Sunday, 30 November 2008
Monday, 24 November 2008
Saturday, 22 November 2008
The prewrath position continues to gain support as serious Bible students examine it in light of Scripture. For that is the crucial test and is why the Bereans ". . . received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). The important factor is not what we may teach or believe but rather, what does Scripture say when we take it for what it says. We need to read the language of Scripture in its normal, natural, customary usage, as we are careful to take it in context, and then compare Scripture with Scripture. Too often Christians are not like the Bereans and are led astray and ". . . tossed here and there by waves. and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming. . ." (Eph. 4:14). We need Bereans who are faithful in saturating themselves with the Word of God and willing to check out everything they hear to see if indeed it is truth. We are thankful for many who we hear from who are excited about seeing what God really says about end-time events. One of the many encouraging comments to us was made by Dr. Walter Kaiser, the former dean of faculty at Trinity Seminary, who made the observation that the prewrath position is the only prophetic position that properly understands and utilizes Old Testament prophecy concerning the Day of the Lord. He also stated that if the fathers of dispensationalism had had the choice between pretrib and prewrath, he genuinely believed that the prewrath position would have gotten their vote, hands down. Dr. Kaiser understands the prewrath position as he listened to two 5-6 hour presentations of the prewrath position that we gave to the department heads of Trinity Seminary several years ago. The prewrath position on the timing of the rapture of the Church is often questioned, especially by pretribulationists. Many find it difficult to give up their traditions, what they have been taught, or perhaps what they have taught. The prewrath position is simply an enhancement of the historical position held by the early church fathers. The pretribulation position, on the other hand, is a relatively new position, first gaining popularity in the late nineteenth century. Those who attack the prewrath position, more times than not, have never read The Sign because either they never considered the position or they fear the consequences if they adopted the position, consequences they are were unwilling to endure. For these reasons, they aggressively try to shoot the position down without really understanding it and how it is arrived at via the teaching of Christ and Paul. Because of several books and articles that have been written against the prewrath position by Christians which dogmatically maintain that they take Scripture for what it says, we have compiled a list of a few of the problems with pretribulationism. These must be answered both logically and biblically if one is to have real biblical integrity concerning the view he is espousing. Perhaps this list of issues will be helpful to those who are asking us, "How do we get our pretrib pastor to honestly consider the problems associated with what he is teaching?" After all, it is the lives of the flock they are told to shepherd and protect that are directly at risk if their position is wrong. If pretribulationism is true, these problems must be answered honestly from Scripture with logical, unforced answers that do not contradict other passages. Biblical truth does not spawn confusion. If, however, pretribulationism cannot be clearly argued and substantiated from Scripture, pastors must have the right to teach their conscience on this matter without the fear of reprisal from their fellowship leaders. Lives of God's elect are at stake (Mt. 24:21-22), not some remote doctrine that will have no severe consequences if one is wrong. Without going into any great depth, here are a few questions that concern pretribulationism. WHAT IS PRETRIB'S ORIGIN?
First of all, pretribulationism didn't exist before 1830 and there is considerable documentary proof that it was initially introduced in England by Edward Irving, the father of the charismatic Apostolic Church and not John Darby. Edward Irving probably picked up the idea of an "any moment rapture" from his work on the translation of Emanuel Lucunza's book, The Coming of the Messiah in Glory and Majesty, a Catholic priest who initially wrote the book in Spanish under the pen name of Rabbi Ben Ezra. In reality, with whom the pretribulationism position originated really does not make that much difference other than the fact that it contradicts the first 1800 years of prophetic thought and contradicts the plain teaching of the New Testament. On the other had, the basic tenant of prewrath (that the Church will undergo the persecution of Antichrist before the return of Christ) was taught clearly and consistently by early Church fathers. Among the evangelicals, what other basic doctrine of Scripture, other than pretribulationism, has been "discovered" in the past 160 years and directly contradicts the basic, accepted teachings (as a whole) of the early church fathers? There is none. Some will tell you that pretribulationism is a result of "progressive revelation," but look out. There is a lot of baggage when you take that position. Where do you stop and who decides where? The revelation of God ceased with the completion of Scriptures. DOES PRETRIB HAVE SOLID SCRIPTURAL BASIS?
