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September 2013

September 2013 archives of www.christconnection.net "WORD 4 TODAY"

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2013


GOOD BYE GUILT

Sin is one thing all humans have in common.

For "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" [Romans 3:23].

As Christians, we do our best to live our lives in holiness and obedience to our Savior.

But, what do we do when we sin? What happens when we just mess everything up? When we "fall short" of God's perfection?

We RUN TO Jesus that's what we do!

We don't run FROM Him. We don't hide, as Adam did.

We RUN TO Him, confess our sins, and TRUST His mercy and His goodness. We trust WHAT HE DID for us at Calvary, His complete work of redemption.

When we sin, do you think it takes God by surprise?

Not a chance!

He already knew about that sin before He created you.

He already PAID FOR that sin, before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8):

BEFORE you even existed.

Therefore, do not wallow in guilt.

Confess it, PUT IT BEHIND YOU, receive Christ into your innermost being, and GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE.

Guilt and condemnation do not come from God, but from Satan.

God is NOT the accuser.

Jesus came not to condemn but to save (John 3:17).

Satan's the accuser of the brethren. But we've already overcome Him by the Blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and not loving our lives unto the death (Revelation 12:11).

You're no good to God when you're mired in guilt. In fact, you're no good to ANYONE, including yourself.

Have you sinned recently? Are you feeling guilty because of it?

Don't try to "sweep it under the rug". FACE IT. Take it to Jesus. Expose it before our Lord. Admit it, LAY IT ALL OUT IN THE OPEN, leave it there with Jesus, and move on.

He's already forgiven you!

He's ALREADY REMOVED that, and every sin you'll ever commit.

How's THAT for having "blessed assurance"?

In fact, the Bible tells us God doesn't even remember our sins! That's how much and how far he removed sin from us! (Psalm 103:12)

That's HOW MUCH He loves you!

If you've received Him as your Lord and Savior, His unspeakably precious Blood has already washed away all your sins [past, present, and "future"].

That means you're free from sin.

"IT" is finished.

Jesus can handle, and HAS HANDLED and PAID FOR, EVERY SIN EVER COMMITTED, NO MATTER HOW HEINOUS.

What He CANNOT HANDLE is unbelief.

He wants YOUR TOTAL CONFIDENCE IN what He did to save you.

Goodbye guilt. Hello, Jesus!


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2013


FALSE CALENDAR

Prophecy teachers emphasize that the Hebrew calendar is lunar and consists of only 360 days.  I've been guilty of this myself.

On most years that is essentially correct.

However, the Hebrew calendar is actually luni-solar.

Jews add A LEAP MONTH (Adar I) every two or three years to compensate for the approximate 11-day deficit. So, it AVERAGES OUT to virtually the same as the solar 365-day calendar.

Although the Bible doesn't specifically mention this,if they had NOT ADDED the leap month since ancient times, their spring Feasts (Passover, etc.) would have eventually been celebrated in winter.

Consequently, the 360-day calculation works fairly well with SHORT periods of time (like the 3 year trib), but DOES NOT WORK as well over LONG periods of time.

And the "70 weeks" prophecy is A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, 490 YEARS TO BE EXACT.

Truth is: The B.C. calendar is OFF by 4 years.

That's why some scholars place Jesus' Birth around 4-6 B.C.

Jews KNOW THIS. It's PART OF how they INTENTIONALLY screwed up THEIR OWN calendar(which is ALSO missing somewhere between 122 and 165 years)in order to OBSCURE the 70 weeks prophecy which points to Jesus.

I always wondered how Josephus, who's SO ACCURATE about everything else,said that Herod died in 4 B.C. right after a lunar eclipse that took place shortly before Passover.

We know the modern (Gregorian) calendar is DIVIDED into B.C. and A.D. based on Jesus' birth, and we know from the Gospels that Herod died some time AFTER Jesus was born.

So, if the Gregorian calendar is based on Jesus' birth --how could it be OFF by SO MUCH?

I mean, 4-6 YEARS!!!

The Julian calendar was only off by 11 days.

They would have been better off sticking to the Julian calendar!!!

Problem is,Josephus wrote late in the first century A.D. (around the same year John wrote the Revelation).

Being Jewish, he would have based his dates on Jewish reckoning of time and by then, they'd ALREADY DOCTORED THEIR OWN CALENDAR ON PURPOSE TO MAKE IT APPEAR "IMPOSSIBLE" FOR JESUS TO HAVE FULFILLED Daniel 9:25-27.

Bottom line: Jesus was really born in the year "0" and Herod died shortly after.

But because by the end of the first century Jews had CUT OFF FOUR YEARS FROM THEIR OWN CALENDAR,it was recorded by Josephus -- late in the first century A.D. (A WHOLE CENTURY LATER) --as 4 B.C. which is "THEIR" date.

The Jewish leadership of the day (chief priests, Pharisees, Sadducees) REFUSED TO ACCEPT Jesus as the Messiah.

Therefore, after His Resurrection they plotted to alter the calendar to make it APPEAR as though He didn't fulfill Daniel's 70-week prophecy which called for Him to APPEAR in 33 A.D., 483 years AFTER Artaxerxes' decree to "return and build" Jerusalem.

It also called for Him to DIE for the sins of others at 486,in the "middle of" the FINAL (70th week) (Daniel 9:27) thus putting an end to daily offerings (korbanot).

And TO PROVE that THEY KNOW this, in 1996 they CELEBRATED "Jerusalem 3000", marking the 3,000th anniversary of its founding as Israel's capital by King David which took place in 1,000 B.C. 

If their dates are accurate, then why not wait 'til the year 2,000 to celebrate it? Why were they celebrating it 4 YEARS EARLIER?

Because, although they won't openly talk about it,THEY KNOW WHAT THEIR RELIGIOUS LEADERS DID.

So here's HOW IT WENT DOWN, and you can see the STUNNING ACCURACY of God's prophecy given through Gabriel to Daniel:

Since 4 B.C. is really year zero, if we SUBTRACT (backtrack) 4 years TO BEGIN COUNTING, it fits to a "T":

Artaxerxes gave the decree NOT IN (Aviv) 445 B.C., but actually in SPRING (Aviv- Nisan)449 B.C.

7 weeks or 49 years from 449 B.C. would have taken us to 400 B.C.

62 weeks or 434 years would take us to 34 A.D.

Bingo!

Precisely 69 weeks or 483 years AFTER the decree:

However we must SUBTRACT 1 YEAR to 34 A.D. SINCE THERE IS NO "YEAR ZERO", SO IT TAKES US TO fall 33 A.D.

That's when Jesus appeared (His public ministry began): 69 weeks of 49 + 434 years after the decree, exactly as prophesied.

Jesus dies after 3 years of public ministry, right smack in the "middle of the 70th week" (as stated in Daniel 9:27) thus putting an end to sacrifices and offerings.

That would be spring 37 A.D. (38 - 1):EXACTLY 486 years from Artaxerxes' decree: EXACTLY AS PROPHESIED in Daniel 9:26-27.

Is God's Word amazing, or what?

Now Luke 3:1-3 says that John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius' reign which (in Gregorian time) would be 29 A.D. And we know that Jesus began His public ministry shortly after.

No problem. ADD the 4 years they removed to 29 A.D. and you come up to 33 A.D. which is when Jesus actually began His ministry.

Since the present calendar is 4 years "short", in the Gregorian calendar Jesus began His ministry in the fall of 29 A.D. and died in the spring of 33 A.D.

So you see how EVERYTHING about this prophecy fits Jesus PERFECTLY.

We are living (supposedly) in Gregorian 2013. It's actually 2017. The tribulation should end and Millennium should start in 2021.

Dear God, we're at the SECOND PHASE of the 7-week (49-year) portion. If He kept the 483 and 486 TO THE MONTH, a perhaps even TO THE DAY, won't He also keep THIS small portion?

Even a bunch of duplicitous religious schemers plotting to OBSCURE the Truth and AMAZING ACCURACY OF GOD'S WORD CANNOT KEEP THE TRUTH UNDER WRAPS FOREVER.

I wish the tribulation didn't have to happen.

Unfortunately, it's THE ONLY THING that will wake some people up.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2013


THEY HAD TO KNOW - PART TWO

"He came to His own, and His own RECEIVED HIM NOT" (John 1:11)

A few years ago I was listening to a call-in radio broadcast from Israel in which the Messiah was being discussed.

The guest rabbi said that in every generation there had been a potential Messianic figure, but that Israel must merit His coming.

A caller who evidently was either Messianic Jew or Christian, very nicely asked the rabbi, if he could think of any "potential Messiah" figures that might have emerged IN THE PAST TWO THOUSAND YEARS.

Only a brainless retard (which the rabbi WASN'T) would fail to realize what the caller was HINTING:

The rabbi, however, DELIBERATELY PLAYED DUMB and said:

"In the past TWO THOUSAND YEARS... gee, let me think"... (And, after a LONG PAUSE) "Bar Kochba might, indeed, have been that Messiah, had Israel merited it".

I wanted to reach in through the radio, grab him by the collar, give him a good shaking, slap his lying face three or four times and ask him:

"Are you NUTS? You'll consider Bar Kochba who never did any miracles and died cowering in a cave, but you won't even CONSIDER Jesus who CHANGED THE WORLD"?

Yes, yes, I did repent afterwards.

I just COULDN'T BELIEVE HOW TOTALLY DISHONEST and HYPOCRITICAL he was being, ALL "in the Name of G-d".

I would have respected him had he at least said "you know what... Jesus COULD HAVE BEEN that Messiah had Israel merited Him".

But he wouldn't even REMOTELY ACKNOWLEDGE the possibility that it's JesusNor would his religious counterparts in the first century.

We must ask ourselves WHY.

It's obvious they KNEW - from their own Scriptures - plus all that Jesus did and taught in His 3-year ministry, that Jesus really was and is THE Messiah.

Matthew 27:18 tells us that Pilate KNEW that "because of ENVY" they had delivered Jesus to him.

The Greek word phthonon used in this verse means envy as expressed in ill-will towards someone and BEING GLAD AT THEIR MISFORTUNE OR PAIN.

Pilate was doubtlessly well-informed about the comings and goings in Jerusalem and KNEW that the religious leaders were envious of Christ's influence with the people and of the faith He inspired, which they felt undermined their own popularity.

They were jealous of His reputation, success and marvelous powers. They also resented His attacks on their self-righteous, self-exalting dictates and attitude (Matthew 23:33).

But the MAJOR REASON that they rejected Him is they HAD NO FAITH IN HIM.

They KNEW He was the long-awaited Messiahthey KNEW He had to appear during the Second Temple era, they KNEW He had to appear 483 years after Artaxerxes' decree, and THEY DIDN'T CARE (Daniel 9:24-27).

They DIDN'T TRUST the God they claimed to believe in or the Messiah He sent because, like the 12 spies of old who brought the evil report, THEY COULDN'T SEE HOW this humble carpenter, not trained in the art of war, who taught to love your enemies and turn the other cheek, COULD POSSIBLY deliver them from Rome, the most devastating military machine known to man.

That's why THEY OPENLY DECLARED that they preferred A PAGAN ruler, to one of their own: "We have NO KING BUT CAESAR" (John 19:15).

