Satan’s Holiday

Satan’s Holiday
Vol: 28 Issue: 31 Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Today is Hallowe’en, or the Feast of Samhain, el Dia de lost Muertos, one of the world’s oldest holidays, still celebrated from Europe to the Americas (and my daughter, Kari’s birthday. Happy birthday, Kari!)

One year for Christmas, one of my sons gave me a 700 page book entitled, “The Story of the Irish Race” written by Irish historian Seumas Macmanus near the close of the 19th century.

Throughout his book, Professor Macmanus demonstrates a record of Irish history, maintained through its songs, legends and traditions, almost as rich and detailed as that of the Hebrews themselves. Indeed, Roman historians of antiquity considered Ireland to be an ancient kingdom when Rome was still young.

Part of Irish folklore history holds that the ancient Ard-Righs (High Kings) of Ireland were trading partners and allies of King Solomon of Israel. It seems that the ancient pagan Irish Druidic class was modeled after the Israelite system of priests and judges.

The Druids maintained the history of the Irish race, mimicking the practice of the Israelites of committing the past to both oral and written records. The Druids were like the ancient Israelite priests, only without the God of Israel.

The ancient Romans referred to the Druids as ‘barbarian philosophers’ but in his book, the Gallic Wars, Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar noted that it could take up to twenty years to complete the Druid course of study.

“The principal point of their doctrine”, says Caesar, “is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another.

With regard to their actual course of studies, the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructability of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.

Subsidiary to the teachings of this main principle, they hold various lectures and discussions on astronomy, on the extent and geographical distribution of the globe, on the different branches of natural philosophy, and on many problems connected with religion”.

Caesar also noted the Druidic deity was the equivalent to the Roman god of the underworld, Hades. The ancient Israelites would have recognized him from their literature as Satan.

The whole ghosts and goblins and witches thing comes from the Druidic traditions of the ancient Celts. November 1st was the beginning of the Celtic new year, marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter.

The winter season in Celtic tradition was closely associated with human death. The winter’s cold would hasten death, and so November 1st was the day when the Celts believed the boundaries between the living and the dead were the weakest.

On October 31st, following the ancient custom of burnt offerings unique to the Celts (and ancient Israelites) the Druids would order huge sacred bonfires (bone-fires) where people would gather to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, to frighten away the spirits of the dead.

Under the Romans, the Druidic custom merged with the Roman customs of Feralia, the Roman day of the dead and that of Pomona the goddess of fruit and trees. By the 4th century, it became the feast of Samhain.

In the 7th century, the Roman Pope Boniface IV declared November 1 All Saints Day, the day to honor saints and martyrs. In this way, the Vatican hoped to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a church-sanctioned festival of the dead instead.

From the History Channel’s website:

“The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils.

Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.”

Assessment:

Hallowe’en is a conundrum for Christians. There are two ways that we, as Christian parents, generally approach it. Here’s the first thing I did as a new Christian just learning what Hallowe’en is all about.

On October 31st, we’d turn off all the lights and pretend we weren’t home.

Later, we learned from an elder about greeting the little trick or treaters and giving them tracts instead of candy.

My kids didn’t get to trick or treat for Hallowe’en when they were little. Instead, I used them like little banners to demonstrate my faith. (It wasn’t easy being one of my kids. Take their word for it.)

When all the other kids were dressing up like fairies and demons (and princesses and comic-book characters and hobos) I insisted that my kids be given something else to do besides celebrate in Satan’s holiday.

After a decade or so of alienating my kids, it occurred to me that other kids weren’t really celebrating Satan’s holiday.

My kids knew about the history of Hallowe’en. I made sure of that. They knew it was Satan’s holiday. But they didn’t want to worship Satan.

They wanted to dress up in costumes and play instead of do schoolwork and canvass the neighborhood for free candy and eat it until they got sick.

They also knew that they could do all that without worshipping Satan even once the whole night. They figured that out years before I did.

The second way to deal with being a Christian at Hallowe’en is to go to the Bible for the answers. (I didn’t get around to that until about the time my last kid was too old to go trick or treating anymore. Being one of my kids really wasn’t easy.)

Paul writes in Romans 14:1;

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”

Hmmm. Doubtful disputations? Like what?

“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.”

What about days like Hallowe’en?

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Paul says that a day is a day is a day:

“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.”

As to how Christians should regard it,

”let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

Why? Because Paul says a day, in and of itself is just not that important.

“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

What Paul says regarding things like Hallowe’en is;

“So then, every one of us shall give account of himself unto God”

— and if you are ok with it, then its between you and Him.

Why? Because to a Christian, it is just not that important.

“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

So if you, my brothers and sisters, think that turning off the lights and pretending you aren’t home tonight is an appropriate response, then it is an appropriate response and I praise the Lord for you.

On the other hand, if you think the appropriate response is to greet the little trick or treaters with a Bible tract, you are equally correct and I praise the Lord for you.

And if you think that on Hallowe’en trick or treaters are just kids having innocent fun and you also want to load them up with junk food commensurate with how cute they are, then, by the authority of the Word of God, you are ALSO correct and I praise the Lord for you.

“Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” (Romans 14:22)

It is possible to be a Christian in this world and still live a little.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 31, 2008

Whose Jerusalem?

Whose Jerusalem?
Vol: 28 Issue: 30 Monday, October 30, 2017

Despite all the promises made by both sides regarding the sanctity of Jerusalem, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the city will be redivided between Arabs and Jews.

