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Pentecost

“…this is what was spoken of by the Prophet Joel, ‘In the last days I will pour out my Spirit on all people… I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ ” (Acts 2:16-17a, 19-21 NIV)

On the Feast of Pentecost, as Peter explained to the Jews what they were seeing and hearing, he offered an example of the near/far prophetic. Among the major rules for Bible interpretation is this: “Look for the near/far in prophecy.” (See Book Excerpts menu above, “Rules of Interpretation”).

Applying the rules, the only way the Apostle’s words, in Acts 2:16-21, are accurately understood necessitates viewing the Holy Spirit’s power on Jesus’ disciples as historical (near), yet prophetical as well. I argue the sign of tongues in Acts 2 is a shape, shadow or pattern of a future (far) last-days’ event. What Acts gives, particularly in Chapter 2, is a description of events as they unfolded, but also a preview of signs and wonders to come.

Charismatics and Pentecostals would argue that tongues-speaking reappeared more than a century ago, or since a famous meeting in 1903 on Los Angeles’ Azusa Street. I do not dispute the charismatic experiences of my fellow believers; I do contend, however, that any claim that what we have seen in recent times fulfills Joel’s prophecy lacks Biblical support.

For instance, with the tongues of the past, has there been blood, fire and billows of smoke? Some may say “Yes, they saw all that?” Okay, perhaps, but did witnesses see the sun turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord (Acts 2:20-21, cf. Joel 2:31)? Come let us reason together. The celestial signs associated with Christ’s return and the Day of the Lord have not been seen. We must conclude that the tongues we may have heard was something other than what the prophets, Joel and Peter, described.

The Acts 2 harvest of souls is a type of what we’ll see, but with a phenomenal twist.

Peter alerts God’s people who are living in the last days to prepare for another, greater in-gathering (Pentecost Redux) at the fall harvest. The Acts 2 harvest of souls is a type of what we’ll see, but with a phenomenal twist. In Acts, the Spirit fell like tongues of fire on the assembled Jewish disciples, but it was during the Spring harvest festival. Christ’s followers obediently waited in Jerusalem for the Father’s promise. When they received the Spirit (Acts 1:8), they uttered the languages of all nations (Acts 2:5), for we read every people group on earth was represented. Jewish witnesses to Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension were in that moment empowered and equipped to take the Gospel out from Jerusalem and all Judea to all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). Witnesses in the last days will be gathered from these nations (Matthew 24:14).

Speaking through the Prophet Joel, God said that in the last days his people will rejoice in the autumn rain. Abundant showers will produce full threshing floors (Joel 2:22-24). If we believe the Word, the next abundant in-gathering will be among all nations, but during the fall festival.

In Revelation 7:9, John’s eyes were opened to the harvest Joel spoke of and is about to happen.

In that one day, according to Acts 2:41, three-thousand Jews were completed. They believed the apostle’s Spirit-filled message about their Messiah, were baptized and, later, added to the number of Jewish disciples. In Revelation 7:9, John’s eyes were opened to the harvest Joel spoke of and is about to happen. Dressed in white and appearing like sun-ripened wheat, is an innumerable multitude. The multitude is made up of sons and daughters, old men and young men. They come from every nation, tribe, language and people, both men and women. What are they doing? It is the opposite of the first Pentecost. The nations (i.e. saved people living throughout the earth) are declaring the glories of God with one voice–and in one language! (Rev. 7:10, cf. Joel 2:25-27). It is evidence of Pentecost Redux.

In Part 2, we will provide a Scriptural-supported theory regarding what language is spoken around the Lamb’s throne. We will examine God’s purpose in a second Pentecost. We will see a bit of what it means to “Completed Christians”. Get ready!

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This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the LORD and seek the LORD Almighty. I myself am going.’ And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the LORD Almighty and to entreat him.”

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you; because we have heard that God is with you.’ ”
(Zechariah 8:20-23
NIV)

By God’s design, for nearly a score of centuries, Jews have stubbornly resisted the gospel. The few who come to acknowledge Yehovah (Jesus) as their Messiah are either converted to Christianity or they become “completed Jews”. To be converted means forsaking the rites and rituals of their forefathers and adopting those of the church they attend. Forgetting the apostles and early disciples were all Jews, many Protestants and Catholics believe conversion is the only way a Jew can be saved.

