Posted in anti-semitism, satan, signs, tribulation, wrath

Anti-Semitic incidents worse than they’ve been in decades- "Something’s changed"

In the news article excerpt below (from Breitbart) you will read that attitudes toward Jewish people are taking a horrific turn for the worse.

South African Union Leader Calls for Attacks on Jews ‘Everywhere’

In a posting on his personal Facebook page Wednesday, Tony Ehrenreich, the leader of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape province, called for “an Eye for an Eye against Zionist aggression” and warned that “if a woman or child is killed in Gaza,” then Jews who support Israel must face an equivalent fate. … Ehrenreich is one of South Africa’s more important political voices. He was the Cape Town mayoral nominee in 2011 for the country’s major political party, the African National Congress (ANC), and still leads the opposition in the city council. He has strong anti-Israel views, and recently called for boycotts of Jewish businesses in South Africa if the Jewish community’s leadership, the Board of Deputies, refused to stop supporting Israel. Now, Ehrenreich has apparently taken his campaign one step further–to possible incitement. … Last month, another member of the ANC in the Western Cape province posted an antisemitic statement to her personal Facebook page–an image of Hitler with the comment, “Yes man, you were right!” and the caption: “I could have killed all the Jews, but I left some of them to tell you why I was killing them.”

That a person could even hold this attitude but speak it out loud, or write it for the world to see, is depraved. That a leader of men is doing it is even worse.

Yet sadly, this attitude toward Jews is not silently contained in one man’s heart, or posted on an obscure man’s Facebook page, but is becoming widespread among the world’s nations. See this interesting news piece. Here is the art from it. Click to enlarge-

Anti-Semitism In Europe: A Crisis

Two weeks ago, a secret emergency meeting was held in Jerusalem, chaired jointly by Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, whose cabinet portfolio includes the relationship between Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. On the agenda was the outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks on Jews across Europe in the wake of the Gaza conflict. The meeting was attended by representatives of government departments and major Jewish organizations operating in Europe. They heard assessments from the leadership and security bodies of some of the European communities, and from experts in Israeli agencies who have a brief to monitor the physical safety of Jews around the world and discreetly assist communities at risk.

No conclusions were reached at the meeting. As of now there is little Israel can or perhaps should do. The rash of attacks on Jews, vandalism of synagogues and homes, and virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric is being confronted energetically by police, local authorities and national governments. The level of violence, while unprecedented in decades, is not yet causing a scared exodus – no-one is chartering planes for an airlift. But something has changed.

Those who have been monitoring levels of anti-Semitism in Europe for years are struggling to put their finger on what exactly has changed in recent weeks. Looking back at the last 15 years, the current wave of attacks is just the latest in a series beginning with the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, and repeating itself with each round of violence in Gaza, the West Bank or Lebanon. So what is different this time?

“It’s worse than any previous period we can remember. Worse than the waves after Operation Cast Lead and the Marmara incident,” says Richard Goldstein, operations director at the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, where he closely follows the situation of Jewish communities in Europe. “Intimidating demonstrations in numerous places in Europe, often leading to attacks on Jewish businesses and synagogues – we haven’t seen things like this for decades. On the other hand, there have been sudden waves like this in the past and afterwards things went back to normal. It’s hard now to predict how things will look once Gaza calms down. But it looks like a red line has been crossed where many don’t make the distinction between Israel and Jews anymore.”

The reason that the world is turning against the Jews is because of God.

“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. (Zechariah 12:2)

Therefore hear this, you who are afflicted, who are drunk, but not with wine: Thus says your Lord, the Lord, your God who pleads the cause of his people: “Behold, I have taken from your hand the cup of staggering; the bowl of my wrath you shall drink no more; and I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, who have said to you, ‘Bow down, that we may pass over’; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.” (Isaiah 51:21-23)

Gill’s Exposition says of the Isaiah verse:

Behold, I have taken out of thy hand the cup of trembling; which he himself had put there, Isaiah 51:17, and which none but himself could take out; not she herself, nor any of her sons, nor indeed could they give her any relief; but when the Lord’s time is come to favour his people, he himself will remove it:

So God will render His wrath upon His rebellious people Israel. When He determines the time is finished for His cup of wrath to be poured out upon her, He will remove the cup of staggering and put it in other nations’ hands and pour out His wrath on them, for tormenting His people.

The Tribulation as defined here says,

“The Tribulation, as taught by most Bible scholars, encompasses a future seven year period when God will complete his discipline of Israel and final judgment upon the unbelieving citizens of the world.”

At some level, just as the world’s peoples know that God exists, (Romans 1:19-20), they know that the reason for the world’s anti-Semitism is also God, because He loves the Jews. Here is an example of a person’s secular opinion in answer to the question of why the world hates the Jews, illustrating  they know religion is at the root:

Religion: The root cause of the crises in the Middle East

Sunni vs. Shia, Muslim Brotherhood vs. other religions, especially Coptic Christians and the secular state in Egypt, Muslims vs. Christians in Lebanon, Jews vs. Muslims in the Israel-Arab conflicts, and Sunnis and radical Islamist groups vs. Alawites (and President Bashar) in Syria.

The more I investigated all of this, the more I found that much of the terrible turmoil can, in fact, be traced to the fundamental beliefs of different groups that they are right and righteous. These groups cling to ancient stories and teachings that define their identity, their morals and their politics. These traditions also pinpoint the geographic space to which they believe they are entitled — their homeland and holy land

But his answer is only the beginning of the answer. Here is the rest of it, and the truth:

What is the cause of all the anti-Semitism in the world?