Second, pretribulationism has no clear biblical basis of support, only problem passages such as 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 (which is ignored) and Matthew 24:15-31 (which is ascribed to unsaved Israel). By comparison, the prewrath position can be clearly argued from the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and the Book of Revelation, with absolute consistency and no contradictions, letting the student of God's Word compare Scripture with Scripture without fear of contradiction, finding instead perfect harmony in all that is recorded in the New Testament. ARE MATTHEW AND REVELATION FOR THE CHURCH OR UNSAVED ISRAEL?
Third, pretribulationism views substantial sections of New Testament Scripture as having no application to the Church (in fact, many pretribulationists find it necessary to eliminate the entire Book of Matthew). For this reason, the applicability of the Beatitudes to the Church is denied, as well at the Great Commission in order to protect pretribulationism from the plain and obvious teachings concerning the timing of Christ's return as given in the Olivet Discourse! However, the flawed position that the Olivet Discourse describes the coming of Christ at Armageddon (instead of the coming of Christ for His elect at the rapture), is both logically and expositionally an absolute impossibility if one takes the time to consider the context of His coming (parousia) as it relates to other clear passages. For example, Christ teaches in the Olivet Discourse that "in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Mt. 24:38-39). In other words, Christ taught His disciples that life will be going on "as usual" right up until the time of His coming. How can the world be going on like nothing has happened, when if pretribulationism is correct and the Olivet Discourse is referring to the battle of Armageddon, the earth has just undergone the worse series of events known to mankind, leading up to the final battle at Armageddon, including the death of a third of mankind (the sixth trumpet), the turning to blood of all the seas and all the rivers and every spring of water (the second and third bowl judgments), and all the armies of the world preparing for battle against God in the plains of Armageddon (the sixth bowl) and, immediately prior to Armageddon, the destruction of every island and mountain by the worst earthquake known to man, followed by 100-pound hail stones rained down upon those in flight (the seventh bowl judgment). In addition, if the Olivet discourse is written for unbelieving Jews going into the seventieth week, why the repeated use of the personal pronoun "you" (vv. 4, 6, 9, 15, 20, 23, 25, 26, 33, etc.), when Christ was addressing His disciples, His followers that soon thereafter would build His Church and would suffer and die for the cause of Christ? And how can the elect (vv. 22, 24) be unsaved Israel, if the unsaved remnant of Israel does not come to know Christ until after the seventieth week is complete (Dan. 9:24; Rom. 11:25-26, cf. Rev. 10:7), and how is it that every other use of the term "elect" in the New Testament is a direct reference only to the Church, and suddenly the elect in the Great Tribulation (Mt. 24:21-22) refers to unsaved Israel. And if not unsaved Israel, how can this be a reference to Gentile converts during a time devoted exclusively to Israel (remember, pretribulationism teaches that the entire seventieth week is a different dispensation, devoted to the nation Israel), especially in light fact that Paul tells us that during the reign of Antichrist there will be little if any salvation. ". . . Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth . . ." (2 Th. 2:9-12). During the Great Tribulation, those unbelievers who are not deceived by Satan will be deluded by God. The elect in the context of the Olivet Discourse cannot be a reference to a huge Jewish or Gentile revival, if Paul's words are taken at face value. Therefore, the Olivet Discourse cannot be a reference to the battle of Armageddon. It must be a reference to exactly what Christ says it is, to His coming when "He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other" (Mt. 24:31). In other words, the rapture of the Church. However, the prewrath position sees all of the Book of Matthew as applicable to the Church and thereby consistent with the command of Christ to teach new believers "all that I command you" (Mt. 28:20). As such, it permits us to accept the parallel teachings concerning the parousia of Christ recorded in the Gospels of Mark and Luke without the confusion of which Gospel is for the Jews and which is for the Church. It also negates the question of why, if the teaching in Matthew is only for the Jews (and it is not), it is included in the other Gospels if they are intended solely for the Church. Pretribulationism sees much, if not all, of the Book of Matthew and most of the Book of Revelation as not written for the Church, but rather for "unsaved" Israel that will come to know Christ during the 70th Week. How can the Church not be in mind in these key passages in light of the given audiences to whom these books are written (Rev. 1:1 - His bondservants, and 22:16 - the churches, and Mt. 28:20 - the new disciples from all nations)? In reality, pretribulationism accomplishes for the conservative Christian what he dare not do with culture. Liberalism throws out Scripture because it says it is cultural. Pretribulationism throws Scripture into what Greek scholar, Samuel Tregelles, called "The Jewish wastebasket" because it says it is not applicable to the Church. ARE THERE TWO PAROUSIAS OF CHRIST?