Becoming a Messianic or completed Jew is the preferred alternative to conversion. A completed Jew receives Jesus as their promised Messiah and, as a result, finds new meaning in the laws, ordinances, feasts and sacrifices handed down to Israel. They do not reject their heritage; rather, the completed Jew embraces it. They discover that the New Testament sheds divine light on the (Old Testament) Scriptures (i.e. The Book of the Law and the Prophets), particularly as it relates to prophecy.

In Chapter 11, the Apostle Paul wrote to The Romans about the Jewish rejection of Christ. The chapter begins with the question: “Did God reject his people? By no means!” is the answer.

Gentiles were/are the grafted in branch until their full number is reached. Then all Israel will be saved because God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable (Romans 11:25-29). This soon-coming salvation clearly includes the Jews since they comprise two (Judah and Benjamin) of the twelve tribes of Jacob (Israel). What has not been as clear is the relationship between the Gentiles who follow Christ and the lost ten tribes of Israel. They are, in fact, one and the same. Paul refers to it as God’s mystery.

When the light goes on and Gentile believers realize they, too, are descendants of Abraham and heirs according to the promise, then perceptions of the Old Testament and the Torah radically change. So what should we Protestants by heritage, do? Should we convert to Judaism? No, that would involve too much unnecessary baggage. Becoming a completed Christian would be the wiser option. That’s what Peter, James, John, Paul, John Mark, Barnabas, Timothy, etc., were in reverse. They did not keep the Law to obtain salvation, but followed God’s statutes because they were blood-bought saints.

Prophecy, such as we read in Zechariah (see top), speaks of a glorious restored temple in Jerusalem. Ten men, representing the ten lost tribes who were assimilated by all nations and all languages, will stream to the Holy City to worship the Lord their High Priest and King. (Read Isaiah 2:1-5 in this same context.) The ten will take firm hold of the hem of one Jew’s robe pleading to go with him into the temple of God. There will be much for the Christian to learn that our Jewish brother knows.

The Prophets of God blog urges Christ’s followers to get a head start on where He is leading his people. Ditch the Christmas and Easter thing and stop calling Sunday “the Sabbath”. Instead, assimilate (put into practice) God’s laws given to the Israelites from Sinai. Get hold of a Hebrew Religious Calendar. Learn how to observe the Holy Days. Why not strive to be the first completed Christian among your friends and family? Try it and see if you are not the most blessed person you know.

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“Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your descendants forever. I will make your descendants like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:14-17 NIV)

Why all the hostility directed at a nation with an area about the size of the fifth smallest U.S. state, New Jersey? Why the threats of annihilation from their Middle East neighbors? Why are military leaders with weapons of mass destruction and their surrogates targeting a people? Of course I am referring to the six million plus Jews within the country of Israel and members of the their family scattered abroad.

Bible students eventually learn that the answers to most big questions are in Genesis. Enmity or a state of war would be a promised constant between the serpent’s and woman’s offspring (cf. Genesis 3:15). The devil hates God’s people. He always seeks their destruction. It was true in the beginning and is today. Want to know who belongs to God? Pay attention to who suffers the attacks and persecutions of the wicked.

It’s about the people! The people who trace their ancestry back to Abraham. In Genesis 12 the Lord promised “a great nation” would come from his servant. In order to be “great” there must be a great ruler over an innumerable multitude of happy, prosperous people who have lots of children. Also needed was spacious, beautiful and fertile land for all the people to enjoy.

Abram was to take his household and possessions and go, to sojourn among the Canaanite tribes. A solemn vow came later, in Genesis 13. (See top.) God would supply the descendants. As to the land, as far as Abraham could walk in any direction it would be his possession and that of his descendants, forever. From the great river Euphrates to the Wadi in Egypt, the land belongs to the sons of Abraham and their King (Gen. 15:18-21). This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, but it will soon (cf. Acts 1:6, Rev. 11:15, 22:20)

Blessed are those who bless Abram. Cursed are those who curse him. We do not have to be a genius to know what all the conflict and global violence is about. It’s about the saints who will soon inherit the land. Those who believe God’s Word understand the track of doom America and Europe are following. Support Israel’s enemies and feel God’s wrath.

Wake up! Stand firmly on the side Abram’s offspring. By doing so we demonstrate we belong among the despised of this world, God’s chosen people.

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“…so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV)

For over 470 years, Calvin’s “Institutes” has served as a textbook for students of Systematic Theology. It has guided a major branch of Protestantism on God’s Sovereignty, Christ’s salvation, and a host of other doctrinal points. It might be surprising that a minute fraction of “Institutes” is dedicated to the subject of God’s sovereignty in prophecy Revelation (cf. 11:15-18).