This brings us to the real reason by the world hates the Jews. The apostle Paul tells us, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!” (Romans 9:3-5).

The truth is that the world hates the Jews because the world hates God. The Jews were God’s firstborn, His chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2). Through the Jewish patriarchs, the prophets, and the temple, God used the Jews to bring forth His Word, the Law, and morality to a world of sin. He sent forth His son, Jesus the Christ, in a Jewish body to redeem the world of sin. Satan, the prince of the earth (John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2), has poisoned the minds of men with his hated of the Jews.

May the Lord have mercy upon those who torment the people who are the apple of His eye. May He have mercy on His own People…for the Lord’s wrath is very great. The hatred of the Jews will only increase as we slide ever closer to the Tribulation, when both satan’s hatred and God’s wrath will be poured out in full measure. I personally believe that when officials at the high levels, who are in-the-know, say that something’s changed, that thee level of hatred and the number of incidents are inexplicably increasing, it is because we see the Lord’s hand directly at work.

I believe it also is a sign. I believe that it means we are closer than ever to the rapture, because the Tribulation shortly follows that event, when literally all hell will break loose against the Jews. Come soon Lord Jesus, we long for Your manifold mercies, in rapturing your Bride before it gets to that point. You, dear reader, can be part of the Bride too, if you repent and believe on the Son.

Maranatha!

———————–

Further Reading

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary: The Wrath of God

What is the Tribulation? 

Posted in eschatology, prophecy, rapture, satan, spiritual battle

The rapture is an economic juggernaut, fodder for the unsaved in titillating scenarios they will all too soon live out themselves

Mr Jay Parini, a poet and novelist who teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont, just published “Jesus: The Human Face of God,” a biography of Jesus. He has some opinions about the doctrine of the Rapture.

Even Jesus wouldn’t buy ‘the rapture’

The rapture concept is relatively new. It started with an Anglo-Irish theologian, who in the 1830s invented the concept. This may come as a shocker to many, but it’s a fact: Before John Nelson Darby imagined this scenario in the clouds, no Christian had ever heard of the rapture.

Said no Christian ever.

Not my grandmother

BAH HA HA [wiping eyes] Anyways, whaddya gonna do? as my Italian grandmother used to say. This is what non-saved people believe. They say things with such assurance, and such force, as if they know. But it is only godless chatter, (1 Timothy 6:20). Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up (1 Corinthians 8:1)

Though Mr Parini calls himself an Episcopalian who is “a regular church-goer” not one person who is saved by grace of Jesus would ever say this as Mr Parini did:

“For instance, when Jesus says, ‘repent, and you will be saved.’ What He’s really saying, if you read the Greek, is: open your mind to the light. Go beyond yourself into the larger mind of God, and you will experience enlightenment and reconciliation with God,” he explained.

Oh, how easily the blinded twist sin, judgment and damnation into Light, ‘duality’ and New Age self-god concepts!

I’m not so aggravated at the usual blasphemy regarding the mystery of the rapture that Paul unfolded for the precious brethren, (WAAAAY before Darby or Scofield) as I was surprised to find myself agreeing with his statement from the article:

“The famous “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins was already out there. It consisted of 16 best-selling novels on the same premise, and it’s about to come to the big screen again, in a film starring Nicholas Cage. The original film adaptation (of three) appeared in 2000. And then there is the Christian real-time strategy video game called “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.” If anyone hasn’t noticed, the rapture has become a commercial juggernaut, endlessly shape-shifting, finding new and highly entertaining outlets.

The rapture and apocalypse in general has become an economic juggernaut, just as Peter wrote that it would. (2 Peter 2:3).

The co-opting of Christianity for entertainment and mocking purposes is age-old. Every Christian sentenced to die in the Roman Ampitheater was part of Rome’s economic juggernaut. Christians and Christianity being fodder for entertainment through martyrdoms, or torture, or today through debates, TV shows of movies, is par for the course.

I wrote about the economic exploitation of God’s biblical doctrines earlier this year here:

Is the fact that 2014’s been dubbed ‘Year of the Christian movie” a good thing? Well, was Ahaz redecorating the temple a good thing?

In the above piece, I listed all the movies and television shows I could find being released on the Christian themes. One of the new economic juggernauts was a video game of the rapture I found especially horrifying. I’d posted the summary of the game:

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture video game PS4, “The game will take place in a village in Shropshire during the apocalypse.”

In that piece I focused on the movies coming out that took biblical doctrines and presented them to a secular world for monetary gain. I’d mentioned movies like Noah, Exodus, TheBible, Left Behind, Son of God, Heaven is for Real and the smaller and well-intentioned movie God’s Not Dead but I missed the television series of The Leftovers and the video game “Left Behind: Eternal Forces.”

Photo by Kevin King. Wikipedia Creative Commons

The rapture certainly is one of the most fascinating doctrines in the bible. The encouragement of it, the reason for it, the science behind it (or supernatural science), the imminence of it, the suddenness of it, the fact of it. Additionally I find it fascinating that the Holy Spirit waited about twenty years after Jesus’ ascension to reveal this to the brethren. Paul revealed the mystery around 55AD on his 3rd missionary journey in a letter to the Corinthians,

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet... (1 Corinthians 15:51)

In 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 Paul explains to the church that some things on God’s plan were kept secret so that satan and his unholy angels would not try to thwart what must be done. In those verses Paul says that the reason for the cross was kept secret. Not that satan and his angels could thwart anything, but God does not reveal absolutely everything all at once.