That's why as that evil, UNBELIEVING generation of old wandered 40 years in the hot, barren dessert, UNABLE TO enter the Promised Land, they have been WANDERING all over this world's wilderness for the past 2,000 YEARS, UNABLE TO ENTER God's Kingdom because OF THEIR UNBELIEF.

THEIR OWN IDOLATRY came back to bite them in their behinds when the prophecy they tried to negate came true and the pagan king they CHOSE OVER AND ABOVE THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUS KING, ORDERED the siege of Jerusalem some 37-40 years later, destroyed the city and the temple, leveling both to the ground, and exiled all Jews from the city, exactly as Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy foretold (Daniel 9:26) and EXACTLY AS MESSIAH HIMSELF FORETOLD (Luke 19:41-44).

The GREAT IRONY IS that THE MESSIAH THEY REJECTED eventually TRIUMPHED OVER ROME and CAME TO BE WORSHIPED NOT ONLY BY MIGHTY ROME ITSELF, BUT THROUGHOUT THE GENTILE WORLD.

Fact is those cunning LIARS in the first century KNEW that Jesus is the Messiah, and they KNEW that HE HAD, IN FACT, RISEN FROM THE DEAD.

They even had THE UNBIASED EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY OF THE heathen Roman SOLDIERS WHO WERE GUARDING THE TOMB, that He HAD RISEN (Matthew 28:4-11).

That's why they NEVER even DOUBTED the Roman guards' report.

They KNEW it was true.

That's why THEY DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER sending two or three trustworthy men to Galilee to VERIFY His Resurrection: THEY KNEW it had happened (Matthew 28:7).

That's why those unscrupulous Sanhedrists BRIBED the soldiers, in violation of their OWN LAW (Torah) SO THEY WOULD LIE, (Matthew 28:12) BEAR FALSE WITNESS and say the body "had been stolen".

Are you saying that they KNEW, WITHOUT A DOUBT, THAT JESUS WAS/IS THE MESSIAH AND REJECTED HIM ANYWAY?

Yes. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'M SAYING... and PROVING.

The religious rulers proved that Jesus was right, by acting according to His sad foreboding:

"If they DON'T LISTEN to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced EVEN IF SOMEONE RISES FROM THE DEAD" (Luke 16:31).


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2013


THEY HAD TO KNOW

WHY was Jesus UTTERLY REJECTED BY the Jewish hierarchy of His day?

This is something that, even 2,000 years later, is HARD for us to comprehend, let alone explain.

We can say that they just "didn't get" that He had to die for the sin of the world.

We can quote Romans 11:25 where Paul says that "blindness in part" has come to Israel...

Most Jews may have been blinded by 57-58 A.D., when Paul wrote that Epistle.

By 58 A.D., the religious establishment had had 25 years in which to POISON and DECEIVE their hearts and minds, with anti-Jesus rhetoric.

But they weren't blind in 29-33 A.D. when Jesus first appeared publicly, died and resurrected.

We can argue that He didn't fulfill their expectations, in that He was not a warrior-king a la King David.

After all, Jesus didn't hit Herod on the forehead with a stone then cut off his head, like David did with Goliath.

Nor did He bring 100 Roman "foreskins" to the Sanhedrin, as David brought Philistine ones to Saul.

There may be SOME truth to all of that, but IT GETS MUCH DEEPER - and MUCH, MUCH WORSE.

Didn't Jews have Daniel's prophecy about the "70 weeks" that told them UNEQUIVOCALLY WHEN Messiah Prince would appear?

Yes and YES.

They had it in at least TWO LANGUAGES: Hebrew and Greek (Septuagint), so THEY HAD TO KNOW: there's NO EXCUSE (Daniel 9:25).

They KNEW THE PRECISE YEAR in which Artaxerxes had given "the word" (decree) to "return and build Jerusalem".

They KNEW Messiah HAD TO appear 483 years later.

ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS COUNT 483 years FROM THAT DATE!!!

For the mathematically challenged:
7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 sabbatical weeks of 7 years each

69 X 7 = 483 years.

But it doesn't even end there. In the same prophecy Daniel 9:27 UNEQUIVOCALLY tells them that Messiah Prince would die FOR OTHERS, not for Himself, "in the middle of" THE 70TH WEEK, 486 years, from the decree.

C'mon! These guys even advised Herod based on Micah's prophecy about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:3-5).

Are you going to seriously tell me that the Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests, and TEACHERS OF THE LAW (scribes) knew Micah's RELATIVELY "minor" prophecy but DIDN'T KNOW DANIEL'S?

These men were not ignoramuses. They were HIGHLY EDUCATED and HAD STUDIED the Tanach through and through SINCE CHILDHOOD.

They KNEW the 70 weeks prophecy: that's WHY when the wise men appeared asking for "the King of the Jews", their question was not ignored.

Not just Herod BUT ALL OF JERUSALEM WAS TROUBLED* (STIRRED) realizing these weren't some misguided religious loons but THAT THEY MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING BECAUSE the SPECIFIED time for Messiah's appearing was approaching.

That's also why Herod took the barbaric measure of ordering the slaughter of all of Bethlehem's infants.

And, to the best of our knowledge, NOT ONE Pharisee or "TEACHER OF THE LAW" OBJECTED.

They KNEW these things, WITHOUT A DOUBT.

Dear God, EVEN THE PERSIAN SAGES (Wise Men) knew about Daniel's prophecy!

That's why they were on the lookout for "His Star" in the sky, immediately recognized it, and KNEW that the King of the Jews had been born (Matthew 2:1-2).

That's why they immediately set out for Israel: they wanted to witness with their own eyes THE FULFILLMENT OF that great prophecy that Daniel had shared with them while he served in the Persian court under Darius (Daniel 9:1).

Are you going to seriously tell me that GENTILES knew it, but that the Jewish religious establishment DIDN'T?

In Jerusalem, Simeon and Anna WERE EXPECTING THE Messiah, and recognized Him even as a baby, some 33 years BEFORE He would appear publicly to Israel, in express fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy (Luke 2:25-38).

Nehemiah 2:1 even tells us that Artaxerxes gave the decree in the 20th year of his reign, and IN THE MONTH OF AVIV!!!

Aviv (Nisan) is THE MONTH when Passover is celebrated.

We know from the Gospels that Jesus died on Passover (Matthew 26:2; John 18:39).

Jesus, therefore, fulfilled the 70 Weeks prophecy, not just to the year, BUT TO THE VERY MONTH.

And, possibly, although I cannot prove it scripturally, to the very DAY!!! (Nehemiah does not give THE EXACT DAY in the month of Aviv when Artaxerxes gave the "go ahead").

Suppose you're a first century scribe, Pharisee or chief priest and THIS EXTRAORDINARY MAN SHOWS UP, EXACTLY 483 YEARS AFTER Artaxerxes' decree, precisely as required by the prophecy, with these extraordinary teachings.

A man who LOOKS like a king, TALKS like a king, and ACTS like a king

He does extraordinary deeds, never before seen, gains a large following, performs numerous healings, multiplies food, walks on water, raises the dead, forgives sin, EVEN CASTS OUT DEMONS WHICH NO ONE HAD EVER DONE BEFORE.

Wouldn't you at least CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITY that the prophesied Messiah HAD FINALLY ARRIVED?

So, WHY DIDN'T THEY?

Don't miss Part Two tomorrow, Lord willing.

*(Same Greek word 
tarasso used in John 5:4 where it says that an angel "troubled" or STIRRED, AGITATED the water of the pool of Bethesda).


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2013


THE FOURTH TEMPLE

"Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; FOR MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL PEOPLE" (Isaiah 56:7).

Don't you mean the THIRD temple? No. There will be a third temple, which the Antichrist will desecrate.

The third temple, as far as I can tell from Scripture, will remain only during the 3 year tribulation and be replaced shortly after the Second Coming of Christ, by a FOURTH and final temple that will be standing during the Millennium.

The fourth temple will be MUCH LARGER than the former temples and will encompass, most or all of the Old City, and probably spread out a bit farther to the north and to the south.

It is a magnificent structure, built by God that will far exceed all former temples in size, beauty and glory.

The temple will no longer be a place attended ONLY by Israelites but, as the Scripture above indicates, BY ALL PEOPLE.

We know of at least one pilgrimage Feast that ALL NATIONS (gentiles) will be required to attend and that is the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) which is going on in Israel and the Diaspora even as we speak (Zechariah 14:16).

Sukkot is called ha asiph the Feast of "in-gathering" (Exodus 23:16; 34:22).

In the Millennium EVERYONE - Israelite or "gentile", if there are any gentiles left - will be required to attend and GATHER there before the Lord Himself.

The fourth (millennial) temple is described in great detail in chapters 40-43 of the Book of Ezekiel.

There won't be ANY religion in existence for NATURAL people during the Millennium: except BIBLICAL Judaism.

The Church will be reigning with Jesus in glorified bodies, manifesting Jesus to natural humans, and will have NO RELIGION AT ALL.

It will be a Utopian Era of Peace when Messiah, the Prince of Peace, reigns from Jerusalem:

"In the last days THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD'S TEMPLE WILL BE ESTABLISHED AS THE HIGHEST OF THE MOUNTAINS; it will be exalted above the hills and ALL NATIONS WILL STREAM TO IT.

Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He WILL TEACH US HIS WAYS, so that we may walk in his paths."

The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

He will judge between the nations (gentiles) and will settle disputes for many peoples.

THEY WILL BEAT THEIR SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES AND THEIR SPEARS INTO PRUNING HOOKS.

NATION WILL NOT TAKE UP SWORD AGAINST NATION, NOR WILL THEY TRAIN FOR WAR ANYMORE.

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:2-5).


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2013


DON'T CHANGE YOUR RELIGION

"If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART that God raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED" (Romans 10:9)

"He who HAS the Son has Life, and he who DOES NOT have the Son of God, DOES NOT HAVE LIFE" (1 John 5:12).

People often ask me why I don't preach against certain denominations.

Those who do usually don't hang around very long because I'm not about to let anyone WHO DIDN'T CALL ME INTO THE MINISTRY, AND GETS FED THE WORD daily FOR FREE, dictate what I should or shouldn't preach.

Jesus is THE ONLY ONE whose orders I'm happy to obey.

That's not what Jesus called me to do.

This ministry has never endorsed and will never endorse ANY denomination since they're ALL MAN-FABRICATED.

That being said, some are FAR WORSE than others.

I have been outspoken about certain CULTS whose doctrine leads people straight to hell, However, IT'S NOT EVEN ABOUT A CHANGE OF RELIGION FOR THEIR FOLLOWERS.

It's about A CHANGE OF HEART.

You can come to Jesus and call yourself by ANY RELIGIOUS LABEL you like:

Atheist, agnostic, skeptic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Scientologist, Church of God, Church of Christ, New Age, Mormon, Messianic Jew, Christian Science, Moonie, Baha'i, Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Adventist, Quaker, Mennonite, Jehovah's Witness, or ANYTHING ELSE.

Belonging to A DENOMINATION - no matter WHAT it's called - doesn't save anyone.

Even when that denomination's doctrine is pretty biblical and accurate, IT STILL CANNOT SAVE ANYONE.

Nor can the denomination's FOUNDER(s) - WHOEVER THEY MAY BE - save anyone.

Salvation is Jesus Christ, AND ONLY JESUS (Acts 4:11-12).

