to glory. . . what’s up with that, anyway?

The Bible describes heaven as a place where the streets are made from gold, and where the ‘pure river of the water of Life proceeds out from the throne of God and of the Lamb’ where there shall be no night, since God Himself with illuminate it and so on.

What kind of mental image does this give you?

To me, it sounds pretty neat, but . . . somehow, not.

Please don’t run screaming from the room screaming ‘blasphemy’ just yet – I’m not finished.  Give me a few more lines.

I recall sitting between a couple of sand dunes, surveying the wind-swept beach on one of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, watching as the breakers crashed into the pilings on the nearby pier.  The sun was shining, the breeze was warm; it was altogether an idyllic scene.

The beauty was breathtaking.  Alone with the Lord, I mused about what heaven must REALLY be like, if this wasn’t it.  Indeed, as I pointed out earlier, John’s description of heaven was, um, nice, but where I was sitting was pretty nice, too.  There were no rivers of living water, but I know that I am saved and have eternal life already.

The sand isn’t made of gold, but what value will gold have in eternity, anyway?  It will pave the streets, as common as the sand.  I like the sand.

And I LIKE the night; I’ve sat in that exact same spot at night, and when the breeze is warm and the stars are out, with the moon reflecting off the ocean it is no less idyllic than it is during the day.

I enquired of the Lord, and I began to get a bit of the Big Picture, as seen from outside of space and time.  (No, I wasn’t smoking anything and I didn’t start to hear voices).

Instead, I thought about what the Bible said about heaven, and more to the point, what the Bible says about our Big Blue Marble.

The Bible describes the fall of Lucifer, his sin, and his ejection from heaven, together with the third of the angels who rebelled with him.  When they were cast from heaven, where did they go?

The Book of Job says:

“And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:72:2)

It has been my experience in studying God’s Word that when He causes something to berepeated, as in this case, it is worth giving it an extra look.

When Satan and his crew cast from heaven, they were cast to the earth, what the theologians call the ‘cosmos diabolicus’ or literally, a world of evil.  To the angels, it was the worst place they could imagine — a place of involuntary and horrific exile.

Planet Earth is the one place in the universe where sin can exist without throwing the entire universe out of balance, thanks to the fact it has an environment that contains it.

Our environment, which sustains us, also contains us and keeps us from doing to the universe what we have already done to our planet.

Indeed, we managed to get to the outer fringes of our planet and what did we do?  Filled it with orbiting space junk, some of which threatens OTHER orbiting space junk, such as the international space station.

Meanwhile, back on earth . . . when the fallen angels were cast to earth, it was an astonishing drop.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12)

Assessment:

To the angels, the beautiful seaside scene I described earlier is a cesspool of sin, a place of punishment to the angels who rebelled, a place so horrible, that seen from the heavenly perspective, merely being stuck here was enough to turn Lucifer the Archangel into Satan the Destroyer.

Imagine our planet from God’s perspective.  Everything is stained by sin.  The beautiful beach scene?  Stained by sin.  The ground we walk on?  Stained by sin.

I tried to imagine that stain for what it is, and of course, I cannot.  I can only defer to the Bible’s description of sin.  It is so filthy, so repugnant, so disgusting, that God can’t bear to view it.

When God created Adam, He created a special place for him.  The Garden of Eden.  When Adam and Eve fell, they were first cast OUT of the Garden, and into the cesspool where sin was allowed to operate freely.

Jerusalem sits in the middle of the cesspool.  In the center of Jerusalem was the Temple, a place kept scrubbed of the taint of sin by the Levitical priesthood, and the Holy of Holies, a place scrubbed even more carefully.

The only place where God would commune with sinful man on this sin-stained planet was that tiny place where the muck of sin was scrubbed away as much as possible.

Until even that place became so buried in the muck and mire of sin that, after four hundred years of silence, He decided to Personally scrub it –and us — clean of it, once and for all.

Scripture says the angels were astonished that the Lord of Glory would assume human form, step out of sinless and perfect eternity, and wallow in the mire of sin with sinful humanity.  Every step for Him must have been an agony, like walking knee-deep in sewage.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9)

It is a measure of how disgusting sin is to God.  The fact it was the place God cast the rebellious angels is revealing.  To the angels, our beautiful planet earth is a leper colony.  We mortal humans are little more than bugs, willingly wallowing in the yuck of sin, yea, REVELING in it.

Yet the Scripture says that the angels are fascinated by us, and by our plight, and astonished by our unwillingness to climb out of the muck.  It amazes them that men love the world, since they see it for what it is, and have some basis for comparison between it and the things of the spirit.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us . . .” (Hebrews 12:1)

“For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and TO ANGELS, and to men.” (1 Corinthians 4:9)

Scripture tells us that;

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

We cannot imagine heaven, we can only compare it to earth and all its beauty and wonderment, and realize that the earth is the universe’s garbage dump.  Heaven is like the Bible describes it; but it is much more.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

What IS death, that we fear it?  In a word, separation.  Death separates us from our loved ones.  Death takes our loved ones from us, separating us from them until eternity.