Fourth, pretribulationism sees two separate parousias (comings) of Christ, one when He comes "for His Church" and the second, when He comes "with His Church," a grammatical position with not one verse of substantiation or explanation. One second coming of Christ (parousia) is referred to, never two, never spoken of in the plural, and never differentiated by any writer, including Christ. As important as the return of Christ is, if two separate parousias were the teachings of Christ and Paul, there would be no confusion in this matter. What's even worse, the proof text of Christ coming "with" the Church is a singular passage given in Revelation 19. At the great and final battle of Armageddon, "the armies which are heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him [Christ] on white horses" (v.14). Simply because they are wearing white linen clothing some assume Christ's army must be the "bride of Christ," even though the angels are seen wearing the exact same clothing (Rev. 15:6). Both Christ and Paul taught that it would be His angels that accompany Christ in battle during the day of the Lord (Mt. 16:27; 2 Th. 1:7-8). The idea that the new bride of Christ is to, immediately after the marriage ceremony described earlier in the chapter, follow her bridegroom into battle stretches one's imagination, especially in the light of the other clear teachings of Scripture. The prewrath view sees only one parousia of Christ, at a time that perfectly harmonizes every passage. WHAT IS THE TEACHING OF REVELATION 3:10?
Fifth, some try to use Revelation 3:10 as the key verse to prove that the Church will not be present during "the hour of testing." However some of the greatest recognized Greek scholars of the past several centuries (i.e. Moffatt, Goodspeed, Fausset, Beckwith, Zahn, Trench, Swete, Alford, Tregelles, and Robertson to name just a few) take the position that this verse promises removal out from within the sphere of danger, not kept outside it. If protection outside the sphere of danger had been what was intended, clearly other Greek words (i.e. apo) would have been used instead of ek. In addition, if pretribulationism is going to use Rev. 3:10 (the church of Philadelphia) as a proof text, then it must also be consistent and use the church of Thyatira with the same end-time application. In that church Christ directly tells John that "My bondservants" (Rev. 2:20) who have been led astray by Jezebel, "I will cast . . . into great tribulation unless they repent of her [Jezebel's] deeds" (Rev. 2:22). The next verse goes on to say that "all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts." Therefore, the bondservants are part of the Church, not a group of believers that come to Christ after the Church has been raptured. As it is, only Christ uses this term "great tribulation" and only three times in Scripture. In the other two cases (Mt. 24:21; Rev. 7:14) there is no question that it refers to the second half of the seventieth week. To accommodate its position, pretribulationism must deny the obvious. On the other hand, If Christ meant what He said, and "great tribulation" refers to exactly how He used the phrase in His other teaching concerning the last days, the pretribulation view of Revelation 3:10 is directly contradictory to Revelation 2:22.
Testing always implies separation of ranking. There is no need to test the whole world after the separation has already taken place. However, pretribulationism maintains that the testing occurs after the rapture of the Church. The prewrath view, by comparison, shows that the Church is removed during the testing as the Scripture says, "the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation [the same word translated "testing" in Rev. 3:10] and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment" (2 Peter 2:9). WHAT ABOUT IMMINENCY?