NOTHING ELSE and NO ONE ELSE will save.

NOTHING YOU DO, OR AVOID DOING, will save.

Jesus ONLY IN YOUR MIND may make you a "nice" person on the outside, but it will leave you ugly and unregenerate INSIDE.

Jesus IN YOUR HEART saves, COMPLETELY AND ABSOLUTELY.

So, whoever you are, and whatever religion you belong to, or if you have no religion at all,

You don't need to change your religion to come to Christ...

You don't need to change ANYTHING to come to Christ:

COME TO JESUS NOW, AS YOU ARE.

Give Him your heart RIGHT NOW, JUST AS YOU ARE.

Jesus IN YOUR HEART = Salvation.

That is the GREAT MESSAGE OF THE ETERNAL GOSPEL of His Grace.

That is the message that has transformed billions of souls.

THAT is THE DIFFERENCE between BEING SAVED and BEING LOST.

If any other "changing" is needed, Jesus will take care of it in His good time.

Because after all is said and done, it's not your religion that needs changing,

IT'S YOUR HEART.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2013


BEYOND BELIEF

"I believe this" and "I believe that".

This is what we hear constantly from pulpits, from behind TV cameras, in other media, and from Christians in general.

Belief is certainly BETTER THAN unbelief.

Belief, in most instances, is BETTER THAN doubt.

But beliefs can be, and often are, wrong.

KNOWLEDGE, on the other hand, is ALWAYS RIGHT:

KNOWLEDGE is CERTAIN.

Belief can come from a number of sources: from what others, religion included, have taught us.

From what we've read, that seemed pretty convincing at the time.

From what we've heard that SOUNDED good.

From what others have shared based ON THEIR belief.

Beliefs can, and often do, CHANGE.

KNOWLEDGE (I'm speaking strictly in spiritual terms) NEVER CHANGES.

KNOWLEDGE comes from WITNESSING AND EXPERIENCING things FIRSTHAND.

KNOWLEDGE CANNOT BE SHAKEN.

KNOWLEDGE comes from God.

In Him (Jesus) are hidden ALL THE TREASURES OF Wisdom and Knowledge (Colossians 2:3).

KNOWLEDGE comes from KNOWING Jesus.

In the biblical sense, INTIMATELY...

We KNOW
 Him, when we RECEIVE Him into our hearts and allow Him to penetrate THE DEEPEST RECESSES OF OUR BEING.

I must warn you, though, experiencing Jesus YOURSELF - not what OTHERS say about Him - is HIGHLY ADDICTIVE:

Those who KNOW Jesus CAN NEVER GET ENOUGH OF Him:

The more and the deeper we EXPERIENCE HIM, the MORE WE WANT.

I have to wonder if those who constantly surf the web in search of the latest "I believe", some religious novelty to tickle their fickle hearts and ears, or some vacuous form of religious "entertainment", REALLY KNOW JESUS.

Those who only "believe in" Jesus can potentially be convinced NOT TO believe in Him.

They can be persuaded TO CHANGE THEIR BELIEFS.

Those who KNOW Jesus can never leave Him nor forsake Him.

Show me a person who "used to be" Christian, then SWITCHED TO traditional Judaism, Islam or some other "belief" and I'll show you a person WHO NEVER KNEW Jesus.

All they had was "belief".

All they had was DEAD RELIGION.

They just changed FROM ONE DEAD RELIGION TO ANOTHER. (Pause & meditate).

That's why those precious apostles and martyrs in the Early Church endured persecution, untold hardship, and even torture and death, rather than forsake Jesus.

Their FAITH was not based on "hearsay".

They HAD EXPERIENCED Christ THEMSELVES, PERSONALLY and INTIMATELY.

NOTHING this corrupt world offers can REMOTELY COMPARE with the thrill and ABSOLUTE DELIGHT of KNOWING Him and EXPERIENCING HIS ALL-FULFILLING LOVE.

Let's step BEYOND belief and GET TO KNOW the Savior from Whom ALL KNOWLEDGE flows.


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2013


DON'T JUDGE?

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and WITH THE MEASURE YOU USE, it will be MEASURED to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE PLANK IN YOUR OWN EYE?

HOW CAN YOU SAY TO YOUR BROTHER, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time THERE IS A PLANK IN YOUR OWN EYE?

YOU HYPOCRITEFIRST TAKE THE PLANK OUT OF YOUR OWN EYE, and THEN YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).

Did Jesus say WE CANNOT JUDGE ANYONE OR ANYTHING, ever?

Did He say we CANNOT JUDGE wrong doctrine based on His Word?

Did He say we CANNOT JUDGE heresies that lead lost souls straight to hell?

Is THAT what our Lord was talking about?

Because if it was, then Jesus (perish the thought) was A LIAR, who contradicted Himself COUNTLESS TIMES and DID NOT practice what He preached.

He JUDGED the Pharisees and TEACHERS OF THE LAW rather harshly in Matthew chapter 23.

In verse 33 of that chapter He flat-out told them THEY WOULD NOT ESCAPE THE JUDGMENT OF Gehenna (lake of fire).

In Mark 11:17 and John 2:14-16 He JUDGED the sellers in the temple, overturned their tables, loosed their doves, and called them THIEVES.

"Oh, but that was holy, perfect Jesus".

O.K. What about IMPERFECT Paul who JUDGED Galatians who wanted to get back under the law after being set free by Grace? (Galatians 3:1-3)

What about John who JUDGED those who denied that Jesus came in the flesh as "antichrists"? (2 John 1:7)

What about imperfect Jude, Jesus' half-brother, who JUDGED heretics and called them "clouds without rain, TWICE DEAD AND PLUCKED UP BY THE ROOTS"? (Jude 1:12)

An Adventist heretic recently quoted that Scripture and told me that I "SHOULDN'T JUDGE their doctrine" and that I "should only talk about the love of Jesus".

I told her that she must be HOLIER than Jesus because even He, THE PERSONIFICATION OF Divine Love, DID NOT ALWAYS talk about "God's Love".

I also told her SHE IS A HYPOCRITE because she HAD NOT CONTACTED HER OWN RELIGION AND TOLD THEM to talk "ONLY ABOUT THE LOVE OF JESUS" AND STOP JUDGING Catholics and Evangelicals as they continually do, since they brag about being "God's true church".

A religion invented a mere 150 years ago cannot be "God's true church" when His Church has been in existence since the first century A.D.

The Bible says we are to JUDGE THE ANGELS (1 Corinthians 6:3).

So, if Christians cannot judge things OF THIS WORLD based on God's Word, we're in big trouble.

WHAT WAS JESUS TALKING ABOUT?

He was talking ABOUT NITPICKING.

He was talking about religious hypocrites WHO STRAIN OUT A TINY GNAT but SWALLOW A WHOLE CAMEL.

They're not the least bit interested in the millions of damnable doctrines that affect a person's salvation.

They never bother TELLING THEM "hey, what you're teaching is NOT the Gospel and CONTRADICTS God".

They're NOT even grateful for SPECIAL revelation from God's Spirit and Word.

ALL THEY CARE about is removing that "little speck" out of their brother's eye.

I encounter them EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE.

Jesus wasn't saying NOT to judge anything, ever.

He was saying DON'T FOCUS ON SMALL, UNIMPORTANT things.

Don't split theological HAIRSwhen you're letting HUGE LOGS get by WITHOUT EVEN A WORD OF PROTEST.

Don't CRITICIZE inconsequential stuff.

JUDGE WHAT REALLY MATTERS, based on His word.

Those things that AFFECT an individual's ETERNAL DESTINY ARE WHAT REALLY MATTERS.

THAT is a doctrinal PLANK.

All else is "speck". Leave it ALONE.


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2013


IT'S CHRISTMAS !

Oh, I know there are no decorations: no gifts being exchanged, no snow, reindeer, lights, or poinsettias.

But did you know it's Christmas?

O.K. Martel, you must have put too much rum in your eggnog.

Actually, I got this from the Bible.

John 1:14 tells us that "the Word (Jesus) was made flesh and DWELT among us".

That's how it reads in most English Bibles.

However, the word for "dwelt" in the original Greek is a derivative of skenoo which means a sukka or "tabernacle".

It's THE VERY SAME WORD used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Tanach) for the huts or sukkas (sukkot) mentioned in Leviticus 23:42.

So Jesus (the Word) was made flesh and He (if I can invent a new word), "sukkaed" or "tabernacled" among us.

Matter of fact, it doesn't take much imagination to realize that if He was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, the traditional "stable" used by Christians on Nativity Scenes was NOTHING BUT A SUKKA (temporary hut) built specially for that Feast as the Lord commands.

Every time I see a decorated sukka the first thing that comes to mind is Christmas and Nativity Scenes (see picture ABOVE, and in your mind's eye replace the table and chairs with figures of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus, and what do you have?)

But there's more:

Leviticus 23:40 commands Israelites to be WHOLLY JOYFUL during this 7-day Feast.

It's commonly referred to as Zeman Simchat'enu or "THE SEASON of OUR REJOICING".

That's why the angel said to the shepherds on that First Christmas:

"Do not be afraid. I bring you GOOD NEWS that will cause GREAT JOY for all the people: Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).

WHAT could possibly bring MORE REJOICING than to welcome the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord God Himself, into this world?

The only reason that the sukka became "a stable" in Christian tradition is because of the manger in which Jesus was laid.

Since the sukka is built outside a person's main residence, and since Bethlehem is well known as a town of shepherds (King David himself was shepherd there before he became king), it's only natural that there would be some feeding troth for sheep nearby, which Mary and Joseph used as makeshift cradle for Jesus.

Some 70 days later, on Hanukkah, which that particular year fell on December 25, the Magi from the East found Jesus with Mary and Joseph.

By then, they'd moved from the sukka into a house in Bethlehem BEFORE Joseph was told in a dream to flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:11, 13-14).

In Christian tradition, all of the above was condensed into ONE Nativity Scene that incorporated both, Jesus' birth on Sukkot and the visit from the Wise Men on Hanukkah.

So, when should we celebrate His Birthday?

Either feast or, better yet, ON BOTH.

On Sukkot He was born as the promised Messiah and King of the Jews, from the tribe of Judah and from King David's lineage.

On Hanukkah, gentiles first found Him and WORSHIPED HIM (Matthew 2:11). Glory to His Name!

ALL YEAR LONG I hear from bitter religious legalists intent on ruining the celebration of the Birth and Resurrection of our Savior for everyone else.

They refer to Christmas and the Resurrection as "pagan" feasts.

I DON'T GIVE A RAT'S PETOOT if NON-EXISTENT pagan deities Ishtar, Apollos or Sol Invictus were worshiped by pagans on those days.

I'm not pagan, I'm Christian.

EVERY SINGLE DAY ON THE CALENDAR BELONGS TO JESUS.

He is to be glorified and praised ALL THE TIME, 24/7.

There's NO SUCH THING as a wrong time or "wrong day" in which to PRAISE HIM and CELEBRATE HIS SALVATION.

Ephesians 4:27 commands us NOT TO "give place to the devil".

If some self-righteous legalistic nincompoop wants to WITHHOLD ADORATION FROM Jesus on THOSE DAYS and GIVE that time OVER TO SATAN, that's between him/her and God.