About 20 years after the cross, Paul’s Thessalonians letters and the Corinthians letters explained the new doctrine of the rapture. It was planned from the beginning of time, but satan didn’t know about it until the Corinthians and the Thessalonians did. Satan still only knows what we do: it will happen … sometime.

What’s on the other side? Everyone is curious. Everyone.

That the rapture is equally fascinating to the lost is surprising, but if we think about it not so surprising after all. It’s a puzzle, a great and mystifying puzzle. And really, who wants to die? Just knowing that in the generation in which God ordains it to happen, all the living Christians will never see death but will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. For the lost, great minds have always pondered the supernatural, wondered about other dimensions, secretly wanted to step behind the veil and peek at the heavenly machinery. They have tried divination, seances, hypnotism, peyote, astral projection…anything to solve the mystery.

And all along, Paul had revealed it. It is plainly able to know…for anyone who first repents of sins and turns to Jesus as Lord and Savior, that is. He then opens up the mind to the Holy Spirit’s wisdom in illuminating the bible for us.

What I wonder is…with the sudden glut of movies and TV shows devoted to the subject of the rapture, does satan know something? He isn’t omniscient nor is he omnipresent. Also, he doesn’t know for sure any more than we do about the timing of it. But he does have the advantage of having seen human history from the long point of view, he knows how human hearts work, he’s in the thick of the spiritual battle and as its general he knows how it’s going, and having access to heaven he sees what is going on up there. I just wonder…

Anyway it is surely a heartbreak to see someone who is so puffed up with vain knowledge writing biographies of Jesus and claiming biblical things about the rapture that aren’t biblical at all. I am so grateful to my King that he elected me to salvation and opened my mind to the scriptures. In this way I get to know Him and His will for man by reading them. I learn about His character, and about how to live. I can be assured of my eternal destination. I can even be encouraged by Paul’s words, that we may be the generation that sees the Lord in the air and are translated alive into glory.

Maranatha!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

The Rapture defined and why it will happen

Posted in righteousness, satan, sin

If we had X-ray vision what would sin look like?

When satan was created, He was the most beautiful angel. Ezekiel 28:12 says

Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.”

Inside or out, satan was not only beautiful, but he was the very seal of perfection. But it didn’t last. Though he was created perfect, one day, unrighteousness was found in him.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:15)

Initially, sin might look beautiful but the more a person becomes trapped in it, the less beautiful it is and the more they are eternally destroyed.

The woman may be beautiful, and the sin so enticing, Proverbs 5:3 says
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey and her speech is smoother than oil.

But the end of it all is is hell.

in the end she’s as bitter as wormwood and as sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. (Proverbs 5:4-5)

But sin at first looks great, else no one would engage in it. Remember Superman’s X-Ray vision? Wikipedia defines X-ray vision as

Although called X-ray vision, this power has little to do with the actual effect of X-rays. Instead, it is usually presented as the ability to selectively see through certain objects as though they are invisible, translucent or not present, in order to see objects or surfaces beyond or deep to the affected object or material.”

THIS is what sin looks like. Here is the Old Man. Once so beautiful and shining, it is what satan’s soul looks like. Eve thought the fruit looked good and a delight to the eyes, (Genesis 3:6) but shortly after all it had brought was pain and bondage (Genesis 3:16). If we had X-ray vision and could see beyond the enticing surface, this is what we would see:

“Sin”, collage on handmade paste paper, by EPrata

O, would that sin looked like this to our eyes, then we would not be so attracted to it! And sadly, horrifically, it is what us inside us. This ugliness is what Jesus sees when He looks at a non-believer. Lovingly, He still died for us.

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

However, being that sin is so gross and deadly, it makes the triumph of Jesus all the more glorious.  Where satan is all-darkness that fools us into thinking it is light, Jesus never had one blot, one lie, one corrupt thought, one serpent slither. Not once, not ever. He IS the Light!

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

If we had X-ray vision looking at Jesus, our eyes would see only glory upon glory, shining like the sun. He is a prism of Light, reflecting throughout all the universe and into the eternity we will share with Him! When He looks upon a believer He sees that same righteousness-

For He has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Don’t be fooled by the initially enticing beauty of sin. It is gross, destructive, horrible. Put on your X-ray vision to see beyond its surface lie. Run from it toward Jesus who set us free from its bondage, and gave us the Spirit’s vision to see through its enticing spoils. Satan’s offerings are nothing. Jesus is our all in all.

Posted in Athaliah, fulfilled, judah, prophecy, satan

Athaliah: the only Queen of Judah

I’m reading through Kings. I finished 1 Kings and I’m up to chapter 12 of 2 Kings. It is taking me a long time. I am not super-spiritual and I’m not super-smart and the going is slow.

There were quite a few kings of Israel. The history behind them all is daunting, never mind simply keeping the names and family lines straight. Without context it’s hard to keep it all from running together. Oh well, I’ve got to read through the first time, don’t I, and then I’ll have context for the second time, and so on.

In chapter 11 we meet Athaliah. She was Queen Regent for 6 years over Judah. She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel and she was just as zealous that Baal worship be re-instated as the official worship as her mother had been. BibleGateway has a summary of her life, titled “The Woman Who Was a Notorious Murderess

Athaliah, as depicted in
Antoine Dufour’s Vie des femmes célèbres, c. 1505;
in the Dobrée Museum, Nantes, France.
Giraudon/Art Resource, New York

Why was she a murderess? She killed all who could lay claim to the throne, even grandchildren. Well, almost all.