The truth about Jerusalem has been so muddled by decades of dissembling and propaganda that evidently even many Israelis are no longer sure if Jerusalem is historically a Jewish city or an Arab city.

The first recorded mention of Jerusalem dates to the 19th century before Christ, where it was listed in the Egyptian Execration Texts as “Rusalimum.”

It is next mentioned five hundred years later in the 14th century BC in the Amara Letters as ‘Urusalim’. It is about this time that Joshua conquered the Land of Canaan.

The Israelites lived in the Land of Canaan under the Judges until King David of Israel established Jerusalem as the capital city of the United Kingdom of Israel around 970 BC —sixteen hundred years before the birth of Mohammed.

King David bought the threshing-floor on Mount Moriah at fair market value from its legal owner, with the transaction being carefully recorded in the Book of Samuel.

The owner, Araunah offered to give it to the King, but David insisted, saying, “neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which cost me nothing.” (2nd Samuel 24:24)

David inaugurated the Temple Mount and set up a tent over the Holy of Holies, leaving the construction of the permanent Temple to his son Solomon.

David’s United Kingdom of Israel split a hundred years later into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, (which included Jerusalem and the Temple Mount).

The Northern Kingdom was conquered by Sargon II and dispersed in 702 BC; the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians a generation later.

Jerusalem remained a conquered city under a succession of empires from Babylon to Rome, but it remained a Jewish city until the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

The Byzantine Christians took over Jerusalem in 324 AD. Jerusalem remained in Christian hands until the 6th century when it was briefly captured by the Persians and recaptured by the Byzantines in 629.

Are you still with me? Historically, Israel was in Jewish hands for a thousand years before Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem remained a Jewish city for another six hundred years after that.

After the Romans, it was ruled by the Christians for another three hundred years.

By the time of Mohammed, the Jewish history of Jerusalem already spanned more than sixteen hundred years.

The Muslims held Jerusalem less than three hundred years before it was captured by the Crusaders. The Christian Crusaders held Jerusalem for almost 150 years before the city fell to the Mameluke Turks.

Under the Mamelukes, Jerusalem was again the seat of Judaism. The Jewish sage Nahmanides established a synagogue and seat of Jewish learning in the city in 1267.

Jerusalem was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, but remained the seat of Judaism. In 1700, Rabbi Yehuda He’Hassid built Jerusalem’s “Hurva” Synagogue.

Four hundred years later, Jerusalem fell to the British in 1917, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Allies in World War I.

Quickly doing the math, Jerusalem was a Jewish city for 1500 years or so, then Christian for another 400, Islamic 300 more, then Christian for 150, then Islamic for another 800 years, then Jewish again.

During all that time, from when David bought the Araunah’s threshing-floor until Lord Allenby marched into Jerusalem in 1817, to Christians and Jews, Jerusalem was always the capital city of Judaism.

Sixteen hundred years before Mohammed, the Jewish Psalmist wrote:

“If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms 137:6)

From Abraham to Allenby, despite successive conquests, Jerusalem has been the heart of Judaism through the centuries.

From Mohammed to Saladin through the Ottoman Empire, Jerusalem has never been an Islamic capital, and ‘Palestine’ has never been an Islamic state.

Until 1917, it languished as a forgotten city on the edge of the Ottoman Turk’s Islamic caliphate.

In 1917, Syria did not exist. Neither did Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia or the rest of the modern Middle East.

The entire modern map of the Middle East was drawn up in the 1920’s. Syria’s borders were drawn by the British in 1923 and administered by France until granted independence in 1946.

Iran, Iran, Jordan, etc., were created by the same British authority in the 1920’s following WWI.

But the FIRST national creation by the British was a homeland for the Jews in 1917, centered around the city of Jerusalem.

Assessment:

It is necessary from time to time to recap the history of Jerusalem as a bulwark against the propaganda.

Ninety years ago, the only defined ‘state’ in the Middle East was the Jewish Mandate.

And it was created by the same authority that created the rest of the modern Arab Middle East.

Ninety years later, even the Jews themselves aren’t sure who really owns Jerusalem. Behold, the power of propaganda!

There is no history among the children of men more carefully documented than that of the Jewish people. Until the destruction of the 2nd Temple, Jews could trace their geneology back to Adam.

Their every conquest, every king, every ruler, every occupier was carefully recorded, their entire history, spanning three thousand years, is set down, in detail, in the pages of the Bible.

Until this generation, “The City of David” was instantly recognizable as another name for Jerusalem. For centuries, Christians sang of the “City of David” in our hymnals.

Suddenly, in a single generation, Jerusalem’s Jewish pedigree is in doubt. The entire world has taken a stake in solving a ‘mystery’ that is mysterious only in that anybody finds mysterious in the first place.

Is Jerusalem a Jewish city? Or an Arab city? I find myself astonished, even at this point in history, that anybody could entertain that as a question.

It’s like asking, “Is the Pope Catholic?” but to the world, the ownership of Jerusalem is as baffling as the identity of the true architect of the Sphinx.

The problem with Israel’s history is Israel’s history. Israel’s history is recorded in the Bible, and for the world to accept Israel’s history means accepting the Bible as well.

That is unacceptable. The world prefers the delusional view that Jerusalem is really an Arab city stolen by the Jews in 1967.

