Have You Considered the Jew?

Have You Considered the Jew?
Vol: 158 Issue: 18 Tuesday, November 18, 2014

”And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)

There is a legendary story concerning an agitated Frederick the Great, who, in frustration, demanded from his cabinet that somebody provide him with proof of the existence of God. There was a momentary silence, before one of his counsellors spoke up; “Have you considered the Jew, your Majesty?”, he asked.

The continuing existence of the Jew is proof positive of God’s existence, just as the existence of a Jewish State is proof positive that we are living in the last days of human government as foretold by the Bible prophets of antiquity.

There are three distinct statements made within the Divine promise of blessing given to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The first is that God will bless those who bless the Jews.

When the United States wrested its seat at the council of nations from England, it became the first nation on earth to grant full citizenship to Jews.

It was the first nation to allow the Jews an unrestricted vote. It was the first nation to recognize the incomparable blessing the Jewish people have been to humanity.

America’s second president, John Adams, said of the Jews,

“The Jews have done more to civilize men than any other Nation. They are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited the earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily than any other Nation, ancient or modern.”

And no nation on the face of the planet today, or at any time in recorded history, has been more greatly blessed than the United States of America.

The second is that God promised that in the Jews ‘shall all families of the earth be blessed’.

Without the Jews, there would be no Bible. Jesus came to earth as a Jew. Without the Jewish Jesus, there would be no Christianity.

Apart from the theoligical argument, a quick look at the last hundred years or so proves the promise isn’t confined to religious blessings alone.

From 1901 to 2001, the world’s six billion people competed for the scarce 844 Nobel Prizes that have been awarded. Among those six billion people are nearly two billion Muslims — roughly 20 percent of the global population.

Of those two billion Muslims, 8 have been singled out to receive the Nobel Prize – (seven if you consider that one of them was a politically-motivated award mistakenly given unrepentant terrorist Yasser Arafat)

In any case, Muslims account for less than one percent of the total Nobel Prizes awarded in the last hundred years.

In the middle of the 20th century, the Nazis exterminated some six million Jews, more than half the world’s Jewish population. There are today about fourteen million Jews left.

Even with half their number exterminated at the century’s midpoint, 159 of the remaining 836 Nobel Prizes were awarded to Jews, or roughly 18.8% of all the Nobel Prizes awarded in Nobel’s history.

(If you’re keeping track, that is about twenty times as many prizes divided among fourteen million Jews than were shared by the 2 billion Muslims world-wide.)

In America, the influence of American Jews is hugely disproportionate to their numbers. Conspiracists point darkly to the ‘Jewish influence’ in education, banking, law, medicine, government, media and entertainment as evidence of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world.

They accurately point out that American Jewry accounts for less than 2% of America’s general population, but then draw their conclusions without the benefit of Scriptural discernment.

The ‘Jewish influence’ in American life is part of God’s blessing on America — the ‘Jewish conspiracy’ canard given them in reward is part of God’s curse on Israel.

“Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for My Name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. ” (2nd Chronicles 7:20)

The curse was partially lifted, beginning in 1948, but will not be entirely lifted until the close of the Tribulation Period.

“And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong.” (Zechariah 8:13)

The Jews have returned to the Land, but they remain a ‘proverb and a byword among all nations’ to this day.

Finally, God promised that He would ‘curse them that curse you’. The precision with which God kept this promise is nothing less than astonishing.

During the Crusades from 1095 to 1270, Jews in Southern Europe fled to Spain, England, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe as the result of severe persecution and wholesale massacres of the Jews.

England turned out to be the wrong place to go, because in 1290 King Edward I expelled the Jews. King Charles II did the same thing in 1394 in France by forcing all Jews from France. Interestingly, Spanish Jews found peace and security in Spain and Portugal while those countries were under Muslim rule.

At that point in history, Europe was fractured, ignorant and in constant turmoil, while that same period of time is known to history as the Golden Age of Islam.

The Moors were world-renowned for their knowledge of astronomy, medicine and science and the Islamic world boasted the most extensive libraries that had ever existed to that time.

In the 1400s, the Moors were kicked out of Spain by the Papal forces of Europe. In 1492, on the same day Columbus set sail for the New World, Spain expelled any uncoverted Jews who had survived the Spanish Inquisition. This time they fled back to England where the Protestant reformation now welcomed them.

Spain’s global empire lasted less than a century after it expelled its Jews, to be replaced by the Jew-friendly British Empire whose reach extended to every corner of the globe. In 1917, the British captured Palestine from the Muslims. The British Crown offered the Jews a homeland via the Balfour Declaration, and a year later, England won the First World War.

After the war, the British broke most of their promises to the Jews, restricted Jewish immigration to the Holy Land, and in the years since, have increasingly turned their backs on the Jews that brought them such great blessings for more than three hundred years.

The British Empire upon which ‘the sun never set’ in 1900, had, by 1948, lost its last colony when Burma declared independence, and the British Empire was no more.

In 1933, Germany was among the most cultured and sophisticated nations in Europe. Old Berlin was Europe’s Crown Jewel. The Nazis turned on the Jews, together with most of Eastern Europe, and twelve years later, Europe’s Crown Jewel was pile of burning rubble.

The Arab world, which had been so blessed during its Golden Age, collapsed into its present state of affairs, with most of it still operating as if electricity had never been harnessed.

The Arab Muslims supported Hitler, opposed Jewish immigration, waged repeated wars against Israel, deny Israel its rightful territory, and now mount a global jihad to finish Hitler’s goal of total extermination. The backward nature of modern Islamic culture and society are the fruits of those efforts.

Assessment:

Historically, wherever the Jews were welcomed, that nation flourished and prospered. Where the Jew was persecuted, those nations floundered.

It is more than just coincidence, it is an identifiable historical pattern that has continued, without deviation, since the days of the Babylonian captivity.

Babylon prospered when its Jews prospered, it fell to Persia when Neboplasser turned against them. Persia prospered until it turned on the Jews, whereupon it fell to Alexander’s Greece. And so on, throughout history, up to and including the impending collapse of the rabidly anti-Semitic United Nations.

God’s Word is true, and Bible prophecy is always 100% accurate. Jesus said that, before He returned, ALL Bible prophecy would be fulfilled — to the tiniest ‘jot and tittle’ — (the two most insignificant characters in the Hebrew alphabet)

In tracing Israel’s history from Babylon to the present, we see the incredible detail with which God keeps His Word. Although America continues to be Israel’s principle protector, and continues to enjoy the comcomitant blessings that come with it, America’s good fortunes began to wane about the same time the White House forced Israeli into the Oslo Agreement.

The ‘land for peace’ formula called for Israel to give up some of the land of Promise in exchange for peace. In other words, it was a form of blackmail whose terms were drawn up in Washington and forced upon Israel for the express purpose of undoing what God had already done, including dividing Jerusalem and taking part of it from the Jews.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)

People can certainly deny any Biblical connection but the hard reality marches on with the growing shadow now falling across global society. Now it is America’s turn to discover just how serious God was about the whole ‘blessing and cursing’ thing.

And by the time circumstances force America to recognize the danger it faces, it will be too late to do anything to affect the outcome.

