Satan’s Holiday

Satan’s Holiday
Vol: 169 Issue: 31 Saturday, October 31, 2015

Today is Hallowe’en, or the Feast of Samhain, el Dia de lost Muertos, one of the world’s oldest holidays, still celebrated from Europe to the Americas (and my daughter, Kari’s birthday. Happy birthday, Kari!)

One year for Christmas, one of my sons gave me a 700 page book entitled, “The Story of the Irish Race” written by Irish historian Seumas Macmanus near the close of the 19th century.

Throughout his book, Professor Macmanus demonstrates a record of Irish history, maintained through its songs, legends and traditions, almost as rich and detailed as that of the Hebrews themselves. Indeed, Roman historians of antiquity considered Ireland to be an ancient kingdom when Rome was still young.

Part of Irish folklore history holds that the ancient Ard-Righs (High Kings) of Ireland were trading partners and allies of King Solomon of Israel. It seems that the ancient pagan Irish Druidic class was modeled after the Israelite system of priests and judges.

The Druids maintained the history of the Irish race, mimicking the practice of the Israelites of committing the past to both oral and written records. The Druids were like the ancient Israelite priests, only without the God of Israel.

The ancient Romans referred to the Druids as ‘barbarian philosophers’ but in his book, the Gallic Wars, Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar noted that it could take up to twenty years to complete the Druid course of study.

“The principal point of their doctrine”, says Caesar, “is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another.

With regard to their actual course of studies, the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructability of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.

Subsidiary to the teachings of this main principle, they hold various lectures and discussions on astronomy, on the extent and geographical distribution of the globe, on the different branches of natural philosophy, and on many problems connected with religion”.

Caesar also noted the Druidic deity was the equivalent to the Roman god of the underworld, Hades. The ancient Israelites would have recognized him from their literature as Satan.

The whole ghosts and goblins and witches thing comes from the Druidic traditions of the ancient Celts. November 1st was the beginning of the Celtic new year, marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of the dark cold winter.

The winter season in Celtic tradition was closely associated with human death. The winter’s cold would hasten death, and so November 1st was the day when the Celts believed the boundaries between the living and the dead were the weakest.

On October 31st, following the ancient custom of burnt offerings unique to the Celts (and ancient Israelites) the Druids would order huge sacred bonfires (bone-fires) where people would gather to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, to frighten away the spirits of the dead.

Under the Romans, the Druidic custom merged with the Roman customs of Feralia, the Roman day of the dead and that of Pomona the goddess of fruit and trees. By the 4th century, it became the feast of Samhain.

In the 7th century, the Roman Pope Boniface IV declared November 1 All Saints Day, the day to honor saints and martyrs. In this way, the Vatican hoped to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a church-sanctioned festival of the dead instead.

From the History Channel’s website:

“The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils.

Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.”


Hallowe’en is a conundrum for Christians. There are two ways that we, as Christian parents, generally approach it. Here’s the first thing I did as a new Christian just learning what Hallowe’en is all about.

On October 31st, we’d turn off all the lights and pretend we weren’t home.

Later, we learned from an elder about greeting the little trick or treaters and giving them tracts instead of candy.

My kids didn’t get to trick or treat for Hallowe’en when they were little. Instead, I used them like little banners to demonstrate my faith. (It wasn’t easy being one of my kids. Take their word for it.)

When all the other kids were dressing up like fairies and demons (and princesses and comic-book characters and hobos) I insisted that my kids be given something else to do besides celebrate in Satan’s holiday.

After a decade or so of alienating my kids, it occurred to me that other kids weren’t really celebrating Satan’s holiday.

My kids knew about the history of Hallowe’en. I made sure of that. They knew it was Satan’s holiday. But they didn’t want to worship Satan.

They wanted to dress up in costumes and play instead of do schoolwork and canvass the neighborhood for free candy and eat it until they got sick.

They also knew that they could do all that without worshipping Satan even once the whole night. They figured that out years before I did.

The second way to deal with being a Christian at Hallowe’en is to go to the Bible for the answers. (I didn’t get around to that until about the time my last kid was too old to go trick or treating anymore. Being one of my kids really wasn’t easy.)

Paul writes in Romans 14:1;

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”

Hmmm. Doubtful disputations? Like what?

“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.”

What about days like Hallowe’en?

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike.Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Paul says that a day is a day is a day:

“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it.”

As to how Christians should regard it,

”let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

Why? Because Paul says a day, in and of itself is just not that important.

“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living.”

What Paul says regarding things like Hallowe’en is;

“So then, every one of us shall give account of himself unto God”

— and if you are ok with it, then its between you and Him.

Why? Because to a Christian, it is just not that important.

“I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.”

So if you, my brothers and sisters, think that turning off the lights and pretending you aren’t home tonight is an appropriate response, then it is an appropriate response and I praise the Lord for you.

On the other hand, if you think the appropriate response is to greet the little trick or treaters with a Bible tract, you are equally correct and I praise the Lord for you.

And if you think that on Hallowe’en trick or treaters are just kids having innocent fun and you also want to load them up with junk food commensurate with how cute they are, then, by the authority of the Word of God, you are ALSO correct and I praise the Lord for you.

“Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.” (Romans 14:22)

It is possible to be a Christian in this world and still live a little.

Originally Published: October 31, 2008

Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch
Vol: 169 Issue: 30 Friday, October 30, 2015

Religious holidays are all but illegal in 21st century America. Those few that survive have been watered-down beyond recognition. Thanksgiving, a day once solemnly set aside to thank God for our blessings as a nation, has morphed into Turkey Day, a day set aside to worship the guest of honor at dinner.

“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 1:25)

Most Americans don’t gather to give thanks to God, they gather to eat and watch football. For millions, it is the one day a year they say grace before meals, and that is about as religious a holiday as it is gonna get.

But there is still one religious holiday that is untouchable by either the Political Correctness Police or a vote-hungry Congress. Hallowe’en.

Your kids will be encouraged to dress up as witches and hobgoblins, to exchange Hallowe’en cards or small gifts, to wish each other a ‘Happy Hallowe’en’ and to engage in
day-long celebration that doesn’t end until well after dark.

Make no mistake about it, Hallowe’en is a religious holiday.  It just isn’t a  Christian holiday.  It derives its name from ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ — the day before the Catholic holiday of “All Saint’s Day” on November 1st.  According to the, Halloween was adopted by the Catholic Church as a day of “communion with the saints” who are still paying for their sins in purgatory and those who’ve either paid their sin debt themselves or were “prayed out” by someone still alive.

A person could obtain a plenary indulgence by saying a particular formula of prayer performed on November 1st.   

“In 835, Pope Gregory IV moved the celebration for all the martyrs (later all saints) from May 13 to November 1. The night before became known as All Hallow’s Even or “holy evening.” Eventually the name was shortened to the current Halloween. On November 2, the Church celebrates All Souls Day.

The purpose of these feasts is to remember those who have died, whether they are officially recognized by the Church as saints or not. It is a celebration of the “communion of saints,” which reminds us that the Church is not bound by space or time.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that through the communion of saints “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. Between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good thing.”

“Purgatory” is a doctrine unknown to the Bible. It is based largely on one of the books of the apocrypha and Catholic tradition that was formulated into a cohesive doctrine of the church at the Councils of Florence and Trent.

But Hallowe’en was originally a Celtic religious holiday. The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living. The dead would roam the earth seeking living bodies to possess. 

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed. So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable. They would dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily parade around the neighborhood in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

The holiday was known as the Feast of Samhain, and was the High Holy Day of the Druidic pagan religion. 

The Romans later adopted the Celtic practices as their own. In the first century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some of the other Roman traditions that took place in October, such as their day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.

The thrust of the practices also changed over time to become more ritualized. As pagan belief in spirit possession waned, the practice of dressing up like hobgoblins, ghosts, and witches took on a more ceremonial role.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840’s by Irish immigrants fleeing their country’s potato famine.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling. On November 2, All Souls Day, early Catholics would walk from village to village begging for “soul cakes,” made out of square pieces of bread with currants. 

The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors. At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul’s passage to purgatory and on to heaven.


The Druids were the priestly caste of the ancient Celts. The Druids were polytheistic pagans who also deified elements of nature. The Druids were reputed to have possessed ‘the ancient knowledge’ — or witchcraft. 

There is little doubt in my mind that the Celtic Druids worshipped Satan,  (the angel of light) and there is plenty of documentation of the ‘ancient knowledge’. (Modern archeologists are still scratching their heads over Stonehenge).

Other ancient pagan religions also claimed divinely-obtained knowledge, and left behind similarly perplexing ruins, like the Mayan temple, the pyramids of Egypt or the statues of Easter Island.

Genesis Chapter Six makes reference to the offspring of an unholy mating between angels and the daughters of men in the period before the Flood.

