The Fatherhood of God

The Fatherhood of God
Vol: 20 Issue: 31 Wednesday, January 31, 2018

For all the sacred texts, for all the opinions and views and expectations and religious assumptions, and despite the best efforts of our imagination, it is not given to the human mind to fully comprehend the infinite God.

We can know some of His greatness and glory through observation and we can know something of Him through His Word and through the revelation of His Son, and such the retention of that knowledge is both a privilege and a duty.

God is revealed through nature as its Designer and Creator and through the Scriptures, which directly testify of Him.  He is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who came to introduce men to Him.

Our human minds seem more readily able to grasp the concept of God as Creator than it does as Father, but the Scriptures reveal Him more as in His capacity as Father than as Creator.  Still, any investigation of God is more likely to consider the creative abilities of God than His Fatherhood.

God the Creator is simply a generic title.  In this sense, any that is called “God” and afforded the title of “Creator” speaks to the real Creator God, no matter who the intended addressee might be.  There is one God and He is the Creator and He will be the God and Creator that He is regardless of what name He is called by.

That is not to say that all ways lead to salvation.  While all roads lead to God in the end, there is only one road leads to salvation.

There is only one God by whatever name you approach Him, but that doesn’t mean He will answer to whatever name you choose.  God is not a stray puppy.

If one is praying to a heathen god, it is still the Omniscient God that hears, since there is no other.  But God is Creator of all things, but Father only to His children. 

God is presented as ‘Father’ in the Scriptures in four distinct respects.

1. Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort .” (2nd Corinthians 1:3)

“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” (2nd Corinthians 11:31)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” (Ephesians 1:3)

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 3:14)

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” (Colossians 1:3)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” ( 1st Peter 1:3)

God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Not, God the Creator of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God the Father.  Note also that God is presented as both “The God of” and “Father of” our Lord.

On the human side, the First Person of the Godhead is referred to as His God, whereas as the Second Person of the Godhead, He is referred to as His Father.

The connection in which the First Person is mentioned as His Father has continued throughout eternity.  The connection in which the First Person is His God is in Jesus’ humanity which had a beginning with His virgin Birth but has no end.

There is no hint of inferiority or succession between God the Father and God the Son – it is more a case of manifestation.  Instead, there appears to be a unique, eternal affiliation between the first Two Persons of the Godhead that is best conveyed to our minds in the pattern of father and son.

The Arian and Gnostic traditions argue that Christ, while unique, was inferior to the Father.  From this heresy springs all kinds of other heresies, like Jesus and Lucifer were brothers (JWs, LDS) or Unitarianism (popular among the Founding Fathers) and so on.

That requires rejecting the clear teaching of Scriptures such as Luke 1:35, which identifies Jesus as the physical Son of God through the Holy Ghost.

It requires rejecting the doctrine that became One with the Father at His Resurrection.

It demands the assumption He is only the Son by virtue of His office.  But Scriptures teach that He was One with the Father before the world began.

2. God is also the Father of all who believe

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12)

Jesus is the only-begotten Son of God. When you received Jesus, you became a legitimate offspring of God through adoption.  As adopted sons, we are co-equal heirs with Jesus Christ.  

“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

The symbolism of adoption in Judaism is deliberately chosen. A Jew may disown his sons, disinheriting them and going so far as to declare them judicially ‘dead’ to the family.

That is not permitted in the case of an adopted son.  Jewish law prohibits disinheriting an adopted son – no matter what.  An adopted son is a son forever.

(When we were last in Israel, I heard a little Jewish kid call his father “Abba.”  It means, “Daddy.”)

The promise of Romans 8:17 is that we will eventually be conformed to the image of His Son and transforming us into actual sons of God, otherwise we could never be considered joint-heirs with Christ.

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”  (Romans 8:17)

We are conformed to the image of His Son when we receive our glorified bodies at the Rapture.  At the present time, God’s attention is focused on bringing many sons unto glory.

3. God is the Father of Israel.

Several times in the Old Testament God addresses the nation of Israel as His sons.  This relationship isn’t one in which individual Israelites were regenerated unto salvation by God, but rather connotes the national solicitude or fatherhood by reason of parental care for all.  God has also declared Himself husband to Israel, completing the familial symbolism between Himself and His Chosen People.

4. God is the father of all mankind.

The first four books of the New Testament each trace the genealogy of Jesus Christ backwards to King David and all the way back to Adam:  

“Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God. (Luke 3:38)

Adam’s right of sonship came by way of direct creation – the only concept of Divine fatherhood within reach of an unregenerate Gentile.

Addressing the unregenerate Greeks at Mars Hill who worshipped THE UNKNOWN GOD, Paul identified them as the offspring of God. 

“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring.  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:28-29)

All men, saved or lost, are the sons of God inasmuch as they owe their existence to Him.  But this kind of sonship is based on mere existence without relationship.  It is a relationship in which Father and son have never met and that’s the way the son wants to keep it.

Any study of the Fatherhood of God brings with it the tragic sense of loss that comes when that lost sinner enters eternity with all hope of fellowship eternally lost.

One that God loves so much that He sent His much beloved and only –begotten Son to seek and to save.  One that Jesus loved so much that He willingly laid down His life to save is lost forever.

The tragedy in heaven when such a one is lost must be unbearable.

That is where we come in.  We are sons of God, eternally saved, and secure in the knowledge that we are saved by grace through faith.   As actual, literal sons of God, we have an obligation to reflect the Father’s love.

So the next time you are led to share the Gospel with someone and you’re hesitating over it, think about it from both perspectives.

How much would you have to love God to want to spare Him the agony of having to condemn one of His errant sons?

And secondly, how much would you have to hate that person to know the way to eternal life and not tell them about it?   

“But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”  (1st John 3:17)

How, indeed?

The Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 28, 2010

Featured Commentary: Promises, Promises ~Wendy Wippel

When There Is No Law

When There Is No Law
Vol: 20 Issue: 30 Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Death was not part of God’s original creation.  The introduction of death was made necessary by the fall of man; sin is the ultimate affront to God and death is therefore the ultimate penalty for sin.

Since it is a penalty, such portions of it will be removed and dismissed forever; the eternal part of death, however, is, well, eternal.

There are three aspects to death; the physical, the spiritual, and what the Bible calls “the second”.  There is the death we know; the separation of soul and spirit from the flesh.

There is the spiritual death; the separation of the soul and spirit from God.  That is the condition of each of us through Adam — the ‘original sin’ which results in spiritual still-birth.  If one rejects fellowship with God in the physical life, one therefore remains separated from God in hell after physical death.

And finally, there is the ‘second death’ — the final and permanent form of spiritual death following sentencing at the Great White Throne.

The death we all know — physical death — is described in respect to its cause by the Apostle Paul:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)

In this passage we learn several things concerning death.  First, that death is the result of Adam’s sin.  Sin, like death, is passed on to all men from Adam in that we all sin, and we all die.

Note also that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”  The point Paul is making relates to Adam’s sin being sufficient cause for invoking the death penalty on all men.

Genesis 2:17 reads:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

In the Hebrew, it says, “dying, thou shalt surely die.”

In the day Adam sinned, he began to die physically.  This judgment includes all forms of death, including the second death, which Paul says “reigned from Adam to Moses.”

We also learn that “sin is not imputed when there is no law.”  What does Paul mean here?

Suppose you owned a large piece of property on which there was a stretch of paved road.  How fast can you drive on that road before you break the law?  70mph?  80?  120mph?

Since it is private property, there is no applicable law here.  You can go as fast as you want without breaking any law or incurring any legal penalty.

Sin is not imputed when there is no law.

Assessment:

One of the biggest doctrinal controversies within the modern Church concerns the doctrine of eternal security, or, as its critics term it, “once saved, always saved.” (OSAS)

But the Apostle Paul writes;

“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Roman 6:14)

If a saved Christian is not under the law, and sin is not imputed where there is no law, the search for a proof text to the contrary requires way more gymnastics than I am comfortable with.

If God’s intention in inspiring Scripture was to make plain to the simple the plan of salvation, well, it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

“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. . . . For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9,13)

I’m an heir to Adam’s sin and an heir to his sin nature.  Sin, like death, was passed on to me and there is nothing I can do that will eliminate either.  But as one washed in the Blood, I am saved by the grace of God from the eternal penalty of my own sin.