“And Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal seed.” (2 Kings 11:1)

The Bible Gateway summary is interesting and good, and it’s not long. Here are a few excerpts from Bible Gateway’s life of Athaliah.

She was the granddaughter of Omri, 6th king of Israel, “who waded through slaughter to a throne he never inherited.”
–After reigning for eight years Jehoram died, unmourned, of a predicted incurable disease. While he reigned, he was dominated by Athaliah who had the stronger character of the two, and who, having inherited from her evil mother strength of will and fanatical devotion to the worship of Baal, made Judah idolatrous.
–After putting to death her young grandsons, Athaliah reigned for six years, and was the only woman to reign as queen of Judah.
–The daughter of a king, wife of a king, mother of a king, she is now queen.
–During her reign part of the Temple of Jehovah was pulled down and the material used in the building of a temple of Baal.
–Unknown to Athaliah as she set out to massacre all her grandsons, the youngest was hid from the orgy of destruction.
–Athaliah was left in a horse-path, to be trampled upon. Like her mother she died a queen, but without a hand to help her or an eye to pity her.

So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet after Athaliah had been put to death with the sword at the king’s house.” (2 Kings 11:20)

I took two things away from my reading this morning. One is, like Jezebel, Athaliah was a near-perfect fulfillment of the curse of Eve and the promise that God made in the Garden:

Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16b). Both Jezebel and Athaliah sought power from and not submission to their husbands and thereby did not submit to God. They both ruled over their husbands and their husbands let them. Abandoning one part of God’s best (Ephesians 5:22) will inevitably lead to abandoning more parts of God’s word and then all parts. Both women, left to their sinful desires, fully served Baal and not God.

Secondly, Athaliah sought to wipe out the line of David. You want to know what satan is like? Like this: he kills babies without a second thought. Just as satan tried to wipe out Noah’s line, which remained perfect in his generations, (Genesis 6:9), and as Herod tried to wipe out the babe Christ in the massacre of the Innocents (Matthew 2:16–18), Athaliah tried to wipe out the Davidic line. However, the Word of God will never be undone by man nor women!

The previous deaths of Jehoram’s brothers and Ahaziah’s brothers and relatives (2 Kings 10:12-14, 2 Chron 21:17, 21:14), left only her grandchildren for Athaliah to put to death to destroy the Davidic line. Though the LORD had promised that the House of David would rule over Israel and Judah forever, Athaliah’s purge brought it to the brink of extinction.” (source MacArthur Study Bible).

Only one little grandbaby was left of the Davidic line, it all came down to one child. And Jehosheba, Ahaziah’s sister, hid Joash and did so successfully for 6 years until Athaliah was ignominiously killed. The LORD is mighty to protect and is perfect to fulfill His word.

In the midst of all that murder and plotting and Baal-worship, the ultimate glory of the passage for me today is that the Lord is will fulfill what He says He will fulfill, no matter what machinations satan and man throw in His way.

“The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. You, O Lord, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.” (Psalm 12:6-7a)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Further Reading-

Bible Study Tools: Athaliah

Bible Hub Topical Study: Athaliah

Posted in armageddon, satan, soldier, spiritual warfare

"If Jesus returns, kill him again" says Canadian man, echoing prophecy in Revelation 19:19

I want to dwell for a moment on the hatred satan has for Jesus and the people of Jesus. It is not a pleasant subject, but a necessary one to examine. We are warned repeatedly in the bible that satan prowls around like a lion-

“The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” (Job 1:7)

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

He has schemes; and those schemes are not for our good-

“in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Satan has pride and plans and a purpose. It is to be higher than God. It is to usurp God.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit“. (Isaiah 14:13-15)

It is good news that in the end God will calmly and easily flick satan into the Lake of Fire, but until then, we are on his world and we are prey to his prowling which seeks to devour and destroy us.

Do you know how much satan hates us and hates Jesus? Do you have an inkling? Just as God’s love is incomprehensible, satan’s hatred of the Holy One is inchoerent, yet, it is relentless and it is horrific. This hatred extends to you and to me, as His children. His hatred is unreasonable, impenetrable, unfathomable. I want us to try and fathom it, for a moment.

Here is one example of satan’s hatred. We can’t plumb the depths of it, because there is no end to this hatred, but here is one earthly expression of the hate that satan has for Jesus and His children:

Darwin Bedford is a Canadian man on a mission. He calls himself an atheist messiah. His message is simple and it is straightforward. It is this:

Bedford says “If Earth is to remain an everlasting paradise, then socially we need to denormalize religion because it is so harmful.”

It goes without saying that Bedford is on a mission to stamp out religion. You notice that he focuses on Christianity as the sole cause of the world’s ills. Muhammad is [supposedly] coming back, but Bedford doesn’t mention that. His rabid focus on Jesus and the death of Jesus is due to the work Jesus did on the cross, atoning for the world’s sins. He mocks it with a typically darkened understanding of the plan of God to forgive sins, saying that we need to kill Jesus over and over in order to atone for the living people who have not yet had this ‘benefit’. he says,

Will you please help me kill Jesus should He return? I’m thinking of forming an official society under the Societies Act for the purpose of killing Him should he return. And should God send us His only daughter in flesh instead (for the purpose of dying for forgiveness of sins) then we should kill Her too.