“… the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Genesis 6:3)

Of the offspring of these unholy unions, Genesis tells us,

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)

The ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped a pantheon of gods and goddesses, together with strange mythical creatures like minotaurs, centaurs, and so on.

Joshua spoke of the ‘gods’ from before the Flood that were still being worshipped by the ancientIsraelites:

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether THE GODS WHICH YOUR FATHERS SERVED THAT WERE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)

When I was a young Christian, I used to rail against the celebration of Hallowe’en because it was Satan’s high religious holiday. But as I’ve matured in the Lord, I’ve come to see it a bit differently. And maybe because of contemporary history.

As Christian religious celebrations are being secularized, Hallowe’en just keeps growing in popularity. And as it grows in popularity, Hallowe’en’s Satanic background becomes more a part of its celebration.

It is an object lesson to Christians of the reality and existence of Satan and a testimony to his status as the prince and power of the air and the ‘god of this world’. (2nd Corinthians 4:4)

C. S. Lewis wrote that the “greatest trick the devil ever pulled was in convincing the world he doesn’t exist.” But for Christians, is the one day of the year when Satan is unmasked and exposed as a real entity.

I don’t know if I ever made a convert by railing against little kids having fun dressed up in Hallowe’en costumes. I rather doubt it.  Hallowe’en’s roots are no more pagan than those of Saturnalia, also adopted by the Catholic Church, but renamed ‘Christmas’.

So I don’t rail against it anymore. It is too good a witnessing opportunity to waste by sounding like a wild-eyed fanatic railing against little kids in cute costumes having fun playing dress-up and gorging on tiny Hershey bars.

“And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

In the end, they aren’t worshipping Satan.  They’re making fun of him.  And they are learning about him in the context of heaven and hell.  That tends to spark questions in young minds.

For many, the controversy about Hallowe’en festivities will eventually spark the same question — and the same choice — Joshua laid out before his men.

If Satan is real, then God is real.  And if God is real, then you have a choice before you. It was that logic that first caused me to choose Christ.

And it also demonstrates the truth of Paul’s comforting assurance that all things do work together for good to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Even Hallowe’en.

Originally Published: October 31, 2009

Featured Commentary: Looking for Christ’s Coming ~ Alf Cengia

Blinded By the Fight . .

Blinded By the Fight . .
Vol: 169 Issue: 29 Thursday, October 29, 2015

‘Dhimmitude’ is the status mandated for non-Muslims, primarily Christians and Jews who live under Islamic rule.

The word ‘dhimmi’ means ‘protected people’ who, under Islamic law, are free to practice their religion in an Islamic regime.

However, dhimmis are also subject to rules and regulations designed to ensure ‘they feelthemselves subdued’ as mandated for dhimmis under the Koran.

For the West, it is a good news, bad news scenario. The bad news is that the jihadist goal is to make dhimmis of us all. The good news is that we are getting good at it.

Dhimmi communities have survived for centuries under Islamic rule, as Islamic apologists are fond of pointing out, with barely a peep of protest in all those years.

Of course they lived quietly — it was better than not living at all. For a dhimmi under Islamic rule to protest would be suicidal.

“If you upset us, we will hurt you. We will terrorize you and cause do you harm.”  That is the message being delivered from the Islamic world and the West is receiving it loud and clear.

Congress has not enacted it and no court has yet declared it, but it appears that there now exists a defacto blasphemy law in America.   The law is clearly defined — any criticism of Islam or any disrespect to its tenets, doctrines, personages or documents deserves severe punishment by Islam. 

Don’t come looking to the government to defend you. Just because you had the right doesn’t mean you should have exercised it. 

It doesn’t matter whether the blasphemy is committed against the Koran, or whether it is against Mohammed by depicting him in an image, or whether it is against the planned Cordoba Mosque, a blasphemy against Islam is not like a blasphemy against Christianity or Judaism. 

(If blasphemy against Christianity or Judaism were like blasphemy against Islam, the Comedy Network wouldn’t have enough material to fill a comedy program.   They are so heavily dependent on Jesus and God for material that if they had to pay Them royalties due it would bankrupt them.)

Nobody dies when some screwball threatens to burn a Bible.  Not a single Christian group went on a murderous rampage when Muslim terrorists used the Church of the Nativity for a slit trench and pages from the Bible for toilet paper.

I heard one argument from some White House official who said that burning a Koran was like shouting “Fire” in a crowded theater —  using the classic example of the kind of speech not protected by the 1st Amendment.  

There’s enough baloney in that argument to start a deli. If it was true, then cheering for the New England Patriots at a Buffalo Bills home game would be unprotected speech for the identical reason — because the other side doesn’t like it.  

(But at a football game, we aren’t afraid the players will suddenly rush the stands and blow themselves up.)


Terror is not an enemy, in and of itself. It is a tactic. Nazi terror was deployed to advance Nazi ideology. Japanese terror was deployed to advance Imperial Japanese ambitions. 

American terror was deployed as ruthlessly as was necessary, but in the cause of the greater good. The postwar history of both Germany and Japan stands as testimony to the ‘greater good’ accomplished by America’s ruthless acts of wartime terrorism.

The ‘enemy’ is one who is guilty of planning, aiding or commiting an act of terror. 

Until they take that leap, they are not the enemy. And after they take that leap, it is too late for more than retaliation, which is no consolation to the victims.

To prove it, we’re fighting terrorists. In a war in which an interrogation might save a city, the rules of engagement are those of law enforcement, not the rules of war. We are blinded by the fight. 

Regardless of how it is described, this is a defensive war declared and prosecuted against the crime of terror and those who would commit it — ipso facto, criminals. As such, it is impossible to win. We are fighting the jihadists, but not the jihad. 

During World War Two, the SS Einsatzgruppen murdered more than a million people as state-approved acts of terror in Eastern Europe. The war wasn’t against the Einsatzgruppen, it was against the Nazi ideology that approved it. It wasn’t won when the SS was defeated militarily, it was won when the ideology died in a Berlin bunker with its founder. 

Do you follow? 

In this case, while we battle the jihadis, we reverence the ideology that spawns them. 

Military bases are opening centers of Islamic studies where US guards take ‘sensitivity training’ to learn how to handle Korans so that they don’t ‘desecrate’ them by unworthily touching them. 

When it comes to Islam, the Commander in Chief takes on the role of Theologian in Chief and pronounces Islam to be a religion of peace and love hijacked by a ‘few’ (the official estimate is 10% of 1.2 billion or about 120,000,000) ‘radicals’. 

The White House regularly hosts a Ramadan Feast, but has recently begun sending out Christmas cards wishing recipients a ‘happy holiday’ so as not to offend Islam. 

It is instructional to note that Islam accounts for about 1% of the US population, according to the CIA World Factbook. (It is estimated that about 2% of the US population believe they have been abducted by aliens) 

The same authority estimates that 87% of Americans are Christian, at least in culture, if not in doctrine. 

But ‘Christmas’ does not appear on the White House Christmas card out of sensitivity to the 1%. And I note with interest that the White House has never sponsored a get-together for representatives of the the alien abductee lobby, either. Why? 

Because US Islam is the tip of the iceberg — it’s their 1.2 billion co-religionists world-wide that the administration is trying to appease. 

It is the jihad that sends out jihadis. The Islamic jihad. Until there is a recognition that the war is with Islamic jihadi ideology, we cannot win. Declaring war against Islamic jihadi ideology means declaring war with the Islamic world.

Dhimmitude has a curious effect on dhimmis, something similar that of the Stockhold Effect on hostages. 

The phrase, ‘Stockholm Effect’ was coined following a bank hostage situation in Sweden. Researchers discovered the hostages had come to identify, even sympathize, with their captors. It was a kind of traumatic stress reaction. 

Dhimmitude imposes a similar reaction.

Featured Commentary: The Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 ~ J.L. Robb

Christ is NOT Dead In Vain

Christ is NOT Dead In Vain
Vol: 169 Issue: 28 Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Omega Letter is aimed at those who have already grasped the simplicity of salvation. A lot of what we focus on is what Paul calls the ‘strong meat’ of Bible doctrine.

For example, we’ve examined the nuts-and-bolts answers to hard questions like, “Why did Jesus have to die?” and “would a loving God send people to hell?” etc.  But it is good from time to time to revisit the basic gift of salvation.

I have friends who can’t seem to ‘get’ how simple God made salvation.  The miss the forest for the trees.  Maybe you have friends like that too.  They can’t grasp the basic fact that salvation is for sinners. They think they have to earn their way by doing good.

When Jesus was asked which was the most important commandment of God, He replied: 

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

Love God above yourself and love your neighbor as yourself.  Simple. 

A person cannot have a personal relationship with God apart from Jesus. There is a gap that exists between God the Father and sinful humanity.

God is completely holy and cannot tolerate the presence of any sin. But we are all selfish sinners. To redeem us, He had to become ONE of us.

