The Hope That is in You

The Hope That is in You
Vol: 23 Issue: 17 Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Bible divides the world into four regional power blocs in the last days. The western alliance [the Revived Roman empire of antichrist – Dan 9:26], the ‘kings of the south’ [Africa and Islamic North Africa – Dan 11:40] the ‘kings of the east [China and Southeast Asia -Rev 16:12] the Gog-Magog alliance [Russian-Arab-Islamic alliance – Ezekiel 38-39].

The Bible also outlines a specific scenario for the last days, giving detailed descriptions of these four global spheres of influence.

Currently, there are five. Four of them are in a state of flux, realigning themselves, almost against reason in some cases, to conform to the scenario outlined by Scripture.

The fifth, the United States, grows increasingly isolated. Washington is so lonely it has gone into denial, sometimes even pretending it has real friends.

Prime examples of America’s ‘pretend’ friends include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan and the core group of Western European nations led by France and Germany. They are our ‘friends’ in the sense they are not currently enemies. 

America has only one unquestioning and unequivocal ally within the sea of nations. That ally, the land of Israel, is the central character around which the entire end-time drama is played out. 

Assessment:

In this generation, the world has divided itself into four spheres of influence, as measured from Jerusalem; Russia to the north, China to the east, the Islamic Middle East and Africa to the south, and Europe to the west.

America is a sphere of influence unto itself, not part of any, but engaged in — and resented by — all four.

This is the precise lineup of nations predicted by Scripture for a horrible end-times war that will engulf the whole earth.

The Scripture assigns a role to each of these four; Gog-Magog, the Kings of the East, the Kings of the South and the revived Roman Empire of antichrist.

There is no mention of the fifth existing global sphere of influence currently led by America. On the fate of the United States, Scripture is silent.

There are a number of possible reasons. The most obvious one is an expansion of the current world war — one so devastating to America that it has no role left to play in the last days.

Another, more hopeful scenario would be the Rapture of the Church. The sudden disappearance of millions of Americans would also account for America’s absence during the Tribulation Period. 

Which scenario is correct remains to be seen. But what is of importance to Christians who are anticipating the return of Christ is the fact it is all taking shape now.

Christianity has no nationality. Jesus said we are in the world, but not of it. Christianity is, at its roots, not American. If Christianity were to have a national identity, it would be Jewish.

This is not a time for fear, but a time for prayer and for redoubling our efforts to inform the world of what is taking place. The Lord is preparing for His return. The signs of the times are all around us. There is no time to waste in pointless debate over signs, and seasons and times.

We of the Church have “a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19)

We already know what is to come to pass, and what the signs of the times will be. There is no debate.

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

It’s true, my brothers and sisters! Jesus IS coming. The KING is coming! In the words of the old hymn, ‘it may be morning, may be noon, may be evening and maybe SOON’ — but He IS coming.

The fields are white with the harvest, but the laborers be few. Don’t be afraid of what is to come. Everybody you meet will be afraid.

We must be prepared and “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”(1 Peter 3:15) “. . .for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)

That is the purpose of your Omega Letter. To journal the events that lead to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in this generation, both as a warning and as a cause for hope. 

What appears to be chaos is really evidence of a Divine Order. The events that are conspiring together to bring the world to the brink of annihilation are not taking place at random, but as part of a pre-ordained plan of God. 

For those of us who trust God instead of our own understanding, it means that everything will turn out ok in the end, no matter how terrifying things look at the moment. 

We don’t know how, we don’t know when, but we don’t really NEED to know. We only need to know that He does. Bible prophecy confirms that everything is going according to plan. 

Because 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)

Even chaos.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 6, 2006

Featured Commentary: The Exercise of Folishness ~Steve Schmutzer

Focus on Israel

Focus on Israel
Vol: 23 Issue: 16 Monday, April 16, 2018

Sometimes, it must appear as if the Omega Letter is really the Israeli Letter, given our focus on the Middle East, in particular, Israel.

Such is not our intent.  But Israel is the linchpin in studying Bible prophecy.  Jesus’ description of the signs of His Return [Matt 24:3] are given from the perspective of someone standing on the Mount of Olives. 

Without Israel, Bible prophecy doesn’t make sense. 

That is one reason that Christians who believe Israel was replaced by the Church have no use for prophecy.  See “What is Preterism“?

Center of Global Attention

In addition, Israel is at the top of the world’s agenda, and the mission of the Omega Letter Digest is to document the world’s slide toward the Tribulation using secular resources to demonstrate the accuracy of Bible prophecy. 

Since Bible prophecy for the last days and through the Tribulation is centered around Israel [see Daniel’s 70th Week].  Israel serves as a mile marker.  The closer it appears to come to extinction, the closer the Return of Christ, Who, according to Scripture, prevents that from happening. 

The Eternal Generation

In a very real sense, what we are witnessing is not the actual fulfillment of prophecy for the last days.  The next prophetic event to be fulfilled in the Church Age is the Rapture.  Then the events of the Tribulation follow.  Both remain future — near future, we would argue.

So instead, we are eyewitnesses to the staging process.  The Bible says that there are a number of seemingly unrelated events that take place all in a single generation, somewhere in time. 

Bible Prophecy Demands A Jewish State

Bible prophecy makes numerous references to the existence of a Jewish state called Israel in the last days [Ezekiel 37].  It also demands that Israel be in disputed possession of the city of Jerusalem [Zechariah 12]. 

It demands a conflict between Israel and her neighbors [Daniel 9].  The conflict is so intractable it will require supernatural intervention to resolve it [Dan 9:27Zech 12:2-3]. 

Israel’s rebirth even took the Jews by surprise.  Abba Eban, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers, wrote in his book, Personal Witness, that on the day David Ben Gurion composed the telegram asking Harry Truman to recognize the Jewish state, it was still unnamed. 

The name ‘Israel’ wasn’t selected until the following day.

“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).

Bible Prophecy Demands A Global Government

Throughout history, men have sought to rule the world.  And throughout history, other men have resisted the attempt.  In the last two global wars, the effort began with the conquest of Europe. 

Following the last attempt, the Benelux Treaty brought together the first six European states, forming the nucleus of the modern European Union.  Wars couldn’t unite them.  Peace did [Daniel 8:25].

The same global war was responsible for the creation of the United Nations.  The UN created the template for a global government.  But the UN is an organism with 191 heads and no brain.  It doesn’t take a political scientist to see it is a failed experiment. 

How Europe will eventually replace the UN is unclear, but it is the most likely candidate — the world would never accept the US or Russia. Europe would be far more acceptable.  The Bible says it will happen [Daniel 9Rev 13].

Bible Prophecy Demands a Global Economy

The global economy is a reality.  The prophecy of the Mark of the Beast [Rev 13:17] demands a system whereby the buying and selling of individuals will be tracked and monitored.  Those outside the economic system of antichrist will be ‘unable to buy or sell’. 

Entry into the system requires some kind of mark of allegiance to the antichrist.  Tracking sales is a reality.  Nobody can function in today’s economy unless they are in the ‘system’.  If you doubt it, get a bank account without a Social Security number or try and buy a new car using cash. 

Bible Prophecy Demands a Global Religion

The Mark of the Beast is an economic system, but also a system of worship.  The false prophet [Rev 13:11] has two horns like a lamb [symbolic of Christianity – the Lamb of God] but speaks as a dragon [Satan].  A counterfeit Christianity preaching another Jesus and a different gospel [2 Cor 11:4].  That is already well entrenched in mainstream Christian denominations that teach salvation by works, church membership or ritual. 

