Friends of God

Friends of God
Vol: 28 Issue: 22 Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All human beings, according to Scripture, are born with an eternal destiny. In the grand scheme of things, the main purpose of our earthly lives is to choose what that eternal destiny will be.

The Apostle James asks and answers the question;

“For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

We can get some sense of perspective from our own human experience. We are created by God at conception, but spend nine months being prepared for life outside the womb.

We leave the comfort of the womb in terror; our first experience involves being grabbed by the head with a pair of salad spoons and yanked from our 98.6 degree environment into a sterile 68 degree delivery room, where we are promptly assaulted.

Shortly thereafter, silver nitrate is dropped into our eyes, we get poked, prodded, stuck with needles and get dropped into a basket where we find ourselves alone for the very first time in our brief existence.

(And you don’t even want to think about what is coming in a few days if you are a boy.)

But, given all of that, who would want to trade this life for a life spent floating in darkness inside the womb?

The baby on the way out doesn’t know what wonders await him on the other side, (but the doctor wielding the salad spoons does.) Still, the doctor only introduces the potential — what the baby does with that potential occupies his next seventy or eighty years.

Then the process starts all over again. Out come the Divine Salad Spoons, and we are dragged, kicking and screaming into the third and final phase of our existence — eternity.

Assessment:

The Bible is the God’s Owner’s Manual for human beings. It contains all the information necessary regarding humanity’s origins, care and feeding, rules for safe operation and guidelines for proper maintenance. It also explains our ultimate purpose — to be friends of God.

“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)

Note that being a friend of God is conditional; whereas salvation is unconditional. Of friendship, Jesus said, “Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Regarding salvation, Jesus said,

“I am the door: by Me if ANY man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

But of His friends, Jesus said,

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” (John 15:16)

Jesus is not extending His Hand of friendship to farmers. The command to ‘bear fruit’ that ‘should remain’ is a reminder that this life is, as James said, ‘even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, then vanisheth away.’

Each of us has an eternal destiny and each of us has the opportunity to choose where and how we will spend it.

We will either spend it in joy unspeakable in the Presence of God, or we will spend it in darkness, alone, separated from God for eternity, with only our memories, in the place Jesus described three times as being;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

My eternal destiny was sealed when I accepted the gift of Pardon Jesus offers and trusted Him for my salvation.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

But what of my ‘fruit’ that is to ‘remain’, should I hope to be God’s ‘friend’ instead of just another servant. Note also that ‘grace’ is the extension of an unmerited gift, mercy and salvation are the gifts being extended.

But ‘friendship’ is something different. It is often observed that “we are stuck with family, but we choose our friends.”

Each of us, to be saved, chooses Christ. We become part of God’s ‘forever family’ as Hal likes to put it.

But Jesus says of His friends, ‘I have chosen you’. Not only that, but ORDAINED them to ‘bear fruit’ that ‘should remain’ after their own ‘vapour’ has dissipated from this earth.

Among His servants, Jesus has chosen and ordained certain of them to bear fruit, saying that those who accept His calling will be numbered among His friends.

There can be no question but that we are in the final countdown to the end of this present Age. The final war between the Lamb and the Dragon is poised to spill out into this reality during the Tribulation.

There is little time remaining for those of us who have accepted the call to take up our positions on the line. Not everybody is called to take positions in the front ranks, however.

Any army has many layers; warriors, support troops, cooks, supply clerks, ‘office pinkies’ etc.

In the Marines, I was a supply clerk, then later changed Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) to become an ‘office pinkie’ working in a data processing unit. But, like all Marines, I was, first and foremost, a combat rifleman.

Each of us may find ourselves in combat from time to time, if we are faithful, but that doesn’t make all of us frontline warriors. Some of us are more valuable in a supporting role.

An army’s effectiveness depends as much on its lines of supply as it does the fierceness of its warriors. (A Marine with an empty rifle would be a fierce warrior armed with an expensive, poorly designed club)

There are many ways the friends of God can lend support to those on the front lines of battle. Pray for us at the Omega Letter.

Seek the leading of the Holy Spirit. The time has come for those who would be friends of God to stand.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 6, 2005

Unrepentant Christianity?