To do THAT, He had to physically enter sin’s ‘quarantine zone’ (the earth’s atmosphere), conquer sin in THIS world, thereby defeating sin’s universal stranglehold on humanity. And then, having qualified as an acceptable Sacrifice, He paid the eternal penalty for sin on our behalf.

When Adam sinned, God cursed him, saying;

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Genesis 3:19)

God covered the first sin of Adam by clothing his nakedness with dead animal skins. Sin, by definition, introduced death into the world. “. . . without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

Jesus paid the penalty prescribed by Adam’s sin, just as every human being since Adam, but Jesus was WITHOUT sin.  Having been born of the Father into this sin-sick world, He lived the life that God expected of each of us and then paid the penalty for sin that we deserve.

He was not under that penalty for Himself, which is why He could pay the price demanded on our behalf. Having defeated the cause of death (sin), He then defeated the penalty of sin (death) by His Resurrection.

Nobody who ever sinned, even once, has defeated sin personally, and all remain under sin’s penalty of death.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27)

But death is in two parts. The physical death, and what the Bible calls the ‘second death’ eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire.

And so is the judgement. The believer’s sins were judged at the Cross, and the penalty for them has already been paid.

For those who trust to their own good works, there is a second judgement before the Great White Throne, where they will be judged according to ALL their works, good and bad.

There is no balancing scale. One sin earns eternal separation.

Our personal sin still earns the wages of physical death. We are spiritually and eternally saved, but the world in which we live remains under the curse. Sin has its consequences on the things which are in it.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus sinless Sacrifice paid our eternal debt — there is nothing left to judge but our rewards. Nothing we could ever do could earn it, because it is a gift, freely offered to all men.

By accepting Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf and committing to follow Him we are declared righteous by God on the basis of our faith.

Therefore as new creatures, recreated by the Blood of Christ, wearing His righteousness instead of our own, we are able to come before the throne of God blameless and cleansed, reestablishing our relationship with God.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It has NOTHING to do with religion. Paul was preaching to the Church at Galatia, where a heresy had crept in that said Christians had to be circumcised like Jews in order to prove they belonged to God.

Paul makes it clear that Christians are neither Jews nor Gentiles, but something entirely new.

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” (Galatians 6:15)

The difficulty in trusting Jesus is rooted in the failure to understand the ‘new creature’ for what it is. We’ve discussed this many times in the past, but for the benefit of new members and as review for the rest of us, the Bible teaches that there are four sentient spiritual creations of God.

First, God created the angels. Then, He created Adam in His Image and in His Likeness. At Adam’s fall, his spiritual state was changed, he became separated from God, and Adam was the father of the spiritually unregenerate Gentiles.

Abraham, through faith, fathered the first of another new spiritual creation. Isaac was the first spiritual Jew, the father of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

Since then, every person is born either a Jew or a Gentile, from the perspective of their spiritual state of existence. The first three sentient, spiritual creations of God, then, are angels, Jews and Gentile, descended from Adam, but in God’s Image, with an eternal spirit.

A descendant of Isaac can never become a Gentile. He can denounce Judaism, become a Buddhist, an atheist, or whatever, but in God’s eyes (as well as man’s) he is still a Jew.

A Gentile can become a practicing Jew, but he remains a spiritual Gentile, since his eternal spirit remains estranged from God apart from Christ. 

Jesus introduced a new spiritual creation with His Resurrection. Those who trust Jesus are transformed into a totally new spiritual creation, personally indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and restored to the fellowship lost by Adam.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12)

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

Having been MADE righteous and restored to fellowship, Christians are neither Gentile nor Jew. Nor are they angels, either literally or figuratively. The Bible calls them ‘saints’ — something entirely unique in the history of the universe.

Jews and Gentiles are born what they are. Christians are REBORN into a ‘new birth’ — a new spiritual creation of God.

Salvation is a permanent transformation from one kind of spiritual creation to a different kind of spiritual creation.  It is the misunderstanding of the new creature that is a stumbling-block to grasping the simple assurances of the Gospel. 

At the point of salvation, according to Scripture, the old creature (Jew or Gentile) is “passed away.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

The Bible says the old creature is dead. Only God can raise the dead, not an act of man. God would be forced to raise the dead spiritual Gentile,  and undo His new spiritual creation based, not just on an act of man, but on a sinful act.

If sin can force God to undo His own creation, then where is the victory?

The Bible says to repent (literally, change your mind), realize your sin will take you to hell, and that there is nothing you can do about it except to trust Jesus’ promise that by trusting Him for your salvation as the Lord of your life, you are now a new creation of God.

It’s so simple. So simple, in fact, that there are millions upon millions who just can’t get it. Paul spoke of being “wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16) not the least of which is the belief that our works contribute to our salvation.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1st Corinthians 1:27)

 If Jesus didn’t do it all, then He didn’t have to do it at all and He died in vain. 

“I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Originally Published: October 27, 2012

Proof Text Without Context

Proof Text Without Context
Vol: 169 Issue: 27 Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I received an email from a member regarding yesterday’s OL, “God’s Grace” that asked: “Jack, what makes you so completely sure of your eternity in light of so many confusing scriptures that “seem” to link eternal life with obedience (Galatians 6:8)?”

(“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. “)

I replied to the email but was led to expand my answer and post it as an OL, so I suspect that there must be others among our membership also struggling with the same question(s).

The arguments presented by the opponents of eternal security, derided as “Once Saved, Always Saved” (or OSAS) are indeed Scriptural. Just look at all the Scripture that they come up with to prove their point. 

For example, Matthew 6:14-15. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

In context, Jesus is teaching His Disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Having just presented it to them, He was explaining what to pray and why. Matthew 6:12 – “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

That is commonly rendered, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive the trespasses of others”, but in either case, what the Lord is explaining is WHAT the prayer asks. “Forgive us the same way we forgive others.”

The opponents of OSAS claim this means if we don’t forgive others, God won’t forgive us, and therefore, by not forgiving trespasses committed against you, you can lose your salvation, ipso facto, OSAS is a false doctrine.

First, Jesus is not addressing the redeemed Church, but His Jewish disciples. Doctrinally, the Lord’s Prayer is not a Christian prayer, but a Jewish one.

The Kingdom of God is a Judaic concept that refers to the return of the time of the Judges when Israel had no King but God, Who ruled directly through His prophets.

The Jews await the Kingdom of God; the Church awaits the Kingdom of Heaven. The Old Covenant with Israel is that Israel will be the center of the world, the seat of the Lord’s government during the Millennial Kingdom.

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. . . . And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. ” (Isaiah 2:2,4)

The promise to the Church is different.

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. ” (Romans 8:17)

‘Joint-heirs’ is a term to describe children being given equal inheritances.

God’s relationship to Israel is likened to that of a spouse; Christ’s to the Church likened to that of a bridegroom and bride as heirs to the Father’s inheritance.

Everything Jesus said in His public ministry is of use to the Church, but not everything He said was addressed to the Church. Much of what He said was addressed, for example, specifically to the Pharisees of Israel.

We can therefore draw lessons from the parallels, but we must do so in context.

Another verse that is often cited as evidence that one can lose one’s salvation is Romans 8:1, which, oddly enough, is also one of the most powerful proof texts for proving eternal security.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

This argument concludes that the saved Christian who later falls back into his old habits, the ‘carnal’ Christian, is walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit and so this verse teaches conditional salvation.

If you are walking after the Spirit, there is no condemnation. If you are walking after the flesh, then there is.

In context, Paul has just exhaustively argued in Romans 7 in favor of eternal security, explaining the dual nature of man, how often we fall short, how we do what we hate while knowing it is wrong, all the time hating ourselves for sinning.

Paul says, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. . . . For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

Having explained the exact nature of the conflict with the old man experienced by every Christian, Paul cries out in despair, “O wretched man that I am, Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” before answering his own question and confirming that sin is a continuing part of a saved Christian’s earthly existence:

“I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

In context, Romans 7 teaches that the struggle with sin is evidence one IS walking after the Spirit. Romans 8:1 is the promise that there is no condemnation for such a one who struggles with sin.

What does it mean when one DOESN’T struggle with sin? Think it through. There are but two answers.

Either one isn’t saved and remains dead on one’s sins. Or one has died and gone on to his eternal destiny.

In context, Romans 8:1 can have but one logical meaning, then. But using it out of context to prove one’s grip on salvation is tenuous is still Scriptural since Romans 8:1 is Scripture.

A proof text devoid of context is a pretext. But it’s Scriptural.


I am certain of my eternal destiny irrespective of my current state of sinlessness or vice-versa. Jesus didn’t save me on one day, for one day — and then leave the rest up to me. That flies in the face of both logic and experience, even before one turns to Scripture for confirmation.