The war on terror has also created a global suspicion of fundamental anything. 

What is a Fundamentalist?

To a Christian, a fundamentalist is one who practices the fundamentals of Christian faith, eschewing traditions of men and preferring the Word of God. 

The world has a different perspective. 

Fundamentalists, Jewish, Christian, Muslim — they’re all bombers.  Christian fundamentalists blow up abortion clinics, Jewish fundamentalists blow up Arabs and Muslim fundamentalists blow up anybody.  That is the prevailing propaganda, is it not? 

It isn’t a stretch to expect that the sudden legitimization of ‘faith’ [whether in Jehovah, Jesus or Allah] will eventually blend together into a kind of global ecumenical belief in one ‘god’ for all.  Those who hold to the ‘old ways’ would be, well, fundamentalists. 

We get lots of email asking where we are in Bible prophecy right now.  Israel was reborn in 1948.  The Benelux Treaty was signed in 1948.  The World Council of Churches was created in Amsterdam in 1948.  The transistor — the invention credited as giving birth to the Computer Age [making possible a global economy] was invented in 1948. 

The General Agreement on Tarrifs and Trades [forerunner to the World Trade Organization] was signed in 1948.  Where are we in Bible prophecy right now?  Jesus said ‘when these things begin to come to pass, look up’ [Luke 21:28] because ‘this generation shall not pass, til all be fulfilled’ [Matthew 24:34]. 

Although no man knows the day or hour, [Matt 24:33] ‘when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors’ [Mark 13:29].

Where are we in Bible prophecy right now?

Near.  Even at the doors.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 18, 2002

Featured Commentary: When Will Christ Return? (Sooner vs. Later) ~Pete Garcia

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

A Shelter in the Time of Storm
Vol: 23 Issue: 14 Saturday, April 14, 2018

In 1880, Vernon Charlesworth, the headmaster of Charles Spurgeon’s Stockwell Orphanage, composed a hymn that found immediate popularity among fishermen along the north coast of England. They were often heard singing it as they approached their harbors during inclement weather.

“The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,

A Shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide,

A Shelter in the time of storm.”

I’ve always loved that hymn, but Charlesworth’s words seemd particularly eloquent to me as Ophelia raged about us. 

“The raging storms may round us beat,

A Shelter in the time of storm

We’ll never leave our safe retreat,

A Shelter in the time of storm.” 

During the worst of the storm, I noticed with surprise that, even as I was unconsciously humming the melody while fighting the wind and rain to get the generator up and running, I felt completely safe. 

Not because my little house was designed to take whatever Ophelia was capable of dishing out, but because I had an instant of clarity in which I saw, in a new and profound way, the truth of the saying 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) 

I don’t know if I can articulate what I mean by having seen this truth in a ‘new and profound way’, but I can tell you it was a warm and wonderful experience. 

It is sometimes easy to forget that God is actually in charge of EVERYTHING — lots of times I think I am, and God lets me. 

But it is times like these, when something potentially catastrophic comes my way, that I find I am the most at peace. It reminds me that I am given stewardship over a few things, but that God is in charge of EVERYTHING. Including outcomes. 

There is little that makes one feel more helpless than facing the awesome power of a hurricane, but for me, it was a reminder that I am NOT ‘helpless’– but rather, DEPENDENT. I am dependent upon God for my provision and protection. As I am every single moment of every single day. 

“A shade by day, defense by night,

A Shelter in the time of storm;

No fears alarm, no foes afright,

A Shelter in the time of storm.”

Today’s Omega Letter is a bit abbreviated — I have to conserve gasoline for the generator — there is no telling how long until electricity is restored. 

But the howling of the winds and the roaring of the sea, the sounds of things going BANG in the night, the darkness and pounding rain were in the Hands that I trust for my daily provision anyway. 

We can SEE a storm. We can’t see if we will have jobs, or homes, even one day into the future. 

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12) 

I thank my Lord for that reminder.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinslla on  Septmber 15, 2005

Triskaidekaphobia

Triskaidekaphobia
Vol: 23 Issue: 13 Friday, April 13, 2018

If you are concerned about today’s date – Friday the 13th – then you may be suffering from a mild case of Triskaidekaphobia – an irrational fear of the number 13.

If you are afraid to go out of the house today, then you probably qualify as a full-blown triskaidekaphobic.  

The word is a Greek compound word; “tris meaning “three”, kai meaning “and”, deka meaning “ten” and phobia meaning “morbid fear.”

The basis for Triskaidekaphobia is rooted in the superstition that the number thirteen is unlucky.  But the fear is of the number itself – thirteen floors, thirteen chapters, thirteen in an address, and when combined with a Friday, fear of a date. 

In numerology, twelve is considered the number of completeness. There are twelve months in a year, twelve hours on a clockface, twelve Apostles, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve in a dozen, twelve days of Christmas, a calendar day is two twelve-hour periods.

In mathematics, twelve is called a “sublime” number; twelve has a perfect number of divisors and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number.  

Thirteen is considered unlucky because it is twelve plus one.  At the Last Supper, there were thirteen seated at the table.   Friday is considered unlucky because that was the day the Lord was crucified. 

Combine them, and for triskaideckaphobics, it is scary, indeed. Indeed, the fear of Friday the thirteenth is so common it has its own clinical name; friggatriskaidekaphobia.  

There lots of other phobias; Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is the irrational fear of the number 666, octophobia, the fear of the number 8. 

There are phobias that are so irrational as to sound funny; pogonophobia is the fear of beards; geniophobia the fear of chins, xenoglossophobia is the fear of foreign languages.  

Others don’t really seem to belong in the ‘irrational fear’ category at all. 

For example, ballistophobia, or the “fear of bullets”.  Nothing irrational about that.  Stygiophobia, or, the “fear of hell”  – that sounds like the most rational fear of all. 

Our culture is even governed by alleged phobias and by the fear of phobias, or at least, the fear of appearing phobic.  (There actually is a clinical name for the fear of phobias — phobophobic.)

For the past two decades, the gay rights agenda has used the word homophobic to marginalize its opponents as both irrational and fearful.  Its effectiveness as a tactic is self-evident. 

The quickest way to cut off all discussion is to label one side ‘homophobic’ because by definition, there is no point in attempting rational debate with an irrational person.  

As a tactic, it was so effective that it was immediately adopted by defenders of Islam and Sharia Law.

To be labeled an “Islamophobe” is to be marginalized as outside of mainstream thinking; a cowering, quaking, ignoramus irrationally fearing that which he does not understand.   

But Islamophobia has a lot more in common with ballistophobia than it does geniophobia.

If you know what I mean.

Assessment:

Phobias are all about fear and fear, interestingly enough, is almost always related to the future. Fear of a situation getting worse, or fear of the continuation of an unacceptable situation, fear of future consequences to present actions, fear of the unknown.

People aren’t afraid of events that have passed.   Fear of present events, such as being a passenger in a doomed aircraft as it is on its way down, relate more to the future collision than the present ride.  During a crisis, one is too busy to be afraid.

George Hegel was a philosopher who developed a dialectic, or developmental process, for governing in the absence of popular support for a particular agenda.  

Traditionally, this dimension of Hegel’s thought has been analyzed in terms of the categories of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.  Here’s how it works in summary:

Thesis: Create or identify a ‘manageable’ crisis. 

Antithesis: Identify the root cause, and stir up panic and fear of the crisis situation.