I am still under the curse of Adam.  I will still sin.  And will surely die physically.  But the second death has no power over me.  There is no law under which I can be convicted because there is no law to which I am made subject.

I am not under the law, but under grace.  And where there is no law, no sin is imputed.  I cannot sin my way out of Jesus’ Hand because there is no applicable law I can break.

At the Bema Seat where the saved are judged for their crowns, every detail of one’s life will be examined.

“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.” (1 Corinthians 3:13)

It is at the Bema Seat that we Christians will give an account of every word spoken, every work committed or omitted, whether bad OR good:

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthian 3:15)

We will be judged according to our works, but we will be sentenced according to the finished Work at the Cross.  At the Bema Seat, we will acknowledge our guilt, will suffer loss for our sins, but will still gain entrance into eternal life.

Revelation 17:8 says;

“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”

Those whose names were “not written into the Book of Life from the foundation of the world”will stand before the Great White Throne.  Those whose names were already there before the world began are those of whom Paul was speaking when he wrote:

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

From what I can find in Scripture, there is but one charge for which those who stand before the Great White Throne will be sentenced.  The Scriptures say that at the Great White Throne, the Lord will open the “books” and the Book of Life.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12)

The ‘books’ are the record of one’s life, just as at the Bema Seat.  Just as at the Bema Seat, one will give an accounting of every thought, word and deed.  At the Great White Throne, all those who rejected Christ will bow their knee and confess Jesus is Lord.

They will be judged, as were Christians at the Bema Seat, according to their works.  But they will not be sentenced according to their works.

Christians are saved at the Bema Seat because of who they are in Christ, not according to what they did in the body.

At the Great White Throne, the lost will be sentenced, not according to their works, but according to who they are in Christ:

“And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 2, 2008

Featured Commentary: PERSEVERANCE ~Steve Schmutzer

Leading Captivity Captive

Leading Captivity Captive
Vol: 20 Issue: 29 Monday, January 29, 2018

”And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

The Apostle’s Creed was first written by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, sometime towards the end of the 4th century.

Ambrose (“Aurelius Ambrosius” in Latin) was born into a Roman Christian family between about 337 and 340.  Ambrose was a strong opponent of Arius the Heretic who taught against the Trinity and argued that Jesus was a created being.

Ambrose’s “Apostles Creed” was published as a rebuttal of Arian theology. 

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. 

He descended into hell, and on the third day He arose from the dead. He ascended into Heaven were He sits at the right Hand of the Father, from where He will judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,  the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  Amen

First off, let me make a couple of points.  The ‘holy, catholic church’ of the Apostle’s Creed is not the Vatican — it isn’t even Catholic denomination — in fact, ‘catholic’ means the exact opposite of denominationalism.

It means ‘universal’ — in the sense of invisible Body of Christ consisting of all believers.  It was later appropriated as the name of one denomination, but in so doing, the Vatican reversed its original meaning.

In the original sense of the word, we are ALL catholic by virtue of being Christians.  In the Vatican sense of the word, one is a Christian by virtue of being a Catholic.

There is a huge difference between the two, which is why one can be a Catholic but not a Christian, or a Christian but not a Catholic. 

(Hitler was a Catholic.  So was Mussolini.  It didn’t make them Christians.)

The second point I want to clear up is the real meaning of the ‘communion of saints’ — which has NOTHING to do with either the Catholic sacrament of communion or of ‘saints’ in the sense of those beatified by the Vatican.

The communion of saints originally meant the ‘coming together of believers’ as in Hebrews 10:25:

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

The Apostle’s Creed is not the doctrinal statement of the Roman Catholic Church — it is the doctrinal statement of the universal Body of Christ, later appropriated and rebranded by the Vatican.

Applying the original intent and meaning of ‘catholic’ and ‘communion of saints’ the Apostle’s Creed is a universal statement of Christian faith. 

But there is this one confusing part where “He descended into hell.”

The Hebrew word for hell is ‘sheol’, meaning the ‘place of the dead’ — but it is distinct and different from the Lake of Fire.  The Lake of Fire is the SECOND death, according to the Book of Revelation. 

Hippolytus of Rome (died 235) pictured the “lake of unquenchable fire” as the eternal destiny of the unrighteous, who, while awaiting execution of the judgement upon them, are tortured in the abode of the dead (Hades) by the vision of their doom.”

Jesus Christ told the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  Of extreme significance is the way He began the story.  He didn’t say, “learn the parable of the rich man” but instead opens with the definitive statement,

“There WAS a certain rich man. . . ” (Luke 16:19)

There was also a certain beggar named Lazarus, Jesus said.  The two both died, but Jesus said that Lazarus was carried by the angels into Abraham’s Boson, but of the rich man simply that he “also died, and was buried.”

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” 

The rich man complains of the torturous flame and burning thirst.  Abraham explains:

“Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” (Luke 16:25)

Assessment:

When Jesus was on the Cross, He said to the repentant thief, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” 

But the Apostle’s Creed says, “He descended into hell and on the third day, He arose”.  That day, according to the Apostle’s Creed, He descended into hell.  The “third day” is not “today” as Jesus promised the thief.  

Is this a conflict with Scripture?

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 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 4:7-10)

What does “He led captivity captive” mean? 

In Paul’s world, when Rome conquered some new territory, the conqueror would be placed in an elevated chariot and given a parade upon his return to Rome.

The conquered kings and generals were bound behind the conqueror’s chariot and led through the streets, demonstrating to the rebellious that those who fought against him now submit to him.

Jesus descended into hell where He demonstrated His complete victory over the devil in a triumphant parade throughout Paradise and before all those rebels that will one day bow their knee and confess Jesus is Lord. 

Having held His victory parade before both the liberated and the conquered, on the third day, Jesus arose from the dead and was seen by Mary outside the Tomb.

“Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.”

Mary recognized Him and rushed to embrace Him. 

“Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to My God, and your God.” (John 20:16-17)

Jesus had been resurrected, but had not yet stood before the Father to present full payment for the sins of mankind, including those of the righteous dead in Paradise.  

In essence, Jesus stopped by to pick up His Resurrection body before He ascended into Heaven to present Himself before the Father to complete His redemptive mission. 

Mary could not defile Him by touching Him until after His mission was completed, which is why He sent the message that He did to His Apostles.  (“I”ll be along shortly, but I still have something to finish up.”)

Jesus DID descend into hell where He spent three days.  (That must have been quite a party.  No wonder the enemy is so furious.)  

When Jesus led captivity captive and bound behind His chariot, the enemy knew that Jesus wasn’t just cleaning out one side of hell to make room. 

He knew it meant that he had lost and that one day he will be cast into the lake of fire, no longer anymore important to the grand scheme of things than the rich man was when he first arrived.

“Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.  They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?” (Isaiah 14:15-18)

Jesus didn’t simply defeat the enemy — He made a fool of him first.

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

Like I said, it must have been quite a party.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 11, 2010

Featured Commentary: People of the Son ~Pete Garcia

The Auschwitz Protocols

The Auschwitz Protocols
Vol: 20 Issue: 27 Saturday, January 27, 2018

During the Second World War, the Nazis set up extermination camps all over Europe designed for no other purpose except to efficiently murder and dispose of millions of people.

In all, the Nazis murdered somewhere between ten and twelve million people; Gypsies, homosexuals, criminals, the mentally deficient, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Poles, Russian POWs’, etc.

But more than half of Hitler’s victims — at least six million of them — were European Jews. Men, women, children, babies — it made no difference. If they were Jews they were to be exterminated like animals.

Worse than animals, since even in those days, there were humane laws in place for euthanizing animals.

The major camps were located in German-occupied Poland, including Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Of the millions who entered these camps, only a handful emerged.

The Nazis elevated mass murder to an art form; almost a million Jews were exterminated at Treblinka — yet Treblinka had a staff of just 120 — of whom only the 20-30 SS personnel did the actual killing.

Can you imagine the outrage, had the Allies known of these camps? Clearly, the moment the Allies discovered that the Germans were systematically exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe, the entire tenor of the war would have changed.

No matter how critical other military targets may have been, it is difficult to imagine that any of them could be more critical than the death camps. No matter how many lives might have been at stake because of other targets, there was nothing that compared to the carnage of the Nazi death camps.

What a terrible shame that they didn’t know. Think of the millions of lives that could have been saved, had they destroyed those death camps, even as late as the last year of the war!