My Bible says VERY CLEARLY:

FROM THE RISING OF THE SUN UNTO ITS GOING DOWN... the LORD'S name IS TO BE PRAISED (Psalm 113:3).

There are NO DAYS EXCLUDED from that command.

"But we will bless the LORD FROM THIS TIME FORTH AND FOREVERMORE Praise the LORD" (Psalm 115:18).

God's Name is to be praised, His Salvation (Jesus) is to be praised, from sun up to sun down, FOREVERMORE, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES.

if anyone has a problem with that, take it up with God.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2013


PROPHECIES IN THE PSALMS

When most people think of biblical prophecy, they think of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel or the Book of Revelation. In that context, the Book of Psalms doesn't usually come to mind.

Yet 
there are many wonderful prophecies in the Psalms, for instance:

Judas's betrayal of our Lord was prophesied in Psalm 69:22-28 and 109:4-8.

The crucifixion of Jesus was prophesied in Psalm 22:16.

His Resurrection in Psalm 16:10.

His ascension to heaven was prophesied in Psalm 8:6, 68:18 and 110:1.

His Second Coming is prophesied in Psalm 2:7-12 and Psalm 24:7-10.

His Millennial Kingdom in Psalm 2:6.

His Deity in Psalm 45:6.

I could go on and on, but there's another aspect of the Psalms worth mentioning.

There seems to be a direct correlation between many of Psalms 1-99 with events in the 20th century, particularly events that involve Israel.

For instance 
Psalm 48:1, which would correspond to Gregorian year 1948, says "great is the Lord and most worthy of praise IN THE CITY OF our God, His holy mountain".

For those who are historically challenged, 
1948 was the year (May 14, 1948 to be exact) when the State of Israel was born.

Psalm 68 gives 
an uncanny description of the aftermath of the Six-Day War, which took place in 1967.

It begins with the wonderful statement "
let God arise and His enemies be scattered".

As we all know, it was during that war 
that Israel recovered East Jerusalem (the Old City), captured the Golan Heights and the Sinai, all of which are mentioned in this Psalm.

Likewise, Psalms 100-150 appear to relate closely to this 21st century.

Psalm 113 (which would correspond to THIS year, 2013) is the first of the Hallel Psalms.

The Hallel Psalms are 113-118. They are Psalms of praise.

They are recited during most of God's Feasts, 
including Sukkot.

Here are some highlights:

Psalm 113:2-4

"Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised.

The LORD 
is high above all nations and his glory above the heavens".

Psalm 114:7 

"Tremble, you earth, 
at THE PRESENCE OF the Lord, at THE PRESENCE OF the God of Jacob"

Psalm 115:2, 9

"Why should the nations (gentiles) say, 
Where is now their God?

O Israel, 
trust you in the LORD: he is their help and their shield".

Psalm 116: 3-4, 13, 16

"The sorrows of death surrounded me, and the pangs of Sheol got hold upon me: 
I found trouble and sorrow.

Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech you, deliver my soul".

"
I will take THE CUP OF SALVATION (Yeshua), and call upon the name of the LORD".

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is THE DEATH OF HIS SAINTS".

Psalm 117:1-2 (The shortest of the Psalms, consisting of only two verses) 

"O 
Praise the LORD, all you nations (gentiles): praise him, all you people.

For 
his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise you the LORD".

Psalm 118:1-2, 14, 18-24, 26, 28-29

"O give thanks unto the LORD; FOR HE IS GOOD: BECAUSE HIS MERCY ENDURES FOREVER.

2 LET ISRAEL NOW SAY, that his mercy endures forever.

14 The LORD is my strength and song, 
AND IS BECOME MY SALVATION.

18 The LORD 
has chastened me severely: but he has not given me over unto death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:

20 This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise you: for you have heard me, and 
HAVE BECOME MY SALVATION.

22 THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED 
HAS BECOME THE HEAD STONE OF THE CORNER.

23 This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 THIS IS THE DAY which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it".


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2013


THE MYTH OF SPIRITUALITY

There are millions of people the world over who have bought into the lie that, in order to go to heaven, THEY JUST NEED to be "spiritual".

IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT you believe, as long as you're "spiritual".

You can follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Kabbalah, Judaism, Islam, New Age, Moonies, Hare Krishnas, Mormonism, Masonry, Baha'i, or anything else.

Just be "a good person", do "good deeds", read inspirational books, meditate daily, keep a journal of the positive thoughts that enter your mind, and believe in some form of "supreme power".

The best known proponent of such idiocy is Oprah but, unfortunately, she's not the only one. Hollywood and the mainstream media clobber us with this false "gospel" virtually 24/7.

Sadly, it doesn't just affect secular society, but Christians as well:  According to a recent Pew Survey as many as 57% of supposed Evangelical Christians believe people can get to heaven in ways OTHER THAN thru Jesus Christ.

For all of the above, let's set the record straight:

The ONLY WAY people can get to heaven is to have their sins ERASED.

Of all the supposed "Gods", 
there's ONLY ONE who guaranteed your sins will be erased, when you receive Him.

He's also 
THE ONLY ONE who PAID FOR YOUR SINS, and with His own Blood.

Not to mention that 
He's the only one WHO EXISTS and IS ALIVE.

If you think God's going to accept your "good deeds", or your being "a good person", or your alleged "spirituality" IN PAYMENT FOR YOUR SINS, 
YOU'RE UNDER STRONG DELUSION, AND HEADED STRAIGHT TO HELL.

There's ONLY ONE who EVER PAID FOR your sins (Isaiah 53:5, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:19) and His Name is Jesus.

THE ONLY PAYMENT God will ever accept is the One made by His Son, on the cross.
Hence, 
THE ONLY ONE who can get your sins blotted out forever is Jesus Christ (Acts 3:19; Colossians 2:14).

Spirituality isn't always good. There's good spirituality that comes from Jesus who is THE LIGHT, and there's DARK spirituality.

Most spiritual endeavors today, while offering a form of piety, are FALSE, SATANIC SUBSTITUTES for THE REAL.

Paul prophesied in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that this would happen in the last days, saying such people were "lovers of pleasures" more than lovers of God, and that they would have "A FORM OF GODLINESS, but deny the power thereof".

Then, there's Nicodemus.

Nicodemus was one of God's Chosen People, a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, a devout man, a "spiritual" man, who doubtlessly performed many "righteous" acts, but he couldn't pull the wool over Jesus' eyes.

Our Lord told him point-blank: "UNLESS a person is BORN AGAIN he/she CANNOT SEE NOR ENTER the Kingdom of God" (John 3:3-5).

Either Jesus knew what He was talking about, or He didn't.

I wouldn't bet against Jesus, if I were you.

I don't care if you're the most "spiritual" person on earth, I don't care if you perform good deeds non-stop 24/7:  
If you want to get to heaven, YOU MUST receive Jesus Christ into your heart as Lord, Savior and God.

In Proverbs 14:12, then-wise Solomon warned: 
"There's a way that SEEMS RIGHT unto a man, but THE END THEREOF IS... DEATH".

Why settle 
for a FAKE when you can EXPERIENCE THE REAL?

Spirituality without Jesus is like a Rolls Royce with no engine:
It may LOOK good, but 
won't get you ANYWHERE.


WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013


DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK

The "70 weeks" prophecy is one of the most important, and one of the most misunderstood, prophecies in the Bible.

For starters, the term "Daniel's 70th week" is misused to refer to the future period of tribulation.

While there is a 70th week (thank God), HALF of it is already in our past.

In other words, 69 weeks of this prophecy have already been fulfilledleaving ONLY half a week (3 years) remaining.

Those 3 years are the TRIBULATION and future reign of Antichrist, which end with the Second Coming of Christ (Daniel 7:25; 12:9; Revelation 13:5).

Jesus (Messiah Prince) is the main subject of the "70 weeks" prophecy.

How the heck prophecy gurus managed to get the Antichrist into that chapter is hard to comprehend.  The Antichrist is mentioned in Daniel chapters 7,8, and 11, but NOT IN CHAPTER 9.

Daniel 9:25 is clear that the first 69 weeks would lead to the FIRST appearance of Messiah Prince.

Daniel 9:26 is clear that it's only AFTER the 62-WEEK PORTION OF THE  7 + 62 (= 69) weeks that Messiah Prince would die.

If it's AFTER the first 69 weeks, then His death HAD TO HAPPEN sometime during the 70th week.

There's no other possible alternative.

It's therefore Jesus, not the Antichrist, who caused "the sacrifice and oblation to cease" in "the middle of the week".

Jesus' ministry took up the first half (3 years) of the 70 week.

At THE END thereof, He died on the cross for your sins and mine, then rose from the dead.

The time gap, therefore, is NOT between the 69th and 70th week, as is commonly taught, but between the first half and last half of the 70th week.

This prophecy is ALL about the Christ.

The Antichrist is not even mentioned ANYWHERE.

The other common mistake is teaching that the 69 weeks lead ONLY TO the FIRST coming of Messiah Prince.

No, they point to BOTH His First and Second Comings.
They 
would HAVE TO, since the 70 weeks END WITH Christ's Second Coming.

That's WHY Gabriel divided the 70 weeks into TWO sections:

"FROM the word to return and build Jerusalem TO (the coming of) Messiah Prince, SHALL BE 7 weeks AND (in addition to) 62 weeks".

By saying it THAT WAY, Gabriel cleverly and covertly gave us, in a single equation, the timing of BOTH, the FIRST and SECOND comings of Messiah Prince.

Had they pointed ONLY to Jesus' First Coming, then no division was necessary. He would have simply said "shall be 69 weeks".

Unless, of course, we think Jesus came ONLY ONCE, and will never return.

Fact is, the 70th week MUST (absolute MUST) END WITH His Second Coming.

Therefore, the division in the 69 weeks could ONLY refer to the timing of BOTH.

Jesus told Daniel such things would remain sealed (would not be understood) UNTIL the "time of the end".

We ARE in the "time of the end".

Therefore, these things ARE being revealed.

Presently, there are ONLY 3 years (HALF A WEEK) "missing" from the 70 weeks, which are yet to be fulfilled.

Those 3 years of tribulation END the 70th WEEK with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to establish His eternal Kingdom on earth.

It's time to abandon C.I. Scofield's obsolete eschatological mantra, which is now more than A CENTURY OLD, and RECEIVE what God ACTUALLY SAID.


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2013


KEY TO THE CITY

In the U.S. and other parts of the Western World, there's a custom, often exercised by mayors, of presenting "the key to the city" to esteemed visitors, residents, or other famous individuals whom the city wishes to honor.

The key symbolizes that the recipient has freedom to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of city residents.

It confers no special rights or privileges to the recipient and is little more than an empty ritual designed to flatter him or her and provide a convenient photo op for opportunistic politicians.

Ah, but there are keys given by God IN THE BIBLE. And God's keys ARE MEANINGFUL and CONVEY SPECIAL PRIVILEGES.

God's keys are not vain attempts at self-promotion since God is God: He neither needs nor seeks political favor, and does not need to impress anyone.

The first set of keys was given to Eliakim (whose name means "the risen God") son of Hilkiah (meaning "God is my portion").

It was the key of the House of David.

According to Isaiah 22:20-22: "when he opens no one will shut, when he shuts no one will open".

These same words are used, verbatim, in Revelation 3:7 by Jesus (the risen God) with regards to HAVING "the KEY of David":

"What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open".