Sin is a form of death. It separated the fallen angels from fellowship with God.  It separates the unsaved from God.  Revelation 20:14 speaks of the Great White Throne Judgment in which unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire as ‘the second death’ — a second – and permanent separation.

Sin separates us from God, our sin nature blinds us to that fact and so we love the world, and thereby astonish the angels.  Picture the nastiest, gooeyest, smelliest substance you can think of, and imagine being in it up to your neck.  From the angelic perspective, that’s where we are, and most of us are loving it, until we get saved.

Jesus said,

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10)

The angels know what that sinner has just escaped from.

Jesus also describes what we become in eternity in Luke 20:36,

“Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

Paul tells us that we will receive new, immortal bodies.

“And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” (1 Corinthians 15:49-50)

What is heaven like?  I don’t know.

But I know what a beautiful, sunny day, a warm ocean breeze and the sights and sounds of the waves as they gently break on the shore is like.

And compared to heaven, it’s a cesspool.

To the angels, it is a place of exile, a leper colony, a place where the fallen angels were sent to await their fate at the Great White Throne. Our ‘beautiful’ planet is the angelic ‘hell’ to which they were cast to await sentencing to the Lake of Fire.

But we will be ‘equal to the angels’ says the Lord, in our immortal, sin-free bodies, and equal to the angels in understanding just HOW evil and repugnant this place really is, from the perspective of the spirit.

Why is it, then, that everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die?

Because if we knew what awaits us there, we’d all jump off a cliff tomorrow.

Written by Jack Kinsella on January 7, 2004

Featured Commentary: Something Wicked This Way Comes ~ Pete Garcia

How Did They Know?

How Did They Know?
Vol: 20 Issue: 12 Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nobody would classify the Bible as a work of science or a medical textbook, but the Bible does make certain scientific and medical statements.

Assuming that the Bible is Divinely inspired, and given that it claims a 100% accuracy rate, 100% of the time, it is only reasonable to conclude that it should be completely accurate in every scientific and medical detail. 

Taking it another step further, if the Bible is Divinely inspired, then the scientific and medical errors found in the pages of other ancient, non-inspired texts should be entirely absent from its pages. 

The bulk of the medical information in Scripture is found among its first five Books, the Pentateuch, and are generally accepted as being written by Moses. 

Moses, according to Scripture, was educated with “all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22) so it would be entirely natural for the Pentateuch to reflect some of that Egyptian ‘wisdom’ — if Moses were writing according to his own knowledge. 

While some medical practices in the Pentateuch are similar to those found in ancient Egyptian documents, the Pentateuch exhibits a conspicuous absence of those harmful malpractices that plague the writings of the Egyptians. 

Moses penned the most advanced, flawless medical prescriptions that had ever been recorded. Moses taught the Israelites to practice sanitation to prevent the spread of disease. 

(The Egyptian prescriptions generally involved rubbing oneself with, ahem, camel poop.)

Every statement that pertained to the health and medical well-being of the Israelite nation recorded by Moses could theoretically still be implemented and be completely in accord with every fact modern medicine has learned in regard to germ spreading, epidemic disease control, communal sanitation, and a host of other medical and scientific discoveries.

In 1872, a German Egyptologist named Georg Ebers discovered an ancient Egyptian papyrus (the Ebers Papyrus) that outlined what constituted the Web MD of the ancient world. 

Altogether, the papyrus contains 811 prescriptions for what ails you, including “salves, plasters, and poultices; snuffs, inhalations, and gargles; draughts, confections, and pills; fumigations, suppositories, and enemata,” wrote Cyril Bryan of the Ebers Papyrus in “The Ancient Egyptian,” published in 1930.

The ancient Egyptians were renowned in the ancient world for their progress in the field of medicine. 

During the days of in the Medo-Persian Empire, the ancient historian Herodotus recorded that it was king Darius’ practice “to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession.” 

Could the amazingly advanced medical knowledge reflected by the Pentateuch have come from Moses’ Egyptian education? 

In ancient Egypt, if you went to the doctor for a splinter, he would write you out a prescription for a poultice consisting of “worm blood, mole and donkey dung.” 

Of course, if you followed that prescription, the tetanus spores in the donkey poop would probably result in an agonizing death from lockjaw. 

Got pimples? The Egyptian free clinic prescribes a poultice made of “a hog’s tooth, cat dung, dog dung, eau-of-samu-oil, berries-of-the-xet-plant,” which the patient is to “pound and apply as a poultice” to their skin. 

Various other ingredients recorded by “The Ancient Egyptian” for the plethora of remedies concocted included “dried excrement of a child” (p. 98), “hog dung” (p. 115), and “a farmer’s urine” (p. 131). 