I already knew before I read Romans 7 that I am in the same place Paul described. If I have to maintain my own salvation, I’m already lost. Logic and experience confirm that, as well. If eternal security is a false doctrine, then salvation is beyond my reach.

Yet, as we said at the outset, there are many strong Scriptural arguments to the contrary. But there can be only one truth. If salvation is conditional upon works, then God cannot be just, if ‘just’ means the same thing as ‘fair’.

Skeptics claim God isn’t fair because He would send somebody to hell, but that’s nonsense. People choose heaven or hell — God simply honors their choice. But when it comes to salvation by works, it really isn’t fair or just.

What we’re actually discussing are two different issues. One is salvation. Salvation is a free gift. The Scriptures are uncompromising on that point.

The other issue is that of living a Christian life. The two are NOT the same.

A person can come to Christ on his deathbed and go to the same heaven the Apostles went to. I think we all agree that is true.

So this guy, having never done a single thing for Christ in his lifetime, having never sacrificed a thing for his faith, having never led a person to Christ, or done an act of charity, and more importantly, he was not tempted to sin after salvation because he died.

But he goes to heaven.

Meanwhile, Joe Christian is saved at seven. He lives a sacrificial life for Christ, leads many people to the Lord, and does everything you wish you did when you take stock of what you’ve done for Christ.

But then, some personal catastrophe hits Joe, like it does you and me, and for some reason, this time, Satan gets a hold of ol’ Joe for a time, and Joe goes off on a three-week bender.

Before Joe has a chance to come back to his senses, he gets killed in a car accident.

Both trusted in Christ — Joe at the beginning of his life — the other guy at the end. But Joe’s many good works are of no consequence — he goes to hell. The guy on his deathbed’s many bad works are of no consequence, he goes to heaven.

In both cases, they trusted Christ. Joe had the Christian life part down pat, until he hit a rough patch. So if OSAS is a false doctrine, then Jesus let Joe down just when Joe needed Him most.

The real answer to the question, “How do I know that I am truly saved” is found in another question. “Who do you trust for your salvation?”

If you trust in the Cross AND in your own abilities to subsequently live a sinless life, the Scriptures say that is the standard against which you will be judged.

Despite great swelling words of protest to the contrary, you aren’t trusting Christ. You’re trusting you.

The Apostle Paul knew he couldn’t be trusted with his salvation. Romans 7 is a litany of spiritual failures. Without some sense of eternal security, the Christian life would be a fearful, nervous existence, where one was never sure where he stood with the Lord.

If one can sin one’s way out of salvation, which sin is it? Having a TV? Smoking? Cheating on taxes? Having a lustful thought? Road rage? Divorce?

Instead, the Lord says, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

That sounds like a promise I can trust.

Originally Published: October 29, 2008

Featured Commentary: The Late, Not so Great, Dam of Davidic Denial ~ Wendy Wippel

God’s Grace

God’s Grace
Vol: 169 Issue: 26 Monday, October 26, 2015

There is a wonderful hymn published at the turn of the 20th century that proclaims, ”Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin.”

I’m sure most of you have sung these words at some point or another, but have you ever truly contemplated their meaning?

“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!” 

We sing it, but do we really believe it? More importantly, do we really UNDERSTAND it? 

Wrote the Psalmist,

“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” (Psalms 49:3)

What is wisdom? Psalms 111:10 says that,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

Solomon noted that;

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom,” before admonishing us; “and with all thy getting get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7)

But how does one make the leap from ‘wisdom’ to ‘understanding’?

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)

“Wisdom and instruction”, applied together, produce knowledge.

“When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” (Proverbs 2:10-11)

One can, therefore, express it as a Divine equation: Wisdom + Knowledge = Understanding.

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

‘Wisdom’ is the product of ‘fear’ (or reverence) of the Lord (as expressed in His Word). Out of His Revealed Word comes ‘knowledge’, which, when applied with ‘wisdom’ gives birth to ‘understanding’.

Note well that it is ‘understanding’ that the Lord says will KEEP thee.

It is the ‘wisdom’ to recognize oneself as a sinner in need of salvation taken together withinstruction that Christ has extended a free pardon for one’s sin’s that result in the extension of God’s grace, which produces saving faith.

Proverbs 19:8a says,

“He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul, he that keepeth understanding shall find good.”

I don’t think the first part of that verse is an inaccurate statement, although it tends to take the wind out of our sails a bit when we think about it.

I prefer to think of my coming to Christ as an expression of my love for Him — but when I am as honest as Solomon was, and teachable enough to know wisdom when I hear it, I understand that my reason for turning to Christ was love of MY soul. (The wisdom to love Him came later.)

But note well that, to ‘find good’ out of wisdom, one must apply ‘understanding’.


Whenever I tackle the topic of ‘Amazing Grace’ some of the forum comments and emails suggest there are still many misunderstandings, particularly about the way I articulate the doctrine of grace.

I don’t mind revisiting it as often as necessary, as long as you don’t mind revisiting it with me.

The Bible instructs us to strive for perfection. To sin no more. To be perfect, even as the Father is perfect. That our every waking moment should be dedicated to God. (“Sell all you have, pick up your Cross and follow Me.”) To pray without ceasing.

That certain sins really drive God nuts;

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

And I have knowledge that I am occasionally guilty of pride, sloth, gluttony, mischief, etc., — just as before I was saved. (Moreover, my personal observations tell me I am not alone among believers in this regard).

Now we turn to the concept of ‘grace’.

“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

Further, Paul writes;

“All things are lawful for me” but then says, “but all things are not expedient.” (1st Corinthians 10:23)

Few argue the Bible doesn’t teach salvation as an unearned gift extended to all who will receive it. But then they stumble over the idea of eternal security as a ‘license to sin’.

I don’t mean to sound pompous in saying this reflects wisdom, but without understanding. And it is ‘understanding’ that the Lord says is what will ‘keep’ you.

They argue that the doctrine of eternal security turns the Bible into a book of ‘suggestions’. I’ve been accused of endorsing sin. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Wisdom plus knowledge equals understanding.

I reverence God’s Word, which tells me that sin is man’s natural state of being. Paul’s explanation of the dual nature of man in Romans 7 confirms to me that the struggle with sin after salvation is as common to all men as it was to Paul.

It was the wisdom to love my own soul that brought me to the point of salvation, and the knowledge of grace and the dual nature of man that brought me to the understanding of grace.

Paul wrote,

“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, ACCORDING AS GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH.” (Romans 12:3)

Wisdom (God’s Word) says that some struggle more with sin than do others, and that God deals out different measures of faith to each of us according to His will.

I think it fair to say we are pretty forgiving of ourselves. Sometimes, we can come up with pretty convincing reasons for falling at the moment we did.

That isn’t to suggest the reasons justify the fall, but we extend to ourselves the grace to pick ourselves up, and try again. Wisdom plus knowledge go out the window once we assume God is less forgiving of us than we are of ourselves.

God’s grace is perfect and all sufficient. If God’s grace didn’t extend to our post-salvation sins, then the only ones who would be in heaven would be those who died at the point of salvation.

Legalism dictates that God demands perfection, settles for minor imperfection, and revokes salvation from those whose imperfection crosses some invisible line.

Remember the story of the 300 lb preacher reminding his congregation that smoking is defiling the Temple of the Holy Spirit?

Smoking isn’t among God’s Seven Deadly Sins — but on that list, the glutton sits right there beside the drunkard. Are fat people habitual, unrepentant sinners who have condemned themselves? Or does God extend His grace to us according to our individual (and God-given) weaknesses or strengths?

I have the wisdom of Scripture that tells me that a holy God cannot countenance sin. That wisdom also tells me that, in God’s eyes, all sin is sin, and there are seven that God hates with a particular passion, habitual sins that, barring God’s grace, condemn as unrepentent; fat people, lazy people, gossips and drunks. I also have knowledge of human nature from personal observation. I have intimate knowledge of myself and my own shortcomings.

Applied with a knowledge — but without an understanding — of grace, it tells me that my own salvation must depend on my first accepting Christ and then, never sinning again.

I came to Christ thirty-five years ago. I am sure I have sinned in the last thirty-five years. Wisdom plus knowledge — but devoid of understanding — therefore dictates that I am already lost and without hope — so why bother even trying?

“Grace” is not a license to sin, it is Divine permission to get back up and try again. Sin is burdensome because it tends to pile up so fast. Soon, it becomes so heavy you CAN’T get back up on your own.

The burden is lifted by the grace of God so that we can get back up, heal our wounds and return to battle. Grace is not license to sin. It is medicine to heal and bandages to cover our sin so we can fight on.

Understanding grace is to understand what Paul meant when he told the Galatians,

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

Originally Published: October 22, 2008

Featured Commentary: The Incomparable Riches of His Grace ~ Pete Garcia

History, Reality and Prophecy

History, Reality and Prophecy
Vol: 169 Issue: 24 Saturday, October 24, 2015

Israel promised to respond to the UN General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a state, in violation of the Oslo Agreement, by building an additional 3,000 settlement units on land claimed by the Palestinians.