Except they did know. And they did nothing.

In 1944, as the Nazis began to empty Hungary of its 750,000 Jews and deport them to Auschwitz. Among them was a 19 year-old Jew named Rudolf Vrba.

Together with fellow prisoner Alfred Wetzler, Vrba devised a plan of escape from Auschwitz.

The pair slipped away from their slave-labor battalion and hid themselves in a hollowed out woodpile they had prepared earlier. They sprinkled the area with tobacco and gasoline to fool the dogs.

After hiding for several days, the pair set off on a 80 mile trek to Slovakia, where they met with Jewish leaders. There, they dictated a thirty-page report dubbed “The Auschwitz Protocols.”

It included details of the mass-murder process, maps pinpointing the gas chambers and crematoria and warnings of the impending slaughter of Hungary’s Jews.

“One million Hungarian [Jews] are going to die,” Vrba told them. “Auschwitz is ready for them. But if you tell them now, they will rebel. They will never go to the ovens.”

A copy of Vrba’s Auschwitz Protocols was given to Rabbi Michoel Dov Weissmandl, a rescue activist in Bratislava, who then wrote the first known appeal for the use of Allied air power to disrupt the mass murder.

Weissmandl’s plea to the Allies to bomb the railroad lines between Hungary and Auschwitz reached the Roosevelt administration in June, 1944.

The full version of the Vrba report was actually held up in Switzerland for three months by US diplomats who regarded it as low priority.

And when the report finally reached Washington in October, the Office of War Information opposed distributing it.

Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy responded that the request was “impracticable” because it would require “diversion of considerable air support essential to the success of our forces now engaged in decisive operations.”

He also claimed the War Department’s position was based on “a study” of the issue. But no evidence of such a study has ever been found by researchers.

In reality, McCloy’s position was based on the War Department’s standing policy that no military resources should be allocated for “rescuing victims of enemy oppression.”

(‘Victims of enemy oppression’ was a code for “Jews”. The Allies ACTUALLY had a policy in place to let them die.)

After receiving the Auschwitz Protocols, the Jewish Agency lobbied British, American and Soviet officials to bomb the camps or the railways leading to it. The Allies refused. The murders continued — Jews were still being exterminated even as Allied ground troops were approaching the gates of the camps.

Today in Israel, the wail of sirens brought the nation to a standstill as they observed two minutes of silence for the victims of the Nazi murderers and the indifferent Allies who did nothing to stop them.

During a two-minute silence across the Jewish state for Holocaust Remembrance Day, pedestrians stopped in their tracks, some with their heads bowed, and road traffic came to a halt.

The collective commemoration came a day after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly described the Holocaust as a “myth,” stirred a storm of criticism when he described Israel as “the most cruel and repressive racist regime” at the UN conference on racism in Switzerland.

His comments triggered outrage in the West and prompted a walkout by many European countries at the opening of the Geneva conference.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his remarks at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, said;

“If anyone thought that following the horrific events of the Holocaust this malignant phenomenon would vanish from this world, it is today obvious that he was wrong.”

“The sad fact is that while we mark the Holocaust Memorial Day here at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, some chose to attend the show of hatred against Israel held as we speak in the heart of Europe,” Netanyahu said.

“We will not let Holocaust deniers carry out another Holocaust of the Jewish people. This is the supreme commitment of the state of Israel.”

The UN conference, which had already been hit by a boycott by several governments led by the United States and Israel, fell into disarray after Ahmadinejad launched his new outburst against the Jewish state.

Ahmadinejad, who has previously called for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map, said that as compensation for racism in Europe “the most cruel and racist regime” was created in the Middle East after World War II.

“Following World War II they resorted to military aggressions to make an entire nation homeless under the pretext of Jewish suffering,” the mad little mullah told the assembled body.

To the dismay of the UN conference’s organizers, representatives from forty countries got up and walked out.

Assessment:

OK, so more than forty countries walked out. A handful of countries — Canada, the US, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and Italy — boycotted it altogether. (Yes, that’s all of them.)

And lest we become too proud, the US, Germany, the Netherlands and New Zealand didn’t decide until Sunday not to attend. (To their credit, Canada, Australia, Israel and Italy all dropped out of the gathering weeks or months earlier.)

But what of the one-hundred plus countries that refused to join the boycott, that found nothing wrong with having Mahmoud Ahmadinejad serve as keynote speaker and guest of honor of the conference, and that remained in their seats to politely applaud the little Iranian dictator’s renewed call for Israel’s destruction?

Think about it for a second, and in context. This conference was dubbed “Durban II” even though it is being held in Geneva, because the original Durban Conference became so infamous.

The Durban Conference on Racism was so antisemitic and racist that one could scarcely believe that the UN would try it again.

Not only did the UN decide to go ahead with the second conference, it chose such champions of international human rights as Libya to chair it and Iran to serve as a vice-chair.

The draft document upon which the conference was based affirmed the preceding conference’s concluding statement vilifying Israel, demanding Western reparations for slavery and making blasphemy against Islam an international crime.

The date selected for the conference not only coincided with the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day — it ‘just so happened’ that it opened on Hitler’s birthday.

So, what did the attending nations expect? They expected exactly what Ahmadinejad offered them — a vicious attack against Israel as a racist state — followed by a justification of racism according to the principles of Islam.

A number of delegations, mainly from Arab or Muslim countries, applauded his address, welcoming his claim that the creation of Israel had led to a “totally racist government in occupied Palestine.”

Although they claim Israel’s existence as a Jewish State is ‘racist’ they are completely comfortable with the Palestinian demand that its state be Judenrein (Jew-free).

Most mainstream Islamic countries have either expelled their Jewish populations or created such a hostile environment that they were forced to emigrate. It is difficult to imagine a more racist regime than that of Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam.

A Jew caught inside that country would face immediate execution — for being a Jew.

A few Islamic countries (like Iran) refuse to let their Jews emigrate so that they can use them as propaganda to show “how well they treat their Jews.”

(Don’t assume the world won’t buy into it. Hitler had a special camp — Theresienstadt — that was used as a ‘model’ camp to show the Red Cross how well the Jews were treated by the Nazis. The Red Cross never raised an eyebrow.)

The United Nations was created, ironically enough, for the same reason that world Jewry banded together and created a Jewish state in Israel. “Never again!” was Israel’s foundational slogan. The United Nations was created to prevent another Hitler and another Holocaust.

The UN exists now for the sole purpose of extending legitimacy to the haters of this world. It has been hijacked by global Islam in much the same way that the 1930’s League of Nations was hijacked by the fascists.

In 1944, the world had a chance to stop the genocide when Rudolf Vrba’s Auschwitz Protocols exposed the Nazi extermination plan for all the world to see. The world didn’t want to know anything about it until it was all over.

Despite the lessons of the Holocaust, the world learned nothing. The burden of Jerusalem remains as heavy today as ever it has over the millennia.

“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)

The UN’s Conference on Racism’s keynote speaker presented the world, in no uncertain terms, with his plan to finish what the Nazis began. Only forty countries — out of more than 190 — found Ahmadinejad’s speech unacceptable.

More than 100 countries applauded politely.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 21, 2009

The Logic and Reason of Free Thought

The Logic and Reason of Free Thought
Vol: 20 Issue: 26 Friday, January 26, 2018

One of the arguments most often advanced against Christianity and the existence of God is that such a belief is not ‘rational’. In fact, atheists and secular humanists are fond of calling themselves ‘free thinkers’ — wearing that label as a pejorative against those of faith, who, by implication are not.

The word “rational” means, “consistent with, or based on or using reason or logic.” So, how rational is it to believe in a Creator God?

Where did energy, time, matter and the dimensions in which we live originate? In theory, even a void must have an origin.

Rational thinkers postulate that the universe came into being via the “Big Bang” — that is, the universe simply exploded into existence by itself at some point in the unknowably distant past.

So let’s examine the idea rationally. There is no scientific explanation for the creation of energy, matter, etc., so that leaves but one seemingly logical conclusion.

If these things have no point of origin, yet they are, then logically, they must have always existed. But that doesn’t work, since everything in the universe has a starting point.

What was there before the Big Bang caused the universe to expand into it? Was there an ‘it’ for the universe to expand into.

Where did ‘it’ go? Was it a void before the Big Bang? Where did the void come from? What made the universe explode into existence? What was it before it exploded? And who made the void in the first place?