One recipe to prevent hair growth included lizard dung and the blood from a cow, donkey, pig, dog, and stag (p. 102).

Let’s face it. The active ingredient in most of these Egyptian prescriptions is animal poop. And ancient Egypt is reputed to have had the most advanced medical knowledge in the world at that time. 

For three thousand years, when medical ‘science’ wasn’t advocating better living through the liberal application of poop, it recommended blood-letting as a way to allow diseases to leave the body. 

Blood-letting was considered a legitimate medical treatment until the early 20th century. 

An eyewitness account of George Washington’s death relates that he came down with a chill, and in an effort to cure him, those who attended him resorted to bloodletting; “a vein was opened, but no relief afforded.” (“The Death of George Washington,” 2001).

We know now that bloodletting was exactly the wrong treatment, regardless of the malady. Victims of a traumatic injury are given glucose IV’s to strengthen the blood and prevent the patient from going into shock. 

Thousands of years before the lethality of blood-letting was discovered, mankind had been informed by God that blood was the key to life. In Leviticus 17:11, Moses wrote: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” 

How could Moses have known almost 3,500 years ago that life was in the blood, something it took the rest of the scientific and medical community thousands of years to discover? 

In 1847, a German doctor, seeking to reduce the mortality rate among pregnant mothers, noted that medical students would perform autopsies in the morning, then go directly from the morgue to the hospital wards without washing their hands. 

He ordered everyone in his ward to wash his or her hands thoroughly in a chlorine solution after every examination. In three months, the death rate fell from 18% to 1%. 

Had Dr. Semmeliweis simply read the Pentateuch, he could have learned what the ancient Israelites knew three thousand years before;

“He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.” (Numbers 19:13)

Moses also gave instructions for the mixing of the ‘water of separation’ [or ‘purification’.] Numbers 19:17‘s ingredient list sounds like a typical ancient superstition. 

It calls for the combination of the ashes of a red heifer, hyssop, cedar wood and scarlet. 

In point of fact, this combination of ingredients produces what amounts to an antibacterial soap. Lye soap is made by pouring water through ashes. 

Hyssop’s medicinal properties include expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic. Its active constituents arevolatile oil, flavonoids, tannins and bitter substance (marrubin).

A strong tea made from the hyssop leaves and flowering tops is used in lung, nose and throat congestion, and externally it can be applied to bruises, to reduce the swelling and discoloration. 

Cedar has long been favored for use in storage cabinets because of its ability to repel insects and slow decay. In oil form, applied to humans, it is an antiseptic, astringent, expectorant (removes mucus from respiratory system), anti-fungal, sedative and insecticide” (“Spa Essential Oils,” 2005).

Cedar leaves and twigs are rich in vitamin C, and it was their effectiveness in preventing or treating scurvy that led to the tree’s being called ‘arbor vitae’ or’ tree of life’. 

Lastly, Moses called for the inclusion of ‘scarlet’ — mostly probably scarlet wool. (Hebrews 9:19) Adding wool fibers to the ‘water of purification’ would make it gritty, like Lava soap. 

The education Moses received in Egypt taught him to treat open sores with animal dung, but Moses taught the Israelites how to make lye soap. 

The book of Leviticus lists a number of diseases and outlines ways by which an Israelite would come in contact with germs. Those with such diseases as leprosy were instructed to “dwell alone” “outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:46). 

If and when a diseased individual did get close to those who were not diseased, he was instructed to “cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!” (13:45). 

Here’s another seeming superstition; the ‘covering of one’s mustache’ to prevent disease. Until you give it about three seconds thought — what do you do when you cough — and why? 

We are taught to ‘cover our mustaches’ to keep from spreading germs!

So, Moses, having been educated in the finest schools in Egypt in the many uses of poop in the treatment of disease, prescribed the use of soap and water to prevent disease and instituted the practice of quarantine to prevent its spread — three thousand years ago in the middle of the Sinai desert! 

The ancient Israelites were instructed in peculiar dietary habits such as avoiding certain animals, birds and fish as sources of food. (Leviticus 11:1-3

In 1953, a researcher with the Johns Hopkins Institute of Medicine did a test in which he planted a certain seedling in the fresh muscle juices of various ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ animals as cited by Leviticus. 

He would then record the percent of seeds that grew in the meat juices as compared to those that grew under normal circumstances. Seeds grown in the juices of ‘clean’ animals, like the ox, sheep, calf, goat or deer, grew 90% of the time. 

Those nurtured in the juices of an ‘unclean’ animal; swine, rabbits, camels and horses failed to grow more than half the time, due to their natural toxicity. Similar tests between ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ birds yielded similar results. 

The same experiment was conducted with fish, both those with fins and scales [clean] and those without [unclean].

Clean fish had almost zero toxicity while unclean fish were exceeding toxic to the seedlings. How could Moses know all that? 