Unrepentant Christianity?
Vol: 28 Issue: 21 Monday, November 21, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Romans 10:9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment:

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

He is still his father’s son. 

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

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

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

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14)

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

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

Then comes the prodigal son. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For an eternity.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 27, 2012

Featured Commentary: The Rapture, the Revelation, The Bell and the Egg ~Pete Garcia

The Politics of Religion

The Politics of Religion
Vol: 28 Issue: 19 Saturday, November 19, 2016

There is an old saying to the effect that the two things a person should never do in polite company is start a discussion about religion or politics.  We have discussed old sayings in the past.  The reason they become old sayings is because they are so indisputably true.

The reason that it is true is because religious and political views are widely varied but tightly held.  Disagreements are easily construed as attacks, and an attack your most deeply held convictions is an attack upon that which makes you ‘you’.

There is no place on earth where the truth of that adage is more clearly demonstrated than the holy city of Jerusalem, where religion and politics are inseparable.  It is because of that intersection of religion and politics that Jerusalem is the most important city in the world.

It is the most important city in the world because the religions competing for political domination over the city are dependent upon possession of the city as part of their doctrine. 

Judaism claims the site of the Temple Mount as the birthplace of their faith.  The Temple Mount is upon Mount Moriah, the place where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice Isaac in obedience to God.  It is the site of the threshing-floor purchased by King David from Ornan.

Ornan offered to give the property to King David as an offer of tribute, but David, inspired by God, refused to accept it as a gift and insisted on paying for it, to establish clear title to the property. 

Thus, the validity of Israelite claim to the Temple Mount is verified by a three-thousand year old bill of sale.

“Then the angel of the LORD commanded Gad to say to David, that David should go up, and set up an altar unto the LORD in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite. . . And Ornan said unto David, Take it to thee, and let my lord the king do that which is good in his eyes: lo, I give thee the oxen also for burnt offerings, and the threshing instruments for wood, and the wheat for the meat offering; I give it all. And king David said to Ornan, Nay; but I will verily buy it for the full price: for I will not take that which is thine for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings without cost.” (1 Chronicles 21:18,23-24)

The Bible promises that God will restore the Jews to the Temple Mount and that He will restore the Temple to the Jews. Ezekiel Chapters 40-48 contain detailed instructions about the Third Temple, its dimensions, location, etc. 

The city of Jerusalem is at the heart of the Jewish faith because the Temple Mount is in the heart of Jerusalem.  The promise of a restored Third Temple is central to Jewish faith.  It is through the Eastern Gate of the City at the entrance to the Temple Mount that the Jewish Messiah is expected to enter.

To surrender the Temple Mount is to deny the most basic tenets of Jewish faith and to deny the supremacy of their God. 

On the other hand, the average Muslim believes that Jerusalem is the third-holiest site in Islam, after the mosques at Mecca and Medina.  This status is a relatively recent one — in four centuries of Ottoman Muslim rule, Jerusalem was never elevated to even the status of a regional capital.  

While the Bible mentions Jerusalem more than seven hundred times, the Koran doesn’t mention it even once.  BUT — Jerusalem was once part of Dar al Islam, or the Zone of Islam.  Because it was once under Muslim rule, Islam considers any change of ownership temporary. 

It is the duty of every member of the world-wide Islamic umma or community, to recover lost “Islamic property” — the most important of which, for symbolic reasons, is Jerusalem.  Every day that Jerusalem is in infidel hands is an insult to Allah.

In the Holy Land, religion dictates politics. 

Assessment:

We discussed the Jerusalem Act in a past OL brief wherein the Israeli Attorney General issued an AG opinion that the Temple Mount is Israeli territory, so I won’t go into great detail here again on it.

But for clarity’s sake, the Jerusalem Act, passed by an unanimous Senate vote, instructed the State Department to move the US Embassay from Embassy Row in Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital at Jerusalem. 

The Act was passed in 1995 and gives the president the authority to request a six month waiver.  So every six months for the past three administrations, a White House designate makes the waiver request in the “interests of national security.”