This immediately prompted cries from the Arab League-dominated UN about Israel’s “expansionist” policies requiring immediate UN intervention.  The UN General Assembly voted to recognize Palestine based on the pre-1967 borders. 

If they are pre-1967 borders, then what does that mean?  It means the borders which existed prior to the Six Days War, which means the borders as they existed in 1948.

Let’s fire up the WayBack Machine and revisit how the State of Israel came to be in the first place.

During the First World War, Turkey supported Germany against the Allies, so when Germany was defeated, so were the Turks.  The Ottoman Empire was broken up via the Sykes-Picot Agreement that divided up the former Empire into Western zones of influence.

Lebanon and Syria were mandated over to France.  What is today known as Jordan and Israel (including the West Bank) was mandated to Great Britain.

Since no other people had established a homeland in the region since the Jews had been expelled by the Romans 2000 years earlier, the British government “looked favorably” upon the establishment of a Jewish homeland on their ancestral territory of Palestine. (Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Jordan).

In 1917, Lord Balfour issued what is known to history as “The Balfour Declaration”:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Everything would have probably proceeded forward from this point without a hitch . . . except there was one. A big one that neither the Europeans nor the Americans could ignore.  As Winston Churchill wrote in 1922:

“In both Houses of Parliament there is growing movement of hostility, against Zionist policy in Palestine. . .”

“Zionist policy . . .” — what does that mean?  What is a “Zionist?”

A Zionist is one that believes in a national homeland for the Jews.  Modern Zionism emerged in the late 19th century in response to the violent persecution of Jews in Eastern Europe, anti-Semitism in Western Europe.

Zionists recognize the historical reality of Jewish persecution and agree with the Jews that without a national homeland, there is nothing to prevent more pogroms, persecutions and genocidal terror being perpetrated against the Jewish people.  

And more than that, a Zionist recognizes that the reason for the pogroms, persecutions and genocide is because they are Jews.  Zionism recognizes that Jew-hatred is blind, unreasoning and deadly.  

And so, the “Zionist policy” objected to by Churchill and the Parliament was the establishment of a homeland for the Jews as a defense against persecution.

In 1923, the British reneged on their promise and divided the Palestine portion of the Ottoman Empire into two administrative districts, with everything east of the Jordan going to the Arabs and everything west of the Jordan for the Jews.

In effect, the British had “chopped off” 75% of the originally proposed Jewish Palestinian homeland to form an Arab Palestinian nation called Trans-Jordan (meaning “across the Jordan River”). 

The territory east of the Jordan River was given to Emir Abdullah (from Hejaz, now Saudi Arabia) who was not even a “Palestinian”.  This portion of Palestine was renamed Trans-Jordan.  Trans-Jordan would later be renamed “Jordan”.

So the eastern 3/4 of Palestine would be renamed TWICE, in effect, erasing all connection to the name “Palestine”.  The remaining 25% of Palestine (now WEST of the Jordan River) was to be the Jewish Palestinian homeland.

In 1947 the UN passed Resolution 181 partitioning the remaining 25% of the Jewish mandate into a Jewish partition and an Arab partition.  The Jewish Palestinians accepted 12.5% of the Balfour Mandate gratefully.  The Arabs rejected the 1947 Plan (which would have resulted in the creation of a Palestinian state sixty-five years ago).

Israel declared independence on its 12.5% of the British Mandate on May 14, 1948. 

The next day, the combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen attacked.

(It is worth noting that all of those Arab states were also created by the same British authority out of the Ottoman Empire following WWI, only years AFTER the 1917 Balfour Declaration.) 

Arabs living inside the newly declared State of Israel were encouraged to leave by the invaders to keep them out of the crossfire. 

Once the Arab Legions had eliminated the Jews, the displaced Arabs could return and reclaim their own property, plus whatever the Jews left behind.  

(Similar to what actually did occur fifty-eight years later when Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza in 2005.) 

Some 70% of the Arabs living in the new state of Israel fled.  Not because they feared the Jewish army, but because it was a good deal.  Avoid the war, stay out of the crossfire, and be rewarded with the spoils of war for staying safe.

Those that did not flee are today full citizens of the State of Israel, with the same civil rights as Jews, including Arab representation at the Knesset. 

The borders as they existed in 1948 (essentially pre-1967) puts the Palestinians in possession of East Jerusalem, the Old City, all of Gaza, and all of the West Bank, leaving Israel almost cut in half at the center. 

What would have been the Palestinian State under the UN Partition Plan was immediately occupied by Egypt and Jordan.  Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip and Trans-Jordan occupied the land west of the Jordan River (Biblical Judea and Samaria) all the way to Jerusalem.

In 1950, Trans-Jordan formally annexed the West Bank and since it was no longer divided by the Jordan River, renamed itself Jordan and extended Jordanian citizenship to those Arabs living in the West Bank.

What about those Arabs that fled to neighboring Arab countries to await the destruction of the Jews?  Their Arab brothers interned them in concentration camps that they renamed “refugee camps” and kept them there for sixty-five years.

The Jordanians that lived in the West Bank after 1950 never petitioned Jordan for a homeland — and Jordan never offered.  Instead, they “discovered” in 1964 that they were really an ancient people called “Palestinians” rather than Jordanians.

(The total lack of evidence of any prior Palestinian indigenous people, Palestinian language, culture, history or unique national characteristics notwithstanding.)

Led by an Egyptian Arab named Yasser Arafat they formed the PLO, which was dedicated to creating a “Palestinian” homeland.  Of course, at the time, they had one — they were Jordanians!  

In 1967, the armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria massed for another invasion of Israel aimed at driving the Jews into the sea. Instead, Israel soundly defeated the invaders, pushing Egypt out of Israel and back inside its own territory and pushing Jordan back across the Jordan River. 

That left Israel in possession of Gaza and the West Bank.  Now the Jews occupied 1/640 of the total land mass of the Arab world and were only outnumbered fifty to one.  

Thus began Israel’s “brutal occupation” — an occupation so brutal that Israeli-Arabs in East Jerusalem voted against being ruled by the Palestinian Authority, preferring to stay underIsraeli jurisdiction.  Evidently, freedom trumps Arab nationalism.  

There is a lesson in there, somewhere. 


Consider the situation as it actually exists, devoid of the anti-Semitic propaganda of the Arab world (and a significant portion of mainstream Western Christianity).

From 1948 to 1967, Egypt ruled Gaza, Syria ruled the Golan Heights, while Jordan ruled the West Bank.  They could have set up independent Arab-Palestinian states in any or all of those territories, but they didn’t even consider it.

Instead, in 1967 they used the Golan Heights, Gaza and the West bank to launch a war that was unambiguously aimed at destroying Israel, which is how Israel came into possession of those territories in the first place.

The historical reality is that, if there is a Palestinian State, it would be Jordan, since Jordan accounts for 75% of the British Mandate of Palestine.  The “Palestinians” living in the West Bank could have had an independent state sixty-five years ago, but their goal wasn’t independence.

It was NEVER independence.  The goal was and is the destruction of the Jewish State.  In every instance where they were offered some measure of independence, they used that independence to attack Israel.

The fact is, until Yasser Arafat invented a Palestinian people, the Palestinians were the Jews! 

The Middle East Conflict was always a war by Arabs against Jews, not a conflict between Israelis and “Palestinians”.  The war was repackaged as a conflict between Jews and Palestinians as a public relations gimmick in the early 1970’s.

The Palestinians were a regional group of Arabs having virtually no cultural nor national distinctive traits separating them from Syrians, Lebanese, and Jordanians.  The bulk of what are called “Palestinian Arabs” are members of families who migrated into the Land of Israel beginning in the late 19th century.

Palestinian nationalism is a reinvented version of Arab nationalism.  Arab nationalism exists, although it is closely bound up with Islamic nationalism and even Islamism.  Palestinian nationalism, however, is a phantom.  The Arab assaults and aggressions against Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1968, and 1973 had nothing to do with Palestinians. 

They were wars of annihilation launched against Israel by the Arabs; Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. — not a ‘Palestinian’ in the woodpile.

Having been defeated in every instance, the Arab world focused on using the “Palestinians” as a fifth column inside Israel to facilitate the eventual annihilation of the Jewish State.

Returning to the present, Israel’s intention to build 3000 apartment units on land claimed by the “Palestinians” prompted UN Secretary Ban ki-Moon to declare the decision would deal “an almost fatal blow” to the peace process.  

Is he kidding??

The fatal blow was dealt when the United Nations recognized Palestine, thereby CREATING a failed state where no state existed.  Is Gaza part of Palestine?  Is it not ruled by a terrorist  organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction?