My answer as to why prophecy was nearly irrelevant to Calvin, Luther, Knox and other great Christian Reformers, is this: Their teaching had another purpose. The Spirit veiled their minds. Only now, in the latter days, are the prophets’ words being unsealed. Those receiving insight today are motivated by the same Spirit that stirred Daniel to read Jeremiah (cf. Dan. 9:1-3). Those who have an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying have focused their attention on Christ’s repeated admonition, “I am coming soon!” (Rev. 22:7, 12, 20)

So shall the Lord’s word be that came from his mouth. He is coming soon! Tragically, multiplied millions of Christians following the instruction of the Great Reformers and their disciples, do not believe what Jesus has said. Teachers who are steeped in Calvinism have erased the plain meaning of foretold events by rejecting a literal interpretation of Scripture and injecting symbolism. They refuse to examine prophecy in its context or compare a passage with all other relevant passages. This highly intellectual, academically-trained multitude forgo accuracy by ignoring the near/far prophetic in Scripture. One could say they have thrown out the major rules for Bible interpretation to promote their theology.

Beginning with the 4th century and St. Augustine, Christians began to fall in love with human reasoning, intellect and thoughts. With all his brilliance, Augustine had also developed an antisemitic theology. (I have written of this at length in Key 22 of “The People of God”.)

“Amillennialism”, the widely-held view that the Millennium, Christ’s thousand-year reign (Rev. 20:4-6, Acts 1:6), is not a literal future event, came about by Augustine’s influence. Christ’s coming was to be understood only in spiritual terms. As a result, the Catholics and mainline Protestants Augustine influenced have embraced an “allegorical” (a good vs. evil tale) view of Revelation and prophecy.

Augustine’s anti-Jew sentiments gave birth to “Replacement Theology”. As far as God’s promises to Jacob’s offspring are concerned, the inheritance now belongs to Gentile Christians.

Catholics and Protestants have been guilty of terrible atrocities against the House of Judah. This is attributable to their Satanically-inspired belief that God has forever cursed the Jew. Within a segment of Presbyterianism, a virile strain of hatred for Israel exists. Their god is indeed antisemitic.

Lord, deliver your people from this and other lies. Open the ears and eyes of your true saints before it is too late. As you did with Simon, rebuke these misguided teachers. They do not utter the Father’s thoughts nor do they express his heart. Instead, they exalt the ideas of men (Matt. 16:23).

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“The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her.” (Joel 3:16-17 NIV)

We may have heard of cases where, figuratively, the tail wags the dog. Prominent Christian teaching on the end times gives two major examples of how theology (the tail), or one’s view of God, wags our doctrine on last things.

A century and a half ago, Dispensational theology was quickly growing in legitimacy among conservative British Bible scholars. Seeing the Bible in terms of “dispensations” of 1000-year increments seemed to be a valid explanation of God’s workings (dispensations) in history. As a theology, it offered a step forward in presenting a more literal understanding of Scripture. However, as an explanation for the end times, it fell far short in the accuracy department. The tail wagged the dog of Bible interpretation and out came Pre-tribulational Rapture (PTR) doctrine. PTR dogma fits the Dispensational grid, yet, it does not stand up to objective scrutiny. (See a more detailed treatment of this in “Lifesaver: Rescuing God’s People from the PTR Ship”.)

What Dispensationalism could not overcome was Christianity’s long-standing antipathy (veiled hatred) for the Jewish people. With all its advances in promoting Zionism (the return of the Jews to their ancient homeland), PTR continues to make harsh false distinctions between the Church and Jews. For example, it is commonly taught the Church escapes suffering in the rapture while Jews remain to endure Antichrist’s persecution. Where is the love?

Moses rejected the pleasures of Egypt’s palace to participate in the suffering of God’s people (Hebrews 11:24-26). Do we hear today of an eagerness to follow Moses’ lauded example and participate in Israel’s suffering?

Does God show favoritism? Would Jesus, the King of the Jews, celebrate in heaven with Christian saints while his fellow Judahites cry out to God for help?

This superior attitude has been around for nearly two millennia, or from the time Gentile Christians forgot the earliest church was exclusively Jewish. PTR’s position of consigning the Jew to another holocaust is nothing more than Antisemitism. The proliferation of this teaching in books such as the “Left Behind Series” paints our God to be unsympathetic to the Jews. But the above Scripture as well as others (Isaiah 40:1-2, Acts 1:6) confirms the Lord is all about restoration. Our God will not harboring his anger forever.