Sixth, the doctrine of imminency is nowhere taught in Scripture. The concept that Christ could return at "any moment" since His departure back to heaven is simply not taught anywhere in the entire Bible. Not one of the passages used to sustain imminency, actually teach imminency. Expectancy, yes. Imminency (an any-moment rapture), no. If imminency had been the concept that the writers had wanted to convey, it could have and would have been clearly stated (in fact 19th century promoters of pretribulationism initially taught expectancy rather than imminency for this reason). In addition, there were many events prophesied by Christ, known throughout the Christian world at that time, that still had to occur before He could return, such as the destruction of the Temple (Lk. 21:6) and the death of Peter (Jn. 21:18-19). Imminency was an impossibility until the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. Likewise, Christ taught that His rescue of the elect of God will occur "on the same day" that His wrath will begin upon the wicked that remain (Lk 17:26-30). There is no gap of time between the rapture and His wrath. If the seventieth week of Daniel is really the wrath of God, as pretribulationism maintains, and the seventieth week begins with Israel's covenant with Antichrist (Dan. 9:27), then Israel must be back in the land and Antichrist must be on the world scene before the Rapture, a simple deduction which once again destroys the unbiblical concept of imminency. But the prewrath position has no problem with any of these passages, including Revelation 12:12, where the persecution of Antichrist against the "elect" of God during the great tribulation is not called the wrath of God, but rather, the wrath of Satan. Pretribulationism makes Antichrist's persecution of God's elect the wrath of God. Prewrath rapturism sees this great persecution as the wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12 being the proof text). Antichrist's persecution of God's elect is never the wrath of God (Mt. 24:21-22; Rev. 12:7; 13:7; 14:12-13). IS THE GREAT TRIBULATION CUT SHORT?
Lastly, why does pretribulationism deny the clear, plain teaching of Christ that states His coming will occur when He cuts short (amputates) the great tribulation for the sake of the lives of the elect (Mt. 24:21-31)? This theme is repeated and expanded upon in Mark and Luke with the same substance and sequence again perfectly confirmed by the teaching of Paul to the Thessalonian church. Why deny the clear warnings given to the Church that enters the last days? The stakes are so very high! IS THE CHURCH AT RISK?
Those who teach pretribulationism run a big risk by telling believers that this does not concern them. Christ specifically told the disciples to teach His disciples from all nations "to observe all that I commanded you" (Mt. 28:20) and again told John "to show to His bondservants that things which must shortly take place" (Rev. 1:1). Yet, pretribulationism teaches that these two critical passages (Matthew 24 and Revelation) are not written for the Church, but for unsaved Israel that enters into the final seven years of human history as we know it. Why are His "bondservants" told to read, hear, and heed the words of the prophecy of Christ's revelation to John (Rev. 1:3)? Woe to the one who "takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, [because] God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city" (Rev. 22:19). If one compares all the passages of Revelation, they all fit perfectly and give no comfort to the compromising Church of the last days. We have such an overwhelming concern for the Church today. We are upset about what is being taught because the teaching of Christ is so clear concerning the persecution the Church will undergo before Christ returns, and the cost will be so high to those who are unprepared. WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE TEACH?
It is very interesting to read the negative reviews on the prewrath position. Not one review to date has dealt with the biblical position of prewrath. Some have set up straw men, and when they tear these straw men down, they think they have accomplished something. Others rehash the idea that certainly all the great men who held to pretribulationism could not have been wrong. The reason, we believe, is because the prewrath position cannot be attacked by taking Scripture at its face value. It is too firmly based upon Scripture. Their argument is not with us, it's with the Word of God. We have only taken it for what it says, harmonized it with all the other passages saying the exact same thing and gone on record that the Bible clearly tells us what will occur just prior to the coming of Christ. To say that we are concerned is an understatement. Whereas we refuse to set dates and hopefully will never be guilty of trying to squeeze Scripture into fitting current events, rather wait for current events to fulfill Scripture; nevertheless, there is a sense of urgency that drives our aggressiveness, as you may sense from the tenor of this study. The condition of the Church today and the world's political scene are such that the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel could begin, as it were, overnight. Pretribulationism, if it is wrong, will result in the untold agony of innocent Christians who have believed it. In light of that, end-time prophecy becomes very relevant, "For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved [delivered], what will become of the