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

Featured Commentary: Dance Like David Danced ~ Wendy Wippel

Long Life And Talents

Long Life And Talents
Vol: 158 Issue: 17 Monday, November 17, 2014

One of the major dichotomies of the Christian life is that for Christians, to die is gain.  All of us want to go to heaven, this old earth is nothing but sin and misery.  But the dichotomy is that we’ll cling to this life with both hands until the last second, praying for long life even as we eagerly acknowledge our joy at the prospect of going Home.

“Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:2-3)

It appears hugely contradictory.  The Promise is that we will live long upon the earth as a reward for honoring our parents.  Given our doctrine that to “die is gain” it would seem illogical to reward believers with long life on the earth.

As the old saying goes, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.” Atheists are quick to point out the seeming inconsistency to that position as ‘evidence’ that our faith, no matter how staunchly we might defend it, is really just a sham, like whistling past the graveyard.

Everybody dies, notes the atheist, so the whole heaven and hell thing is a fairy tale; the ‘opiate of the masses,’ Marx called it, self-administered to give some sense of eternal meaning to the inevitable.

After all, if heaven was real, wouldn’t we be standing in line at the edge of the cliff waiting for our turn to jump?

It is, of course, a deliberately misleading argument.  Personally, I have no fear of BEING dead.  I know in Whom I have believed, and, like Paul,

“I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

But BEING dead is different than GETTING dead.  To my way of thinking, fear of death is more a fear of GETTING there than it is of BEING there.

So a promise that includes ‘my days being long upon the earth’ is attractive, not because I am not eager to be in heaven, but rather because I am not particularly looking forward to the ‘jumping off’ point.

Dying prematurely means all one’s chances to do right have been used up.  I will stand before the Bema Seat with only those works I accomplished during my lifetime . . . and I know how much time I’ve wasted already.  I can’t afford to spare another second.

While I most assuredly expect to go to heaven when I die, I would hate to show up at the Bema Seat alone, with no fruit to show for my existence.

Jesus told the parable of the three servants to illustrate:

“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.” (Matthew 25:15-16)

There is an eternal truth contained here that is often overlooked.  He gave his servants ‘talents’ — ‘to every man according to his several ability’.  The nobleman also expected them to USE those abilities to his service.

“Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.” (Matthew 25:17)

Note also that the servant that was given the most produced the most.  Then our attention is turned to the unprofitable servant:

“But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.” (Matthew 25:18)

The two servants who invested their lord’s money returned it to him upon his return with interest. The first two servants were rewarded handsomely.

The first two servants were commended:

“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21,23)

“Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.” (Matthew 25:24-25)

Saying, “at my coming I should have received mine own with usury,” (Mat 25:27) the lord in the parable ordered the lazy servant to be stripped of the one talent he had, and ordered him cast into the outer darkness, ‘where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Mat 25:30)

These verses are often used to ‘prove’ a believer can lose his salvation, but it only works by taking the verses out of context.

In context, Jesus is teaching concerning the fate of the nations on the last day, not that of individual believers, as the next verses make clear.

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:32,46)

But, while the unprofitable servant story is ultimately referring to the separation into the ‘sheep’ and ‘goat’ nations in the last day, it also gives some insight into what the Lord expects us to do with the “talents” He gave each of us.

Assessment:

As believers, we are given certain ‘talents’ by the Lord and He expects us to use them to give Him ‘His own with usury’ — that is to say, He expects us to show up at the Bema seat with more than just ourselves to show for our lives.

The Apostle Paul likens a believer to a building set on the foundation of Jesus Christ and says that it is, from then on, up to us to build upon it.

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble . . .” (1st Corinthians 3:12)

Note that, although we are free to build upon our Foundation using the building materials of our choosing, our eternal security is based upon this Foundation, not our subsequent construction efforts.

Paul uses the analogy of the Bema Seat to describe the believer’s judgement — which is a different event than the Great White Throne Judgment that ends with the Lake of Fire.

In Paul’s day, the judge at the Olympic games would sit at the finish line.  His job was to determine the position each runner finished, first, second, third, and so on, for the purpose of awarding medals according to placement — just as in the modern Olympics.

This conveys a singularly important truth.  EVERYBODY that makes it past the Bema Seat FINISHED the race.  The Bema Seat is where the Judge awards the medals based on performance.  Keep that in mind as we go on.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.”

A person doesn’t get to the Bema Seat by mere intellectual knowledge alone. Believing is not enough — Satan believes in God, but he isn’t going to heaven.

For clarification purposes, then, those who stand before the Bema Seat are those who, by faith, repented of their sinful condition before God and accepted the free Pardon procured for them at the Cross.

And, as we’ve seen, repentance ALWAYS results in a changed life, but a changed life isn’t the same thing as a life of sinless perfection.

Individuals are redeemed or condemned according to the single criteria of either accepting or rejecting Christ.

The ‘sheep’ nations and ‘goat’ nations aren’t judged according to their perfection, either.  But they ARE judged according to their performance under conviction and are rewarded accordingly.

Paul says of the individual believer who crosses the finish line and stands before the Bema Seat where their works are tried by fire;

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:14-15)

Long life is, for the Christian, an opportunity to bear more fruit.  Every morning is a second chance to do the right thing, a second chance to invest our God-given talents so that we might return His Own to the King, with usury.

One day, we will stand before the Bema Seat and our works will be judged.  The only works that are of eternal consequence are those works we do that bear fruit for the King.

Every person we meet will one day stand before the Judge, either at the Bema Seat, to be judged according to one’s works on behalf of the Kingdom and to receive his rewards, or at the Great White Throne, where one will be judged according to the works done on their own behalf, where they will receive their ‘reward’ of their own righteousness.

Where that person stands in this day of judgement depends on whether or not one uses one’s God-given talent or buries it in the ground.

“Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude: 21-25)

May our God bless us all.  Until He comes.  Maranatha!

Featured Commentary: The Revelations of Christ ~ Pete Garcia

What’s So Great About Heaven?

What’s So Great About Heaven?
Vol: 158 Issue: 15 Saturday, November 15, 2014

It think it fair to say that most unbelievers are motivated to come to Christ more by the fear of going to hell than they are by the promise of heaven.  It was certainly true in my case.

I’d heard about heaven all my life.  An eternity of praise and worship and singing . . . ummm, an eternity?  (My enthusiasm starts to wane a bit.) 

But given the alternative. . . heaven sounds just great!

It is that comparison that motivated me to seek salvation.  By itself, Heaven sounded a lot like an eternal church service.  But truth to tell, I’m good for about an hour in church before I start squirming in my seat.

It was fear of the alternative that drove me to my knees.  Perhaps that might be why the Bible has more to say about hell than it does about heaven. 

Here’s what we know about hell, and the Lake of Fire to come after that. 

Luke 16:19-31 reveals that in hell, one has no name.  Abraham is mentioned by name. So is Lazarus.  But the rich man is not named.  What good is a name when nobody will ever call it again?  In hell, while you have no identity, you know who you were.

The rich man remembered his father and five brothers.  His memories are intact.  In hell, one is tormented by flame.  The rich man begged for a drop of water to cool his burning tongue.

We addressed the three-fold nature of man in detail in Volume 123, Issue: 20 during our discussion of the death of Kim Jong il.

In life, the body is the sensory input station for the soul.  The soul also receives input from the spirit, after it has been regenerated at salvation, but the soul’s primary source of input is still physical; sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.