It is a law of physics that energy must be created — it simply cannot spring into existence on its own. THAT would take a ‘miracle’ and free thinkers deny miracles are possible.

But the laws concerning energy, mass, time, distance, etc. all pre-exist humanity, and the laws of scientific conservation say that they cannot be broken. That is what we call them the “laws” of physics.

But at some time in history, they all had to be broken at least once in order to come into existence. But that is impossible, since it would require a miracle.

But the fact that ANYTHING exists means, by definition, that a miraculous suspension of the prime laws governing the universe had to take place first.

Is your head spinning yet? This is what ‘free thinkers’ call ‘rational’.

Then there is the scientific problem with the creation of life. Science has never been able to create life out of non-life.

It takes life to create life, even in a test tube, a Petrie dish or a laboratory cloning experiment.

Rationally speaking, that leaves only one of two conclusions.

After all, if the most brilliant scientific minds on the planet can’t force something to happen that occurs randomly and easily, without either human direction or resources, they are either stupid and incompetent, or it must be impossible.

If it is impossible, then it would require a miracle, that is, a suspension of the laws of the universe, for life to exist. Yet, irrationally, it does.

Even if a scientist were able to somehow create life out of non-life, it would still require the assistance of a living scientist.

There is a joke about an atheist scientist who challenged God to a contest creating a man out of dirt.

God refused the challenge, telling the scientist that before He could accept the challenge as fair, the scientist had to first create dirt.

According to the ‘free-thinking rationalists,’ life was created out of non-life, without any sentient intervention, by a random accident of such complexity that it is impossible to reproduce under even the strictest laboratory conditions.

Man is himself a rational being because of the incredible complexity of the human mind. The human mind is invisible, cannot be measured, felt, tasted, smelled or weighed.

It is contained, like a ghost, within an organ called a ‘brain’. Yet it is the mind that separates man from all the other animals with brains in the universe.

Man is the only flesh-and-blood mammal in the universe with the ability to reason. Where did that ability come from? A superior brain?

(The Primate Research Institute at Kyoto, Japan recently conducted a mental acuity test between Kyoto University students and chimpanzees. The test measured raw brain processing power, and in every test, the chimps won. So much for superior ram material. Why aren’t the chimps testing us?)

Man is also the only being with hard-wired, inherent emotions like remorse, compassion, pity, love, kindness, gratitude or generosity.

The human mind discovered that the human body is made up of more than ten trillion DNA cells, each of which is more advanced than the most advanced computing device the human mind has ever conceived of.

One strand of DNA contains enough encoded information to fill a library of 200 volumes of books at 200 pages each. Our bodies contain 10 trillion of these individual supercomputers.

Logic and reason say that such complexity is impossible without a design, but it exists, nonetheless. Logic and reason would demand a master programmer.

This again, leads to one of two possible, logical, reasoned conclusions for what makes man the only mammal with the ability to reason things out in that invisible, untouchable, thing we call the human mind.

The first conclusion is that man was created in God’s image. Free-thinkers prefer ‘random chance’ as the more logical and reasoned explanation.

(“Random chance” employs the same logic and reason that theorizes that a pile of silicone, left alone in a cave for ten billion years, would evolve into a self-programming dual-core 3.0 GB personal computer, (including keyboard monitor and mouse) with a 350 GB hard drive, high-end video card and pre-loaded with Windows Vista, Microsoft Office and Norton AntiVirus 10.0)

Finally, what does applying logic and reason tell us about the Bible?

No other Book in history has been read more times, debated more thoroughly, translated into more languages, touched more lives or remained more relevant to the present.

Moses compiled the first five books of the Bible, (the Pentateuch) fifteen hundred years before Christ. The last book of Scripture, the Book of the Revelation, was closed and sealed before the turn of the 1st century.

In all the centuries of its existence, despite constant and unrelenting attack through the ages, not one single word, not one point of geography, history, science, medicine or other fact has ever been proved wrong.

And it is as relevant today as it was when it was compiled. There is no book in human history that even comes close.

Logic and reason suggest but two possible explanations. The first is that it is a book of myths. The second is that it is the inspired Word of God.

To accept the first conclusion, one must reason that forty men of different backgrounds and different periods of history, kings, shepherds and drifters, without contact with one another, wrote a total of sixty-six different books, all of which flow together as a single narrative, from the perspective of God, “telling the end from the beginning and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done.” (Isaiah 46:11)

Further, applying logic and reason, one must conclude that those books, which when assembled, became the greatest best seller of all time, to the exclusion of all other books every printed in all human history, are the product of random human effort.

It seems that in order to reconcile logic and reason with ‘free thought’ the first step involves discarding all the rules that dictate their use.

Only one conclusion can be possible. Atheism, as it applies to reason and logic, doesn’t describe a person who believes in nothing. It describes a person who can believe in anything.

To reach any other conclusion would be irrational.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 19, 2007

Featured Commentary: Preparing for the Tribulation ~Alf Cengia

A Workman is Only As Good As His Tools

A Workman is Only As Good As His Tools
Vol: 20 Issue: 25 Thursday, January 25, 2018

According to the Book of the Revelation the antichrist will declare war on the followers of Jesus and will also have the power to “overcome” them.  That seems a glaring contradiction with other Scriptures that promise that the Enemy cannot “overcome” them under any circumstances.

The Apostle John is called in Scripture “the disciple that Jesus loved” and the Gospel that bears his name is not included among the Synoptic Gospels. The Synoptics are eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ humanity.

The Apostle John was uniquely gifted with special insights.  John’s Gospel is an eyewitness account of His Divinity. John is also the author of four other New Testament works, the three Epistles that bear his name and the Book of the Revelation.

In the Apostle’s First Letter, written as a general sermon to be circulated through the churches of Asia Minor, John takes pains to explain the believer’s position as a vessel of the Holy Spirit specifically as it relates to the spirit of antichrist.  

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

The Apostle John was writing to the Church at the beginning of the Dispensation of Grace.  Later, the Apostle John is given a revelation from Jesus Christ with more specifics about the antichrist during the Tribulation Period.

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Revelation 13:7)

The word translated as “overcome” in both these texts is the Greek word, nikao which means, ‘to conquer, prevail, get the victory over”.  

Same prophet, same word, same meaning.  Except in one case, the saints have overcome the spirits of antichrist (past tense) and in the next, the antichrist overcomes (prevails, gets the victory over,) the saints!

Which is it? Both cannot be simultaneously true – indeed, the two verses directly contradict each other. 

Time for a pop quiz.  The saints of God cannot be overcome because. . . ?

Do you see it?  The saints to whom John is writing at the beginning of the Church Age are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and greater is He that is indwelling you than the spirit of antichrist in the world.  Does the Holy Spirit indwell the Tribulation Saints?

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

What does that mean, “rightly dividing the Word?” Clearly it must mean that there are multiple ways to divide the word, but not all of them are right. Does it not?

The Word divides itself if one will simply allow it to — without going all symbolic and metaphorical on it. By following a simple rule, “when the literal sense makes literal sense, take it literally” the Word divides itself according to Dispensation of Divine Revelation.

Currently, we are in the Dispensation of Grace, which is followed by the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, for which we of the Dispensation of Grace:

“have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye weresealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13)

Note the italicized points.  Trusted in Christ, heard the Word of Truth, after that you believed, and were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.

Trusted, believed, sealed.  And what is that Promise, again?

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever . . . I will not leave you Comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:16,18)

But if the Church is subjected to the Tribulation, that promise must be amended to read; “Except at that singularly horrific moment in mankind’s history when the saints will need the Comforter the most.”

Then, it seems, the indwelling Comforter is gone and the saints are overcome, conquered, defeated, by the antichrist — who is given power to gain the victory over them.

How does this all work together to make sense?  Can you work it out and have it make sense?

Not if the saints that John witnessed being overcome by antichrist in Revelation 13:7 are the same saints to whom John was writing his first Epistle. 

Remember – same Apostle, same word, same meaning.

What is different is the Dispensation. There remains an unfulfilled seven year period of Old Testament history – the time of Jacob’s Trouble, the 70th Week of Daniel, or the Tribulation Period.  

Here is the chronology. The Holy Spirit indwelt the Church at Pentecost – He is withdrawn, together with the vessels He indwells, at the Rapture.  Thus ends the Dispensation of Grace.