The Palestinian Authority is led by Mahmoud Abbas, a co-founder of Arafat’s Fatah Party and the PLO.  He was elected in 2005 for a four year term, which expired in 2009.  The Palestinian Authority feared defeat by Hamas and so they simply canceled elections, allowing Abbas to rule by decree.

Consequently, based on the actual rules of democracy, Hamas, a recognized terrorist organization dedicated to Israel’s destruction, is the only legitimately elected leader of the newly recognized Palestinian State.

So, you see how insane all this is in the natural.  It has no equal in modern history, and certainly no equal in the history of the United Nations. 

Never has a failed non-state entity without a legitimate government and dedicated to the principles of terrorism been offered recognition of statehood without it having, A) an actual indigenous people, B) a functioning economy, C) a functioning legal system, and D) or one that was carved out of, and over the objections of, an existing member state.

It has never happened before, and it is unlikely to ever happen again.  Why?  Because there is only one Israel.  There is no other place on earth more offensive to the god of this world or his followers and devotees at the UN.  

And there is no more reliable measure of the accuracy of Bible prophecy in the last days than the battle between the nations of the earth and the tiny state of Israel. 

Apart from Bible prophecy, there is absolutely no explanation that makes sense. 

Viewed in the light of Bible prophecy, the situation, as bizarre as it actually is, is completely in harmony with the prophecies of Scripture for the last days.  Strictly speaking, the restoration of Israel was the first fulfilled prophecy of the last days — a prophecy that is continuing to be fulfilled to this very day.

Its fulfillment began on May 14, 1948 when Israel declared her independence.

“Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)

The process of fulfillment continued, with the next high point coming in June, 1967.

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”  (Luke 21:24)

What comes next?  The great mystery of which Paul wrote to the Romans:

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)

The mystery is explained further in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

“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.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

And THEN what happens? 

“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)

 We are eyewitnesses to Bible prophecy unfolding before our very eyes.  Are you excited?

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

Are you comforted?

Originally Published: December 4, 2012

Things That Are Different Are STILL Not the Same

Things That Are Different Are STILL Not the Same
Vol: 169 Issue: 23 Friday, October 23, 2015

There are at least five distinct views within the Church concerning when (or whether) the Lord will return for His Church in an event commonly called ”The Rapture”.

The proponents for each view are all sincere, believing Christians who believe their interpretation is correct to the exclusion of all others.

I understand and appreciate that more than a few of the members of our fellowship hold to different understandings of the Rapture and I respect their scholarship.

However, we know that things that are different cannot be the same. No matter how kindly or charitably one tries to frame it, while all are sincere, at least four of these views are sincerely wrong.

How can this be? Is not the same Holy Spirit guiding us all? How can there possibly be so many different understandings of the same doctrine?  If there are five different views of the Rapture, does that suggest the doctrine itself is weak?

In brief, the five views of the Rapture are as follows:

1. Pre-Tribulational: The Rapture of the Church takes place before the start of the Tribulation Period, defined as two consecutive periods of 1280 days each. (Daniel 7:25, 9:27,12:7,Revelation 11:211:312:612:1413:5)

It begins with the revelation of the antichrist as the guarantor of Israel’s security with the confirmation of a seven year peace agreement.

The dividing point between the first and second parts of the Tribulation is the cessation of Temple sacrifices (Daniel 9:27)

2. Mid-Tribulational: This view sees the Church being Raptured at the half-way point when the Temple sacrifices are suspended by the antichrist, but before the Great Tribulation of the 2nd half.

3. Pre-Wrath: This also puts the Church through the first half of the Tribulation, but the dividing point is not the Temple sacrifices, but the judgments, specifically, the Sixth Seal judgment, the “Blood Moon.”

4. Post-Tribulational: This view sees the Church put through the entire Tribulation, with the survivors being Raptured at the Second Coming.

5. There is no Rapture: This is the default view of amillennialism and post-millennialism and probably the majority view of world-wide Christendom today.

Only one view can be correct. So why five? Different methods of interpretation of prophecy affect the conclusions that are drawn from prophetic passages. If one reads a passage of prophecy and interprets it literally, one comes away with a different conclusion than if one reads the same passage symbolically.

There are places in Scripture where something is intended to be understood symbolically and places where it is intended to be literal. Context and usage generally make the intent obvious, but the best rule of interpretation remains the old adage, ‘when the clear sense makes sense, seek no other sense.’

But it should be obvious that those who draw their conclusions based on a symbolic understanding of Scripture arrive at different conclusions than those who view Scripture from a literal point of view. I am always (always) confused when someone attempts to argue that Dispensationalism was invented by C.I. Schofield or J.N. Darby or Margaret Macdonald.  

It was articulated by the Apostle Paul in his letters to both the Ephesians and the Colossians. 

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:” (Ephesians 1:10)

What is the ‘dispensation of the fullness of times?’ Literally, the phrase means the finaldispensation, or the Millennial Kingdom.

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:” (Ephesians 3:2)

What is the dispensation of the grace of God? Literally, that is the Church Age, or the Age of Grace.  

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.” (Colossians 1:25)

It seems clear to me that when interpreted literally and with a clear understanding of the Dispensations of God, one arrives at the conclusion that the Rapture of the Church must take place before any part of the Tribulation begins.

There is a clear Dispensational division between the Church Age and the Time of Jacob’sTrouble, or the 70th Week of Daniel. The Church Age MUST end so that God can pour out His grace upon the whole House of Israel.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)

When Scripture references “a mystery” it refers to something not previously revealed by God now being revealed to the Church. The first to use this word was Christ Himself in Mark 4:11:

“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.”

The Dispensation of the Age of Grace is acknowledged even by those who argue against Dispensationalism. It must be acknowledged, since it cannot be ignored.

Without Dispensationalism, there can be no reconciliation between the Old and New Testaments. The problem with that is that, without the harmony of the Scriptures, it would mean the same God didn’t inspire them both.

Is it, “an eye for an eye”? Or is it “turn the other cheek?” Does God demand blood sacrifices in payment for sin? Or has the blood sacrifice demand been satisfied?

It depends on whether one is under the Dispensation of the Law, or the Dispensation of the Age of Grace, does it not?

If one is under the Dispensation of Grace, it follows that,

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

But the Prophet Daniel says that during the Tribulation Period, the Law will be in effect. The Temple will be restored — as will the Temple system of animal sacrifices. Is that literal? Or symbolic?

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . .

An ‘oblation’ means ‘a thing presented or offered to God.” If the ‘covenant’ is literal, and the ‘week’ is a literal shabua (week of years) then it follows that both the sacrifice and the oblation are just as literal.

In 1st Corinthians 3:16,17, and 6:16, Paul points out that during the Church Age, believers are the Temple of God.

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

“And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

The Apostle Paul writes of the restored Temple (the only place where Daniel’s prophecy of sacrifice and oblation can be valid) and the antichrist’s desecration of it thusly:

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

Notice that Paul refers to it as the “Temple of God.” Is Paul speaking of all Church Age believers in which the antichrist takes a seat? Or a literal Temple of God?

Let’s ask Jesus.

“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:” (Mark 13:14)

The abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet is when the antichrist defiles the Temple, causing the sacrifice and oblation to cease. It is the same abomination of desolation that Paul is referring to in 2nd Thessalonians 2:4 — when the antichrist desecrates the Temple by sitting down in it proclaiming himself to be God.

Daniel says the Third Temple is legitimate in the eyes of God. And it is desecrated halfway through the Tribulation Period. It cannot be desecrated unless it is holy and it is God who calls it an abomination.

Jesus Christ says the abomination spoken of by Daniel takes place in “the holy place” and says when that happens, it is time to flee Judea for the mountains.

Paul says that this desecration is perpetrated by the antichrist and it takes place “in the Temple of God.”

So, on the testimony of three witnesses; Daniel, Jesus Christ of Nazareth and the Apostle Paul, during the Tribulation to come, the antichrist desecrates the Temple of God.

And, on the testimony of the Scripture, we are told three times that during the Church Age, WE are the Temple of God.

Things that are different are not the same. We find that the Temple of God, during the Church Age, is NOT a literal building, but the Temple of God, during the Tribulation, IS the literal Temple building.

Daniel said so. Paul said so. JESUS SAID SO.

If Daniel, Jesus and Paul say the Tribulation’s Temple of God is a building and a legitimate holy place that is capable of being desecrated, then what happened to the Church Age Temple[s] that the SAME Apostle Paul defines as Church Age believers?

The Scripture offers only one explanation that answers those questions without contradicting itself elsewhere.

“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.”

The Rapture of the Church is one of the most divisive doctrines within the Church today. And, as I’ve said many times, NOBODY is saved by their understanding of the timing of the Rapture.

So why do I keep hammering away at it? Because the Scriptures exhort me to.

