Month: September 2017

The Most Dangerous Book

by David F. Lloyd

The Bible is so widely available today that it’s easy to take it for granted. But it hasn’t always been that way.

The Opening of Genesis Chapter 1 from a 1620-21 King James Bible in black letter type. The first edition of the KJV was 1611.

The year was 1428. A large procession approached the Church of St. Mary in the town of Lutterworth in Leicestershire, England. A number of senior clerics including several bishops were there, as were the lord sheriff of the county, lawyers, and several high-ranking lords and ladies. This was already an unusual assembly, but what made it disturbing was the presence of gravediggers and an executioner. A large group of townspeople followed.

The procession entered the church through the main doors and then turned in to the chancel, where someone pointed out an inscription on a flagstone. The gravediggers removed the flagstone, then prepared to exhume the coffin that had lain undisturbed for more than 40 years.

After some time they lifted up the coffin, proceeded up the nave, and then manhandled the casket through a small side door. The procession moved solemnly down the road to a field of execution that was close to the River Swift. Bundles of dry sticks had been arranged around a stake, to which a chain was attached at shoulder height. The coffin was opened and the body inside was jerked upright by the executioner and chained to the stake. The coffin itself was smashed to pieces and added to the dry wood.

The bishop of Lincoln stepped forward and solemnly cursed the partly mummified corpse as the pyre was ignited, commending the dead man’s soul to the devil for the crime of heresy. When all had been consumed, the ashes were scraped up and thrown into the nearby river so that no trace of the man remained to be revered by his admirers.

The man was John Wycliffe, and his ‘heresy’ had been the translation and dissemination of the first complete Bible in English. However, it was because of the effect that reading the Bible had on people’s lives, and the danger this posed to the established church, that the penalty of burning for the act of heresy had been introduced. Later, during the Inquisition, the first question that was often asked of a suspected heretic was ‘Have you read the Bible in your own language?’

Today people all over the world can read their own Bibles in their own languages, and they take their easy access to it for granted. But for more than 1,000 years the Bible was generally available only in Latin and thus mostly unavailable to the common people in any of their vernaculars. The result was that the vast majority were utterly oblivious to what the Bible taught.

The Word gets out

The rapid spread of Bibles in many European languages began shortly before the Protestant Reformation. Among them, of course, was the English-language Bible.

Wycliffe had been instrumental in kindling a desire for the unadulterated Word of God in English, and he had become a figurehead for its spread in the latter third of the 14th century. Yet for this he was hated – condemned as next to the devil himself in wickedness. His translation was seen as a direct attack on the church. A second objection, given at least in part to cloak the first, was that popular access to a vernacular Bible would lead to heretical misunderstandings. It was believed that Scripture was given to, and could be understood by, only the learned or the clergy, and that Scripture was dangerous and seditious in the hands of the common man. The large numbers of handcopied Wycliffite Bibles, whole or partial, that began to circulate therefore elicited a rigorous and often violent reaction from the English state and clergy, who were controlled by the church at Rome.

Though Wycliffe had lit a fire that smoldered underground and could not be extinguished in spite of all the persecution, England had to wait another 120 years for the Bible to become available to all. During that period, several factors worked together to lay the groundwork for change.

1. Printing

Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg invented a movable-type printing press, facilitating the mass production of works that had previously been laboriously handcopied. This improved printing method enabled the rapid communication of ideas and information – for example, in 1517, when Martin Luther presented his 95 theses as an appeal to end church corruption, reputedly fastening them to the door of the chapel of Wittenberg Castle in Germany. Thanks to the printing press, copies of his theses were circulated far and wide, so that what might otherwise have been nothing more than a local issue became a widespread public controversy.

Mass printing was quickly put to use in publishing the Bible in a number of vernacular versions, including Luther’s German translation, thereby feeding a growing discontent with the Roman church and various of its teachings and practices.

2. The Protestant Reformation

The Reformation, the unexpected outcome of Luther’s opposition to church corruption, was accidentally born from an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church from within. Luther, an Augustinian monk, later often protested that he hadn’t intended the results, but his actions, coupled with the invention of printing, nevertheless marked a turning point in church history. It broke the grip of the Roman church over religious ideas and created an environment in which diversity of ideas, including those about the truth of God and His Word, could flourish.

The Reformation, like Gutenberg’s printing press, became a major force in the mass publication of Bibles in European languages.

3. Erasmus’s Translation

Another significant event at the time was the publication of a Latin New Testament in 1516 by the most eminent scholar of the day, the Dutchman Desiderius Erasmus. The work was remarkable in that Erasmus’s new Latin translation was published side-by-side with a Greek New Testament. Prior to the Renaissance, Greek had not been widely taught in the universities of Western Europe. Now, with the help of newly published Greek grammars and lexicons, scholars, all of whom spoke Latin, were able to translate the New Testament from the original Greek into various European languages. Previous translations had always been from Latin.

Erasmus’s New Testament underwent several revisions as the scholar gained access to better Greek manuscripts, compelling him to update the Greek text and correct the resultant errors in his Latin translation. With or without errors, however, his parallel New Testament proved immensely popular both during his lifetime and after his death in 1536.

Erasmus had actually dedicated his New Testament translation to Pope Leo XI, who commended him for it. Little did the pontiff realize that the translator’s work would prove instrumental in making the Bible accessible to the common people.

4. William Tyndale

Tyndale’s life’s mission was the translation of the Bible from its original languages of Greek and Hebrew into English so that the common man could read it freely. His work was the major reference point for most of the English translations that followed for a century after his death in 1536, including the King James Version.

Like Wycliffe, Tyndale was burned as a heretic, having translated the entire New Testament and part of the Old. His last words as he bravely faced death were ‘Lord, open the King of England’s eyes!’

5. Henry VIII’s battle with Rome

Henry VIII (1491–1547), the king of whom Tyndale spoke, was driven by a desire to father a male heir. His break with Rome (from 1532) over his divorce and remarriage led to the dissolution of monasteries and the wholesale seizure of church lands. It also broke the power of the church in England. Henry then set himself up as the head of a new institution – the Church of England.

Before long, having the Bible in English was seen as a useful and powerful political counter to the religious influence of Rome. So Henry’s new chancellor, Thomas Cromwell, who had drafted the legislation that made the Church of England separate from Rome, began to maneuver for this.

The distinction of producing the first complete printed English-language Bible (1535) goes to Miles Coverdale. Not knowing Greek or Hebrew, Coverdale relied on Tyndale’s translation for the New Testament. For the Old Testament, he used what Tyndale had completed and added to it translations from Luther’s German Bible and certain Latin versions. Ironically the first edition was coming off the presses (probably in Germany) while Tyndale was languishing in prison.

John Rogers, who seems to have worked for a short time with Coverdale assisting Tyndale in his translation work, is thought to have rescued much of Tyndale’s Old Testament after the latter’s betrayal and arrest. Rogers then produced another version based on Tyndale’s. What was lacking of the Old Testament was made up with Coverdale’s translation. Because Tyndale had been branded a heretic, his name could not be mentioned, so it was replaced by “Thomas Matthew” (after two of Christ’s disciples). Fifteen hundred copies of the “Matthew’s Bible” sold out quickly in England in 1537.

So within a year of Tyndale’s death a second Bible in English was circulating in Britain. To complete the irony, this Bible, two thirds of which was Tyndale’s translation, was approved by King Henry. The title page stated, “Set forth with the king’s most gracious license.” Only a subsequent edition of Coverdale’s Bible (1537) shares the honor of having been licensed by an English monarch. (The King James Version, known in later editions as the Authorized Version, was commissioned but never authorized by James I. Only the Great Bible of 1540, a revision of Matthew’s Bible produced under King Henry’s authority, was actually authorized, as distinct from licensed, by an English monarch).

God may or may not have opened the king of England’s eyes, but the king’s infidelity and desire to perpetuate his dynasty at any cost led to something far beyond Tyndale’s hopes. A literal flood of Bible translations and editions followed those printed in King Henry’s reign, the most well-known being the Geneva Bible (1560) and the 1611 King James Version.

6. The developing English language

By the early 16th century, the English language was ripe for the genius of Tyndale, who honed it to a new level of expressiveness and cohesiveness through his translation of the New Testament. It has been said that he didn’t just translate into English, he transformed English. He set a new standard for the language – part of the basis on which later literary giants such as William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser and John Milton would build. Tyndale’s achievement was similar to the better-known contribution Luther made to the development of the German language.

It seems that English was destined to become a lingua franca. And the King James translation of 1611, the work of scholarly committees who leaned heavily on Tyndale’s work, also set a standard and came to be seen as a monument to a language whose time had come. It became a point of reference at a time when the English-speaking nations were beginning their journey to great power.

7. The Bible itself

The greatest force for change was the impact of the Bible itself on the minds and convictions of those whose lives it touched. What Tyndale had wanted, as he once famously said, was that every boy who drove a plough would know his Bible. That was really the thrust of his dying prayer. There is little doubt that he would have seen the amazing transformation in the fortunes of the English-language Bible – the initial trickle of Bibles becoming a torrent – as a fulfillment of his lifelong dream.

But was it enough?

William Tyndale, before being strangled and burned at the stake, cries out, “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes”. woodcut from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (1563)

The combined effect of the seven historic factors discussed above created a unique transformation. A prominent English historian, Patrick Collinson, notes: “England, which at the beginning of the sixteenth century seems to have been one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, became, by the seventeenth century, the most virulently anti-Catholic.”

Perhaps this can be attributed at least in part to the fact that their newly acquired access to Scripture allowed people to appreciate the yawning gap between biblical standards of conduct and those embraced by the prevailing church. The Bible also exposed or held up to scrutiny many of the superstitions and false notions that had masqueraded as truth or science.

Over time, the Bible and an awareness of its laws and principles found its way into the constitutions, institutions and culture of modern English-speaking peoples. Unlike many European nations, which generally adopted the Roman model, many British and American conventions trace their origins, in large part, to the Bible.

Even so, most of the people who brought the vernacular English Bible to us never fully subjected themselves to its authority either. Traditional Christianity of various stripes continued to hold on to and even build on some of the errors that had found their way into the church over the centuries. So while many English-speaking nations were founded to a great extent on biblical principles and laws, those foundations were nevertheless compromised. The eventual result has been that the mores of and even the laws now being passed by our English-speaking Western nations, often supported by people who consider themselves Christian, are in flagrant opposition to the Book that was for a time revered by many as the authoritative reference source for moral standards and conduct.

Perhaps some things haven’t changed much in the past 2,000 years. The Jews in Christ’s day believed they were the chosen people, the people of the Book. And in part they were. But many of their leaders were hung up on customs, power, position and prestige. They were, in effect, some of the most tenacious opponents of the truth while claiming to be its greatest protagonists (see Matthew 23). They and many of their forefathers stopped at nothing in their resistance to the unadulterated message of God’s Word (Acts 7:51–54).

Today there are those who similarly prefer to look to human authority for comfortable standards of conduct and systems of belief. But the Bible is a book that makes claims on all men and women, regardless of nationality, language or station in life. It is a book that claims to be the very handbook that their maker, God, caused to be written as an authoritative guide for conduct in all its aspects. Maybe it was inevitable that such a claim to authority would not long remain unchallenged.

From numerous directions – now predominantly secular and humanistic – the “book of books” has again come under sustained and vehement attack. Both the credibility and the historical influence of the Bible are marginalized or even openly attacked by those who see human reasoning as the only rational guide in life.

And so the Bible continues to be viewed in some circles as a most dangerous book.

 

Reproduced by permission of Vision.org. Permission does not imply endorsement. Source: The Most Dangerous Book, Spring 2004 Issue, http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/religion-and-spirituality-the-history-of-the-bible-dangerous-book/672.aspx
 

What Every Bible Believer Should FIRST Understand About The Bible

 

If you believe the Bible and are sincerely striving to live by the teachings in it, you are among the most blessed of people on earth. I think it is more accurate to say, ‘you are among the only God-blessed people on earth’. For the Bible, and only the Bible, contains the way of life that brings God’s blessings on the believer.

This is not the place for me to show you proof that the Bible is the only source of God’s Word. That I will do in another place for those who are still new to the Bible. For this message I presume that every reader already believes the Bible is the only source of God’s truth for his people today.

Since you believe that the Bible is the only book by which God reveals his truths to you, then you would also be eager to understand a few facts about the Bible you probably do not know. Later I would like to show you a few vital truths that are in the Bible which you may not have known earlier.

The division of the Bible into Old Testament and New Testament is a manmade division. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century AD, into verses. To these sections, the early Church Fathers added the books of the New Testament. The modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible is ascribed variously to Cardinal Hugo of Saint Cher and to Stephen Langton, archbishop of Canterbury, about the middle of the thirteenth century. The modern verse division in the New Testament is the work of Robert Stephen, a Paris printer of the 16th century.

The books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation are one continuous revelation from God, and they are referred to as the ‘Holy Scriptures’ in the New Testament. There has been a great conspiracy since Apostolic times by the enemies of Christ to prevent the common people from getting hold of the Bible. But starting with the Protestant and English Reformations in the 16th century, and continuing through the introduction of mass printing of the Bible, the common people began to be able to understand the Bible on their own.

The conspiracy to prevent the common man from getting hold of a copy of the Bible failed. But Satan has succeeded to this very day in several other conspiracies involving the Bible.

Conspiracy Against the Old Testament

Christians in general, especially those from the mainstream denominations, consider the Old Testament of historical value only. For them, the Old Testament is part of the Old Covenant and therefore not applicable for those under the New Covenant. Books such as Psalms and Proverbs, however, seem to be valued almost as much as the books in the New Testament (which is why you can purchase a ‘Bible’ containing just the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs tagged along at the end).

The prophecies in Isaiah and the other prophetic books are quoted by a very few preachers as God’s urgent warnings for today and the coming years, but the vast majority of the preachers in Christendom believe these prophecies were fulfilled thousands of years ago and have no relevance for today.

It is the one of the earnest missions of my ministry to show you that the entire Old Testament is as valid for application in Christian life today as it was in the Old Testament days. What has been changed in the New Testament era is not the truths in the Old Testament, but the symbols which pointed to the reality of Christ.

The law of symbolic sacrifices, ablutions and offerings were not abolished with the sacrifice of Christ, but they were made even more meaningful and binding by being kept in the spirit by Christians. I repeat, not a single law was abolished, but the symbols used in keeping the law were replaced with even more stringent requirements. The Old Testament law relating to physical murder, for example, was now replaced with the New Testament law that forbids even the thought of anger against a person. Under the Old Covenant one can get away with adultery in his mind as long as he doesnt physically commit it. Under the New Covenant, one cannot even think of a woman in an impure way. Under the Old Covenant, circumcision meant just the cutting off of the foreskin, under the New Covenant circumcision involved the cutting off the entire human heart – a far more painful and far more binding experience. That’s the only difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant as far keeping God’s Law is concerned.

The New Covenant did not abolish but only reinforced and enlarged the laws in the Old Covenant. The Old Testament has 613 laws which the Israelites had to obey in the letter to avoid severe physical penalties, including the ultimate penalty of physical death. The New Testament has 1050 commands which Christians must obey in the spirit to avoid severe spiritual penalties, including the ultimate penalty of eternal death.

‘Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’   Mt 5:17-19 NIV

The ‘law and the prophets’ were until John, says Jesus. The ‘law and the prophets’ as the Old Testament people understood them and observed them ended with the coming of John. Since then a whole new way was opened that made it possible for multitudes of people to rush into the Kingdom of God, which was previously restricted to a very few righteous people such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, and the other men of God mentioned in the books of the Old Testament.

The old symbolic keeping of the law was only until John, but the entire Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi is as valid for present day Christians as it was for those living under the Old Covenant.

‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.’    2 Tm 3:16

At Paul’s time, the only Scriptures available were the books of the Old Testament books.

If you believe that the Old Testament teachings and prophecies are not valid for Christians today, you may still get into the Kingdom of God because of your sincere love for God through Christ and your obedience to him (although you may not recognize such obedience is actually the keeping of The 10 Commandments), but you will be considered by God and everyone else as the least among the heavenly citizens.

Do you want to be considered literally ‘great’ in the sight of Christ and the Father and all the heavenly host? Then let me urge you to love and keep with all your heart and might all the laws and statutes and precepts in the Old Testament in the spiritual way as demonstrated by Christ.

Do not fall into the trap of the Devil’s conspiracy against the Old Testament. If you are a Bible believer, the first word of Genesis until the last word of Revelation are all equally valid and binding on you.


The entire Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi is as valid for present day Christians as it was for those living under the Old Covenant.


Conspiracy Against the Prophecies

The Devil has conspired with his cohort of wicked spirits to blind Bible believers to the importance and imminence of the prophecies in the Bible.

I have heard one famous preacher say that the Bible is one-third prophecies, and that 90 percent of those prophecies are for today and the sooncoming years. I have not yet verified these figures, but I can state one thing with absolute conviction from my own study: the vast majority, perhaps even upto 99 percent, of the prophecies in the entire Bible are yet to be fulfilled, with a significant percentage of that already beginning to be fulfilled today.

God’s ways are very unique, very awesome, and very mysterious too, until the mystery is removed for us by Christ. One mystery that many Bible scholars havent been able to comprehend by their own efforts is the ‘duality’ principle in the Bible.

The duality principle applies to Biblical characters, laws, and prophecies.

There was a first Adam and there is a second Adam. There was a first Elijah and there was a second Elijah (John the Baptist) and there will be a third and fourth or even more Elijahs just before the return of Christ. (1 Matthew 17:11-12)

All the laws in the Bible have a dual application – in a limited physical way by keeping them in the letter, and in an infinite eternal way by keeping them in the spirit.

Almost all the prophecies have a dual fulfillment – one, the smaller archetype and the second, the far greater antitype. The events described in Daniel 11, for example, have already happened in history, but are surely going to happen again before the return of Christ.

Here is an interesting example of the duality principle of two historical characters in the 19th and 20th centuries. Actually, Napoleon and Hitler are the antitypes of similar characters in earlier history, and the archetypes of similar leaders who will emerge before the return of Christ.

Napoleon was born in 1760
Hitler was born in 1889
(129 years difference)

Napoleon was elected in 1804
Hitler was elected in 1933
(129 years difference)

Napoleon captured Vienna in 1809
Hitler captured Vienna in 1938
(129 years difference)

Napoleon attacked USSR in 1812
Hitler attacked USSR in 1941
(129 years difference)

Napoleon was defeated in 1816
Hitler was defeated in 1945
(129 years difference)

(I dont know yet of the significance of the 129 years difference.)

Here are two quotes I got from an internet search on similarities between them:

‘For believers in reincarnation – it is said that they were the same soul. They were also both believed to have ailurophobia, the fear of cats.’

‘Hitler and Napoleon were two men separated by a century and a quarter, yet their lives had a marked similarity and some people wonder whether they were kindred souls, separated by time. Some devout Hindus may also opine that Napoleon’s soul had transmigrated into Hitler’.

In fact, some of the prophecies have not just a dual fulfillment, but a multiple one.

Napoleon and Hitler were just two of the players in the prophetic events mentioned in the book of Daniel. There will rise again someone in the spirit of Napoleon or Hitler in the coming years and the same cycle of events that began thousands of years ago will be repeated again.

So when you read any prophecy in the Bible, remember that it may have yet another or several fulfillments beyond the initial fulfillment in past history.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Adolf Hitler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conspiracy Against the Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation is the most ununderstood and the most misunderstood book of the 66 books of the Bible. What God intended to be the most revelatory book in the Bible – the one book to reveal plainly the mysteries of God in chronological order – has become the most mysterious of all books not just in the Bible but in history. It is probably the book least referred to by those sermonizing from the pulpits, except perhaps for portions relating to the vision of the City of God…the golden streets, the pearly gates, and other such syrupy passages.

Apart from being the book that most reveals God’s plans for man in order, it is also the only book that carries God’s promise of a special blessing for reading and keeping those things written in that particular book. No other book has such a promise attached to it.

‘Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.’   Rv 1:3

Satan certainly doesnt want you to read any of the books in the Bible, but he takes extra efforts to keep the last book in the Bible from being understood by God’s people. I think that’s because it is also the only book that shows what Satan’s final fate is, and the devil just can’t bear to think of anyone knowing it.

The entire prophecies in the Book of Revelation are meant for today and the sooncoming years. Not a single prophecy in this book has been completely fulfilled yet. So, whenever you open the last book of the Bible to study it in depth, be prepared for the most exciting revelations of your life – gifted to you directly by Jesus in his Word.

‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place.’   Rv 1:1

May God keep your mind and heart safe in Jesus Christ until the day of the Lord’s return.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

After reading this message, please read  ‘The Most Dangerous Book’ by David F. Lloyd.

 

 

Everything You Wanted to Know About Alcohol Use (But Didnt Know What to Ask)

 

Seven months ago, as I write this, I visited a doctor. I was a new patient to her. After checking my blood pressure, she asked me, ‘Do you take alcohol?’ Apparently, the silver lining on her sphygmomanometer was not at the pink level.

‘Moderately’, I answered.

She shook her head. Not just because she thought it was bad for my pressure and could lead my body to a premature closure, but also because she thought it could put my soul to eternal coma. I knew her background. She had many years earlier converted to pentecostalism from her traditional episcopalian church.

‘There’s no prohibition for alcohol use in my church,’ I told her, in response to the shaking of her head, ‘as long as we don’t overuse it.’

But she shook her hoary head with more firmness. ‘Any church that allows its members to drink just cannot be a true church’, she emphatically said.

‘But the Bible says it’s ok if one drank in temperance’, I reasoned.

‘The Bible nowhere says it’, she corrected me. ‘Jesus used grape juice, not fermented wine.’

I knew that line of argument. It’s true the contents of Jesus’ cup at the Last Supper is translated ‘fruit of the vine’, a term which includes grapes, grape juice, and raisins for pentecostals, and which means only ‘wine’ for the winos. If she was right, then even drinking grape juice is not the best thing for Christians, because the Pharisees and Sadducees accused Jesus of being a ‘grape juice bibber’, which is how this doctor and her fellow believers read Matthew 11:19 and Luke 7:34.

‘The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber’.

And if we use that line of argument in reading Paul’s instruction to Titus in his epistle about admonishing the older women in the church, it is also not good for senior Christian ladies to drink too much grape juice – but obviously it’s ok for our mamas if they drink it in Godly moderation.

‘But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine, that…the older woman…that they be…not given to much wine [‘should not be over-fond of wine’ (Phillips); ‘They must not be heavy drinkers’ (NLT)]’   Ti 2:1-3

But there is another hole in her scriptural premise. If Jesus was so averse to drinking wine, then the barrelsful of liquid he made at Cana was no mere heavenly cider. It is translated from the Greek word which means the real stuff, as all Bible versions agree. So the Lord didn’t mind being responsible for making others at banquets a little tipsy with wine while he himself refrained from it. That, for me, is more difficult to swallow than a piece of whale meat.

I have taken grape juice innumerable times, and it quenched my thirst and it satiated my tummy’s desire for a delicious drink, but never once did this juice, even of the finest grapes from the best vineyards of California, was able to gladden my heart or make cheery my mind.  But the Psalmist says God made wine which ‘gladdens the heart of man’ just as he made oil to smoothen his skin, and bread to strengthen him. (Ps 105:15) The Message version says, ‘wine to make people happy’. When his children are happy, God the Father is even happier.

But I did not put forth all these theological arguments to the busy doctor. I just said, ‘The Bible says you can take real strong liquor’. In righteous indignation she declared, ‘No. In all my years of Bible study, I have never seen any scripture saying that. And if I see one, I will change my belief.’

For a woman of her denomination to say that she would change her belief is the equivalent of a Shiite Moslem saying he would be willing to drink Guinness beer. I told her I will get back to her with that passage.

After I got home, I found that passage, wrote it on a slip of paper, put it in an envelope, went back to her clinic, and not having the the heart to confront the venerable doctor directly, handed it to her assistant with the firm instruction, ‘This is important, and the doctor is waiting for it’.

On my next visit, she did not broach the subject and I wisely did not anywhere try to revive it. As far as I know, she still attends her pentecostal church, and the glaring Biblical evidence I handed her did not convince she may occasionally allow her heart to be gladdened with this beverage.

So is it ok for a Christian to drink in moderation? It surely is, from every Scriptural angle. But is it best for every Christian to drink even in moderation? Now, that’s a different question altogether.

There are far more passages in the Bible about the deadly consequences of drinking than there are about the merry effects of wining. It means, the chances are higher for the average Christian – unless he is constantly in the very presence of Jesus, like the disciples were – to become less of a Christ follower by drinking than by not drinking.

I was a beer and brandy guzzling Christian for several decades before I overcame my addiction. So I think my judgment on the effects of moderate drinking can be trusted for your guidance and encouragement, as what I am writing here is based on my own sobering experiences.

By the way, I am not going into the health aspects of drinking. If drinking is injuring a person physically in any way, and his doctor has proscribed it for him, he should never drink under any circumstances. If he does, he is damaging not just his body but the temple of God which he should always maintain in excellent condition to his utmost capability. He would then be sinning against his Savior who redeemed his body, soul, and spirit together.

But the emotional and spiritual aspects of what drinking does to one’s mind is my concern here.

Ethanol, the organic spirit that is commonly called alcohol, even in a small quantity, as soon as it is absorbed into the blood transforms a person’s emotional state. A few minutes into sipping the beverage, he begins to feel a pleasant and warm sensation sweeping over his whole body starting from his toe tips and racing all the way to his scalp. This is the state of the mind the Bible calls ‘a merry heart’. This is the purpose of serving alcohol at banquets. Even a normally morose Pharisee would cheer up after a couple of goblets. Being cheerful in a Godly festive situation is what our Creator wants us to be. This is why Jesus bibbed wine at the feasts he attended. As a cheery celebrator of weddings, he even must have enjoyed the wine he made from water at Cana.

Because the ancient chosen people of God had difficulty in getting exuberant about God’s festivals without being fueled by some external spirit of cheer, God gave them a command so his people cannot have any excuse not to be happy at his ordained celebrations:

‘Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink [‘strong drink’ – King James Version], or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.’   Dt 14:26 NIV

That was the verse I passed on to the Godfearing, but not Biblically very thorough, doctor.

If you are a normal Christian satisfied with your normal relationship with God, it is a good thing to enjoy wine or bourbon or margarita at events where God’s people assemble and celebrate his festivals. Because you are surrounded by believers, your chances of doing something unChristian, such as getting drunk, at such places is remote.

But even in such safe situation as drinking in the company of other believers, some people tend to carry their induced exhilarations into their daily home life. I used to attend one of God’s festivals with a church for many years. True to the recommendation in Deuteronomy, we enjoyed wine and other fermented drinks, including the local arrack. The preachers drank with us, the preachers’ wives drank with the laymen’s wives, the deacons poured drink into the members’ glasses, and everyone was happy and cheery in God’s presence. We always had a great festival every year. But one member I knew, to whom I used to pour out a peg or two myself, was slowly getting addicted, unbeknownst to the rest of the members. The last time I saw him at the festival, I invited him along with some other close members to my room, and poured out the merrymaker as usual. The next morning, the pastor came to me and told me, with a mild rebuke in his tone: I should never offer that member another drink. The member’s wife had complained to him that her husband was given some brandy by me, when he had been diagnosed with serious liver problem. I had not been aware of his condition. I apologized and promised never to invite him for another cheery session in my room.

This member had taken to drinking excessively, a habit unwittingly encouraged by church doctrine, and his liver was affected as a result. He died about two years after I poured him the last drink.

Had the church never allowed its members to drink, this dear friend of mine might have been alive today. Is it the church’s fault, then? Absolutely not! If it is, then it is Moses’ fault even more for writing such verses which gave the church the authority to sanction Godly use of alcohol.

The point is, not every Christian should drink, even if it is Biblically sanctioned. Some people should not even sip a drop of anything that’s even mildly fermented under any circumstances. Others should always exercise the utmost alertness and wisdom when using this liberty.

Especially, if you are a minister of Christ – a preacher, a pastor, a deacon, or some other church leader whom people look up to for counsel and instruction from God’s Word – you should be extremely wary of taking alcohol even in moderation. You were chosen to a position of leadership in God’s church because you fulfill the conditions for stewardship of God’s flock:

‘If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he’s talking about, not be overfond of wine…’   1 Tm 3:1-3 The Message

If a church leader is very fond of wine, he stands the risk of providing his congregation with some spirit-diluted or watered down counsels because of a slightly dilated brain.

While it is ok for him to drink occasionally in moderation at other times, it is absolutely forbidden by God for a preacher or priest to have even a least amount of alcohol in his blood when he goes before his congregation to give a sermon or conduct a church service.

‘Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations, that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord has spoken to them by the hand of Moses.” ’   Lv 10:8-11

Even a single sip of cabernet will put the preacher at risk of saying the wrong word, or in the least, of not being able to use the best word in his message to God’s people.

But if you want to be an extra-vigilant servant of Christ in God’s sight, then it may perhaps be better to get rid of even your inclination to drink occasionally!

‘Kings and leaders should not get drunk or even WANT to drink. Drinking makes you forget your responsibilities’   Pr 31:4-5 CEV

That’s because an utmost minister of the Lord is an overseer of God’s precious little flock not only when he is standing in the pulpit, or at the altar, but 60 x 60 x 24 x 7 (inspired by the grocery store near my home which displays ‘24 x 7’ to say it is open all the time) – every second of his life! Even a little bit of light beer in his system can affect his thinking ability to that minuscule extent. In God’s sight, he who is faithful in the infinitesimal is faithful even in the infinite (see what Christ said about this in Matthew 5:19 and Luke 16:10).