At some point after that, the first judgment of the Tribulation is imposed by God.  That judgment is symbolized by a rider on a white horse carrying a bow but no arrows, with which ‘he goes forth conquering and to conquer.’ (Revelation 6:1-2)

The antichrist is the first of the twenty-one judgments to be imposed against they “that dwell upon the earth” during this time.  Judgment, in order to be judgment, can only be imposed upon those who have been condemned. 

Were the judgment of the Tribulation imposed upon the Church, that would seem a contradiction. . .

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”(Romans 8:1)

So if the Church is in the Tribulation, it also means that it is under judgment, a believer can be overcome by the antichrist and believers will face the choice of a horrible death for refusing to mark or eternal damnation for accepting it. 

And the fact that they were already saved and covered by the Blood of Christ before the Tribulation began is somehow, for the first time in the history of the Church, irrelevant.  

It is a fact that the Promise that held true for all the Christians that came before doesn’t apply to the Tribulation saints.  They are indeed overcome by the antichrist. 

Are they the saints of the Promise? 

In Revelation 7 the “Seal of the Living God” is sealed in the foreheads of the “servants of God” who are then identified specifically as twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.  

John goes into detail, naming each patriarch by name and the number of his descendents to be sealed.

Look back up the page to Ephesians 1:13 and the word “sealed.”  The word “sphragizo” means “to stamp” – as with a signet or private mark.”  It is the same word used in Revelation 7

They are the Tribulation saints.  They are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Not by grace through faith, but by number, according to DNA.  They are given the power to spread the Gospel until being overcome by the antichrist and either submitting to the Mark or being beheaded.

In either case, there are no more Tribulation saints by Revelation 14, where they are all depicted in heaven, and recipients of a new song that only the 144,000 could learn.   

None of the Church Age Saints could learn it. And they aren’t down there spreading the Gospel, either. That job has since been passed on to an angel:

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6)

To summarize (again -this is a lot to take in) there is but one way for the narrative to flow without interruption.  The Church Age concludes with the Rapture.

The purpose of the Tribulation is to bring about Israel’s national redemption (Daniel 9Zechariah 12-14, etc) and to judge a Christ-rejecting world.

The Church Age cannot include any part of the Tribulation Period without putting the Church under the judgment of the antichrist, which would negate the victory won for it at the Cross. 

The Tribulation saints are the 144,000 Jews sealed by the Holy Spirit — and the converts they win before being overcome by antichrist.  

Bible prophecy, systematic theology and Dispensationalism are mutually dependent disciplines in that one cannot fully understand any one of them without a grasp of all three.

You needn’t adhere to those disciplines to be saved. But you do if you want to understand Bible prophecy.  

You can try to invent your own system — lots of folks do.   Look at all the failed efforts to pinpoint the date of the Rapture or to identify the antichrist.  

Even if we can see him coming, the Church won’t know who he is. The only reason for this generation to be looking for signs of the antichrist is because there are no signs of the Rapture.

NOBODY is saved according to what they believe about the Rapture or the Tribulation.   We are saved by grace through faith in the finished Work of the Cross, not by our understanding of Bible prophecy.

But Paul called Timothy “a workman” – a laborer of Christ.  As such, his toolbox is the Word of Truth.  Not all Christians are called to be workmen.  And not all Christians heed the call they are given.

But if one is to be a workman for Christ, he will only be as good as his tools.   

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 2, 2011

Scriptural ‘Contradictions’

Scriptural ‘Contradictions’
Vol: 20 Issue: 24 Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Christian faith stands or falls based on the truth of the Scripture.  Christianity has no plan “B”.  Should the Bible somehow fail, Christianity fails with it.

The Bible claims of itself that it is 100% accurate, 100% of the time.  It is, as 2nd Peter 1:21 tells us, the product of holy men who “spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Therefore, if Noah didn’t build an ark, if Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a big fish, if David didn’t slay Goliath and if Jesus wasn’t born of a virgin, then our faith is in vain and we are yet dead in our sins.

So whether or not the Scriptures are reliable is a very big deal.  That said, now I am going to say something some of you will find shocking.  There are no contradictions in Scripture, but there ARE discrepancies.  They are superficial and largely irrelevant, but they are there.

We’ll examine them in a moment, but for now, let’s examine WHY they are there.  The Bible was originally written in Hebrew and Greek.  According to the Bible Society, the Bible has since been translated into 414 different languages, as of 2003.

“Comment vous applez vous?” It’s French, but in English, it means, “What is your name.?”

But literally, what it really means; is “What you called you?” So of course, there are linguistic discrepancies between translations.

Heck, there are discrepancies in translation between the KJV and the NIV, not to mention the other English versions.

Compare Acts 8:38 side by side in a KJV and an NIV. (The NIV omits Acts 8:38 and leaves a hole). 

Now I am going to shock at least some of you again. I personally prefer the KJV, and at one time, I was a big “King James Only” guy.  I took the dogmatic position the other versions are perversions of the perfect Word of God. 

Until I compared the KJV with the original text.  The KJV is faithful to the original in the same way that “Comment vous applez vous” doesn’t actually say “What is your name?” but means “What is your name?”

Some of the other English translations are translated from different original manuscripts; the KJV from the Textus Receptus, NIV, NASB etc. the Sinaiticus or Vaticanus texts, and some simply translated from Old English into New English.

Since we can now multiply that by 401 more languages, of course, there are discrepancies.  Still the Bible is the inspired Word of God.  If God didn’t want those discrepancies, they wouldn’t be there.

In point of fact, those minor discrepancies are a reason TO believe, not a reason for doubt.

For one thing, it destroys any suggestion of collusion between the various writers.  It also shatters the suggestion that the Bible was a counterfeit.  We know certain things about eyewitness testimony. 

For one, no two people ever describe an event EXACTLY the same way.  If they do, it is because they were coached. 

If there were perfect agreement in every detail between Isaiah and Moses, between Peter and Paul, or between Matthew and Luke, the skeptics would zero in on it as evidence of a forgery. 

Real people, especially those separated by great spans of time, don’t write in harmony with other writers, and if there were perfect agreement, it would naturally generate suspicion of collaboration. 

So these apparent contradictions and discrepancies serve to refute these kinds of objections by their very existence. 

Secondly, these apparent contradictions stimulate Christians to deeper Bible study — they literally force man to search the Scriptures.  There are few motives for study more powerful than that of trying to reconcile an apparent Bible contradictions.

Believers cannot be satisfied with easy answers.  The writers were fallible men, but they were inspired by an infallible God. 

Although the contradictions seem to be apparent, upon greater study, one finds invariably that they exhibit a deeper agreement than appears on the surface — which reveals in greater detail the whole counsel of God. 

When a believer solves one of these so-called contradictions on their own, it is a faith-affirming and joyful event. 

But the same discrepancies that are to a believer, evidence of its Divine inspiration are, to dedicated unbelievers, evidence to the contrary. 

Take, for example, the Commandment;

“Thou shalt not kill.” (Exodus 20:13)

But in the very next chapter, we read,

“He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” (Exodus 21:12)

Taken at face value, that is an irreconcilable contradiction contained in the King James Bible, together with most of the other translations.  God tells man, “Thou shalt not kill,” and in the very next breath, orders man to put transgressors to death.

How does one put someone to death without killing them?

The Hebrew doesn’t say “Thou shalt not kill.” That is what the English translation says. Consequently, in English, Exodus 21:12 is  a direct contradiction within God’s Word.  But God isn’t English. (Or even American)

The Hebrew says, “Thou shalt do no murder’ which not only eliminates any apparent contradiction but rather, serves to explain Exodus 21:12 as part the whole counsel of God, which is, if you commit murder, you shall be put to death.

The Apostle Paul says,

“for by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

James says,

“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” (James 2:24)

Is this not a contradiction?  And not just a minor one, either.  Are we saved by grace, or by works? The contradiction evaporates with study and by applying context to both passages. 

Salvation is by faith, as Paul says.  And saving faith is inevitably expressed by a person’s works. James says, “I will show thee my faith by my works,” not, “I will substitute faith with my works.”  In context, the meaning is obvious and the contradiction collapses. 

1st Samuel 15:29 tells us that,

“God isn’t a man, that He should repent.”