Lastly, let’s look at the Bible’s instructions for circumcision. For centuries, Western medicine considered it to be a barbaric practice of no medical value. 

Modern research proves that circumcision virtually eliminates any risk of penile cancer. Circumcised infants suffer 20 times fewer urinary tract infections than uncircumcised infants. 

Circumcision reduces the risk of getting or transmitting many sexually transmitted diseases. Again, how could Moses have known all this in the Sinai desert three thousand years ago? 

But wait! As long as we’re on the subject, there’s more!

The 1953 edition of Holt Pediatrics contains a section titled, “Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn.” The section deals with the occurrence of occasional spontaneous bleeding among newborns that can sometimes cause severe damage to major organs such as the brain, and even death. 

In the discussion pertaining to the reasons for such bleeding, the authors note that the excessive bleeding is primarily caused by a decreased level of prothrombin, which in turn is caused by insufficient levels of vitamin K. 

A chart outlines the levels of available prothrombin in a newborn. It dips from about 90% of normal on its day of birth to about 35% on its third day of life outside the womb. 

After the third day, the available prothrombin begins to climb. By the eighth day of the child’s life, the available prothrombin level is approximately 110% of normal, about 20% higher than it was on the first day, and about 10% more than it will be during the rest of the child’s life. 

That means that the best possible time to perform such a procedure is on the eighth day after birth. 

Genesis 17:12-14 specifies that circumcision be performed on the eighth day after birth — even if the eighth day fell on a Sabbath. 

Assessment:

There is simply no explanation for the advanced medical knowledge outlined by Moses in the middle of the Sinai desert three thousand years ago. 

Moses couldn’t have learned it in Egypt. What Moses learned about medicine in Egypt would kill more often than it would cure. 

He couldn’t have learned it while tending Jethro’s herds. He couldn’t have learned it while leading the Exodus out of Egypt. 

But there it is. Medical knowledge so advanced that most of it was unknown to Western medicine for another thirty centuries!

The Bible contains more than just amazing medical knowledge. Let’s briefly consider a few other examples of Divine inspiration. 

Paul notes that each star in the heavens is unique. (1st Corinthians 15:41) It wasn’t until man invented advanced telescopes in the 20th century that it was learned the light spectra of every star is different with no two stars being alike. 

Jeremiah 31:35-36
details the precision with which the universe is governed. Job 26:7 reveals that the earth is suspended in outer space. 

Ecclesiates 1:6
reveals the movement of the wind — something not discovered by secular science until the early 20th century, when meteorologists discovered that the wind circulates in cyclonic patterns, rather than a straight line. 

Job 28:25 includes principles of fluid dynamics, AND it reveals that air has weight, (something only learned by science in the last 300 years.) 

Psalms 135:7
, Jeremiah 10:13 and Job 36:27-29 offer a complete description of the earth’s hydrological cycle. 

Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10 describe the recirculation of the world’s water supplies. Job reveals that it is condensed water vapor in clouds that is responsible for rain. Isaiah 40:22 reveals that the earth is round. 

The Apostle Peter describes the eventual destruction of the current universe using precise scientific terms unknown to secular for another fifteen centuries.

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

It wasn’t until the mid 1940’s than man discovered nuclear fission, wherein splitting the atom causes the elements of that atom to ‘melt with fervent heat’ — heat so fervent that splitting the atom of a single element triggers a nuclear explosion that can vaporize a city. 

Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press). 

These manuscripts vary in size from a part of a page to an entire Bible (Old and New Testaments). 

The earliest New Testament manuscripts date from the second century (100-199) AD. 

These manuscript copies were written in different languages by people of different nationalities, cultures, and backgrounds. 

In spite of all those differences between the authors, each book of the Bible melds seamlessly into the entire work, as if penned by a single individual. Because, in the final analysis, it was.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2nd Peter 1:20-21)

You can trust the Bible. We have God’s Word on it.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 7, 2008.

Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil
Vol: 20 Issue: 11 Friday, March 11, 2016

When His disciples asked Him, ”Teach us to pray?”, the Lord Jesus outlined the perfect prayer;

“And He said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” (Luke 11:2-4)

This is a prayer of adoration, thanksgiving, protection, provision and hope, fully expressed in a mere fifty-eight words.

Of interest to this morning’s OL is the phrase, ‘deliver us from evil.’

What is “evil” exactly? Where did it come from? Who created it and why does it exist?

Briefly stated, ‘evil’ is the absence of ‘good’. It was born out of sin, but evil is not a creation, exactly. It is the other half of ‘good’. Without evil, ‘good’ would be impossible for us to distinguish.

God created the universe in a balance. In order for there to be darkness, there must first be light. Darkness is a measure of the absence of light. Without the prior existence of light, darkness could not exist.

In order for there to be cold, there must first be heat. Cold is a measure of the absence of heat. Without heat, cold could not exist. Evil is a measure of the absence of good. Without good, evil could not exist.