Worse on the Antisemite spectrum is Amillennialism, another popular end times’ view among Christians. It has been wagging the dog since the 4th century. We will see next how Amillennialism has formed an anti-Israel, Pro-Hezbollah, Pro-Hamas god of gold.

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Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 NIV)

Christians, who take their faith seriously, tend to love the fellowship of believers. In nations like China, where following Christ is not without risk, meeting together has for decades been an art-form. In the early days of the Communist Peoples Republic of China, a great purge was launched to eradicate religion in general, but “The White Devil’s Religion” Christianity, in particular. Churches were boarded up, leveled or converted for the use of the local Communist party. Bibles were confiscated. Executions of Chinese Christian leaders was common. Imprisonments were ordered. Persecutions were an everyday occurrence. By the late 50’s, it was estimated that the Christian population had decreased eighty percent. The church had declined from 25 million in Pre-Mao 1949 to around one-half million ten years after the Revolution.

Shut off by their atheistic leaders from the outside world, there was little to encourage the suffering, scattered and solitary Christian in China. Their sanctuaries were, for all practical purposes, non-existent. Then a radical change began to take place. Christians who were hungry for fellowship began meeting in secret, out-of-the-way places. The underground church was born in China out of necessity. Government raids and jailed leaders could not stop what the Lord had begun.

In an effort to stop the growth of the underground church movement, the government of China offered a carrot to its leaders. The Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), which had been banned, was re-opened and sanctioned for public worship services–with certain restrictions, of course. Having services in a Protestant worship setting was an attractive alternative to the rigors of operating underground. But the “certain restrictions” proved a stumbling block to most underground pastors.

Who can argue with the methods used by the Underground Church? The unsanctioned Chinese Church has all the characteristics of the Church of the first century. Again, accurate figures are difficult to come by, but some mission experts estimate the present Christian population in China to be 100 million plus. It is believed the underground church is exploding throughout China at the rate of 20-30,000 converts a day!

China, the world’s most populous country, is on track to soon dominate the globe economically, militarily, industrially, and politically. Western believers would do well to imitate their underground church’s Book of Acts methodology as well, instead of the TSPM. We would be well-served to develop a lean, mobile and fervent fellowship; a Church that operates under the radar with an undying hope and willingness to suffer, such as we see among millions of Chinese Christians.

Much more could be written. I encourage blog readers to purchase The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story of Chinese Christian Brother Yun (Kregel Publications). As far as understanding where God is going, reading about Brother Yun might be the wisest thing we could do.

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sign of the fish

“Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated–the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:36-38 NIV)

Our brother Judah recently asked the question that makes up our title. It occurred to me that others–especially in the West–want to know “What is the underground church?” It’s the right question at the right time.

As the passage in Hebrews 11 (above) describes, saints have endured periods of great distress. The people of God have often known times of siege. Second Timothy 3:1 warns, “There will be terrible times in the last days…” With the brutal first-century executions of innocent Christians in Rome during Nero’s reign, we can imagine why Peter wrote “The end of all things is near.” (1 Peter 4:7 NIV) There was no warning before terror struck.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Huddling together in a cave is a sign of desperation. Foraging in the desert is evidence of tough times. Living in catacombs under the city they once called home, was for Romans identified by the sign of the fish. They could exist underground or be entertainment for the Coliseum crowd that rooted for the lions.

My definition of an underground church is “a fellowship of believers who continue to serve Christ while under siege.” War has been declared for reasons beyond their control. They are hated without reason. They must endure great hardship and suffering, but they don’t have to die. If they do not move to God’s place of safety, they will not survive.

My previous post was a response to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by radical Muslims. They were Egyptian men whose sole crime was their faith in Christ. If any Coptic pastors are reading this, I strongly encourage you to take your flocks underground, at least until the danger is past. If you think it is cowardly to leave the four-walled building you’ve called home to where the Lord can hide you, then count on more widows, orphans and more funerals, including your own. The underground church is an alternative to being the entertainment for gruesome videos loved by the terrorists.

The bottom line is this: We have made the Church bricks and mortar when the Lord meant it as people. We foolishly invest our resources and energies into a building and its upkeep. But this is war. We are under siege from now until the end of the age. One bomb and that cement, wood and glass is blown to bits. One fire and our lovely church is a heap of ashes.