In Jerusalem, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a campaign promise NOT to request a waiver, saying that his administration will actively work to implement the Jerusalem Act.

Romney emphatically endorsed Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a commitment no candidate for president has ever made to the Jewish state — and Romney made it from within the Jewish State.

At the same time that Romney was endorsing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the White House danced all around the question, “What is the capital of Israel?”  

The administration tried to buy the Jewish vote by releasing a $70 million aid package he had previously held up, which angered the Arab world almost as much as Romney’s pledge to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

And so, once again, the eyes of the world are on Jerusalem and its status as Israel’s capital.  This dusty little city of less than a million people, suddenly thrust back upon the world stage, exactly as the Bible predicted, at precisely the period in history that the Bible predicted.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:2-3)

What an amazing statement, given as it was from the perspective of a Babylonian captive some 520 years before Christ.

In Zechariah’s world, Jerusalem was a destroyed city, formerly under Babylonian occupation and now under occupation by the Persians in the second year of Darius.

There was little reason for Zechariah to be particularly optimistic for Jerusalem’s future as the most important city in the world.  But he confidently predicted the effect it would have on every nation that attempted to take on the burden of its rule.

“. . . all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.”

In 1917 when the British government issued its Balfour Declaration designating Palestine as a “Jewish Homeland” Britain was the reigning world superpower of almost three hundred years’ duration.

In 1923, the British took back most of what was granted under the Balfour Declaration, including Jerusalem in favor of taking on the burden of administering the city directly under what was called the “British Mandate.”

By the time the British Mandate finally expired in 1948, Britain was in shambles, its economy destroyed and its global empire ‘cut in pieces’.

America has never been in greater peril, besieged by enemies from within and without.  The flashpoint is Jerusalem. 

Not exactly the wisest place to start a new fight over religion and politics.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on  July 20, 2012

Mystery Babylon

Mystery Babylon
Vol: 28 Issue: 18 Friday, November 18, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is a Church after all the Christians are gone?

Assessment:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laodicea, maybe.  But not Babylon.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 19, 2010

Featured Commentary: A Cosmic Battle for Jerusalem ~Alf Cengia

The Enemy

The Enemy
Vol: 28 Issue: 17 Thursday, November 17, 2016

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, the Hebrew word “satan” means “adversary” from the primitive root word satan meaning, “to lie in wait (as an adversary).”

Its first use as a proper name in Scripture is found, appropriately enough, in the sixth verse of the first chapter of the (chronologically) oldest Book in Scripture. 

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.” Job 1:6 

Because of its age, authorship of the Book of Job is probably the least certain of any book in the Bible. Rabbinic tradition says that Job the son of Uz, who was the son of Nahor brother of Abraham, who lived within living memory of the Flood, sometime around 2000 B. C.

“And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot. And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.” (Genesis 11:26-28)

The author may be Job himself, or possibly Elihu, a contemporary of Job, but Hebrew rabbinic tradition is as unanimous as Hebrew rabbinic tradition can get in its view that the book of Job predates Moses by centuries.

The longevity and lifestyles, the tone of the book, foreign from traditional ancient Hebrew, and the offering of a sacrifice by the head of the family all place Job at a point in history well before the Exodus during the time of the Patriarchs.

The name of Job’s friend, Bildad was short for Yabil Dadum, a name found in cuneiformsources of the second millennium B.C.  

Job is the titular character in a cuneiform composition entitled “Babylonian Job” and the name, “Job” is contained in the Egyptian Execration Texts c.(2000 B.C.)

Additional clues included mention of roving bands of Sabeans and Chaldeans, consistent with the 2nd millennium B.C. and geographic clues suggesting Job was himself a pre-Babylonian Chaldean.

Elihu was a Buzite from northeast Arabia and Eliphaz was from Teman, a city in Edom.

It is safe to conclude that the Book of Job was written by a Chaldean relative of Abram at some point after Abram departed from Ur of the Chaldees at least seven centuries before Moses wrote what are commonly known as the first five books of the Bible.