Absent the body, the spirit becomes the eyes and ears, so to speak of the soul.  The body’s sensory gates close, but the spirit’s sensory gates swing wide-open.  We (that is, the soul, the part that makes you ‘you’) remains aware of what is going on. 

So when you die, the spirit functions much as the body did, as the primary sensory gateway into the soul.   The soul of a person that dies unregenerate, like the rich man of Luke 16, has lost its physical sensory input.  His spirit is dark, dead, and incapable of getting any spiritual input.

He is conscious and aware, like the rich man, but he is buried in hell where the only input he gets is burning pain.  

That lost soul will have his physical sensory input restored to him just before being cast alive into the Lake of Fire.  There, he will be deprived of spiritual comfort, since his spirit is dead, but his resurrection body will be eternally alive.

Brrrr!  Considering the alternative, suddenly the idea of eternal church sounds, well, heavenly.  

Isn’t it interesting that heaven is practically impossible to imagine, while the image of hell is not only easy to grasp, it is almost impossible to erase from one’s mind?

Assessment:

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Heaven sounds boring because we can only imagine it through our own eyes and from our own, earthly perspective.  What can we learn about heaven that we can sink our teeth into, the way that the concept of hell tends to seek its teeth into us?

First, the Bible tells us that heaven is the spiritual realm in which God’s Presence is manifest.  It is the dwelling place of the angels of God and of all believers that have gone on before. (Hebrews 10:22-24)

Because it is the place where God dwells, heaven must consist of many more dimensions than just the three we can comprehend.  The Apostle Paul reports an out-of-body experience in which he describes heaven.

“How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:4)

Since Paul said it occurred “fourteen years ago” he is referring to his own conversion experience on the road to Damascus, (as he admits in  v. 7). 

Whatever Paul saw, it made him long for more. 

Here and elsewhere, the Bible confirms the truth that there is no cessation of consciousness at death, no “soul sleep.”

We have the testimony of the Lord Himself, when He said to the thief on the Cross, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

When our physical inputs shut down and our souls leave our bodies, they are immediately present with the Lord: 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul re-confirms, from his own experience, that when we depart, we go to be with the Lord.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. . .  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” (Philippians 1:21,23)

The Bible reveals that when we get to heaven, our spiritual nature changes.  The dual nature of man exists only until the carnal part dies.  What we have now is ‘imputed’ righteousness, whereas in heaven our hope of righteousness is realized.

The Apostle John says that when we see Jesus, we shall be like Him as we are transformed.  When we do, we will be purified from sin and eternally bonded to Him. 

We cannot imagine heaven, we can only compare it to earth and all its beauty and wonderment, remembering that the earth is the universe’s garbage dump.

It is the only place where sin can exist without throwing the entire universe out of balance, thanks to the fact it has an environment that contains it. 

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12)

Think of our beautiful planet.  Try to imagine what it must have been like when it was still pristine and pure, back when Adam walked with God in the Garden in the cool of the evening.  

When Satan and his crew were cast from heaven, they were cast to the earth, what the theologians call the ‘cosmos diabolicus’ or literally, a world of evil.

To Satan and the rebellious angels that actually have seen heaven, it was the worst place they could imagine — a place of involuntary and horrific exile.  The elect angels share that opinion: 

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10)

The angels know what that sinner has just escaped from. Jesus also describes what we become in eternity in Luke 20:36,

“Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

Paul tells us that we will receive new, immortal bodies at the Rapture:  

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

But first, our loved ones who have gone on before get theirs.  Then we who are alive and remain get ours.  

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Despite being changed, we will recognize one another. (1 Corinthians 15:49) Together with those we love, we will meet with the Lord in the air, and “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Unrepentant Christianity?

Unrepentant Christianity?
Vol: 158 Issue: 14 Friday, November 14, 2014

There was a post in our member’s forums under the heading, “Unrepentant (Christian) Sinners” asking the question I am sure every Christian struggles with throughout their walk with the Lord.

“What about someone who professes to be a Christian and accepts they are a sinner, and admits Jesus died for their sins — yet they continue to live an unrepentant sinful life?”

We all know someone that went to church, accepted Jesus, then fell away and right back into the life they were living before they got saved.   They still talk about Jesus and use Christian buzzwords when around other Christians, but that is about the visible extent of their conversion.

They don’t go to church but they still go to bars. They seldom pray but they swear like sailors. They claim to believe, but they don’t seem to obey.   Are they really saved?  

Taking the perspective of the forum questioner, the transformation of an angry, worldly person over a long, painful period didn’t just happen.  It took a lot of willing sacrifice.  It isn’t a question of salvation by works — the question is, if there are no works after salvation, then is the salvation itself real, or imagined?

Can someone believe themselves to be saved and heaven-bound without demonstrating any kind of relationship with Christ?  Quoting the forum post directly, can a person  “just claim knowledge of the saving grace of God, but never put it into practice?”

“I fully understand works don’t save — but works are a product (fruit) of our being saved.  I’m just fully confused by this particular dynamic of a so-called Christian who lives a completely non-Christian life.”

I sympathize with the questioner and the question.  Living the Christian life isn’t easy, and the transformation process from one extreme to the other is so painful that a lot of Christians prefer not to make the trip.  

But is the transformation a requirement of salvation?  For that, in the final analysis, is the actual question.    

One of the most familiar parables of the New Testament is the one about the prodigal son. First, a little background.  Jesus was responding to criticism that He associated with tax collectors and sinners.  

“Tax collectors” were those Jews who collected taxes (often brutally) from other Jews on behalf of Caesar and were universally despised as traitors.  To a Jew living in Jerusalem at that time, a Roman tax collector was a sinner so egregious as to warrant his own category.

By way of reply, Jesus told the parable of the man with two sons. The younger requested his inheritance early, which he then took and squandered on riotous and sinful living.  Ultimately, the younger son found himself competing with pigs (the most foul and unclean destiny an observant Jew could imagine) for husks of corn in a pigsty.

Meanwhile, the elder, more serious son stayed at home and put his love for his father into practice, working the fields,  obeying his father’s commands, serving him faithfully.  

The contrast here is stark and deliberate.  And if it sounds like the questions posed in the member’s forum, I don’t believe the similarity is accidental.  

On one hand, we have an unrepentant, lustful, disobedient son squandering his inheritance on sinful living, shaming his father everywhere he goes. He cares about nothing but himself and wastes all that his father gave him.

On the other, we find the obedient, hardworking and honorable son, working at his father’s business, because he loves his father.  He isn’t working at his father’s business to earn his inheritance.  He already has that by virtue of his sonship.  He is working  that  hard out of love.

So when the disobedient, lustful son shows up and is received as an equal to the obedient son, the obedient son says, “How can this be?” 

“And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.” (Luke 15:29-30)

The elder son had a legitimate point — when viewed from the perspective of the elder son.   Still, the lesson seems to be that, even as the elder son wasn’t being obedient to earn his inheritance since it was his by sonship, the younger son didn’t lose his sonship because he squandered his inheritance either.

So the answer to at least one of the questions, which is, “Can a person be a son of God without putting their faith into practice?” would appear to be, yes. 

One is a son of God or one is not.  It is an issue of relationship, not behavior.  One does not behave oneself into a family relationship.  One need not even be in fellowship to be in a family relationship. 

I know of many a father and son who have no fellowship to speak of, but that doesn’t make them unrelated.  They are still father and son.   