In days of yore and not so long ago, a position like Bedford’s would have been unthinkable to speak out loud. Simple peer pressure from the majority who believed in Jesus would have kept those with extremist and utterly blasphemous views like his from even being spoken aloud. Now, not only does he appear at political events with his sign, but Bedford has alliances with other organizations who believe the same.

Such hatred of Jesus is shown to us in the bible. At the end of time, satan successfully incites all of the world’s armies to assemble at the plains of Armageddon. Most people think this is so that they can fight each other. The world will have been in a perpetual state of war by the time the 7th year of the designated tribulation period arrives, so the assumption is logical. It is not entirely correct, though. (Revelation 6:4). While peace is taken from the earth, the moment at the time when all the world’s armies are ready to fight is not so that they fight each other. It is so they can fight and kill Jesus. Here is the scene.

Jesus is introduced in Revelation 19:11 as the returning rider on the white horse. Jesus in His glory is described, and so are His armies. Then a few things happen. Finally in Revelation 19:19 we read the following:

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” [emphasis mine]

The armies are ready to fight Jesus, who is returning on His horse. The eons-long hatred of satan against the Holy One will culminate ins a fruitless assembly of the world’s military to fight Him who is called Faithful and True.

Of course it is over in a moment. Jesus utters a word and they all fall. Satan is captured and locked up and the antichrist & false prophet, who are leading the armies, are captured and thrown into the Lake of Fire. This scene is previewed for us in John 18:6. When the soldiers who had come to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane asked if He is the man they are seeking, Jesus replied ‘I AM He’. And the soldiers all fell to the ground under the power of His name. They will do the same at Armageddon. And the vultures will feast on their dead carcasses.

In 2 Peter 3, Peter is writing reassurances to the Christians at that time (and us at this time). He reminds His flock that the prophets of old have much to say to us about this time (2 Peter 3:2). He moves on to say that mockers and scoffers will try to intimidate us by their ridicule, but don’t worry (verse 4). He specifically reminds us that thought it may seem slow in coming, His Day will arrive on perfect schedule. (vv9-10).

Then Peter says, since we know all this, what kind of people shall we be as we are “waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” ?

be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. … You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 2:14b, 17-18)

“Knowing this beforehand”…we know how much satan hates us, so let’s be holy and diligent. Why diligence? Because of the satanic hatred leveled at us every second of every day. (Ephesians 6:10-20). What is diligence? Pray ceaselessly. Read the bible daily. Encourage one another constantly. Tithe or donate sacrificially to meet needs. As Peter urged, remain stable – and that stability is only on the Rock. Cling to the love of Jesus, but don’t relax in knowing satan’s hate will try to knock you off your game. Don’t underestimate his prowling and his constant and sole goal of destruction

No matter how or where or why satan has his schemes, no matter how deep his hatred is for Jesus and by extension, of us, it will all come to naught. Our momentary afflictions are but a wisp of time and almost weightless compared to the glory and joy awaiting us in heaven.

Posted in abortion, demonstrate, hail, pro-life, satan

I am not making this up…pro-abortion activists chant "Hail Satan!"

“Pro-choice protesters shouted, “Hail Satan!” as an attempt to drown out pro-lifers’ rendition of “Amazing Grace.” ” Read more from The Washington Times

This is a good blog post:

“Ever found yourself looking for a way to initiate a conversation about God, but not sure exactly how to start? The Best Question to Ask When Starting a Conversation About God”

Crisis in Arab world gives Israel strategic breathing room, says Amos Harel.

The Middle East Is on Fire: An Unsettling Wrap-Up of the Death, Destruction and Chaos From Around the Globe

The global fiscal has not gone away, Portugal may re-ignite Europe crisis
“Having won praise for taking tough measures to restore the financial health of the eurozone state, Portugal’s government has been rocked this week by the resignation of two ministers who quit because of waning public support for its program of austerity. … anxious investors sold stocks and bonds heavily Wednesday on fears that the government may collapse.”

Belgium’s king may abdicate. All Belgium awaits his speech

Church Curmudgeon said, “”Hymnals make you look down during worship.” said guy who spends 70% of the time staring at his phone during the service.” @ChrchCurmudgeon

Posted in discernment, false doctrine, genesis 3, satan

Discerning The Circle Maker’s advertising techniques and how they match Genesis 3

Just two days ago, I published a piece about the book, The Circle Maker, written by Mark Batterson and released in 2012. I’d left the issue alone until then, choosing not to do a book review or a discernment essay on it because it seemed so obvious that this was something Christians should not be involved in. But at the end of 2012 it became clear that Batterson’s concept of casting a circle to claim God’s promises to unleash our dreams was saturating even the most stalwart bastions of the faith, when the organizers and participant of the True Woman conference including Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Joni Earicksen Tada, promoted it. These are elder woman who should be leading us women into a deeper faith, not into occult and pagan practices that originate from outside the bible. I was pretty shocked.

Many other fine essays exist on the internet that show you in biblical terms why Batterson’s circle making is unwise and even dangerous, including a review by pastor and Christian book reviewer Tim Challies. In the piece I linked to above, there is a set of links at the bottom to some of those writings.

So I developed a piece from an angle that demonstrated in pictures that the practice Batterson promotes is not new and it is not Christian.