In previous volumes of the Omega Letter we’ve discussed Dispensationalism, which is the systematic study of Scripture as progressive revelation, and the four classes of created spiritual beings; angels, Gentiles, Jews and Christians.

Job was a Gentile who lived before there were Jews and before God had begun the systematic revelation of His plan for mankind to the Jews in what we know as the Bible.

The Book of Job therefore, stands both outside it and before it. 

Assessment:

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His Majesty.”( 2nd Peter 1:16)

Why am I going on and on about Job’s dates and location?  To demonstrate that Satan is NOT a mythical being who was invented by the Jews over the course of centuries. 

Satan was not invented by Moses; Satan was well-known to the ancients. So was the one True God.

Much of what Moses wrote down eight hundred years later was already known in the Gentile world when Abraham packed up his family and left the Land of Ur in what is today Iraq and headed for the Promised Land.

Job’s friends, Eilhu, Eliphaz and Bildad were from regions surrounding Ur from northern Arabia in the east to Edom in the West.   

Each of them was well-conversant with the One True God long before Charlton Heston thundered to Yul Brynner, “Let my people go!” and went off to write Genesis.

Job knew about the hydrological cycle, polar ice caps, that wind moves in circular paths, rather than in a straight line, that light was in motion . . .  and about Satan.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:8-9)

Remember, this was centuries before Moses wrote about the Garden of Eden. Because that is the point.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that “Satan’s greatest trick was in convincing man that he does not exist.” If Satan can convince you that he doesn’t really exist, then you are unprepared to withstand him when he attacks. 

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

We know from the Bible that Satan is the most brilliant of all created beings.  He is smarter than the smartest human, more crafty than the craftiest among us, more evil than the most evilamong us, but then we have to confront the fact that he can’t figure out the Bible.

The Bible says in no uncertain terms that he loses at the end.  Secondarily, there is the question of why. What does Satan have to gain by keeping a lost person in the dark or by preventing you from effectively spreading the Gospel? 

According to the Bible, in the last days, Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, just like every other sinner.  

So what does he have to gain by keeping you down?  And why bother, since he knows he can’t win? 

What he has to gain is time.  Satan is evidently aware of, and bound by time, just as we are.

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)

Satan has known his time was limited from the beginning.  Job knew of his own redemption and Satan’s defeat eight hundred years before Moses first penned the words, “in the beginning.”

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

Satan doesn’t know when the Lord will return at the Rapture, but he knows numbers.  He knows from Romans 8:29 that there is a finite number of people predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son by becoming believers.

“Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” (Romans 8:30)

Satan has no more idea how many believers are so predestinated than we do.  He only knows that the Lord won’t start to close down the books on his operation until the very last one comes to Christ.  

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

One of the last classes our military warriors attend after going through the staging process and before going into battle is a class called, “Know Your Enemy.”    

For Satan, it’s a numbers game.  He doesn’t care about you, particularly, but he does care about him.  If he can keep you down and keep you from sharing the Gospel, that keeps the numbers down. 

If he can convince his prospects that he doesn’t exist, that keeps the numbers down.

He knows that he doesn’t have to start racing against the clock until his number comes up.  And for all he knows, you are the one holding that spiritual bullet with his name on it. 

And he knows that his odds are getting worse with every passing day. 

“. . .  for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because heknoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 31, 2011

Featured Commentary: Giving God the Credit ~J.L. Robb

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?
Vol: 28 Issue: 16 Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The world’s leaders take great pains to point out that true Islam is a religion of peace and love and that those who learn from Islam that it is a perfectly acceptable form of worship to murder innocent men, women and children are practicing some ‘perversion’ of the religion of peace and love.

Right off the bat, there is a clue here. Religion is never about ‘peace and love’. Judaism is filled with examples of religious wars that were neither peaceful nor particularly loving. God is love.

Religion is not God. As noted previously, religion is an expression of man’s effort to make himself acceptable to God by practicing certain rituals and adhering to certain rules.

It has been accurately stated that more wars have been fought over religious disputes and in the name of religion than any other cause. But God isn’t religion.

God is, for want of a better term, an excuse for religion, but one doesn’t even require a living God to have a religion. Any old god will do.