The alternative, historical view comes too close to legitimizing the Bible for comfort. They prefer the lie, because the truth makes them uncomfortable.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12)

Originally Published: February 19, 2008

Featured Commentary: Stranger Things ~Pete Garcia

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch
Vol: 28 Issue: 28 Saturday, October 28, 2017

Religious holidays are all but illegal in 21st century America. Those few that survive have been watered-down beyond recognition. Thanksgiving, a day once solemnly set aside to thank God for our blessings as a nation, has morphed into Turkey Day, a day set aside to worship the guest of honor at dinner.

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)

Most Americans don’t gather to give thanks to God, they gather to eat and watch football. For millions, it is the one day a year they say grace before meals, and that is about as religious a holiday as it is gonna get.

But there is still one religious holiday that is untouchable by either the Political Correctness Police or a vote-hungry Congress. Hallowe’en.

Your kids will be encouraged to dress up as witches and hobgoblins, to exchange Hallowe’en cards or small gifts, to wish each other a ‘Happy Hallowe’en’ and to engage in  
http://www.omegaletter.com/admin/tinymce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js
a  
http://www.omegaletter.com/admin/tinymce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js
day-long celebration that doesn’t end until well after dark.

Make no mistake about it, Hallowe’en is a religious holiday.  It just isn’t a  Christian holiday.  It derives its name from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ — the day before the Catholic holiday of “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st.  According to the AmericanCatholic.org, Halloween was adopted by the Catholic Church as a day of “communion with the saints” who are still paying for their sins in purgatory and those who’ve either paid their sin debt themselves or were “prayed out” by someone still alive.

A person could obtain a plenary indulgence by saying a particular formula of prayer performed on November 1st.   

“In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.

The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good thing.”

“Purgatory” is a doctrine unknown to the Bible. It is based largely on one of the books of the apocrypha and Catholic tradition that was formulated into a cohesive doctrine of the church at the Councils of Florence and Trent.

But Hallowe’en was originally a Celtic religious holiday. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. The dead would roam the earth seeking living bodies to possess. 

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The holiday was known as the Feast of Samhain, and was the High Holy Day of the Druidic pagan religion. 

The Romans later adopted the Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As pagan belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840’s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Catholics would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes,” made out of square pieces of bread with currants. 

The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to purgatory and on to heaven.

Assessment:

The Druids were the priestly caste of the ancient Celts. The Druids were polytheistic pagans who also deified elements of nature. The Druids were reputed to have possessed ‘the ancient knowledge’ — or witchcraft. 

There is little doubt in my mind that the Celtic Druids worshipped Satan,  (the angel of light) and there is plenty of documentation of the ‘ancient knowledge’. (Modern archeologists are still scratching their heads over Stonehenge).

Other ancient pagan religions also claimed divinely-obtained knowledge, and left behind similarly perplexing ruins, like the Mayan temple, the pyramids of Egypt or the statues of Easter Island.

Genesis Chapter Six makes reference to the offspring of an unholy mating between angels and the daughters of men in the period before the Flood.

“… the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Genesis 6:3)

Of the offspring of these unholy unions, Genesis tells us,

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)

The ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses, together with strange mythical creatures like minotaurs, centaurs, and so on.

Joshua spoke of the ‘gods’ from before the Flood that were still being worshipped by the ancientIsraelites:

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED THAT WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

When I was a young Christian, I used to rail against the celebration of Hallowe’en because it was Satan’s high religious holiday. But as I’ve matured in the Lord, I’ve come to see it a bit differently. And maybe because of contemporary history.

As Christian religious celebrations are being secularized, Hallowe’en just keeps growing in popularity. And as it grows in popularity, Hallowe’en’s Satanic background becomes more a part of its celebration.

It is an object lesson to Christians of the reality and existence of Satan and a testimony to his status as the prince and power of the air and the ‘god of this world’. (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

C. S. Lewis wrote that the “greatest trick the devil ever pulled was in convincing the world he doesn’t exist.” But for Christians, is the one day of the year when Satan is unmasked and exposed as a real entity.

I don’t know if I ever made a convert by railing against little kids having fun dressed up in Hallowe’en costumes. I rather doubt it.  Hallowe’en’s roots are no more pagan than those of Saturnalia, also adopted by the Catholic Church, but renamed ‘Christmas’.

So I don’t rail against it anymore. It is too good a witnessing opportunity to waste by sounding like a wild-eyed fanatic railing against little kids in cute costumes having fun playing dress-up and gorging on tiny Hershey bars.

“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)

In the end, they aren’t worshipping Satan.  They’re making fun of him.  And they are learning about him in the context of heaven and hell.  That tends to spark questions in young minds.

For many, the controversy about Hallowe’en festivities will eventually spark the same question — and the same choice — Joshua laid out before his men.

If Satan is real, then God is real.  And if God is real, then you have a choice before you. It was that logic that first caused me to choose Christ.

And it also demonstrates the truth of Paul’s comforting assurance that all things do work together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Even Hallowe’en.

Originally Published: October 31, 2009

The Bucket List

The Bucket List
Vol: 28 Issue: 27 Friday, October 27, 2017

For most of the course of human history, mankind has been burying clues about his existence in the places that he lived, the hieroglyphics that he drew, the inventions he left behind.

And for almost all of human history, it was ignored, if not plowed under or used for building materials by the generations that immediately followed.