Evil is not a creation of God, since it cannot exist outside of the creation of good. But it doesexist, because good exists.

Think of it like a battery. It takes both the positive and negative poles to create power. Good would have no power to effect change without evil, just as evil has no existence without good.

How could one choose good if there were no evil against which to measure it?

In His creation, God never pronounced the universe ‘perfect’ — He found some of His creation to be ‘good’ some of it to be ‘very good’ and even some of it that He pronounced, ‘not good’.

“The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18)

Both the Bible and science tell us this present universe was designed to be temporary.

Science looks to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which proves there is not enough matter in the universe to cause it to contract. That means the universe will continue to expand indefinitely and all the stars will eventually burn out.

Once that happens, life cannot be possible for the entire rest of the history of the universe. Science proves the universe was designed to wear out.

The Bible also says the universe was designed to be temporary, and it will eventually be replaced by a perfect universe that will be permanent.

Why would God create a temporary universe instead of creating a perfect, permanent one in the first place?

God created the universe as it exists for the express purpose of allowing free will spiritual beings the opportunity to choose to have fellowship with Him, or to reject Him.

Those who choose to have fellowship with Him will do so in some future, perfect creation.

And if His purpose is to have free-will fellowship in some future creation, then there must also exist some means by which these spiritual beings can make a choice whether or not to enter into this relationship with Him.

God not only understands the nature of evil, He understands our propensity for it.

“. . . I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Genesis 8:21)

The Apostle Paul offers God’s assessment of mankind thusly:

“There is none righteous; none that understand; none that seek after God; none that doeth good; we are deceitful, bitter, swift to shed blood, are the source of destruction and misery, and have no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)

Paul goes on to point out that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (3:23) but that there is an offer extended to us to be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (3:24)

“Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (3:27-28)

Assessment:

According to the Bible’s outline, then, God permits evil to exist in order for free will to exist.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

The Scriptures tell us that God is the Creator and the source of all good, and it reveals that, during this present dispensation, Satan is the god of this world and the source of all evil:

“In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

Much of the suffering that exists in this world is a direct result of evil choices made by free-will human beings that impact others.

Natural disasters — tornadoes, volcanoes, etc., are part of the power cycle required by this imperfect universe in order for it to exist in balance.

In the new creation, there will be some limits on our free will, since the new creation will not contain evil. We exist in this life to give us a chance to agree to give up some of that free will in the next.

That is what it means to turn one’s life and will over to Jesus Christ. It is a choice to surrender our will to God.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

Those who refuse the opportunity in this life will not be forced to in the next life, but will instead exist separately from the new creation, and apart from God.

The place set aside for those who reject God is the place originally prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

Bad things happen in this universe, because that is how it is designed. No human being has in himself ever been righteous. Even Adam was not righteous: he was innocent–not knowing good and evil.

Ultimately, there is not an answer to these questions that we can fully comprehend. We, as finite human beings, can never fully understand an infinite God (Romans 11:33-34).

Sometimes we think we understand why God is doing something, only to find out later that it was for a different purpose than we originally thought. We look at things from an earthly perspective.

God looks at things from an eternal perspective;

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

Second, we must realize that God is not responsible for the wicked acts of evil men.

God had to allow the possibility of evil for us to have a true choice of whether to worship God or not. If we never had to suffer and experience evil, would we know how wonderful heaven is?

Bad things happen because they HAVE to happen in order for there to be a way of measuring what is good. It is through bad things that God reveals Himself to man.

Sinners don’t come to Christ because they are satisfied with themselves — they come to Christ because they recognize the absence of God in their lives.

Winning the lottery seldom brings sinners to their knees — losing everything does. If you want to find God, you’ll find Him in prisons and hospitals, much more so than in mansions and fitness clubs.

Bad things happen to good people because God knows what He is doing, even when we don’t. When we pray for what we believe is a good thing and don’t get it, we wonder where God is or if He is listening.

Unfortunately, we don’t know good from evil — we only know right from wrong.

‘Good and evil’, as we understand the terms, are not actions, they are outcomes. Only God can measure the outcome of what we believe is an evil thing.

Bad things happen to good people for reasons beyond our comprehension because God is in charge of outcomes.

Bad things prove the existence of God, because they only happen where men are involved.

Remove mankind from the equation, and the moon continues to orbit the earth, the earth continues to orbit the sun, and the universe remains in perfect harmony.

Evil exists so that man can seek good, and, in so doing, find its Author.

Because ALL things work together for good where God’s people are concerned.

That is why the Psalmist exhorts us to;

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thy own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

Because, in the final analysis, we understand evil all too well. It’s the concept of ‘good’ that gives us trouble.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 2, 2008.

Featured Commentary: The Weight of the World and Christ’s Coming ~ Alf Cengia

Eliminating Excuses

Eliminating Excuses
Vol: 20 Issue: 10 Thursday, March 10, 2016

We’ve spent an unusually high percentage of our time this month dealing with issues of doctrine, with the central theme being the doctrine of eternal security.