However I’d like to write about it one more time, this time as a discernment piece to unpack the way he presented it. Something that Mr Batterson said sticks in my craw, and though I’d planned a piece today examining an uplifting verse from Matthew, I am switching to get this down first. It’s like what Jude said,

“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3)

I am contending. Hopefully this will help someone be discerning, not just of The Circle Maker but in general and armed for the future by unpacking the techniques used to attract people to the book and its premise, and how they are the same that satan used in the Garden against Eve.

See, in his promotional video and in the book’s advertising blurb, Mr Batterson said:

“Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life, than what you’re experiencing?”

This is how successful advertisers always begin their pitch.

It is how satan began his pitch. He approached Eve and made her doubt what she knew, so she would be open to hearing a solution to a problem she didn’t know she had.

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)

Then satan, taking a cue from Ron Popeil, said, ‘but wait, there’s more!’ And satan presented to her a solution to her problem she didn’t know she even had until satan pointed it out.

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

Eve wanted to fill the lack that she now understands she has in her life,

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate”, (Genesis 3:6a)

And like all false doctrine, it spreads quickly, corrupting others right away.

“and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6b)

So there was Eve, the only sinless woman to ever live and she dwelled in utter perfection. The air temperature was perfect. Her surroundings were beautiful. Her body was perfect inside and out. The animals were perfect. She was never hungry or cold or angry or had any ache whatsoever. She had perfect harmony with her husband and perfect unity with God.

And yet satan was able to convince Eve that somewhere out there, there’s more. He told her that her life lacked something, and she believed it. Taking the fruit, she ate, rationalizing all the way. Now read Mr Batterson’s pitch again:

“Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life, than what you’re experiencing?”

I mourn daily that so many Christians forgo the praise that is due the Lord and forget how glorious a life we are actually living. Though we do not dwell in perfection like Eve did, we have perfection inside us.

First, let’s stop a moment and thing of how full our lives really are. We have been saved by grace. This is monumental! As Dr MacArthur preached, we should be “adoring God for our eternal inheritance.” When did we become discontent with the universe’s most glorious act, the salvation of a sinner to the holy breast of God!?

But wait, there’s more! God dwells inside us!! Wow! What a gift!

“But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.” (Romans 8:9)

Jesus Himself deemed that He would send us a comforter, teacher, friend, and guide. Jesus said,

“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”… (John 16:7). “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26).

But wait, there’s more! If all that wasn’t enough, we have the opportunity to pray to Him, and He listens. Have we become inured to the fact that God is God, He who calls Himself I AM, will listen to our petitions and pleas? Far from being disinterested or inattentive, Jesus is monumentally interested in bringing about Good for our sakes. He didn’t save us just to wander off and sit on another planet contemplating His navel. He is involved with His people. He accepts praise and worship, and He ordains good for us. He listens to our prayers!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26).

But wait, there’s more!

Jesus sent the Spirit to inspire men to write His words down, so that we could always have its wisdom and comfort to guide us also. The Spirit makes the words come alive and since they are eternal and come from the holy place, the words in the bible are eternally good.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” (2 Timothy 3:16).

There is so much more, too. We are justified, sanctified, have the privilege of prayer, have the incredible word, have the daily opportunity to serve Jesus, have treasures stored up in heaven, have an eternity awaiting us in glory…and yet satan comes along and says-

“Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life, than what you’re experiencing?”

My answer is no. No, I don’t sense there is far more to prayer. I trust that there is and I trust the Lord to take care of things whether I “sense” it or not. No, I do not sense there is far more to God’s vision for my life, I know there is. I trust Him to unfold it in His timing and in His way. No, I do not sense there are more experiences to have, I know that there are. I trust the Lord to bring me along in sanctification whether I ‘feel’ it or not. I trust the promises in the bible about what my daily life will be like.

I trust what God hath said.

I get sad when adults are so undiscerning. I get upset undiscerning adults taint the children.

Jesus is very protective of the children. They are the means by which the successive generations carry the faith. (Joel 1:3).

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:2)

“but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

And yet on August 6, 2013, The Circle Maker for Kids will be released. An undiscerning generation will be teaching the next generation to rely on sensing, personal experience, and wiccan circle casting for their worship.

Within two years of the original book’s release, do you see how quickly we have been made merchandise of? For kids, for students, the daily journal, the curriculum, prayer challenge, it goes on and on.

Do you see the original book’s cover in hardback, ‘the solution to 10,000 problems”? Did you know there were 10,000 problems that Mark Batterson can help you solve? I thought the bible was the solution to 10,000 problems!

A classic advertising technique- you have a problem, and here is the solution. My prophet’s heart cries out, why, o why, aren’t the bible’s solutions good enough for people?

The blurb says “The Circle Maker will help you bring your God-given dreams into being through tenacious prayers that honor God and make the impossible come true.”

Youyour my prayers will make my dreams come true…let’s cut the middle part from the sentence and just say what is really his truth: “The Circle Maker will … make the impossible come true.”

It is God who answers prayer a God who does the impossible. Not my prayers, not my faith in my prayers not my method of prayer, and not my tenacity.

Jesus, please come soon and save the children from this ruinous generation!

Below I’ve pasted “Efficient Advertising Techniques“. Be aware when you are being sold a bill of goods and being made merchandise out of. It begins with a question, and intimating you have a problem you didn’t know you had.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Advertising techniques can be of many kinds. All creative advertisers use some of the following techniques and tricks to grab the potential consumer’s attention and turn it to sales.”