Which brings us to the next, and most obvious question.  How does one enter into a family relationship with God? 

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  ” And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:30-31)

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  (Romans 10:9)

“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.: (1 John 1:9)

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15)

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)

(“Abba” is the Hebrew equivalent to “Daddy” — and that is how the Lord pictures the relationship between the Father and a Christian.)

Then there is this: No matter how one slices or dices or restates it, there is a moment of salvation.  For each of us, there was a moment before we were saved, then there was that moment when we were saved, and then came the moments afterwards.

The English Bible translates repent from the Greek word metanoeo,  which means, “to change one’s mind” — in this case, about one’s sin.  So an “unrepentant Christian” is an oxymoron.  If one is a Christian, one has already changed one’s mind about one’s sin.

The moments that come afterwards cannot undo the moment that has already occurred.

Assessment:

There are some other important lessons to be gleaned from the story of the prodigal son that apply here. First, note the status of the prodigal son. He is welcomed with a party and the father has killed the fatted calf.  

He is still his father’s son. 

But as the father tells the obedient son,  ” Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”  The obedient son’s reward is that his full inheritance is intact.  The prodigal son gets nothing but a warm greeting and a place to call home.

The obedient son lived a sheltered life, protected by the father and never suffered the indignities, pain, hunger, shame and guilt that racked the prodigal’s life.  The obedient son will always be in charge. The prodigal is grateful to have a bed.

We get another picture of the difference between the obedient son and the prodigal son in Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians describing the Bema Seat.

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (1 Corinthians 3:13-14)

This is the obedient son standing before the Judgement Seat of Christ.  

He is the one that is confused by the Christian who seems to live a completely non-Christian life.  When he stands before the Bema Seat, he will receive the rewards due him for his struggles and for his obedience. 

Then comes the prodigal son. 

Notice that he is also standing before the Judgement Seat of Christ.  Not because of his obedience, but because of his status as a son.  That status was extended to him at the moment of salvation. 

At the moment of salvation, he changed his mind about his sin and accepted the Pardon extended to him.  He asked to be washed clean of his sins and to be forgiven and adopted into the forever family of God and he was saved. 

Now he stands before the Bema Seat of Christ to be judged for his rewards, or “inheritance.” Like the prodigal son, he has status as a son, but he squandered his inheritance on riotous living. He didn’t work alongside his brother out of love for their father.  But he is still family.

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:15)

Those Christians that are like the prodigal son aren’t “getting by.”  We have no idea what Heaven will be like.  We only know what we’re told.  Like the fact that some Christians will be made rulers over ten cities, others only five, and still others will have what little they have taken from them.

“Once saved always saved” does NOT mean one has a license to sin. Your sin WILL find you out. If it is a habitual sin, it will kill your body.  It will kill your witness.  It will kill your effectiveness for Christ. 

Sin has consequences in this life. It also has consequences in the next.

There will be kings and princes among us.  That means there will also be subjects and servants.   There will be mansions, some greater than others, which suggests that there will also be shacks. 

If one looks at the Bema Seat in terms we can understand, the reward for the one that is saved as by fire is that he is allowed to live.

That is what “being saved” means.  You are saved from the second death.  You are allowed to live.  The rest is determined by your rewards, which is what you earn by obedience.

Maybe as a servant. Maybe as a citizen in one of those cities.  Maybe as a city official.  Maybe not. Maybe in a mansion.   Maybe in an apartment.  

Obedient Christians aren’t wasting their time being good when they could be out partying.  They are laying up for themselves treasures in heaven, like contributions to a heavenly 401k.  

You don’t have to have a 401k to retire, but if you don’t, you will regret it when the time comes, and for the rest of your life afterewards.

You don’t have to be an obedient Christian to make to heaven, either. But you’ll regret it when the time comes. 

For an eternity.

Featured Commentary: Free-Thinking Dragons ~ Alf Cengia

The Third Pillar of Antichrist

The Third Pillar of Antichrist
Vol: 158 Issue: 13 Thursday, November 13, 2014

I have always been leery of those Bible teachers who have a new ‘revelation’ — seeing something in Bible prophecy that they had never seen before.

I am also keenly aware of the dangers inherent in interpreting Bible prophecy in light of current events. It is a good attitude to have, I think, but it does tend to close one’s mind to alternative explanations.

In that regard, what should rightly be accepted as interpretational can subtly shift over from interpretation to doctrine. And interpretation and doctrine are two entirely different animals.

‘Doctrine’ is defined as “a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief.”

‘Interpretation’ is defined as “a particular adaptation or version of a work, method, or style.”

Doctrine is iron-clad; a ballet teacher teaches the identical doctrine of classical ballet to two students in the same class, but how they INTERPRET that doctrine is what separates a Mikhail Barishnikov from a Rudolf Nureyev.

Doctrine is constant but interpretation changes with understanding.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10)

According to Bible prophecy, the reign of the antichrist rests on the existence of three central pillars; a global government, a global religion and a global economy.

The prophet Daniel identifies the antichrist as being of “the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” (Daniel 9:26)

History tells us the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple took place in AD 70 under the command of Titus, later Emperor Titus of Rome.

Hence the interpretation that the antichrist comes to power through some form of a revived Roman Empire that serves as a de facto global government.

In this generation, the countries of the old Roman Empire united under the banner of the European Union, uniting Europe as a single empire for the first time since the fall of Rome.

The second pillar, that of a global economy, is necessary to fulfill John’s prophecy that he will have the ability to restrict persons from normal buying and selling at the individual level.

Such economic control was never possible prior to this generation. If you doubt it exists now, imagine if your Social Security number were deleted. You couldn’t work, open a bank account, get a loan, or make a major purchase.

Elimination of cash (a work already in progress) would completely exclude a person from any economic participation.

Of the third pillar, the global religious system, the Bible reveals the following:

1) It will claim authority over Christianity. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb. . .”

The references to ‘the lamb’ are pretty much self-explanatory. It is a reference to something ‘like’ Christianity, but a counterfeit. . . . “he spake as a dragon.” (Revelation 13:11)

2) It will share political power with the first beast. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him.”

3) Participation will be mandatory. “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

4) The method employed by the false prophet’s religious system as the penalty for refusing conversion is decapitation.

“and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast.” (Revelation 20:4)

For more than a thousand years, most interpreters saw the Church of Rome and the papacy as the third pillar of the antichrist’s platform.

The Vatican claims authority of Christianity and has always been as much political as religious. But that is where the similarities stop.

600 years ago, the papacy tried to enforce conversion and sometimes executed those who refused. The papacy also believed the world was flat 600 years ago.

It is safe to say when the Pope believes in a flat earth, the papacy will launch another Grand Inquisition.

There is in existence another religion that fits John’s description like a glove. Islam claims to be the third revelation from God.

It claims its existence from Abraham, acknowledges the Divine inspiration of the Bible, but claims that Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were all Muslim prophets.

It is Islam’s claim to be the third and final revelation from God from which Islam derives its claim of authority over Christians and Jews.

Islam is not just a religion but is equally a political system carefully defined by Sharia law and fulfilling points 1 and 2 much more perfectly than does the modern Vatican.

Islam is the religion of the sword. The word itself means ‘submission’ and Islamic law authorizes the death penalty for unbelievers, fulfilling point 3 as a matter of existing religious doctrine — not a new doctrine forced upon an existing system by a mad pope.