We live in the most terrifying time of uncertainty in human history — the wrong move by the wrong guy could set off a chain of events that could potentially exterminate the human race. We have but a short time to spread the message of salvation, and it doesn’t help if we are paralyzed by fear.

The Lord knew the conditions that would exist just before His return. Which is why Paul ends his explanation of the Rapture with this exhortation:

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)


Originally Published: December 3, 2012

Featured Commentary: A Tale of Two Journeys ~ Alf Cengia

On Death and Dying

On Death and Dying
Vol: 169 Issue: 22 Thursday, October 22, 2015

I hate death. Not so much in the usual sense — few people I can think of would say they are particularly fond of the idea. Those who know their eternal destiny might be a bit more introspective about it, but not all.

My hatred for death is personal; as if death were an individual with whom I have had too many fist fights and not once ever landed a solid punch.

I fight death, I curse death, and death ducks every time I throw a punch, then steps back and mocks me. Man, I hate death!

Yesterday, I walked down to the beach to watch the sunset. It is especially beautiful to watch the sun seemingly sink into the ocean on the horizon.

The Carolina sky takes on the most gorgeous pastel colors I’ve ever seen; the clouds look like they were painted against an impossibly blue background with colors I’ve never seen duplicated anywhere else.

As I walked down the boardwalk, I noticed a small crowd of people standing in a circle. Lying on the ground was my friend, B. Y. Nobody knows what B. Y.’s real name is, although he’s been a local character around here for as long as anybody can remember.

He hailed from somewhere near Biloxi, Mississippi, and he once mentioned that he wished he could take a trip back home to see his mom. I offered to spring for his bus ticket, but he confided he wouldn’t know what to say.

He hadn’t seen his family in almost twenty years.

B. Y. was a hopeless drunk, seldom had a job, usually existed by sleeping on somebody’s back porch, but we all made sure he was fed and had a couple of bucks in his pocket.

I’ve always had an affinity for guys like B. Y. — they serve as a constant reminder that, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” Guys like B. Y. serve to remind me of how much God has blessed me, and how much I owe my fellow man who, for reasons known only to God, is not as blessed as I.

B. Y. and I used to talk about life, death, and his relationship with the Lord. I had witnessed to him previously, and B. Y. always assured me that he knew was saved and knew his eternal destiny.

I asked him once how he reconciled his life with his faith, and he shrugged, saying, “That’s the way God made me. I’ll ask Him about it one day.”

It was only yesterday morning that B. Y. stopped by my house to see if I had any odd jobs for him to do. I was in the middle of writing yesterday’s OL at the time, so I only had time to share a cup of coffee with him before sending him on his way.

As I walked up, it was obvious to me at first glance that B. Y. was dead. He had collapsed on the boardwalk, and I suppose that those who passed by him initially thought he had passed out drunk.

(It wouldn’t have been the first time. I’ve helped him off the boardwalk in that condition and over to the more comfortable (and safer) sand of the beach myself, several times.)

Not this time. The paramedics told me that he had probably been dead for forty-five minutes before anybody thought to check on him. They suspect he died of a drug overdose. He was forty-six years old.

I am going to miss B. Y.


I sat on the seawall, not twenty feet from where B. Y.’s body lay, and through the tears, I watched the sunset that I came to see, and had me a little talk with God about poor B. Y.

I prayed that B. Y. was telling me the truth, and that, even as his wasted body lay dead in the middle of the boardwalk, his spirit was in the presence of the Lord.

I prayed and meditated about Romans 10:13 and its unequivocal promise, “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved,” and prayed that B. Y. indeed had, at some point in his life, made that call.

I’ve given considerable thought to death, how much I hate it, and the reasons why. The first reason, of course, is pure selfishness.

For all his faults, B. Y. was always respectful of me, went out of his way whenever he could to do me a service, and once leapt to my defense when somebody dismissed me a ‘Bible thumper’.

We had nothing in common, but he was my friend, nevertheless. I liked him.

Death has claimed another friend, and, selfishly, I will miss him.

I hate death because it causes so much pain to those left behind. And I hate death because death eliminates second chances. B. Y. won’t get to make that trip to Biloxi to see his mother. He won’t get another chance to hug her.

She won’t get the chance to see her boy, and, whatever the cause of their estrangement, there will never be another chance to make things right.

Worst of all, if B. Y. hadn’t trusted his eternity to Jesus and was just politely brushing me off, then he won’t get a second chance to decide where he will spend it.

With the recent death of my best friend, Wylie, still an open wound in my heart, and now, with B. Y.’s death taking place right before my eyes, I decided to take another look at what the Bible says happens when we die.

I’ve heard it argued that when a person dies, they remain in the grave, physically dead and spiritually asleep until the Rapture.

Following that argument, there is no sense of time, since eternity is a dimension independent of time, so, although one might be in the grave for thousands of years, from the perspective of its occupant, no time actually elapses at all.

The Apostle Paul wrote,

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

That verse is used as often to argue against ‘soul sleep’ as it is used to defend it.

If there is no sense of elapsed time, then the loss of physical consciousness at death and the awakening of our spiritual consciousness at some point in eternity future is one unbroken chain of events. Or so the argument goes. And there is Scripture that appears to support it.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:10 that,

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”

The Psalmist wrote:

“For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?” (Psalms 6:5)

Even in context, these verses tend to argue in favor of the idea of ‘soul sleep’ — that once we die, we stay dead until our resurrection at the last day.

The Bible is a record of unfolding revelation — the prophets didn’t know everything — they knew only what God revealed to them. Much of Old Testament prophecy made little sense to the prophet himself.

The prophet Daniel was given the outline of Israel’s entire future history, condensed into a period of only 490 years — the prophecy of the ’70 Weeks’.

By Daniel’s reckoning, then, Daniel’s 70th week, the time we call the Tribulation Period, should have been concluded seven years after Jesus was crucified. But the mystery of the Church wasn’t revealed to Daniel — he talks all the way around it, but he himself never sees it.

I once heard it explained using the analogy of a man on a mountaintop peering at another distant mountaintop, but unable to see the valley between.

Jesus Christ unlocked many mysteries for the Church, not the least of which was what happens when we die. Until Jesus defeated death at His resurrection, the general understanding was that man dies, and then awaits the resurrection of the dead.

The Book of Job, chronologically the oldest book in the Bible, spoke confidently of the resurrection of the dead even before the time of Abraham, saying,

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

But Jesus gave us additional revelation, a new ‘mystery’ for the Church, telling us exactly what happens when we die. There is no ‘soul sleep’ as the OT prophets supposed.

Jesus taught specifically and incontrovertibly that, when the moment of death comes, our conscious spirit lives on, AWAITING the resurrection of the dead, which is when our spirit is united with our new and improved physical bodies.

But we aren’t ‘sleeping’ while we wait. When Jesus taught, He often used parables to make His point. And He always prefaced it by telling His audience it was a parable; “learn the parable of the fig tree”; “learn the parable of the sower and the seed” and so on.

Other times, Jesus taught directly from Divine knowledge, revealing previously unknown truths about death, heaven and hell from His perspective as the Creator.

On one occasion, Jesus was teaching as God, rebuking the Pharisees, saying,

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.” (Luke 16:16)

Then He said, “There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . .”

So, we have two specific, living individuals in this story, a rich man, and a beggar named Lazarus.

“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried.”

Lazarus died, but that wasn’t the end of it. He was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The place called Abraham’s bosom was the waiting place of the righteous dead.

They couldn’t enter heaven, since the blood of animal sacrifices couldn’t completely wash away the stain of sin. At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ — Abraham’s Bosom — to free the righteous dead and take them to heaven.

This is basic Christian Bible doctrine — but it would be meaningless if Lazarus, Abraham, Moses, etc. remain unconscious in the grave.

Moreover, we have the testimony of the Creator Himself. Why tell the story if the story wasn’t true? It wasn’t a parable used to teach a lesson. The story WAS the lesson.

The rich man also died and was buried, but that isn’t the end of his story, either. The OTHER side of Abraham’s bosom was the waiting place for the unrighteous dead, what Jesus called ‘hell’.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Note that the rich man isn’t sleeping until Judgment Day, he is in hell, and “in torments.”

How do we know this isn’t referring to some period after the resurrection of the unrighteous dead before they stand before the Great White Throne?

Because, Scripture says, hell (and its contents) are then thrown into the ‘Lake of Fire’ [Revelation 20:14].

If there was nobody in hell, because they were all asleep until the resurrection, this would be something of a pointless exercise.

Moreover, Scripture speaks of where the beast and false prophet “are” (present tense) [Revelation 20:10] in the context of the Great White Throne Judgment, which takes place a thousand years AFTER they died. Tenses, whether past, present or future, are references to time.