godless man and the sinner?" (1 Peter 4:17-18). On the other hand, if the prewrath view is wrong, it has only helped make Christians more alert and watchful for the return of Christ through holy living (2 Th. 1:4-11; Lk. 21:25-36; 1 Jn. 2:28). The problem is that we know that the words of Christ, substantiated by Paul, are for the Church, and the unprepared Church has been set up for "a great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall, and unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be cut short" (Mt. 24:21). That makes all previous persecutions pale in comparison to the persecution the elect of God will undergo during the great tribulation of Antichrist. The truth must be proclaimed, no matter how unacceptable it is to those who seem more concerned with tradition than the clear teaching of Christ, especially in the day and age we live in today. "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe that man through whom the stumbling block comes" (Mt. 18:7). Paul, after warning the confused Thessalonians to "let no one in any way deceive you" (2 Th. 2:3) concerning the timing of "our gathering together to Him [Christ]" and the timing of when "the day of the Lord has come" (2 Th. 2:1-2), ends his profoundly clear sequence of events that must precede the "appearance of His [Christ] coming" (2 Th. 2:8) with this admonition: "If anyone does not obey [listen, attend to] our instruction [words] in this letter [which is almost entirely prophetic concerning the second coming of Christ], take special note of that man and do not associate with him so that he may be put to shame. And yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." (2 Th. 3:14-15). Why? Because the stakes are too high for genuine believers to be misled by teachers in whom they have put their trust. The beginning of the seventieth week could occur almost overnight. We are the first generation of the Church since 70 A.D. to be in this peculiar position in history. As never before, we must be alert and sober. CONCLUSION
We realize that there are many views concerning prophecy. However, there is a major disagreement by sincere men of God over every position one chooses to take and be dogmatic about. If one employs the proper hermeneutic (consistent literal interpretation), truth can be known by those willing to study to show themselves approved, by rightly dividing the Word of God. But truth is truth no matter who agrees or disagrees, or how sincere their motives. So it is with end-time theology. The truth of what is being taught is Scripture is so simple. What are complex and confusing about the coming of Christ are the systems and traditions of men which have absolutely no biblical basis. Men and their wishful thinking make the issues concerning the last days confusing, which aids the cause of Satan who cannot afford to have the Church prepared for the last days. Satan will do all he can to keep men out of the Book of Genesis, upon which fact all men will be held accountable (Rom. 1:20). He will also do all he can to keep men out of the Book of Revelation, because end-time events, in particular the "hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell upon the earth" (Rev. 3:10), will determine what will happen to Satan (Rev. 20:2) and who will rule the world (Rev. 11:15). Well, you have seen our heart, our passion, and why we are driven the way we are, especially as we see the compromised condition of the Church today and know the cost of being unprepared. Our prayer is that the Church will not be "surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation" (1 Pet. 4:12-13) rather than "shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1 Jn. 2:28). We realize the battle that we are in, yet we know that God has given us the grace to overcome whatever hardships go with the territory. Yet we have the quiet peace that what we do, we do for the sheep we are commanded to shepherd, based upon the authority of Scripture that we teach them "to observe all that I [Christ] command you; and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Praise God." [end quote] Any feedback folks??? God bless you and God bless Israel ... KJS ... 22-Nov-2008
The price of the combined direct and indirect expenses of EU membership in 2008 costs Britain £55.775 billion. Set out in the latest Bruges Group research by UKIP MEP Gerard Batten, the full financial burden to Britain has now been calculated. They show a dramatic increase in the costs of the EU - A price Britain cannot afford. Click on the link below to see the full analysis online:-
* By 2008 Britain will have made total contributions to the European Community (EC) Budget of £230.4 billion gross or almost £68.2 billion net.
* By the end of the current EC budget period Britain will have made estimated total contributions to the EC Budget of £315.4 billion gross and £101.4 billion net.
* By 2007 Britain had an accumulated trade deficit with the other EU member states of £383.7 billion.
* The Common Agricultural Policy costs Britain at least £16.8 billion per annum.
* The Common Fisheries Policy costs Britain at least £3.275 billion per annum.
* Over-regulation on business costs Britain at least £28 billion per annum.
* In 2008 membership of the European Union costs Britain almost £65.675 billion per annum gross or almost £55.775 billion per annum net.
Due to the EU being riddled with corruption it is likely that the equivalent of Britain's entire net contribution to the EU is going into the pockets of fraudsters.