Who came before and who and what they were was less important than how we’ll eat today and what we’ll eat tomorrow.  Generation after generation, from time immemorial, devoted their existence to the pursuit of the same three things.

“What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (Matthew 6:31)

Once those basic necessities were met, there was little time left to worry about how previous generations went about meeting their challenges.  They had enough to worry about already.

So by and large, that was left to just a handful of men throughout history; ThucydidesFlavius JosephusPlutarchPliny the YoungerTacitusHerodotusBaconGibbonVoltaire and Toynbee.

Until roughly the early part of the 20th century, most people outside of the Ottoman Empire, had they ever heard of Jerusalem, either regarded it as either symbolic, lost to history, or a religious myth.

Jerusalem had its high points in history as well as its low points, but for pretty much the whole of the past two thousand years, if you weren’t personally involved in the various battles, you didn’t much care.

When Suleiman the Magnificent was rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem in 1540, the Spanish were busy discovering the Colorado River, Michaelangelo was putting the finishing touches on the Sistine Chapel, Copernicus was under Papal house arrest for declaring the earth revolved around the sun (rather than the other way around) and the Vatican was preoccupied tracking down Bible believers and burning them at the stake.

But nobody was digging around under Jerusalem or London or Paris.  Nobody was putting yellow tape around protected archeological sites lest they be lost to history.  Yesterday was not nearly as important as today, since for most of human history, the issue of tomorrow was always in doubt.

The Abbey at Monte Cassino was founded in 524 AD by the Benedict of Nursia.

Contemporary history argues that the Allies agonized over how to dislodge the German artillery positions inside the Abbey.  Maybe they agonized or maybe they didn’t, but on 15 February 1944, 147 B-17 Allied bombers dropped 1150 tons of high explosives on it anyway.

Jack Kinsella WW2My father was wounded in his left leg by an incoming German MG42 machine-gun round while his regiment assaulted the Abbey at Monte Cassino in Italy in early 1944.  It was a long, white scar that ran the length of his thigh, exiting just below his knee.

Dad always criticized the bombing of the Abbey whenever it was the topic on Walter Cronkite’s 20th Century — he said the bombing turned it into “a rabbit warren.”

He’d been up that hill twice before the Abbey was bombed.  It was during his third assault up the hill that somebody in that rabbit warren shot him.

But Dad’s historical recollections aside, imagine if the US government — or any other contemporary government anywhere on earth — decided to bomb a 1,300 year old monastery to rubble?

In 1944 the ordinary guy  
http://www.omegaletter.com/admin/tinymce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js
was just as occupied with the three basics of life, “what you will eat, what you will drink, what you will put on,” as was his father, his father’s father and his father’s father’s father.

Preserving a 1300 year old monastery on a hill in Sicily ranked right up there with crazy stuff like questioning the definition of marriage or whether an unborn child is human.  It would never occur to him.

There were far too many real problems to worry about.

The only ones who really cared about the destruction of Monte Cassino at the time were the ones trying to climb a mud-slicked hill in the face of hostile German machine-guns mounted amid the rubble of the newly-created “rabbit warren.”

Assessment:

Something happened at some point around the mid-point of the 20th century and mankind suddenly developed a burning thirst for knowledge about the past.

When one considers all that has laid untouched for all these centuries, waiting to be unearthed over the past sixty or seventy years, it is really quite stunning.

It’s like each preceding generation left a piece of a jigsaw puzzle behind, piece after piece, until all the pieces necessary to put the puzzle together had been cut and trimmed.  Until then, we left the rest of the pieces pretty much alone.

It wasn’t until 1917 that Lord Allenby marched into Jerusalem, liberating the city from 400 years of Ottoman occupation, thrusting the city back into global prominence for the first time in 1900 years.

Then we opened up the box and started fitting the first pieces together.

Following World War II, the global obsession with history, historical artifacts, and historical sites forced the collapse of empires, the end of colonial rule and an increasing interest in preserving indigenous cultures.

That isn’t to say there weren’t explorers and Egyptologists and so on before this generation.  (But before this generation, who even knew what an Egyptologist was?)

I am often amused at the effort expended by many historians in the effort to disparage the Bible as a book of history as part of the overall repudiation of the Bible as a book of prophecy.  There are guys who have dedicated their entire careers to such pursuits.

They scoff at the story of Noah’s Ark, citing one recent discovery after another.  They scoff at the story of Adam and Eve, citing one recent discovery after another, each discovery of greater age than the one before.

But the majority of the most ancient evidence is of recent discovery.  I find that interesting.  Not the discoveries, so much as their historical context.

This generation was the first born into the Atomic Age.  In 1948, the Russians became the second member of a club so exclusive that one member was too many.

Suddenly confronted with a possible future annihilation, retracing our steps to see how we got there moved to the forefront of humanity’s collective consciousness.  And ever since, we’ve been arguing details and documents and dates without ever taking note of the gorilla on the kitchen table.

History has been here a long time.  Sometimes, you’d think that we just discovered it recently, but really, there’s nothing new about history.  But for the first time in that long history, we’re infatuated by it.

Some, like Barack Obama, are clearly driven to make amends for what they see as American historical injustices.  Some seem determined to revise history’s mistakes in order to justify making them all again.

Everybody has their own version of history, evidently believing that rewriting historical events is the same as changing the historical facts and their attending historical consequences, confusing the issue of how we got to where we are.