Why so much time on this one doctrine?  Is it so important to me to prove I am right that I can’t let go?  Is it just that I am arrogant and unwilling to consider any other view?  Why this one issue above the rest?

I hope none of those apply — I earnestly pray that God will keep me from being arrogant, and protect me from propagating error.

The reason I have spent so much time on eternal security isn’t because I haven’t investigated alternative interpretations — because I have.  I don’t want to be in error, and I am even more worried about spreading error.

Despite the charges from my critics, I am not a false teacher, ‘sent by Satan to confuse the Church and teach a watered-down doctrine that will lead many to hell’.

My fear of teaching error is so much greater than my fear of being wrong that I have probably spent more time studying the alternative doctrines than I have the one I believe to be the correct one.

The Bible takes a dim view of false teachers and false doctrines, and I take Scripture at face value.

That said, the doctrine of eternal security is, according to Scripture, the most effective defensive weapon in the Christian’s war arsenal.  Particularly for this generation, and even more particularly, at this point in time.

The Apostle Paul described the spiritual weapons available to the Christian preparing for battle, and their purposes.

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

Note immediately two things.  The first is that this armour is ‘of God’, and the second is that it is provided so that we can ‘stand’ against the devil’s deceptive ‘wiles’ — not engage in a frontal confrontation.

It is the enemy who fears a frontal confrontation.  Scripture says that,

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1st John 4:4)

The enemy knows he cannot win a direct frontal confrontation with a believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Rather, Paul writes,

“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. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)

Here again, we find that our tactical mission isn’t to swarm and overcome, but instead, to ‘withstand’ and ultimately, to remain standing.

Paul describes a Christian in full battle dress as one,

“having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” (Ephesians 6:14-15)

Note the tactical information we are able to glean from the type of combat gear we are issued for battle.  In the hand-to-hand combat tactics of Paul’s day, as now, the most vulnerable place to strike an enemy is the groin area.

One needn’t strike a killing blow with an edged weapon to disable an enemy, the haft of a spear, a club, or even a raised knee is sufficient.

If one stands against the enemy and doesn’t have the truth, he will be disabled just as easily.  A killing blow is not necessary.  A glancing blow is enough.

The next largest vulnerability for a warrior is the chest area.  It is a large target, and has many potential kill zones, including the heart.  An unrighteous warrior’s heart is exposed to an enemy blow.

An ancient Roman battlefield tactic often employed was for one side to sew a potential battlefield with sharp stones, bits of metal, tacks, etc.

The Roman legions often met with barefoot ‘barbarian’ hordes, while Roman soldiers wore heavy laced sandals.  Soldiers who can’t walk, can’t fight, and this tactic thinned out the enemy forces even before the first blow was struck.

Paul tells us to be on a firm footing with the Gospel if we want to be able to ‘stand’ in battle.  One cannot do spiritual battle with the enemy if one doesn’t understand the Gospel.

“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (6:16)

Faith is our shield.

” . . . for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

It is our faith that provides the most effective shield against the attacks of the wicked.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

All of us have encountered some glib apologist for humanism, or a well-versed atheist eager to ‘prove’ that there is no God.  Some of their arguments seem convincing, and without the shield of faith, we are vulnerable.

We have only two weapons left to fully equip us for battle.  Finally, Paul tells us,

“. . . take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Note that our only offensive weapon is the Sword of the Spirit — the Word of God.

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The Word of God, Jude tells us, is so powerful that, even,

“Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” (Jude 1:9)

Now we move to what Paul calls, “the helmet of salvation.”

Assessment:

A blow to the groin can disable an enemy, so can a strike to the chest.  An army with bloodied feet can’t fight, and without shields, it is vulnerable to long-range attack from archers.  But strike a blow to the head and your enemy isn’t just disabled, he’s dead.

I know of no quicker way to render a Christian ineffective for battle than to convince him the battle is already lost.

A Christian who is out of fellowship with God is reluctant to join the battle, one who believes he has lost his salvation is defeated before he steps out on the field.  Why fight for a general who has abandoned his troops in the field?

How does one deploy the various defensive weapons AFTER one is already dead?

How does one take the battle to the enemy, when the strategic objective is a prize of no value?

“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)

These verses are often used as ‘proof’ texts that a believer’s salvation is conditional on his maintaining a certain standard of conduct.

Note the elements: First, it is impossible for one who has been saved to be ‘renewed again unto repentance’, because it would demand ‘crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh’ — something the Bible says would ‘put Him to an open shame.’  How so?

“But this Man, after he had offered ONE sacrifice for sins FOR EVER, sat down on the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12)

Jesus said from the Cross, “It is finished.” If it is NOT finished, then He lied – hence the open shame.

Another ‘proof text’ is Hebrews 10:26 which says;

“For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.”