Jesus also has THE KEYS of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).

The second set of keys was given to Peter in Matthew 16:18-19).

And they are the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

I know that it is often argued in evangelical circles that the keys were also given to the other apostles.

Not so.

In English the pronoun "you" can be either singular or plural, but NOT in Greek.

The original Greek "TO YOU I will give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven" IS unequivocally SINGULAR.

The keys were given ONLY to Peter based on his bold confession that Jesus is "THE Messiah, the Son of the Living God".

WE CAN ARGUE whether there are denominations in existence today that are the legitimate successors of Peter, or NOT, and whether the keys given TO PETER ALONE, were meant to be handed down to his successors, assuming he has ANY.

Those ARE LEGITIMATE, though relatively unimportant, ISSUES.

But that they were given ONLY to Peter is not up for debate, since the original Greek couldn't be clearer.

Even if we correctly or incorrectly ASSUME that there are legitimate successors of Peter today, I see NO PLACE in Scripture where it says that Peter's keys would be handed down to his successors. That is pure SPECULATION and lacks ANY biblical validity.

But be that as it may, there are keys of death and Hades which Jesus has.

There's the Key of David which Jesus (the risen God, or Eliakim) ALSO has.

And there are the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus has, and entrusted to Peter.

What are those keys?

The keys in Matthew 16:17-19 are Peter's BELIEF and CONFESSION that Jesus is "THE Messiah, the Son of the Living God".

Those are THE KEYS for ANYONE to ENTER God's Kingdom.

Say what you will about Peter, but when Jesus asked His disciples, point-blank "who DO YOU SAY that I am"?

THE ONLY ONE who immediately, without any hesitation, asserted "YOU'RE THE MESSIAH" WAS PETER.

That's why Peter was handed the Keys of the Kingdom and NOT the others, at that particular time.

That's why Peter, despite his human shortcomings, was made THE LEADER of the Church, AND IS ALWAYS MENTIONED BEFORE the other apostles.

Furthermore, Jesus declared that Peter COULD ONLY have gotten that revelation from the Father:

"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, BECAUSE FLESH AND BLOOD DID NOT REVEAL THIS TO YOU, but My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 16:17).

There is a City, in God's Heavenly Kingdom - stupendous, splendid, eternal and indestructible - which father Abraham sought 4,000 years ago, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:8-11).

That City is Heavenly (New) Jerusalem, which Paul calls "the mother of us all": (Galatians 4:26).

Jesus WILL PRESENT YOU with the Key to that City, the Key to His Eternal Kingdom, SO YOU MAY ENTER IT FREELY, if you do what Peter did 2,000 years ago:

Confess Him as THE Messiah and believe in Him with ALL your heart as the RISEN God (Romans 10:9).

If you'd like to RECEIVE Jesus and the Key to His City, New Jerusalem, click here.

Receiving the "key to the city" here on earth is an empty, meaningless gesture.

Receiving THE KEYS to God's Kingdom, from Christ Himself, is not only the highest honor a mortal can receive, but MEANS EVERYTHING.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2013


SALVATION IN TRIBULATION

Will people be saved during the tribulation?

YES!

They will have the testimony of the Two Witnesses for almost the entire 3 duration of the tribulation (Revelation 11:3).

They will have the 144,000 thousand sealed Israelites who will "instruct many" for a short while (Revelation 7:1-9, 14:1-4; Daniel 11:33).

And there will also be a SPECIAL MESSENGER (angel) flying through heaven and preaching the ETERNAL Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone to EVERY NATION ON EARTH,followed by another angel warning of the dire and ETERNAL consequences of worshiping Antichrist or receiving his mark(Revelation 14:6-12).

There's NO FORGIVENESS for that sin, ever.

Salvation will still be available during the tribulation. However, it will come with A HUGE PRICE TAG ATTACHED.

Most people who turn to Christ, Jew or gentile,will pay with their lives.

They'll be persecuted, tortured and killed.

They'll be prevented from buying or selling (Revelation 13:16-17).

They will endure enormous hardship as food, water, medicines and other living necessities will be EXTREMELY SCARCE and TOTALLY UNAVAILABLE TO THEM at least by usual means.

Most who turn to Christ during that time will be killed.

They will have to use every ounce of ingenuity imaginable to survive.

Those who survive will be raptured near the end of the tribulation BEFORE the most severe judgments are poured out.

There's a special rapture for them just prior to the bowl judgments and prior to Armageddon (Revelation 14:15; 15:2).

Those who die for their faith in Christ during the tribulation will be resurrected after the Second Coming and they will be eternally saved and reign with Jesus for 1,000 years(Revelation 20:4).

These facts, of course, totally destroy the widely circulated myth that "the Holy Spirit is removed" FROM EARTH during tribulation.

The Holy Spirit is God and He can't be removed since He is OMNIPRESENT.

Even in the Old Testament, David said that,IF HE WENT TO HELL ITSELF, he couldn't get away from God's Spirit(Psalm 139:8).

What IS REMOVED and taken out of the way so Antichrist can reign is THE BODY OF CHRIST, HIS CHURCH.

Antichrist cannot be revealed, nor can he reign, UNTIL OUR DEPARTURE takes place(2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

So, yes, many people will be saved even during the tribulation, even AFTER the Church is gone.

We are not told how many. And there are NO GUARANTEES as to who will get saved during that time and who won't.

NOW we HAVE ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE, based on God's written Word,that WHOEVER comes to Christ, He will IN NO WAY reject(John 6:37).

NOW Salvation is EASY:

At least in the Western world,NO ONE is threatening you or persecuting you.

NOW ALL IT TAKES is inviting Jesus to enter your heart: Giving Him your sins and receiving His righteousness.

Salvation is A GIFT that we do not deserve, AND COSTS NOTHING except our hearts.

Salvation will never be easier than it is RIGHT NOW.

If you've never received Christ into your heart - AND MEANT IT - or if you're not sure of Salvation, PLEASE...

For YOUR OWN SAKE do so NOW.

You can "take your chances" and wait until the tribulation starts, all hell breaks loose, and HOPE that you'll have the courage THEN that you do not have NOW, and BE WILLING TO LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR Jesus.

Or you can receive Him NOW, when it's SO EASY.

You have EVERYTHING to gain and NOTHING TO LOSE by receiving Christ RIGHT NOW.

You simply CAN'T LOSE by Having Jesus INSIDE.

Jesus IN YOUR HEART makes you A WINNER.


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2013


BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM

"The Day of the LORD is coming, Jerusalem, when YOUR POSSESSIONS WILL BE PLUNDERED AND DIVIDED UP WITHIN YOUR VERY WALLS.

I will gather ALL THE NATIONS to Jerusalem TO FIGHT AGAINST IT; THE CITY WILL BE CAPTURED, THE HOUSES RANSACKED, AND THE WOMEN RAPED. 

HALF OF THE CITY WILL GO INTO EXILE, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city" (Zechariah 14:1-2).

All who love Jerusalem, as I do, dislike this grim prophecy about the Holy City.

If we didn't know that its occupation by gentile forces will last only 42 months, -- and were that bleak passage not followed by Jesus' return and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom -- it would be unbearable to read or even consider.

This will happen very soon.

There's no way of getting around it.

Of course, residents of Jerusalem and Israeli citizens in general can avoid these awful events by taking refuge in the Judean wilderness (southeast of Jerusalem) when they see trouble approaching.

The Scripture is clear that HALF its population will be exiled, the other half allowed to remain there.

Even those who survive the invasion and stay in the city won't have a very easy time.

And many more will flee into the desert when the abomination of desolation is placed in the third temple (Matthew 24:15).

However, I want to highlight some information mentioned in Zechariah chapter 12 that's been getting my attention for a while, namely that when Armageddon happens, some residents of Jerusalem and of Judea will fight against Antichrist and his forces.

It's not like Jesus needs any help. We know His defeat of Antichrist is INSTANT.

Apparently, gentiles will occupy it for 42 months, then try to DESTROY IT ahead of Jesus' Return. Jews will fight TO PROTECT JERUSALEM from being destroyed.
They will be supernaturally protected and emboldened by the imminent return of Him who, by then, they will have come to recognize as their Messiah:

"The LORD... declares: "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup (basin) that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.

On that day, WHEN ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH ARE GATHERED AGAINST HER, I will make Jerusalem AN IMMOVABLE ROCK FOR ALL THE NATIONS. All who try to move it (carry it away) will be cut to pieces...

Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘The people of Jerusalem ARE STRONG, because the LORD Almighty is their God.'

6 "On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. THEY WILL CONSUME ALL THE SURROUNDING PEOPLES RIGHT AND LEFT, 
BUT JERUSALEM WILL REMAIN INTACT IN HER PLACE.

7 "The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, SO THAT THE HONOR of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants MAY NOT BE GREATER THAN That of Judah. 

8 On that day 
the LORD WILL SHIELD THOSE WHO LIVE IN Jerusalem, so that THE FEEBLEST AMONG THEM WILL BE LIKE David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD going before them. 

9 On that day 
I will set out TO DESTROY ALL THE NATIONS THAT ATTACK Jerusalem.

10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem 
a spirit of grace and supplication. THEY WILL LOOK ON ME, THE ONE THEY HAVE PIERCED, AND THEY WILL MOURN FOR HIM AS ONE MOURNS FOR AN ONLY CHILD, AND GRIEVE BITTERLY FOR HIM AS ONE GRIEVES FOR A FIRSTBORN SON. 

11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 

12 The land will mourn, each family by itself, with their wives by themselves: the clan of the house of David and their wives, the clan of the house of Nathan and their wives, 13the clan of the house of Levi and their wives, the clan of Shimei and their wives, 14 and all the rest of the clans and their wives" (Zechariah 12:1-14).

Jerusalem's SHORT-TERM future is rather bleak, 
but its final Destiny is glorious.

I close with two beautiful excerpts from Zechariah chapter 14 and Luke 1:33:

"Then the LORD WILL GO OUT AND FIGHT AGAINST THOSE NATIONS, as he fights on a day of battle. 
On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives WILL BE SPLIT IN TWO FROM EAST TO WEST, FORMING A GREAT VALLEY, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south...

Then 
the LORD my God will come, and ALL THE SAINTS WITH HIM" (Zechariah 14:3-5).

...The LORD 
WILL BE KING OVER THE WHOLE EARTH (Zechariah 14:9).

"And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; 
AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END".


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2013


SIN AND CONSEQUENCES - PART TWO

Preaching the ONE and ONLY TRUE Gospel of God's Grace has always encountered opposition:

Say that works have NOTHING to do with one's salvation and you'll have a couple hundred legalists jumping on your back, accusing you of promoting sin, and of giving others LICENSE to sin to their hearts' content.

That is A LIE.

This ministry - or any other ministry that preaches Grace - DOES NOT encourage anyone to sin, quite the opposite.

Sin HAS CONSEQUENCES.

Sin HAS CONSEQUENCES, in this life AND IN THE NEXT:

What sin CANNOT DO - regardless of consequences - (glory to Jesus forever!) is KEEP YOU FROM BEING SAVED.

Repeat: After Calvary, the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, SIN CANNOT keep ANYONE from BEING SAVED.

Those are TWO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT THINGS.