While the gorilla sits, glowering now, in the middle of the kitchen table as we argue around him.

It is like mankind is compiling a collective ‘bucket list’.  We’re not just suddenly concerned with history — it seems more like an obsession to tally our respective accounts and to either demand payment or make amends.

And the question that troubles the increasingly-impatient gorilla goes unanswered amid the din of claims and counter-claims and accusations and excuses and offering amends for symbolic wrongs.

Why now?  I mean, really.  Think about it.  Why now?  Why must all the wrongs be righted now?  American slavery ended in 1865.  Why the sudden demand for reparations?  Why the sudden support?  Why now?

Why are the Europeans so obsessed with making amends for being colonial powers, right now?

What caused the Islamic world to suddenly decide that NOW is the time to resume the assault on Dar al Harb (the West)  and seek revenge for their defeat at the gates of Vienna on September 11, 1683?

Why now?

Why is it that, after at least six thousand years of human existence, we are suddenly obsessed by fear of man-made global warming when only 30 years ago, data gathered over a similar thirty-year period was predicting a coming Ice Age?

That’s what is aggravating the gorilla.  Because contained in the answer to the unasked question is the key to all the other questions everybody is arguing about.

Why is mankind subconsciously compiling a collective ‘bucket list’?  And why now?  Why is nobody asking why?   Because everybody is avoiding the question because they really don’t want to acknowledge the answer.

Because it is time.  The whole world knows it.  It’s instinctive.  It permeates our movies, our literature, our conversations, and our jokes.  It is the stated motivation of our enemies.

These are the last days.  They know it.  They just don’t want to acknowledge it.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

It isn’t that they don’t know.  It’s that they don’t want to know.  That’s why they will embrace the Lie.

That’s why they’re ignoring the gorilla.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 24, 2009

Featured Commentary: On Christian Jihad & Peacemaking ~Alf Cengia

The Amazing Accuracy of Ezekiel

The Amazing Accuracy of Ezekiel
Vol: 28 Issue: 26 Thursday, October 26, 2017

“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. . .(Ezekiel 38:11)

Some two hundred years after the political subdivision called the ‘Kingdom of Israel’ was destroyed by Sargon II, the prophet Ezekiel from the Southern Kingdom of Judah wrote from exile in Babylon.

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

The purpose of this was to keep the populations docile. A people without a land have little to fight for. After a generation or two, they assimilate, and the new land becomes their land.

This is how the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were lost to history, and from the beginning of the 7th century BC, there was no place left in the world called Israel.

The surviving kingdom of Judah, known as Jews, was captured and partially assimilated by the Babylonians in the mid 5th century BC. They survived their captivity in Babylon, and later, the Medo-Persians, only because they were allowed to return to their own land by Artaxerxes.

In Ezekiel’s day, there was no place called ‘Israel’, had not BEEN a place called ‘Israel’ for 150 years, would not be another place called ‘Israel’ for 2,520 years, and besides, Ezekiel was a Jew from Judah.

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

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

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

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

The fulfillment of this prophecy could not be more obvious. The Jews of the Diaspora have indeed ‘come from among the heathen’ from ‘every side’ and returned to the Promised Land.

In 1897, the first Zionist Congress petitioned the British Crown to allow the ingathering Jews to set up a state in what was the British colony of Uganda. At the time, Palestine was in the hands of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. The British told them they should ask the Ottomans to let them have their historical homeland and turned the Uganda request down.

Ezekiel prophesied that the regathering of Israel would be on their own land, “mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations” (38:8)

Abba Ebban, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers, wrote in his book, ‘Personal Witness’ that, right up until the last moment before issuing their 1948 Declaration of Statehood, they were quibbling about what to name the new Jewish State.

Some liked ‘Zion’ others ‘Judea’ — and it was only at the last minute, AFTER ben-Gurion had already requested the new state be recognized by Washington, that they decided on the name ‘Israel’.

Ezekiel foretold all this two and one half millennia before it happened. He said his prophecy was for “the latter days.” (38:16)

Assessment:

It is worth noting again that building moats and walls to protect against invaders was a common strategic option in Ezekiel’s day. For that reason, Ezekiel’s reference to a ‘land of unwalled villages’ was generally interpreted as a metaphor for peace, rather than a literal condition. The only modern equivalent would have been the Berlin Wall, but it was built to keep people from escaping, not to defend against invasion.

But Ezekiel’s walls are clearly defensive — the whole 38th chapter is about a war of invasion against Israel. And today, 2500 years after Ezekiel foretold it, and more than sixty years after Israel’s restoration, the Israelis are building a defensive wall around their country.

It is an iron-clad certainty that the wall will be built — it is already partially completed and is proving its worth. Areas protected by the wall are already experiencing fewer terrorist attacks. It is equally certain that the wall will come down.

The entire world community opposes it (although they are having a hard time explaining why) and Israel is already preparing to mount its defense at an upcoming trial before the World Court in The Hague to justify its continuation.

There will be no way the World Court can force the destruction of the wall without some kind of peace guarantee the Israelis can accept and the European diplomatic corps is hard at work trying to come up with one. So far, they’ve had little success, but it is not from lack of trying.

The wall is becoming a focal point of world attention, to the exclusion of the terrorism that created it, and it can only have one of two outcomes. Either the wall comes down before it is finished, or it will come down at some point in the future. There is no way the world community will learn to live with the status quo.