The Church has always been people, but idolatrous worshipers fixate on the material. When war breaks out and its time for saints to move, we wait too long. Hearts won’t let go of the past. Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt for a similar reason. Tarry, while the enemy plots his massacre, and we are playing into his hands.

I know of churches who have armed security protecting the Sunday a.m. crowd. Security killed a man in the foyer of a large Colorado Springs, Colorado, church before the lone gunman could open fire on the worshipers. What’s this? It is one response, but how many guns is enough? What kind of weapons are needed to meet force with force? What happens when the bad guys’ plan of attack takes into account “church security”?

if the shepherd’s job is to protect the flock, wouldn’t the church be better served to head underground rather than the more guns and ammo approach? What do we have to lose beside a costly structure that devours our resources and offers a false sense of security? Imagine what great good we’d accomplish if our budget went to providing for the saints.

The biggest obstacle to Western leaders preparing their congregations for the siege is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (PTR) doctrine. I have the 70’s “Wish We’d All Been Ready” movie scene etched in my mind: The angel’s trumpet sounded on Sunday a.m. and the members disappeared. The sign outside read “The Rapture: First Thessalonians 4:13-18“.

How many pictures of little girls in bloody dresses and bullet-riddled bodies of boys will it take before we ditch this one fictional image and act? I’m concerned about the answer because I have children and grandchildren in churches that teach PTR fiction as if it were true.

In Part Two, we will look at the amazing growth when leaders adopt the Underground Church model. (It will make us wonder what they were thinking when they ceased underground operations in the 4th century.)

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 America    

    The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”                 (Jeremiah 1:4-5 NIV)

For most of my adult Christian life, I dismissed the notion America was in the Bible. I thought national pride was behind this claim, or worse, a belief Western European-based culture was divinely favored over all others.

A deeper look at prophecy changed my opinion. The key is the word “nations”. (Try and follow the line of reasoning.) I saw that “nations” (plural) appeared more than 500 times in the NIV translation. Most of those times “nations” was connected to future events. That caught my attention.

What does God mean by “nations”? Genesis gives the answer. As numbers increased and people scattered in Chapter 10, nations with physical boundaries were formed. The origin of people groups and languages (the human element of nations) is explained in Genesis 11:1-9.

In the Bible’s next chapter, we learn of Abram, “Father of a Great Nation” (sing.). The nation made up of Abraham’s offspring (i.e. Jacob or Israel) received divine revelation. With this knowledge of God, the Israelites to be a light to all other nations and peoples.

I began to view “nations” (sometimes Gentiles) as the contrast to the one “nation” the Lord formed from Jacob (Israel). Through God’s chosen people, all nations on earth will be blessed.

Regardless what you may have been taught, Bible prophecy is centered on the regathering of Israel, the people. Soon there will be one Kingdom, made up of many nations, under One King (Acts 1:6). “The Church” is not prophecy’s focus, as many claim. In his last words before leaving earthActs 1:8, Jesus told his disciples that the Church is the means to an end, not the end itself. The age ends when disciples are made in every nation (Matthew 24:14, 28:18-20).

In the last days, the Church of Jesus Christ will be searching for the scattered tribes of Israel who are living among the nations (James 1:1). When the Lord’s lost sheep are found, they will be gathered as sheaves at the harvest. Then it will be as it was during David’s reign; Judah and Israel will be restored to oneness (Hosea 1:10-11, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Ezekiel 37:15-28).

Back to our original question: Is America in prophecy? Yes!–that is if we determine that America represents the nations. (I elaborate on this in the first chapter of The People of God.) Ponder the Latin motto minted on U.S. coins and printed on its currency, “e pluribus unum” or “from many one”. Many what? From many “nations” they came and they continue to come. Nations are in America’s makeup. The U.S. is a “Melting Pot”. With the exception of the slave trade, people arrived on Western shores seeking a better life. America has been a type of Canaan or a Promised Land.

This brings us to what convinced me America is in the Bible: It is Rule #5 of The Five Major Rules of Bible Interpretation, “Look for the Near/Far in prophecy.” I discovered that reading Jeremiah and the other prophets was like following the day’s news. The prophets declared God’s judgment on Israel then Judah for their idolatry. This is the “near”. The “far” is that these warnings apply to the end of this age.

It is time for God’s judgment on wickedness. The Lord will avenge the nations’ for their mistreatment of his people (i.e. devout Christians and Jews). Jeremiah’s prophecy was directed at Judea, yet God appointed him a prophet to the nations (Jer. 1:6). This can mean only one thing: Prophecy is for the saints scattered to the four winds.