But in the same chapter, we also read,

“It repenteth Me that I have set up Saul to be king.” (15:11)

Another contradiction.  Or so it seems.  God is immutable.  He cannot change, or change His mind.  God cannot ‘repent’ but since men do change, God seemingly must, and does, repent of individual actions with individuals.

God cannot change His mind about sin and unrighteousness, yet when we repent and are saved, God blesses and rewards the same sinner.  There is no contradiction.  God didn’t change.  We did.

If anything, that PROVES God does not change.  God hates the sin and loves the sinner, as He always has. God knew Saul would fail Him, but when Saul did, God had to change the way He dealt with him.

If not, then God really WOULD have changed His mind.

In the study of Scripture, a text without context is a pretext — that is to say, taken out of context, one can make the Bible say anything. “Judas went out and hung himself — thou do likewise.”  Two parts of verses out of context, and we can make the Bible appear to be advocating suicide!

King David was just about the most depraved sinner among all the Patriarchs of Scripture.  David committed adultery with Bathsheeba, and then had her husband, Uriah, murdered so he could marry her.

Yet the Scriptures call David a man after God’s own heart.  Does that mean God is a murdering adulterer?  Or that He approves of murder or adultery?  Clearly not.  A contradiction? Only out of context.

When most people are caught in the act of sin, they get defensive; they get angry, attempt to justify themselves, or just outright lie and deny it.  When David was confronted with his sin, he repented, confessed his sin, and sought God’s forgiveness. (2nd Samuel 12:1324:10)  In his Psalm of contrition, David writes,

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight: that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest.” (Psalm 51:1-4)

It is man’s heart that God looks at — in the context of man’s words or deeds. 

One of the most often cited ‘contradictions’ by skeptics I’ve encountered is that of the superscription on the Cross.

Matthew 27:37: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Mark 15:26: “The King of the Jews.” 

Luke 23:38: “This is the King of the Jews.”

John 19:19: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

So we have four different Gospel writers, but only two inscriptions are virtually identical; Mark’s “The King of the Jews” and Luke’s “This is the King of the Jews.” 

The other two, Matthew’s and John’s are similar to each other but different from Luke and Mark.  A contradiction? 

Read John 19:20 with me.

“This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.”

So, how many inscriptions were there?  Three — all in different languages. “What you called you?” is different than, “What is your name?” — but it means exactly the same thing — IN FRENCH.  So it depends on which translation of the inscription each Gospel writer used. 

Isn’t it interesting that between them, they managed to use all three? 

The discrepancies in Scripture are only discrepancies in translation — they don’t exist in the original languages.  The ‘contradictions’ are not contradictions at all, but rather the result of sloppy scholarship on the part of the skeptic. 

The Bible remains the inspired word of God, fully inspired and full authoritative.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2nd Timothy 3:16-17)

There are many more reasons to believe than there are to disbelieve.  We’ve detailed only six — there are plenty more. 

But there is only ONE reason to disbelieve. Paul writes,

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

The dedicated skeptic doesn’t want to believe.  God gave all men free will, so if he doesn’t want to believe, God isn’t going to make him.  Instead, God provided all the evidence necessary and says to us all, “Choose this day Whom you will serve.”

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on August 11, 2008

Featured Commentary: Choosing Sides ~Wendy Wippel

The Times of the Gentiles

The Times of the Gentiles
Vol: 20 Issue: 23 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Scriptures speak of three classes of people on the earth, the Jews, the Gentile, and the Church. The Church is made up of both Jew and Gentile. Outside of the Church all who are not Jews are Gentiles.

Up to the call of Abraham all people were Gentiles. Abraham was the first Hebrew. His grandson Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel (Genesis 32:24-28) had twelve sons.  They became the heads of twelve tribes; the Twelve of Israel.

Under King David, the Unified Kingdom of Israel was a world power; under King Solomon it became the world power, with unparalleled wealth and prosperity.

After King Solomon died, the Tribes split into two kingdoms; the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah.  The Kingdoms were both independent sovereign powers until they fell into idolatry and were supplanted by the Gentiles.

In 702 BC the ten tribes of the northern kingdom were conquered and assimilated by the Assyrian Empire.

In 606 BC the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and taken captive to Babylon.  When the captivity ended, all that remained of the twelve tribes of Israel was the Kingdom of Judah.  Henceforth, the remnant of Israel were known as Jews.

Although the Jews had returned to their own land, they returned as citizens of a foreign (Gentile) occupying power, beginning what the Lord described as the Times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24)

First, let me clarify something in advance. The Times of Gentiles is different than the “fullness of the Gentiles”. (Romans 11:25) The Times of the Gentiles refers to the period of human government from Nebuchadnezzar to the antichrist.   

The fullness of the Gentiles refers to the called out ones (ecclesia) that make up the Body of Christ.  When the last one gets saved, then the fullness of the called out ones are caught up (harpazo) at the Rapture.  

The period of the fullness of the Gentiles begins at Pentecost and ends at the Rapture. 

The fullness of the Gentiles is all about the Church.  The times of the Gentiles is all about those who are neither Jew nor Christian.  The times of the Gentiles ends at the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation.

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he had a dream, but when he awoke it had gone from him.  He demanded of his magicians and astrologers that they should not only reproduce the dream, but that they should interpret it.  This they were unable to do and their destruction was ordered.  

The astrologers recognized that Daniel’s God was able to do what they only pretended to do, so they went to Daniel to implore him to ask God for the answers.  

“Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.” (Daniel 2:19)

(The Babylonian astrologers were called the “Magi.”  Such was the respect the Magi had for Daniel that, more than five hundred years later, they mounted a caravan headed for Bethlehem to worship Daniel’s God come in the flesh.)

In any case, Daniel’s interpretation is not one that any mortal human being would have dared to deliver to the king, if he wanted to live.  But Daniel’s interpretation did not come from a mortal human being but from God Himself, so Daniel was unafraid to announce to the king the end of Gentile supremacy.

The king saw an image of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, with two legs of iron and ten toes of iron mixed with miry clay. 

“And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” (Daniel 2:43)

Daniel interpreted the dream image as a succession of four world empires that would succeed each other encompassing the period from Nebuchadnezzar to the Second Coming of Christ.   The four kingdoms; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome were not only numbered, but named in the order of succession.

The first kingdom, Daniel said, was Babylon, the head of gold (Daniel 2:38). The second was Medo-Persian, (Daniel 5:30-31) followed by the Greeks (Daniel 8:20-21) and finally, the Romans. (Daniel 9:26)

The image is one of deteriorating metals representing each kingdom’s waning power.  Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar’s power was absolute.

“And for the majesty that He gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.” (Daniel 5:19)

Daniel forecast that the second kingdom would be “inferior” to the first.   King Darius was not an absolute monarch, but ruled by the consent of the hereditary aristocracy.  Darius could not save Daniel from the lion’s den, for example.

King Ahasuerus  could only prevent Haman’s slaughter of the Jews by issuing a counter-decree authorizing the Jews to defend themselves.

“Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey. . .” (Esther 8:11)

The Greek government under Alexander the Great was a monarchy supported by a military aristocracy, which was so weak that when Alexander died, it was divided among his four generals. 

The iron power of the fourth kingdom, (Rome) depreciated even further.  Initially, the Ceasars were elected by the people as “First Magistrate of the State”.  For centuries, they wore no crown apart from the laurel wreath of a successful commander.

The Roman Senate was created as a check on Ceasar’s power, but as the power of Ceasar grew, the power of the Republic waned. Ultimately, the Empire split into two legs; one leg ruled from Rome, the other from Constantinople.   

When political Rome collapsed in the fourth century, it was replaced by religious Rome for the next eighteen hundred years.  In 1948, political Rome began its revival with the signing of the Benelux Treaty which began the process of European unification.

The 1957 Treaty of Rome codified the six Benelux nations and established the European Economic Community.  In 1981 Greece became the tenth member, at which time, full membership was closed.  Although there are 27 member states today, the EU still has but ten full members with the rest holding either “associate member” or “observer” status.

The ten toes are composed of “iron mixed with miry clay” – partly strong and partly weak, a textbook description of European democracy. 

But as Daniel considered the ten horns, he was amazed to see another horn, a LITTLE one, come up among them, and before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots, that is destroyed; and as he examined the little horn more closely he noticed that it had eyes like the eyes of a man, and the mouth of a man speaking great things.  (Daniel 7:7-8)

Daniel’s image is ultimately destroyed by being smitten on the feet by a stone “cut without hands” that crushes it to dust in a single blow. 