Again, if you have faith that you can be extra-vigilant even while you take a draft or two of lager, enjoy!

Both God and Satan watches more attentively the person who drinks than the person who does not drink. The One always desiring his child will never let go of his alertness for a fraction of a second, and the other always hoping his targeted prey will make just one tiny slip through which he can wiggle in a toehold onto the person’s thoughts. Tragically, many wellknown servants of God did slip enough for the devil to sneak into their thoughts for a few moments – enough to wreck havoc not only in their own lives but the lives of their descendants generation after generation. Let me tell you three true stories, two from the Bible and one from recent history.

Noah, after being adrift on water for a year, planted a vineyard among his first acts on solid earth. It’s been a long while since he enjoyed the fruit of the vine. He drank, and drank, and wallowed in drink. When he finally got up from his self-partying, his clothes fell off him, but he didn’t realize it. He staggered naked to his tent and went into a deep slumber. Somebody then did something very dishonorable to him. On waking up, he realized to his horror what had happened, and uttered the greatest curse ever to be pronounced upon a human being. As a result, the descendants of the cursee have been suffering more than any other race throughout history, serving not only as slaves to other nations, but even as slaves to other slaves! (Genesis 9:20-27. Read the New International Version or New Revised Standard Version, which gives a more accurate description of the curse than the New King James Version.)

All because of one too many a swig.

Lot was a righteous man, says God’s Word. When his two daughters kept pouring brimful after brimful of wine into his bowl, he should have suspected something was not right. But he gave in to the overwhelmingly pleasant sensation of intoxication. He too went into a deep slumber. The daughters did it again the next day, and he again went into a deep slumber. The result of just two nights of heavy boozing? Two wicked nations down through history again.

Coming down to the twentieth century, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a dedicated people of God, as much, perhaps a little more, than the average Christian denomination. It doesnt matter that some Christians consider them as cults. They may be doctrinally in serious error, but they keep God’s commandments and the fruits in their lives are significantly better than those of the average church-goers I observe around me.

Now, this denomination allows its members to drink in moderation. But the second President of the Watchtower Society – the leader of Jehovah’s Witnesses, who was responsible for the founding policies of this sect – was a victim of alcohol, just as Noah and Lot were.

‘Joseph Rutherford was a known alcoholic and binge drinker. He eventually died from intestinal cancer, a direct result of his long life of heavy alcohol consumption. There is actually a photograph of Mr. Rutherford and staff sitting around a keg of beer, toasting the camera, during Prohibition He even stated at one time that in his opinion, Prohibition was the work of Satan.’   Quote from one of the various sources mentioned in Wikipedia

Some years ago, when I still used to enjoy chilled beer in my hot country, I went to a beverage outlet to get a couple of bottles. I noticed a new label on the liquor shelf. The name of the new brandy was ‘Lord & Master’. How appropriate a name, I thought even in those days. For I could see all around me even in the beverage shop people merrily in servile bondage to their lord, the masterbrewer.

Just as a Christian cannot serve God and Mammon together, he cannot serve both God and Alcohol. A Christian must be the master of Mammon, not its servant, using money to help him serve God better. Even so, he must be the master of every drop of alcohol he allows into his system, so he can use it to praise God with a more cheerful voice.

Now, let me clarify a few theological points.

By deciding never to touch a drop of alcohol so you can be a more alert Christian does not make you a greater person in God’s sight than your neighbor believer who decides he can occasionally enjoy a cold pint of Budweiser on a sultry day. It is a personal decision between you and your God. If you know it makes no difference at all in your love and closeness to God by a quick downing of tequila now and then, go ahead and down it quickly – as long as you are not going to preach or drive until the next day. Your standing before Christ does not go down one notch lower as a result.

But if you know it makes a even a slight negative difference to your physical health or optimal mental state, then not drinking under any circumstances is truly pleasing to God.

As for me, given a mission that requires me to be 100 percent sober every second of my life – someone could call me any time of the day or night with a problem to seek my counsel – I have to be extra vigilant in the matter of alcohol. I had been drinking regularly before I entered the Lord’s ministry and several times I overdrank, and in my inebriated state I acted and spoke in unChristian ways. After I began to serve in the Lord’s work, I allowed myself a safe measure of alcohol – around two pints of beer once a week, but after several years of such moderate use, I found that even this once a week habit was beginning to exert some slight power in me. When the weekend came, I found myself being swamped by a strong urge to drink, a craving for beer that seemed to override my will at times. And such craving, I knew, had its origin not from the Holy Spirit, but from the spirit that the Devil has set over the domain of alcohol abuse. I also knew what the Bible says specifically about craving for beer.

it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.’   Pr 31:4-5 NIV

Once I was convinced that the wrong spirit had managed to sneak into my weekend beer habit, I stopped drinking weekly. Now I no more take beer or any other alcohol, not even the smallest quantity, on a regular basis – even if that regularity is only once a month. Now I drink occasionally, if a situation calls for such enjoyment before God, such as during the Feast of Tabernacles, or at a dinner outing with my wife.

There is a good reason why pentecostals, and some other church denominations forbid their members to drink. It is the same reason Islam forbids its faithfuls from even an exceptional use of alcohol in their lives: to protect their members, and to ensure that their community is not tainted in the least by any member who might misuse the liberty.

It is the same reason God commands those undertaking a special vow of spirituality to abstain from alcohol. Vows to God is an extremely serious matter, and if a person under vow drinks a little too much and forgets his special spiritual status, then he commits a grievous sin. That is why God told the person who wants to take the Nazirite vow that he or she must absolutely abstain from wine – an absoluteness that is reinforced by even forbidding him to eat anything that is a product of the vine, including grapes and grapejuice. (Numbers 6:1-21)

It is also the same reason why one prudent father asked his children to avoid wine.

‘ The Message that Jeremiah received from God…“Go visit the Recabite community. Invite them to meet with you in one of the rooms in God’s Temple. And serve them wine.”…Then I set out chalices and pitchers of wine for the Recabites and said, “A toast! Drink up!” But they wouldn’t do it. “We don’t drink wine,” they said. “Our ancestor Jonadab son of Recab commanded us, ‘You are not to drink wine, you or your children, ever…We and our wives, our sons and daughters, drink no wine at all…We’ve listened to our ancestor Jonadab and we’ve done everything he commanded us.”

Then Jeremiah received this Message from God: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, wants you to go tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem that I say, ‘Why won’t you learn your lesson and do what I tell you?…The commands of Jonadab son of Recab to his sons have been carried out to the letter. He told them not to drink wine, and they haven’t touched a drop to this very day…So here’s what is going to happen. God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says, ‘I will bring calamity down on the heads of the people of Judah and Jerusalem—the very calamity I warned you was coming—because you turned a deaf ear when I spoke, turned your backs when I called.’”

Then, turning to the Recabite community, Jeremiah said, “And this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel, says to you: Because you have done what Jonadab your ancestor told you, obeyed his commands and followed through on his instructions, receive this Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel: There will always be a descendant of Jonadab son of Recab at my service! Always!” ’   Jr 35:1-19 The Message

I could sense a thrill in God’s voice as he spoke of the wine-avoiding Recabites. Of course, he was not thrilled merely because this was a teetotal race. His joy was that they carefully obeyed their ancestor’s command, while the whole of Israel ignored their Creator’s instructions. But the avoidance of wine was a significant reason for the sobriety and prudent living of the Recabites, ensuring the survival of their race forever.

Now how can you know whether it is best for you to enjoy moderate drinking or best for you to abstain from it altogether? Ask God to speak to your heart through his Holy Spirit about what he feels about your drinking for his glory. Also, you can use the following indicators to help you make a decision.

If you have a past history of severe alcohol abuse, then it is best you never touch alcohol again. Once a habitual drunkard, there is always a risk present you may be deceived by the devil into gradually becoming a drunkard again. But if you are absolutely sure in light of the Holy Spirit that even with a past history, you can now drink safely without any future risk whatever, then you may.

Do you tend to become excessively gregarious and loquacious when there is some alcohol inside you? In other words, do you tend to talk too much and hug too freely when the spirit of merriness fills you? Do repressed and suppressed emotions awake in you whenever you drink – memories of past sinful encounters, lewd images flitting by, inclinations to do something or watch something you would never think of twice when you are sober? Do you tend to get more argumentative when tipsy? The next day, do you feel your mood is at a lower level than it was on the day before you drank? These are all sure indicators that the devil is using alcohol to subtly and slowly trap you into total bondage to him. If these symptoms persist whenever you drink, shun alcohol totally!

Never drink in the company of unbelievers. While you are toasting your drink in the Spirit of your Father in heaven, they are toasting in the spirit of their father in this world. (John 8:44) There was a time I used to take drinks with colleagues and old friends who had not been called to the Christ-life. They were normal, decent people. But after two rounds of scotch or port, I noticed that their conversation would subtly deviate to topics with a raunchy flavor, which I didn’t hear from them at other times. I would immediately and firmly ask them to change subjects, and they unwillingly would. So, don’t clink your pristine wine glass against that of a person whose life is not directed by the Holy Spirit.

If you have never taken a drink in your life so far, then better to keep it that way for the rest of your life. Sure, ‘life is fun with a little beer’, as one pastor, serving me up a frothful, remarked. But life can be even funner without taking any risk with it, I think.

I have given up my weekly moderate drinking, and now I dont take even an ounce of alcohol on a regular basis. I am waiting till my Lord, the world’s greatest brewmaster, comes with his kegs so I can taste again, as often as I desire, all my favorite beverages I had poured out of my regular life, especially lager from Copenhagen and the tender toddy in my native village.

‘On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine – the best of meats and the finest of wines’…‘of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees.’   Is 25:6 NIV; NKJV

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

There is a Faith that Delivers and a Faith that Eventually Destroys the Believer

Many sincere Christians are clinging to a deadly kind of faith.

 

I wonder if there is a more disputed, a more misunderstood subject in Christianity than Faith. Perhaps Grace and Law may be a more discussed and more disagreed on subject, but Faith is certainly the most important and the most consequential of ununderstood and misunderstood subjects among Christians. Because wrong understanding of grace and law will not keep a person from the Kingdom of God, but without faith no one will enter the presence of God.

‘But without faith it is impossible to please Him’   Heb 11:6

Faith is the one of the three greatest and absolutely required qualities in a Christian. (I Corinthians 13:13). Which is why Satan has taken extra efforts to sow confusion among God’s people over this subject.

Let’s consider faith from the viewpoint of various people who think they have faith.

I will start with the teachings of a great servant of God, from whom I received my first and greatest understandings of God’s Word. He stands first among all my spiritual teachers. But, sadly, he is also the man who stands first in teaching me the most serious doctrinal errors, which caused me the severest troubles in my life. He wrote a booklet on this subject, titled ‘What is Faith’. Its author, the founder and chief pastor of a church with members worldwide, died 30 years ago, but the heavy legacy of his teaching on faith – and its closely related subject, healing – through that booklet continues among tens of thousands of people today. His teaching is very similar to what millions of believers in Pentecostal, Evangelical, and many other denominations believe in.

Faith, according to this chief pastor, is the absolute belief that something you asked for from God is on its way, or has been answered, even if you cannot see any evidence of it – if God has promised it in his Word.

To give a practical example, if a man has cancer of his lungs, and he is ready to believe what the Bible says – and the Bible certainly says that God heals the sick – he should ask God for healing. And then, he should ensure he does not allow doubt to creep into his mind. Even if he feels and sees the cancer galloping through his body, he should rest assured he is already healed and act and think as if the cancerous tissues have disappeared from his lungs. To quote from his publication:

‘Once you have received the possession, you no longer hope for it. But even before you receive it, you have it in substance; and that substance—that assurance that you shall possess it—is faith.

Then again, faith is an evidence—the “evidence of things not seen.” Faith precedes the actual receiving of what you ask for. And faith is the evidence you shall have it, before you even see it. It is the evidence of things not yet seen. You do not have it. You do not see it, or feel it—yet faith is your evidence that you have, or shall have it. Faith is the substance—the assurance—of receiving that which you still hope for…

Now suppose you ask God to heal you. Naturally, you want some evidence that you are going to be healed. So what is that evidence, that proof? Is it the evidence of the pain ceasing—or the swelling going down—something you can feel, and see? I know a man who said, “When I can see anyone healed by direct prayer, then I’ll believe in it.” This man said he wanted to believe in it—he wanted to have faith in it! He was looking for an evidence that he could see—and he died without ever seeing it!’   ‘What Is Faith’ by Herbert W. Armstrong; originally published by the Worldwide Church of God, and now published by Philadelphia Church of God; also available on several websites.

That teaching sounds very authoritative and Biblical. But I know of people, including those in the very church of this chief pastor, who applied this kind of faith and died. I know of others who, when the evidence they believed turned out to be the very opposite in reality, became so disgruntled with God that they quit their ministry and turned against God.

Faith’s greatest application is in healing and deliverance from danger and death. Healing needs a separate exposition of itself, and I will cover that subject in depth in a future message.

Before I pass on to you what the Holy Spirit has taught me about faith, let me give you one more example of faith as taught by many servants of God today. I will quote from the same booklet I mentioned earlier, because what is written in that publication is influencing thousands of people today in the churches that use this booklet or have taken their teachings from this source.

‘Set over the affairs of the province of Babylon were Daniel’s three young Jewish friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. One of the commandments of God’s eternal spiritual law forbids such worship of images…But these three young Jews knew the truth—that we should obey God rather than men, that through faith God makes it possible. When they firmly refused to bow down to worship the king’s image, Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded they be brought before him (verse 13).

Listen to the quiet, trusting, unafraid answer of these lads. “O Nebuchadnezzar … our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace”! (verses 16-18).

Sometimes God tries our faith. He tried theirs. You might think He failed them, but He only permitted their faith to be tested.

“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him”!

There was an example of living faith – a faith that trusted God to make it possible to live the way of His law! Yes, with God, it is possible to keep all His Commandments – don’t let any man deceive you to the contrary!’

So, according to this teaching of faith, because these three young men applied faith – faith that was the evidence that they were already protected, even though their physical eyes were showing they were being flung into the furnace – they were delivered from being turned to ashes.

I wonder what kind of faith another servant of God, whose whole life had been totally devoted to preaching Christ and caring for lepers, was applying when he and his two sons were burned to death when their vehicle was set alight by Hindu mobsters in a village in India. Maybe he didn’t have enough of faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had for God to rescue him and his children from the flames.

The awesome immortal story of the three young men who were cast into a furnace made seven times hotter, is a favorite with preachers trying to explain what true faith is. In another booklet that I read many years ago, another preacher whose publications were distributed internationally, gave the same story when writing about faith, and quoted the same passage from the book of Daniel, including the following verses:

‘ “O Nebuchadnezzar … our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace”! (verses 16-18).’

The coincidence is that, in both the booklets the authors end the quote with ‘furnace’. The parentheses, (verses 16-18), is part of the passage I reprinted from the booklet by the chief pastor. But funnily, the full words in verse 18 was not quoted in both the booklets. Here are the those verses without any word being omitted:

‘O Nebuchadnezzar… our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace…BUT IF NOT, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’   [Emphasis mine]

That is how verse 18 ends.

Those three words, ‘But if not’ are the most important words in the whole story about the faith of those three youths of God. Those three words is the absolute quintessence of what true faith is. Those three words is what every servant of God should preach to God’s people about faith.

But before I tell you about the faith encapsulated in those three words, let me mention two cases where faith, as taught in the above referred booklets, was applied for deliverance. In the first case, it relates to a senior evangelist in the church founded by the chief pastor and author of ‘What Is Faith’. The second relates to a prominent pastor who served in another church and who lived by this kind of faith.

The senior evangelist was one of the prominent ministers in the church, which had congregations in many countries, and his name was wellknown to the members around the world. This church did not approve of its members going to doctors. (But they could go to the dentist. They could have dental work done, but for some unexplained reason the other parts of the body were considered more sacred and off limits for doctors.)

Well, this evangelist and his wife were faithful, unquestioning members of the church. Then his wife became ill, and of course, she refused medical treatment because she was a ‘true believer’. By the time her husband realized things were not working as she and he had believed, and tried to get medical help, it was too late. She died at the age of 54. And she was not the first one in the church. Several others like her had died earlier because they refused medical attention.

This evangelist then began to question the teachings of the church, and did his own exploration of the faith doctrine from the Bible. He came to the shocking realization that he had been tragically wrong. Of course, he couldn’t go far in disputing this doctrine with the church’s top leadership, for he was soon disfellowshipped for questioning the teachings of the founder. He lost his wife, he lost his church, he lost all he had believed in his life till then.

His story is just one of the many, many tragedies happening in God’s churches around the world today in every nation, all because of a wrong understanding of faith.


Those three words, ‘But if not’ are the most important words in the whole story about the faith of those three youths of God. Those three words is the absolute quintessence of what true faith is.


The second true story is just as tragic.

In his article, When Cliches Don’t Work, Christian writer Steven Brown writes of his visit to a man who had been one of his ‘heroes’ and a friend. This friend had been the pastor of large churches, an author of some note and a famous evangelical leader. Steven Brown went to visit him because he had just been told that he was dying of cancer.

When he saw his friend, he saw no ‘hero’, but the tragic figure of a man who was “broken, bitter and without any hope”. The pastor who had been encouraging his large congregations Sunday after Sunday with messages of faith, hope and love, now lay dying and embittered, without hope and without faith, and without much of his old fervent love for God either.

What does your faith do to you when all the props that had been steadily holding up your security structure fall together; when you have had every dream you had been excitedly clinging to shattered and every desire you had been cherishing taken away; when you are left with absolutely no more hope, no more years left for this life?

This, child of God, is when you know with absolute certainty if you have true faith or not, and whether the teachings you have received from your church or spiritual leader are wholly based on a correct understanding of God’s Word, or not.

The faith in the two cases I mentioned destroyed the believer. I don’t mean just physical destruction. I mean the destruction of the believer’s beliefs, his assurance, his sense of security, his happiness, and worst of all, his relationship with God. Everything goes down in the abyss of despair and hopelessness when believed-in faith is revealed to be baseless.

So what is the true faith that always delivers, that never fails?

Please keep it foremost in your mind, Bible believer, that faith is NOT primarily the granting of petitions and desires you made to God. That is the most elementary understanding of faith, but which many of the most senior of God’s servants think is the complete understanding of it. This elementary understanding is based on various promises in the Bible. Here are the most well-known verses relating to God answering our prayers and granting us our desires:

‘Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.’’   Ps 37:4

‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’   Mat 7:7

‘If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’   Mat 7:11

‘Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.’   Mark 11:24

‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.’   Luke 11:9

‘If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.’   John 14:14

‘If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.’   John 15:7

‘And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.’   John 16:23

‘Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.’   John 16:24

‘And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.’   1 John 3:22

It is absolutely clear to even a little child that these promises mean that God will grant us what we desire and ask him for in faith. Now the little child of God also thinks that while God will grant us whatever we desire of him, the child, for his part, should ask in faith. If he loses faith, he is not going to receive anything from God. If he has faith, he can receive absolutely anything from God – wealth, health, protection, healing, deliverances – if God has promised it in his Word. And God has promised wealth, health, protection, healing, deliverances, and more in the Bible, hasn’t he?

So what’s the catch, what’s the problem, and why am I writing this message?

Because of the naïve part played by the spiritual child when asking God for something.

The child of God’s part, as taught by many churches and preachers, is that he should not waver in faith when he waits for the answer he asked for. If he wavers, then he is rebuked with the verse in James 1:6:

‘But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord’.

So the child asks and waits in prayer, and he struggles to maintain ‘faith’, that is, not doubt God’s unfailing promise. Doubts would come, naturally, but the child wrestles against them, and somehow continues to keep ‘faith’ faithfully.

Isn’t that how many, perhaps even you, exercise faith when they ask God for something? That was how I exercised faith for decades, because I was told by my spiritual teachers that was the only way to receive healing and other promises of God.

Oh, how I struggled with all my mind and heart to maintain faith for the petitions I made to God. I would ask for money for some important desire. I would ask for healing of my painful ailments. I would plead with God to protect me from prison and humiliation. No man could have prayed more and exercised more faith in my kind of situation. But all I got in answer to my tearful supplications in those years were more financial problems, more painful ailments, more imprisonments and increased humiliation.

Then, after 30 years of praying and exercising sincere faith in that manner, I gave up on faith altogether. I gave up on the God who made all those failed promises in the Bible, I gave up my church, my religion, and went searching for a new faith that really worked. I had become like the pastor of the large churches, referred to earlier, who, when God did not deliver him from his cancer as he pleaded for, became embittered, broken and hopeless. But the faithful Christ, who remains ever faithful to us and promised never to forsake or abandon us, even when we give up on him and abandon him for other faiths, rescued me from disaster and self-destruction. And he, through the Holy Spirit, began to personally teach me the true delivering faith. I have been living by that faith, as directly taught to me by my Savior, for many years now.

When God made those promises in the Bible, he made them to people who understood his will for their lives. The promises were made to people who always, consciously or subconsciously, begin their prayers with the words taught by their Lord, ‘Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’. That is their greatest desire above every other desire. That is their one absolutely overriding request to God that supersedes, modifies, magnifies, or even obliterates every other desire in their life so that this one desire – which is, God’s will be done in their lives – can be granted in answer to their prayers.

Those who ask God for something – for health, for deliverance from sickness, for a happy marriage, for children, for a job – and then turn bitter against him for not granting what they desperately and sincerely asked for in faith, forget their master’s first requirement for following him. We cannot hope to receive anything from him unless we are following him. And what did our Master tell us when we made a decision to follow him?

‘Anyone who comes to me but refuses to let go of father, mother, spouse, children, brothers, sisters – yes, even one’s own self! – can’t be my disciple. Anyone who won’t shoulder his own cross and follow behind me can’t be my disciple.’   Luke 14:26. The Message

If you havent yet let go of your own self-desires, if you arent yet ready to even forsake your own family, if they stand in your way, to follow the One who died for you, then you havent qualified to ask him anything.

But the astonishing truth of God’s amazing grace is that even when a nominal Christian, who thinks he is following Christ but is only following his own self-desires, when he sincerely and perseveringly prays, God does grant him many of his requests – even as a physical father would grant some requests of his disobedient son. God may grant him his requests only to a limited extent, but the testimonies of many people I personally know, even those who do not know Christ and do not know of a single promise in the Bible, have convinced me that our God is so good that he often answers the prayers of nonbelieving people who bring their desires to him. And if he doesnt grant a nonbeliever what he asked for, it is only because of one reason:

‘You do not have, because you do not ask. [Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives. Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.   James 4:2-3. AMB

I personally know several people of Hindu and Muslim faiths receiving astonishing answers to their prayers, because they prayed with a right attitude and for the right reasons in the sight of their Creator.

But as for you, man or woman of Christ, if you believe God’s promises in the Bible, then it is not enough that just ‘many’ of your prayers are granted, while some, and especially in critical situations, as in the case of the pastor dying of cancer, are not granted. If you are a faithful follower of Christ, then every single one of the promises in the 10 verses I quoted above, and in the INnumerable other verses in the Bible that I didn’t quote, should be granted to you without fail.

Every prayer of mine is saturated with monotonous requests for granting me this, or that, or yonder desire. I have thousands granted already in the past, and tens of thousands of other requests that I have rolled off from my prayer mat onto the foot of God’s throne, and know with certainty they too will be granted like the thousands that have already been ever since I learned from my Master how to ask in true faith.

As I said, God has given these promises primarily for people who have, or is ever ready, to forsake everything to follow him. These promises are primarily meant for people who want God’s will to be done in their lives above every personal desire.

Now, if that senior cancer-stricken pastor had really given his life over to Christ, would he be in the least bothered when Christ asks him to lay it down for him? Instead of giving it up without a moment’s hesitation, he got bitter and lost his sense of security and his confidence in God. He loved his own life more than his Savior, not realizing that his Savior had first given up his life to save him from his wretched sinful state and from eternal death. That servant of God must have prayed the Lord’s Prayer with his congregations many times during his dynamic pastoral days. But every time he uttered those words ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ he didn’t mean it at all. When that part of the prayer came, he was subconsciously praying, ‘my will be done on earth, as yours is in heaven’.

Every time that a prayer in your life goes unanswered, every time that your prayer brings a silence from heaven, every time it seems God stands aloof from your pleas, remember this: your God who loves you more than your own physical father or mother ever could love you, more than you ever can love your precious little son or daughter, that awesome God of awesome love is ever ready to answer you and grant you your every desire.

Your request has already been registered in heaven, and waiting to be dispatched by angels; it will arrive right at the door of your life when you are ready to receive it. Some arrive within an hour or so, some within a decade or more, and most in between. And some are answered even while you are attempting to articulate precisely what you want of the Lord!

‘For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.’   Is 65:23-25

That’s faith! Faith that always delivers, faith that always brings answers to your prayers. Because whatever you ask God, before you present your desire to him you are telling him this:

‘Lord, I have this desire and I have your promise in your Word that you will grant it to me. But I also know that you know when best to grant it to me. I also know that sometimes it may be best in your sight that I be granted what you promised only when my Lord comes. Whatever, Lord, let your will, not mine, be done. And now, this is my request…’

‘Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.’   1 John 5:14-15

I continue to pray daily, and have been praying so for decades, for several major deliverances from which I have not been rescued yet. God has not indicated the least evidence he is going to grant any of them to me. But as long as he has not answered me with a firm ‘No’, I am going to keep asking and pestering him like the widow did to the judge.

‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.  Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary”. And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” ’   Luke 18:1-5

Or, like that man in the Bible who woke up his friend in the middle of the night and asked for 3 loaves:

‘ “Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him”; and he will answer from within and say, “Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you”? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs.’   Luke 11:5-8

I have absolute faith God will grant me what I have asked, because he has said so in the Bible. He has not specifically mentioned among his promises some of the things I have asked for, but he said ‘he will grant me the desires of my heart’. And what I have asked are certainly the desires of my heart, and I am not asking him for things to indulge my lusts.

I never pressurize my Lord with my requests. I never ask him with desperation. I never ask him and then set a mental deadline as to when I should receive what I ask for. I just ask him calmly and perseveringly, without giving up, and always desiring his will to be done in my life – and if that means he cannot grant me what I ask for, praise him for that! I don’t get disappointed or discouraged. I don’t want any teeny weeny bit of what I ask for if it is going to be against my Father’s will, for I know it will not be good for me.

I have had dozens of major petitions and desires – including deliverance from imprisonment – which were totally unanswered by God. Before I understood what real faith is, when my pleas for certain deliverances brought the opposite of what I asked for, I used to get very disappointed, sometimes very bitter, but years later when I looked back, I stood in stunned amazement at how gracious my Lord was to me by refusing to grant what I had earnestly asked of him. Perhaps one example might encourage you.

At one time, I knew I was sooner or later going to be incarcerated in a land of anti-Christians. I pleaded with God with fastings and intense prayers for months. I asked pastors and evangelists to pray for my deliverance from the dungeons. Some assured me I would be delivered.

Instead, one day I was taken handcuffed, with my ankles shackled with iron chains, to a depressing cell deep in a desert. But, strangely, it was in prison that I felt God’s presence closest to me. I never felt depressed, no, not once (although outside of prison, depression was a serious problem in my life). I could see other prisoners lying down or walking about totally depressed and miserable. I was daily praising God, and writing in a notebook all the new understandings he was giving me inside my prison cell.

The days and weeks passed, and one day, I found myself outside of the iron bars instead of inside. I was a free man again. But my old problems hadn’t gone away, and two years later, I was again praying desperately to be spared from the dungeons. Instead, I found myself again in the very same prison, but in a different cell with worse cell-mates – murderers and sychopaths. But the sychopaths and killers were unusually kind to me, and I even shared my excess meals with the most dangerous of them.

Then one day, the worst possible nightmare in prison life happened to me. I became seriously sick. I got diarrhea, and along with it the most agonizing pain in my abdomen. A dagger thrust into my side and twisted left and right would have been more preferable than the pain I endured. Getting a doctor was out of question. It was the weekend and doctors don’t visit dungeons on weekends. Once, a fellow prisoner had a heart-attack and the prison guard allowed his cellmates to carry him to the doctor’s room. I saw them returning after a few minutes…there was no doctor available on that day. (The heart-attackee survived though.)

I knew I would die if God did not intervene urgently, but there was no sign of him even reducing my pain a bit. Instead the pain intensified. I could try to end my suffering by doing what Job’s wife urged her husband to do – curse God for failing to keep his promise and just lie back and pass away to oblivion.

In the most agonizing moment of my life, as I lay on the prison floor squirming in pain, I decided to do one last thing before I died. I slowly raised my weakened right hand and holding it high, I gave to heaven, in the sight of the devil and all his hosts that were causing me this torment, a victorious ‘V’ gesture with my forefinger and middle finger. I declared to God in my spirit, ‘Lord, even if you kill me, I will trust you and be faithful to you’. And then I put my hand down and continued to lay on the floor.

That was what God had been waiting to know, I realized later. Waiting to know if I was trusting him even when he was refusing to deliver me. He saw that I was. Almost immediately, my pain started to subside.

The next day, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance when a kindhearted prison guard on duty that day heard of my situation. But I had no more pain, no diarrhea anymore. The rest of my sentenced term of two months went like a piece of prison cake. I was out…with a far greater conviction of what delivering faith is.