In Matthew 5:19 Jesus clearly stated:

"Therefore ANYONE WHO SETS ASIDE ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE COMMANDMENTS AND TEACHES OTHERS ACCORDINGLY WILL BE CALLED LEAST IN the kingdom of heaven"...

Notice that Jesus DIDN'T say that they would not ENTER the Kingdom of Heaven, only that they'd be called "least" IN the Kingdom.

In order to be called "least" IN the Kingdom of Heaven, they would have had to ENTER the Kingdom of Heaven.

We have Jesus ON RECORD stating that breaking the 10 Commandments WON''T KEEP ANYONE OUT OF His Kingdom.

Contrast that statement with what He says IN THE VERY NEXT verse:

"For I tell you that UNLESS YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SURPASSES THAT OF the Pharisees and THE TEACHERS OF THE LAWyou will CERTAINLY NOT ENTER the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20).

Jesus clearly stated that you COULD break the commandments and STILL MAKE IT TO HEAVEN: If you did, you'd be called "least" in the Kingdom but, thanks to His eternal, perfect, FINISHED Work of Redemption, you'd still be saved and MAKE IT INTO His Kingdom.

Right after that He stated that UNLESS your righteousness exceeded that of the Pharisees and TEACHERS OF THE LAWYOU WOULD NOT ENTER heaven.

TEACHERS OF THE LAW professed their own "righteousness" based on keeping the Law's commandments, NOT ON FAITH IN Jesus.

Jesus plainly stated in Matthew 23:33 that Pharisees and TEACHERS OF THE LAW WOULD NOT ESCAPE being condemned to hell.

If we learn ANYTHING from these verses is that TEACHERS OF THE LAW neither ENTER God's Kingdom, NOR ESCAPE being condemned to hell.

And Jesus used the word Gehenna which is the eternal, FINAL destination of the wicked.

He said on the other hand, that those who broke the Law's commandments, and taught others to do likewise, would be called "least" in the Kingdom, however, THEY WOULD ENTER His Kingdom.

They would not end up in Gehenna like the Pharisees and TEACHERS OF THE LAW.

Since Jesus is THE SAME yesterday, today and forever, the same indictment He issued against TEACHERS OF THE LAW back in the first century, STILL APPLIES TO TEACHERS OF THE LAW TODAY.

Are you a TEACHER OF THE LAW?

Do you trust YOUR OWN righteousness, COMMANDMENT KEEPING, "merit", Sabbath keeping, or RELIGIOUS GROUP, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?

If you do, Jesus made it clear that you won't enter His Kingdom and that you will end up in Gehenna.

By the shedding of His Blood, His atoning death, triumphant Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus TOOK AWAY - once and for all - the sin of the whole world (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:26; 1 John 3:5).

Those who receive Jesus into their hearts, HAVE FAITH (PLACE THEIR TRUST) in Jesus and WHAT HE DID TO SAVE US, WILL MAKE IT TO HEAVEN, IN SPITE OF their sins.

That's WHY the Message Jesus brought to us is called THE GOOD news.

There's NO BETTER NEWS in the Universe for a sinner than this:

"YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN. Receive Jesus and Enter into the Kingdom of God".


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2013


SIN & CONSEQUENCES

Sin has consequences, both in this life and the next.

What sin CAN NO LONGER DO, thanks to Jesus, is KEEP ANYONE FROM BEING SAVED (John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:19).

Hebrews 12:16-17 tells us that Esau "despised" (belittled) his birthright when he came home hungry and SOLD IT to Jacob for some lentil stew.

And that "afterward... when he wanted to inherit THIS BLESSING, HE WAS REJECTED: EVEN THOUGH HE SOUGHT THE BLESSING WITH TEARS, HE COULD NOT CHANGE WHAT HE HAD DONE".

In the Tanach, the firstborn used to inherit a DOUBLE PORTION of the father's estate.

Had Isaac's estate been worth, say, 9 million shekels, Esau would have gotten 6 million and the remaining 3 million would have gone to Jacob and any other siblings that came after him.

However, the rights of the firstborn were not confined only to material wealth, but TO THE FATHER'S BLESSING.

Even though based on the oath he took from Esau, Jacob could have claimed 2/3 of Isaac's estate, there's no record in the Bible that Jacob received even the one-third that originally and rightfully belonged to him.

As far as I can tell from the Tanach, Esau kept NOT ONLY his 2/3 portion but THE WHOLE of Isaac's estate (including Jacob's portion).

So, what was he crying about? What was it that he sought with tears, but could not change, and for which he was rejected?

The father's BLESSING.

Had Esau NOT depreciated his primogeniture he would have been one of the patriarchs, and father of God's chosen people.

God's People would have been Esau's physical descendants, the Edomites, and NOT the Israelites (Genesis 25:23). He would have been mentioned in Messiah's genealogy.

Today we would speak of the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Esau" instead of the "God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob".

The result of underestimating his birthright can be summed up in God's succinct statement: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (Malachi 1:2; Romans 9:13).

The Edomites became extinct: but the Israelites - despite Satan's all too frequent and vicious persecution - are still with us and will be around as long as the sun, moon and stars (Jeremiah 31:35-36).

Esau was saved. Hebrews doesn't say he wasn't.

But his sin HAD CONSEQUENCES in this life AND in the next.

Salomon inherited a united kingdom from David, is called the wisest man who ever lived, had unequaled power and prestige and so much wealth that silver, at the time, was considered WORTHLESS and piled up on the streets like trash.

His father David DIDN'T EVEN COME close to any of the above. David had to kill Goliath, fight against the Philistines, go into exile, hide from Saul's jealousy, fight for many years, until finally all Israel was his.

He wasn't the wisest or the richest.

And he stepped in it BIG TIME at least twice, once by having Uriah killed, and the other by ordering a census in violation of  God's express orders (1 Chronicles 21:1-3; Exodus 30:11-16).

But he had A HEART AFTER GOD.

Despite his great wealth and legendary wisdom, NOBODY, not even Jews, pine for Solomon today.

But they long for David and for the re-emergence of HIS KINGDOM, glory to Jesus forever!

By the end of his life Solomon had lost all the wisdom he once had.

The wisest man who ever lived turned into the biggest fool:

He had 700 wives and 300 concubines whose names and faces, doubtlessly, he couldn't even remember.

Worst of all, he allowed the many heathen women he cohabited with to turn his heart away from God and toward non-existent idols.

Anyone who trades THE ETERNAL GOD for even "the best" 15-minutes of sex is AN IDIOT.

And anyone who trades THE LIVING GOD for a deaf, mute, dead idol made by man's hands is TOO STUPID TO BE KING.

Hence, Solomon's kingdom was conquered, exiled, and LOST, since the 10 northern tribes remain "lost" to this day.

God did preserve the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, NOT for Solomon's sake, but FOR DAVID'S SAKE.

I'm certain that, in Sheol, Solomon found repentance and came to trust Israel's Messiah, and is in heaven as we speak.  But his sins had consequences IN THIS LIFE and IN THE NEXT.

Humans will be forgiven for EVERY sin except rejection of Jesus (Matthew 12:32).

Thanks to Jesus sin no longer has the power to damn us.

But make no mistake: sin always EXACTS A PRICE. 


SEPTEMBER 12, 2013


WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS

"A good man OUT OF THE GOOD TREASURE OF THE HEART BRINGS FORTH GOOD THINGS: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things" (Matthew 12:35)

A frequent accusation leveled against those who preach the TRUE Gospel of God's Grace is that we do not preach against sinning.

Sure we do.

We just don't make SIN the MAIN FOCUS of our preaching.

We make JESUS, who is the SOLUTION TO sin, the MAIN FOCUS.

And I, for one, make NO APOLOGY for it.

God's Word says, clear as daylight, that once we receive Jesus and have our sins forgiven, WE SHOULD HAVE NO MORE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SIN (Hebrews 10:2).

There are those who make sin and the Law the focus of their teaching.

I've never been in that camp and, by God's Grace, NEVER WILL BE.

I do not get up each morning and say to myself:

"I will not fall into idolatry today, nor take God's Name in vain, nor forget the true Sabbath (who is Jesus Himself and not a 24-hour day), I won't dishonor my father or mother, I won't kill, won't commit sexual immorality, won't lie and won't covet".

To do that not only makes us CONSCIOUS OF sin, but fosters FEAR.

After all, God's Word ALSO SAYS that if we break JUST ONE commandment, we are guilty of breaking the entire Law! (James 2:8-10).

The first thoughts that come into my mind are always about Jesus.

My days BEGIN WITH Jesus, and END with Jesus, glory to Him from everlasting to everlasting!

I do my best to STAY FOCUSED ON JESUS WITHIN ME throughout the day.

What I focus on at the start of each day, and throughout the day, is how wonderful Jesus is, HOW MUCH He loves me, and HOW MUCH I love and adore Him.

I start off the day with an attitude of Love and PRAISE toward Him, and try to stay in that frame of spirit and mind throughout the day.

While we all fall short of the glory of God, at some point, because our minds have not been totally renewed, I find that such attitude, for the most part, keeps sin at bay.

Focus on Jesus and you will rarely sin.

When you do, you have TOTAL CONFIDENCE that your sin(s) is/are FORGIVEN (1 John 1:7).

Focus on sin and commandments, and YOU WILL SIN A LOT.

You'll also LIVE IN FEAR of breaking ANY commandment and, hence, breaking God's law.

Temptation will be CONSTANTLY knocking on your door.

And you WILL NEVER BE SAVED because Salvation is obtained BY GRACE ONLY THROUGH FAITH ONLY (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Salvation IS NOT ATTAINED through "commandment keeping".  Never has been and never will be.

Focus on commandments and CONDEMNATION WILL HOVER OVER YOUR HEAD like a dark cloud on an overcast day.

That's why Jesus taught that not just the Torah, but THE WHOLE BIBLE - ALL the Law and ALL the prophets - hung on that ONE GREATEST commandment:

Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart, and with ALL your soul, and with ALL YOUR MIND (Matthew 22:37).

Focus on the Jesus WHO LIVES INSIDE, IN YOUR HEART, and He will bring forth GOOD THINGS out of you.

Get to KNOW the Son and He will make you FREE INDEED (John 8:36).

Focus on Jesus, His Goodness (Grace) and His Love, and you won't ever have to worry about sin or commandments.

Hallelujah! 


SEPTEMBER 11, 2013


WERE THEY SAVED?

Christians often question the Salvation of certain Bible characters like Adam, Esau, King Saul, Solomon, Ananias and Sapphira.

I've even heard supposed "ministers of the Gospel" WONDER OUT LOUD.

What these individuals had in common is that they all BLEW IT at some point and fell into sin.

We know for instance that Saul INTENTIONALLY DISOBEYED God's Torah directive which forbad consulting witches, diviners, or talking to the dead (1 Samuel 28:7-19; 1 Chronicles 10:13).

We know that Solomon, whose kingdom began in wisdom and splendor, fell into gross idolatry toward the end of his life (1 Kings 11:3-4).

We know Esau sold his birthright for a pot of lentils, since they didn't have fast food in 1978 B.C., (Genesis 25:29-34).

And we know that Ananias and Sapphira LIED to the Holy Spirit and dropped dead at Peter's feet (Acts 5:3-10).

Were these people saved?

Yes.