“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:35)

 Thus concludes the times of the Gentiles.

Assessment:

Note the difference, once again, between the times of the Gentiles and the fullness of the Gentiles.  There are a number of prominent teachers that are of the opinion that the times of the Gentiles ended with the 1967 capture of Jerusalem, based on their understanding of our Lord’s prophecy in Luke 21:24:

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

But that was 1967, 50 years ago, and it takes a really desperate effort to conclude that Jerusalem is not now still “trodden down of the Gentiles.”  Jerusalem is not sovereign as much as the Israelis would like to claim that it is.

According to the Prophet Zechariah, Jerusalem will remain a burdensome stone and a cup that causes reeling until the Lord appears in the air over the city and the Jews look upon “Him, Whom they have pierced.

Here is what I want you to see this morning.  Nothing taking place in our world is taking place by accident; everything is proceeding according to a carefully-laid plan.  Nothing will happen out of order – the Bible lays things out chronologically. 

Just as Persia followed Babylon and Greece followed Persia and Rome followed Greece, so too will the events of the last days play out in the chronological order outlined in Scripture.  The Bible says that the times of the Gentiles will conclude with the destruction of the antichrist at the Second Coming.

But the fullness of the Gentiles takes place when the last Gentile to come to Christ by faith does so.  There is no reference to any Gentiles being saved during the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” 

The Apostle Paul says that after the Restrainer is taken out of the way, that Wicked will be revealed, and ALL that rejected the truth of the Gospel will be damned.

Revelation Chapters 1 through 3 outlines the future history of the Church on earth from the first century all the way to the apostate Church of Laodicea.  After that, the Apostle John is ‘raptured’ into heaven in Revelation 4:1 — where the perspective remains for the remainder of the Book.

The Book of Revelation continues in chronological order; first the Seven Churches, then the translation into Heaven, then the judgments against a Christ-rejecting world, beginning with the first judgment, the revelation of the antichrist in Revelation 6:2.

There are Tribulation Saints, but they are not Gentiles.  They are those Jews saved through the efforts of the 144,000 Jewish male evangelists of Revelation 7, together with the evangelists themselves.

By Revelation 14, there are no more evangelists, no more Tribulation saints and the Gospel is being carried by an angel.  

In the first half of today’s brief, we looked over the outline of future history with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, and saw how specifically and carefully the outline of prophecy was fulfilled from the time of Daniel until the restoration of Israel and the birth of the EU in 1948.

From that point forward, it isn’t our 20/20 hindsight that we are relying on, but God’s 20/20 foresight.

Although God’s 20/20 foresight is proved even more reliable than our hindsight, there is the temptation to assume that now, after all this time, maybe the last few hours of human history will play out a bit differently than it has since Nebuchadnezzar kicked off the times of the Gentiles in 606 BC.

They won’t.  We can rely on the Scriptures to be as accurate looking forward as they are looking backwards.  Following the Bible’s chronology, this is where we are at this particular moment:

The fullness of the Gentiles is upon us.  The evidence is that we can now see the time of Jacob’s Trouble approaching.  Because we can see it so clearly, there is a temptation to rearrange God’s chronology to make it fit current events. 

That ignores the fact that, to this point, the entire outline of Bible prophecy follows a system of progressive revelation from God, separated according to Dispensation.

Without a system, the best one can offer is an opinion — and there are no shortage of those.   A systematic view of theology provides a God-given context in which to understand Bible prophecy — and against which to measure opinions.

I don’t defend Dispensationalism because I want everybody to become a Dispensationalist. It is because without that framework as a guide, Bible prophecy means whatever the most convincing speaker says it means.

Paul told Timothy:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

If there is another way to “rightly divide the word of truth” nobody has yet demonstrated it to me.  Many have demonstrated that they believe they have rightly divided the word of truth, but can’t coherently explain why they divided it where they did.

But if the Word is ‘rightly divided’ then where to divide it should be reasonably obvious — it shouldn’t need a lot of explaining.  Drawing that line between the periods of Grace and Judgment is both obvious and in keeping with the whole counsel of Scripture.

That is what makes our job so urgent.  That is why the Lord gave us the signs. So we could give the warning.

“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 all should come to repentance.” (2nd Peter 3:9)

He is holding off for as long as possible, waiting for that last Gentile who will accept His offer of pardon, bringing in the fullness of the Gentiles.  Our job is to carry the message that the offer is still valid, but subject to cancellation without notice.

There’s no second chance after the Rapture.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 6, 2007

Featured Commentary: The Threat From Within ~Steve Schmutzer

The Tablets of the Heart

The Tablets of the Heart
Vol: 20 Issue: 22 Monday, January 22, 2018

The Mount of the Beatitudes stands near the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee and is the most likely spot for Jesus to have preached the Sermon on the Mount. It isn’t an actual ‘mountain’ as we’d understand it, but rather a large hill.

The reason that this is believed to be the exact location of the Sermon is because of its incredible acoustics. Along the slope there is a meadow that has the shape of a shallow bowl.

The effect is really quite amazing, as I’ll demonstrate when we visit the Mount of the Beatitudes during our upcoming Israel tour. A person standing in the center of that bowl’s voice carries everywhere within the rim of that bowl as if it were an amplified stadium.

The last time I was there, Peter Lalonde had me hike down that slope to the middle and read the Sermon on the Mount aloud, so I can’t tell you how clearly my voice carried from personal experience. I can only tell you I wasn’t speaking any louder than I would have spoken in my living-room. 

Looking back up at our group, they were far enough away that I couldn’t clearly distinguish their faces. Many of those who were on that tour with us were in their 60’s and 70’s. But all of them said they could hear me as clearly as if I were standing beside them. 

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about that acoustical effect of that place is a sense of awe. To think not only that I was standing in the place where Jesus once stood, but also that I was standing in a place specifically designed by God for His use in giving one of the most important sermons of His earthly ministry. 

It is the place where Jesus stood when He proclaimed His mission statement:

“Think not that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus came to fulfill the terms of the Abrahamic Covenant and to fulfill the purpose of the Law. In Genesis 15 we read of the covenant agreement between Abraham and God.

“And He brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” (15:5-6)

But Abraham was a man of the Chaldees, a merchant from Ur, and business is business, so, where’s the contract?

“And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” (15:8)

Since Abraham WAS a Chaldean, the Lord instructed him to prepare a blood covenant according to the customs of the Chaldees.

“And He said unto him, Take Me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.” (15:9-10)

These animal parts were used to form a somewhat grisly aisle through which, by custom, the two parties to the covenant would walk hand in hand while reciting its terms. It was also an object lesson in what fate would befall the one who broke its terms. 

The Bible says that Abraham prepared the covenant and waited for God to come so they could seal the bargain together. Instead, Abraham had a vision. In it, God recited the terms of the covenant while passing through the aisle in the form of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp, in effect, signing the covenant on both sides. 

If the covenant was broken, somebody had to die, and God made Himself responsible for both parties. It was there on the slopes of that hill near the Sea of Galilee that Jesus explained that He came to fulfill the terms of THAT covenant — on behalf of Abraham’s seed. 

It was always God’s intent to write the law on the hearts of His people. In Deuteronomy 6:6 we read:

“These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.”

Jeremiah speaks of a day when this will become a reality: “‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD.

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people'” (Jeremiah 31:33).

The writing of the law on the heart is finally accomplished by the fulfillment of the Old Covenant at the Cross and the establishment of the New Covenant whereby believers are grafted onto the olive tree of Israel.

actually stood in the place where Jesus made that monumental announcement! It was awesome beyond description. 

Many Christians see the Beatitudes more as idealistic guidelines than reality. Others take the opposite view; that the Beatitudes form a list of do’s and don’t’s regarding salvation. 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” If you want the kingdom of heaven, it seems, one must be poor in spirit. But what does “poor in spirit” mean to believers who see themselves as the “King’s Kids?” Seems a bit contradictory, but only until you remember that the purpose of the sermon is to write the law on men’s hearts. 

The prophet Micah writes:

“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

The ‘poor in spirit’ are those who recognize they are unworthy of entrance into heaven by virtue of their own sin nature, that there are no good works they can do to thereby purchase admission on their own, and that Jesus Christ paid the price of redemption on their behalf. 