About eight years after I got out of my last prison, God put it into my heart to start a mission with a special focus on reducing the suffering of prisoners. For I have seen with my own eyes the heartwrenching groanings of my fellow prisoners. The mission, World Daily Bread, has relief of prisoners among its greatest purposes (please visit worlddailybread.org). I have no doubt that this mission will be used by God sooner or later to bring his deliverance and comfort to prisoners worldwide. I have put in awesome, literally global-encompassing, requests to God regarding this mission, and I know that every one of them will be granted, in God’s perfect time, because I am not seeking my own will.

I have received the faith that always delivers, that always brings an answer from God. Praise my Lord!

Even in the lighter aspects of life, God rewards me for my faith in him. He grants requests that might sound even ludicrous to nonbelievers.

I wanted to be a lead guitarist when I was about 12. After persistent requests, my dad bought me a guitar, and I plucked the strings without once learning how to play it. Nobody was available to teach me how. The guitar fragmented after many years of disuse, and I grew up, married, and became middle-aged, and was quickly turning senior…and still there was nobody to teach me guitar.

But my desire to learn to play the guitar never once faded a bit. I never ceased to ask God to somehow make me into a good guitar player. But the decades passed and I was just a few short years away from becoming a senior old man. When I was 56, I bought another guitar, just out of my fascination for guitars. Once, while I was plucking away randomly at my new possession, without the slightest clue how to play it, a concerned observer told me, ‘You need to learn the scales’.

Scales? What are they? I knew of the song in The Sound of Music, which was about the scale – doe, ray, me, far, so, la, tea. That was the closest I knew of scales. But how do I learn the guitar by singing doe, ray, me? But the observer’s remark lingered in my memory.

Then, another two wrinkled years trudged by, and as I approached my 58th birthday, I thought I would look up on the internet to find out what a guitar scale is. I came across a website that taught me the ABCDEFGs of a scale. I tried one of the scales, called the pentatonic minor, on the guitar. Wow, I seemed to be able to produce some harmonious notes finally, which I couldn’t at all for the past 46 years! I kept practicing the scales, and soon I was composing some simple original melodies of my own.

Now, about 4 years after I first heard the word ‘scale’, I can play the guitar with some speed and skill, and I have composed what I think are some beautiful instrumental melodies that I think may inspire listeners to sway their bodies, swing their arms, and praise God. (I am thinking of putting up a few videos of my guitar instrumentals, just to inspire potential guitarists.)

Beloved son or daughter of God, our Father wants to bestow all the blessings that he as an Omnipotent God can bestow on you. Hand over your life to him wholly, for him to do with it as he wills, to keep it or take it away.


That was what God had been waiting to know, I realized later. Waiting to know if I was trusting him even when he was refusing to deliver me.


My name is Joseph. Joseph means ‘ God adds, or increases’. There is no limit to the increase God gives to the one who asks and perseveres in faith. I am not putting a limit to what I ask God. I ask him for nothing more than his omnipotence can provide, but I ask him nothing less than his omnipotence can give. But I know that no matter how great and how large my request bag is, it still does not come up to the measure our Father wants to give me:

‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us’   Eph 3:20

Perhaps the most practical way to understand what true faith is, is to replace the word ‘faith’ with ‘faithfulness’ every time you begin to be unsure if you have faith. If you are ready to be faithful to God even to the point of death, faith will automatically be there. This is the true faith, this is the very foundation of every blessing in your life.

‘The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.’   Heb 11:1-2 The Message

If Jesus is your Lord, then don’t limit your asking him in faith. Don’t give up, never give up, if what you are asking for is promised in his Word, even if that promise is generic, and not specific to your case. Absolutely ALL your desires, all that you can ever ask of him fit into his promises in the 10 verses I quoted in this message.

Search the Scriptures, and you will find many other promises, and many specific ones too. Claim them all. But always in faith, always in full submission to his will, not your will. Whatever you ask should glorify God in some way or other.

May God, the Giver of every good gift, grant your every desire beyond measure, beyond your present ability to conceive the magnitude of what you are going to receive.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

Warning for Christians: The Devil Inserted This Verse In The Bible!

A depiction of the Holy Trinity. Note that the iconography of ‘triplets’ may not be accepted by all modern Christian groups. The Holy Trinity is more usually depicted with God the Father as an elder, God the Son as Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit as a divine Dove, as in the other image on this page. The persons of the trinity are identified by symbols on their chests: The Son has a lamb, the Father an Eye of Providence, and the Spirit a dove. Artist: Fridolin Leiber (1853–1912).

 

I believe in One God who is able to exist as different Persons. I believe in God the Father, in God the Son, and in God the Holy Spirit. Yes, I believe the Holy Spirit is God as another Person. But I also believe that the devil wants all Bible believers to believe in the Trinity.

The Trinity concept of One-God-In-Three, or Three-Persons-In-One-God, or whatever, is defined as: The One God existing as Three Persons – The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit. These three, according to the Trinity concept, are separate persons and function separately. Now this concept is nowhere, absolutely nowhere given in the Bible. And I mean in the original Bible as given in the Hebrew and Greek languages. I will give a gift of one thousand dollars (I will make that one million dollars on the day I can truthfully afford to do so) if anyone can show me one verse in the Bible that says that God is a Trinity and that the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit are One. I hope nobody naively points out to me 1 John 5:7.

‘For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.’

This one verse was inserted by some copyist after 100 AD, after the era of the Apostles and at the beginning of the era of the Catholic church. There is no evidence of this reading in any Greek manuscript until the 1500s. If you wish to go deep into the origin of this spurious verse, here is an excellent link:  http://bible.org/article/textual-problem-1-john-57-8

The translators of Bible versions such as New International Version, New American Standard Bible, and many other translations are firm believers in the Three-Persons-In-One-God idea, and have written several articles and books affirming the Trinity, but they have not included 1 John 5:7 in any of their translations.

The King James version is the most influential of all Bible translations made, and this one verse has done more harm to Christians’ concept of the Godhead than any other passage in Scripture. Because of this verse, which is the devil’s attempt to popularize the Trinity concept, hundreds of millions of God’s people with two eyes have a three-lens trinocular view of God, when God made man to have only a binocular vision of him.

Look at the image above of the concept of Three Persons that are God. They look alike, act alike, are God persons alike but somehow the triplets are still One God. Perhaps the triplets concept as visualized in the image given here may not be accepted by all modern Christian groups; for them the image would be more accurate if the Father was on the right side and the Son on the left and a dove depicted somewhere above or below between them. But the dove is God for them just as the Father and the Son are God for them, and they have at least one scriptural sanction for this belief – when the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended on Jesus at his baptism.

Let me state emphatically that in none of Paul’s salutatory and farewell greetings to the churches, does he mention the Holy Spirit when he mentions the Father and Jesus.

‘Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’   Ep 6:24

‘To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’   2 Thes 1:1-2

‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’   Rom 1:7; I Cor 1:5; Gal 1:3; etc

‘Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.’   1 Thes 3:11

However, when Paul talks about our communion, or fellowship with God, he specifically names the Holy Spirit.

‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion [margin: ‘fellowship’] of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.’   2 Cor 13:14

‘Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy’   Phil 2:1

Our communion, or fellowship, says Paul, is with the Holy Spirit. What does that mean, it simply means our fellowship is with the Father and the Son who is present in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

Now look at what John says:

‘Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son’   2 John:9

How Trinitarians must have wished John had included the Holy Spirit in this verse about God abiding in a person!

‘that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.’   1 John 1:3

‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make our home with him.’   John 14:23

Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit once alongside the Father and the Son, but only in the context of a believer’s baptism.

‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’   Mat 28:19

When we are baptized we receive the Holy Spirit; but with the Holy Spirit we also receive the Father and the Son. You will understand what this means as you read on.

Now, here’s something to ponder: Have you read a verse such as this?

‘In the beginning was the Word and the Spirit, and they were with God, and they were God.’

The copyist who inserted the false verse of 1 John 5:7 may have wished with all his heart that God had inspired 1 John 5:8 to be worded in the manner I wrote above so nobody would ever doubt the Trinity concept. But for some reason, he didn’t dare change John 1:1, and decided only to add a few clarifying words to 1 John 5:8 which he thought God hadn’t made plain enough for the lay reader. (He either didnt know about, or thought he could be exempted from, the curse in Revelation 22:18-19 on those who add or omit anything from the original inspired Word of God.)

Fresco of the Holy Trinity, 1738-9, St. Gaudenzio Church at Ivrea, Turin. Artist: Luca Rossetti da Orta.

The Holy Spirit is God with us. To put it even more plainly, the Holy Spirit is God the Father and God the Son who dwells (singular verb) with us. See this interesting usage:

‘Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; From the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord God and His Spirit have sent Me.’   Is 48:16

The Trinity-believing translators of the New King James Version have used the plural auxiliary verb ‘have’ for the subject ‘the Lord God and His Spirit’. But they acknowledge in the margin of this version, ‘’Hebrew verb is singular’. Now if the original Hebrew uses a singular verb how did these translators – Godfearing men, obviously – dare use a plural? Because the devil has so greatly impressed upon their minds that the Holy Spirit is a separate Person in the Godhead. Many other translations, including the King James Version, faithfully renders the phrase with the singular verb.

There is even a name for the God who dwells with us – Immanuel.

‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.’   Is 7:14

Immanuel means – ‘God With Us’ – and God with us is the Holy Spirit. But it is also the name of Christ, because the Holy Spirit is actually Christ living in us, and through Christ, the Father also lives in us.

‘that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us [Holy Spirit, Immanuel]…that they may be one just as We [Father and Christ] are one: I in them, and You in Me’   John 17:21-23

That is the Bible definition of the Holy Spirit: ‘I in them, and You in Me’.

We may even say that Immanuel is another of the names of the Holy Spirit, in addition to his other names, Helper, Teacher, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:26; John 14:17). But the Helper, Teacher, Truth, are also Jesus himself or the Father (Hebrews 13:6; Matthew 23:10; John 14:6).

Prior to Christ’s birth, the One God always existed as two Persons – ‘The Father’ and ‘The Word’, and after Christ’s birth as ‘The Father and ‘The Son’, and finally after man is born into the God family, as ‘The Father and The Son and Immanuel’. That is God’s and man’s ultimate destiny: both the Father and the Son living with, and in, each of his saved children in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

There is no separate third Person in the Godhead. But the Father and the Son can live as a third Person in man. If you want to call that Trinity, you may. But it is not exactly the same Trinity that Trinitarians believe in today. The Three-Persons-In-One-God belief of Catholics, Orthodox, Episcopal and many other Christian denominations is very similar to the Trinity belief of Hindus and other religions.

The Holy Spirit is not seated on the left hand of the Father, or on the right hand of Christ (as depicted in the image). It is only the Son who is seated with the Father. And it is the man or woman with the Holy Spirit who is seated with Christ on the right hand of the Father.

‘but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.’   Mat 20:23

‘So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.’   Mark 16:19

Let me conclude: The Holy Spirit is both the Father and the Son in another Person, or, in the case when the Son became man, the Holy Spirit was just the Father alone in another Person, symbolized by a dove. The Holy Spirit cannot exist or function by himself as third Person, as the Son can exist and interact as a separate Person with the Father. The Son or the Father has to become the Holy Spirit for him to be able to exist separately.

Jesus could not send the Holy Spirit down to earth, because he was not ascended to heaven yet. He had to go up, and then come down again in the Person of the Holy Spirit.

‘But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.’   John 7:39

‘Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you…A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.’   John 16:7,16

One final thought: We pray to the Father, and we can pray to the Son sometimes (Acts 7:59-60), but nowhere in the Bible does God encourage us to pray to the Holy Spirit or to have a personal relationship with him as we have with the Father and the Son. We are called to know the Father and the Son, not the Holy Spirit. When we seek the Father and the Son, we will know the Holy Spirit. There is no need for servants of God, such as Benny Hinn, to take extra pains to worship the Holy Spirit separately.

‘And this is eternal life, that they may know You, they only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.’   John 17:3

God bless your understanding of his Godhead that you may continue to grow in the fascination of the awesome nature of our Creator and Savior.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Churches’ Hellish Teaching About Hell

 

Some years ago, during my morning walk, my thoughts were about the various religions of the world. Each religion has its own theme. There is a religion of fear, a religion of sex (phallic worship), a religion of legalism, a religion of hedonism, and even a religion of ultimate personal extinction, or nirvana. But what about the Christian religion? It is supposed to be a religion of love. But underlying that love is a terrifying fear in most Christians, and by ‘most’ I mean the members of the churches that believe in an eternal hell fire for the incorrigible wicked. And such churches are the vast majority in Christianity. These churches with its blazing beliefs in the afterlife has fear as one of its main components for drawing and keeping its followers – the fear of being eternally scorched alive in unquenchable flames if they dont accept salvation on the terms of the church.

As I pondered these thoughts during my walk, I saw a booklet lying in the dust of the road. The title, coincidentally, was: ‘What Does the Bible Say About Hell?’ The booklet was published by Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Here are a two passages from that book on the subject of hell:

‘While the Bible says that most people are headed for the lake of fire, many of them don’t look as though they deserve a fire reserved for the devil and his angels. Evil men like Stalin or Hitler or serial killers might seem to qualify, but not the rank-and-file of people who seem to live basically decent lives. Yet from the Bible’s point of view, such evaluations are extremely misleading and even deceptive. The Bible shows us that the fires and blackness of hell will make eternal statements about (1) the true wickedness of public enemies and (2) the true wickedness of good people.’

‘Bertrand Russell said he decided to become an atheist when he read the words of Jesus about hell…He knew that it doesn’t make sense to say you believe in Christ while rejecting what He and His book say about an eternal “lake of fire” ’.

So is poor Bertrand, for whom I have a lot of respect for the profundity of his thoughts and the blunt honesty of his writings, going to be cast headlong into the lake of fire because he rejected belief in a God that would do such thing as roast alive people who did not believe in his Son?

The subject of hell is among the most vital for the understanding, peace and joy of God’s people in every church. And because it is so vital, Satan has taken extra efforts to ensure that this subject is among the most misunderstood ones among God’s servants in all the ages, including in our generation.

Hell, as taught by most Christian churches (except for some ‘heretical cults’ – see later in this message), is one great, if not the greatest, reason people become atheists or skeptics. For no sensible person can reconcile a loving merciful God, as seen in the person of Christ, with a God who burns his incorrigible children over and over again in hellfire, not for a few years, but for ever and ever and ever without end. That is the official teaching of the traditional Christian churches, especially the Catholic church. That is of course, the official teaching of some other religions, too.

Listen to what one prominent member of a Christian denomination says about the subject of hell:

‘It was my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. I was standing before The Last Judgment, a painting by the 15th-century Dutch artist Jan van Eyck.

On the floor, directly in front of the painting, lay a sheet of paper bearing a few hastily written words. An earlier visitor had placed it there, and it had not yet been removed by museum personnel.

The words, large and in quotes, were intended as an alternate title for the painting. They were chilling in their impact: “The Case Against Christianity”.

They stopped me cold.

What had prompted the visitor to level such a charge?

I took a closer look at the painting. At the top of the canvas, in heaven, sits an impassive Jesus, surrounded by a host of angels and an adoring multitude of the saved. At the bottom, in hell, is a writhing mass of the damned, suffering brutal torture at the hands of hideous demons.

The contrast between the rather prim majesty of heaven and the harrowing nightmare of hell is striking. And – as the note-writing visitor had intended – it poignantly frames an age-old question:

How can the concept of eternal suffering in hell be reconciled with a God of mercy and love?

For many, this is indeed a case against Christianity. They want nothing to do with a Christian God who could sit back and watch his children roast for eternity in a subterranean chamber of horrors. A deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness, they feel, could not be the true God.’*   ‘The Battle Over Hell’ By Keith Stump. Copyright Plain Truth Ministries, 2001. Keith Stump is an author, script writer, historian and archaeologist.

This writer’s church takes a neutral doctrinal position on hell, which means that they are not overly resistant to the idea of sinners being condemned to burn eternally in hell.

However, most mainstream churches have a clearer position. The book ‘Christian Beliefs – Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know’, published by Zondervan, states the following about one of the core beliefs of Christianity:

‘At the final judgment, those who have rejected the claims of Jesus will go to a place of eternal punishment. That place of eternal punishment, the Bible tells us, is hell.

The Bible’s descriptions of hell are difficult to read, and they should be deeply disturbing to us. Jesus speaks of hell as “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” and he says that those who have rejected him will also go there (Matt. 25:41). It is a place where the “worm does not die and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). It is a “place of torment” (Luke 16:28). John tells us it is a place where those who rejected Jesus will, along with the devil and his angels, “drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger” and “be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:10). The “smoke of their torment” will go on “forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” (Rev. 14:11).’

At the end of the chapter on this subject of hell, there are ‘Questions for Review and Application’. Among the questions are, ‘What does the Bible tell us about hell? How does your understanding of hell make you feel? Why does it make you feel that way?’

Let me give you my own answers to those three questions, assuming I believed the churches’ teaching about hell, as outlined in this book.

Answer to the first part of the question: If that’s what the Bible tells me about hell, I don’t want to ever keep the Bible a single day longer in my house, but cast it into the furnace. Instead I would go and purchase a copy of Richard Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ and read a passage from it as my daily devotional.

Next answer: It makes me feel horrified, terrified, and repulsed by such ‘God’ as much as I am by the Devil.

For the last answer, I repeat a part of the first quote I gave above: ‘How can the concept of eternal suffering in hell be reconciled with a God of mercy and love? For many, this is indeed a case against Christianity. They want nothing to do with a Christian God who could sit back and watch his children roast for eternity in a subterranean chamber of horrors. A deity of such cruelty and vindictiveness, they feel, could not be the true God.’

But praise be to my Great God, that my beliefs about him are as different from some of the teachings of mainstream Christianity as God is different from Satan.

Incidentally, it is the subject of hell and the eternal burning of sinners in it that God used as the channel to bring me back to his Son, after I had decided to disbelieve in Christ and had thrown all my decades-old collection of Bibles and Christian literature into the garbage bin. I have told the story of my re-conversion to Christianity elsewhere in some other message, but it is very relevant in this message too.

In 1999, after I cast away all that I had been taught from childhood about God and Christ, I began my search from scratch to find the true God and his revelation to man. Finally, I was able to shortlist my findings to two sources that claimed to be the Word of God. They both had many similar teachings, and I couldn’t discern which was the true one and which was the counterfeit, or if both were counterfeits. I knew both could not be equally true, for in many of their core teachings, they contradicted each other.

In my utter confusion, I knelt down at my living room couch with the two books before me. I placed my right hand on one and my left on the other, and lifting my face up to heaven, I cried out, ‘O God, whoever you are, if one of these is your Word, show me which one, that I may seek you and know you through your revelation in it.’

Never in my life was I so confused, never before did I need an answer like I needed then. For if there was no God to answer me and show me what he wanted of me, I knew my life, already having reached rock bottom, could go no further down. I needed a way out, and if that meant embracing a new religion and denouncing my old one, I would surely do it, I determined. This appeal to whoever called himself God was my last attempt to keep my spiritual sanity.

Immediately after the prayer, I opened one book. I read the first passage I saw. I gained nothing new, but only what I had been reading all my life till a few months earlier when I threw away my religion. Then I opened the second book, and the passage was about hell and hellfire and what God does to sinners even while he is burning them alive in the flames (he gives them ‘new skin’, so they could feel the pain all over again, and this cycle continues forever), and immediately an absolute conviction filled my heart about which book was not the Word of God.

I began a slow restudy of the other book, and over the years I learned that the ‘God’ of this book too put sinners in hellfire and burnt them alive in it. But I also came to understand that the hell believed in by Catholics, by Protestants, and by Christians in most mainstream denominations, except for perhaps a dozen or so relatively smaller sects – usually considered as cults by mainstream Christianity – is very, very similar to what the counterfeit book terrorizes sinners with.

Here is a what Catholics and most in mainstream Christianity believe. Please read all the quoted passages, for you, if you are new to this subject, will get a clear understanding of what many churches teach about hell.

‘The Hell There Is!

The doctrine of hell is so frightening that numerous heretical sects end up denying the reality of an eternal hell. The Unitarian-Universalists, the Seventh-day Adventists, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Christadelphians, the Christian Scientists, the Religious Scientists, the New Agers, and the Mormons – all have rejected or modified the doctrine of hell so radically that it is no longer a serious threat. In recent decades, this decay has even invaded mainstream Evangelicalism, and a number of major Evangelical figures have advocated the view that there is no eternal hell – the wicked will simply be annihilated.

But the eternal nature of hell is stressed in the New Testament. For example, in Mark 9:47-48 Jesus warns us, “It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” And in Revelation 14:11, we read: “And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, ‘eternal fire.’ (CCC 1035).

In his 1994 book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II wrote that too often “preachers, catechists, teachers . . . no longer have the courage to preach the threat of hell” (p. 183)…

The early Church Fathers were also absolutely firm on the reality of an eternal hell, as the following quotes show…

Second Clement
‘But when they see how those who have sinned and who have denied Jesus by their words or by their deeds are punished with terrible torture in unquenchable fire…’ (Second Clement 17:7 [A.D. 150])

Justin Martyr
‘but the wicked, clothed in eternal sensibility, he will commit to the eternal fire, along with the evil demons’. (First Apology 52 [A.D. 151])

Athenagoras
‘or if we fall with the rest [of mankind], a worse one and in fire; for God has not made us as sheep or beasts of burden, a mere incidental work, that we should perish and be annihilated.’ (Plea for the Christians 31 [A.D. 177])

Hippolytus
‘while to the lovers of evil shall be given eternal punishment. The unquenchable and unending fire awaits these latter, and a certain fiery worm which does not die and which does not waste the body but continually bursts forth from the body with unceasing pain. No sleep will give them rest; no night will soothe them; no death will deliver them from punishment; no appeal of interceding friends will profit them.’ (Against the Greeks 3 [A.D. 212])

Minucius Felix
‘Nor is there either measure nor end to these torments. That clever fire burns the limbs and restores them, wears them away and yet sustains them, just as fiery thunderbolts strike bodies but do not consume them.’ (Octavius 34:12–5:3 [A.D. 226])

Cyprian of Carthage
‘An ever-burning Gehenna and the punishment of being devoured by living flames will consume the condemned; nor will there be any way in which the tormented can ever have respite or be at an end. Souls along with their bodies will be preserved for suffering in unlimited agonies.’ (To Demetrian 24 [A.D. 252])

Lactantius
‘The sacred writings inform us in what manner the wicked are to undergo punishment. For because they have committed sins in their bodies, they will again be clothed with flesh, that they may make atonement in their bodies; and yet it will not be that flesh with which God clothed man, like this our earthly body, but indestructible, and abiding forever, that it may be able to hold out against tortures and everlasting fire…The same divine fire, therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment…Thus, without any wasting of bodies, which regain their substance, it will only burn and affect them with a sense of pain.’ (Divine Institutes 7:21 [A.D. 307])

NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors. Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004. IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827 permission to publish this work is hereby granted.  Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004”   Source:catholic.com

What if you were given the responsibility in the Kingdom of God to deal with sinners in the city over which you have been crowned the king?(See Luke 19:17 which shows that you, if you remain faithful to God, will become the ruler of several cities when Christ comes) What, if some sinners, despite all the corrective punishments given to them, still reject God’s way and, would, if allowed to live, continue in that wicked way forever, causing great misery to themselves and to others? They have to be destroyed, for their own sakes and for the sake of the peace and safety of the righteous in your realm. And so, you ask the angels to bind them hand and foot and cast them into hades. As they are bound and about to be thrown into the furnace of fire, you can hear their wailing and gnashing of teeth – the remorse of the unrepentant wicked. You know they are not screaming in repentance, in which case, you would have shown them mercy. They have repeatedly proven they are incapable of repentance, and the moment they are released they would revert to their terrible ways. So the angels cast them into the pit. There are flames all around in the pit, and some of the bodies are not fully consumed yet, and maggots are feeding on the unburned portions of the flesh. Nothing can quench the flames; they are kept perpetually burning. The worms in there too never die but have a continual feasting on putrid flesh.

Now, any wicked body cast directly into the midst of the unquenchable flames would immediately be totally consumed. But apparently, in hell the flames do not shot up from the crevices everywhere at the same time, and if a portion of the unrepentant sinner’s body remains unconsumed by the flames, the maggots would make quick meal of it. But remember, all this while the wicked person is still conscious of everything going on around him, and suffers every bit of the pain as maggots gnaw into him.

So far, all this scene fits perfectly into what general Christianity teaches. And now for the climax of the hell act.

When the screaming of the wicked in hell finally dies out, because all his body has been consumed in the flames or eaten by worms…presto, God gives him a new body (new skin, according to another religion), so he can start feeling the excruciating pain of being burnt alive or eaten alive all over again.

Most Christians do not delve too deep into what their church teaches about hell. But what I am describing here about hell is likely the official view of your denomination, unless you are a member of a cult or one of those odd churches looked down by the heavyweights in Christendom. This is the published official statement of beliefs of most traditional churches. Even the worldwide church that I was a member of for nearly five decades – until they started taking a neutral stand on evolution as well – has a neutral view on the subject of hell. In other words, they do not firmly declare that such horrific burning of sinners in hell is a teaching of the devil, but state that it may be true gospel.

The Last Judgment by Jan Van Eyck, 1420-1425.

Now, continue to visualize yourself as the king over a certain future city in the realm of Christ. Imagine to your horror, that you find that one of your own children turns out to be an absolutely incorrigible sinner. Now, if such visualizing is impossible, as it is for me, imagine that somebody else is the king and he realizes it is his own wicked son that is being cast over the cliff into the fiery pit. The son falls with a thud on sheol ’s floor and is soon fully gone up in smoke or eaten alive. Just as his screams fade out, you hear him screaming again, this time with a fresh body. And this goes on, in the words of the venerated Christian fathers, forever and ever as long as God and Satan live.

In human affairs, there is a foundational justice called the Law of Reciprocity. This Law stipulates that the punishment should fit the crime. It is not legal, or moral, even in the conscience of secular humanity to punish a man who has knocked out one front tooth of his neighbor in a fisticuffs by extracting two of his front teeth. The principle of just reciprocity is the framework within which all nations make their laws of justice. This is the principle decreed even by God in the Old Testament.

‘If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him – fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him.’   Lev 24:19-20

‘Discussions of merit, desert, blame, and punishment inevitably involve questions about the fittingness and proportionality of our responses to others, and retributive theories of punishment put the norm of reciprocity at their center. The idea is to make the punishment fit the crime.’
Wikipedia.

The eternal – trillions and trillions of years without end – punishing of the wicked for about 70 or 80 years of sin on earth makes ‘God’ the greatest criminal in the universe in the sight of secular human beings – infinitely worse than the most wicked man who lived on this planet. By comparison, Stalin and Hitler, who killed millions only once – should be canonized and venerated.

Do you now understand why so many sensible people cannot believe in God? If my only option was to believe in such vindictive being as my savior, I would any day prefer to be eternally dead than forever alive in his kingdom. But the God who revealed himself to me has absolutely no semblance to the ‘God’ believed in by hellroast believers.

The Bible mentions another spirit who is acknowledged as ‘the god of this world’. Now this god would simply love to be given authority over the kind of hell believed in by Catholics, and most  Protestant and Evangelical churches. He would even thrill to increase the pain sensitivity level in hellfire by a factor of seven.

If you, as a ruler under Christ, with the authority to cast unrepentant people into hell, would never bear to see an incorrigible member of your family suffering in hellfire, how much more would God not be able to bear seeing people created in his own image and likeness suffering perpetual agony. How much more sensitive is God to his people’s feelings than even a mother is sensitive to her child’s feelings!

‘Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.’   Is 49:15

May the merciful God grant you – if you are one of those who till now have been terrified by the wrong teachings of your church – peace and joy through understanding how merciful our Father in heaven is…even to the incorrigible wicked.

Now what about all those verses in the Bible on which are based the hellish doctrines of the churches? Let’s take them one by one.

‘If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched – where ‘Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’   Mark 9:43-44

Jesus’ quote about the worm and fire is from Isaiah 66:24.

‘And they shall go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who have transgressed against Me. For their worm does not die, and their fire is not quenched. They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.’

The Greek word for ‘hell’ in the earlier quote is ‘Gehenna’.

The Hebrew word for ‘die’ is ‘mooth’. It means ‘to die’, but it equally means ‘put to death’, ‘cause to kill’. Nothing can cause the worm to be killed and to stop their work of consuming the flesh. (And worms normally feed on corpses, not live people, dont they?)

‘Quenched’ in Hebrew is ‘kaw-baw’, and it means ‘to extinguish’, ‘to put out’. Nothing can kaw-baw the flames while it is consuming the flesh.


 The subject of hell, as taught by most Christian churches is one great, if not the greatest, reason people become atheists or skeptics.


There is a deep and narrow ravine with steep, rocky sides located southwest of Jerusalem, called Hinnom. Gehenna is the Greek contraction of Hinnom (Ge Hinnom – land of Hinnom). It had been the place where the idolatrous Jews burned their children alive to Moloch and Baal. A particular part of the valley was called Tophet, or the ‘fire-stove’, where the children where burned. After the Exile, in order to show their abhorrence of the locality, the Jews made this valley the receptacle of the offal of the city, for the destruction of which a fire was kept constantly burning there. The Jews associated with this valley two ideas: that of the sufferings of the victims that had been sacrificed and that of filth and corruption. The word Gehenna – hell – thus came to signify to the Jews as the place the wicked is destined for.