THE EFFECTS OF FREEING BRITAIN FROM THE EU:
 A BOOST TO THE ECONOMY: As EU red tape is holding back the UK economy by £28 billion, 2% of UK GDP, it is clear that freeing Britain from EU control will get Britain out of recession and get British people back to work.
 COST FREE TAX CUTS: As politicians of the three main parties are struggling to explain how they will deliver the tax cuts that the British economy needs they have failed to realise that this money can be found if we stop paying the EU billions of pounds per year of taxpayers’ money.
The 2% boost to economic growth created by leaving the EU and slashing its excessive red tape would also increase tax revenue by £10.73 billion. Combine that with the direct savings to the exchequer and it will allow for a 6p in the pound cut in the basic rate of income tax. Gerard Batten, UKIP MEP, author of the paper, challenges the Government: "As we enter what looks like the most serious economic crisis since 1929 membership of the European Union is a luxury that the British people simply cannot afford.“It is clear that the EU is holding up economic recovery, to get Britain out of recession, we must get Britain out of the EU.“If the British Government really believes that membership of the EU is in the interests of the British people they should commission an independent cost/benefit analysis to demonstrate the economic effects of membership.”
Robert Oulds, the Director of the Bruges Group, says: "There is a desperate need to reinvigorate the British economy by reducing the burden of taxation. Slowly, all three main political parties are beginning to realise this; but none have come up with a convincing plan as to how this can be done."However, now that the costs of EU membership have been exposed, we now know that the tax cuts that are so desperately needed can partly be found by freeing us from EU control. It will boost tax revenue and free-up funds totalling £25.33 billion allowing for 6p in the pound to be cut from the basic rate of income tax."
GDP is £1,459 billion. Tax: GDP ratio is 36.8% [excluding Council Tax which is fixed]. Therefore 2% more GDP would be approximately £10.73 billion more tax every year. Source: 2008 Budget Report
£14.6 billion would enable the basic rate of income tax to be cut by 3.65 pence. It would alternatively enable the Personal Allowance to be increased by £2,703, so that you would earn £2,700 more than you currently do before paying tax - taking millions of lower paid workers out of charge. The combined benefit of £10.73 billion more tax revenues and saving the £14.6 billion paid to the EU would enable the basic rate of income tax to be cut by 6.23p, or increase the personal allowance by £4,685. Source for calculations: HMRC Ready Reckoner for 2007-08"
The question therefore to be asked is: If these figures are correct; there is absolutely no benefit to the UK paying her dues and staying in the EU ... both in terms of the direct cost and the trade deficit ... why do our politicians insist that it's in our interest to get more and more entwined in this spiders web of a bureaucracy? Ted Heath admitted he lied before the referendums in the early '70's; this set the precedent of deception ever since regarding the truth about the EU... the answer to the question is ... because they are serving a greater master or masters and the Word of God will fulfill itself anyway ... in God's own time. Next time you talk to your councillor; MP; MEP or political representative ... tell them about this information and ask them what they think! Then the door will open ........
God bless you and God bless Israel ... KJS ... 22-Nov-2008
Friday, 21 November 2008
Thursday, 20 November 2008
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Hello again folks! First an apology for the lack of blogs lately ... purely down to lack of spare time and lack of strength to lever my children from this keyboard! Please pray for me and my time management! I've a number of blogs in the works to publish including:-
- Generation Alienation [the sister article to 'Dark Matter']
- More Signs of the Times
- The Obama Factor
- Just as in the days of Noah [literally]
- False Shepherds?
- Warning: The 2 kinds of False Prophet
So please bear with me .... maybe have a look at some of my earlier blogs ... in the meantime I have this for you. With the shops now fully decked out for the Christmas silly season [some have been since early September]; and my personal belief being that the Lord was not born during Saturnalia but during the Feast of Tabernacles in September/October; this piece from Koinonia House sums up the often overlooked issue of the Lord's first advent:-
WHEN WAS JESUS BORN?
"Each year at Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. After the New Year, we struggle to remember to add a year as we date our checks, which should remind us that the entire Western World reckons its calendar from the birth of the One who changed the world more than any other before or since. Yet, it is disturbing to discover that much of what we have been taught about the Christmas season seems to be more tradition than truth. Most serious Bible students realize that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. The shepherds had their flocks in open fields, which implies a date prior to October. Furthermore, no competent Roman administrator would require registration involving travel during the season when Judea was generally impassable. If Jesus wasn't born on December 25th, just when was he born? Although the Bible doesn't explicitly identify the birthday of our Lord, many scholars have developed diverse opinions as to the likely birthday of Jesus.