Synthesis: Offer as a solution to the problem the policy or program a societal shift which would have been impossible to impose upon the people without the proper psychological conditioning achieved in stages one and two.

Fear is what the Hegelian Dialect is designed to harness.

Prophetically speaking, the Bible divides the last days into two distinct periods — the period of fear, and the period where those fears are realized.

In the period leading up to the Rapture, the Bible warns of fear — “men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after the things which are coming upon the earth . . .” Jesus says at one point.  

After the Rapture, those fears are realized with the revelation of the antichrist and the unfolding of the Tribulation Period.   

For Christians living in this present time, the Lord tells us to “fear not.”  That seems odd, given the horrors of the Tribulation. 

Yet the Bible says that the Church has found grace in the eyes of the Lord and is deemed righteous in its generations by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

In distinguishing the period of fear from the time of fears realized, Jesus told His disciples that it would be as it was in the time of Noah and Lot. 

It is an interesting choice of patriarchs.  Note they share a single distinguishing characteristic, apart from which, they have nothing in common.

Lot dwelt in the city of Sodom with his family.  God withheld judgment on the city until after Lot and his family were safely evacuated.

“But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29)

The Bible says that “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” and that “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations and Noah walked with God.”  

God withheld judgment on the earth until Noah and his family were safely aboard the Ark.

How does this relate to the Church?  The Church is justified and therefore judicially perfect in its generations from Christ to the end of the Age of Grace. 

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

The days of Noah and Lot are the days in which God delivered those to whom He extended His grace and delivered them from judgment.

“Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:30)

Fear-mongering is the order of the day. The times ahead will be fearful times at best, but what is fearful for the world should be cause for celebration for the Church. 

The world is looking for the antichrist to deliver them from the fearful things just over the horizon. The Church views the fearful things just over the horizon and sees the Lord coming to deliver them from the world.  

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (Proverbs 3:25-26)

It’s a scary world, but we are only in it, not of it. Don’t let being scared scare you into thinking your faith is weak.   Think how terrified you would be if the Holy Spirit wasn’t bearing witness to your spirit — right now where you sit — that you are a child of God? 

Sit back, be still for a moment, and reflect how that promise is fulfilled, almost invisibly, in your own walk with the Lord. . . “For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” 

Trust in the promise — it will continue to be fulfilled in our lives — sit back and witness the Holy Spirit at work in you.

Let fear drive everybody else.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 13, 2011

Featured Commentary: Go De-Fund Israel ~Alf Cengia

TANSTAAFL

TANSTAAFL
Vol: 23 Issue: 12 Thursday, April 12, 2018

When I was a young man, among my favorite books were the early works of a science-fiction writer named Robert Heinlein. A Marine buddy introduced me to them by lending me a book called, ”The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”

Throughout the book, whenever it fit the story plotline, one of the characters would utter the catchphrase, “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch” by its acronym, ‘TANSTAAFL’.

It was one of those oddball phrases that stuck in my head because of the simple truth it conveyed; in this world, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Everything comes with a price tag.  

It is a basic law of physics as expressed by the phrase, “for every action, there must be an equal and opposite reaction.”

As a principle, it stands at the core of economic theory, as well as virtually every other area of human endeavor. God so designed this universe that that everything is, in the end, a zero-sum game – all things balance out to zero eventually.

The Book of Ecclesiastes, or “the Preacher” was written by the wisest man the world has ever known, King Solomon. Late in his life, Solomon realized his gift of wisdom had benefited all but himself. 

The Book of Ecclesiastes could be described as the somewhat bitter memoir of a wise old man who looks back on a life filled with regrets. It is lots more than that.

Many Christians find Ecclesiastes a gloomy book; its central theme is that life is pointless, (all is vanity) and since all that awaits us is the grave, “every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:13)

But if there is one central theme in the Book of Ecclesiastes, it is TANSTAAFL.

“For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20)

Critics and skeptics argue that these verses contradict Scriptures that speak of the afterlife and resurrection.  There will always be critics and skeptics that will find a way to read Scripture to make it sound like there are contradictions.

They are so intent on disproving the wisdom of Scripture that the wisdom of Solomon goes completely over their heads. 

Solomon is expressing reality as viewed from this side of eternity.  All of his laments make the same case. All is vanity.

You can be the wisest man who ever lived. You can have all the riches the world can offer. You can be the world’s most powerful king and have the world’s most desirable woman for your queen.  

You can have the admiration of men and the love of women and the riches and wisdom of Solomon, but in the end, it is STILL a zero-sum game.

“Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.” (Ecclesiastes 2:15-16)

Ecclesiastes isn’t a gloomy book.  Neither is it contradictory.  Written by the wisest man who ever lived, it is unsurprising that those who attempt to understand it’s message apart from the Holy Spirit miss it completely. 

They are looking for what they think is the central theme of the Bible.  That because the Bible freely offers salvation to “whosoever will” that the Bible offers a free lunch. 

Solomon isn’t contradicting Scripture, he is setting the record straight.  They are looking for a free lunch. 

TANSTAAFL.  There ain’t one.

Assessment:

By now I can almost hear some of you arguing with me in your head; “What are you saying! Salvation is a free gift.  The Bible says so! Look!

“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Romans 5:15)

See! FREE GIFT.  A GIFT has to be FREE, or it isn’t a gift!  Right?

“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.” (Romans 5:16)

See! FREE gift!

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Romans 5:18)

See! Free gift upon all men is this HARD?

TANSTAAFL!  Read it more closely.  The gift of eternal life is free – to YOU.  But the price paid to secure it was unimaginably high. 

You just weren’t the one that had to pay for it.  Jesus Christ paid the price for every sin you ever committed or ever will commit — on the Cross at Calvary.

And it HAD to be that way.  He could not pay the price for just some of the sins you commit – that is an imperfect price. Since there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is no such thing as a partial payment on a free gift.

To be free, the payment must be in full and to be a gift, it must be offered without further payment due.

The gift of salvation wasn’t free – it was paid for with the Blood of Jesus Christ.  Does that mean that you can now sin with impunity? 

That’s what lots of people teach, even though logic and experience and the principle of TANSTAAFL prove the opposite to be the case.

Even more will reject the idea eternal security on the grounds that it is a free lunch, which they logically – and correctly — understand to be impossible in God’s creation.  Nothing is free.  Not in the here and now and not in the hereafter.

My salvation was purchased for me. It was then offered to me as a free gift.  Once I have accepted it, it is mine forever – once saved, always saved.  But that does not mean that I am exempt from the consequences of sin – I certainly am not.

If one smokes, one will pay the consequences.  Smokers get COPD, lung cancer, emphysema, etc.  Continuing to smoke after salvation will kill you just as dead, just as slowly and painfully as it would an unsaved smoker.   

Chronic boozers get cirrhosis, heart disease, and all kinds of other ailments.

“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.”

“Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” (Proverbs 23:29-32)

It is often rightly said that sin will take you further than you want to go and keep you there longer than you want to be there.  That is one of those universally true statements because it is founded in a universal truth.  

Sin has consequences.  But sin is NOT the dividing line between heaven and hell.  One doesn’t go to heaven because one is sinless or to hell because one is a sinner.  If that is true, then Jesus Christ would still be the only human qualified to enter.

And strictly speaking, He IS the only one qualified to enter – on His own merit.  The rest of us are qualified by Jesus, based on His righteousness and not our own.

Jesus paid the eternal penalty due for all sin – but the temporal penalties remain outstanding.