After Christ begins his rule on earth, he will send his angels to gather the incorrigible wicked. The angels will bind them and throw them over the cliff into Gehenna, where they will instantly ‘perish’ – be annihilated (Mat 13:40-42; John 15:6). Part of their bodies not consumed by the flames will be eaten by worms. The decomposing bodies can be seen by the citizens of Jerusalem from the sides of the ravine.

“Month after month and week by week, everyone will come to worship me,” God says. “And then they’ll go out and look at what happened to those who rebelled against me. Corpses! Maggots endlessly eating away on them, an endless supply of fuel for fires. Everyone who sees what’s happened and smells the stench retches.”   Is 66:23-24 The Message

Nothing can put the fire and worms out of action, as long as incorrigibly wicked people continue to exist in Christ’s realm. But as his Kingdom expands over earth, there finally will be no more rebellious persons remaining and nothing more for the flames and the worms to feed on, and so these creatures of hell will cease to exist by themselves, not extinguished or destroyed by anyone. Eventually the ravine of Hinnom will be used by people to traverse from one part of Jerusalem to another. And as they walk they will be unknowingly trampling on the ashes of the wicked which remain in the area.

‘The whole valley [Hinnom] where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.’   Jer 31:40 NIV

‘ “But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this,” Says the Lord of hosts.’   Mal 4:2-3

When the Bible speaks of ‘eternal fire’, as in Jude 7, and referred to in The Catechism of the Catholic Church, mentioned earlier, it is actually taking of the eternal effect of the fire. How do we know this. Let’s read Jude 7:

‘as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.’

Sodom and Gomorrah are still not agonizing under the eternal fire. They are eternally destroyed from the face of the earth and serve as a perpetual example of the fate of the wicked.

Before I close there are three more aspects of the truth about hell that I want to show you from God’s Word, so your understanding of this subject can be more thorough.

First, in the quote from the Catholic passage above, the verse in Revelation 14:11 is used to support the doctrine of eternal burning in hell.

‘Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” ’   Rev 14:9-11

The torment with fire and brimstone refers to what the unrepentant wicked will suffer at the end of this age, when angels will pour out on them the final seven bowls of God’s wrath. One of the bowls contain torment with great heat.

‘Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give Him glory.’   Rev 16:8-9

Even throughout the terrible seven bowls of corrective punishment, there will be people who continue willfully in their wickedness. Their flesh at one point of the pouring of the plagues will become so scorched that smoke from it will ascend into the skies and out into space and remain there forever. It is not their torment that ascends forever – as respected theologians in Catholicism and Protestantism believe – but the effect of the torment on their bodies.

The smoke ascending from the wicked will be just like the smoke that will ascend forever when the Lord destroys Edom, the enemy of Zion.

‘For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; indeed it shall come down on Edom, and on the people of My curse, for judgment…For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever.’   Is 34:5,8-10 [Emphasis mine]

Close Up of The Last Judgment. Wikipedia caption: “A personification of death spreads its skeletal wings over the fallen and damned, a number of whom can be identified by their headdress as members of the clergy.”

The second aspect of the truth I want to show you is with reference to the following verses:

‘Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet…These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.’   Rev 19:20

‘The devil…was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.’   Rev 20:10

Ah, what clearer passage do the hellists want than this verse to vindicate all that they taught their congregations about being burnt over and over again throughout eternity.

If you are using a King James or New King James version of the Bible, you will note that the word ‘are’ is in italics, meaning that word is not in the original Greek, but was inserted by translators of His Majesty King James to make the passage clearer (according to their understanding, received from the Church of England, which too believes in eternal roasting of sinners, especially non-Anglicans). Here are some other translations of the same verse by men with much more translating skill:

‘And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.’   NIV

‘And the devil who had deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had already been thrown’   The Voice

It was the same place where beast and the false prophet ‘had already been thrown’ about a thousand years earlier!

But the verse says, ‘they will be tormented day and night forever and ever’, doesn’t it? Yes, in the English translation again. Not in the Greek. Here the King James Version, but not the New King James Version, translates this portion of the original Greek correctly, as do some other versions, such as the Geneva Bible:

‘And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’

The phrase ‘they will be tormented’ is translated from the Greek word ‘basanisthēsontai’. This same phrase is used in Revelation 9:5, where the King James Version has got it wrong, and the New American Standard Bible got it right this time.

‘And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that ‘they should be tormented’ [basanisthēsontai] five months’   KJV

’And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but ‘to torment’ [basanisthēsontai] for five months’   NASV

It is the devil who will be tormented day and night forever, not the two wicked men, who by then would be just ashes somewhere outside Jerusalem, and whose smoke would be floating somewhere in the cosmos.

And finally, the most popular of all the Bible verses quoted by the eternal flames proponents to validate their hellish teachings – the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

‘The rich man also died and was buried.  And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then 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 in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.’   Luke 16:22-25

Abraham is referring to the law of reciprocity, which is the basis of the law in the Old Testament. He was saying in effect, ‘In the earlier life, Lazarus suffered and you luxuriated. Now the roles are reversed. Fair and equitable justice.’

The former rich man doesn’t refute this justice, but if you will read the passage further, he just pleads for his brothers. He is not that wicked after all, for in the torment in hellfire his concern is more about his brothers than trying to change Abraham’s mind and save himself in the little time left before the flames consume him entirely.

The rich man is in Hades, which is a Greek word meaning ‘grave’, but translated ‘hell’ in some versions.

‘In the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the Old Testament into Greek), the Greek term ‘Hades’ is used to translate the Hebrew term ‘Sheol’ in, for example, Isaiah 38:18. This use refers the term hades to the abode of the dead in general, rather than the abode of the wicked…Thus too, in New Testament Greek, the Hebrew phrase ‘you will not abandon my soul to Sheol’ in Psalm 16:10 is quoted in Acts 2:27 as ‘you will not abandon my soul to Hades’…In all appearances but one, ‘Hades’ has little if any relation to afterlife rewards or punishments. The one exception is Luke’s parable of Lazarus and the rich man, in which the rich man finds himself, after death, in Hades…’   Wikipedia

In all other instances where the word Hades is used in the New Testament, it refers to the ‘grave’, except apparently in the case of the rich man and Lazarus. But, actually, in this case also, there is no need for Bible interpreters to give Hades an unauthorized new meaning. Here too it means what it means elsewhere: the grave.

The rich man awakes in the resurrection to judgment. The flames that he finds himself in could possibly be figurative – burning agony caused by mental torment, for he asks for a drop of water to parch his terrified throat, not for buckets to douse the flames around him. Even if it is a literal flame, it is not likely the flames of Gehenna, in the valley of Hinnom. When he wakes up in the resurrection, he finds a ‘world aflame’ (borrowing the title of a book about the end times by Billy Graham). The whole world is engulfed in war and destruction just preceding the Lord’s return. The resurrection happens just before Jesus descends from heaven, into the midst of history’s greatest conflagration on earth. While the righteous who will awake in this resurrection will be immediately whisked away by angels to a place of safety and be comforted for all that they suffered in the previous life, the wicked will be left in the same place. The ones who repent will be rescued and given their first chance to hear the Gospel of Christ. Those who reject it will be cast into Gehenna and destroyed with eternal destruction.

While we can never be sure what finally will befall the rich man, the very tone of the passage gives me hope that he may turn to the God of mercies and be redeemed from annihilation.

It is God’s greatest desire that not one of his children should perish, that is, be annihilated forever. That is why he sent his Son so that by believing in him, we can have eternal life. But the wicked who deliberately refuse to accept salvation will not be allowed to exist anymore – neither on earth nor in hell. They will eternally miss out on the wonderful life of the saved people in the Kingdom of God. While the righteous will be plucking fruits from the twelve trees lining the stream to Christ’s throne, the wicked will lie oblivious to all that’s going on in the universe. While the righteous will be ascending and descending on earth and other planets, the smoke of the wicked will be ascending further and further away from all habitation of the saints.

‘And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].’   Mat 10:28

‘Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.   Mat 13:40-43

‘If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.’   John 15:6

‘This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.’   John 3:16. The Message

 

Pappa Joseph

 

*This and other passages are reprinted here under the ‘Fair Use’ provision of the copyright law, section 107 of which permits such usage for nonprofit educational purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

 

 

If A Man Is Not Saved Before He Dies, Is He Lost Forever?

Temuan warriors from Kampong Asli Dengkil, Malaysia. Are people such as these, who may not even have heard the name of Jesus, going to burn in hell forever if they die unsaved? Photo courtesy: Tianyake – flickr.com

 

The basic answer to this theological question is already given briefly in my message ‘The Churches’ Hellish Teaching About Hell’. If you haven’t read it yet, please read that message after you have read this, for this message will complement what you understand there.

I have a question for those reading this message who have been believing till today that if a man is not saved before he dies God will cast him into hell to be roasted alive there forever and forever. That is what most Christian denominations officially believe is the fate of the incorrigible wicked. Now, my sincere question…because I truly cannot understand how anybody could allow such a terrifying concept in their mind…is, how can such a believer ever think of our Heavenly Father in that way!!??

They will be horrified with disbelief if thoughts came to them about their own physical father casting them alive into a burning pit. They would immediately cast such thoughts out of their minds. But they don’t have any problem having such thoughts about their Father in heaven, who is infinitely more compassionate and merciful than any human father can possibly be.

I don’t know if this story really happened, but I am absolutely sure similar stories have happened throughout the history of Christian evangelization. I read many years ago of a missionary in China, in the early years of the 20th century. A runner came to him with the urgent plea that a man was dying in his village, about five days journey away on foot, and about two days journey by horse or by T-Ford. The courier, who had converted to Christianity through this missionary, told him that a few days ago the old man had expressed a keen interest in knowing about Christ and had asked to be baptized before he died.

The old car carrying the missionary and his convert sputtered as fast as its aged engine can carry it in the direction of the dying man’s village. Just about a couple of hours to the destination, the radiator overheated and Ford’s amazing invention stalled. It took a half hour for the occupants to cool the engine, find some water, and get going again.

They finally arrived at the house of the old man…only to hear loud wailings and beatings of chests. The missionary was told that the man had kicked the spittoon bucket in his final spasm just ten minutes earlier.

After the funeral, the missionary got back on his car, his disappointment and sorrow very visible on his face. For a soul has been lost, and consigned to the eternal flames just because his engine conked at the most critical time.

What a narrow miss of salvation indeed. The old villager, who heard the name of Christ for the first time in his life only a week before he died, was sent to hell because a T-Ford overheated and stalled for about 30 minutes. (Another version of it is that the missionary had a flat tire, but whatever…)

If people think that our Father in heaven has been sending billions and billions of people in China, Mongolia, India and the Amazon Forest in the last couple of thousand years to burn in hell just because they never once got a chance even to hear the name of Jesus, then they have got the true God confused for the god that wants all people everywhere to believe the horrible tale of lost souls burning in Inferno.

What is the eternal fate of all the people in the various faiths who died without once hearing the Gospel of Christ?

Even a renowned theologian and evangelist friend of mine believed that lie, and once showed me a book written by John Bunyan, one of the most respected writers in Christianity, in which the author claims a vision from God of the afterlife. John Bunyan was a 17th century English preacher who spent 12 years in prison for his Christian faith and wrote over 40 books. His best known writing is Pilgrim’s Progress, one of the most famous books in history. One of his books, ‘Visions of Heaven and Hell’, is an account of how an angel was sent by the Lord to take John Bunyan on a tour of heaven and hell. This book has influenced many Christians over the centuries, including my theologian friend, reaffirming their belief in the traditional concept of hell.

I sensed in my spirit something awry about the authenticity of the vision. If John Bunyan indeed received a vision from God about hell, then what he wrote in his book contradicts what God’s Book says about hell. After some fervent online research, I found the answer.

I showed the theologian that authorities at the John Bunyan museum in UK, which has custody of the original manuscripts of Visions of Heaven and Hell, have officially declared this book to be a fraud – a work by someone else masquerading as John Bunyan a few centuries ago. (A few days after I had completed this message, I wanted to reconfirm the spuriousness of that book and wrote to the John Bunyan Museum & Library in Bedford, England. Here’s the reply:

“Many thanks for your enquiry. According to our records, ‘Visions of Heaven and Hell’ is considered a spurious work which has been wrongly attributed to John Bunyan. I hope this has been of help to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have any further questions. Sincerely, Jennifer Ayley, Librarian”)

Satan will go to any length to convince God’s people that this is the only day of salvation, and that if a person is not saved before he dies, he’s destined to spend eternity with worms and writhing souls in steaming ghoul soup inside a red cavern. This unthinkable fate of the unsaved is the very reason for the intense urgency in televangelists’ tone. That is the sole reason for the impassioned pleas and screams of pentecostals at revival meetings. God bless their souls, for they mean well.

The concept of hell as taught by most churches.

So is there no need for all the urgency and fervency of evangelists? Of course there is! But there is no need for the desperation in their voices. If they have a flat tire or something else that hinders them from reaching unsaved people with the Gospel in time, then they need not panic. God is more concerned than they are in saving a soul. In fact, he is concerned about even their every hair on their head. (Luke 21:18)

The people of Nineveh, Sodom, the Queen of Sheba, the old Chinese man whom the missionary couldnt reach in time, my ancestors who worshipped man-eating demonesses, and even Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein and their evil ilk, will hear the Gospel of Christ one day soon, just as you and me have heard it in this age.

In fact these sinners are going to rise from the dead when their Redeemer comes to save the whole world, and on understanding the Gospel for the first time, they will look around and see many people of our generation who had professed to be Christians, but who on rising from the graves, found that former heathens and harlots have entered the Kingdom of God while they are still waiting to exchange their grave clothes for white shining gowns.

‘The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it…The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it’   Mat 12:41-42

‘And you, Capernaum…for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.’   Mat 11:23,24

‘Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you.’   Mat 21:31

Assuredly, says Jesus to every Bible believer who thought that now is the only day salvation, that today is only ‘a’ day of salvation. ‘The’ day is coming, and it is coming for the whole world. Some script, whose beliefs got in his way while translating the Bible, faithfully chose to insert the wrong article in this verse:

‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’   2 Cor 6:2

‘the’ in the ‘the day of salvation’ is not in the original Greek, and it was left to the translator to insert the article of his choice. The King James Version, while overall the most reliable translation, has some of the most notoriously wrong verses too. The same verse in other translations read:

‘I have listened to thee in an accepted time, and I have helped thee in a day of salvation: behold, now [is the] well-accepted time; behold, now [the] day of salvation’    Darby Translation  (The words in brackets indicate they are not in the original manuscript.)

‘In an acceptable time I did hear thee, and in A day of salvation I did help thee, lo, now [is] A well-accepted time; lo, now, A day of salvation’   Young’s Literal Translation

‘In a time acceptable I heard you and in A day of salvation I helped you’   Orthodox Jewish Bible

Now is indeed ‘the’ day of salvation for those who have been called to Christ. But it is only a day for the rest of the world, for there is another day for them. And when that day comes, when all the people in all the nations will be saved, the whole world will praise God for his mercies and wonderful works.

‘God be merciful to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us, that Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!’   Ps 67:1-4

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

Are All The Old Testament Laws Abolished in the New Covenant?

Mount Sinai, also known as Mount Horeb, is a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt that is a possible location of the biblical Mount Sinai. Mount Sinai was the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

 

I had just finished my message to a group of alumni students at the school where, 15 years earlier, I had worked as a teacher. I exhorted them to keep The Ten Commandments, which was the main thrust of my message. As I sat down, another invitee got up to speak, and his whole message was on bluntly refuting what I had exhorted the students to do. He said The Ten Commandments was no more binding on Christians as it is part of the Old Covenant, and Christians are now under the New Covenant, in Mount Zion, not Mount Sinai. We are not under the Law, we are under Grace, he thundered to the hallful of students.

Now, this speaker was an old colleague of mine, a fervent Christian and fiery preacher, and pentecostal, of course. I was taken aback by his insensitiveness to a fellow speaker. I certainly wouldnt have minded in the least if he had only refuted me; in fact, that’s how many people who call themselves Christians respond to me with monotonous regularity. But it was the brusque and vehement way that he did it. It was almost like I had told the students that it was ok for them to go ahead and bow down to an image of Saint Patrick; I mean, it was like I had told them that it was ok for them to go ahead and embezzle some company money as the eighth of The Ten Commandments was no more binding on them.

But then again, my message was belittled by my Christian brother only because I encouraged the students to keep fervently this foundational Law given by God. You may be perplexed. I am more.

Many Christians think all the laws, with their ramifications in the statutes and precepts, in the Old Testament are done away with because we are not justified by law but by grace. Many others believe that nine of The Ten Commandments should be kept, except the Sabbath commandment. Not because God told them anywhere that they can break the fourth commandment or change it, but because Emperor Constantine at the Council of Nicea sanctioned the first day of the week, instead of the Biblical seventh day, as the official holy day of Christians.

According to the latter category of believers, even the nine commandments are not absolutely binding on them because all the laws of the Old Covenant were nailed to the cross when Christ hung there. Jesus kept the law for us, and so we don’t have to keep the old laws. This sums up the theology of mainstream Christianity.

As one of their denominations put it officially, ‘Grace means the “must” has been replaced from the law with a “may” ’. Isn’t that denomination actually saying, ‘You, as a Christian, need not keep The Ten Commandments, but you may keep it, if you wish’? Now, why should I bother to keep the extremely onerous seventh and eighth and the tenth commandments if I can enter through the pearly gates by just keeping the other seven less difficult ones? But again, why I should bother to keep any of them if I can still receive the crown of life purely on the basis of grace and not because of my keeping the law?

On the minorstream, we have churches that say that absolutely all the commandments given by Moses must be kept – even the one that says you should not enjoy lobster and oysters – and breaking a single one of them will disqualify a person from eternal life. I once belonged to this category of churches, and was such a fanatical keeper of the Bible laws, especially the Sabbath, that I couldn’t get a decent job anywhere because I wanted Saturday off so I could keep it holy. Even breaking the least of the commandments – such as by occasionally giving in to the overwhelming aroma of roast pork and swallowing a quick mouthful of the unclean meat – gave me terrifying thoughts that I might have disqualified to receive rulership of even a single city, let alone ten cities, when my Lord comes to reward his servants. God delivered me from the curse of legalism, and just as mercifully, he also delivered me from falling into the gracious pit at the other end of the Christian trench of beliefs.

So, are Christians bound to keep the laws given in the Old Testament? Should they keep every single one of them or only those they think would be helpful in their Christian walk?

Now, the apostle James says that if you want to keep God’s laws, either you keep them all, or don’t bother, because even if you break just one of them, the penalty is the same as breaking them all.

‘For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.’   Jm 2:10

A young man had the most pressing question in his life: how can he inherit eternity? He got his opportunity when he met Jesus.

‘Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “…You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’   Mk 10:17-19

And which commandments did Jesus mean by referring to a few of them? The Ten Commandments, obviously! Now, I hope no one is naive enough to say that Jesus did not mention the Sabbath, and so that’s not really important to gain eternal life. He did not mention about not coveting a neighbor’s donkey either. Nor did he say anything about not bowing down to a statue or having an additional god. The Lord just mentioned a few so the man can have no doubt which set of commandments he meant.

Jesus did not first say, ‘Believe in me, and you shall be saved’. You want eternal life? The very first thing Jesus asks you to do is start keeping The Ten Commandments. And what the Lord commanded, let no bishops’ council or emperor’s decree, nor your pastor’s convictions, put aside.

What about the subject of justification by faith and salvation by grace that fills the book of Romans and Galatians?

‘Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law…Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed…even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.’   Rm 3:19-28

Who are under the law now? Those who have not died to the law by the death of Christ on the cross. Those who have died with Christ in baptism and are risen with him to a new life are not under the law given through Moses but under grace. Their righteousness is from God, not from their efforts in keeping the law.

So because our righteousness is no more by keeping the law, but by our faith, does that mean there is no more law in force? Is it null and void for Christians?

‘Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.’   Rm 3:31

‘Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.’   Rm 7:12

Can a Christian sin? ‘Of course, not!’, every Christ follower would exclaim. Must a Christian keep the law? Here I don’t hear a unanimous answer, but the Bible answer is clear: ‘Of course, yes! A Christian must keep the law because he should not sin. For sin is the breaking of the law, transgressing against God’s commandments’.

‘Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.’   1 Jn 3:4 KJV

Sin is the breaking of The 10 Commandments! And no Christian who continues in sin can expect to inherit eternal life.

‘What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?…Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.’   Rm 6:1-2,12

The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in the city of Nicea (now Iznik, Bursa province, Turkey) by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325. Constantine I organized the Council along the lines of the Roman Senate and presided over it, but did not cast any official vote. This ecumenical council was the first effort to attain consensus in the Church through an assembly representing all of Christendom. Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Nicene Creed. With the creation of the creed, a precedent was established for subsequent local and regional councils of Bishops (Synods) to create statements of belief and canons of doctrinal orthodoxy—the intent being to define unity of beliefs for the whole of Christendom.

Now what about the doctrine that says we are not under the law but under grace. Does that not free us from the requirements of the law?

‘for you are not under law but under grace.’   Rm 6:14

So how shall we reconcile the two doctrines? We are not under the law, but under grace. But although we are not under the law, we cannot break the law, because if we break it we commit sin.

Here is the simple truth. ‘We are not under the law’ means the law has no more authority over us to put us to death as a penalty for breaking it. It is no more the law who decides how our lives should be regulated on earth, but Christ. As far as the law’s life and death power over us is concerned we are dead to it, and the new life we have is entirely lived under a new system – Christ living his life in us. And because he lives in us, it is he who enables us to keep all the requirements of the law without breaking the least point in it. It is no more we keeping the law, but Christ keeping the law for us.

If we try to build our righteousness by keeping the law, it becomes a curse to us. We will never be justified – made righteous – by the law. We can be righteous only by the sinless life of Christ living in us.

‘For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse…But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith”…Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us’   Gal 3:10-13

‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.’   Gal 2:20-21

Christ living in us means we are keeping the law on the God level, in the spirit of the law, nor in the letter of the law as required under the Old Covenant. We have been delivered from the physical requirements of the law, so that Christ can meet the spiritual requirements of the law in us.

‘But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.’   Rm 7:6

You want eternal life? The very FIRST thing Jesus asks you to do is start keeping the Law, summed up in the Ten Commandments.

Keeping God’s Law under the New Covenant is far more stringent and comprehensive than keeping it merely in the letter under the Old Covenant. Cutting off the foreskin is only a one-time pain for Godly men of yore, but cutting off the fatty part of the heart is excruciatingly painful, and is comparable to cutting off a hand or gouging out the right eye. No man can do it himself. But praise God, Christ can do it for us, and through Christ we can cut off every unhealthy part in our spiritual life, and the Holy Spirit will balm and calm our every pain of extirpating sin.

‘Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.’   Dt 10:16

‘If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you…And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you’   Mt 5:29-30

It all means one thing: Christians must keep all of The Ten Commandments according to the standards of Christ, in the supreme spirit level.

A bornagain child of God should not break any of God’s commandments, because he should not sin. But if he breaks any in his weakness, the law has no authority to penalize him, because the penalty was paid for in double by Christ. He is not under the law but under the grace of God, who will immediately forgive him for Christ’s sake.

Usually a faithful law-abiding Christian is not even aware that he is keeping all the laws of Christ. It is a subconscious way of life for him, as he is led by the Holy Spirit. But whether he is conscious of keeping the law or not, he is keeping all of The Ten Commandments every second of his life. Christ keeps it to the full in him. He just has to submit to his Savior who will do it all for him.

Let no man deceive you into thinking that any of God’s commandments, even the minor ones, are not binding on God’s people. If a person thinks he can break the least of the laws and enter the Kingdom, God will forgive him his ignorance and let him enter his Kingdom – only because the penalty for breaking that law has been paid by Christ. But his attitude of thinking that the least commandments – the minor statutes and little precepts – are not important will place his position in the Kingdom among the least of the saved people, not among the great ones.

‘Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called LEAST in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’   Mt 5:19

Precious child of God, love and keep every commandment in the Bible with all your heart, with all your might and with all your life. Next to your willingness to lay down your life for him, keeping all his commandments is the best way to show God that you love him to the utmost.

‘If you love Me, keep My commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’   Jn 14:15,21

Loving God’s Law – his wonderful commandments – with all of one’s heart is the most joyous experience in a man’s life. For by loving God’s Law, we are loving God.

‘Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies.’   Ps 119:97-98 NIV

‘For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’   1 Jn 5:3

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

Why temptations dont seem to go away

By understanding exactly how temptations work in your conscious and subconscious mind, you can deal with it more effectively and more quickly.

 

Some years ago, I sat down to counsel a middleaged man whom I have known since his boyhood.  I have personally witnessed his transformation over the past couple of decades, from a young profligate person whose vile life defied description, to someone so miraculously transformed by God’s grace that I have seldom seen anyone else with such great zeal and good works for his Savior.

He confessed to me that no matter how instantaneously he put certain vile temptations out his mind during his waking hours, when he was asleep filthy scenes ran riot in his dreams, and, overwhelming his desire to flee from the filthy scenes, he almost always found himself indulging in the sinful acts his subconscious mind conjured up. The lustful acts he was carrying out in his dreams were just as bad, and often worse than what he had indulged in during his licentious days before his conversion to the Christ life. All his supplications to God to enable him to be rid of these filthy dreams had been futile so far.

As a result he was in constant deep anguish at his impossibility to lead an equally clean life in his subconscious mind as in his conscious.

I asked him, ‘You put away vile thoughts instantly when they come to your thoughts when you are awake. What about the not-so-vile thoughts? Is there a wee little allowance in your mind for a few things in your daily life that you know in your heart are better to give up than to continue in them? Say, eating some food, or drinking some beverage?’

He pondered for a few seconds, and then replied, ‘As far as my conscience knows, the only things I give in to now and then is my yearning for chocolate and ice-cream.’

‘But you are diabetic, aren’t you?’

‘Yes, but I do not take them daily, just when the yearning comes now and then’.

‘But your doctor has advised you even against the occasional indulgence in sweet foods?’

‘Yea, but..’

‘Think, is there another one small yearning you give in to occasionally. Beer?’

I knew he loved beer, and was drinking it regularly though moderately. I have even sat down for beer sessions with him in those days when I too used to take this beverage in the weekends.

‘Oh, yea. You know I don’t take it excessively.’

‘But after drinking beer, how did you find your sleep that night?’

‘Actually, almost every time I have beer during the daytime, I tend to find the vile dreams are more profuse and more intense. I don’t understand why. When taking beer, I allow nothing vile I into my mind.’

‘I believe that. But alcohol had caused you some big troubles in the days before Christ found you, right?’

‘Yea, it was one of my greatest weaknesses, and that which caused me to commit several other sins.’

‘And probably many times after your conversion, you had wanted to stop taking it completely and have nothing to do with something that wrecked so much havoc in your earlier life?’

He was quiet for a while, and then spoke up.

‘Frankly, I made many attempts to stop drinking beer even in moderate quantity, because I saw its association with my filthy dreams. But I never thought it was a serious problem.’

‘No, the drinking in itself is not the problem. But your allowing it, even when you know you shouldnt is the problem. That spirit of moderate allowance in your conscious mind is the intimate little brother of the spirit of free indulgence of filth in your subconscious mind. When you are asleep it is this little brother that always opens the backdoor to your mind to his more wicked sibling, without your knowing it.’

‘But the filthy spirit apparently has another little brother too’, I continued. ‘So even if the beer spirit doesn’t open, the chocolate brother would.’

The man was smiling, but I saw his eyes were widening.

‘You think my drinking and eating chocolate is what is causing my helplessness at my filthy dreams?’

‘It is not your drinking beer and eating chocolates that are causing it. It is your lack of selfcontrol in these two areas. On the day your conscience allows you to take them without feeling the least guilty, you may. But until you exercise absolute selfcontrol in these two areas as well – and if there be anything else in your life you haven’t told me – the door to your subconscious mind will continue to be under the control of these little housekeeping elves of the devil.’

The man returned home with a new perspective of his ‘harmless’ little indulgences.

A lack of selfcontrol in one area of a person’s life is invariably connected to another larger lack of selfcontrol in another area in him. Sexual temptations are the half brother of belly temptations, or beer or gambling.

He who is selfcontrolled in the least is also selfcontrolled in the greatest. And he is not selfcontrolled in the least cannot be selfcontrolled in the greatest. This is a corollary truth of Christ’s statement,

‘He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.’   Luke 16:10

If temptations continue stalking you relentlessly, it is a sure sign that a red light is flashing from heaven in your life.

If you cannot find the answer in the direct temptation, look for it in another area of your life.

Perhaps there is someone you are unable to forgive totally, though you still love him or her, perhaps there is some longstanding offense against a person who had done you a wrong, even if you dont hate him or her, perhaps you occasionally let your eyes linger over a pornographic image for a few seconds instead of turning your eyes off it instantly, perhaps there is thought that you allow lodgment in your mind for a short while, which should not be entertained for even a fraction of a second in a Christian’s life – then that is where the cause lies for your inability to have permanent victory over a far greater area of weakness or temptation.

The way to remove the mountain of temptation in your life is to shovel away with God’s help the little mounds of tempting delights.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Final State of Maturity In A Christian’s Life

A Christian has reached the final state of his spiritual growth when he is able to keep Christ’s ‘command to persevere’.

Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.’   Rev 3:10

Persevere’ in Greek is the same word translated elsewhere as in the Bible as ‘endurance, constancy, enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting)’.