Arouse Curiosity
“Nothing works better than this technique. Humans, by nature are always drawn towards the unknown, or in this case something new and advanced. Arousing curiosity with words, prints, images or visuals will definitely make an impact. On an average, an individual spends less than 5 seconds to go through an entire ad. If your subject does not arouse curiosity immediately, it is a lost opportunity. A well-crafted ad should be eye-catching, and difficult to ignore.”

“Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer?”

Hath God really said?

Promise a Benefit
“Most brands are associated with some pre-defined character, and they need to be re-emphasized with every new service advertised. The headline must promise a benefit for the consumer, because in most instances it is the headline that sells the product more than the copy, images or the celebrity. Advertisements should also carry general information about the service center address, phone numbers, credit cards that the business accepts, and the name of a person to ask for when calling for more information.”

In this powerful booklet, excerpted from THE CIRCLE MAKER, Batterson helps you uncover your heart’s deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.”

Emotional Appeal
“Many advertisers attract attention by pulling at the heart stings and triggering emotions. An emotional response is by far the most powerful reason for making decisions. Emotional and rational thoughts are interdependent, as the ability to decide rationally is determined by issues that drive the emotions. We get more attracted to products and services that make us feel good and safe. The concept of emotional appeal are best seen in insurance ads made world over, and also companies that associate their sales with social upliftment causes.”

How big is your God? Bigger than a positive MRI or a negative evaluation? Bigger than your secret sin or secret dream? Is He big enough to heal your marriage or your child?

Children
“In most houses, children have a say in every big or small purchase made. Most parents just give in to the tantrums, a fact well-known to the advertisers. Out of ten commercials one sees through any medium, 8 have children featured in them who are generally a little more perfect than the target audience. These perfect children then go on to become role-models that have to emulated by other children.”

The Circle Maker for Kids: Basing this story on his adult bestseller The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson shares the ancient Jewish legend of Honi the Rainmaker with children to teach them about the power of prayer. Ages 4-8.

Posted in satan

Compare the first words of Satan and the first words of Jesus

Just for follow up on my previous post about the Law of First Mention, look at this:

Our adversary’s first words in the bible are:

“Yea, hath God indeed said?” (Genesis 3:1)

Satan followed up his penchant for doubting by saying to Jesus, “and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down,” (Matthew 4:6a). Notice the “IF”. Satan makes you doubt what you know by incessantly questioning the Word. False teachers under the influence of satan deny God and will teach you in satan’s subtle way.

Contrast that with the first recorded words of Jesus!

“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49 KJV).

Nothing was recorded of what Jesus said as a child for the first 12 years of his life. But when He is first recorded, it is to show His intent to be doing God’s work! Magnificent!

The last recorded words of Jesus are “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Leonard Ravenhill said those were “the greatest words ever uttered, by the greatest Man who ever lived. In these three words I see the consummation of all the Old Testament truth and the germination of all New Testament truth.”

The entire life of Jesus was devoted to doing God’s work. Oh by the way, the first words He uttered upon entering His ministry was “It is written”. (Matthew 4:4). The work Jesus submitted to was according to the Word of God.

We can be about our father’s business, according to the will and the word of God, or we can incessantly question what God hath said. There is no in-between!

Posted in interpretation, law of first mention, satan

Little foxes eventually grow up

Genesis 3 is where we first meet satan–

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Other translations for the word crafty are, cunning, shrewd, cunning.

The first mention in the bible of a doctrine is very important. This is actually an interpretive doctrine called The Law of First Mention. The Law of First Mention is defined as

“the principle that requires one to go to that portion of the Scriptures where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine. When we thus see the first appearance, which is usually in the simplest form, we can then examine the doctrine in other portions of the Word that were given later. We shall see that the fundamental concept in the first occurrence remains dominant as a rule, and colors all later additions to that doctrine. In view of this fact, it becomes imperative that we understand the law of first mention.” (source)

The first time we are introduced to satan, the very first thing we’re told is that he is crafty. The verse doesn’t say, “Watch out for him, he is evil!” The verse does not say, “He will destroy all that is good!” No. The verse says first that he is cunning.

Our lesson is that we must watch for the cunning wiles of smooth flatterers who slyly come in among us secretly bringing destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1). Yet they are tolerated. It is erroneously thought that as long as they are small sins, little errors, or tiny doctrinal mistakes, they are manageable.

Yet the Song of Solomon says

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, which destroy the vines: for our vines have small grapes.” The Geneva bible explains the verse well. “Suppress the heretics while they are young, that is, when they begin to show their malice and destroy the vine of the Lord.”

photo credit: Matt Tillett via photopin cc

Little foxes grow up.

Source Wikipedia

Satan is subtle. Don’t dabble in errors. If you know a book, or a teaching, or a teacher is false, stay away! Don’t engage. Even putting a toe in gives satan a hold to exploit you. He will make you doubt what you know. Just ask Eve (Genesis 3). Seek the truth in the word and be diligent about not exposing yourself to little foxes. Because little foxes are hungry want is prey … and they grow up.

Posted in jesus, satan, tyre

Satan, Ezekiel, the prince of Tyre, and magnets

Our lives are dominated by satan until conversion, and influenced by satan thereafter, but the bible explicitly says very little about him. We meet him in Genesis 3, learn a bit more in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18, he appears in the NT to tempt Christ and indwell Judas, and then there’s the big finish in Revelation. Paul and Peter mention a bit more but you get the idea. So what do we know about satan, AKA the devil, the beast, and as originally named, Lucifer?