Once the wall is completed, the Palestinians will have their defacto state, Israel will retain the high ground and more defensible borders, and the Palestinians will have to achieve statehood the old-fashioned way. By building one. You know, like the Israelis did.

That will never be acceptable to the world community. They were the ones who created the Palestinians in the first place, and having created a people, it is incumbent upon them to provide them with a state.

Since the Israelis are not cooperating in giving up theirs, the plan is to create one beside Israel and force Israel to support it by providing jobs to the Palestinians.

Palestine had no independent status during the Ottoman Empire. As European powers expanded their foothold in the region and as Zionism brought Jewish immigrants to their ancestral homeland, no one could define Palestine’s contours. A picture emerged only in the early 1920s under the British Mandate, which extended from the Jordan River to the sea, from the upper Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba.

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

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

The prophet Daniel, and both Paul and John foretell a peace agreement with Israel that kicks off the Tribulation Period. Daniel says that a leader of the revived Roman Empire confirms a peace covenant between Israel and her enemies, which he breaks halfway through.

In context, one could assume the covenant involves a mutual defense agreement, since, after the walls come down, Ezekiel says a Russian-led Islamic alliance launches a sneak invasion against Israel. Ezekiel 38:13 says Israel’s ‘allies’ launch what amounts to little more than a weak diplomatic objection.

The literal fulfillment of prophecies penned tens of centuries ago continue to unfold in our generation. Right down to details such as Israel’s Tribulation status as a ‘land of unwalled villages’.

The same Guiding Hand responsible for Ezekiel’s unwavering accuracy and attention to detail also guided those prophecies that yet remain to be fulfilled. Don’t let anybody steal away your excitement! We are that special, chosen generation who ‘shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.”

You are not grasping at straws, or following vague and ambiguous prophecies that can be explained away by calling them ‘interpretations.’ This is the real thing.

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

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 8, 2004

Featured Commentary: Halloween History ~J.L. Robb

Even At The Doors

Even At The Doors
Vol: 28 Issue: 25 Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Bishop James Ussher was no ordinary man.  He was unmistakably blessed with incredible intelligence and insight that he devoted entirely to the study of God’s Word. (By age 26, Ussher was chair of the Divinity Department at Dublin University.)

While that in and of itself would be worthy of a lifetime achievement award, Ussher went on to full professorship, served as vice-chancellor of Trinity College twice, and, by age 44, was elevated to the rank of Archbishop of Armagh, the highest position in the Irish Anglican Church.

The point is that Bishop Ussher was not just a smart man.  He was an intellectual giant who used his God-given gifts to advance the understanding of God’s Word.

In the 1650’s he published his ‘Annals of the World’, subtitled, ”The Origin of Time, and Continued to the Beginning of the Emperor Vespasian’s Reign and the Total Destruction and Abolition of the Temple and Commonwealth of the Jews.”

Bishop Ussher’s “Annals of the World” begins at the point of creation, which he determined was October 23, 4004 BC.  Ussher’s arrival at the date of October 23 was determined based on the fact that most peoples of antiquity, especially the Jews, started their calendar at harvest time.

Ussher concluded there must be good reason for this, so he chose the first Sunday following autumnal equinox.  Although the autumnal equinox is September 21 today, that is only because of historical calendar-juggling to make the years come out right.

In September 1752, eleven days were dropped to bring the calendar back in line with the seasons.  Another day was dropped at the beginning of the 19th and 20th century for the same reason.

Ussher’s calculations, made centuries before these adjustments, are vindicated by them.  Pretty impressive stuff for a guy working by candlelight centuries before the advent of a calculator.

The reason Ussher’s work is so accurate was because he relied solely on Scripture as his source of information.

Ussher arrived at the date of 4004 BC by taking known dates in history, and calculating backwards by using the chronologies of Genesis Chapters 5 and 11 and working backwards.  The calculations themselves were so complicated that, in the original documents, they covered more than one hundred pages.

Notes Larry Pierce of the ‘Online Bible’;

 “Astrogeophysicist Dr John Eddy, who was at the time Solar Astronomer at the High Altitude Observatory at Boulder, Colorado, made some revealing comments at a symposium in 1978, as reported in Geotimes, Vol. 23, September 1978, p. 18.

“There is no evidence based solely on solar observations, Eddy stated, that the Sun is 4.5-5 x 109 years old.

“I suspect,” he said, “that the Sun is 4.5-billion years old. However, given some new and unexpected results to the contrary, and some time for frantic recalculation and theoretical readjustment, I suspect that we could live with Bishop Ussher’s value for the age of the Earth and Sun. I don’t think we have much in the way of observational evidence in astronomy to conflict with that.””

Assessment:

We’re all watching our planet and human culture heading into what looks, to all intents and purposes, the early stages of impending demise.

There are daily reports about the disintegrating environment, global warming, strange weather patterns, unusual solar activity, together with constant revisions of previously accepted scientific ‘facts’ about the universe and how it works.

The global social structure upon which civilization is built, the family, is under attack from every direction.  The war on terror, is in reality, a clash of cultures, both natural and spiritual, with the forces of Islam squaring off against Judeo-Christian culture.

The very fabric of human civilization is being rent and torn before our eyes.  It is difficult, at the juncture in history, to foresee how it will survive the onslaught.  No nation, seemingly, is exempt from the threat.