The final state in perseverance or endurance is reached after a person goes through many years of troubles, as in the case of most Christians, or zenithed through a single instance of ultimate testing, as in the case of people such as Abraham and Job, and other ancient servants of God who were tested at some point in their lives by an extreme trouble, and in the case of Christians today who, in unswerving faith, go through severe persecution or personal tragedy – people who are especially selected by God and equipped to fulfill a great and special purpose in Christ’s ministry after they have been tested and proven in the fiery furnaces of affliction.

If this seems a frightening aspect of the true Christian life, then always keep it uppermost in your mind that no believer will ever go through an extreme suffering unless God equips him or her for it, according to his precious promise in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

‘No temptation has come your way that is too hard for flesh and blood to bear. But God can be trusted not to allow you to suffer any temptation beyond your powers of endurance. He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it.’   JBP

Remember this sentence, especially the word ‘every’, in that verse whenever you think of any Christian’s adversity:

‘He will see to it that every temptation has a way out, so that it will be impossible for you to bear it.’

What greater assurance and comfort do we need to face any trial!

The Greek word for ‘temptation’ is ‘peirasmos’, which means ‘a putting to proof, discipline, by implication adversity’. So when God allows you to be tested, he is putting you to proof, to refine you, so you could come out of the furnace of adversity refined, mature, and steadfast.

This refining process is lifelong. Our entire life is comprised of small, medium and big trails, which are the crucibles of our growth in Christian maturity. The final point of absolute full maturity is reached only when a person finishes his life course and breathes his last.

But there is one particular point in the life of every child of God when he or she crosses the spiritual Jordan, whereby e proves to God that e is now a solid Christian, capable of patiently enduring any trial he or she is put through, capable of serving God in any capacity, a ‘strong-meat’ believer, no more needing the soft milk of a tender and immature child of God, as were some of Paul’s brethren.

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able.’ ‘But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age’.   1 Cor 3:1-2; Heb 5:14 KJV

Strong meat’ is the state when a Christian is able to accept and digest every spiritual solid food and every cup of strong drink God gives him for his growth.

Jesus asked James and John, ‘Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to him, ‘We are able” ’.

And Jesus did not doubt their conviction. ‘You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with’, he responded. (Mat 20:22-23)

When you are also able to drink the same cup of affliction that the disciples did, and be baptized with the same baptism that they went through – which means burying your selfcentered will in a watery grave and raising up to a new life to do only the will of God, whatever that involves – you reach the same state of spiritual maturity as ‘he who endures to the end’ (Mat 24:13). This is the point of growth that Christ desires for every follower of his to reach as soon as possible.

For some, this point is reached imperceptibly, and the person one day wakes up to realize that he or she has already reached this mature state of perseverance after many years of seemingly endless troubles. For many others, this final proving point to God is reached during the severest trial of their lives. This is the point that Abraham reached when he lifted his knife to sacrifice Isaac. This is the point that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego reached when they were cast into the furnace by Nebuchadnezzar. This is the point that many faithful Christians reach when they are faced with the prospect of choosing life and betraying God, or choosing to risk death or great trouble so they can be faithful to God, and they unhesitatingly choose to be faithful to God.

And to those who are ready to choose to be faithful to God at any cost, let me give you this assurance based on my personal experience:

When I came to the excruciatingly painful point that I knew I would be physically devastated or even die if I did not get immediate medical help (in a place, deep in the dungeons of Arabia, where, no matter how critical a person’s physical state, if it was the weekend, no doctor would be available), and the devil wanted me to give up trusting God anymore to deliver me, I forced my right hand, weakened by my affliction, to slowly raise itself up, and pointed my forefinger and middle finger in a victory sign to the devil in the sight of all the heavenly hosts. It was the climax of several weeks of extreme affliction. But that was the turning point. From that moment onward, the devil left me and my pain decreased almost immediately and I was soon able to smile and move around normally, and within a few days I was walking out of my prison cell, to lead a far more active Christian life than ever.

Once you have convinced the devil you would rather die than betray your Savior, he will flee from you terrified, and thereafter, any attacks on you would be from a safe distance and could never be as intense as the one which enabled you to cross the Jordan of your life.

‘Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.’   James 4:7 AMP

‘And do not [for a moment] be frightened or intimidated in anything by your opponents and adversaries, for such [constancy and fearlessness] will be a clear sign (proof and seal) to them of [their impending] destruction, but [a sure token and evidence] of your deliverance and salvation, and that from God.’   Phi 1:28 AMP

The final state_2

Israel’s troubles and challenges did not end soon after they crossed the Jordan, but they were nothing compared to what they had endured during the 40 year trek through the Sinai desert. Even so, once you reach the maturity point where you have proved to God you will be faithful to him at any cost in your life, all troubles that come to you after that are just finishing touches to your refinement process and seem, by comparison, mild.

There will come times, sometimes lasting a long time, when all the promises of God would seem unavailable, when God himself seems far away from your trouble, and all your cries for help seem to go no higher than the ceiling of your bedroom. You would cry, like David did,

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, And from the words of my groaning?   Ps 22:1

And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, except to ‘be still’ decide to endure and trust God to deliver you in his own time. (Ps 46:10)

These are times in a growing Christian’s life that he will have to endure from hour to hour and from day to day. He becomes an hourly and daily survivor with whatever strength and little reliefs he receives in his misery.

God will not allow a Christian to go through such an intense phase until he or she is ready for it, irrespective of whether the Christian emself feels ready for it. Almost always, the Christian would feel he or she is simply not able to cope with it, but find, on looking back after some months and years of endurance that e has somehow managed to survive through the fire e had initially thought he or she could never go through.

This, faithful follower of Christ, is the most difficult and painful, and ultimately the most rewarding of all Christian experiences. Even the great God in all his omnipotence could not find another way of refining us more perfectly than through severe troubles that require our patient endurance.

It is only when you reach this God-given ability to endure patiently to the end every trouble that you will also have reached the final state of spiritual maturity where there is no more need for your severe testing. You will also have reached the state where you are eligible to be spared from the terrible tribulation coming upon the whole world in the endtimes. I repeat Christ’s personal assurance:

‘Because you have kept my command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.’   Rev 3:10

You need not be tested with extreme troubles with the rest of unrepentant humanity. A time of unthinkable tribulation is coming soon upon the whole world ‘such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.’ (Mat 24:21)

To escape the coming tribulation, you have to keep Christ’s command to persevere through your troubles. You have to endure without complaining whatever God allows you to go through today.

But remember always: however severe your present trouble seems to be, however unsolvable your present situation seems to be, God promises you this:

‘I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears…This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.’   Ps 34:4,6

Thank God we have his promise we will come out of every trouble smiling and praising him ever more!


It is only when you reach this God-given ability to endure patiently to the end every trouble that you will also have reached the final state of spiritual maturity where there is no more need for your severe testing.


One vital final point of this message.

The state of patient endurance is reached not by your determination to grit your teeth and patiently endure every trouble that comes your way. When you do that, the pain of your troubles only increases. Just as a patient’s pain is increased when he braces himself and tenses his biceps as the doctor inserts an injection needle into his arm. The least painful state is to lie relaxed and untensed and let the physician perform his job without any effort on your own part to help him reduce your pain. This least painful state is attained not by your struggles and efforts, but only by your belief that whatever is happening now is God’s specific will for you and therefore you willingly and unresistingly accept the work of your heavenly Surgeon in every area of your daily life so he can quickly excise every offending and toxic quality in your spiritual body.

The longer you resist, the longer you will have to go through the cleansing process. It is your belief in God’s personal care of you, your confidence that he will not allow you to suffer beyond the capability he has already given you, and your willingness to submit to whatever he does in you that are the calming factors in all your afflictions.

’When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God – who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty – and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him.’   James 1:2-5 JBP

Just run to Christ in sincere desire and persevering prayer for him to help you carry the heavy crosses of your life. When you do that daily, you will soon reach the point where you will have crossed the Jordan and find an amazing change in the way the troubles affect you now: they are so endurable now, so light to bear!

‘Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’   Mat 11:28-30

‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]’   John 16:33 AMP

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

How UFOs Are Going to Severely Affect Most Christians

Huge UFO filmed Live over Portugal – June 2017.

 

Observant Bible believers have noticed the dramatic increase in supernatural events reported around the world. Sightings of UFOs by men in positions of government authority and abduction claims by many other people of credible reputation have been around for some decades. But in recent years the phenomenon of alien sightings has intensified to the extent that both the Catholic church and the US government have begun to admit not just the possibility but the probability of contact with aliens.

The greatest impact of the acknowledgement of UFO existence is on religion. And the major religions are coming to grips with the reality of alien life. The Vatican has officially stated its position on extraterrestrial life. According to one media report,

‘The Vatican has taken a leadership role in preparing mankind for the discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life…In essence the Pope is saying to the world, prepare yourself for the discovery of intelligent life in the universe’.   educatinghumanity.com

This official statement from the Vatican is the beginning of many other preparatory works by churches and governments to ready themselves for the intervention of alien beings in earth’s affairs.

In preparing for the visit of aliens, it is obvious that the church has also to endorse evolution. And that is precisely what the present pope has done.

In his address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 27, 2014, Pope Francis said,

‘Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve…He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and to arrive and their fullness of being…And so creation continued for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the creator who gives being to all things.’

This open declaration was welcome news for diehard evolutionists.

Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, welcomed Francis’ statement, saying he had buried the ‘pseudo theories’ of creationists.

‘The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.’   Religion News Service October 27, 2014

The magnitude of the Pope’s statement and its impact on the syche of the masses is so profound it radically changes the way billions of Catholics and other Christians think of God, creation and the Bible. And it all adds up to one purpose: to prepare mankind, especially Christians, for the intervention of, and subsequent submission to, extraterrestrial beings.

‘It is important not to underestimate the magnitude of the Pope’s statement since it supports radical ideas of intelligent design such as extraterrestrial intervention in human history may be part of ‘the plan of the creator’…The Vatican’s astrobiology conference is yet one more sign that major global institutions are preparing for some kind of formal disclosure concerning UFOs and, or, extraterrestrial life… Numerous independent sources have predicted such disclosure is imminent, and that the Obama administration is expected to play a prominent role.’   examiner.com

In preparing the world for the disclosure, the Vatican has joined hands with secular forces such as the United Nations. In February 2008, the Vatican’s permanent representative to the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore met with a number of prominent government officials at secret meetings held at the United Nations to discuss increased UFO sightings and the implications of extraterrestrial visitation. These closed-door discussions reportedly led to a new policy of openness being adopted by approximately 30 nations.

And when do these organizations expect their first contact with the aliens?

‘It is not hyperbolic to suggest that scientists could very well discover extraterrestrial intelligence within two decades’ time or less, given resources to conduct the search,” Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, said in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Two decades from now, as I write this, is 2034. This should be exciting news for Star Trek fans (I used to be one), for even in that farfetched sci-flick, the first contact with extraterrestrial beings was in 2063. So scientists are actually expecting the contact several decades head of the fictional date!

Why is the Vatican so earnest about contact with beings from other planets.

‘It is not surprising that the Vatican views preparation for discovery of intelligent alien life as an opportunity for gaining new recruits to the Christian faith.’   examiner.com

It is not just the Catholic church that is espousing alien life. Even Islam is not antipathetic to this idea. In an interview, Dr. Shabir Ally, President of the Islamic Information & Dawah Centre, Toronto, Canada, said.

‘We must allow for the possibility that they [intelligent extraterrestrials] do exist. The Quran actually is quite open to the possibility that many Earths do exist, because the first chapter of the Quran says: “Praise be to God, the Lord of the worlds”. In fact, it says here Al-Alamin which is “The Universes” in the plural…So there could be many other sorts of creatures out there…So the Quran does say that God has created human beings in the best of molds, but it doesn’t mean that only humans have been created in this best form. At one time people may have thought only human beings were as such, because everything else they knew were inferior to human beings. But now, we can see that there is a possibility that other such beings like ourselves exist in other parts of the universe.’   onislam.net

The only faction of Christianity – probably, mankind –  still resistant to the concept of intelligent beings other than man are those in evangelical Protestantism. But this can change soon. When the actual UFOs make their dramatic appearance over the skies in every nation and over every church steeple, rare indeed would be the individual – fervent evangelical or fiery pentecostal – who would continue to disbelieve in them.

US Coast Guard photograph of “flying saucers” over Salem in 1952. Source: Daily Telegraph.

Films as such as ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Independence Day’ have already done their part in syching millions into a subconscious acceptance of such events in real life. Imagine this scenario:

One fine morning, you wake up to a lot of commotion outside your house. You look through your window and you see a huge crowd of people staring at the sky. You rush out and see what  you never believed you would ever see in real life. Hovering high above the tallest buildings you see the base of a spacecraft a hundred meters in diameter. As the days pass, more and more alien sightings occur, and soon the first sightings of the alien beings appear on tv and then several of them come to your own neighborhood. The government issues directions for the public on how to respond to these visitors. Gradually, the whole world accepts the most astonishing event to happen on planet earth since creation – the appearance of beings from other planets.

A new world order would then begin to be put in place with the help of these alien beings. New government authorities would be supernaturally empowered by the aliens to rule with authority. A final world authority will arise with powers to institute global changes. Where the UN failed, the world ruler will succeed. Regional conflicts, wars, terrorism will come to a grinding halt. Mankind will be in awe and submit in totality to the world ruler. Helping to submit to the new power would be the churches and other religious institutions with their new breed of preachers and prophets. There will even arise a person in every religion who will claim to be the endtime ‘messiah’.

Only a very small fraction of people around the world will not submit to the world ruler because they have been alert to the Bible warnings of such events preceding the return of Christ. They are referred to as ‘the elect’. Even this small group of undeceived people are able to escape the delusions coming upon the whole world only because of God’s special protection over them; otherwise even the most ardent Bible believer would also be carried away by the extraterrestrial events.

‘For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.’   Mat 24:24

The very first global indication of extraterrestrial interest in human affairs was when the crop circles began to appear mysteriously in many countries. For an interesting insight into the phenomenon of crop circles, please see my message Crop Circles – The Biggest Supernatural Sign of Our Times‘.

Who really are these aliens who are making contact with us in increasing frequency? The Bible speaks of demonic forces that can appear as angels of light, or even as aliens from other planets.

‘For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.’   2 Cor 11: 13-14

Delusions by both ‘angels’ and ‘aliens’ will occur contemporaneously. The one will appeal to the traditional religionists, the other to the secular world. The outcome in each case is the same – submission to the coming world ruler whom the Bible calls the Beast.

Extraterrestrial and supernatural phenomena is occurring all over the world in such frequency and intensity that we can safely say that the present generation will witness awesome public interactions between man and alien beings.

And unless you are rooted in the Bible truths and daily praying for God’s protection over yourself and your loved ones, the day is coming soon that you will be swept away by the sooncoming tidal wave of supernatural and extraterrestrial events.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

 

Crop Circles – The Biggest Supernatural Sign of Our Times

A 780 ft (240 m) crop circle in the form of a double (six-sided triskelion) composed of 409 circles. This crop circle noticed on Milk Hill in Wiltshire (Southern England) on August 13, 2001 is hailed as the most awesome ever made.

 

Crop circles are literally the biggest supernatural phenomenon of the modern times – both in its physical dimensions and in its importance. For those who are new to this subject, I will first give a description of what crop circles are.

Crop circles are intricate patterns created by flattening of a crop such as wheat, maize, barley. They appear all over the world. A 2009 report gave the number of countries where this phenomenon exists at over 52, including Australia, China, Germany, Russia, Japan, USA, The Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Brazil, Romania, Hungary. Documented cases have substantially increased from the 1970s to current times and now number in the thousands. Formations usually appear overnight; local farmers wake up to find an entire field of wheat flattened. Some are reported to have appeared during the day, but there is not a single case of anyone witnessing how they are made, except when some hoaxers were creating one.

Many of the crop circles are hoaxes, produced by human pranksters, such as by dragging planks attached to ropes, but scientific authorities confirm that many others are of non-human origin. U.K. crop circle researcher Karen Alexander said,

‘There’s no doubt that some crop circles are made by people…But then there’s quite a large percentage for which origin is just unknown’, said Alexander, co-author of Crop Circles: Signs, Wonders, and Mysteries.   National Geographic News

ABC News reported the investigation of the phenomenon by Colin Andrews, an electrical engineer who has studied and written about crop circles for more than 20 years. His conclusion: ‘I am totally convinced that we are looking at some form of intelligence.’ He came to this conclusion after his ‘investigations showed there were some circles in which the plants where not damaged at all but compressed to the ground and continuing to grow’.

As noted by a London businessman, Michael Glickman, ‘[If the circles are made by pranksters] They are erudite in geometry and drawing and proportion. They are capable of invisibility because they’ve never been seen or caught. They are capable of floating above the ground, because they’ve never left a track. What is their motive please?’

M. Night Shyamalan, director of the movie, Signs, which is based on crop circles, said that if they’re hoaxes, ‘it’s an interesting thing that everybody in all these countries seems to express themselves in the same way’.

Crop circle, Waylands Smithy, Oxfordshire. July 8, 2006

Over the last three decades, the formations have evolved from simple, relatively small circles to huge designs with multiple circles, elaborate pictograms, and shapes that invoke complex non-linear mathematical principles. A formation that appeared overnight on August 13, 2001 at Milk Hill in Wiltshire contained 409 circles, covered about 12 acres (5 hectares), and was more than 800 feet (243 meters) across. The sheer size and complexity of this formation is staggering. It has been estimated that hoaxers would have had to make one circle every 30 seconds during the night time hours in order to create this design!

And the phenomenon shows no signs of abating. Hundreds of new crop formations continue to be discovered in designs of growing sophistication and size which leaves no doubt that there is an unexplained force at work. More than 10,000 have been documented since records began. According to some estimates, crop circles appear overnight in farmers’ fields every week somewhere around the world .

A crop circle in Switzerland. July 29, 2007

Crop Circles and More is a research organization and website established by Bert Janssen to try to solve the mystery of this phenomenon. Janssen has been attempting to solve them for nearly 20 years now, and this is how he feels about them:

‘From my way of looking at it, crop circles are the greatest mystery of modern times. These are images or voices of light in a world that is void of it.’   cropcirclesandmore.com

Not only for crop circle researchers and extraterrestrial believers, I believe that for Bible believers too it is literally the biggest supernatural sign on earth today that we are living in the ‘last days’, and that we are most probably the very generation that will witness the end of this age and the return of Christ. We cannot know the day and time, but I think, just like we know that when the fig tree puts out its sprouts summer should come not in another one or two years but in the very year that it sprouts, even so we can say that when the prophesied endtime signs begin to appear, we can know it is ‘very near’, and the very generation that sees this sign will also be the generation that will witness the return of Jesus Christ.


“If they’re hoaxes, it’s an interesting thing that everybody in all these countries seems to express themselves in the same way.”    Night Shyamalan


Now let me go on to make plain what these crop circles mean for you personally and what should be your attitude and response to them.

First of all, understand that the authentic crop circles are a sign from an unknown source. It is one of the sure signs that we are living in the end times.

‘Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?…And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven’   Mat 24:3,11

The signs are not from the ‘heaven’ where God’s throne is now, but from the ‘sky’, which is one of the three meanings of the original Greek word ouranos. It is the same word translated ‘air’ and ‘sky’ in the following verses:

‘And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” ’   Mat 8:20
‘He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’ ” ’   Mat 16:2

Crop circle, Savernake Forrest, Wiltshire. July 6, 2006

The other two meanings of ouranos are space or cosmos, where the planets are, and the heaven where God now dwells. The meaning depends on the context of the verse.

In this case, the signs have to be from sources in the sky or air, or in space because God cannot be the One forming the crop circles. And what are these sources in the sky or in space?

‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’   Eph 6:12

‘heavenly places’ is translated from epouranios, which means ‘above the sky’, and is a derivative of the word ouranos

A close study of the design of the crop circles clearly show them of similar pattern to ancient pagan religious symbols.

“The formations are universal symbols that have been used by various peoples throughout time… These geometric shapes are like hieroglyphs. The hieroglyphs and pictographs carved in stone on this planet are a similar generation of intelligence.”   phils.com.au

Crop circle, resembling a piece of jewelry. Chilbolton Radio Telescope, Hampshire, England. August 2000.

Most, perhaps, all, of these crop circles appear, not near churches or places of Godly fellowship, but close to ancient pagan worship or burial sites such as in Stonehenge and Avebury, Britain. Wiltshire – generally acknowledged as crop circle central – is littered with Stone Age monuments. They have also been found near mounds of earth and stones raised over a grave or graves. Many New Age groups incorporate crop circles into their belief systems.

‘Crop circles “like” ancient sites’, noted Karen Alexander, co-author of Crop Circles: Signs, Wonders, and Mysteries.

Crop circle patterns have a striking similarity to many pagan symbols such as found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and in Eastern religions today. Interestingly, crop circles appear in countries where there is a significant population of people believing, or susceptible to belief, in the occult sciences, including astrology. Their appearance is closely tied to the general psyche or culture of the people. The Wikipedia notes, ‘Circle crops are culture-dependent: they appear mostly in Western countries and Japan, but they don’t appear at all in Muslim countries’.

Why not the Muslim countries? Because Satan knows that the Muslims are forbidden to believe in anything that strays from their belief in Allah and what the Koran teaches. It is an absolute waste of time for Satan to try to convince a nation of daily-five-times praying citizens to take an interest in aliens and their messages.

But what about Britain and the other ‘Christian’ countries, where crop circles appear in the largest numbers? Don’t these nations have the Bible and believe in the Great God? Here is God’s own testimony about the people who officially are known as Christians:

‘Surely [Lord] You have rejected and forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled [with customs] from the east and with soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; also they strike hands and make pledges and agreements with the children of aliens.’   Is 2:6 AMP

The House of Jacob refers to the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel, who are now found mainly in the English-speaking countries and in some parts of Europe. More about their identities in other messages in this website.

The so-called Christian nations as a whole are as pagan in their attitude and culture as those in the Eastern religions. Only a small minority of people who call themselves Christian are truly Christians in God’s sight.

Crop circles are part of a great conspiracy by Satan to deceive the whole world by diverting people’s attention from the endtime events prophesied in the Bible to events that reinforce belief in ufos and aliens. The crop circles are actually coded messages from the demonic world, masquerading as contact attempts by aliens. At least one message has been decoded by researchers but what it refers to is not clear to the researchers yet. One of the communications from the unknown source is known as the ‘Arecibo Message Reply’.

The Arecibo Message that was sent in 1974 from the Arecibo Observatory.

The Arecibo Message Reply is perceived by researchers as a reply from an extraterrestrial intelligence in response to astronomers (including Carl Sagan) at Cornell University sending a short communication, named Arecibo Message, into space on November 16, 1974. The Arecibo Message was a binary coded sketch that had a basic information about human beings and earth. It was sent out from the Arecibo Station in Puerto Rico, so thus its name.

Then, 27 years later, on August 14, 2001 – one day after the awesome Wiltshire crop circle appeared – a crop formation appeared that had unique properties in its design. It notably appeared next to the UK’s largest astronomical station. This crop formation had a recognizable human-like face. Then, on August 17, 2001, three days later, another crop circle near it appeared overnight in farmland next to the Chilbolton radio telescope; home to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) in Hampshire, UK. Many believe it is a reply to the Arecibo Message, and thus has been called the Arecibo Message Reply. With this ‘reply’, many are claiming that this crop circle is the first ‘contact in a series of communication’ with extraterrestrials.

Almost an exact year later, another astounding crop circle appeared overnight that depicted an Alien holding up a sort of CD Disk. The Disk appeared to have a binary code configuration. Crop researchers used image analysis to convert the binary sequences into ASCII. What came out of the coding was a very comprehendible message of five sentences in English as follows:

‘Beware of the bearers of false gifts and their broken promises. Much pain but still time. There is good out there. We oppose deception. Conduit closing.’

The Arecibo Message Reply. 75 feet wide and 120 feet long. August 17, 2001

This is a significant message, for both alien-believers and Bible-believers. For people who are not familiar with Bible warnings about communications from another world, this message seems a benevolent warning to mankind. It seems to warn man of people who come preaching spiritual gifts and making date-specific prophecies that never come to pass. Who are these ‘bearers’. More than anyone else, I think of Christian preachers who have been prophesying, especially since the beginning of the 20th century, about the end of the world and the return of Christ. A quick search on the internet will show the numerous ‘broken’ prophecies of the past few decades.

I was once a member of a worldwide church led by man whose prophecies led many members to prepare earnestly for the ‘end’. At least one member stacked up canned food in his trailer to live through the prophesied global famine. It is only because of God’s mercies that I was delivered from accepting any more false gifts and broken promises, and was shown where to go for gifts and promises that never fail. May this message reveal to you yet one more aspect of how you can be prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ, the bearer of true gifts and eternal promises.

The alien messenger purports concern for mankind’s suffering, but offers hope that it is still not too late to save the world, and that if mankind puts in enough effort they can still find enough good in the world to deliver themselves out of their escalating global problems. And then the Arch-Deceiver, to deflect any doubts that this message is from him, delivers a psychological tactic to thwart suspicion about the intent of this communication. Since this messenger opposes deception, people therefore can naturally trust all such future communications from this source.

Then the messenger closes his communication conduit, and now the deceived people would eagerly await the opening of his next channel of communication to bring them further light on coming world events.

‘And it is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light’   2 Cor 11:14 AMP

The ‘face’ crop formation. Chilbolton Radio Telescope. August 14, 2001.

The thousands of crop circles which have appeared so far have each a message of its own, but right now the messenger is not ready to reveal them yet to mankind. So why bother forming unexplainable crop circles now, and not when the messages are ready for revelation? Because then there would not be time enough to reveal them all at one fell swoop. What is probably going to happen is, in the coming years, researchers would find a way to decode the patterns of the crop circle and record each message. The thousands of messages thus decoded and recorded will be then be made available to mankind so that their minds can be set to accept the Satanic deceptions in the endtimes.

‘The circles and shapes being put on Earth are all connected to one another, and if they were written out simultaneously on some farmer’s field, something would happen to them immediately. These shapes hold intelligence and are being set up to eventually connect and make an intelligent gridwork around the planet. This gridwork will have a frequency that humanity can use to evolve. The whole language is not on the planet at this time.’   phils.com.au

And what could be the essence of this extraterrestrial revelation?


‘From my way of looking at it, crop circles are the greatest mystery of modern times. These are images or voices of light in a world that is void of it.’   Bert Janssen, Crop Circles and More, a research organization


Just as Christ’s gospel is going out into all the world today through his true servants, an alternate gospel is being propagated by Satan’s servants with equal intensity in all the nations. Christ’s gospel includes a sequence of terrifying endtime events.

‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come…Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect…Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it…For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be…Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.’   Mat 24:14-29

Greater signs for both Bible believers and unbelievers are coming very soon. When believers see them, they will know that their Lord’s coming is imminent. But when the unbelievers see them, they will be convinced of the authenticity of all the messages they have been receiving through the crop circles and other media of alien communication. They will be prepped with these messages till the onset of the prophesied sights in the sky.

The messages will warn them of an invasion by alien enemies from outer space. And when the actual events preceding the coming of the Lord happen, the whole world will unify against the invading forces. Nations that have been warring against each other will now gather together at a place outside Jerusalem called the Valley of Megiddo, and there the battle called Armageddon will occur between Earth forces and the supposedly space invaders. Even Hollywood, with its films such as Independence Day and War of the Worlds, is playing an active part in syching people to respond as Satan wants them to at the coming of Christ.

You and your family need not be caught up in a false preparation for the endtime events as the rest of the world sees it. Your God has given ample warnings for his own people on what they must do now and when these events take place. Now what our Lord expects us to do is to be alert to world events, including all the signs, even those from the global Deceiver.

‘But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour[ your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’   Mat 24:36-44

‘Alien with Disk’. 400 feet longer than a football field. 2002.

All the paranoia in the world today about UFOs and alien abductions will find its culmination among the deceived people when the actual disappearance of people occur en masse in every nation. Two men…suddenly one disappears; two women…in a blink, one vanishes. Both abducted by aliens.

The alternative messages and awesome signs from the spirit world will be so convincing that even the people close to God and who are fully aware of his endtime prophecies could be deceived. However, God will provide his chosen people with supernatural discernment so that they will not be deceived.

‘For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.’   Mat 24:24,25

O People of God, watch and heed. Know your Bible and what God’s Word says about the events leading to the coming of our Savior. Be watchful daily and pray often and earnestly for your and your loved ones’ protection in these end times so you and your family will not be snared by the daily cares of this life but will be counted worthy to escape all these things which are going to come soon.

‘But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’   Luke 21:34-36

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Ominous Rise of the Far Right Nationalists in Germany

Nazis alongside members of the far-right reactionary and monarchist German National People’s Party (DNVP), in 1931 during the Nazi-DNVP alliance in the Harzburg Front.

The far-right politics refers to the social movement that ‘supports supremacy of certain individuals or groups deemed to be innately superior who are to be more valued than those deemed to be innately inferior’. The most extreme-right movements, such as the Nazis, have pursued oppression and genocide against groups of people on the basis of their alleged inferiority.

It was far-right politics in Germany that brought that nation to ignite the two World Wars.

Following the fall of Nazi Germany and the dissolution of the Nazi Party in 1945, the far right in Germany quickly reorganized itself. The Deutsche Rechtspartei was founded in 1946, succeeded by the Deutsche Reichspartei in 1950, and several other parties. The currently most successful movement is the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD). In the 2006 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state election, the NPD received 7.3 percent of the vote and thus achieved state representation there.