And the penalty of choice for refusing to submit to Allah is decapitation, fulfilling point 4.

None of this has to be developed and imposed upon Western religionists as new religious doctrine by a new pope as previous interpretations required — it already exists. And it is already practiced by one-fifth of the human race.

As noted, Islam claims to be the well-spring of Judeo-Christianity, claiming Islam predates both. Islam claims Allah is the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews and that the Old and New Testaments were corrupted by scribes.

Christians and Jews scoff at this claim, since the Koran’s Allah bears no resemblance to the God revealed in Scripture.

God is love. Salvation is a gift of grace through faith. As a matter of accepted doctrine, it cannot be imposed by force.

Salvation through Allah comes through martyrdom in the jihad, after conversion to Islam either voluntarily — or by force.

Daniel provides another glimpse into the religion of antichrist. He says that he will be an atheist, but that he will pretend to be religious in public.

“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

Then Daniel gives a letter-perfect description of Islam — as Islam describes ITSELF.

“But IN HIS ESTATE shall he honour the GOD OF FORCES: and a god WHOM HIS FATHERS KNEW NOT . . .” ‘A god of forces, and a god his fathers knew not’ cannot be applied to the Roman Catholic Church or the Papacy without the RCC formally renouncing Scripture, God and Jesus.

For 1600 years, interpreters looked to the Vatican and for 1600 years, the argument seemed valid. Until the arrival of the generation to whom the prophecy was written.

“And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are CLOSED UP AND SEAL TILL THE TIME OF THE END. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; BUT THE WISE SHALL UNDERSTAND.” (Daniel 12:9-10)

Featured Commentary: Night of Broken Glass ~ J.L. Robb

Beginning of Wisdom

Beginning of Wisdom
Vol: 158 Issue: 12 Wednesday, November 12, 2014

For most of the 20th century, the best-known, and arguably most influential atheist in the English-speaking world was English philosophy professor Antony Flew.

The Oxford-educated Flew was the son of a Methodist minister who regularly attended lectures by famed Christian apologist C. S. Lewis.

Although his field was the philosophy of religion, Flew’s reputation as a prominent atheist thinker and apologist with the 1966 publication of “God and Philosophy” and his 1984 work, “The Presumption of Atheism.”

In 2004, at age eighty-one, Professor Flew renounced his belief in atheism with the publication of a new book entitled, “There is a God.”

Flew’s ‘conversion’ was primarily intellectual, rather than spiritual — he didn’t convert to Christianity, but rather, he came to the intellectual conclusion that atheism was unsupportable and that the evidence supported the existence of a Deity.

To a Christian, that doesn’t seem like much of a leap, but the atheist community was scandalized.

In 2006, when Flew joined eleven other British academics in petitioning the British government to teach Intelligent Design, the secular community lashed out.

The New York Times Mark Oppenheimer reported that Flew’s book had been ghost-written by Roy Abraham Varghese and that the book reflected Varghese’s religious perspective — and not Professor Flew’s.

In his article, Oppenheimer characterizes Flew as a senile old man being manipulated and exploited by evangelical Christians for their own ends.

Varghese denied it, but the New York Times seldom allows the truth to interfere with a good story, and the Flew story was no exception.

Finally, Flew himself issued a statement through his publisher, Harper Collins, in which he set the record straight:

“My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 percent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. This is my book and it represents my thinking.”

Flew’s conversion was, as I noted earlier, intellectual, rather than spiritual. Professor Flew changed his mind as a result of what he considered to be hard evidence, not faith.

In an interview following his book’s publication, Flew explained;

“What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements to work together.”

Assessment:

The antipathy of the secular humanist community for their former champion is understandable. Flew’s transformation, in the eyes of his followers, from ‘enlightened thinker’ to ‘demented old man’ was a necessity.

Had Flew simply become a Christian, his ‘conversion’ would have been much easier to dismiss. Atheists don’t view Christians as demented, but rather as delusional, which is both a distinction and a difference.

Christians might be irrationally optimistic, but no intellectually honest thinker would care to argue that C. S. Lewis was mentally defective.

Christians come to faith as the result of being convicted of their sinful state, which to the secular mind is the same as being motivated by guilt.

A secular thinker understands what ‘guilt’ means, even if he finds the concept of an Eternal Judge irrational. But Flew’s conversion wasn’t motivated by an understandable, if “irrational” sense of guilt.

Flew’s conversion was the consequence of reasoned analysis, based on the otherwise inexplicable scientific evidence of Intelligent Design revealed by DNA research.

That is why his book, “There Is A God” had to be dismissed as either the confused ravings of a demented old man, or as a fraud perpetrated by a manipulative ghost writer.

A Deist is really a rational atheist stripped of both his intellectual comfort level, and of most of his best arguments.

An atheist is convinced there is no God, no heaven, (and especially!) no hell, no eternal accountability and, most importantly of all, in the supremacy of man.

At the end of this life, there is only the certain darkness of the grave. Nothing to worry about. Just a cessation of consciousness.

Deists, on the other hand, have neither the confidence of the atheist, nor the assurance of salvation that motivates the Christian. They arrive at their conclusion that there is an Intelligent Designer behind our existence based on reason, logic and evidence, but refuse to accept the notion of a personal God by faith.

Deists leave the questions of heaven, hell, eternity, etc., to theologians, but in so doing, leave themselves with fewer answers than either atheists or Christians do.

To a Deist “Intelligent Design” can mean anything from a Creator God to space aliens.

The atheist’s insurance is that he is accountable only to himself. The Christian’s assurance is that Christ has made Himself accountable on his behalf.

The Deist has neither insurance nor assurance, just a vague sense of ultimate accountability to some kind of Deity.

It takes little faith to acknowledge what can’t be explained away, but for Dr. Flew, it’s a beginning.

The Bible teaches that the “fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” but that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

Featured Commentary: Testimony ~ Lea Sylvester

If You Are Reading This in English, Thank a Vet

If You Are Reading This in English, Thank a Vet
Vol: 158 Issue: 11 Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tiny Melton was a truck driver from Missouri. Tiny got his nickname in boot camp after his drill instructor took one look at his 6’4″ 220lb frame and said, ”From now on, son, your name is Tiny.”

The name stuck. Tiny looked like a body-builder, but it was just the way he looked, he didn’t work at it. And as big as he was, he was as gentle as a lamb.

Tiny always put me in mind of Clint Walker’s character, “Posey” in the 60’s war movie, “The Dirty Dozen.”

Lynwood Richardson was from Alabama. Lynn was black, his skin a deep, rich ebony color. He was rechristened by his drill instructor as ‘Snowball’.

Richardson was a great runner, but a lousy athlete. It was a dirty little secret then, but I suppose it’s safe to admit it now.

In those days, it was fairly common for the drill instructor to cheat a little in order to squeeze somebody by some parts of the physical fitness test.

The tester was a drill instructor from another platoon. Snowball couldn’t do the requisite number of pull ups — my DI had me wear his sweatshirt and do them for him. (Snowball did the 3 mile run wearing my sweatshirt while I wore Pvt. Brunson’s and did his situps)

Sherman Latchaw was a little bitty guy from Pennsylvania — he didn’t weigh 95 pounds dripping wet. He wore great big, oversized glasses that made him look like the little kid ‘Sherman’ from the Mr. Peabody cartoons.