A saved person cannot sin with impunity. There are physical consequences attached to sin.  There are social consequences attached to sin. There are emotional consequences attached to sin.  Sin hurts a saved person more than it does a lost person. 

But sin isn’t the determining factor between saved and lost. ALL Christians are sinners.  The determining factor in salvation is whether you repented (changed your mind) about sin and turned your life and your will over to Jesus Christ and then trusted Him with your eternity.

Neither can a person sin without spiritual consequences — as well as physical ones.  Each of us will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to answer for those things we have done in this life.

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

God has a plan for your life and it will be reviewed at the Judgment (Bema) Seat of Christ.  There you will be rewarded for the times you were faithful and you will give account for the times you were not.  

You will see the rewards you would have earned, had you been where you were supposed to be when you were off sinning somewhere.

Your sinful works will be tested by fire, and burned into so much ash and stubble, and you WILL suffer loss.  Unimaginable loss – for eternity. 

But not the loss of eternity.  Your eternal security is not a free lunch.  Jesus paid for it.  Your sin is not a free lunch. You will pay for it.  Just not in hell.

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

You cannot ignore the consequences of sin simply because Jesus has ransomed your eternity.  You cannot smoke without consequence. Or drink without consequence. Or stuff yourself without consequence.

“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.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Obviously, this destruction can only refer to the ‘temple’ – the body – and not the eternal soul that Paul just finished saying would be saved, yet so as by fire.  

Defile the temple and God will destroy it.  Need another proof text?  Visit a cancer ward.

What is the point here?  Eternal security is NOT a free lunch.  To argue otherwise elevates man to the level where he plays an instrumental role in his own salvation.   

 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)

“Not Thee, Lord, but thee and me.” That elevation comes at a price by minimizing the price paid at Calvary.  Jesus can’t do it, but together, we can.  

“And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are Your’s.”

If salvation is a case of “Thee and me” then there would be ample reason to glory in men.

“I am saved because Jesus paid the price and now I don’t sin.  I used to be a terrible sinner, but now just look at me. Look at what Jesus can do.”

That is why if one sins after being saved, there is no way to renew him to repentance, as Hebrews 6:6 says, “seeing they crucify the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame.”

If you don’t sin anymore because of what Jesus did for you, what does it say about Jesus when you fall? For you will fall.  Did you fall?  Or did Jesus drop you?   

Why is this important?  Because there is no “license to sin.” Salvation is not a function of sin.  It is a function of grace.  There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is a huge difference between consequences and penalties.

Consequences are the effect, cause or outcome of an action.  A consequence can be good or bad.  A person can save someone’s life and consequently be awarded a medal. Or he can stand by and do nothing and consequently that person will die.  

Consequences are simply outcomes of particular actions.  

penalty is a punishment imposed for a violation or crime.  A penalty is always bad and can never be good.   Eternal security means that the penalty due for my sin was paid for by Jesus Christ. 

But the consequences of my sins are on me.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 19, 2011

Featured Commentary: The 9th of Av ~J.L. Robb

If Heaven is Real, Then So Is Hell

If Heaven is Real, Then So Is Hell
Vol: 23 Issue: 11 Wednesday, April 11, 2018

In a recent OL, I wrote that the Rapture does NOT necessarily signal the beginning of the Tribulation.

Scripturally speaking, the Rapture could have happened in the first century and the Tribulation still not have begun. The reason is the doctrine of imminency.

There are no signs that precede the Rapture. The Rapture is a secret, signless event that every generation since the Lord returned to Heaven has anticipated could take place within their lifetime.

On the other hand, the Bible is FILLED with signs of the coming Tribulation.

Daniel says the Tribulation will begin when the antichrist confirms a seven year peace covenant between Israel and her enemies. So Israel MUST exist for the Tribulation to take place. There is no corresponding requirement for the Rapture.

The Apostle Paul does say that before the Rapture can take place, there must first be a great falling away, or apostasy.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)

But that ‘falling away’ had already begun in Paul’s day. The very letter Paul wrote was written to combat a heresy that had already begun to creep into the Church at Thessolonika.

As Paul noted a couple verses on;

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

So the Rapture COULD have taken place in Paul’s day, but the Tribulation could NOT take place until Israel was in a position to negotiate a peace treaty, which implies sovereignty, placing the Tribulation Period definitely at some point post May 14, 1948.

The Rapture is NOT the Great Escape that its critics call it — if it were, then they would be justified in their criticism. Why SHOULD one generation of Christians receive such preferential treatment from a God Who is ‘no respecter of persons’?

The answer is, they shouldn’t and He doesn’t.

The Rapture is a necessary part of God’s plan, since the man of sin cannot be revealed until the Holy Spirit’s ministry as the restrainer of evil is ‘taken out of the way’ and the Church is the physical part of that ministry. The Christians who benefit from the Rapture are those who just happen to be here when it takes place.

Just like the witnesses to the Crucifixion. They weren’t particularly cursed — then as now, SOMEBODY had to be there. So that is why I wrote that the Rapture and the Tribulation are independent events. The only place where they intersect is that the Rapture happens first.

The Tribulation Period is a subsequent event which could be separated by weeks, months, years or decades.

We operate from a very limited time line on the grand scale of eternity. The Apostle James writes, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (Jas 4:14)

In terms of eternity, James tells us, the periods of our individual lives are, in the grand scheme of things, like a puff of smoke.

Eternity is a long time. A good analogy of eternity goes like this. If a sea gull on the West Coast picked up a grain of sand and dropped it on the East Coast, and then came back and repeated the process every ten thousand years, when all the beaches of the West Coast were on the East Coast, well, that’s the first ten MINUTES of eternity.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 12:16-18;

“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”

The lesson is the same for the rich man as it is for you and me. You and I, everybody you meet, from the mailman to the guy next to you at work, has an eternal destiny.

That destiny is either a joyful existence in the presence of God, or a Christ-less eternity in the place prepared for the devil and his angels.

Assessment:

Make no mistake — eternity is a long time and hell is a real place. In Luke 16, Jesus tells of Lazarus and the rich man.

“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:”

Stop there. Note Jesus did NOT say, ‘Learn the parable of the rich man’. He said ‘there WAS a certain rich man.’ Jesus was speaking of a literal event of which He, as God, had knowledge.

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

Stop there. Note the following from Jesus’ account. Before their Pardon was paid for, the righteous dead, like Abraham, Moses, etc, did NOT go directly to heaven, as do Blood-bought Christians of the Church Age.

Instead, they went to Paradise. Hell was at that time divided in two, one a place of comfort, (Abraham’s bosom) the other a place of torment, but both located physically in hell.

Note also that the rich man can see Lazarus, that he speaks of literal torment and literal flame. Abraham explains the division of hell, and that Lazarus cannot come to him.

The rich man cries out, “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.”

Stop here again. Note that the rich man remembers his life on earth. As he will for eternity. He remembers his loved ones, and is conscious of their destiny. He begs Abraham to do something, but Abraham simply tells him that “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.”

Now note something EXTREMELY revealing about the exchange. Abraham is Abraham. Lazarus the beggar, is Lazarus. But the rich man has no name.

He has his memories, he has his awareness of his surroundings, he knows the hopelessness of the situation and the only thing he wants more than a drink of water is to save his five brothers. But HE HAS NO NAME!

Why is that so important? Because he doesn’t need one.

Dwell on this thought for a moment. Nobody will ever speak it again.

There is no reprieve, no visitors, no hope and no need for a name. To all intents and purposes, he is eternally dead, and eternally aware of it.