The German government tried to ban the National Democratic Party in 2003, using a clause in the constitution outlawing neo-Nazi parties. But the Constitutional Court refused to hear the case because the government had infiltrated the party with informants. Insisting it rejected violence, the NPD won 5 percent of the votes in Saxony’s state elections in 2009.

In 2011, the Verfassungsschutz (Federal German intelligence) reported a total of 25,000 right-wing extremists in Germany, including 5,600 neo-Nazis. The Verfassungsschutz says that both the number of neo-Nazis and the potential for violent acts have increased, especially among the growing number of Autonome Nationalisten (‘Independent Nationalists’) who gradually replace the declining number of Nazi Skinheads.

In 1980, a 27-year old German named Gundolf Koehler exploded a bomb at the Oktoberfest in Munich, killing himself and 12 others. Documents were found on Koehler’s body linking him to the paramilitary Defense Sport Group (Wehrsportgruppe) led by Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, who saw himself as the ‘spiritual descendant’ of Hitler.

German neo-Nazis attacked accommodations for refugees and migrant workers in several towns in the early 1990s. Neo-Nazis were involved in the murders of three Turkish girls in a 1992 arson attack in Mölln. A 1993 arson attack by far-right skinheads on the house of a Turkish family in Solingen resulted in the deaths of two women and three girls. In 2000, ten immigrants, most of them Jewish, were injured in a bomb attack in Dusseldorf.

Beginning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Neo-Nazis started holding demonstrations on the anniversary of the Bombing of Dresden in World War II. The 2009 march was organized by Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland, which is supported by the National Democratic Party of Germany. In 2011 neo-Nazis were linked to ten murders.

Neonazi rally in Munich on April 2, 2005

German law forbids the production of pro-Nazi materials, although they have been smuggled into the country. But some German neo-Nazis use early symbols of the Reichskriegsflagge (the official name of the war flag used by the German armed forces from 1867 to 1945) predating the introduction of the Nazi swastika, and therefore are legal in Germany.

Neo-Nazi rock bands such as Landser have been outlawed in Germany, yet bootleg copies of their albums printed in the United States and other countries are still sold in the country. German neo-Nazi websites mostly depend on internet servers in the US and Canada. They often use symbols that are reminiscent of the swastika, and adopt other symbols used by the Nazis, such as the sun cross, wolf’s hook and black sun.

CNN says of the growing far right movement: ‘For generations, politics in Europe has been defined in terms of class: the contest between left and right, socialists against conservatives or Christian Democrats. It is still the prevailing divide, but recent election results and the resurgence of far-right groups suggest the issue of identity is beginning to intrude.’

Does the Bible say anything about this movement. It does not mention the movement by name, but it vividly depicts the actions of this movement in the endtimes.

In a nutshell, the neo-Nazi party will soon emerge as the strongest party in Germany. Germany itself will lead a far-right union of ten European nations, which will sway world politics in its favor. An extreme-right ruler, whom the Bible calls the Beast, will then succeed where Hitler and Napoleon failed – attack America, Britain and their allied nations and lead them captive to other lands, as Assyria did to ancient Israel.

Keep watching the far-right movement in Germany, and Germany’s military rise on the world scene.

Watch also the rise of the far-right movement in Japan, which, as in Germany, is growing rapidly. Japan had allied with Germany against Britain in the last World War. Watch also the growing alliance between Germany and Japan.

The nationalist far-right group Ganbare Nippon stages a Senkaku Islands protest.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Third Temple Is About to Rise!

Preparations for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem have begun in earnest. This event is among the surest signs that Christ’s return is imminent…very imminent.

The following article contains opinions and quotes from various media and the literature of various groups who have been involved one way or another in plans for the rebuilding of the Temple. The author does not necessarily endorse nor condemn these statements; they are merely offered in the interest of giving a broad picture of the activities revolving round preparations for the construction of a Third Temple. 

The First Temple

There are three Temples in the lives of faithful Jews today. The First Temple, built by Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE – about 400 years after the Temple was constructed. Some seventy years later, approximately, Jewish exiles were allowed to return to Jerusalem to build an altar, the ‘Second’ Jewish temple, and finally the walls of the city. Although modest in comparison to the First Temple, the Second Temple was later greatly enlarged and expanded by Herod the Great. This latter temple was the Temple in which Jesus was dedicated, and where He taught and cast out the money changers on two occasions. The Second Temple was built on the site of the First Temple and was completed in 516 BCE. This Temple was also destroyed, this time during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

The Second Temple

The destruction of the two Temples took place about 656 years apart, but on the same day in the Hebrew calendar – 9th Av. These two events were so tragic in the history of the Jewish people that the ancient rabbis declared the anniversary of the Temples’ destruction a day of mourning and fasting. This anniversary is known as Tisha B’Av, (meaning ‘9th of Av’), which is observed to this day in Israel. But there is another tradition that Jews have been observing daily up to the present day. They pray three times a day for the restoration of the Temple. Which means, the Jews as a nation are eagerly awaiting the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

When I first received the news, about 12 years ago, that serious efforts were going on in Jerusalem to build the Third Temple, I was shocked. It seemed incredible news, that a certain pivotal prophecy in the Bible should begin to be fulfilled in my lifetime; for the building of the Third Temple is prophesied to occur just before the return of Christ. It was not the preparations for building the Temple itself that was the most incredible news to me, but the fact that this is probably the greatest of all signs that Jesus Christ is very probably coming in my generation, or surely in my children’s lifetime.

The New Testament contains one reference to a Third Temple in Jerusalem at the end of the present age.

‘for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.’   Thes 2:3-4

In the Old Testament, there are several references to a future Temple in Jerusalem. In Ezekiel chapters 40 to 47 is given a detailed description of the architecture and dimensions of this temple. The new temple, which measures about 875 feet square, is much too large to fit on the present Temple Mount site. Ezekiel’s temple is also very different in many details from the previous two temples.

A model of the Third Temple, based on the prophecy in Ezekiel.

Some Jewish and Christian scholars think that the coming Third Temple will be followed by a Fourth or ‘Millennial’ Temple, which will be built by the Messiah when he comes.

‘Only a small number of Orthodox Jewish believers in Israel today believe that the coming Third Temple will be built by the Jewish Messiah when he appears. Groups such as The Temple Institute believe it is incumbent upon them to make all possible preparations in advance – and to build the Third Temple when the freedom to do so is gained…whether or not the Messiah arrives before or after a Third Temple is erected.’   The Temple Of Ezekiel’ by Lambert Dolphin – ldolphin.org

Now, how far have the preparations been made? Almost everything is ready to take off, including the foundation stones! All that is required now is for the Israeli government to give the green signal. Even the cornerstones for the temple are hewn and kept ready. Here are some media reports about what’s going on with regard to such preparations:

‘In l982, after years of disagreement about methods of approach, three groups of devout Jews, The Jerusalem Temple Foundation, To the Mountain of the Lord and The Faithful of the Temple Mount combined their forces to plan for and build the Third Temple. More recently The Temple Institute has begun to build the sacred vessels to be used in the Third Temple.’   templemount.org

‘Next week Israel’s Ministry of Religious Affairs will sponsor a first-ever Conference of Temple Research to discuss whether contemporary Jews are obligated to rebuild the Temple. However, several small organizations in Jerusalem believe the question is settled. They are zealously making preparation for the new Temple…Two Talmudic schools located near the Western (Wailing) Wall are teaching nearly 200 students the elaborate details of Temple service. Other groups are researching the family lines of Jewish priests who alone may conduct sacrifices‘ Time for a New Temple?’   Time, Oct. 16, ‘89

‘Has a red heifer been born in Israel? Israeli television and Hebrew newspapers recently reported that a red heifer was born at a village in Kfar Chasidim. The heifer, currently a year and a half old, has been meticulously checked by the local Jewish religious authorities with a magnifying glass in order to see if she is completely red…Ultra-orthodox have accepted this animal as a possible candidate for being the red heifer…A red heifer must be three years old before it can be sacrificed. After another year and a half, the heifer will be rechecked… Orthodox Jews strongly believe the birth of this red heifer is another definite sign that points to the soon coming of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple.’   Southwest Radio Church letter May, 1997

‘One of the most exciting and very important finds was the recent discovery of a small golden bell that hung on the High Priest’s beautiful robe that he wore when he entered into the Holy of Holies inside the Holy Temple of the G-D of Israel…Together with the Golden Bell of the High Priest and other holy discoveries from the Temple that have been found, it is direct archaeological evidence of Jewish activity in the Holy Temple on the Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem during the Second Temple Era. [The discoveries are] considered another clear call and timely message from the G-D of Israel to His People Israel: “Build my Temple on My Holy Temple Mount in Jerusalem now with no delay!” ’   templemountfaithful.org

What does the Scripture say about the Third Temple, and does it say anything about yet another, a Fourth Temple?

The Bible says that when Christ comes, there would already be a temple existing in Jerusalem. And to this Third Temple he will make a sudden appearance.

“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple’   Mal 3:1

But prelude to Christ making his sudden appearance in the temple, the Beast (the coming ruler of the resurrected Roman Empire) will invade Jerusalem and place his ‘abomination of desolation’ in the holy place. He will place his pagan emblem in the temple, probably in the Holy of Holies, and stop Jews from offering their daily sacrifices..

‘And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.’   Dan 11:31
‘Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation’, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place’   Mat 24:15

The forces of the Beast will surround Jerusalem and make it a desolation.

‘But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.’   Mark 21:20

Great will be the suffering of the Jews once again at the hand of their enemies.

‘The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. And the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day,” says the Lord GOD—“Many dead bodies everywhere, they shall be thrown out in silence.” ‘   Amos 8:2-3

It is while this suffering in desolated Jerusalem is happening that the Messiah will make his sudden appearance to save his people. (Malachi 3:1)

A great and devastating earthquake accompanies Christ’s landing in Jerusalem. (Zachariah 14:4-5) Some Bible commentators think that this Third Temple will be destroyed by this earthquake or at the desolation of Jerusalem by the invading forces. But I have not found a single scripture that gives even a hint of the destruction of the Third Temple. It is my understanding of the prophesied endtime events that before the Beast could destroy the temple, as his predecessors did to the First and Second Temples, the Messiah will intervene and stop any further devastation by his enemies.

‘For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem…Then the Lord will go forth go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.’ Zec 14:2-3

Once the Messiah returns to his temple and establishes his throne in Jerusalem, he will begin to expand the Third Temple according to the plan in Ezekiel chapters 40 to 47. This could actually be considered as the Fourth Temple, for the original structure of the Third Temple will pale to insignificance compared to the awesome new edifice that will built from it. I think perhaps only the Holy of Holies will be preserved from the old structure.

‘Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!…he shall build the temple of the Lord; Yes, he shall build the temple of the Lord.’ Zec 6:12-13

But whether the Third Temple will be destroyed or not, and an entirely new Fourth Temple will be built by the Messiah, the Bible speaks of yet one more, a Fifth Temple that will be located on the very spot of the previous four temples. This final Temple will be very different from all the preceding Temples. For it will comprise not just one location – the whole of Jerusalem will be the Temple of God. And this city-temple will no more be constructed with human hands. God himself will personally do every bit of its construction work. Nor will it be constructed on earth, but in heaven. And when the construction is complete, it will make a glorious descent on earth, and the Throne of God will be located on the very spot where the Holy of Holies was located in the previous temples.

‘Then, I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men…But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.’ Rev 21:2,3,22

The Cornerstones for the Third Temple are ready

God’s people in all the nations should pray that if the Third Temple will be built in our generation, it may be done so in peace, and that any construction of the Temple would not offend the people of other faiths in Jerusalem. In this regard, it may be relevant to note that the Second Temple was not a unilateral decision of the Jews, but was sanctioned by a non Israeli world power, Babylon. Similarly, a unilateral decision by Israel could lead it to severe conflict with the rest of the world. Perhaps, we may see the United Nations playing a pivotal role in the sanctioning of the construction of the Temple, after an agreement is made with the leaders of other faiths that have key interests in Jerusalem. Keep your eyes daily open to media news of what’s happening in Jerusalem. I don’t think we will have to wait much longer to find out how exactly the Temple will be built.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Merger of Man and Machine – Coming In Your Lifetime

 

Twenty years ago, I could never have imagined that I would be able to reach you with my message, wherever you are in the world now reading this, by clicking on my keyboard. I could never fantasize then that two decades later I would carry a device with me wherever I go that enables me to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world, and, if I wish, even to see the person I am talking to. Today, if I mention with awe to a young person that I could do such amazing feats it might cause that person to look askance at me as if I had just emerged into modern society from a tribal village deep in some Indian jungle.

Well, actually I’m from a middle-class family, and I spent my boyhood and youth in a rural place which was as developed as any other place in my country in the 60s and early 70s. But I remember the years I lived in literally the stone age. All our household appliances were made of stone, including the millstone, the grindstone, the pounding stone, and stone jars.  There was no electric lights, no fans, no fridge, no piped water, no washing machine, no food processor, no phone, no car, no tv, no extra pair of shoes. Life was so blissful. In the mid 70s, my astonished eyes beheld the first electronic item in my life – a small calculator that a relative living abroad gifted me. It was so amazing a device that I considered it my most prized possession in those years.

Ten to fifteen years from now, you and I will be able to do things that will be incomparably more awesome than what we can do with any advanced gadgets now. We will have little devices that will be more revolutionary than a telephone in a world where the latest technology to speak to a person beyond the reach of one’s voice through cupped palms was a bullhorn. They will more drastically change one’s work life than did the advent of the computer to my own profession in an age when I was trashing typescript after typescript because they contained too many typos that I just couldnt erase and rewrite over with my typewriter. The sooncoming inventions will be more awesomely life-changing than the internet which totally eliminated my obsession to visit libraries wherever I go and wade in amazement through all the different categories of books on the shelves.

What is coming in the next one and half decades is more awesomely revolutionary than any invention or discovery in the history of man. It is Artificial Intelligence.

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will be literally billions of times more capable than the sum total of all human brains on earth, will usher in a new dimension into man’s existence such as never occurred in history. For in this new dimension man will be interacting, for both good and bad, with a community of intelligent machine beings immeasurably superior in skills, knowledge and capability than any advanced society of humans.

The greatest application of AI will be to merge human and machine functions. When this happens, the global phenomenon known as ‘The Singularity’ will occur. The Singularity will usher in the greatest transformation of human civilization since mankind first began to live together as a society on planet earth.

Ray Kurzweil, probably the savviest futurologist of this generation, and author of the bestselling ‘The Singularity Is Near’ is the man who popularized this term. The Singularity, he says, is the point in human development when current global trends go wildly off the charts and technological changes become so rapid that we cannot possibly envision its results.

There will be radical transformation in the way people work and relate to each other in our generation. The merger of man and machine, coupled with the sudden explosion in machine intelligence and rapid innovation in gene research and nanotechnology, will result in a world where there is no distinction between the biological and the mechanical, or between physical and virtual reality.

The Singularity will result in global paradigm shifts (the typical way all systems work in civilization) in every facet of human endeavor and thinking.

Scientists expect the technological paradigm shift to happen sooner than most people realize – between 2020 and 2040 – when technology advances beyond the human mind and people will no longer be the source of great invention. Did you get that? It will not be human beings anymore that will be inventing and discovering new things! Artificial Intelligence will be able to examine its own source code and improve it in an iterative design cycle!!

At that point, AI will be responsible for creating new breakthroughs with minimal human input. This new global order will be accompanied by paradigm shifts in social life, international relations and social values. Together, they will cause the greatest change in man’s lifestyle and interactions since Adam’s generation.

The Singularity will drastically impact one’s professional life. The paradigm shifts in the workplace will mean that unprepared professionals in every field will find themselves redundant and their skills of no more use anywhere. Prepared professionals will find themselves useful elsewhere. One great purpose of my ministry is to encourage you to be prepared for what’s coming in your lifetime.

The Singularity will be even more profound in your personal life. It will affect your relationships with people, it will change the way your parent your children, it will change the way you even husband your wife, or wife your husband. For the God-directed professional the Singularity can be used to enhance his personal and family life. But for the others, it will serve to further the perversions and wickedness on earth. Just as the computer and internet is serving a Godly purpose for me now, it is serving an evil purpose for billions of others who use it to indulge their lusts and to promote hate and strife locally and globally, or to spread destruction over the worldwide web to satiate their warped senses. A 12-year old cyber expert, for example, can wreak havoc around the world with a viral program he creates.


It will not be human beings anymore that will be inventing and discovering new things!


Now look at these amazing developments going on today, right now.

Nonbiological intelligence is currently multiplying by over 1,000 per decade. Between 2020 and 2040, nonbiological intelligence will be a billion times more powerful than the 10^26 (10 followed by 26 zeros) computations per second that all biological humanity represents. Artificial intelligence in certain computers is already more complex than a human brain and has surpassed the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence. In 10 years, it will be everywhere. It’s already a short step to computer systems that make better decisions than corporate managers do, say scientists. Organizations have to be able to redefine themselves at an increasingly faster pace.

Machines are increasingly exceeding us in the performance of more and more tasks, from guiding objects like missiles or satellites to assembling other machines. They are merging with us ever more intimately and are learning how to reconfigure our biology in new technological domains.

At some point in the next decade, as machines become smarter than people, humans will get augmented with smart biochips and wearables, becoming supersmart cyborgs.

Here is a glimpse into how AI will affect our social lives shortly – very likely even before most of your hair turns grey:

‘By 2015, computers will be largely invisible…we will have images input directly onto our retinas. This allows for a very high-resolution display that encompasses the entire visual field of view yet is physically tiny…If we want a large, high-resolution computer image, it will just appear virtually in the air. We will have augmented reality, including popup displays explaining what is happening in the real world. We will be able to go into full-immersion, visual auditory virtual reality environments…and have nanobots in our brain that will shut down the signals coming from our nerves and sense organs, and replace them with the signals that we would be receiving if we were in the virtual environment. We can be actors in this virtual environment, and have a virtual body. But this virtual body doesn’t need to be the same as our real body. We will encounter other people in similar situations in this virtual world.’   From an interview with Ray Kurzweil, published by CRN News

Who needs undependable friends and spouses if we can have much better, but physically as-good-as-real, companions and mates in the other world?

Now, where do God and his prophecies come in this emerging world order? Surely the Bible, in its prophesies, could not have overlooked this greatest of human-generated events since Creation.

Keep reading the messages in this website, child of God, and you will get a good understanding of what’s coming, both from man’s side and from God’s side. Just to arouse your curiosity, consider these two endtime events mentioned in the book of Revelation:

‘The shape of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle. On their heads were crowns of something like gold, and their faces were like faces of men. They had hair, and their teeth were like lions’ teeth. And they had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots with many horses running into battle. They had tails like scorpions, and there were stings in their tails.’   Rev 9:7-10

Until three or four years ago, whenever I read this passage, I assumed it was purely a symbolic description of some terrible creatures, as certainly are the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse and the vision of the seven-headed beast rising from the sea. But the more I understand the prophecies, the more I think that some of the visions are more literal than most theologians think.

Now, remember – the greatest application of AI will be to merge human and machine functions. With AI, biotechnology could easily create creatures like the woman-locusts of Revelation. Very possible. But I am not definitely saying that the passage in Revelation is a result of biotechnology. Perhaps they may be supernatural creatures. But certainly, it is interesting to consider the other possibilities as well.

Just one more possibility to think of:

‘He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die.’  Rev 13:15

The Message version puts it this way:

‘It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed.’

Artificial Intelligence that is far superior to the human brain?

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The Tower of Babylon Today

 

In the 1997 film ‘The Devil’s Advocate’, Satan, in the person of John Milton (played by Al Pacino), says to his victim, ‘Who, in their right mind, Kevin, could possibly deny the twentieth century was entirely mine?’

Who indeed? Has there ever been a century, since the Flood – in the advancement of its civilization, in its bloodshed, in its wickedness – like the 20th century?

‘This century was the bloodiest in all history. More than 170 million people were killed by governments with 10 million being killed in World War I and 50 million killed in World War II. In regard to the 50 million killed in World War II, it is significant that nearly 70 percent were innocent civilians…This number of 50 million deaths does not include the estimated 6 to 12 million Russians killed by Stalin before World War II, and the several million people he killed after the war ended when Roosevelt delivered to him one-third of Europe as part of the settlement conferences…the greatest tragedy of Western civilization erupted with World War I in 1914.’   ‘A Century of War ‘ by John V Denson

The only century ever – in the past and in the future of man’s history – that will greatly outdo the 20th in its horrors and global human suffering will be our present century.

On May 30, 2002, I was sitting in front of the tv and watching the ceremony to mark the official ending of the cleaning up of the world trade center site. A CNN news reporter was recounting his visit to the Twin Tower’s rubble soon after the fall, and a video clip of that visit was being shown. As he walked with his camera amidst the debris he saw a Bible with pages open under a piece of concrete. He focused his camera closer to the passage on the open page and the first thing he saw was the caption ‘The Tower of Babylon’.

All the viewers, including me, could see clearly that particular passage on the open page that was being telecast. The reporter then remarked he considered this a positive sign and that he felt God was involved and watching over the events. As for me, my thoughts were different. I was thinking then it was a sign that God considered the trade center as the tallest symbol in the world today of Babylon, the power or system described in the Bible as ‘the great harlot’ that rules over all the nations of earth and that is drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus (Rev 17:5,6).

Another CNN news reporter said the ceremony marked the end of a dark chapter. I was thinking it marked the beginning of the darkest chapter in Western and Christian history.

As I watched the closing ceremony, I took the Bible and opened the pages at random and my eyes fell upon Jeremiah chapter 4 starting with verse 13 and upto 31. Coincidence or providence, what I read was astonishing in that it revealed exactly what are the other disasters that are going to happen to America and several other nations after this first 911 emergency call to them.

God certainly did not cause the Twin Towers to collapse and kill thousands, just as he is not going to cause the other greater disasters about to fall on those prophesied nations. He just is not going to anymore stop Satan from causing these disasters, as God has stopped so many times since the founding of these nations.

As that passage in Jeremiah prophesies what is going to happen to America and all other nations that are descended from the 12 tribes of Israel – the nations that profess themselves, even if nominally, to be Christian nations – it is vital that you understand what God’s Word reveals about these coming events. I shall quote these verses in Jeremiah and make them plain later in this message.

The Twin Towers was the loftiest symbol of the might and sway of the power that runs today’s society. This power is referred to in the Bible variously as ‘Babylon the great’, ‘the great city’, ‘the great harlot’. Babylon is ‘the great harlot with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication’ (Rev 17:1,2); ‘that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth’ (Rev 17:18); ‘Babylon the great…the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury’ (Rev 18:2,3); ‘the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth’ (Rev 17:5).

This power controls – or in the least, greatly influences –  the system that runs, every facet of society – the national and local governments, the trading, the businesses, the banks, the lifestyle, the entertainment, the education, and even all the religious institutions (except the true Church of God). And who is  this controlling or influencing power?

‘All these authority [‘all the kingdoms of the world’] I will give you and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.’, said the devil to Christ who did not refute his statement. (Luke 4:6)

If one wants to be successful in Babylon, he has to be subject to and follow this system. God’s people today are subject to the laws of Babylon today, and that is perfectly ok, and in fact that is what God expects his people to do, unless some of those laws are in conflict with his laws, which, mercifully, is usually rare. (See Romans 13:1-7 on subjecting ourselves to the governing authorities.)

Realize that it is not the laws of Babylon that are the main problem for God’s people in this age, but the influence that the devil has over every facet of the Babylonian system that runs the global society.

The fall of the World Trade Center is the first direct warning sign to God’s people of the eventual total collapse of Babylon prophesied to happen in this very generation of ours – the generation that is already seeing many other signs of the endtimes happening around them.

‘Assuredly, I say to you, this generation [that sees these signs beginning to happen] will by no means pass away till all these things take place.’ Mat 24:34
‘Babylon the great is fallen…the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury…Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment is come. And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her’   Rev 18:2, 3,10,11


A CNN news reporter focused his camera closer to the passage on the open page and the first thing he saw was the caption ‘The Tower of Babylon’.


Before the total collapse of global Babylon – governments, economy, trade, religions, and all other facets of human civilization – human interaction, commerce, and knowledge will continue to increase at a dizzying rate of acceleration worldwide.

‘…the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’   Dan 12:4

When an ancient people pooled their knowledge and skills to build the first Tower of Babylon, progress became so rapid that God said, ‘the people are one…and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.’ (Genesis 11:6)  Even so now, as the end of this age draws near, the synergized pool of global knowledge will make it possible of humans to achieve literally anything that they propose to achieve. And what are some of these proposals mankind has set themselves to achieve?

Probably the greatest of all man’s quests today is the creation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). More than space exploration, and more than any other technological innovation, AI – once man has achieved the breakthrough needed to manufacture it with a brain capability that exceeds that of man – will usher in a  new world order more than any other past invention or event in human history. The point when this happens is referred to by scientists as ‘The Singularity’. (Please read ‘The Merger of Man and Machine – Coming In Your Lifetime in this section.) The Singularity will be the tallest and mightiest of the sooncoming Towers of Babylon.

Here is what Ray Kurzweil, the wellknown futurist and the most ardent of the Singularity proponents, says about this coming event:

‘By 2029…intelligent machines will combine the subtle and supple skills that humans now excel in with ways in which machines are already superior…By the mid-2040s, the nonbiological portion of the intelligence of our human-machine civilization will be about a billion times greater than the biological portion…So what will we do when our intelligence is in the range of a googol (numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros) calculations per second? One thing we may do is to engineer new universes’   Foreword to The Intelligent Universe by Ray Kurzweil

One of Kurzweil’s readers posted the following comment on this subject:

‘Our logic systems put us at the helm, as our own gods…maybe we are gods after all, baby gods only just now waking up to our true power.’

That reader’s statement sums up the crux, the very core purpose of all of man’s great quests from the very beginning of history.

From the moment that Eve and Adam desired to become ‘like God’ (Genesis 3:5), mankind’s greatest desire and quest was to be in full control of the whole universe and to ‘engineer new universes’. It was this desire that propelled the ancient people to set up a tower in Babel that reached up to the skies. It is this unfulfilled desire that is driving man in all his technological progress and in all his space explorations. It is this innate driving force that is building the global towers of world trade and that, in our own generation, will culminate in the creation of a world government.

So what can we expect next of this generation as they continue to build their ultimate towers of Babylon?

In next couple of decades – based on Daniel 12:4 and on the present rate of knowledge growth, as well as on the predictions of AI scientists – technology, commerce, communication and transportation will see paradigmatic growths, aided by Artificial Intelligence that will far exceed human brain capabilities. You will see awesome global trade towers, both literally in concrete and globally in activity, rising in several nations. The World Trade Center edifice has fallen, but the spirit of the original Tower of Babylon is rising again – more magnificent and more towering than before. It was the Twin Towers before. Now it is the One World Trade Center, named aptly in faithfulness to their builders’ inherited desire to be one people (see Genesis 11:6). The 104-story One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and the sixth-tallest building in the world, with its spire reaching a symbolic 1,776 feet (541.3 m) in reference to the year of American independence.

But as in the days of Noah, and as in the days of the original Tower of Babylon, God is once again going to look down upon earth, and intervene to save man from destroying himself. For that is the final outcome of all of man’s grandest dreams – his own total destruction. But for God’s merciful intervention at the first Tower, humanity would have become so wicked after a few generations (if we reckon the time it took for the degeneration of human nature from Adam to Noah’s civilization) that either they would have completely destroyed themselves, or God would have had to directly intervene to put an early end to their misery. Once again, when the final Tower of Babylon is built, God will have to intervene, or ‘no flesh would be saved’ (Matthew 24:22).

But before God intervenes, he is going to allow man to continue with his grand plans for some time. Then, suddenly, just as the first World Trade Center fell when the whole nation was going about their daily lives as usual, all the majestic edifices of human endeavor are going to fall when least expected. This is coming upon a people that God chose above all other nations to be a righteous model to the Gentiles, but instead has become so depraved that even pagan nations are disgusted with the perverted ways of the ‘Christian’ nations. (Ezekiel 16:27)

‘For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.’   1 Thes 5:3

Ground Zero, World Trade Center

Now I would like to show you a passage that gives certain details of what will happen to America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and other English speaking nations, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Switzerland, and a few others, collectively known as Jacob in the Scriptures. These are the most naturally, geographically and materially blessed of all the nations on earth.

Before you read that passage, understand that the names Judah and Jerusalem in the present age refer respectively to the Christian nations and their cities. (For a detailed understanding of the identity of these nations, please read, ‘How to Understand Bible Prophecies for Today’ in this section).

Here is the passage in Jeremiah 4:

“O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
“Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: ‘Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!’ Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem: ‘Flee now! Do not delay!’ For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.”…
“Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah. They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,” says the Lord…
“For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed…
“At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned – not a person remains!…The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.” NLT

Presently unthinkable terrors and horrors are going to suddenly fall upon a people who have forsaken their true God and are living in such state of depravity that Sodom’s and Gomorrah’s sins look mild in comparison. (Matthew 10:15)

So great will be the suffering of these nations that both Daniel and Jesus prophesies that ‘there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time’; ‘there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be’. (Daniel 11:1; Matthew 24:21)

The suffering that’s soon coming upon the ‘Christian’ nations of the West, and subsequently upon the whole world, will exceed that of any previous century in human history. The 20th century, till now, was the most radical of all centuries in changing human behavior and attitudes.