Heck, when it comes to religion, if you can’t find a suitable god to worship, you can just make up your own.

Even Jesus scoffed at the notion of religion being the same as God, telling the woman at thewell:

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. . . But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:21.23-24)

Rather than seeing religion as an expression of peace and love, Jesus’ mission was to abolish the religious traditions that had perverted the worship of God into something to be worshippedinstead of God. What He pictured didn’t sound like ‘peace and love’ at all . . .

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

Jesus never taught anything EXCEPT peace, telling His followers that loving God above all things and loving one’s neighbor as himself was the distilled sum of the Ten Commandments.

Following the Ten Commandments as a religious practice, Jesus said, was keeping the letter of the Law while ignoring its spirit.

He accused religion of dispossessing the old, the widows, the infirm, and called the religious leaders of His day a generation of ‘vipers’.

Christianity, as taught by Scripture, is anything BUT a religion. It is a personal relationship with Christ based on the understanding that all men are sinners. (That is hardly a religious observation. If it were not true, we would have no use for a legal system.)

All men are accountable for their sin. Every religion, no matter which deity they follow, is rooted in the notion of accountability to someone or some thing for sin.

But religion has a system for satisfying the accountability for sin by balancing the scales with good works or works of penance that THEY deem acceptable to God. In some Christian versions of religion, Jesus plays some role, but only within a religious context.

So, by the very pronouncement by world leaders that Islam is, at its root, a ‘religion of peace and love’ is proof positive that they don’t have even the faintest idea of what they are talking about.

Compounding their ignorance, they proclaim Allah to be one and the same with the God of the Bible, making Islam one of the world’s three ‘great monotheistic religions’.

Assessment:

It never ceased to amaze me when the President of the United States ignores the so-called ‘separation clause’ and declares the Koran ‘holy’, legitimizes Allah as a deity, makes declarative doctrinal statements advancing Islam as a ‘great religion’ rooted in ‘peace and love’ — there isn’t a peep from the ACLU.

Where is the ‘Reverend’ Barry Whatshisname from ‘People from the American Way’ or ‘Christians United Against Christianity’ or whatever his outfit is named?

‘Reverend’ Barry shows up as often as the fat guy in the Di Tech commercials whenever somebody starts defending a Christmas scene or a Ten Commandments monument.

Why isn’t he all over the airwaves condemning the United States government for promoting Islam as a legitimate religion of peace and love when he objects to school kids acknowledging America as one nation under God?

Well, the simplest answer is also the most obvious. The name ‘Allah’ doesn’t invoke the same visceral sense of revulsion as does the Name, Jesus.

Interesting, when you think about it. Under the banner of Allah, thousands of their countrymen have been murdered.

Allah’s forces are conspiring, even now, to murder thousands, maybe tens of thousands, more. Maybe even some of them.

But the president’s promotion of Islam as a religion of ‘peace and love’, one ‘honored and respected’ by the government of the United States, one declared ‘holy’ from the Oval Office and one of the world’s ‘great religions’ went utterly unnoticed.

But the posting of a monument to the Ten Commandments as an endorsement of Christianity not only sends them ballistic, it has the Supreme Court making religious doctrine a matter of law.

You see, that is only possible with a ‘religion’ — which is why religions are never about ‘peace and love’.

(How do YOU feel about court-imposed religious doctrine? Peaceful? Loving? Or furious?)

Let me explain. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Ten Commandments as a prohibited Christian symbol is a religious doctrinal declaration.

The Ten Commandments are not a symbol of Christianity. They are the evidence of the NEED for Christianity.

The Bible says that nobody ever kept the Ten Commandments. Therefore, judicially, all men fell under the hopeless condemnation of sin. The Ten Commandments are the expression of man’s hopeless condition before God APART from Christianity.

The Ten Commandments, doctrinally speaking, are not Christian in any sense of Christian theology.

They are the basis for Jewish Law, given by God to Moses who then passed them down to theJews, before they were fulfilled (and therefore nullified) by Jesus Christ, Who replaced the Law with Grace.