I read Ezekiel 28 yesterday. An interesting picture came to my mind. In the chapter, the writer pens a prophecy for the Prince of Tyre and a lament for the King of Tyre. Tyre was and still is a city, located in Lebanon according to present day borders. It was a hotbed of commerce but also a place of dirty dealings and unscrupulous merchants. There was great wealth. Wherever there is wealth, greed, commerce and power, satan is at hand to stir the pot.

At God’s behest, Ezekiel condemned all this in his prophecy for the Prince of Tyre in verses 1-10. In verses 3-4, Ezekiel wrote

you are indeed wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered gold and silver into your treasuries;

The reference to being smarter than Daniel is a sarcastic comment. It is sort of like saying, ‘Nice job, Einstein!’ The inference is that the ruler of Tyre is being scolded for thinking he, himself, had accumulated great wealth by his own intellect and wisdom. He was being warned not to say he is a god.

The tone continues like that until verse 10, with the ruler of Tyre being reprimanded and warned against his sins. The prophecy was that God would send fierce enemies to smite him, if the ruler of Tyre didn’t shape up.

Then halfway through the chapter, the heading changes to “A lament over the King of Tyre.” What? Are these two different rulers of Tyre being warned? It seems so at first but then the language of the verses in 11-19 don’t totally reflect that. In verse 13 read that he was in Eden, and in verse 14 we read that the King of Tyre was an anointed guardian cherub on the holy mountain of God. In verse 15 it was said he was blameless in his ways since he was created (not born). Ezekiel’s language reflects the fact that the warnings have shifted from a prophecy against a human ruler of the earthly city of Tyre, to the celestial influence of the heavenly fallen angel Lucifer, a king with power behind the ruler of Tyre.

Prophecy is a warning as to what will happen. A lament is a grief over what has already occurred. These are obviously two different messages to two different beings.

What struck me was the tie between the two, again as reflected in the language. The prince of Tyre, or as in other translations, ruler, was charged with the same sins as satan was in Isaiah 14. Tyre’s ruler was prideful (v. 2a), thought himself a god (v. 2b), enjoyed occupying the high throne (v. 2c) and above all his prideful, deceitful heart is mentioned four times within six verses.

The ruler is charged “by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth…” (v. 5)

Satan is charged with the same: “In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;” (v.18b)

The ruler of Tyre is charged thus: “Because your heart is proud,”

And satan, the king of Tyre is charged with the same: “Your heart was proud because of your beauty;” (v.17).

Both were charged with having corrupted their wisdom (v. 5 and v. 17b).

From this chapter we can gather important information. Earthly rulers can be and are heavily influenced by satan. Some even say that the ruler of Tyre was indwelled by satan. This act is not unprecedented. Satan indwelled Judas and it is interpreted in Revelation 13 that he is prophesied to indwell the coming antichrist, when he again (and finally) pridefully occupies a throne and calls himself God.

The picture that came to my mind when pondering the fall of the ruler of Tyre and the fall of the King of Tyre is … magnets.

If you do not have the Holy Spirit in you by having repented and believed on the name of Jesus Christ, then you are influenced to one degree or another by satan. (2 Corinthians 4:4). Of that verse, Sam Storms wrote,

“Before we ever arrive on the scene with the gospel, Satan is exerting a stupefying influence on the mind of the unbeliever.”

As a kid, did you ever put a magnet on a table, and put your hand underneath the table with another magnet of same poles, and drag the magnet around on the table by seeming magic? It can be said that the two parts of Ezekiel of the tension between the Prince of Tyre and the King of Tyre are two magnets. Satan is wielding a stupefying influence on the ruler of Tyre, and the ruler of Tyre is taking on more and more of satan’s attributes. He cannot free himself from the pull of satan nor escape his magnetism, as satan first draws and and then drags the ruler around.

On the surface of the table, it seems that one magnet is going around of its own free will, here and there. But what is really happening is that underneath the table another, unseen force is influencing the upper magnet’s actions and movements. That is what satan does to the unsaved.


There is no way for the unbeliever to withdraw from the magnet’s pull. Only if the unseen magnet goes away, will the other magnet be free to roll around where it will go.
Once a believer is saved, the poles reverse. Turning that unseen magnet over, the draw toward will become a push away. There is nothing you can do to force the two magnets together, but satan still tries.

Sam Storms again:

Satan is anything but a passive, innocent bystander. Although he may be invisible to the eye and undetected by physical means, you may rest assured that he is present, employing every imaginable device (and some unimaginable) to undermine the integrity of God’s people and to sow seeds of discord and confusion.”

The Holy Spirit is what makes the difference. Oh, satan will still be around, but if you resist Him, and the Spirit helps you do that, He will flee away.

So how do the OT verses in Ezekiel help us today? The prophecy came to pass and the prince of Tyre is gone. Yet there are lessons for us as there are in the entire word of God, whether Old Testament or New.

–Do we think more highly of ourselves than we ought?
–Do we think that we have earned success by our own wisdom?
–Is our heart proud? Remember, that charge was leveled the most frequently against both the earthly ruler and against satan. A proud heart is a dangerous thing to carry.
–Have we made an idol of our achievements, possessions, or perceived power?
–Did we properly acknowledge our Holy God for all we are and all we have?

So that’s my thought for today on what I’ve read recently! Your thoughts and insights are welcome. Let’s praise our Holy God that He delivered this wisdom of the bible to us and that we live in a free place where we can read it, pray over it and discuss it all openly and with proper honor to the worthy One!