But, since his name was ALREADY Sherman, we called him ‘Poindexter.’ Poindexter looked like a stiff wind would knock him over. But he whipped every guy he was matched up with in hand-to-hand combat training. Poindexter, the little guy with the big glasses, graduated at the top of his boot camp class.

Terry Severance was from Pennsylvania, as well. For some reason, he and I didn’t hit it off that well at first. One of the duties shared by each recruit in boot camp was ‘firewatch’ duty. Each recruit in turn pulled a one-hour patrol of the barracks at night, before waking up the next man.

Terry fell asleep and when he woke me, it was halfway through my turn. Somehow, we ended up having a fight in the shower room — me barefoot in my skivvies, he in full dungaree uniform and combat boots.

I don’t remember who won, but I remember we were friends from them on.

My drill instructor was a guy named S/Sgt. J. R. James. When he found out I was Canadian, he nicknamed me ‘Wacky Jack’ — whenever another DI stopped by, Sgt. James would invite him to inspect ‘his pet Canadian’ whereupon I would race to the center of the squadbay to be ‘inspected.’

They’d look me over and say things like, “No wonder the Canadians sent him down here.” and, “they don’t grow ’em too sturdy up there, do they?” and other kind words of encouragement. (I kept part of the nickname — I dropped the ‘Wacky’ part and only had to put up with it when I ran into somebody from my old platoon)

Mike Tuscan was a decent guy, quiet, steady, and somebody you knew you could count on when the chips were down. He was a fairly nondescript looking guy, you’d pass him on the street without a second glance.

The last time I saw him, he had made it to S/Sgt in less than three years — quite an accomplishment for a Marine so bland that HIS nickname was ‘Mike’.

Assessment:

The Lord Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

I spent the Veteran’s Day weekend watching old war movies with my buddies. It sounds boring to some, but there is a real education there, if one takes the time to study the lessons offered.

The WWII movies I like the best were the ones Hollywood was churning out in the early years of the war when its outcome was still in doubt. Hollywood didn’t understand the enemy, and it didn’t try to.

Instead, they stuck to what they DID understand; we were good, the enemy was bad, they started it, and it was up to us to finish it. Our soldiers were heroic, brutal yet honorable, a force for good in an epic struggle with evil incarnate.

The war turned out the way Hollywood scripted it. We utterly destroyed our enemies and marched home in triumph.

We watched a couple of movies set during the Korean War, and one could see a subtle shift. Our forces were still brave, but so were the enemy’s. The main characters were not quite so fierce, not quite so honorable; the enemy was not quite so evil, our cause not quite so just.

The Korea War ended in stalemate. Nobody won, nobody lost, and the Korean War has yet to formally draw to a conclusion.

Then Hollywood moved on to Vietnam. We watched “Platoon” and “Full Metal Jacket” and “Hamburger Hill”. In those films, it was hard to figure out exactly who the enemy really was or which side to root for.

Vietnam ended in a loss. Or as observed by a character in the Clint Eastwood film, “Heartbreak Ridge” the score was 1, 0 and 0 for our side.

In post-Vietnam war movies, no matter which conflict they chronicled, there were no ‘good’ guys’ — just some guys were worse than others.

In the most recent war movies, our forces are depicted as dangerous psychopathic Nazi wannabes — unless they are gay, disloyal or cowards, like the hero in the slanderous 2004 movie, “Jarhead.”

It was like watching our society implode in fast forward.

But the men who fought those wars didn’t change. There is no difference between a Japanese bullet and a Taliban bullet — when it is fired at you.

Marines from all these wars didn’t fight for governments or to advance some kind of unpopular foreign policy. They fought for their buddies, for their flag, for their families — and for the ungrateful morons who can’t tell the difference.

I spent the rest of the day remembering.

I remembered Tiny Melton, Lynn Richardson, Terry Severence, Sherman Latchaw and all the rest.  To the many veterans among our membership, I apologize on behalf of the ignorant among us.  And to all the millions before and since, I add my heartfelt thanks.

There is a bumper sticker out there that sums it all up nicely; 

“If You Are Reading This in English, Thank a Vet.”

Featured Commentary: What’s Your Flight Schedule? ~ Wendy Wippel

When Tommy Came Marching Home Again . .

When Tommy Came Marching Home Again . .
Vol: 158 Issue: 10 Monday, November 10, 2014

While visiting in Texas back in 2003, I received an email from my friend, Captain John Kurek, USMC (ret) that said approximately the following: “S/Sgt Tommy Kurek, USMC arrives 8 Oct 1200 hrs. Hooyah party at ‘Our Place’ 8 Oct 1700 hrs. You WILL be there.”

Tommy has spent the last year in Iraq and Captain John spent an eternity at home waiting for the moment when he could send that email.

I speak Marine. I knew that Captain John did NOT forget to put a question mark after the last sentence, as in, ‘You WILL be there?’ And when Tommy came marching home, Gayle and I were there as ordered.

Jack Kinsella & his DadAs most of you know, I was born in Canada. I grew up within sight of the US border, and as soon as I was old enough, I crossed it and enlisted in the US Marines. As much as I love the United States of America, I love the country of my birth as well. This was my father’s country, he gave it to me when I was born, and for much of my adult life, I was proud to be Canadian.

Canadians were loyal to their friends, and when a Canadian saw one in trouble, he was the first one to show up at the door to help. Canada entered World War I at the moment Great Britain did and three years before America joined the battle.

In September, 1939, when Great Britain declared war on Germany, so did Canada. My father fought in every major battle from the disastrous raid on Dieppe in 1940 to the liberation of Dachau in the spring of 1945, fighting in France, North Africa, Italy, Holland and Germany. That generation of Canadians understood the concepts of loyalty and friendship. And freedom.

Right now — at this moment — our young men and women stand between us and an enemy sworn to our national destruction. They stand in the breech, protecting us from those who consider it their highest duty to kill as many of us as possible — no holds barred.

Our enemy would cheerfully kill himself if it meant he could kill you in the process. Indeed, in one foiled attack, a young couple intended to blow an airliner out of the sky, with themselves aboard.

To avoid close scrutiny, they brought with them their young baby, who would also have died in the attack.

NO sacrifice is too great for them, if it means killing you in the process.

You and your family. If they are willing to kill their own children, they certainly would have no compunction about killing yours.

Many of the young Marine veterans of the Iraq war with whom I am personally acquainted have told me that they save their last bullet for themselves, rather than risk being taken prisoner.

Each of our young men who have fallen into enemy hands so far have turned up dead. Each was hideously tortured before dying. Some of al-Qaeda’s methods have turned up in a ‘torture handbook’ captured last month in Iraq.

Assessment:

Tommy’s ‘hooyah’ party would have been a lesson to the world about Americans and who they are. Captain John lives in Atlantic Beach, NC, where most everybody has known Tommy since he was a kid.

Atlantic Beach is a tourist town situated on a little island just off the North Carolina coast near Morehead City. The island’s total population of about 6,000 swells to 36,000 from May to September, but from Labor Day to Memorial Day, the ‘Beach’ as it’s known locally, has a population of about 600.

In the center of town is the local meeting place and watering hole, appropriately named “Our Place”. Although ‘Our Place’ is a bar every other day of the week, when Tommy came marching home, it reminded me more of a church social. Everybody in town brought a covered dish or a dessert.