When Christians ask these questions, they're consciously or subconsciously SUPPOSING that WORKS have ANYTHING to do with anyone's Salvation.

They figure that, because these individuals were REBELLIOUS AND DISOBEDIENT, such ACTIONS automatically disqualified THEM from being saved.

If that were the case, there wouldn't be even a glimmer of hope of Salvation FOR ANYONE:

EVERY HUMAN BEING ON THIS PLANET WOULD BE HOPELESSLY AND IRRETRIEVABLY LOST.

What, you don't think we have IDOLATERS in the Church today?

You think we don't have diviners and familiar spirits operating within Christendom?

Forget birthrights and double-portions, you don't think there are Christians who'd sell Jesus out for a Big Mac?

You think our churches and "Christian airwaves" are not filled with people who LIE in Jesus' Name, LIE to the Holy Spirit, LIE ABOUT the Spirit, and ATTRIBUTE to the Spirit A LOT OF GARBAGE which He never said or DID?

The reason Christians harbor such doubt is that FOR DECADES we've been hearing an ambiguous "gospel" of grace plus works:

The same preachers who say out of one side of their mouths that "salvation is AN UNMERITED GIFT of God's Grace", will say out of the other side of their mouths that if we do or NOT DO certain things God will punish us, put a curse on us, withhold His blessings, etc.

Hence, most believers are NOT FIRMLY ESTABLISHED ON THE Grace of God, which is THE ONLY THING that saves us.

Repeat: God's Grace, His Goodness TOWARD THOSE who DO NOT DESERVE IT - AND CANNOT EARN IT - is THE ONLY THING that saves you, me, Saul, Solomon, Ananias, OR ANYONE ELSE.

You CAN'T have it BOTH WAYS.

Salvation has ALWAYS BEEN by Grace through Faith (Genesis 15:6).

Any OTHER "message" is A PERVERSION of THE Gospel.

Any OTHER "gospel" is ANATHEMA (Galatians 1:8).

Jesus is ON RECORD saying that EVERY SIN will be forgiven men, except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:32).

Blasphemy against the Spirit, when stripped down to nuts and bolts, is rejection of the Spirit's witness about Jesus, hence REJECTION OF Jesus.

All OTHER sin will be forgiven.

That's what God's Grace is:

FREE FORGIVENESS for every bad thing we've ever done.

God's Grace is AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE.

However, it's ONLY available through Jesus Christ.

Jesus is THE ONLY ONE who PAID FOR every sin ever committed.

Salvation is repenting (returning to God, from whom we all came) RECEIVING Jesus into our hearts, and TRUSTING Him.

Salvation is based ENTIRELY on WHAT JESUS DID.

Salvation is NEVER BASED ON what WE DO. 


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2013


THE DAMASCUS PHASE

There's a prophetic scenario in Jewish eschatology that calls for the destruction of Damascus and surrounding areas, through either a huge flood or tsunami, followed by the invasion of Jerusalem, followed by the reign of Messiah.

This scenario is based on the Prophet Zechariah's chapters 9-14.

It's commonly referred to as "the Damascus Phase".

We must keep in mind that the original text DID NOT contain chapter divisions or verse numbers.

It was one long, continuous text.

Some Messianic Jews interpret this as indication that the destruction of Damascus is what kicks off the tribulation.

They MAY (underline "MAY") have a point.

If we read Isaiah's chapters 13-27, we don't see that at all: the Rapture occurs in chapter 13 and Damascus isn't destroyed till chapter 17, 4 long chapters later.

However, if we read Zechariah 9-14, he does unquestionably begin with SOMETHING happening in Damascus and nearby Hamath.

Biblical Hamath (modern day Hama) is one of the places where Saddam Hussein's WMD's are said to have been transported prior to the American invasion : http://www.policymic.com/articles/62103/how-did-syria-get-chemical-weapons-did-they-come-from-our-old-friend-saddam

Zechariah then moves to some prophecies about the original destruction of Tyre by Alexander the great, to the first coming of Jesus (rest of chapter 9), to the restoration of Israel and Judah (chapter 10) and Jesus' betrayal by Judas (chapter 11), then to the siege of Jerusalem and Armageddon in chapters 12-14.

What makes Zechariah 9:1-2 even more tantalizing is that it says:

"The prophecy of the word of the Lord for the land of Hadrach (Syria), with Damascus its resting place: WHEN THE EYES OF MAN, AS OF ALL THE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, SHALL BE TOWARD THE LORD.

Also Hamath will be in its borders, as well as Tyre and Sidon"...

I must admit that I don't see the tsunami anywhere, or the DESTRUCTION of Damascus spelled out, as it is in Isaiah 17:1, but I'm willing to keep an open mind.

We know, without a doubt, that Damascus will become a pile of rubble.

However and wherever, exactly, it may fit into the end-time scenario, WHAT TRIGGERS OFF the tribulation, according to a number of Scriptures, that we've cited time and again are "THE SIGNS" in the sun, moon, stars, heaven and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, the APPEARING of Jesus.

What's going on in Syria is very important and fits somewhere in the end-time scenario.

The tribulation begins when Jesus opens the 6th seal (Revelation 6:12).

Luke 21:25 does mention the "roaring of the waves and sea".

Whether that affects Syria, or some other part of the world, remains to be seen.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2013


DAMASCUS IS DOOMED

Our president, members of Congress, and other leaders of the free world, face some very delicate and difficult decisions in the days ahead.

In principle it's hard to disagree with President Obama's stance on the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against its own people, or with the need for military action against the brutal dictator.

As is often the case in the Middle East, it's hard to differentiate the "good guys" from the "bad guys".

In fact, one could argue that there are no "good guys".

How can anyone who values freedom condemn those who want to rid themselves of an evil tyrant who rules with an iron fist and, evidently, cares nothing for his citizens but is only interested in self-preservation?

On the other hand, if Assad is removed from power, WHAT NEXT?

WHO OR WHAT will succeed him?

HOW will they govern?

What will be their position toward the West and, most importantly, toward Israel?

I find reports that Al Qaeda has infiltrated rebel forces extremely disturbing:

Or, that they took a Christian village on the outskirts of Damascus and, indiscriminately, killed a bunch of people.

President Obama stated very clearly that the goal of any U.S. military action is NOT regime change, but merely punishing the hideous use of chemical weapons outlawed by the international community.

However, there are serious and legitimate concerns whether Assad is removed from power or somehow manages to stay.

His days appear to be numbered. And yet, as barbaric as he is, what guarantees are there that what will follow WON'T BE EVEN WORSE?

The answer is THERE ARE NONE.

Just look at what happened in Egypt after Mubarak's ouster.

We are mindful that Bible prophecy calls for "perilous times" such as these.

We cannot forget that Saddam Hussein HAD - without any doubt - chemical weapons and other WMD's which, like Assad, he used against his people, to be more specific, against the Kurds.

Those WMD's mysteriously "disappeared" just prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

HENCE, by the time U.N. inspectors arrived on the scene, they searched far and wide, within Iraq, and could not find any.

If we KNOW he had such weapons, and we KNOW they were NO LONGER THERE when the U.S. arrived, the question is:

WHERE ARE THEY ?

Revelation 9:13-19 is EXCRUCIATINGLY CLEAR that, soon after the tribulation begins, there will be a huge number of HIGHLY TOXIC missiles that go off from the Euphrates region AND murder ONE THIRD of mankind.

It also indicates that these missiles were PRE-PROGRAMMED to go off at a specific year, month, day AND HOUR.

If such weapons ARE NO LONGER in Iraq - since U.N. inspectors couldn't find them there - WHAT OTHER Euphrates watered nation could have them?

The answer would have to be Syria.

Besides Iraq, the Euphrates only runs in two other nations: a small portion of Turkey and Syria.

Prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were reports of numerous convoys transporting such weapons to Syria.

We are constantly asked how the destruction of Damascus, prophesied in Isaiah 17:1 will happen and, most recently, if U.S. military strikes against Assad's regime will fulfill that prophecy.

The answers are: the Bible doesn't tell us HOW. Simply that Damascus will become "a heap of ruins".

And, no, the U.S. invasion may CONTRIBUTE to turn Damascus into rubble, but I'm quite certain President Obama does not plan to nuke Damascus into oblivion.

But if I had to GUESS - and this is JUST AN EDUCATED GUESS - we DO NOT HAVE conclusive scriptural PROOF of what I'm about to say...

A. Damascus is ALREADY partially ruined by its own internal strife.

B. The damage inflicted when all those missiles go off will probably be avenged, by whoever has the upper military hand at the time, possibly by the Antichrist himself. And,

C. If A and B don't finish the job, the huge earthquake mentioned in Revelation 16:17-19, will.

Not only Damascus, if it's still standing, but all cities of the world, from New York to New Delhi, from Tokyo to Tripoli, from Brussels to Beijing will be toppled.

Not only will Damascus become "a heap of ruins" as prophesied by Isaiah 2,800 years ago, so will every major metropolis.


SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2013


GOD'S CALENDAR

We tend to think in terms of the Gregorian ("Christian") calendar, the Hebrew calendar, the Mayan calendar, the Aztec calendar, the Inca calendar, the Chinese calendar, the Islamic calendar.

Bet you didn't know that 
God has HIS OWN calendar.

In fact, 
it was God who GAVE the children of Israel their calendar, told them when the year should begin, when each month should begin, what Feasts they were to observe, and how (Exodus 12:2, Leviticus chapters 23-25).

Unfortunately, 
even Israelites today, with the possible exception of Karaite Jews, DO NOT follow His calendar precisely but approximately, based on calculations.

Unfortunately, there are a number of years "missing" from both Karaite and rabbinic calendars.

God's Calendar always begins and, consequently, also ENDS, IN THE SPRING.

The beginning of the year for God HAS ALWAYS been in the month of Aviv (or Nisan, as it became known during the Babylonian captivity) which corresponds with March/April in the Christian calendar.

Wait it a minute, I thought the Jewish New Year was Rosh Hashanah, which was just celebrated.

NO. Rabbis came up with the idea of a Civil Year and a Religious Year during Babylonian captivity. 
That's when they began to refer to Yom Teruah as "Rosh Hashanah" or "Head of the Year".

However, 
although God ordained this Feast, He never called it "Rosh Hashanah" and He never said it should be the beginning of ANY year. NEVER.

God 
has ALWAYS used, and will ALWAYS use, His calendar.

He won't use anyone else's.

And although His First Coming in human form, forever divided "time" into two distinct sections B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, or "Year of our Lord"), 
His calendar, like God Himself, NEVER changes.

Secularists can call it "Common Era" (C.E.) all they want, 
but the so-called "Common Era" is based ENTIRELY on Jesus' birth, and the so-called B.C.E. (Before Common Era) are the years BEFORE Jesus' birth, like it or not.

God has never used ANY calendar other than the ONE He established:

The FIRST month 
was originally known as Aviv (Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1). In captivity it became known by its Babylonian name "Nisan" (Nehemiah 2:1; Esther 3:7).

The SECOND month was originally known as Zif (1 Kings 6:1,37). In captivity it became known by its Babylonian name "Iyyar".

The SEVENTH month was originally known as Ethanin (1 Kings 8:2). In Babylonian captivity it became known by its Babylonian name, which Jews use to this very day, Tishri.

The EIGHTH month was originally known as Bul (1 Kings 6:38). In captivity it became known by its Babylonian name "Heshvan".