The early Christian church did not celebrate Jesus' birth, and therefore the exact date was not preserved in festivals. The first recorded mention of December 25th is in the Calendar of Philocalus [AD 354], which assumed Jesus' birth to be Friday, December 25th, AD 1. This was subsequent to Constantine's Edict of Toleration in AD 313, which officially ended the government-sanctioned persecution of the Christians. The date of December 25th, which was officially proclaimed by the church fathers in AD 440, was actually a vestige of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, observed near the winter solstice, which itself was among the many pagan traditions inherited from the earlier Babylonian priesthood.
The year of Jesus’ birth is broadly accepted as 4 BC, primarily from erroneous conclusions derived from Josephus’ recording of an eclipse, assumed to be on March 13, 4 BC, “shortly before Herod died.” There are a number of problems with this in addition to the fact that it was more likely the eclipse occurred on December 29th, 1 B.C. Considerable time elapsed between Jesus’ birth and Herod’s death since the family fled to Egypt to escape Herod’s edict and they didn’t return until after Herod’s death. Furthermore, Herod died on January 14th, 1 BC Tertullian [born about 160 AD] stated that Augustus began to rule 41 years before the birth of Jesus and died 15 years after that event. Augustus died on August 19th, 14 AD, placing Jesus’ birth at 2 BC. Tertullian also notes that Jesus was born 28 years after the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC, which is consistent with a date of 2 BC. Irenaeus, born about a century after Jesus, also notes that the Lord was born in the 41st year of the reign of Augustus. Since Augustus began his reign in the autumn of 43 BC, this also appears to substantiate the birth in 2 BC.
Eusebius [264-340 AD], the “Father of Church History,” ascribes it to the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus and the 28th from the subjection of Egypt on the death of Anthony and Cleopatra. The 42nd year of Augustus ran from the autumn of 2 BC to the autumn of 1 BC. The subjugation of Egypt into the Roman Empire occurred in the autumn of 30 BC. The 28th year extended from the autumn of 3 BC to the autumn of 2 BC.
The only date that would meet both of these constraints would be the autumn of 2 BC. Another approach in determining the date of Jesus’ birth is from information about John the Baptist.
Elizabeth, John’s mother, was a cousin of Mary and the wife of a priest named Zacharias who was of the “course” of Abijah [priests were divided into 24 courses and each course officiated in the Temple for one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath]. When the Temple was destroyed by Titus on August 5th, 70 AD, the first course of priests had just taken office. Since the course of Abijah was the eighth course, we can track backwards and determine that Zacharias would have ended his duties on July 13th, 3 BC. If the birth of John took place 280 days later, it would have been on April 19th-20th, 2 BC [precisely on Passover of that year].
John began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar. The minimum age for the ministry was 30. As Augustus died on August 19th, 14 AD, that was the accession year for Tiberius. If John was born on April 19th-20th, 2 BC, his 30th birthday would have been April 19th-20th, 29 AD, or the 15th year of Tiberius. This seems to confirm the 2 BC date and, since John was five months older, this also confirms the autumn birth date for Jesus.
Elizabeth hid herself for five months and then the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary both Elizabeth’s condition and that Mary also would bear a son who would be called Jesus. Mary went “with haste” to visit Elizabeth, who was then in the first week of her sixth month, or the fourth week of December, 3 BC.
If Jesus was born 280 days later it would place the date of his birth on September 29th, 2 BC. If Jesus was born on September 29th, 2 BC, it is interesting to note that it was also the First of Tishri, the day of the Feast of Trumpets (see our briefing package on The Feasts of Israel)."
[Source: KOINONIA HOUSE; 13-Dec-2005 eNews issue: http://www.khouse.org/enews_article/2005/1008/print/]
The above article reminds us all to remember the reason for the season [whenever it is]. The greatest gift in history is the gift of True Salvation and God provided this "once and for all" in His Son; the Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest gift we can give is the True Gospel message. Now that's something no 'credit crunch'; deflation or inflation will ever reduce the value of. And it has eternal, not temporal, value!