God loves the nations and has a glorious plan for them. America and the West’s punishment is coming soon. When it happens, the stage will be set for the final scene of earth’s Act II.

A few lines sum it up. They are from a half century ago and credited to the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan: “America is the last, best hope of freedom. When the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere.”

The light is going out. Then the Man of Lawlessness will have his moment in the spotlight.

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th

When we read about  events that transpired in the Old Testament, it is important to study the New Testament in order to gain deeper insight. Abraham (the father of many nations) had faith in God and was considered righteous. He became a friend of the Lord and was able to speak boldly to Him. Genesis 22  makes the connection of Abraham to Jesus through the events that took place when YHWH commanded his friend to sacrifice Isaac (Abraham’s only son born of his wife Sarah). Isaac carried the wood needed for the burnt offering to Mount Moriah. (The future site of God’s Holy Temple built by King Solomon). The sacrifice of Isaac was not only an opportunity to test Abraham but to show him what the ALMIGHTY was going to do in order to attain salvation for all people.(cf: John 3:16). What we learn from Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in John Chapter 8 shows the connection that Abraham had to the Savior.

” Your forefather Abraham was extremely happy at the hope and prospect of seeing My Day; and he did see it and was delighted.” (John 8:56 Amplified Bible).

It was Abraham’s longing to see the salvation of God and he patiently endured the years. The events on Mount Moriah was the culmination of that Blessed Hope. The seeds were planted previously during a Divine Appointment of two righteous kings. Abraham returned from a campaign to rescue his nephew, Lot. Melchizedek, the king of Salem and high priest of YHWH, met him and brought bread and wine. God’s high priest blessed Abraham, then blessed the Creator Himself. When Melchizedek glorified God for delivering the enemies into the hands of Abraham, the father of nations responded by giving the priest a tenth of all he had. (Genesis 14:17-20).

A covenant was formed that day and the bread and wine were the offerings. They represented God’s plan of Salvation and the perfect sacrifice presented by Melchizedek. Jesus fulfills this covenant with His proclamation at the Passover meal. He states that the bread is His body broken and the wine is the Blood of the New Covenant, poured out for the forgiveness of sins.  (Matthew 26:26-28). Jesus thus followed in the holy order of Melchizidek and the “God Appointed” meeting the Lord set up for Abraham brought the hope and longing he had for the Savior.  EJ

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The Spanish-American, known popularly as George Santayana (1863 – 1952), was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. He is widely known for articulating The Law of Repetitive Consequences.  In essence, this law states: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

As a tribute to the 150th year of the Madrid-born Santayana, let’s examine briefly the Spanish fleet, the “Armada Invencible” (literally “Great and Most Fortunate Navy” or “Invincible Fleet”)  and look at its 525 year-old lessons.  The Spanish ruler, King Philip II, had a long-standing personal feud with his relative, by marriage, Queen Elizabeth I of England. It came to a head when Philip sent his 130 ship armada (“the invincible fleet”) with the intention of overthrowing the Protestant queen and permanently establishing Spain’s power in the Low Countries or the Spanish Netherlands.

However, in August of 1588, Spain’s plan of conquest was not going well. They were beat back in a series of harassment-type attacks by the English fleet and forced to return to Spain. On the way back God intervened in the affairs of men. The Armada sailed into a great storm at sea, off the western coast of the northern part of Ireland. God inflicted heavy losses on the Armada. The Great and Most Fortunate Navy would never recover. Fifty of Spain’s ships that set sail with glorious intent, never returned home.

The British House of Commons may be paying attention to history. They denied their prime minister, David Cameron, the support he requested to help launch a strike against Syria’s leadership. As U.S. ships steam toward the eastern Mediterranean Sea armed with military muscle and might, except for France’s war machine that has known two centuries of defeat, they are sailing without allies. As our commander-in-chief, President Barrack Obama, sits poised to push the attack button without congressional or popular support at home, his attitude evokes images of the 16th century Philip II of Spain.

Back in America, many are still outraged by Miley Cyrus’ MTV awards performance, the justice department’s refusal to contest recently passed marijuana laws in Colorado and Washington, same-sex unions making their way through state legislatures, etc.  Could it be that the history lesson offered by Pharaoh’s commanders in Exodus 14:25 will be repeated? It was in their effort to destroy the Israelites that things started going badly. Just before they all died, they declared, “The Lord is fighting for them [the Israelites] against Egypt.” Do not be surprised if we see our God intervening again.

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