God's Feasts are called 
APPOINTED TIMES for a reason.

Those are the moments on God's Calendar 
that God sovereignly chose for certain prophetic events to unfold.


SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7, 2013


PUBLICANS & PROSTITUTES

"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you SHUT UP THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN against men: FOR YOU NEITHER GO IN YOURSELVES, NOR ALLOW THEM THAT ARE ENTERING TO GO IN (Matthew 23:13).

When Jesus walked the earth, there were two distinct and CONTRASTING groups:

1. Scribes (teachers of the Law) & Pharisees, and

2. Publicans.

Scribes and Pharisees were VERY RELIGIOUS, held in high esteem; they believed they were SUPERIOR and THE ONLY GROUP that truly served God:

They basked in THEIR OWN self-righteousness and constantly bragged about being "the ONLY ones" who kept the 10 Commandments, "the ONLY ones" who truly observed the Sabbath, "the ONLY ones" who tithed, "the ONLY ones" who lived righteously, and "the ONLY ones" who had CORRECT DOCTRINE (Luke 18:10-12).

Jesus, however, saw things somewhat differently.

To Jesus, they were "children of hell", "unclean", "blind guides", "fools", "hypocrites", "SNAKES" and a "brood of vipers" (Matthew chapter 23).

To Jesus, prostitutes and publicans would enter the Kingdom of God BEFORE Pharisees & scribes (Matthew 21:31).

To Jesus, scribes and Pharisees WOULD NOT ESCAPE THE JUDGMENT OF HELL (Matthew 23:33).

Scribes and Pharisees OPPOSED JESUS, His teachings, and His ministry, TOOTH AND NAIL:

As soon as they had the opportunity, they DEMANDED His crucifixion (Luke 23:13-20).

Publicans, on the other hand, were generally despised and considered sinful low-lives.

Publicans DIDN'T BRAG about their own "righteousness".

They didn't even PRETEND TO BE righteous.

They DIDN'T BOAST about being "the ONLY ones" who did ANYTHING virtuous.

They DID NOT claim to observe the 10 Commandments or the Sabbath.

They DID NOT tithe.

They DID NOT boast about having the "ONLY correct" doctrine.

Yet, for the most part, they welcomed Jesus, His teachings and ministry.

They hung out with Him, ate with Him, TRUSTED HIM, and received forgiveness and Salvation.

Jesus NEVER CALLED publicans, prostitutes or ANY OTHER lowly sinner "children of hell", "unclean", "blind guides", "fools", "hypocrites", "SNAKES" or "brood of vipers".

Jesus NEVER SAID publicans WOULD GO TO HELL.

He said publicans and prostitutes WOULD ENTER the Kingdom of God BEFORE Pharisees and legalists (scribes) (Matthew 21:31).

These groups are still with us today.

EVERYONE reading this message is either a "Pharisee" or a "publican" where Salvation is concerned.

I advise each individual TO DO SOME DEEP, HONEST, SOUL SEARCHING.

In order to BE SAVED, we must ABANDON ANY PRETENSE of "being righteous", or having ANY "merit".

Those who WANT SALVATION must ADMIT THEIR OWN SINFULNESS, and THEIR FALLING WAAAAAAAAAAY SHORT OF GOD'S GLORY.

They must HUMBLE THEMSELVES before Jesus, THROW THEMSELVES TOTALLY and HELPLESSLY at His Mercy, and say like the publican in the parable:

"Lord, HAVE MERCY ON ME, A SINNER".

Can YOU say that?

Will you say that to Jesus TODAY?

...RIGHT NOW?

May the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and guide you.


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2013


SECRET RAPTURE

People often confuse pre-trib Rapture with SECRET Rapture.

This ministry HAS PROVEN SCRIPTURALLY that the Rapture (Jesus be praised) takes place PRIOR TO the tribulation judgments:

For such proof, scroll down to Myth #45 on our Home Page:

Or, watch our 5-minute YouTube video.

However, we have never believed or taught that the Rapture happens in secret.

In fact, the secret Rapture is one of the many prophecy myths that we expose on our Home Page (see Myth #36).

We are raptured AT THE START OF the 3-year tribulation.

Therefore, the Rapture takes place BEFORE the tribulation (trumpet) judgments begin.

The Rapture takes place UNDER THE 6TH SEAL (Revelation 7:9-14).

The tribulation (trumpet) judgments BEGIN UNDER THE 7TH SEAL (Revelation 8:1-3).

That much is UNEQUIVOCAL.

However, THE RAPTURE IS NOT SECRET.

There's NOTHING SECRET about it.

I'm aware that is the prevalent teaching among so-called prophecy experts.

I'm aware they teach that "there are no signs that precede the Rapture".

That the UNSAVED will have NO IDEA WHAT has happened.

That they will chalk up the disappearing of millions of people to "alien abduction".

They are wrong.

Their premise is absurd. It's also UNSCRIPTURAL.

Not only will people left on earth (unbelievers) KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, THEY'LL ALSO KNOW THAT SOME HORRIFIC JUDGMENTS ARE ABOUT TO FALL ON THEM:

Here's the way Revelation 6:14-16 puts it:

"And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.

And THE KINGS OF THE EARTH, and the GREAT MEN, and the RICH MEN... HID THEMSELVES IN THE DENS AND IN THE ROCKS OF THE MOUNTAINS; And said to the mountains and rocks, FALL ON US, AND HIDE US FROM THE FACE OF HIM that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: Because THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH HAS COME; AND WHO SHALL BE ABLE TO STAND?

Does that sound to you like these people DON'T KNOW what's happening?

Or like they have NO IDEA what's coming next?

Does this Scripture indicate they're CLUELESS?

Do you see anywhere in the Book of Revelation people asking "WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL THOSE WHO SUDDENLY DISAPPEARED"?

For that matter, DO YOU FIND THAT ANYWHERE ELSE IN Scripture?

According to those verses THEY'LL KNOW EXACTLY what's happening.

They'll KNOW the Rapture's taken place and THEY'LL KNOW that hell on earth will follow.

They KNOW this is the "great day of God's wrath", that's why they ask the rocks and mountains to "fall on them" and HIDE THEM.

They KNOW it's BETTER to die crushed under a massive rock, or buried under a landslide, than to endure the 3 years of tribulation.

Those Scriptures also say THEY WILL SEE JESUS in the clouds and ask to be hidden FROM HIS FACE.

Luke 21:27 says the same thing: THAT THEY WILL SEE HIM coming in the clouds with power and great glory.

It's not only false and unethical, but SUPREMELY IRRESPONSIBLE, to invent these fake theories about a "secret Rapture" and "alien abduction", PASS THEM OFF AS "Bible prophecy" -- when THEY TOTALLY CONTRADICT THE BIBLE -- and then SELL THEM to dumb, gullible Christians.

Jesus gave signs that the Rapture's about to happen and that the tribulation is beginning in a number of places, including:

Isaiah 13:9-10; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 24:29, Luke 21:25, Revelation 6:12.

Jesus Himself said there WILL BE SIGNS that the Rapture is ABOUT TO happen (Luke 21:25-28).

Even UNBELIEVERS will recognize those signs and KNOW PRECISELY what they mean.

The ONLY ONES who ARE CLUELESS about this are the greed-driven, self-promoting, self-declared "prophecy experts".

Although THERE WILL BE SIGNS, those who know Jesus don't look for SIGNS (plural): WE LOOK FOR HIM (Hebrews 9:28).

We're NOT FOCUSED ON "signs", we're FOCUSED ON our precious Lord.

His APPEARING (1 John 3:2) is THE SIGN that will transform and rapture us.


THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2013


A DIFFERENT SCENARIO


If you've ever watched one of the typical Christian films about the Rapture, they always present the same basic scenario:

Life is going on as usual, then all of a sudden, millions of believers vanish, their now empty clothes dropping dramatically to the floor, and there are thousands of accidents, since those who were driving disappear and thousands of cars crash. Same goes for trains, buses, and airplanes.

After a brief period of adjustment to this new reality, 
life continues to go on AS NORMAL, and some Machiavellian character who already occupies a prominent place in politics or religion, emerges as the feared Antichrist.

He then deceives people into taking his mark under the pretext of bringing peace and unity to the world.

Now, I'm NOT KNOCKING these films which, for the most part, are well-intentioned and that Jesus has even used to bring some souls to Himself.

I'd like to offer a different scenario which is far more in line with Scripture:

There's a huge shaking of atmospheric heaven and earth.

The shaking INTERRUPTS SATELLITE and MASS COMMUNICATION and rearranges geography.

Computers, TV's, air-traffic control, radar, cell phones, are no longer functional.

The earth turns TOTALLY dark, as there is NO ELECTRICITY or SUNLIGHT.

It remains that way for several days causing emergency landings and bringing all forms transportation to a virtual HALT.

In the midst of the black sky, the moon appears the color of blood, there's a huge meteor shower.

AGAINST that background of darkness, the sky divides, rolls up on each side, and Jesus APPEARS in glory.

By the time SOME sunlight returns, BILLIONS of people and land animals have disappeared.

Those left on earth find not only loved ones missing, children missing, pets and other animals missing, key government personnel gone, but land masses and, consequently, nations and continents have relocated.

As they scramble to come to grips with this new landscape, trumpet judgments begin to fall:

One-third of the earth's SURFACE is instantly incinerated.

One-third of remaining mankind dies.

Water and food become very scarce, disease spreads, war breaks out and superpowers fall.

"Normal life" is A THING OF THE PAST.

Amidst the chaos, DESTRUCTION, CALAMITY, and confusion, a powerful figure from the distant past, the greatest military hero and tactician in history, the widely admired "Defender of mankind", who professed himself to be a god, emerges from the abyss, RISEN FROM THE DEAD.

He vows to "defend" remaining humans, and what's left of the planet, against the "unfair", "abusive" Christ who has brought all this "evil" and terrible judgments on them.

He is rightfully named the Anti-Christ.

To sinful, Jesus-hating, unrepentant humans, he represents EXACTLY what they've been looking for:

Someone who HAS THE ABILITY to topple the "oppressive" rule of Christ, prevent His Second Coming and, consequently, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF HIS KINGDOM ON EARTH.

Who better to do it, than this individual who, like Jesus, APPEARS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, and who, like Jesus, exhibits supernatural powers?

A man who, UNLIKE JESUS, POSSESSES THE GREATEST MILITARY CREDENTIALS IN HISTORY?

If you DIDN'T KNOW Christ, and these two RESURRECTED individuals WENT TO WAR against each other, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU BET ON?

The humble, peaceful, "turn the other cheek" carpenter?

Or the greatest warrior, general, and military genius in history?

That's why Christ-rejecting humans go crazy over Alex and DEFIANTLY ASK:

"WHO IS LIKE Alexander (the beast)? WHO is able to MAKE WAR AGAINST HIM? (Revelation 13:4).

Alex hasn't even RISEN yet, and he's already worshiped by A LOT OF PEOPLE. I hear from his worshipers all the time.

But the Book of Revelation doesn't end there:

Most of you have read "THE END OF the Book", as have I.

It's NO CONTEST.

We KNOW who THE WINNER is.

We also know where THE LOSER ENDS UP, along with all the LOSERS who follow him (Revelation 19:20).