‘The twentieth century was a period of radical departure from almost every previous area of human activity. Accelerating scientific understanding, better communications, faster transportation transformed the world in those hundred years more than any time in the past. It was a century that started with steam powered ships as the most sophisticated means of transport, and ended with the space shuttle…Terms like ideology, world war, genocide, and nuclear war entered common usage and became an influence on the lives of everyday people.’   Wikipedia

The 20th century was also the most violent in history in the number of lives lost in wars. World War I started in 1914, inaugurating the age of total war. It was the first global war in history. And soon after, World War II, the second global war.

‘War reached an unprecedented scale and level of sophistication; in the Second World War alone, approximately 57 million people died, mainly due to massive improvements in weaponry…Arguably, the 20th century re-shaped the face of the planet in more ways than any previous century.’   ibid

According to Voice of the Martyrs,

‘More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than have been martyred in the total history of Christianity’.

But if Daniel and Christ’s words are true, what’s coming in our lifetime will far exceed the horrors and sufferings of the 20th century in its darkest years. But, mankind, drunk with their technological marvels and the pursuit of mastering the universe, cannot foresee today the calamities that are coming upon themselves, although the signs are so clear to those who are willing to open their eyes and ears to God’s revelation in his Word. ‘He who has a ear, let him ear’, says your Savior. (Matthew 11:15)

‘The horror of the twentieth century could hardly have been predicted in the nineteenth century, which saw the eighteenth century end with the American Revolution bringing about the creation of the first classical liberal government…The nineteenth century largely remained, in practice, a century of individual freedom, material progress, and relative peace, which allowed great developments in science, technology, and industry.’   ‘A Century of War’ by John V Denson

Humanity as a whole today, enjoying progress like never before, is oblivious to the warnings of God about the coming world events. But you need not be. You can be among those who have God’s promise of protection during the time of the greatest tribulation ever. When the towers begin to fall, you can be kept away in a safe place.

On September 11, 2001, the lives of thousands of people were spared because of unusual obstacles that stalled them. To mention a specific case: Joe Andrew, a Washington lawyer and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had a ticket for seat 6-C on the ill-fated American Airlines flight 77 from Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles, but switched to a later flight at the last minute. ‘I happen to be a person of faith’, says Mr Andrew.

For hundreds of other people in the cities affected by the deadly terrorist assault, Tuesday morning turned out to be an incredibly ‘lucky’ time to oversleep, reschedule a meeting or take time off to sneak in a haircut. On that morning, there were scores of unexpected traffic delays, subway delays, and commuter train delays. A train packed with commuters was stopped at a signal just short of the WTC and was able to return to Jersey City. The four flights together could accommodate more than 1,000 passengers, yet there were only 266 aboard on those day. Of the more than 50,000 people who worked in the two towers, only 20,000 were at their desks on September 11. The two towers held up for a half hour, enabling many people inside them to escape. Finally, the towers fell inward rather than topple over, which would have killed far more people. The foundations of six surrounding buildings were demolished by the fall of the towers, but the buildings held up for enough time for all the occupants to be safely evacuated.

Possibly, many of those who escaped might have done so by sheer luck, for ‘time and chance happen to them all. For man also does not know his time: like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them.’  (Eccl 9:11,12) But if God’s promises to deliver the people who put their trust in him in the time of disaster are of any value, then he must have delivered his people out of, or prevented them from entering, the World Trade Center site.

‘He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge…You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow [or bullet, or plane] that flies by day…Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday [or at 9:59 a.m., or at 10:28 a.m.].

‘A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you…Because you have made the Lord…your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you…For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’  Ps 91:1-12

And just before the final collapse of all of Babylon’s global majestic towers, God is going to say to the people who have taken refuge under his wings,

‘Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.’   Is 26:20

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

America – The Unthinkable Is Poised To Happen

 

I remember reading Billy Graham’s book ‘World Aflame’ decades ago, about the coming judgment of God on earth. I don’t remember now what he wrote of America, but I have with me the following quote of his wife, Ruth, who after reading the chapter in the book about the sinful conditions in that country, told her husband: “Billy, if God doesn’t come soon and bring judgment upon the United States, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!”

Of course, God can never do something that would require an apology from him later. He is the same today in every aspect as he was thousands of years ago. If the same sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are committed in any land, would God let it continue in its horrible state when he didnt in the case of those two ancient cities? Judgment day on immoral America seems actually past its due time, but that day is hastening faster upon that sick nation than a locomotive accelerating full steam down a hill not knowing the tracks end suddenly half way down.

In fact, God himself calls the extremely sinful cities of America by the names of Sodom and Gomorrah. In his eyes, these cities have already turned into Sodom and Gomorrah, not merely on their way to becoming doomed like the ancient cities.

‘Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the law of our God, You people of Gomorrah’   Is 1:10
‘They commit adultery and walk in lies; They also strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one turns back from his wickedness. All of them are like Sodom to Me, and her inhabitants like Gomorrah.’   Jer 23:14
‘The look on their countenance witnesses against them, and they declare their sin as Sodom; they do not hide it.’   Is 3:9

Does any city declare their sin so blatantly and unabashedly like the cities in America, where they have regular sodomite and lesbian parades (or ‘gay pride marches’, to use the politically correct term), and where, such as in Hollywood, pretty women have no hesitation in stripping themselves bare for audiences around the world to gaze upon their nakedness? America does not know how to blush anymore.

‘Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush.’   Jer 6:15

And because the nations that God revealed himself to chose to be unfaithful to him and live like harlots and sodomites, and have no shame for their perversions, God will turn away from his people in disgust, and the nations that do not have the true God will strip America naked of all its beauty and wealth.

‘She revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated Myself from her’   Ezek 23:18
‘surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.’   Ezek 16:37

Judgment is coming upon America. And with greater intensity of punishment than it was for the perverted ancient cities.

‘The punishment of the iniquity of the daughter of my people is greater than the punishment of the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, with no hand to help her!’   Lam 4:6

In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, God directly rained down destruction upon them. In the case of today’s evil cities, God is bringing his judgment upon them in another way – in a quick succession of destructive phases. This succession of American’s destruction is brought about by God’s not intervening to protect his people as he has been doing for hundreds of years since America and other Bible-holding nations were founded!

Britain, US and other Christian nations were miraculously protected through both World War 1 and 2. But unless these nations repent and turn to God with all their heart, there is no more chance left for them to survive another round of national calamity.

The Western world is crumbling in all areas of its society, including its economy. The US economy came to the verge of collapse at least twice in the past, but recovered amazingly. The few economists who had understood what was happening and tried to warn the nation were derided by the great financial institutions and venerable economists. These few economists are now warning the nation again…of total economic collapse.

‘The Aftershock Survival Summit’ is a video produced by Newsmax media. The video features an exclusive interview with famed economist and bestselling author Robert Wiedemer. According to Moneynews, this ‘disturbing presentation exposes harsh economic truths along with a dire financial warning’

The video was so disturbing and controversial that various online networks repeatedly shut it down.

The controversy was caused by allegations that economists and policy makers in Washington have ‘failed miserably’. They include former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, and his successor, Ben Bernanke. At one point in the video, Wiedemer refers to Ben Bernanke saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.” ’

‘This wasn’t the first time Wiedemer’s predictions hit a nerve. In 2006, he and his team of economists accurately predicted the four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer spending markets that almost sunk America. Regardless of his warnings and survival advice, Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.’   Moneynews

In Aftershock Survival Summit, Wiedemer cites the unthinkable – disturbing evidence and financial charts forecasting 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market collapse, and 100% annual inflation.

Wiedemer isn’t alone in his predictions. Jim Rogers, the best-selling financial author and co-founder of the Quantum Fund, warns,

‘The S&P’s recent downgrade didn’t go far enough, as Washington probably doesn’t even deserve the AA+ rating’.

Even Dow Jones and S&P have taken serious note of the video. The Dow Jones’ MarketWatch said,

‘Aftershock will teach you how to protect yourself against an increasingly hostile Wall Street-Corporate-America-Washington conspiracy undermining average stock market investors.’

S&P calls Wiedemer’s work ‘a compelling argument for a chilling conclusion. [His] track record demands our attention’.

Aftershock Survival Summit is available free from Newsmax. Just google it.

Ancient Israelites (kinky haired) being taken captive by the Assyrian army at Lachish – relief found in his palace at Nineveh, located in modern day Iraq.

Another market analyst and author, David Skarica, has warned that Americans’ investments soon could become insolvent, unless they acted immediately. Skarica is no ordinary market guru. He has a track record of being accurate time and again on major market moves. He accurately predicted the housing market meltdown, the liquidity crisis, the stock market crash (and the 10-year bear market of the 2000s), and even the market rebound of 2009-2010, which he says is ‘a phantom rally’. In fact, Skarica’s track record has been so remarkable, one of New York’s major financial book publishers sought him out to publish his first major work, ‘The Great Super Cycle: Profit from the Coming Inflation Tidal Wave and the Dollar Devaluation’.

But does corporate America as a whole believe these dire predictions of economists who already have a proven track record? Not in the least, judging from the news media. The US and the western world in the general will continue in their present economic lifestyle until the bubble bursts again, as it did in the Great Depression of the 1930s. Only this time, the Bible predicts that the collapse will not be confined to just the economy.

The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse is a prophecy for the whole earth, but these four global calamities will be antedated by its occurrence in all the English-speaking nations, as well as other ‘Christian’ nations such as Denmark, Netherlands and Scandinavia, countries which, at least nominally, have the Bible as the supreme authority for their religious beliefs and where the population are mostly Protestant. It does not refer to Catholic-dominated nations such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other nations where the Pope is looked upon as the ultimate religious authority on earth. France is an exception and is included among the nations referred to as ‘Jacob’ in the Bible, as are also some other predominantly Catholic nations such as Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium. (Please read ‘How to Understand Bible Prophecies for Today’ in this section for a detailed look into the identity of the present-day descendants of ancient Israel.)

The phased collapse of America will begin with the absolute collapse of morality in the nation as a whole. Homosexuality and perversity will become so rampant and open in every city that the few righteous people there will be forced to immigrate or move out to safer places.

Next, or along with moral collapse, will be economic calamity. A nation weakened morally and economically is an easy target for her enemies, who will suddenly attack her. Nuclear devastation will cause mass famine and plagues of such shocking proportions that I presently don’t have the emotional strength to write about it here. The Bible gives a graphic account of what will happen when these calamities befall America and the other nations.

Suffice to say here, the unfaithful Christian nations will go through three and half year of war, famine, plagues, and captivity such as no nation in history had gone through before, nor will any nation will suffer such intensity of terrors ever again.

‘For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.’   Mat 24:21

In World War II, millions of Jewish men and women were made to march naked to the concentration camps and thence to the gas chambers. The Germans who did that to the Jews are the descendants of the very people who carried off ancient Israel as slaves to other countries. And it is a custom of this Aryan race to humiliate their captives by making them – men and women and children – march stark naked to their doom.

‘so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as prisoners and the Ethiopians as captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt’   Is 20:4

Jewish women, some holding babies, forced to strip naked, awaiting ‘showers’ at a German concentration camp.

The generation that is today witnessing many of the prophesied endtime events taking place will also see tens of millions of people from the nations that comprise modern ‘Jacob’ marching naked to the enemies’ lands.

‘Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Because your filthiness was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your harlotry with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children which you gave to them, surely, therefore, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved, and all those you hated; I will gather them from all around against you and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.’   Ezek 16:35-37
‘Pass by in naked shame…But disaster came down from the Lord to the gate of Jerusalem.’   Micah 1:11-12

If you are living in one of those nations that have played the harlot against their Maker, then God calls out to you,

‘And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.’   Rev 18:4

Of course, God does not mean your coming out of these nations physically. (God will do that miraculously and take you to a physical place of safety later, just before Christ returns.) He means you come out of her system, out of her sinful ways. Don’t take a passive or neutral attitude to issues that are not neutral in God’s sight. Hate the sinful deeds of the people in those nations. Keep yourself and your family far from everything that contaminates your purity or compromises your faithfulness to your God.

A German in a military uniform shoots at a Jewish woman after a mass execution in Mizocz, Ukraine. In October of 1942, the 1,700 people in the Mizocz ghetto fought with Ukrainian auxiliaries and German policemen who had intended to liquidate the population. About half the residents were able to flee or hide during the confusion before the uprising was finally put down. The captured survivors were taken to a ravine and shot.

God’s judgment is coming first upon the nations that he chose to first give his Word to. Instead of using the Bible to guide their ways and become a light to other nations, the chosen nations have instead have become so corrupt and filthy that even the pagan nations that do not know the true God of the Bible despise her for her vile character.

‘Remember the days when you were putting on airs, acting so high and mighty, looking down on sister Sodom? That was before your evil ways were exposed. And now you’re the butt of contempt, despised by the Edomite women, the Philistine women, and everybody else around. But you have to face it, to accept the shame of your obscene and vile life.’   Ezek 16:56-58. The Message

After the judgment of America and the other Christian nations, God will judge the entire world.

Watch national and global events in the light of Bible prophecies. This website itself is a good place for you to keep updated on world events. And as you watch, pray fervently and daily that you and your family may be counted worthy to escape all those prophesied things that are coming and stand before the Lord when he comes.

‘Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape ALL these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’  Luke 21:36

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The prophesied ‘perilous times’ are upon the world, but you can escape them

Start praying for protection and prepare yourself and your family for what’s coming upon the whole world in this generation.

‘But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come’  2 Tim 3:1

 

Many, if not most, Christians believe that we are living in the ‘endtimes’ just preceding the return of Jesus Christ. The signs are too globally evident for any discerning Bible believer to overlook them or take them lightly. What are the most obvious of these ‘signs of the endtimes’ today?

Perhaps the most globally recognized changes in the world’s times are those related to the climate. Earth’s weather patterns – which have remained basically unchanged since the Flood of Noah’s time – have turned so ominous in recent times that obscure and even normally obdurate nations are giving their full attention to doing something to avert the consequences of climate change.

Personally, I am experiencing in my native land today a monsoon season gone awry. Ever since I can remember from childhood, until about 3 or 4 years ago, the monsoon was a very predictable event in the lives of the people of my country. Schools in the state where I live reopen for the new academic year on the first working day of June. As kids prepare to leave their homes on the first day, the skies too begin their preparation for the new season. And as the students leave their homes for school, the monsoon breaks heavily upon them. If it didn’t on school reopening day, then surely it fell on the kids the next day, but rarely beyond that.

Now the monsoon comes whenever it does, and has no relation whatever to school reopening day. There may be sporadic rains one or two months before June and for a few months after that. Gone are the heavy downpours that used to last for hours at a stretch. Gone is the systematic annual flooding of the roads, stopping all traffic for several days, from the overflowing river nearby.

What’s happening to the climate in my native land is a minor inconvenience compared to what’s happening to weather patterns on a global scale. All governments now know that drastic steps have to be taken if they want to escape the worldwide calamities arising from the greenhouse effect.

The tsunami of 2004 December was probably the greatest flood, in terms of its global scope and of the lives it took, since the days of Noah. And that tsunami, in which over 225,000 people perished, was just a beginning.

It is not just the prophecy preachers who are predicting more tsunamis and other calamities around the world. Some time ago, a group of scientists researching the changing climate’s effects on geological hazards met at a conference on Climate Forcing of Geological and Geomorphological Hazards in London. The researchers predicted more frequent and violent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and tsunamis as global warming affects the earth’s crust.

The researchers concluded that Mother Earth is so sensitive that ‘even slight changes in weather and climate can rip the planet’s crust apart, unleashing the furious might of volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and landslides’. Even human attempts to stall global warming could trigger a catastrophic event, they say.

Perhaps the greatest geological hazards during climate change will be the result of melting ice sheets, the scientists warn. Apart from the risk that loose sediments exposed by melted ice could slip into the sea as tsunami-generating landslides, the removal of heavy ice could also trigger volcanic eruptions.

Jesus said that just preceding his second coming the seas and the waves will roar (tsunamis come with a terrifying roar) with such magnitude that people who witness them will faint.

‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth’   Luke 21: 25-26

Earthquakes

Earthquakes are increasing in frightening frequency. Look at this statistics from the US Geological Survey:

Number of earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 and greater.
1983 to 1900 – 38 years – 12
1901 to 1983   – 38 years – 53
1939 to 1976 – 38 years – 71
1976 to 2010 – 34 years – 167
2011 to 2016 – 6 years – 102

Since 1997 the frequency has increased tremendously. For example, between 1986 and 1996, a period of 11 years, there were just 15 earthquakes listed by USGS of magnitude 7.0 or greater. This is not markedly different from previous similar periods of 20th century, where an average of about 18 might be expected. But between 1997 and 2007, a period of only 11 years, there were 99 earthquakes with magnitude 7.0 or greater. This is more than a 6-fold increase on the previous similar period. And then from 2011 to 2016, there were 102 earthquakes in just 6 years, more than in the 11 years between 1997 and 2007! The increase is frighteningly exponential.

Famine

Famine death in Kharkov, Russia, 1933.

In his article, ‘The Century of Famine’ Peter Goodchild, says:

‘Without ample, free-flowing petroleum, it will not be possible to support a population of several billion for long. Famine caused by petroleum supply failure alone will result in about 2.5 billion above-normal deaths before the year 2050; lost and averted births will amount to roughly an equal number.

‘In terms of its effects on daily human life, the most significant aspect of fossil-fuel depletion will be the lack of food. ‘Peak oil’ is basically ‘peak food’. Modern agriculture is highly dependent on fossil fuels for fertilizers [one of the processes for manufacturing fertilizers involves combining natural gas with atmospheric nitrogen], pesticides, and the operation of machines for irrigation, harvesting, processing, and transportation. Without fossil fuels, modern methods of food production will disappear, and crop yields will be far less than at present. Crop yields are far lower in societies that do not have fossil fuels or modern machinery. We should therefore have no illusions that several billion humans can be fed by ‘organic gardening’ or anything else of that nature…Over the next few decades, therefore, there will be famine on a scale many times larger than ever before in human history…

‘The news of the coming famine might not be announced with sufficient clarity. Famines tend to be back-page news nowadays, perhaps for the very reason that they are too common to be worth mentioning. Although Ó Gráda speaks of ‘making famine history’, the reality is that between 70 and 80 million people died of famine in the twentieth century, far more than in any previous century.’

Drought

In his book ‘Heat: How to Stop the Planet Burning’, George Monbiot writes:

‘Many parts of the world, for reasons which have little to do with climate change, are already beginning to lose their water. In When the Rivers Run Dry, Fred Pearce, who is New Scientist’s environment consultant, travels around the world trying to assess the state of our water resources. He finds that we survive today as a result of borrowing from the future.

‘The great famines predicted for the 1970s were averted by new varieties of rice, wheat and maize, whose development is known as the ‘green revolution’. They produce tremendous yields, but require plenty of water. This has been provided by irrigation, much of which uses underground reserves. Unfortunately, many of them are being exploited much faster than they are being replenished…

‘Roughly half the world’s population lives within 60 kilometers of the coast. Eight of the ten largest cities on earth have been built beside the sea. Many of them rely on underground lenses of fresh water, effectively floating, within the porous rocks, on salt water which has soaked into the land from the sea. As the fresh water is sucked out, the salt water rises and can start to contaminate the aquifer. This is already happening in hundreds of places. The worst case is the Gaza strip, which relies entirely on underground water which is now almost undrinkable. As the sea level rises as a result of climate change, salt pollution in coastal regions is likely to accelerate.

‘As these two effects of climate change – global drying and rising salt pollution – run up against the growing demand for water, and as irrigation systems run dry or become contaminated, the possibility arises of a permanent global food deficit. Even with a net food surplus, 800 million people are malnourished. Nothing I could write would begin to describe what a world in deficit – carrying 9 billion people – would look like.’

For God’s people to have a glimpse of how horrific the coming famine would be, the Bible gives an example:  It is so shocking and sickening I don’t wish to describe it here, but I urge to read it in the following passages and plead with God to spare your nation from such a situation.

2 Kings 6:25-29; Deuteronomy 28:53-57; Leviticus 26:26,29

Israel sinned and received all these curses as a result, which had been prophesied. The nations that have the Bible but have cast God and His Word behind their backs will suffer even more than the ancient people of God who forsook him.

When the great droughts and ensuing famines happen and millions of people will be starving to death around the world, God promises to supply bread and keep alive those who look to him for protection during these evil days.

‘Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.’  Ps 33:18-19

Diseases

First, a look at what the Bible says will the world scenario when pandemics sweep through every continent.

Let’s start with what is probably the most widespread pandemic in the world today: obesity and overweight. According to a WHO report, globally there are 1.6 billion overweight adults (age 15+), with at least 400 million being obese. WHO projects that 2015, approximately 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese.

While obesity itself may not be looked upon as a deadly disease, it is the diseases that obesity is directly responsible for that are the dangers. Anybody who is overweight stands at great risk of several chronic diseases, including, heart disease and stroke – already the world’s number one cause of death, killing 17 million people each year; diabetes –WHO projects that diabetes deaths will increase by more than 50 percent worldwide in the next 10 years!. Another disease that overweight causes is cancer, especially of the uterus, breast, and colon. Children who are obese are at risk of premature death and disability in adulthood.

Overweight was once considered a symptom of an affluent society, not a problem encountered commonly in the poor and developing nations. That has changed and overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in the low and middle income countries.

An overlooked sign of the endtimes is the calories consumed by people worldwide. As the world heads towards the prophesied cataclysmic end, an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended will grow each year. People will continue to increasingly consume energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamin and other vital nutrients. Fast food will become faster and slow-cooked meals will become rarer. Keeping pace hand in hand with the consumption of junk food will be decreased physical activity and increased sedentary work. And so, far more overweight, far more increase in its related diseases and far more deaths in every country.

Animal-borne diseases

Animal-borne epidemics are already out of human control.

‘For centuries, humans have been afflicted with diseases that originate in animals. Many of the agents responsible for epidemics throughout human history have their origins in animals: tuberculosis, influenza, bubonic plague, food-borne illness, and AIDS. Episodes of animal-borne diseases, also referred to aszoonotic diseases or zoonoses, are increasing around the globe. Exotic sounding ailments, including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), monkeypox, mad cow disease, Lyme disease, and chronic wasting disease(CWD), have been capturing global headlines. Some scientists expect the rise in zoonotic disease episodes to continue.’ 3

Even the most advanced nations are not equipped to prevent and control these diseases. In the US, for example, there is no coordinated effort or a single federal agency with the command and control responsibility for managing the this growing health problem.

In India, I had a harrowing experience when H1N1, or swine flu, fear sweeped through the nation. I happened to be in an unfamiliar city for a few days during this time. Surgical masks were selling faster than hot chapattis as people frantically tried every means possible to protect themselves. While in the grip of this fear myself, I started getting the first symptoms of this deadly horror. But for this fear, I would have treated my symptom as those of a normal cold or a seasonal flu. But, no, public warning posters everywhere, urgent radio and tv announcements, daily newspaper coverage of new cases of swine flu, and the sight of masked people walking on the streets, send me as fast as a vehicle’s wheels could take me, to the nearest hospital that had advertised itself as swine flue detection center. They weren’t dealing with it anymore and directed me to another, where I met the same response. Finally, I landed in a government hospital and joined a large crowd of people in a similar situation as mine waiting outside the hall were the detection tests were being done. But it was already too late for us. The day’s visiting time was over, and we had to return the next day. But one frantic mother wasn’t giving up. She was pleading pathetically for the hospital staff to just treat one more case – her little child. I don’t know if the child was taken in, but I returned shocked at the inadequacy of a nation to deal with an emergency situation for a good percentage of its billions of citizens.

As for me, I was told that I had to fill in a long application form, submit corroborating documents with it, stand in queue of hours and then perhaps I might be lucky the next day to have the test taken. Now this was only for the test to see if I had contracted swine flu – not the treatment for swine flu, which did not exist. I decided that was better to risk out my symptoms than go through the futile efforts in getting some futile government attention. By God’s grace, my symptoms started receding soon, and a couple of days later, I was fleeing back to my native land. But in my mind, the vision of what’s going to happen in the sooncoming years in each city around the world was strongly etched by what I experienced in that city in India.

‘Humans who come in contact with infected animals risk contracting a zoonotic disease that the animal may be carrying. The opportunities for such contact are growing steadily. Human and farm animal populations are increasing around the world, and in some areas like Southeast Asia, this is bringing more humans and animals into close contact. People are moving into parts of the world where humans have never lived before, exposing themselves to unknown infectious agents.

‘Air travel and cargo ships allow an infectious person or animal to reach far flung parts of the globe in less time than the incubation period of many pathogens. The monkeypox virus entered the US through imported Gambian giant rats sold in the nation’s under-regulated exotic pet trade. The rats infected pet prairie dogs which are kept as pets, which passed the virus along to humans. The outbreak sheds light on the lack of coordinated federal oversight to prevent future zoonotic disease outbreaks, as well as the confusing state and federal laws that govern exotic pet trade…The spread of infectious disease, not just human-to-human, but also animal-to-human, knows no boundaries.’   ‘Animal-Borne Epidemics Out of Control: Threatening the Nation’s Health’, published by Trust For America’s Health.

War

‘The Encyclopedia Britannica says that the Thirty Years’ War which ended in 1648 was “the most horrible military episode in western history prior to the 20th century”. Cautious estimates say that about 7 million died in the Thirty Years’ War. When we come to modern times we find that World War I (1914 to 1918) in just over 4 years killed approximately 20 million people. But only 21 years later World War II began (1939 to 1945), resulting in the loss of 62 million lives, triple the loss of World War I, while the monetary costs quadrupled from an estimated $340 billion to an estimated $4.5 trillion. There can be no question that there has been a great increase in the intensity of warfare.

‘It has been calculated by a former president of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences, aided by historians from England, Egypt, Germany, and India, that since 3600 BC, over 14,531 wars have been waged in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.” (Harold L. Willmington, Signs of the Times)

‘Since World War II there have been at least 12 limited wars in the world,…74 rebellions for independence, and 162 social revolutions, either political, economic, racial or religious.” (U.S. News and World Report)’

‘From these figures it is easy to see that wars and revolts have greatly increased. For example, during the 5,500 plus years since 3600 BC, an average of about 657,000 people died as a result of war per year (including WW I and WW II). Whereas, if we average the 82 million deaths of WW I and WW II alone using the entire 100 years of the 20th Century we arrive at an average of 820,000 deaths per year from war. This is not counting the deaths from the over 260 other wars, rebellions and revolutions of the 20th Century.

‘Today at least 35 nations have nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia alone having a total of 12,000 strategic nuclear warheads and about 48,000 smaller tactical nuclear weapons. The combined total of both superpowers nuclear power equaling a total of about 1,350,000 Hiroshima size bombs! Many people are worried that nuclear warheads can reach any part of the globe within 30 minutes, and that the superpowers have stockpiled enough nuclear explosives to equal 300 pounds of TNT for every man, woman, and child on earth.’   ‘Are Wars Increasing?’ Real-World-News.org

Increase in knowledge and global traffic

The increase in knowledge and traffic in our modern age was predicted in Daniel 12:4.

‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.’

The incredibly dramatic increase in mankind’s fund of knowledge since the late 19th century onwards has been going hand in hand with the increase in global travel and transportation, and vice versa. That is, the more people travel, the more knowledge increases and is spread, and the more it increases the more people run to and fro to dissipate it.

Population increase is ‘exponential’. It does not increase in the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 order; it explodes in the 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 order. That word is even more applicable to the increase in knowledge today, especially technology, the progress of which has been defined by Moore’s Law  (‘The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years’). Futurists such as Ray Kurzweil believe that the exponential improvement described by Moore’s law will ultimately lead to a technological ‘singularity’: a period where progress in technology occurs almost instantly, the time when current global trends go wildly off the charts and technological changes ‘become so rapid that we cannot possibly envision its results’.

I urge God’s people everywhere to understand more about this sooncoming ‘singularity’ so they can be prepared for it.

We in this generation have already entered a new era. Levels of intelligence far greater than our own are evolving rapidly right today. Machines are increasingly exceeding us in the performance of more and more tasks, from guiding objects like missiles or satellites to assembling other machines. They are merging with us ever more intimately and are learning how to reconfigure our biology in new and significantly faster technological domains.

When the singularity happens – scientists expect it to happen between 2020 and 2040 – technology will have advanced beyond the human mind and it will be machines then, and not people, which will be the source of new inventions. At that point, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be responsible for creating new breakthroughs with minimal human input.

By the 2040s, when nonbiological intelligence will have soared past the capability of the human brain, machines will be a billion times more powerful than the 10^26 computations per second that all biological humanity represents. Artificial intelligence in certain computers is already more complex than a human brain and has surpassed the 20-petahertz threshold for potential intelligence. In 10 years, it will be everywhere. It’s already a short step to computer systems that make better decisions than corporate managers do, say scientists.

When the singularity happens, there will be radical transformation in the way people work and relate to each other. The sudden explosion in machine intelligence, along with the rapid innovation in gene research and nanotechnology, will result in a world where there is no distinction between the biological and the mechanical, or between physical and virtual reality.

Kurzweil says that by 2019 the current rate of technological progress will ultimately result in most routine jobs in the economy being automated via technologies such as robotics and specialized artificial intelligence and that this will cause significant unemployment, as well as a drastic decline in consumer demand and confidence, possibly precipitating a major global economic crisis.