Remember the sea gulls and the first ten minutes of eternity? Assuming Jesus was speaking of a rich man of His time, then his condition remains the same, except hell is given completely over as a place of torment, now that the righteous dead have been redeemed and taken to Heaven.

From the time of Jesus until now, the rich man has experienced the first five SECONDS of hell. A place Jesus described as; “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Eternal, conscious, perpetual, lonely torment, dead forever, yet alive, remembering that one time when you could have escaped the torment.

That is what awaits the mailman, or the guy next to you, or your friends or relatives of whom we say, “I’ll talk to him when the time is right” or when he says, “I’ll think about it. Maybe tomorrow.”

Then God says, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.”

These are the last days. The Rapture is coming, the Tribulation is almost upon us, the King is coming! But He isn’t here yet.

The mission of the Omega Letter is not so much to preach Christ to the lost (although that is a major element) but mostly, to equip a world-wide army of personal evangelists prepared to “give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15)

The end IS coming. But for many, it will come sooner than they think. Especially if we fail to give the warning.

“And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 11, 2008

Featured Commentary: Noah, Finally Vindicated ~Wendy Wippel

The Blessed Hope

The Blessed Hope
Vol: 23 Issue: 10 Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The timing of the Rapture is easily one of the most confusing and divisive issues within the Body of the Christ, something I’ve always considered extremely interesting.

It would seem to me that the issue of when He is coming is important only in understanding the signs of the times, but not terribly important in terms of salvation or issues of eternity, or even in terms of living a Spirit-filled life.

That being said, we ARE students of Bible prophecy; and the timing of the Rapture is extremely important to understanding the signs of the times.

There are three basic interpretations of the Rapture; pre-Tribulatonal, mid-tribulational and post-tribulational.

Pre-Trib holds to the view the Lord returns BEFORE the Tribulation.  Mid-Trib teaches that the Rapture of the Church will occur in the middle of the 7 year tribulation period.  It will occur sometime around the abomination of desolation when the anti-Christ goes into the rebuilt Jewish temple and there claim to be God.

The Post-Trib view teaches that as the Lord Jesus is returning back to earth, God’s people will be ‘caught up’ or raptured at that point in time.  They will return to earth with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Each of these views can be supported, to some degree, by Scripture, but only one is correct.  I believe it is the one with the fewest problems, which is a Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church.

One of the problems with a mid-Trib view is glaring; it denies the doctrine of imminency.  Although the Scriptures teach a SECRET coming, (no man knoweth the day or hour) once the Tribulation begins, one just has to sit down with a calendar.  It will be no surprise and it will come at a known time.

Another problem with the mid-Trib Rapture view is that its followers aren’t looking for Christ, they are watching for the anti-Christ, from whom they derive their timetable.

By contrast, I am awaiting Jesus Christ.  I never expect to know who the antichrist will be, and frankly, I don’t really care.  My purpose, to the degree I even discuss the antichrist in your Omega Letter, is to demonstrate how the world is preparing for his coming — and to remind people that Jesus is coming FIRST!

The mid-Tribulation view is not widely followed for these reasons, among others.

The post-Tribulation view shares the same glaring problem as the mid-Tribbers; the denial of imminency.  It will be even easier to pinpoint the return of Christ, given the Bible gives the exact number of days between the ‘abomination of desolation’ (Matthew 24:152nd Thessalonians 2:4) and the return of the Messiah.

“And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Daniel 12:11)

Compare that to Jesus’ Words;

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36)

If the post-Trib view is correct, that secret is hidden only until the revelation of antichrist.

So it shares the same second flaw with the mid-Trib view; both of these interpretations make the coming of antichrist THE seminal event in prophecy.  The 2nd Coming of Christ is of only secondary importance.

The post-Tribulation view also doesn’t pass the logic test.  The post-Trib interpretation is that Jesus Raptures the Church, who then return with Him at the Battle of Armageddon.

“And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (Revelation 19:14)

The ‘fine linen, white and clean’ are the garments of those Washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

To make the post-Trib scenario work, Jesus must leave heaven with ‘ten thousands’ of empty white horses.  As He descends, God’s people are Raptured, presumably translated FROM this earth to the back of a white horse that is on its way back — TO this earth!

Scripture tells us that, as the return of the Lord for His Church draws near, it will be as in the days of Lot and Noah.  Noah warned of impending judgment for 120 years without a single convert.  Life went on as normal, until the floods came, and ‘took them all away’. (Matthew 24:39)

Similarly, Lot lived in a big city, surrounded by immorality so repugnant to God that He decided to judge the wicked city with Divine judgment.  Lot was secretly removed from the unsuspecting city before judgment was executed.

But to the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, life went on as usual until the moment of judgment fell.

Consider the consequences of the Tribulation Period.  Widespread death and destruction, the annihilation of 3/4’s of the human race, miraculous judgments like the sea turned to blood and a ruined ecology, disease, famine, and catastrophe . . . hardly fits with the days of Lot OR Noah.

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:28-30)

The next problem with this view is what happens next.  According to Scripture, the earth is repopulated during the Millennial Kingdom period.

If all God’s people are raptured as the Lord Jesus returns that will leave only the wicked on earth when He returns.  The wicked will be destroyed as they will NEVER inherit the kingdom of God.

So if the wicked are destroyed and God’s people are all raptured then who will be left to enter into the 1000 year Kingdom?

It is for these reasons, and more, that I believe that the Dispensationalist, pre-Tribulationistview of the Rapture is the only one consistent with the teachings of the Scriptures.

It allows for a secret, signless, Rapture of the Church, as taught by Our Lord.

Assessment:

Now, what about the “Restrainer?”  The word “Restrainer” doesn’t even appear in the Bible, so what’s the deal there?

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

Let’s take this verse one bite at a time.  First, the “mystery of iniquity.”

The word ‘iniquity’ is from the Greek word ‘anomia’ meaning, a violation of the law.  It is related to ‘anomos’, a ‘lawless person’, ‘a transgressor.’

It is rendered ‘lawlessness’ in some translations and means the same as unrighteousness.  Sin, or ‘iniquity’ is the transgression of the law.

The Old English word “let” meant the opposite of what it means today.  In modern English, to ‘let’ someone or something generally means ‘to allow’ someone or something.  In 1611, ‘let’ meant ‘to restrain’.

“Let” is translated from the Greek word “kataschesis” which means, “a holding, occupancy or possession’.

It isn’t a completely archaic meaning.  From time to time, you’ll see an ad in a newspaper saying, “Room to Let.”  In essence, it is an offer to occupy or possess that room.  Note also that Paul personifies the One Who “lets” referring to the Restrainer twice as “He.”

So, added together, we find the following: Lawlessness is already at work, only He Who occupies will continue to occupy until He is “taken out of the way.”

What is the identity of the ‘He’ in this passage? He restrains lawlessness by His ‘occupation’ — and at some point, that occupying restraint is “taken out of the way.”

That Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit is obvious from even a casual reading of this verse.  There is only one ‘Indwelling Restrainer” — the Holy Spirit Who indwells every believer during the Church Age.

Jesus promised that the Comforter, or Holy Spirit, would indwell the Church until He returns for it.

“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. . . . But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:18,26)

Paul says that FIRST, the Restrainer is ‘taken out of the way’ and “THEN shall that Wicked be revealed. . .” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

Nobody can be saved apart from the Holy Spirit.  The Scriptures say He is ‘taken out of the way’ — NOT removed from the earth.