If you are a Blood-bought believer, you’ve already acknowledged your spiritual poverty and your dependence upon God’s riches. This isn’t a goal that stands before you, its your present state of reality — together with the attending promise, “for theirs [yours] is the Kingdom of Heaven.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. ” Why would believers ‘mourn’? We’re saved, we’re joyful . . . we’re told to be joyful because of the certainty of spiritual comfort. Paul writes, “that you sorrow not, as others who have no hope”. 

Do you care about the lost? Why? And when one dies in his sins, do you not mourn? The Beatitudes are not a future goal to the Christian, but a state of present reality.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Meekness — this one is a tough one for Western Christians. (Fortunately, believers are joint-heirs with Christ, so they inherit the universe.)

In context, however, “meekness” means to have a submissive heart. Jesus said,

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Meekness can best be described as “strength under control” which is the characteristic Jesus said would “inherit the earth.” Meekness is not something to be attained, it is the current state of those who trust that Jesus has everything under control.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Uh oh! How does one manage this while navigating this lost and sin-sick world? 

The pure in heart have holiness written on their hearts. There is a lot more involved here than the avoidance of sin. The heart is our center of being. 

Jesus describes it in Mark 7:21-23;

“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.”

But also from within springs that holy desire to pursue God and be like Him. To be ‘pure in heart’ is not to accomplish the impossible by living a perfect life — it is the desire to get back up again after we fall. The ‘pure in heart’ shall see God. To be pure in heart is not a goal to be attained — it is the present state of the believer. 

The Law of Moses was written on Mount Sinai on tablets of cold, hard stone. The Sermon on the Mount represents the place where God, now and forever, writes His laws on the tablet of the heart. 

“Tetelestai!”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on September 5, 2008

Featured Commentary: Trump: God’s Man of the Hour ~Pete Garcia

Why Does God Allow Deformed Babies?

Why Does God Allow Deformed Babies?
Vol: 20 Issue: 20 Saturday, January 20, 2018

Why is the world the way it is?  Why do some people die slow, lingering painful deaths, while others slip away peacefully in their sleep?  Why do some people suffer life-long debilitating illnesses while others live their lives through with nary a sniffle?  Why are babies born with birth defects?

That was the question that popped into my email box yesterday.  Does God make defective babies?

“I have a challenging question you may or may not want to tackle. I am 60 years old, I am a Christian and I have been a nurse for almost 32 years.  I work in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at a big, teaching hospital. In Psalm 139:14 God tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  He knits us together in our mother’s wombs.  He knows us before this is even done!  How do I reconcile the fact that God knits us together in the womb with the fact that we see many anomalous infants born? (I am asking for my own understanding as well as to be able to minister to families who have these anomalous infants and either lose them in death or take them home to care for them long-term). I know we live in a sin-fallen world and things are not what they were meant to be, but does God actually knit a baby with Down’s syndrome together in the womb or one with an underdeveloped brain or heart?  I am looking and seeking to understand this myself, but wondered if you had any insight into this.  Thanks for considering.”

Virtually every meaningful conversation I have ever had with people on the subject of God and religion has either started with this question, or one like it.  No doubt, you probably can say the same thing.

If God is real, then how come He allows evil?  Let’s start there.

“Evil” is actually something that is completely beyond our comprehension.  As finite human beings, we can discern “good” on a subjective level — if we like the outcome, then it is good.

The same applies to recognizing evil.  We can discern that it is evil — subjectively — because we can perceive the outcome will be a bad one.

But the premise that we human beings can know good and evil is part and parcel of the first lie ever told in the universe.

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

Instead of knowing good and evil, Adam and Eve learned about bad and worse.  Bad was how they felt after they had sinned, and worse was how they felt after they were penalized for their sin.  But they couldn’t know good and evil.

We can discern moral and immoral, right and wrong, but good and evil are outcomes, not concepts. Outcomes are known only to God.  We witness an earthquake and we wonder why God created such a great evil.

The earthquake swarm that spawned the Japanese tsumani was a great evil because of the deaths and damages that followed.  Yes?

It depends on how you look at it.  As already noted, evil is subjective.

Earthquakes are necessary to sustaining life on earth.  Land masses wear down with time because of rain, snow, freezing, heating, glaciers, landslides, and gravitational forces. If there were no forces that lift the land to replenish the worn away parts, after a while all land on the earth would be under water.

Because the earth is liquid inside, land is constantly being lifted to replace the land that is worn down.  So earthquakes are actually good, because without them, the earth could not sustain life.

Death is evil, because we cannot fully understand it, not because it is actually evil.  Death is a necessary part of our transition from darkness into light.  You cannot go to heaven without dying first. (Unless you happen to make it to the Rapture).

And so, from the perspective of those who perished in Japan, it was only “evil” for those that died in their sins.

Those who were in Christ are presently in the company of their Savior, alive forevermore, beyond the reach of sickness, loss or death.

From the perspective of those who are left behind, the tsunami was a great evil.  But that is because we don’t know the whole story.  We never do.  That’s why it is so hard for us to grasp how God can “allow” evil.

If the tsunami had not struck an inhabited area, but instead swept across an uninhabited desert island, would it have still been considered “evil”?  No.

What made it “evil” was our perception of the outcome.

Assessment:

To a secularist, it is a greater evil to allow a defective baby to live with a birth defect than it would be to spare him a life of misery by aborting him in the womb.  But in order to make that judgment, one must first put oneself in a position of judging an outcome.

“God tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He knits us together in our mother’s wombs. He knows us before this is even done! How do I reconcile the fact that God knits us together in the womb with the fact that we see many anomalous infants born?”

Helen Keller was struck deaf and blind by meningitis at the age of 19 months.  By every possible human measure, this sounds unspeakably evil.  Certainly, it would have been ‘good’ had Helen Keller miraculously recovered her vision and hearing.

One might even call such a restoration a triumph of good over evil.  Especially from the perspective of pretty much anybody living back in the 1880’s.

But Helen Keller never recovered her sight and hearing.  She lived for eighty-seven years in a world of soundless darkness.  Had “good triumphed over evil” in this case, American sign language might never have been developed.

Why does God allow anomalous infants to be born? “The Lord works in mysterious ways” isn’t a very satisfying answer. There is good reason for that.

It is because the Lord doesn’t work in ‘mysterious’ ways; He works according to His will.  He has a purpose for everything that He does.  Whether we understand that purpose is irrelevant — HE does.

“So shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My Mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

To the unbeliever, this life is all there is — so when God takes it, it seems exceedingly cruel.  But this is no more ‘all there is’ than the blackness of the womb is to the unborn child.  The blackness of the womb is simply all it knows until it is born.

What seems exceedingly cruel from this perspective of existence may well be an act of exceeding mercy when viewed from the perspective of God.

God allows birth defects for the same reason that he allows for the existence of both good and evil.  God uses what we might consider evil to accomplish what He knows is good.

Take the story of Joseph and his coat of many colors.  His brothers were jealous of Joseph, so they kidnapped him and sold him into slavery.  They went back to their father and reported Joseph dead.

They intended to do evil.  That was their plan.  In those days, slavery was usually a fate worse than death. But Joseph became the most powerful man in Egypt while his brothers were starving to death as the result of a great famine.

Had Joseph not been in the position he was at the time, his brothers, who were not Egyptians, would have been turned away to starve.  God had a plan for Israel and it didn’t involve them starving to death before it could come to fruition.

As Joseph himself noted, his brothers meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.

It isn’t a very satisfying answer to the question, does God form anomalous babies?  But it is the only logical answer, notwithstanding.  Of course God is responsible for birth defects.  He is God.  But birth defects are “evil” only because of our lack of understanding.

When she was a young child, it would be impossible to see Helen Keller’s life as anything but a tragedy.  But God intended it for good and Helen Keller went on to use her disabilities to become one of the most famous educators in American history.

In the end, we can say without doubt that God knits together every person in the womb, including those with birth defects.  We can say with confidence that if God didn’t want that baby to have a birth defect, then it wouldn’t.

So that leaves only one remaining possibility.  God intended it for reasons of His own that we cannot understand, which is, in and of itself, a point of understanding.

Good and evil are outcomes, and outcomes are known only to God.  That’s why He wants us to trust Him.

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on February 24, 2012