God bless you and God bless Israel ... KJS ... 18-Nov-2008
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Now, with all the media hype on the 'credit crunch' and the election of Obama; in the last few months; Gordon Brown - who engineered this crisis whilst Chancellor of the Exchequer - has seemingly led the way in dealing with the bailing out of high street banks et al and constructing a defence to the oncoming recession; not just nationally but internationally. Interesting. Not so long ago; there were calls for a Labour leadership election; he was a 'lame duck' PM with the lowest ever popularity in the polls and stumbling from one disaster to another. Interesting. But the 'credit crunch' has seen his popularity soar and he seems to have become the all-round good guy shaking up the world's financial institutions from the front. Interesting.
I'm reminded of this scripture: "And I saw one of his [the beast's] heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." [Revelation 13:3]. And, no I'm not saying that 'ol GB is the AC. One of the beautiful aspects of scripture is it's layers; its 'midrash'; and the Jewish concept of prophecy which sees many gradual/minor/partial fulfillments of prophecy leading up to the final, ultimate one. I wonder if Gordon Brown's amazing recovery politically from the fatal wounds he was suffering from is one of those prophetic heralds right in front of our eyes? Interesting.
Even more interesting is this. On 19-Jan-2007; I hand copied this report from BBC teletext ['Ceefax'; page 109] on my television [I had no computer then] and sent it out to the readership of my 'SOTT' email circular - one or two of whom were seemingly offended back then by its title. So here it is again in its entirety - it was entitled - somewhat tongue-in-cheekily - "Gordon Brown antichrist?":-
"BROWN WANTS A NEW WORLD ORDER ... Chancellor Gordon Brown has spoken of the need for a new world order to deal with future security and environmental challenges. He called for a new diplomacy to go alongside military power to defeat terrorism, share prosperity and win the battle of hearts and minds. That meant strengthening Britains global alliances but also reforming institutions such as the EU and UN. Mr. Brown was speaking in Mumbai on the latest stage of his tour of India."
Please note the following ... [a] this was before he was PM; [b] this was well before the 'credit crunch'; [c] his appeal wasn't about financial 'restructuring' - it was about diplomacy, security, the environment, military power and winning public opinion [d] the reference to the EU and UN as the vehicle for this 'change' and [e] all of the above being NWO/Illuminati/'One World Earth' governmental buzzwords for that very reason. It lacked the one thing that would be the catalyst for such a change ... a financial meltdown ... and what is happening right now as I write this blog? Maybe; the next piece of the puzzle but certainly no coincidence. Barry Smith [God bless him] was no prophet but he was an excellent evangelist and watchman; and it is noteworthy to see what he talked and wrote about is occurring here in 2008.
So what am I saying? In light of the reports above in the Telegraph this week and from the BBC in January 2007 - there seems to be a common thread of this 'global, co-ordinated approach' in GB's speeches then and now. By the way; I eventually stopped my email circular partly because of "Gordon Brown antichrist?" but now I realize that I should have took the criticism on the chin ... I may have been right!!! Thank God for this blog - another second chance.
In summary; while some believers are looking at possible antichrist candidates like Sarkozy; Putin; Obama; Clinton; Solana; Blair; Cliff Richard or even Prince Charles; we must not look for who we expect the AC to be. We know from II Thessalonians chapter two that true believers will probably know who the AC is. Equally; only a few souls got it right about the events of the first advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, while speculation and gossip and 'old wives fables' are futile; being Bereans; watching world events; seeking and hearing the Lord and sounding the alarm are good facets to have in the Body of Christ. So ... keep an eye on 'ol GB ... you just never know!
God bless you and God bless Israel ... KJS ... 11-Nov-2008
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Friday, 7 November 2008
As well as being a Pastor, Antony is an evangelist in many areas of Israel, working closely with other church leaders as well as members from his congregation, which is mainly Russian. He also leads bible study visits to many sites and not exclusively in Israel". Why not follow the yellow brick road to Telford on the 23rd? You never know what the Lord may have in store for you!