THAT would be impossible.  God is omnipresent — if the Holy Spirit were ‘removed’ in the sense of not being here, then ‘here’ wouldn’t be here, either.  It isn’t the Holy Spirit that is removed, it is the vessels He indwell.

Because it is the indwelt Church that restrains evil.  The Holy Spirit of God doesn’t restrain pornographers, abortionists, (name your favorite institutionalized sin here).  The proof of that truth is found in the fact such things exist.

The Holy Spirit isn’t picketing porno houses or abortion clinics — that is the job of the indwelt Church.  It won’t be the lost who would recognize the antichrist from his doctrine — it would be those indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, he won’t be revealed as long as those who would recognize him continue to inhabit the earth.

There are those who are saved during the Tribulation, and that cannot happen apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit.

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinithians 1:18)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinithians 2:14)

“Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father SEALED.” (John 6:27)

“In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were SEALED with that Holy Spirit of promise.” (Ephesians 1:13)

“And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are SEALED unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

“Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.” (Revelation 7:3-4)

The 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel are ‘sealed’ with the Holy Spirit — indeed, the Lord Jesus devotes an entire chapter of His Revelation to the subject.  That raises a question: If the indwelt and sealed Church were present, then why seal the 144,000 Jews as evangelists with the Holy Spirit?

The Church Age is over.  Those indwelt of the Holy Spirit have been removed at the Rapture.  Still, it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that one can either impart or receive the Gospel.

However, unlike in the Church Age, those who are saved during the Tribulation are not personally indwelt as in the Church Age and they CAN lose their salvation by accepting the Mark of the Beast.

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Revelation 14:9-10)

The 144,000 Jewish evangelists sealed by the Holy Spirit of God have the same indwelling Spirit that we do during the Church Age — and that is what empowers them.

The last bit of evidence that suggests the Church is not present during the Tribulation Period is the fact that the Great Commission is transferred from the Church to an angel.

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6)

During the Church Age, the Church is empowered to preach the everlasting Gospel. But the only ones sharing the Gospel during the Tribulation are the 144,000 sealed of God and the angel of Revelation 14.

These cannot be the Church, or even surviving members of the Church.  John says that ALL of them are Jewish.  All of them are male.  All of them are virgins.  And ALL of them know a ‘new song’ that nobody else (including the Church) can learn. (Revelation 14:3-4)

So, the answer to the question of how people get saved during the Tribulation is that the Holy Spirit remains on the earth, but after the Church Age, indwells only the Chosen of the 12 Tribes, who then share the Gospel with the lost.

Finally, since the Tribulation Period is also the conclusion of the Old Testament, believers during the Tribulation are dealt with in the same manner as with the Old Testament saints.

So, we in the Church Age watch for signs of the antichrist, because if the signs of the antichrist’s revelation are there, then it means the Rapture is even closer.  As to naming him, it is irrelevant.

We wouldn’t know if we were right, even if we were.  Unless every Scripture passage I’ve cited means something else than what it says.

If the Lord’s intent was for the Church to be present for the Tribulation Period, then the signs of His return are of little value.  We, (the Church) would recognize the antichrist for who he is.

When a world leader demands we all accept a mark in our right hand or forehead in order to buy or sell, that would be all the sign we’d need.

But Jesus addressed ALL the signs leading up to the Tribulation Period. Of them, He said,

“When these things BEGIN to come to pass (not AFTER all these things have been accomplished) then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

No other explanation makes sense.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 17, 2009

Featured Commentary: PROPHETIC MALNUTRITION ~Steve Schmutzer

The Difficult Doctrine of the Trinity

The Difficult Doctrine of the Trinity
Vol: 23 Issue: 9 Monday, April 9, 2018

One of the most difficult doctrines of Christianity, even for mature believers, is the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. It is even more confusing for Jews and Muslims. Indeed, non-Christians not only find it confusing, but many find it offensive.

To the Muslim, Christians are polytheists. They see the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as the equivalent to the worship of three different Gods. And trying to explain the Trinity as One God in Three Persons is like trying to describe the color red to someone blind from birth.

As with any Bible doctrine, there are those who have made it their life’s work to disprove it.

One argument often advanced is that the Trinity doctrine was unknown to the early church and was invented sometime around the 4th century.

“For there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these Three are One.” (1st John 5:7)

Hmmm. To get around this problem, those who dispute the Biblical authority of the Trinity say 1st John 5:7-8 ‘were not found in any old Greek manuscript’.

The manuscripts translated into the modern NIV are physically older than the Textus Receptus that was translated into the KJV. One was found in 1844 in a monastery in the Sinai. It dates to the 4th century. The second, the Vaticanus, was ‘discovered’ in a vault at the Vatican and also dates to about the 4th century.

I won’t go into an exhaustive comparison of the differences between the Textus Receptus manuscripts and the Vaticanus and Sinaticus manuscripts — one can find the differences for oneself by turning to Acts 8:37 in an NIV Bible. (It isn’t there)

Why is that significant? By the 4th century, the Vatican had suppressed the reading of Scriptures by laymen. Bibles were chained to pulpits to keep ordinary people from making off with them and worse, reading them. This suppression of the Scriptures is the reason historians refer to this period of history as the ‘Dark Ages’.

It was also during this period that the Vatican introduced new doctrines, such as the doctrine of infant baptism for the remission of sins. Infant baptism, priestly confession and absolution, the doctrine of purgatory and the sale of plenary indulgences gave the Vatican the authority over heaven and hell.

Since none of these doctrines are found in Scripture, it became necessary to suppress the Scriptures to maintain the power. So, we find, using a 4th century Vatican manuscript, that Acts 8:37 has been removed from the canon.

Why? Phillip, having preached to the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus and the necessity for salvation and baptism, was traveling with him when the eunuch exclaimed,

“See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:36)

Look closely at the question. “What hinders my being baptized?” That is a major question — particularly when compared with the Vatican practice of infant baptism. The answer is contained in the next verse, (which was conveniently omitted from the Vatican’s copy.)

“And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:37)

That verse utterly demolishes the doctrine of infant baptism. In context, what hinders a person from being baptized is that the person must first believe ‘with all thine heart’ that ‘Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ That is the Scriptural prerequisite for baptism — and an impossible feat for an infant to accomplish.

So the Vatican simply removed it as inconvenient.

The argument against 1st John 5:7 as being a ‘late addition’ is equally suspect. And historically inaccurate. The doctrine of the Trinity was firmly established by early Church Fathers well before the 4th century.

In his 155 AD ‘First Apology’ Justin Martyr wrote,

“Our teacher of these things is Jesus Christ, who also was born for this purpose, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judaea, in the times of Tiberius Caesar; and that we reasonably worship Him, having learned that He is the Son of the true God Himself, and holding Him in the second place, and the prophetic Spirit in the third, we will prove.”

Polycarp (AD 157) wrote of the Trinity, as did Irenaeus in his seminal work, “Against Heresies.”

Tertullian wrote in AD 213,

“Bear always in mind that this is the rule of faith which I profess; by it I testify that the Father, and the Son, and the Spirit are inseparable from each other, and so will you know in what sense this is said. Now, observe, my assertion is that the Father is one, and the Son one, and the Spirit one, and that They are distinct from Each Other.”

Origen, writing in the early 2nd century, wrote;

“[T]he statements made regarding Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are to be understood as transcending all time, all ages, and all eternity. For it is the Trinity alone which exceeds the comprehension not only of temporal but even of eternal intelligence; while other things which are not included in it are to be measured by times and ages.”