Using Bishop’s Ussher’s calculations, the Prophet Hosea lived from 3197 to 3246, or, BC 808 to 759.  Ussher’s dating is expressed in standard years, although he worked from the perspective of the ancient calendar of twelve months of thirty days each.

At the end of each year, the ancients tacked on five days, and every four years they added six days.  The prophet Hosea wrote,

“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us; in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.” (Hosea 6:1-2)

Further on, the prophet predicted;

 “Also, O Judah, He hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of My people.” (6:11)

The Jews of the tribe of Judah were ‘revived’ on May 15, 1948, the day the world officially recognized the existence of the state of Israel.  Since then, little pockets of Jews, members of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, have been discovered in various places and repatriated to their ancient cultures and homeland.

Hosea began with the Promise of God that “He will heal us and bind us up” — a promise that was fulfilled with the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Messiah Jesus.

With the extension of the Perfect Sacrifice for sins that washed away the sins of all men. (“by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life.” – Romans 5:18)

We date our own calendar counting forward from Christ. So does God, which brings us back to Hosea’s prophecy. “After two days will He revive us, and in the third day, raise us up,” writes the prophet.

Twice in Scripture, God reveals His own reckoning of time.

“For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” (Psalms 90:4)

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that ONE DAY is with the Lord AS A THOUSAND YEARS, and a thousand years as one day.” (2nd Peter 3:8)

Our calendar dates the Birth of Christ as Year One.  It doesn’t much matter if Jesus was born somewhere between 6 BC and 6 AD, given the subsequent manipulation of the various calendars to make them come out right.

Based entirely in Scripture, Ussher’s calculation of creation as being 4004 years before Christ isn’t based on the year of Christ’s Birth.  Hosea’s prophecy is.

Ussher took the known date of Nebuchadnezzar’s death as the benchmark from which he launched his backwards journey through time, using Scriptural chronology to move both forward and backward in his calculations.

I hope I haven’t lost you with all the numbers — it makes me a bit dizzy as I work through them myself. (Bishop Ussher was a lot smarter than me.  I have trouble even WITH a calculator.)

According to Bishop Ussher, the last time Israel marked its God-mandated Jubilee Year was the Year 4030 from the date of Creation, which would correspond to our AD 26. 

Using Ussher’s calculations, therefore, the Year 2012 dates six thousand and sixteen years forward from the day of Creation. And there is a twelve year gap of uncertainty between the Anno Domini calendar and the literal date of His First Advent.

Jesus said that “ye know not what hour your Lord doth come,” and I believe Him.  So I am not setting a date for either the Rapture or His Second Coming.  But Hosea said that Israel’s revival would come AFTER two days.

It was restored politically in 1948, just BEFORE the conclusion of the ‘two days’ since the Birth of Christ, but Ezekiel’s chronology says that the political revival is only the first stage of Israel’s ‘revival’.

“And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.” (Ezekiel 37:8)

The Hebrew word translated ‘breath’ is ‘ruwach’ a word which means ‘spirit’, particularly in the context of ‘spiritual animation’.

Israel is physically alive, but remains, to this moment, spiritually ‘unquickened’.  That ‘quickening’ of the spirit is accomplished by faith in Christ.

(“And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)

So, to return to Hosea, we find the prophecy that AFTER two days, Israel will be revived, but IN the third day, they will be ‘quickened’ so that Israel might ‘live in His sight’.

Israel’s physical revival has been an ongoing process since 1948.  Before our eyes, the world’s Jews, including members of the Ten Lost Tribes, are being regathered to the land of Israel.  Ezekiel’s prophecy of Israel’s redemption process is almost complete.

No matter how one approaches it, either by accepting Ussher’s calculations from creation, or accepting our calendar reckoning of time since the birth of Christ, the conclusion is inescapable.

Hosea said of the Jews, ‘AFTER two days will He revive us, and IN the third day . . we will live in His sight.”  Peter says that;

“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)

It is clear that God is extending His ‘grace period’ (the Church Age of Grace) to give all men one last chance to accept the gift of pardon that He extends to them, but it is equally clear that His patience is being rapidly exhausted.

How much longer will He wait before returning for His Church and effecting Israel’s national redemption at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period?

Given the twelve-year gap, we are somewhere between three years before and nine years INTO Hosea’s Third Day.  I don’t believe we can calculate the Day of the Rapture, because Jesus said no man could know the day or the hour.

But He did say, “So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matthew 24:33)

Even at the doors. . .  Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 2, 2012

Featured Commentary: Church of Fire ~Wendy Wippel

No Red Union Suits, Either

No Red Union Suits, Either
Vol: 28 Issue: 24 Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Heaven is a difficult concept to picture in our minds.  It is simply beyond our experiential capacity for us to step out of space and time and imagine eternity.  It is even more difficult to imagine eternity in a place where there is no sin, no conflict, no sickness, no death, not to mention a place of eternal joy that never grows old.

Eternity is a long time, but ‘eternity’ is ‘a long time’ the way a billion dollars is ‘a lot of money’.  It takes a carefully constructed word picture to bring it into focus.

I heard ‘eternity’ described this way, once, and it helped.  Suppose a seagull were to take a grain of sand from the East Coast and drop it off on the West Coast.  Every ten thousand years, our seagull would transport another grain of sand from the East Coast to the West Coast.

When every grain of sand on every beach on the entire East Coast has been transferred to the West Coast (one grain at a time, every thousand years), that would constitute the first ten seconds of eternity!