We saw Tommy pull into the parking lot, and perhaps 100 well-wishers scrambled to find a place to hide in a room that barely holds fifty, so we could yell ‘surprise’.

It was a wonderful moment. Old veterans saluted our newest hero. We thanked him for wearing a chem suit in 130-degree weather to ensure that we and our families wouldn’t one day have to wear chem suits here at home.

Not one person asked Tommy the question all veterans dread, “Did you kill anybody?” Nobody talked about the war. That was up to Tommy, if he wanted to. Tommy was home, and Tommy did his duty. That was all anybody needed to know.

After a while, Tommy climbed up on a table and gave a short speech. That was when he talked about the war. All he said was this: “When you’ve seen what I have seen, you know what is important. Your family. Your friends. Your country.”

I wished my countrymen could have been there to see what I saw. When Tommy came marching home again, I was privileged to share anew in the America Tommy fought for. And I wept in gratitude to find it still exists.

Reading the mainstream press, I confess I wasn’t quite sure anymore. You don’t hear about guys like Tommy from Peter Jennings. Or about the towns they come from.

To Tommy, and to your colleagues, some of whom remain in harm’s way to this moment, I’d like to offer my thanks.

Welcome home, Tommy! Semper Fi.

And God bless America.

Note: Jack originally wrote this Letter October 10, 2003.  The Omega Letter would like to extend our deepest appreciation to those who have served and to those who are still serving. Happy Birthday Marine Corps.

Featured Commentary: Back to Babylon ~ Pete Garcia

”Living Document” Tortured — To Death

”Living Document” Tortured — To Death
Vol: 158 Issue: 8 Saturday, November 8, 2014

Liberals are fond of referring to the US Constitution as a ”living document” presumably because, like a living person, if it is tortured long enough, you can make it say whatever you want it to. In this last session, however, it appears that the Constitution has been tortured to death.

That is to say, it has been so tortured by its captors in Supreme Court chambers that its contents have been rendered meaningless. The Constitution is much like the standard of truth in America — it means whatever a particular agenda wants it to mean.

In a single session, the Supreme Court has stripped Americans of some of their most basic rights, including those formerly guaranteed by the First, Fourth, Fifth and Tenth Amendments.

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees that; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Supremes have interpreted the first part of the 1st Amendment as follows: “No one remotely connected to any branch of government shall be permitted the free exercise of religion, unless it is an obscure, unpopular or dangerous religion. The religious rights of the minority are exempted, while the religious rights of the majority are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.”

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to forbid two county courthouses in Kentucky from posting the Ten Commandments where the public might see them, the president of something called the ‘American Atheists Society’ triumpantly announced a ‘victory’ for the something less than ten percent of Americans who self-identify as atheists.

Meanwhile, those who are adherents to the religion of the vast majority of Americans (at least 76% of Americans, according to the CIA World Factbook) were defeated based on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of “Congress” as ANY entity receiving government funds from ANY source, federal, state, county or municipal.

The Supreme Court interpreted the phrase ‘establishment of a religion’ to mean the ‘the recognition of the existence of a Christian religion’ and ‘prohibiting the free exercise thereof’ as meaning, ‘the prohibition of the free exercise thereof.’

Moreover, in its wisdom, the Supreme Court has decided that it (not Congress) has the right to determine religious doctrine, determining that the Ten Commandments are CHRISTIAN symbols — the fact that they are the foundation of Jewish Law as given through Moses to the Israelites notwithstanding.

As a consequence, the Ten Commandments are illegal if they are ‘too religious’ but they are perfectly legal if they are surrounded by a preponderance (and indeterminate number) of other religious or non-religious monuments.

The Supremes said the two county courthouses in Kentucky couldn’t post their framed copies of the Decalogue, but the State of Texas was allowed to keep its monument because it was one monument among many.

“How many other monuments must accompany the Decalogue?” “Ummm, more than they had in Kentucky?”

“How many is that?” “Ummm, as many as they got in Texas.”

“Why is that?” “Because Texas didn’t just have Christian monuments.”

“When did the Ten Commandments become ‘Christian’ monuments?” “Uh, what time is it now?”

“Who gave you the authority to determine religious doctrine?” “The Supreme Court.”

“Heyyyy, aren’t YOU the Supreme Court?” “Exactly!”

So, what exactly does the ‘establishment clause’ mean this week? It means that it is legal for the United States government to order special sensitivity training to ensure the Koran is handled with due reverence.

But it is illegal for any governmental entity at any level to possess a Bible on public property unless one is desecrating it as part of a Constitutionally-protected form of ‘free speech’.

It is illegal for any public school system to permit children to pray, but it is legal for the United States government to operate an Islamic call to prayer five times per day in a federal prison facility.

It is illegal for government officials to refer to the Bible as the Word of God, but it is legal for the President of the United States to pronounce the Koran a ‘holy’ book.

It is illegal for government officials to promote any one religion, unless one is referring to Islam as ‘a great religion’ as Secretary of State Condi Rice is prone to do in every speech where the subject comes up.

It is also illegal for Christians to peacefully assemble to protest a gay rights parade, since the right to peaceable assembly is denied Christians under hate speech laws, as evidenced by the arrests last year in Philadelphia that put 11 Christians at risk of serving 20 years in prison.

It is legal for gays to denounce Christians as ‘right wing bigots’ but it is illegal for Christians to say that homosexuality is an aberrant lifestyle.

It is legal for abortion rights supporters to hustle women into clinics to have an abortion, but it is illegal for anti-abortion protesters to come within 100 feet of an abortion clinic.

The Supremes have also translated the Fourth Amendment into modern English, where we are shocked to discover it doesn’t mean anything like what it sounds like it means.

The 4th Amendment says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What it REALLY means is that we are guaranteed the right to be secure in our houses, papers and effects — unless somebody with more money than we have wants them.

The Supremes ruled that the right of municipalities to seize someone’s home and property and turn it over to a private, commercial development concern, regardless of the wishes of the owner, does NOT violate the Fourth Amendment.

The case arose in depressed New London, Conn., where pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in 1998 agreed to build a $270 million global research facility.

It was near a neighborhood called Fort Trumball, and to make Pfizer happier, the New London City Council launched a redevelopment plan for 90 acres of Fort Trumball: conference center, hotels, offices, condos, etc.

Among those unwilling to sell was Susette Kelo, who was joined by six other Fort Trumball homeowners. They argued in state court that taking property from one private owner to transfer it to another was not a “public use.”

The Supremes disagreed. But wait! There’s more! In case there is some kind of misintepretation of what it means to be ‘secure in their houses’ as not meaning the land they stand on, we have the Fifth Amendment, which says, ” nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The Supreme Court redefined ‘public use’ as land used by a giant private drug company. And it redefined ‘just compensation’ to mean what the one paying the compensation deems to be ‘just’.

The Court ruled the landowner doesn’t have anything to say about it. And if the landowner doesn’t think the compensation is just and doesn’t want to sell, the private concern can just take it anyway.

The Supremes also struck down the 4th and 5th Amendment guarantees against unreasonable searches and self-incrimination, ruling that internet users who share files can be tracked down by record companies who can read the contents of their computers and use that information to press charges against those who trade music or movie files online.