Assessment:

Clearly, the early Church Fathers were working from the earliest Greek manuscripts when they penned their 1st century commentaries. And just as clearly, they were united in their belief in the doctrine of the Trinity.

But that doesn’t really explain exactly how God can co-exist in three Persons, distinct from one another, while remaining one God.

The Bible presents each Member of the Trinity as having a distinct ministry insofar as man is concerned. God the Father sits on the Throne of Heaven as the One Who holds the universe together.

In this light, it is interesting that, although science can split the atom, it cannot explain what holds it together in the first place.

Whatever holds it together also contains its energy. It is the splitting of a single atom that releases the explosive power of the atom bomb. In His capacity as God the Father, He is the Force that binds the atom. If God forgot me for one second, I would be a radioactive crater the size of Manhattan.

The Bible tells us that the Second Person in the Godhead, Jesus Christ, is the Creator of the universe and everything in it. John 1:1-3 reveals of Jesus that,

“All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”

Jesus is also the Savior of the world. He created it, He justified it by His blood, and He will judge the world according to His Word.

The Third Person in the Godhead is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to bear witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. He is our source of spiritual power and authority and it is through His indwelling presence that He guides and leads us into all truth as we journey through this life.

But all three are One. It is still very confusing. Let me try an admittedly imperfect analogy.

I am but one man. However, while being just one man, I am also a father, a husband and a friend.

To my children, while I am but one man, I am also Dad. My children come to me based on that unique relationship, and that unique relationship brings with it unique privileges.

To my wife, I am husband and spouse. That relationship is also unique. Gayle can expect different things from me than my children can.

To my friends, I am just Jack. They would never expect of me the things my children take for granted as a matter of relationship. My wife can expect of me things my friends would never dream of asking.

I am husband, father, and friend, but I am just one man. However, my wife, my children and my friends all know a different person.

As I noted, it is an imperfect analogy, but it does help (for me, at least) to get my head around the concept of One God in Three Persons, while remaining One God.

As we approach the end of this age, basic Christian doctrines are under attack like no time in living memory. As watchmen on the wall, it is our job to know;

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The time is short, the Gospel is under attack from all sides, and the arguments grow more sophisticated as the enemy steps up his activities,

‘knowing he hath but a short time.’ (Revelation 12:12)

We are admonished to;

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2nd Timothy 2:15)

We are the watchmen on the wall for the last days, and with that title comes an awesome responsibility.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on November 16, 2005

Featured Commentary: The Fate of the World (and one small Book) ~Pete Garcia

Legends, Lore and Logic

Legends, Lore and Logic
Vol: 23 Issue: 7 Saturday, April 7, 2018

I received an email from a reader asking for some information about the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Bible’s account of Noah’s Ark.

“I have some co workers that argue that the Epic Of Gilgamesh shows evidence that the Genesis account of the Flood of Noah was taken from this document. I need some “ammunition” to refute this,” he wrote.

First, a little historical background. Gilgamesh was an historical king of Uruk in Babylonia, on the River Euphrates in modern Iraq.

Many stories and myths were written about Gilgamesh, some of which were written down on clay tablets that still survive. The oldest existing fragments date to about 2000 BC — roughly the time of Abraham.

The most complete surviving version of the Epic of Gilgamesh dates from the middle of the 6th century BC and was found in the ruins of the library of Ashram, king of Assyria at Nineveh.

The Gilgamesh Epic itself dates to about 2700 BC, say the experts, relying on the text of the surviving fragments.

In it, Gilgamesh meets Utnapishtim. Utnapishtim was granted immortality by the gods after he and his wife became the only human survivors of a world-wide flood, and Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh the story.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is widely considered to be the oldest human composition ever found. By comparison, the first five Books of the Bible were penned by Moses around the 13th century BC, at least seven hundred years after the Epic of Gilgamesh had been in circulation.

Because the Gilgamesh story is older, the automatic assumption is that it was the inspiration for the Hebrew account of Noah’s Ark.

It sounds convincing, but only if one approaches it with a built-in bias. If one is looking for an alternative explanation for the Bible’s account, then Gilgamesh fits the bill.

On the other hand, if one is looking for the most logical explanation, then the entire argument collapses under its own weight.

There is a principle of logic attributed to the medieval philosopher William of Occam, commonly referred to as ‘Occam’s Razor’, also known as the ‘principle of parsimony’. It underlies all scientific modelling and theory building.

Occam’s Razor is a method by which to choose from a set of otherwise equivalent models of a given phenomenon the simplest explanation. In any given model, Occam’s razor helps us to “shave off” those concepts, variables or constructs that are not really needed to explain the phenomenon.

By doing that, developing the model will become much easier, and there is less chance of introducing inconsistencies, ambiguities and redundancies. In its shortest form, Occam’s Razor states that one should not make more assumptions than the minimum needed.

To beat a dead horse to death, let me simplify it even more: the simplest explanation is logically the most likely to be correct.

Assessment:

This isn’t an effort to ‘prove’ the Genesis account is true. I believe that it is true because it is the only logical explanation that fits the known facts.

The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the following story: In the time before the Flood, there was a city, Shuruppak, on the banks of the Euphrates. There, the counsel of the gods held a secret meeting; they all resolved to destroy the world in a great flood.

Gilgamesh may, however, be the explanation for the saying, the ‘walls have ears’.

All the gods were under oath not to reveal this secret to any living thing, but Ea (one of the gods that created humanity) came to Utnapishtim’s house and told the secret to the walls of Utnapishtim’s house, thus not technically violating his oath to the rest of the gods.

He advised the walls of Utnapishtim’s house to build a great boat, its length as great as its breadth, to cover the boat, and to bring all living things into the boat.

Utnapishtim, eavesdropping on the conversation, gets straight to work and finishes the great boat by the new year. Utnapishtim then loads the boat with gold, silver, and all the living things of the earth, and launches the boat.

Ea orders him into the boat and commands him to close the door behind him. The black clouds arrive, with the thunder god Adad rumbling within them; the earth splits like an earthenware pot, and all the light turns to darkness.

The Flood lasts for seven days and seven nights, and finally light returns to the earth. Utnapishtim’s boat comes to rest on the top of Mount Nimush.

The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Genesis account converge on several points, but one thing immediately leaps out. Gilgamesh’ account is a logical description from the perspective of man. It is an effort to put an ancient memory into an understandable historical context.

The Genesis account is a logical description of the same event from the perspective of God. The Genesis account fills in details missing from Gilgamesh that could be known only to God.

The Gilgamesh account is an effort to make sense of a global catastrophe — the Genesis account puts it into logical context, connecting the dots from Adam to the Rapture.

The Flood is a necessary part of the Bible’s outline of human history — remove it and the Scriptures lose all context. God’s promise to Noah is fulfilled at the Cross. The power of sin is destroyed, rather than the destruction of sinners.

Jesus refers to the ‘days of Noah’ to describe the last days, Peter uses the salvation of Noah as an example of the Rapture (2nd Peter 3:3-7)

The Genesis account provides answers. The Gilgamesh account only poses new questions.

Legends of a world-wide flood can be found in the folklore of such diverse places as the Middle East, India, China, Australia, southern Asia, the islands of the Pacific, Europe, and the Americas.

Was the Chinese legend of a global flood inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh? Did the Australian aborigines and the Native Americans read the Epic of Gilgamesh? The Pacific Islanders?

If the Flood is a myth, why does every civilization or culture share the same common, distant memory of a global catastrophe that NEVER happened? There must be a logical explanation. A Sumerian cuneform tablet unknown until relatively recently doesn’t make the cut.