But because one can attach ‘Jesus’ to the Ten Commandments in a sentence, by Supreme Declaration, the Ten Commandments become a legal part of Christian doctrine and therefore an illegal endorsement of Christianity.

But it is pretty difficult to attach the Name ‘Jesus’ to anything resembling a religion that teaches salvation by murdering innocents.

So the ACLU, Barry Whosis and the League to Destroy all Mention of the One True God are all busy buying gum, or getting haircuts, or practicing for their next Supreme Court argument that a county courthouse is the equivalent under the 1st Amendment to ‘Congress’.

So we can promote Islam all day long without fear of lawsuits. Indeed, there exist in the American school system, MANDATORY curriculums that amount to immersion course in Islam, complete with the taking of an Islamic name, studying the Koran, and practicing Islamic rituals.

And since the only ones objecting are Christian legal groups like the Rutherford Institute, they seldom make their way past the first appeals court, if they are heard at all.

One common ‘virtue’ shared by guys like the ACLU, Barry Whosisname, ‘People for the Abolition of Spiritual Joy’ the American Atheists Union (” Can I believe in my cause and still be an atheist?”), the ‘Muslim Council for the Peaceful Extermination of Christians and Jews’ (“Death To America! Like my car? It’s new!”) is that they exhibit a visceral, almost pathological hatred for Jesus Christ and those who claim Him.

They don’t care who they ally themselves with, and it isn’t even that they are aware that they are doing it. To them, all the different gods are more or less the same, so who cares?

Except for Jesus. There is something about Jesus.

All the rest of the gods promise there are many ways to salvation, or no salvation to be had, or no need for salvation, or endless reincarnation, or they make ridiculous promises like 72 virgins with transparent legs and all the dope you can smoke.

They are unworthy of attention. They represent no threat to the god of this world. They are all on the same side.

When it comes to Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, Mohammed, Homer Simpson, it is pretty much the same. The world can take them or leave them. But Jesus claims that there is only one way to salvation, and that is through faith in Him. NOBODY can ‘take or leave’ Jesus.

There are those who wail, “if only there were some evidence that Jesus is real.” Nobody gets that worked up over the Tooth Fairy. Or Santa Claus.

The mere fact that the Name of Jesus can evoke the fury that it does among His enemies proves His reality.

The mere fact that someone supposedly dead for two thousand years can HAVE enemies is pretty powerful evidence. Especially when one takes a close look at who His enemies are.

Even though we are at war with Islam, nobody freaks out at the mention of Mohammed. No emergency ACLU filings follow the president’s promotion of Islam as a ‘great religion’ or of the Koran as ‘holy’ — even though the Koran is the inspiration for the war we are now fighting!

Because instinctively, the world knows that Allah isn’t real. That the Koran isn’t Divinely inspired. But they recoil at the Name of Jesus because, just as instinctively, they know that He IS real. Whether they admit it to themselves or not, they betray themselves by their reaction.

What is in a Name? Everything. Conviction of sin. A reminder of eternal accountability. A call to repentance. And another unwanted choice. Another hated spiritual confrontation. All that in the utterance of a single Name.

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

At some level, all of us know instinctively, deep in our consciousness, somewhere, that Jesus is real, He is alive and He is God. Even the lost. Just listen to how much they hate Him.

What else is in a Name? Life eternal.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on  July 19, 2005

Featured Commentary: England Swings ~Wendy Wippel

Discerning the Times

Discerning the Times
Vol: 28 Issue: 15 Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We live in an age of miracles unlike any the world has ever known. In this generation, man has unlocked the secret of the genome, can ‘create’ life in a test tube, can duplicate that which is already created [cloning], develop medicines and compounds that can prolong life, and it seems as if there is almost nothing that we cannot do.

Science expects to one day be able to control the elements, bring rain where drought is, anticipate natural disasters like earthquakes, and perhaps, even prevent them.

We can travel outside our atmosphere, and one day expect to reach distant stars. In the natural, it would seem that there is nothing we will not eventually be able to do.

Science has pretty much been able to naturalize, internalize and explain away what were, in previous generations, miracles, reducing them to probabilities, equations, charts and graphs.