Mankind is created in God’s Image, according to Genesis 1:26, and after God’s likeness.  But it doesn’t necessarily follow that we look like God, or that God looks like us.

Jesus revealed,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God’s ‘image’ and His ‘likeness’ refer to His eternal nature, not His cosmetic appearance.

Monkeys look as much like men as any of the other lower order of animals.  They look enough like men to argue that, if man is in God’s image, then so are some species of monkeys.

Connecting the dots, then, Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God’s Image and in His Likeness.

Scripture teaches that man was created with an eternal spiritual component.

A Spirit, in His Image, that is eternal in nature, in His Likeness.

That which is eternal is that which, by definition, cannot die, and cannot be killed.  But it can be destroyed.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

Note the subtle shift in Our Lord’s Words when He moves from the temporal to the eternal.  The body can die, the soul cannot be killed, but both can be ‘destroyed’ in hell.

There are those who teach that this means that hell isn’t a place of eternal torment, but rather a place where the condemned soul is annihilated.

The Bible speaks as much of hell as it does of Heaven; indeed, in His ministry, the Lord spoke MORE of hell than he did of heaven.  Scripture divides ‘hell’ — as we understand it — into two phases.

There is hell, and then, later on, the Lake of Fire.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

It is the ‘Lake of Fire’ that some teach is the place of annihilation.  The Scriptures teach otherwise.

We are created with an eternal element, as we’ve already established.  That which is eternal cannot be killed, but it can be ‘destroyed’.  But ‘destruction’ means eternal separation from God, not annihilation.

Jesus explained in the story of Lazarus and the rich man;

“There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . . .”

Both of them died, the Lord explains, and each went to his place, Lazarus to Paradise, and the rich man to hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-20-23)

At the time of the story, Jesus had not yet redeemed humanity, and the righteous dead went to Paradise, which, the Lord taught, was separated from hell by a great gulf or chasm;

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ [which also included at that time, Paradise] in order to liberate the righteous dead and take them to heaven;

“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Once the righteous dead were taken to heaven, hell was expanded to make room. Those in hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ at the second death, the Scriptures say.

There are those who will point out that the word ‘hell’ (sheol) has two meanings; it means both ‘the grave’ and the place where departed spirits go.  So they argue that hell is not really a literal Bible teaching.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Note the phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ and reconcile that, if you can, with the idea of ‘annihilation’.  It takes some real imaginative interpretation to get there from here.

‘Everlasting destruction’ isn’t the same as ‘annihilation’ — which is instantaneous and permanent.  And things that are different are NOT the same.

Hell is a place of punishment that the Lord described THREE times, using exactly the same words;

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

When the Lord chooses to repeat Himself, it is because He wants to make sure we get it right.

Jesus said the rich man was ‘in torments’, desiring that Lazarus,

“dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24)

So, from our Lord’s Lips to our ears, we know it is a place of torment, involving ‘flames’ where ‘their worm dieth not’.  Jude 13 reveals it is a place of eternal darkness.

While those in heaven will meet and recognize their loved ones, those in hell will spend eternity like the unidentified rich man, nameless, alone and in utter darkness.

The story of the rich man reveals hell to be a place of consciousness, a place of eternal remorse, a place without hope, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a place of eternal flame.

Jesus says of the hellbound sinner that it would be;

“better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Jesus said of Judas that;

“woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

Hell is worse than violent death and worse than having ever been born at all.  Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas were facing ‘annihilation’ in hell.  How could NOT existing (annihilation) be worse than never existing?

On the other hand, eternal torment would be MUCH worse than never having existed at all.  The difference is obvious without having to conduct any special Scriptural gymnastics to prove it.

And if the plain sense of Scripture makes perfect sense on its face, why seek a different sense?

Hell is given over to the Lake of Fire at the second death at the conclusion of the thousand year Millennial Kingdom Age.  The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, where, Revelation 20:10 says that “they shall be “tormented day and night for ever and ever’ — not annihilated.

Eternal life and eternal death are two sides of the same coin in that they are BOTH eternal, since we are created in God’s Image, which is eternal Spirit.

It is often argued that, ‘a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell’ — and that argument sounds logical because it is true.  A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell — and He doesn’t.

A loving God would provide an escape from eternal condemnation, which is different than expecting Him to change the nature of the punishment.

Hell was created as a prison and place of punishment for the rebellious angels.  When man joined in the rebellion, he condemned himself to share their prison.

But,

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

Heaven doesn’t require cream cheese to make it heaven, and there are no red union suits in hell.  Both are real and both are eternal because we are eternal and, as eternal beings, we have to continue our existence somewhere.

God prepared a place for those who love Him and who want to spend eternity with Him.  And He created a place for those who reject Him and rebel against His rule.

And He gave us a free choice to decide which we would prefer.

We are the watchmen on the wall.  For those of us that know the truth, that is an awesome thing to contemplate.  It rekindles a sense of urgency for the lost.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Omega Letter’s mission is to prepare the saved for the work of the ministry by comparing the Scriptures to the signs of the times and providing evidence of the lateness of the hour and the soon coming of the Lord.

Our secondary mission is to examine the deeper truths of Scripture so that we are better prepared to answer the skeptic’s questions and make clear the choices that are set before him.

It is incumbent upon us to be prepared,

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

May God continue to sustain and provide for us as we continue in our mission.

Until He comes.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 24, 2005