Jesus Himself explained how hell was divided up until the time He conquered death and hell at the Cross;

“And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, BETWEEN US AND YOU THERE IS A GREAT GULF FIXED: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:19-31)

After Jesus claimed the inhabitants of Abraham’s Bosom, hell was given completely over to the unrighteous dead awaiting judgment.

So it is clear that the dead do not sleep until judgment day. The moment of physical death is the moment of spiritual awakening.

One is conscious of either being in the presence of the Lord, or one is conscious of the torments of hell. In either case, our spiritual consciousness, according to the Personal testimony of the Creator, remains unbroken.

This was, for most of human history, an unrevealed ‘mystery’ of God, until God chose to reveal it through Jesus Christ. Since then it has remained a central doctrine of Christianity — at death, one faces either heaven or hell.

At the Cross, Jesus told the repentant thief,

“Verily I say unto thee, TODAY shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

Time is of no effect in eternity, but the Bible outlines history in chronological order, binding itself to time in order for it to be understandable to those of us who know no other existence outside of time.

Hence, those in Abraham’s Bosom had to wait (time) for Jesus to redeem them, although they themselves were already in eternity. Those in hell have to wait (time) until the Great White Throne Judgment.

The Great White Throne Judgment and the resurrection of the unrighteous dead takes place one thousand years (time) AFTER the defeat and deaths of the antichrist and false prophet, who the Lord says already ARE (time) in the Lake of Fire BEFORE (time) Satan is cast there.

Our spirits exist and have substance, and they are not only conscious after death, they are completely self-aware.

The rich man of Luke 16 remembered he had five brothers. He begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them ‘lest they also come into this place of torment.’

This story took place BEFORE (time again) Jesus had gone to the Cross.

At this moment, B. Y. is either in the presence of Jesus, or he is awaiting judgment in hell. My prayer is that B. Y. trusted Jesus and that one day I will see the man behind the bottle as Jesus saw him; imperfect, incorrigible, but by God’s grace, forgiven and therefore greatly loved of the Father.

Death is not the end of our existence, it isn’t even the end of our consciousness. But it is the end of our opportunity to choose to accept or reject the free gift of salvation procured for us by our Savior.

It is our duty to remember the rich man, and his plea for his five brothers. There is nothing we can do for them, but every day, we meet someone that still has a chance to make that choice. All of us know a B. Y. — and at any moment, our mortal enemy, death, could come calling for him. Then it is too late.

It places upon us, who know the truth, an awesome responsibility:

“When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” (Ezekiel 33:8)

Originally Published: July 21, 2005

The Amazing Accuracy of Ezekiel

The Amazing Accuracy of Ezekiel
Vol: 169 Issue: 21 Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates. . .(Ezekiel 38:11)

Some two hundred years after the political subdivision called the ‘Kingdom of Israel’ was destroyed by Sargon II, the prophet Ezekiel from the Southern Kingdom of Judah wrote from exile in Babylon.

When Sargon destroyed the northern kingdom of Israel, he did what conquerors did in those days; he transplanted the population of Israel to elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire, and then relocated elements of other subjugated people in their place.

The purpose of this was to keep the populations docile. A people without a land have little to fight for. After a generation or two, they assimilate, and the new land becomes their land.

This is how the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel were lost to history, and from the beginning of the 7th century BC, there was no place left in the world called Israel.

The surviving kingdom of Judah, known as Jews, was captured and partially assimilated by the Babylonians in the mid 5th century BC. They survived their captivity in Babylon, and later, the Medo-Persians, only because they were allowed to return to their own land by Artaxerxes.

In Ezekiel’s day, there was no place called ‘Israel’, had not BEEN a place called ‘Israel’ for 150 years, would not be another place called ‘Israel’ for 2,520 years, and besides, Ezekiel was a Jew from Judah.

But Ezekiel’s prophetic writings are filled with references to a future place called ‘Israel’, one that he describes as “the people that are gathered out of the nations” (38:12) and then further describes as “my people of Israel” (38:18)

Ezekiel wrote of Israel’s regathering in the last days. In Ezekiel 37, the prophet is shown a valley of dry bones. Those dry bones, the Lord explains, are the “whole house of Israel”(37:11) that the Lord says would be restored in the last days.

Six hundred years BEFORE the remaining Jews of Israel were scattered by the Romans, the Lord told Ezekiel of their regathering in the last days.

“Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land; And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” (Ezekiel 37:21-22)

The fulfillment of this prophecy could not be more obvious. The Jews of the Diaspora have indeed ‘come from among the heathen’ from ‘every side’ and returned to the Promised Land.

In 1897, the first Zionist Congress petitioned the British Crown to allow the ingathering Jews to set up a state in what was the British colony of Uganda. At the time, Palestine was in the hands of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. The British told them they should ask the Ottomans to let them have their historical homeland and turned the Uganda request down.

Ezekiel prophesied that the regathering of Israel would be on their own land, “mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations” (38:8)

Abba Ebban, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers, wrote in his book, ‘Personal Witness’ that, right up until the last moment before issuing their 1948 Declaration of Statehood, they were quibbling about what to name the new Jewish State.

Some liked ‘Zion’ others ‘Judea’ — and it was only at the last minute, AFTER ben-Gurion had already requested the new state be recognized by Washington, that they decided on the name ‘Israel’.

Ezekiel foretold all this two and one half millennia before it happened. He said his prophecy was for “the latter days.” (38:16)


It is worth noting again that building moats and walls to protect against invaders was a common strategic option in Ezekiel’s day. For that reason, Ezekiel’s reference to a ‘land of unwalled villages’ was generally interpreted as a metaphor for peace, rather than a literal condition. The only modern equivalent would have been the Berlin Wall, but it was built to keep people from escaping, not to defend against invasion.

But Ezekiel’s walls are clearly defensive — the whole 38th chapter is about a war of invasion against Israel. And today, 2500 years after Ezekiel foretold it, and more than sixty years after Israel’s restoration, the Israelis are building a defensive wall around their country.

It is an iron-clad certainty that the wall will be built — it is already partially completed and is proving its worth. Areas protected by the wall are already experiencing fewer terrorist attacks. It is equally certain that the wall will come down.

The entire world community opposes it (although they are having a hard time explaining why) and Israel is already preparing to mount its defense at an upcoming trial before the World Court in The Hague to justify its continuation.

There will be no way the World Court can force the destruction of the wall without some kind of peace guarantee the Israelis can accept and the European diplomatic corps is hard at work trying to come up with one. So far, they’ve had little success, but it is not from lack of trying.

The wall is becoming a focal point of world attention, to the exclusion of the terrorism that created it, and it can only have one of two outcomes. Either the wall comes down before it is finished, or it will come down at some point in the future. There is no way the world community will learn to live with the status quo.

Once the wall is completed, the Palestinians will have their defacto state, Israel will retain the high ground and more defensible borders, and the Palestinians will have to achieve statehood the old-fashioned way. By building one. You know, like the Israelis did.

That will never be acceptable to the world community. They were the ones who created the Palestinians in the first place, and having created a people, it is incumbent upon them to provide them with a state.

Since the Israelis are not cooperating in giving up theirs, the plan is to create one beside Israel and force Israel to support it by providing jobs to the Palestinians.

Palestine had no independent status during the Ottoman Empire. As European powers expanded their foothold in the region and as Zionism brought Jewish immigrants to their ancestral homeland, no one could define Palestine’s contours. A picture emerged only in the early 1920s under the British Mandate, which extended from the Jordan River to the sea, from the upper Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba.

The 1948 war created a de facto partition, but no Palestinian state. Jordan took the West Bank, and Egypt grabbed the Gaza Strip, filled with refugees from Israeli areas that now included 78 percent of the British Mandate territory.

When Israel captured the Egyptian Gaza and Jordanian West Bank in 1967, the ‘Palestinian people’ were created out of the displaced Arabs.

The prophet Daniel, and both Paul and John foretell a peace agreement with Israel that kicks off the Tribulation Period. Daniel says that a leader of the revived Roman Empire confirms a peace covenant between Israel and her enemies, which he breaks halfway through.

In context, one could assume the covenant involves a mutual defense agreement, since, after the walls come down, Ezekiel says a Russian-led Islamic alliance launches a sneak invasion against Israel. Ezekiel 38:13 says Israel’s ‘allies’ launch what amounts to little more than a weak diplomatic objection.

The literal fulfillment of prophecies penned tens of centuries ago continue to unfold in our generation. Right down to details such as Israel’s Tribulation status as a ‘land of unwalled villages’.

The same Guiding Hand responsible for Ezekiel’s unwavering accuracy and attention to detail also guided those prophecies that yet remain to be fulfilled. Don’t let anybody steal away your excitement! We are that special, chosen generation who ‘shall not pass away, until all be fulfilled.”

You are not grasping at straws, or following vague and ambiguous prophecies that can be explained away by calling them ‘interpretations.’ This is the real thing.

“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Originally Published: February 8, 2004