With one exception. We can do everything except tell the future. The future contains too many variables to accurately predict. Take the restoration of Israel, for example. Israel was destroyed in 702 BC by the Assyrian king, Sargon II, who conquered the kingdom of Israel.

It was common practice for a conqueror to uproot and displace the conquered people to another part of the empire, repopulating that place with a conquered people from somewhere else.

The reason for that was to separate a people from their land, which effectively prevented uprisings. The northern Kingdom of Israel was scattered throughout the Assyrian Empire, and was effectively lost to history, leaving only the tiny southern kingdom of Judah.

A century later, the Kingdom of Judah was similarly conquered by the Kingdom of Babylon, who also displaced its population, deporting them into captivity in Babylon.

To a Jew living in Babylon during the Captivity, it seemed certain that Judah would go the way of Israel and would similarly be lost to history.

Yet the prophets of the Captivity, like Daniel and Ezekiel, wrote confidently that in the last days, there would again be a nation called ‘Israel’ and that its citizens would once again inhabit the same piece of real estate from which they had been displaced, seemingly forever.

Yet Ezekiel wrote,

“And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” (Ezekiel 34:13)

The Jews would be gathered from the countries, and brought into THEIR OWN LAND, upon the mountains of ISRAEL, and not some other place.

Writing of the Gog Magog invasion, God inspired Ezekiel to prophesy;

“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)

In this passage, we find the time frame in which Ezekiel’s prophecy would come to pass — ‘after many days, in the latter years’. And again, we find that it is not Judah, but ISRAEL, of whom the prophet prophesied. That they would be ‘brought forth from the nations’ to a land that had ‘always been waste’ — until they returned.

For more than 2,500 years, this prophecy remained dormant, until, on May 14, 1948, the survivors of the Holocaust were ‘brought forth’ under the banner of ‘never again’ to the ‘mountains of Israel’ — which ‘had always been waste’ as the nation of ‘Israel’.

In his book, ‘Personal Witness’ Abba Eban, one of the founders of Israel, noted that when David Ben-Gurion cabled President Truman to ask the United States to recognize the Jewish state, the Jews still hadn’t decided what to call it.

Eban noted, ‘Some wanted to call it Zion, others Judah . . .what about ‘Israel’?’ The name was chosen only hours before the state came into existence.

In 1897, the 1st Zionist Congress petitioned the government of Great Britain for a Jewish state in what is today the African country of Uganda. The British told the Jews to petition the Ottoman Empire, who at that time controlled Palestine.

The Jews would have settled for Uganda as a Jewish homeland, but the prophets said that the Jewish homeland of the last days would be ‘on the mountains of Israel’. And that is exactly what happened.

The prophet Daniel, also writing from captivity in Babylon, penned the future history of Israel, [a nation that had not existed for a century] dividing its future into 70 weeks of years. During the 70th and final week, Daniel prophesied the revival of an empire [Rome] that, in Daniel’s day, would not see its FIRST incarnation for another 500 years.

Today, the nation of Israel exists, composed of a people ‘brought forth from the nations’ while, for the first time in 2000 years, a European superstate made up of what had once been the territory of the Roman Empire, seeks involvement in a peace process that Daniel said would be confirmed by a leader of a revived Rome.

Israel was reborn in 1948, as the embryonic European Community of nations was being born out of the 1948 Benelux Treaty.

According to Jesus, the generation that would see His return would be one in which there would be;

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

It would be a period of ‘wars and rumors of wars,’ when,

“nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:6-7)

Jesus noted that;

“All these are the beginning of sorrows” (v.8)

Bible prophecy was given the Church so that,

“ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it [His return] is nigh, even at the doors.” (Mark 13:29)

We are indeed living in the ‘age of miracles’ but they are miracles of God, against which the miracles of science cannot possibly compete.

We in this generation have been given the unspeakable gift of certainty that the Lord is about to return, a warning that time is running out, and a renewed commission to go out into all the earth and make disciples of all nations, before time has run out.

No man can know the future, but the God of Creation foretold it –in detail — so that there could be no misunderstanding. The Lord is about to return.

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1st Corinthians 15:51-52)

“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.”

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 15, 2005