Occam’s Razor says that the only logical conclusion is that there must really have been a world-wide flood that a handful of survivors escaped by boarding a giant ark filled with animals that came to rest on a mountain top after the waters receded. No other explanation fits the facts.

There are many differing accounts, but all are rooted in the same historical occurrence. If there were no Biblical account, it is likely that the Flood would be an accepted part of the human historical record, like dinosaurs or cavemen.

It is precisely BECAUSE the Bible says the Flood was a Divine judgment against sin that the Genesis account is so vigorously opposed by its critics.

Remove the references to an all powerful God demanding personal accountability from His creation and a global flood is no more fantastic than concluding a giant asteroid hit the earth 85 million years ago and killed all the dinosaurs.

‘Stuff happens’ is a more comfortable conclusion to live with than personal accountability to an all-knowing and Perfect God. That is also perfectly logical, as Paul notes in Romans 1:28:

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind . . .”

The Genesis story fits a logical timeline, has a logical place in history and answers the questions Gilgamesh does not, (like, who told the Australian aborigines there was a world-wide flood if it is really a myth?)

Occam’s Razor says the simplest explanation is also the most logical.

“. . . for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 19, 2005 

What About the Person Who Never Heard of Jesus?

What About the Person Who Never Heard of Jesus?
Vol: 23 Issue: 6 Friday, April 6, 2018

One of the most common questions one can expect to hear from a skeptic is this one: ”If Jesus is the only way to heaven, then what about all those people who never heard of Jesus Christ?”  This usually results in the Christian mumbling something about ‘God’s mysterious ways’ or answering with a lame counter-question like, ”How do you know they never heard about Jesus?”

This is generally about the place where the testimony flies apart and the heated debate begins. One cannot logically argue that everybody who ever lived has heard of Jesus Christ. There was a period before Jesus Christ, for example. Then there are the millions who lived and died in the first few centuries of Christendom. How could the American Indians of the 2nd century, for example, have heard of Jesus? 

That question troubled Joseph Smith so much he wrote his own testament in 1840 to explain it, founding the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

Of course, while Smith explained away the Indians by inventing a ‘gospel’ in which Jesus came to the New World and so on, that still doesn’t help the New Guinea headhunters who lived in the 13th century or the Polynesians of 5th century Hawaii, etc., etc. 

So, we are faced with a seemingly insurmountable contradiction that seems best explained by Paul quoting Exodus 33:19:

“For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15)

To the Christian, this makes sense and lines up with Scripture. God simply decided that the New Guinea headhunters and the Polynesian pagans weren’t among those upon whom God had compassion, according to His sovereign will. A Christian would never question the sovereign will of God, but the skeptic questions everything.

And it leaves the Christian a little confused, too, although he won’t admit it. Deep in your heart of hearts, don’t YOU wonder a little bit about that? It is even harder to explain something when it doesn’t quite make sense to you. 

The Scriptures say that Christians are the kings and princes of the world to come. And Proverbs 25:2 tells us that,

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”

There MUST be a better answer to that question than ‘God’s mysterious lack of compassion’ that condemns the millions who lived and died without ever hearing the Good News to hell as a matter of sovereign election. 

What the Scriptures tell us is that there is a stricter judgment for those who have rejected the Gospel than there is for those who have never heard. Consider 2nd Thessalonians 2:12 where it says that, for those who choose to the believe the lie, there will be no recourse after the Rapture.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they ALL might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” This passage clearly condemns only those who “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”.

In order to ‘believe not the truth’ one must first HEAR the ‘truth’. 

But that is AFTER the Rapture and during the Tribulation. That still doesn’t help the Polynesian pagans of the 5th century AD, who never heard the truth in the first place.

“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Romans 2:14-16)

Do you see it? The Polynesian pagans of the 5th century didn’t HAVE the Law OR the Gospel. They are judged by the WORK of the law ‘written in their hearts’ according to their God-given consciences. God will judge them according to how their thoughts worked with or against the conscience, and on that basis, “God shall judge the secrets of men BY Jesus Christ ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL.” 

A further indication that the judgment of God is based upon what we know and what we have been given can be seen in a warning by James:

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we shall incur a stricter judgment.” (James 3:1)

In other words, those who know the gospel, study it, and teach it will be under stricter judgment, since they have the ability of guide others, or lead them astray. 

Jesus, in the parable of the Master and the slaves (Luke 12:41-48) talked about the difference in judgment between those who know the will of God vs. those who do not know:

“And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. And from everyone who has been given much shall much be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.” (Luke 12:47-48)

The Scriptures say the truth is that,

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

But, as already noted by Scripture, to know the truth, one must first hear the truth. 

There is but one Name we can call on for salvation. Nobody else can save us but Jesus. Or Yeshua (in English, Joshua). Or Christ, which is Greek for the Hebrew ‘Moshiach’ (Messiah) which isn’t the Name of Jesus at all, but His Title of ‘the Anointed One’. And those are just the Hebrew, English and Greek translations. There are hundreds of languages. 

Although it isn’t listed first by the canon of Scripture, the oldest book of the Scriptures is the Book of Job. Some scholars even argue that it was authored before the Flood and was preserved by Noah, but even if it is post-Diluvian in origin, it predates Moses by centuries. 

Long before Moses received the Ten Commandments written by the Finger of God, Job said confidently;

“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)

It is an accepted tenet of doctrine by most Christians that all those who die without faith in Christ will be relegated to spend eternity in Hell – even if they have never heard the gospel. The Scriptures seem to indicate otherwise:

“And He will judge the world IN RIGHTEOUSNESS; He will execute judgment for the peoples WITH EQUITY.”(Psalms 9:8)

“Before the LORD; for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with equity.” (Psalms 98:9)

“But, O LORD of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart, Let me see Thy vengeance on them, For to Thee have I committed my cause.” (Jeremiah 11:20)

“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;” (Romans 2:5-7)

“…for the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is there violation.” (Romans 4:15)

“. . . for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” (Romans 5:13)

This is not any sort of ecumenical theology or “all ways lead to God.” I am not arguing that there is salvation apart from the Gospel. If you are getting that, go back up to the first paragraph and re-read it. 

Those who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and have refused to believe have rejected Him, and, as such, will fall under the condemnation of God, because they have rejected His provision for our disobedience. 

The atheist and the skeptic are still ‘without excuse’ (Romans 1:18:20). 

But that isn’t the same thing as the condemnation of those who, by time and circumstance, have never heard of either the Law or the Gospel, but conduct themselves according to the unwritten law in their heart. 

Those who perpetrate evil, even without the knowledge of the gospel, will likewise be condemned, since they have violated their God-given conscience. 

But what happens to those who never called upon the Name of Jesus because they never heard the Name of Jesus? God will judge them in righteousness, according to His own Word. 

I’m not saying that they will be judged AS righteous. I’m saying they will be judged IN righteousness by a Holy and righteous God.

I have no doubt that God will judge them fairly.

In any case, they aren’t the ones the skeptic needs to worry about. The skeptic who rejects the Gospel won’t have their excuse when its his turn to stand before the Judge. 

He ALREADY knows better, but, by his very skepticism, he is the one who embraces, “not the truth, because of his pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

Unless he repents, according to Scripture, HIS fate is sealed. We can trust God to deal with the New Guinea tribesman ‘with equity’ — as He promised He would. 

It’s not that difficult a question, after all.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 16, 2004

Featured Commentary: The Road to Nakba ~Alf Cengia