William McGrath, director for the Center for Intellectual Property Law at John Marshall Law School in Chicago, predicted that average music listeners will find it “harder to get this kind of software for file sharing,” and he warned that the music and movie industries will be gunning for file-sharers. “They have their ways.”

The 2nd Amendment was also re-trashed during this session. The 2nd Amendment USED to guarantee that; “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Supremes ruled that citizens do not have a constitutional right to police enforcement of court orders protecting them from abusers. In the case before the Court, a woman sued because police failed to enforce a court protection order that would have prevented her estranged husband from killing her three children.

The Supremes threw out her lawsuit — making a mockery of previous decisions that justified violating the 2nd Amendment by outlawing gun possession on the principle that the state provides armed police protection, making private gun ownership for self-protection unnecessary.

Then we get to the Tenth Amendment, which states; “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Unless ‘the people’ want to freely exercise their religion, keep property somebody richer wants, share property that belongs to them (such as music purchased by them) or assemble peaceably near an abortion clini
c or a gay rights parade.

Nothing in the Constitution denies the rights of States to regulate those issues or expressly delegates them to the United States.

Congress has passed no law concerning the Ten Commandments, for example. And religious worship, gun ownership, private property rights and rights against illegal searches of private computer files are already REMOVED from federal jurisdiction by the amendments specifically exempting them.

Finally, there is the Eleventh Amendment, which deals exclusively with the rights of the Supreme Court itself. The Supremes REALLY hate THIS one:

“The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.”

The Eleventh Amendment says the Supremes don’t have any jurisdiction over the decorations chosen by county courthouses in Kentucky, the right of a woman to sue a police department for failing to do its job, or legal decisions concerning the internet, which is not in a state, or a country or a foreign state, but is in cyberspace, which is nowhere at all.

The Constitution USED to be a living document. But nothing can survive the torture the Constitution has been subjected to. May it rest in peace.

And may God have mercy on America’s soul.

Originally published June 28, 2005

Evil Men and Seducers

Evil Men and Seducers
Vol: 158 Issue: 7 Friday, November 7, 2014

There is a growing sense of all-pervasive evil overspreading the planet like a cloud. One can almost taste it in the air. It corrupts everything around us; entertainment, politics, the social structure, in the sense evil being the new good.

That which was heretofore unthinkable is now routine; as it becomes routine, it assumes a degree of normalcy. I recall listening to a news anchor’s description of the destruction of Jennifer Hudson’s family.

I didn’t know who Jennifer Hudson was, but because she won an Oscar for something, when her mother, brother and nephew were brutally murdered, it was newsworthy.

The crime itself is horrific beyond belief. The woman’s mother and brother were gunned down, according to police, by her own brother-in-law.

The suspect is the stepfather of seven year old Julian King. The little boy was taken from the murder scene by his step-father. Later, his little body was found, riddled with bullets and one of his hands hacked off! Seven years old!

If that isn’t evil personified, it is difficult to imagine what could be worse. The news anchor read the story from the teleprompter as if he were describing a automobile accident. Nothing is shocking, anymore.

The Apostle Paul refers to evil as a ‘mystery’, writing that;

“the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until He be taken out of the way.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:7)

“Mystery” is a word used 22 times in the New Testament, not at all in the OT, and refers exclusively to a progressive revelation from God not previously known to the Church.

“And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables,” Jesus told His disciples in Mark 4:11.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans;

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” (Romans 16:25)

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” (1st Corinthians 2:7)

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,” (1st Corinthians 15:51)

One would think little about evil would be a mystery to mankind; evil reared its ugly head in the Garden of Eden. Mankind is no stranger to evil. Evil is his constant companion. But there is little about evil, when you get right down to it, that isn’t a mystery.

For one thing, evil is unique to mankind. A cat can’t commit evil. A dog is incapable of an evil intent. A forest fire that consumes thousands of living trees and the wildlife living therein is a tragedy, but it is only evil if it were deliberately set.

An earthquake that spawns a tsunami that claimed hundreds of thousands in Asia was a catastrophic event of immense tragedy; the genocide in Darfur the perpetuation of a great evil.

They are different. Evil requires an intent, while at the same time, it doesn’t actually exist. (See why Paul called it a mystery?)

Evil is the absence of good, therefore, it cannot exist apart from good. Which came first? Good or evil? How does one measure evil, except by the absence of good? Good, on the other hand, is not the absence of evil.

(Hitler was good to his dog, Blondie. Until he had her poisoned)

Evil is like cold. It cannot exist independently. Cold is the measure of the absence of heat. Heat can exist without cold. Cold could not exist without heat. Or like darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. Light could exist without darkness. Darkness could not exist without light.

Evil could not exist without good. Evil is the measure of the absence of good. The murderer of Jennifer Hudson’s family was exceedingly evil, but had it been quick and painless, one could argue there was some measure of good to be found.

Strip away even that measure of good, and what is left is the incredibly evil manner of death that overtook seven-year-old Julian King.

Assessment:

If man wrote the Bible, it would have a happy ending. If human beings authored Scripture, the Gospel message would go something like this.

“In the beginning man was evil, but over the course of the ages, through effort and education, mankind gradually began to shed his self-destructive tendencies and as civilization developed, man grew less warlike, less murderous, less evil, and overall, the species began to improve.”

That’s the narrative, for example, behind the wildly successful “Star Trek” franchises. That given sufficient time, man will shed his evil nature.

It is a seductive message — and one that seems logical. Man is continually trying to improve himself, is he not?

As we observed earlier, one of the bedrock principles of progressive liberalism is change for the sake of change itself. We can do better, say the liberals.

But since the Bible was Divinely Inspired, the Scriptures say exactly the opposite. 2nd Timothy 3:1 says that in the last days, “perilous times shall come.”

We’ve discussed the similarities between the progressive liberal world view and the characteristics of the society Paul warned would bring perilous times until you can probably quote 2nd Timothy 3:2-5 from memory verbatim.

The world view that the polls say is shared by half the country is a letter-perfect fit to Paul’s social prophecy. Paul describes a world view in which man sees himself as the supreme authority.

In Paul’s society, the family unit has broken down, the church is an object of ridicule, children are disposable, rules, like promises, are made to be broken, self-control is non-existent, and those who dare to point out the deterioration of society from a spiritual perspective can expect fierce opposition.

Paul put it like this: “men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. . .”

While man, in his arrogance, might prophesy the improvement of the human race, (as do the tenets of most existing non-Biblical religious systems) the Scriptures were inspired by God, Who knows better.

Man would like to believe that his function is self improvement, and it seems logical, then, that man would embrace whatever would aid him in that goal.

Instead, Paul promises the exact opposite, that, “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” while promising that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

What lesson can we take away from the escalating tragedy that is the society of the last days? We can heed the instructions given us.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of Whom thou hast learned them. ” (3:14)

The fact that evil men and seducers continue to wax worse and worse, in spite of what man might expect, is evidence that man didn’t write the Bible.

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

That is our assurance that, no matter how scary things get, God remains in charge. He knows what He is doing. He hasn’t forgotten His children. He hears our prayers.

But He has a Plan of His Own. All He asks of us is to trust Him while it unfolds before our eyes.

“But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy Name be joyful in Thee. For Thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt Thou compass him as with a shield.” (Psalms 5:11-12)

Maranatha!

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