If those ‘proof texts’ are correct, then, instead of the doctrine derided as ‘Once Saved, Always Saved, we are faced with the Bible promise that, for a believer, the true doctrine is ‘Once Lost, Always Lost’ — unless it is possible to be renewed unto repentance, something the Scriptures say is IMpossible.

To the believer out of fellowship NOT protected by his helmet of salvation, stepping out into the field is pointless.

What good is the Sword of the Spirit to an otherwise unprotected warrior?  One without the helmet of salvation certainly can’t wear the breastplate of righteousness.  The breastplate of righteousness doesn’t fit the lost sinner.

The shield of faith is too heavy to lift.  Their feet are unshod by the Gospel of peace.  The ‘truth’ that protects their loins is the truth that they have lost their salvation and are unfit for battle.

How can the lost do battle with the lost?

The doctrine of eternal security is the helmet of salvation that protects us from that fatal head shot.

If one is secure in his knowledge of his righteous standing before the Lord because of his faith that Jesus paid the penalty for his sins and that it truly IS finished, then the breastplate of righteousness fits securely, the shield of faith becomes weightless, and the two-edged Sword of the Spirit only cuts one way.

I stress eternal security because there is no time left for excuses.  We haven’t the luxury of malingering in the field, claiming exemption from battle because we aren’t fit for combat.

Not every combatant is eligible for the Medal of Honor.  Some are just tired dog-faces who go where they are sent and fight when the battle is joined.

They haven’t any doubts about which side they are on.  They can’t claim neutrality or unfitness for combat.  They KNOW that, whatever doubts the enemy casts on their fitness for combat, in the end, they will be victorious, because, although the battle still rages, the war is won.

I often think of the embattled defenders of Bastogne during the closing months of World War Two.  The 422nd and 423rd Regiments were surrounded by German forces, outnumbered, outgunned and cut off without supplies.

Militarily speaking, the condition was hopeless.

The Germans sent an ultimatum to General McAuliffe, demanding he surrender his forces.  By every military standard, McAuliffe should have accepted.  It was the coldest winter in living memory.

Within the first three days of battle, many units were decimated.  The 106th Infantry suffered 564 killed in action, 1,246 wounded and 7,001 missing in action, for example.

But McAuliffe knew, even as the battle raged, as hopeless as things looked, that the war itself was already won.  Germany could not sustain the offensive, and he knew US reinforcements were fighting their way to their defense.

All he had to do was ‘stand’ until the battle was over and victory was his.  McAuliffe rejected the surrender ultimatum with a one-word answer, in popular lore, the word, ‘Nuts’.

His troops fought on, despite the losses, in the face of overwhelming odds, because they had faith in ultimate victory.  They knew that their forces had already defeated the enemy and it was only a matter of time.  They needed only to stand in order to win.

Now, consider the same situation in reverse.

German forces, surrounded by US troops, cut off from their supplies, outgunned, outnumbered, with no hope of retreat, and knowing that the writing was already on the wall.

There are no reinforcements, Germany is on the verge of collapse and the war already lost.  General McAuliffe sends the German commander the same ultimatum; surrender or be annihilated.

(It makes a world of difference to know you aren’t fighting for a lost cause.)

Eternal security is the assurance that our cause is NOT lost.  The ‘Battling Bastards of Bastogne’ had the constant assurance that, no matter how badly the battle seemed to be going, in the end, they would win.  It kept them on the field despite the APPEARANCE that they were lost.

I have spent this much time on the doctrine of eternal security because it is the mission of the Omega Letter to train and equip an army of one-on-one evangelists prepared to step out onto the battlefield, regardless of conditions, certain of their ultimate victory, confident of their armor, and trained to use their sword effectively.

We are in the last days.  There is no time to bandage the wounded before committing them to the battle.  What may appear as defeat to you from your vantage point in the action may actually be a tactical victory somewhere else up the line.  Only our General knows all the battle details, and He says, ‘Trust Me’.

We need to be;

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

That hope lies in our eternal security.  It isn’t a minor point of doctrine, and it isn’t just an interesting doctrinal argument among Christians to see who can score the most debating points.

It is what guarantees us ultimate victory, and what makes us fearless warriors on the field of battle.  That’s why Paul called it the ‘helmet of salvation’.

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

It’s THAT important.

Published and written by Jack Kinsella on May 9, 2005

Featured Commentary: In the Beginning: Part 2 ~ J.L. Robb

Somebody’s Child

Somebody’s Child
Vol: 20 Issue: 9 Wednesday, March 9, 2016

There is no greater blessing in life than one’s children. In my children I see the imprint of my life.  Each of them has their own story, and each story is also part of my story.

Their triumphs are my triumphs; their defeats are as crushingly painful for me as they are for them.

I don’t re-live my life through my children; I live it more fully because of them.  

Through their children I vicariously experience the innocence of youth and the joy of learning – but this time around I get to skip the more painful lessons.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.  Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalms 127:3-5)

People are ‘funny’ about their children (in the way bears are ‘funny’ about their cubs) – it’s not a good idea to criticize someone to his parents.  They might have a laundry list of criticisms, but you’d better keep your thoughts to yourself.

Having once been one myself, I knew better than to think my children were always right – but they were always my children.  

I’ve never had to do it personally, but I know that if one of them were to commit a crime, I’d expect them to face justice – with me standing behind the best lawyer I could afford.

Jesus referred to His Apostles as ‘children’ throughout His ministry.  Elsewhere, the Bible refers to Christians as ‘children’ as in:

“Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” (Luke 20:36)

I did a word study on the various Greek words translated as ‘children’.   There are several different Greek words translated into English as ‘children’ that reveal a lot about how God sees us from His perspective.

Because there are children — and then there are your own children.  

The Greek word teknon means ‘a child’ (as produced, biological); teknion ‘means a darling infant, as in one’s own); huios means a ‘son’ literally, symbolically or figuratively, or a descendant; paidion, means ‘a toddler’ or ‘childling’ of either sex; and breiphos, meaning simply ‘an infant’ .

Let’s look at a few examples in context before going on.

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children (teknonbiological, produced) of God: And if children (teknon,) then heirs (kleronomos,inheritors) of God, and joint-heirs (sugkleronomos co-heir, fellow heirs, heirs-in common) with Christ. . .” (Romans 8:16-17a)

“For ye are all the children (huios) of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)

“And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, (teknion or darling, innocent infants) how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!”  (Mark 10:24)

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, (paidion: childling) he shall not enter therein.” (Matthew 18:2)

“For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children (huios sons) of disobedience:” (Colossians 3:6)

Because there are YOUR teknion— and then there are everybody else’s huios

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

God views the ‘sons of disobedience’ as ‘sons’ (huios) – only they’re not His.  They are the devil’s offspring.  They are of his family.  They are of his house. 

By faith in Jesus Christ, one becomes a huios of God (Galatians 3:26) through adoption (huiothesia).

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

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (huiothesia) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (Ephesians 1:5)

Huiothesia is a compound of two Greek words that mean ‘adopted son’ – a son by deliberate choice.   In the ancient world, a child by adoption was an unbreakable relationship – one could disown and disinherit a natural born son, but not an adopted son.

Adoption was a very serious business, and therefore adoption was a universally recognized expression of great love.   An adopted son is of the house of his adopted Father.  And the word “Abba” means the same thing in modern Israel as it did in Paul’s day.  

It means “Daddy.”

Assessment:

What did you do for your dad today so that he would still love you?  Did you call him up this morning?   Did you do anything lately that he ever told you not to do? 

What did you do today to make sure you didn’t get kicked out of your family?  How often do you worry about having to change your name because your Dad decided you weren’t good enough to be his son? 

Are you the perfect child in all respects?   Have you ever disappointed your Dad?  Did he kick you out of the house?   Did he tell you he never wanted to see you again?  Did he promise to kill you?  

Are you an adopted child of God?   Have you surrendered your life over to His care?  Did you ask Him to adopt you into His forever family?  

What did you do for God lately so that He would still love you?  What did you do today to make sure you don’t get kicked out of His forever family?  Have you ever disappointed God?  Are you a perfect Christian?

Do you really expect God to be less loving than your own Dad?  Do you really believe that God loves you less perfectly than you love own your less-than-perfect children?  What sin wouldyour child have to commit before you would disown him?

Now, what about your kid’s friends?  (Or yours, when you were a kid?)  Ever have somebody else’s kid behave so badly you didn’t want him back in your house?   Or didn’t want him playing with your kids?

Suppose you banned a kid from coming to your house for some misbehavior and he showed up at the door, demanding to be treated like one of the family.  So you ask him if he is sorry for committing the infraction that got him banned.

Not only is he not sorry,  he thinks you’re a jerk and your rules are stupid and he has no intention of comforming to them.   Would you let him in?   Why would anybody think that God is less sovereign over His heaven than you are over your kitchen?

Salvation is a spiritual transformation from one family to another — from the huios of disobedience to the teknion of Christ, the huiothesia of God and sugkleronomos with the Heir of God.

The Bible says that a Christian is a new creation of God, not merely a new and improved version of the old one. 

“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)

So, you don’t think you are worthy to be saved?  Don’t think you are good enough to go to heaven?  Worried that God will kick you out of His forever family for disappointing Him?  

Did you worry about your Dad doing that to you?   Ever think about doing that to your own kids?

Is your ability for unconditional love really THAT far superior to God’s?  Are you really thatmuch more forgiving, that much more understanding and that much more fair? 

Or are you trusting in yourself to keep you instead of trusting Him?

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

Originally Published and Written by Jack Kinsella on April 28, 2010