At some point in the next decade, as machines become smarter than people, humans will get fitted with smart biochips, wearables (for a small foretaste of that, search the YouTube for ‘Pranav Mistry’s wearable Sixth Sense’), and other enhancements. What happens when people and machines converge into a mass-mind superintelligence?

The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, which convenes the annual Singularity Summit to coordinate and educate scientists and other concerned individuals on the challenges facing humanity, asks these disturbing questions: ‘How will near human and smarter-than-human AIs act towards humans? Why? Are their motivations dependent on our design?’

‘The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.’ Albert Einstein

Says scientist Damien Broderick: ‘We will live forever; or we will all perish most horribly; our minds will emigrate to cyberspace, and start the most ferocious overpopulation race ever seen on the planet; or our machines will transcend and take us with them, or leave us in some peaceful backwater where the meek shall inherit the Earth. Or something else, something far weirder and.unimaginable.’

And where do God and his prophecies come in this emerging world order? Surely the Bible, in its prophesies, could not have overlooked the ‘Singularity’ – considered by secular minds to occur soon as the single greatest event in human development history. Begin to read the prophecies in the Bible in the light of the new understanding you have gained about this subject.

Human behavior

But more than any of the preceding signs of the endtimes, the most frightening is the change in human behavior.

‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God’   2 Tim 3:1-4 KJV

The Amplified Bible is more lucid:

‘But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God.’

The word ‘perilous’ is translated from the Greek word ‘khalepos’. This word is defined in the Bible Greek Lexicon as ‘fierce, hard to bear, dangerous, savage’. This is the same Greek word used to describe the demon possessed man of the Gergesenes.

‘And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.   Mat 8:28 AMP

In 2 Timothy 3:1-4, Paul was not referring to just wicked men, or people in some places but to mankind in general – ‘For men shall be lovers of their own selves…’. The average man’s life will be marked by increasing insensitivity to the needs and sufferings of others. The average godless man will be fierce and dangerous. Streets in every nation will be filled with people who are walking pressure bombs. Press them a little and they explode at you.

People of God, you are living in fierce times which have already fallen on this world as never before in history. And the frightening truth is that this fierce times are getting fiercer day by day.

As the end draws near, you will hear of and see with your own eyes hate among men increasing. Men will be less and less tolerant of others. Brutal acts will increase in the intensity and scope of their brutality.

The most tragic aspect of the hate and violence of the endtimes will be in the family. Men and women will continue to marry in greater numbers, only to divorce soon in almost equal numbers. The hearts of the fathers will turn away from the hearts of the children. Natural paternal love will decrease. Children of ungodly families will grow increasingly abhorrent of their parents to the extent that many parents will die as a direct consequence of their children’s hate for them.

‘Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.’  Mat 10:21

All the prophesied endtime disasters and violence may bring a kind of warped thrill to some people today. But when the evil sweeps through the whole world in its strength, each day will be a day of depressing gloom. When it is day people will hope to find refuge in the night, when it is day, people will long for the safety of the day.

‘In the morning you shall say, “Oh, that it were evening!” And at evening you shall say, “Oh, that it were morning!” because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.’   Deut 28:67

While mankind as a whole will be experiencing great agonies during these times, there will be a group of people who have been prayerfully watching world events unfolding as prophesied in the Bible, and who have been seeking God’s protection constantly. These people will be considered ‘worthy’ to escape all the global terrors which are coming upon earth. And when the climatic end happens, this group of protected people will be whisked away from their residences, or wherever they are at that time, to a place of safety specially prepared for them by God. There they will be cared for supernaturally until the return of Christ, when he will cut short the evil days before it utterly destroys the whole world leaving absolutely no survivor. But ‘for the elects’ sake’, God the Father will send his Son for a swift and dramatic intervention to what’s happening on earth.

‘Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’   Luke 21:36

‘Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.’   Is 26:20

‘But the woman was supplied with the two wings of a giant eagle, so that she might fly from the presence of the serpent into the desert (wilderness), to the retreat where she is to be kept safe and fed for a time, and times, and half a time (three and one-half years, or 1,260 days).’   Rev 12:14 AMP

‘And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.’   Mat 24:22

The endtime signs are happening so quickly that I am almost certain I will live to see Christ descending with the clouds, and if not in my lifetime then surely the world cannot go on as it is now beyond my children’s days. Christ said no one can know the precise time – the day or the hour – of his coming. But he also said that the generation seeing these signs will not pass away until all that he had prophesied had taken place (Matthew 24:34).

I have not covered all the signs of the endtimes here. Other signs that will occur on a global scale are religious deception and the rise of miracle-working false christs and prophets; the severe increase in the persecution of Christians around the world; the rebirth of the Holy Roman Empire as 10 united nations in Europe, with the Beast and the False Prophet as their political and spiritual leaders; the captivity and tribulation of the nations that God refers to as ‘Jacob’ –  US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, and the Scandinavian countries; the increase in the world’s population of homosexuals, with some cities having overwhelmingly more homosexuals than heterosexuals; the increase in women in political power; the building of the third temple in Jerusalem, and the world’s increasing focus on that city; and many other signs, each of which I will share in depth in my coming messages on this website.

You are blessed to receive this understanding. There must be some reason why God chose to reveal to you what he is going to do soon on earth while concealing the same understanding from billions of others. I plead with you, O child of God who has been chosen to receive his revelation, that you take his prophecies in the Bible with utmost seriousness and urgency.

Is there anything else in the world or in your personal life that is more vital and more urgent than to ensure the safety of your and your family’s protection in these fierce times?

Pray like you have never prayed before. Pray daily from today on for the protection of your children, spouse and other loved ones. Cry out to God to have mercy on you and everyone in your family so that you with your loved ones will be considered worthy of escaping all the evil that is coming soon.

And as you cry out to God daily, begin to examine your relationship with God, and see if there be anything in your life that he wants you to come out of. Keep the 10 Commandments with all your heart and might, for that is the first step to getting right with God. See what Jesus told the young man in Matthew 19:16-18.

See if there is any hate or grudge in your heart against anyone who did you wrong. Even if you find it impossible to forgive that person, you can at least ask God to enable you to forgive. Hate willfully kept in your heart will block every blessing in your life.

Especially watch your sexual life and ensure it is kept pure and undefiled. Do you frequently or occasionally watch pornographic stuff? Then, ‘flee sexual immorality’! (1 Corinthians 6:18). For no person who deliberately continues to be lead a filthy life either in act or imagination can ever hope to be taken to the place of safety. If you don’t repent you will perish with the rest of the world’s ‘filthy dreamers’ (Jude 1:8).

As you begin to sincerely seek God and his help in cleaning up your life, you will come to understand his revelation in the Bible with increasing clarity and thrill. Read Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 to know what Christ himself said about the sooncoming world events. Read the whole book of Revelation, even if most of it sounds mysterious to you initially. As you continue to read the Bible and earnestly seek to understand it, you will come to the point that the whole book of Revelation is in the fact the most fascinating to understand of all the books. In fact, for no other book of the Bible has God pronounced a special blessing to those for reading and heeding what’s written in it.

‘The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place…Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.’  Rev 1:1,3 NIV

Today, even as you read this, God is calling you to be ready for ‘what must soon take place’. Today can be the real beginning point in your and your family lives of receiving God’s protection until Christ comes.

My prayer for you:

Lord God, bless this child of yours who is reading this message, whose heart is being moved by your Holy Spirit to seek you so he or she can be cleansed and prepared by you for the return of your Son Jesus Christ. Begin to keep this blessed child and his or her family under your wings of protection until the fierce times are over. Amen.

 

Pappa Joseph

 

 

The ‘Times of the Gentiles’ Has Begun

The ‘Times of the Gentiles’ is the short period in the end times when the gentile nations will ascend in the world scene. It is also the time when America and Britain and their kin nations enter their very last few years before the Great Tribulation.

When Great Britain ruled the world. General Lord Cornwallis, Commander-in-Chief of British India, receiving two of Tipu Sultan’s sons as hostages in the year 1793.Tipu Sultan was the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India.

 

‘And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.’   Luke 21:24

The Gentiles are essentially the nations that are outside the English-speaking and Protestant commonwealth of nations. The non Gentiles are the peoples of USA, Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the mainly Protestant countries of Netherlands, Scandinavia; also a few that are predominantly Catholic, such as France, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland.1 Non Gentile peoples are also found in other countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, but they are only minority populations in these countries. The white race in South Africa are also non-Gentiles.

As you may note, the non Gentile nations are the world’s most developed, the most blessed with natural resources, and the most advanced of all nations in every aspect of civilization in the modern era.

These physically and materially blessed nations – nations chosen by God for a purpose – have the following common features: The great majority are English speaking (about five times more than the non-English speaking chosen nations combined) and Protestant. They are all without exception democratic nations. They are all without exception Caucasian genetically.

The great majority of these nations have the Bible as their ultimate religious authority, even if it is only a nominal acknowledgment (as opposed to the Catholics who have the Pope instead). It is from these nations that the Bible was spread to all corners of the world. For these are the nations that God chose to first spread the Gospel of his Son to the gentiles. It is through the missionaries sent by these nations that countries such as India, China, Russia, South America and every other nation where you now find Bible believers, received their Gospel. It is because of these chosen nations that I, whose forefathers worshipped in idolatrous temples and burned young widows alive on the funeral pyres of their husbands, am a Bible believer and follower of Christ.

Why were these particular nations chosen, and not, say, my race? When I mean chosen, I mean in the physical and national, sense – not spiritual. Spiritually, I and all my fellow believers in Christ are the chosen ones, whatever the color of our skin or however wavy or kinky our hair. (Colossians 3:11-12)

When Abraham showed how much he loved his Creator, even above his miraculously begotten son Isaac, God was so carried away by his act of absolute faith that he made the greatest vow that he as the Eternal could ever make to a person.

‘Do not lay a hand on the boy,’ he said. ‘Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son…I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’    Gen 22:12-18

This vow of blessings was both on a physical and a spiritual scale. Physically the descendants of Abraham – referred to in the prophecies as Jacob or Israel – are to be so numerous that they are uncountable, just as sea sand and the stars are beyond human estimate.

To the physical Israelites, God revealed himself as ‘YHWH’ – usually pronounced as ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Yehowah’ (wrongly translated as Jehovah in the older Bible versions; modern versions substitute the word ‘LORD’ wherever YHWH is used).

‘I am the LORD [YHWH] your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.’    Ex 20:2-3

The physical blessings began on a national scale with the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt into the land of Canaan, where they began to flourish as twelve tribes, or sub-nations. God gave them his laws so that by them they could be a model nation to the gentiles. Thus, it was God’s plan that through one nation of chosen people he could eventually bring his salvation through Christ to the gentile nations.

‘This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’    Ex 19:3-6

‘See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the Lord my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today?’    Deut 4:5-8

The gentiles that opposed or attacked Israel were, with supernatural help, destroyed or subdued by this chosen nation. This has been the inevitable fate of all their enemies, from the ancient nations which attacked them when they got out of Egypt to the modern nations which tried to annihilate them in the last two World Wars. But the gentiles who willingly submitted to Israel and their God were absorbed as full citizens with all constitutional rights.

‘The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself’    Lev 19:34 NIV

Tragically, the very thing that God warned his people to guard against – a spirit of complacency leading to idolatry – once they take his blessings for granted, did happen, with calamitous consequences for the whole nation.

‘Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.’    Deut 4:9

‘So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land…to give you large and beautiful cities…houses full of all good things, vineyards and olive trees…when you have eaten and are full – then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage…You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you’    Deut 6:10-12

Their eyes began to wander wantonly towards the gentile nations whose gods seemed far more liberal than their Yahweh. Those gods permitted sexual liberty, while theirs permitted monotonously just one bedpartner, and that for life. There were no rigid restrictions imposed by The 10 Commandments. They could have orgies and gluttonous feasts – no more concerns about getting too intoxicated; there werent any proscriptions at all on unclean meats – they could eat rabbits, wild boar, frog legs, and especially lobsters; no death penalty to be terrified of if they wanted to covet their neighbors’ voluptuous wives or their fine breed of donkeys. They could do, speak, and think anything their desires led them to…if only they would exchange the stern Yahweh for these more worshipper-friendly gods. All they had to do was make a few molten calves, overlay them with gold and bow down to them, and occasionally pass a few of their unlucky little ones to pass through the fire so that if for some unknown reasons the calf-gods aren’t too pleased with them, they could be appeased with these untainted-blood sacrifices.

The more the overfed and overblessed Israelites saw how the gentiles enjoyed pleasures beyond measure, the more they craved them, and finally indulged in them. The plague of idolatry and licentiousness very soon became pandemic and the whole of Israel was living just like the worst of the pagans around them. Yahweh, who had delivered them from slavery in Egypt and who prospered them to this level, was no longer in their consciousness; their minds would admit of no supreme Authority that restricted their natural cravings. And God, who never imposes his will on anyone, withdrew.

The God of Hosts (meaning ‘armies’ in Hebrew), who had always gone before the armies of Israel whenever they went to war, stopped being their commander and rear guard at battles.

‘as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” The commander of the Lord’s army replied, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” ’    Jos 5:14-15

‘But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.’    Is 52:12

‘But now you have rejected and humbled us; you no longer go out with our armies.’    Ps 44:9

Without divine protection, the vulnerable Israelites soon became an easy and frequent target for their enemies. The apostate nation suffered ferocious attacks from those who envied them. Whenever their enemies devastated them, they would remember Yahweh and cry out to him. And every time this strange God, whose mercy never seemed to fail, unlike the other gods they had adopted, would forgive and forget how terribly he had been betrayed by his people. Their Commander would then rise, destroy their enemies and deliver them. He would resume his blessings upon the nation…until the people again overfed themselves, made golden images of fatted heifers, and committed spiritual harlotry.

‘Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again. They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. But then they would flatter him with their mouths, lying to him with their tongues; their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful to his covenant. Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger and did not stir up his full wrath…Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power – the day he redeemed them from the oppressor’    Ps 78:34-42

But this became a routine solution from trouble for Israel. Once they were delivered, they would submit to God for a few years, become wanton again, get battered by their enemies, cry out, and receive deliverance. God realized that his chosen nation will continue like this forever if he allowed it. And so, when Israel’s idolatry and wickedness became rampant one more time as usual, God decided to withdraw his presence for a much longer period than he normally did.

Around 740 BC, the northern nation of Israel, comprising ten tribes, was taken as slaves by the Assyrians to other lands. They never fully repented and hence never were able to return to their homeland till this day.

In 582 BC, the southern nation of Israel, called Judah, was taken as slaves to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. After 70 years of exile, God heard the cries of a repentant people languishing in captivity and caused king Cyrus to issue a decree that allowed the people of Judah, called Jews, to return to their homeland. But the Jews, 400 years after they had returned from exile, again forsook their God – this time by going to the extent of crucifying him. In 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, scattering the Jews as exiles all over the world.

But God never for a moment forgot his promise to Abraham regarding his descendants. When Jesus came to the Jews, he made sure the gospel preached to them was also proclaimed to the rest of his chosen nation – the other tribes still exiled in various countries, and now referred as The Lost Sheep of Israel.

‘These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’    Mat 10:5-7

In 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration, granting the Jewish diaspora the right to return to their original homeland in Israel. And thus the nation of Israel was once again on the map of the world. Although named Israel, the modern nation comprises mainly the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and a portion of Levi and possibly Simeon.

The Ten Lost Sheep still await their return to their original homeland. But until then, these tribes of northern Israel have been placed in lands more naturally blessed than any other country in the world. Where are they now?

It is not the purpose of this message to get into an exposition of the migrations of the Lost Tribes. You may read that in my other messages. Suffice to say here, the lost sheep of Israel, to whom Jesus had sent his disciples to preach the gospel, began to land in the British Isles, starting with the immigration of a people called the Anglo-Saxons in the 5th century AD, followed by waves of Vikings into the Isles from AD 800.

‘The arrival of the Anglo-Saxons …is still perceived as an important and interesting event because it is believed to have been a key factor in the identity of the present inhabitants of the British Isles, involving migration on such a scale as to permanently change the population of south-east Britain.’    Catherine Hills, The Origins of the English

The people who settled in the British Isles over the next few centuries flourished and became culturally, materially and socially the most advanced civilization in the world. Between the late 16th and early 18th centuries they also became militarily the world’s mightiest nation. At its height, Britain was the largest empire in history and for over a century it was the foremost global power.

By 1922 the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world’s population at the time. The empire covered almost a quarter of the Earth’s total land area. At its peak, it was often said that ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’, because its span across the globe ensured that the sun was always shining on at least one of its numerous dominions.

Bible-believing preachers from Britain and other Christian nations such as Netherlands went to all the gentile nations, spreading the Gospel that the original disciples of Christ had given them about one and half millennia ago. As a result, Christianity spread into all the nations. So did the Empire’s political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacies.

While the British were holding sway over the whole world, the nation, true to their ancestors’ nature, again began to forget their God who had given them all their glory and global dominance. The nation’s sense of morality began to decline. The chosen race again wanted a say in their choice of gods.

A group of earnest Bible believers realized that their country was becoming an unGodly nation. Looking for a new start in a new world, one hundred Puritans boarded a ship in 1620, and after a voyage of much tribulation, landed on the shores of America on Christmas day the same year. Thus began the rise of yet another global power.

By early 20th century, the sun on the British Empire began setting. With its moral decline, the empire began a corresponding descent into the economic sinkhole. Germany and the United States began to overtake Britain in material wealth. After the two world wars, Great Britain was no more viewed by the world as ‘Great’ and was no longer even a formidable industrial or military power. British India, the empire’s most valuable and populous possession, achieved independence two years after World War 2. Britain was also forced to grant independence to most of her other colonies. The last vestige of colonial greatness ended with the political transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Today, Britain is literally in a pathetic state of unglory in terms of national pride. Even its so-called ‘crown jewels’ – the corporate icons of a nation’s glorious achievements – had to be sold off to the gentiles for its survival.

‘The scale of what is happening is truly breathtaking. No other economy is as open as Britain’s or makes takeovers so easy’.    The Guardian

Here are a few cases of tumbling national pride:

Airport and Seaport sectors: BAA (British Airports Authority) was sold off to the Spanish construction giant Grupo Ferrovial. London’s Independent called the $19 billion deal ‘the most dramatic example yet of the way in which strategic UK assets are falling to overseas bidders’. Many considered BAA one of Britain’s crown jewels because it owns and operates airports that handle 63 percent of travelers going in and out of Britain. Besides providing jobs for thousands of employees, BAA has played a strategic role facilitating the movement of goods and people into and out of Britain and around the world. In essence, BAA was the keeper for the United Kingdom’s air gates. P&O, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, was purchased by Dubai Ports World.

Automotive: Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar, MG Rover, Mini Cooper, are now all foreign owned. (The tragic irony is that Rolls-Royce, now owned by Germany’s BMW, is the company that produced the engine that powered the World War II Spitfire fighter that was so effective in combating the German BMW-built aircraft.)

Electricity and Gas: npower, Britain’s third-largest energy supplier, was bought by German energy giant RWE Power. Another German energy giant, E.On is already Britain’s second-largest electricity and gas provider. EDF Energy, the French state-owned energy giant, is Britain’s fifth-largest electricity and gas provider. Britain’s largest gas utility, Centrica, was sold to Russian state-owned Gazprom. (Gazprom is the company that cut off the gas supply to Ukraine and consequently much of Europe some years ago in what was seen as a political spat between the two governments.)

Nuclear Power Generation: British Energy, UK’s largest electricity generation company by volume, was taken over by Électricité de France. British Energy operated eight former UK state-owned nuclear power stations and one coal fired power station. British Nuclear Fuels, the British state-owned nuclear power manufacturer, sold its power station construction arm, Westinghouse, to Japan’s Toshiba corporation. Engineers and scientists attacked the sell-off for ‘robbing Britain of new-build expertise’.

Water: Britain’s largest water utility, Thames Water, taken over earlier by Germans, was sold to Australia’s Kemble Water Limited, with shares owned by China Investment Corporation and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Thames Water supplies water and wastewater services to millions of Britons and other customers around the globe.

Finance: Abbey National, Britain’s sixth-largest bank and second-largest mortgage lender, was purchased by Spain’s Banco Santander. Another British bank, Alliance & Leicester PLC, was acquired by the Spanish Santander Group. Even the London Stock Exchange, the largest in Europe and the third-largest in the world, has to fight off hostile takeover attempts such as by Nasdaq.

P&O Cruises’ MV Aurora alongside at Dubrovnik, Croatia. P&O was purchased by Dubai Ports World.

I have mentioned only the critical industries where Britain’s crown jewels had to be either pawned or auctioned off. Other sell-offs may not affect national security, but they are all pride-shattering as well – from KitKat to Harry Ramsden’s, Britain’s largest fish and chips chain; from HP sauce to the Body Shop; from Manchester United to Beefeater gin; from Harrods to Savoy; and much more!

Governments in the gentile nations, on the contrary, restrict foreign takeovers. Nations like Germany, France and Spain fight to protect their strategic industry from foreign hands. But the British apparently lack that basic sense of loyalty and pride in the crown jewels of their home country.

‘British politicians of all parties, unlike their continental equivalents, could not care less if British industry…is foreign-owned.’    Times Online

Britain’s leaders are silent about this shocking sell-offs to foreigners, including former enemies. The Guardian says the lack of outcry from the government is because, ‘apart from the US, no other economy needs the inflow of overseas cash so acutely. Britain’s industrial and financial jewels are being auctioned to pay for a record trade deficit…With no end to the trade deficit in sight, the auction will go on until the cupboard is bare…Britain is being sold off at a rate unprecedented in modern times…Yet there is no debate; scarcely an eyebrow is raised. In any other country there would be uproar…With this rate of takeover, within a generation most British workers outside the public sector will be working for foreign companies. The scale of what is happening is truly breathtaking compared with even five years ago.’

And that warning by Guardian was in 2006!

For Little Britain, the loss of ownership of these companies is even more than a security or economic concern – it is a sign that the nation is in its last throes, and that the ‘times of the gentiles’ have begun, according to the unfailing prophecies in the Bible.

Rolls Royce – Britain’s jewel of pride, sold off to Germany.

As the 19th century was the century of Britain’s greatness, the 20th century was the period in which America became the world’s undisputed leading global power in every respect. But American too started following in the steps of her elder sister Britain. It’s become even more idolatrous and its harlotry even more shocking.

‘Son of man, there were two women, daughters of the same mother. They became prostitutes…The older was named Oholah, and her sister was Oholibah. They were mine…Oholah engaged in prostitution while she was still mine…Her sister Oholibah saw this, yet in her lust and prostitution she was more depraved than her sister…I saw that she too defiled herself…But she carried her prostitution still further.’    Ezek 23:2-14

Billy Graham said that America’s greatest sin was illicit sex. And he also stated something I repeat in total affirmation:  ‘If God doesn’t come soon and bring judgment upon the United States, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!’2

We can know from the Scriptures that the nation of America, along with the rest of the Lost Sheep of Israel, is more guilty of adultery against their God than any other nation in history. Here are two verses that prove that.

‘But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.’    Mat 24:37-39

In the last days, the spiritual state of the nations chosen by God would be like that of the world just before it perished in the Deluge in Noah’s time.

But its punishment is greater than what Noah’s generation had to suffer.

‘For then there will be great tribulation, such as has NOT been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.’    Mat 24:21 [Emphasis mine]

Obviously, the greater the sin, the greater the punishment.

So filthy is the moral state of the so-called Christian nations today that even pagan people in other nations who have not known the true God despise America and her sister nations for their depravity.

‘Remember the days when you were putting on airs, acting so high and mighty, looking down on sister Sodom? That was before your evil ways were exposed. And now you’re the butt of contempt, despised by the Edomite women, the Philistine women, and everybody else around. But you have to face it, to accept the shame of your obscene and vile life.’   Ezek 16:56-58

For one, I have not yet heard of any non Bible-holding nation officially sanctioning gay marriages – a nauseating abomination to God! Worse, there are even mainstream Christian churches that take a soft, neutral stand on this issue, not to mention the many false churches of the synagogue of Satan that call themselves ‘pro-gay’.

‘You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.’    Lev 18:22

The nations called by God to be a model to other nations, when their sins are greater than those of the nations they are supposed to be a light to, then surely we can expect a swift and terrible penalty on them. America has already become seriously sick as a consequence of her sins, but she refuses to acknowledge it.

‘I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me…the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faints. From the sole of the feet even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.’    Is 1:2,5-6

Every facet of Western civilization is on the brink of total collapse. Already, the US is tottering on the edge of economic depression such as never happened in its history – an economic collapse from which it will never recover, unlike the Great Depression of the 1930s. Wise economists are crying out their warnings. But the nation prefers to listen to the soothing words of its false seers.

If you haven’t yet, please read my message ‘America – the Unthinkable Is Poised to Happen’, where I mentioned that the economist Robert Wiedemer has stated that ‘the people in Washington have failed miserably’. Wiedemer had predicted America’s four-bubble meltdown in the housing, stock, private debt, and consumer spending markets that almost sunk America in 2008. But his predictions were pooh-poohed by the more reputable economists such as former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his successor Ben Bernanke. Wiedemer now warns of far greater troubles for the nation in the next very few years.

But is America paying attention? The Scripture doesn’t give us much hope for the chosen nation as a whole. But on an individual level, you and your family can be protected from the sooncoming endtime events that will bring terrible suffering upon all mankind, starting with the Great Tribulation of the nations that had betrayed God.

‘Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.’    Luke 21:36

While the good times of the chosen nations are swiftly ending, the gentiles are rising with a domino effect in all the continents with a speed greater than did Britain and US. The gentile nations began their quick ascend on the world scene with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economic rise of the BRICS nations, and above all the rise of the European Union – soon to be a political union, according to prophecy.

In his book, The Great Super Cycle, David Skarica says:

‘The U.S. ‘empire’ is undergoing a tectonic shift of gravity. As when Great Britain lost its empire in the 1940s and ’50s as the world’s economic power shifted to the United States, America now is facing the same dramatic axis shift to Asian economic powers such as China and India.’

America has betrayed its Maker more blatantly than any other of the chosen nations. So flagrant is America’s rebellion against their God that the nation officially banned prayer in all its schools since 1962. No kid is allowed in their premises to thank the One who gave them every blessing. I read a case of a child getting into trouble with the school authorities for even praying over her food. They dont want God to be in their schools. But, funnily they assumed that once God is out, the devil too will stay out. Is it any coincidence that public schools in America are increasingly becoming the devil’s playground for shooting deaths. Here are what some thinking people are saying:

‘American political figures, such as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, as well as Bryan Fischer, a director in the American Family Association, have stated that the removal of school prayer from schools has led to increased school shootings.’    Wikipedia

‘A recent statistical analysis by David Barton graphically illustrates how America has plummeted from righteous living, prosperity and success in the last quarter century. Consider the following chart compiled from his study, America: To Pray or Not to Pray…As you might have already noticed on Mr. Barton’s graph, America’s moral decline rapidly accelerated following one event – the U.S. Supreme Court’s removal of prayer from our nation’s schools. On June 25, l962, 39 million students were forbidden to do what they and their predecessors had been doing since the founding of our nation – publicly calling upon the name of the Lord at the beginning of each school day. The New York school children which prompted the Engel vs. Vitale ruling had simply prayed: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and beg Thy blessing over us, our parents, our teachers and our nation.”

‘America has experienced radical decline in each of the four areas which the children’s prayer touched upon: youth, family, education, national life…By the judicial act of forbidding invocation, the Court audaciously elevated a secularized system of education beyond the authority, reach and blessing of God Himself. Worse than taking the Lord’s sacred name in vain is treating it with contempt, denying it its rightful place and stripping it from public use and even from the lips of children. Jesus’ own expressed desire, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them” was also violated by these judges, many of whom were raised in Christian homes.’    forerunner.com

God is no more in America’s schools. He is no more in any of America’s institutions. He is no more going out with US armies anywhere. The Vietnam War was the first indication that God is no more the rear guard of his chosen people’s armies. The blessings that Britain and US have been enjoying for hundreds of years started evaporating since the past four or five decades. Very soon – and I am almost sure that I will see it with my own eyes – the descendants of Abraham are once more going into captivity as slaves.

The Times of the Gentiles will end and the Times of Israel revive only when Christ returns and, one last time, rescues his people from their captivity among the Gentile nations.

China is in the lead among the rising gentile nations.

Before I close, I want to pass on to you a little more understanding about the ‘Times of the Gentiles’.

Israel turned away from God and did not fulfill their purpose of being a light to the gentiles. Now, God is giving the chance to the gentiles. Ironically, it is through the gentiles that God will turn Israel back to him. Paul summarizes the role of Israel and Gentiles in God’s plan:

‘I ask, then, has God rejected his own people, the nation of Israel? Of course not!…No, God has not rejected his own people, whom he chose from the very beginning…Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it…For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. And if the people of Israel turn from their unbelief, they will be grafted in again, for God has the power to graft them back into the tree…

‘I want you to understand this mystery, dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…

‘Many of the people of Israel are now enemies of the Good News, and this benefits you Gentiles. Yet they are still the people he loves because he chose their ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…Once, you Gentiles were rebels against God, but when the people of Israel rebelled against him, God was merciful to you instead…Now they are the rebels, and God’s mercy has come to you so that they, too, will share in God’s mercy….For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone…Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!’    Rom 11:1-33 NLT

 

Pappa Joseph

 

1 Please read ‘How to Understand Bible Prophecies for Today’ for understanding on this subject.
2 This statement frequently attributed to Billy Graham, actually originated with his wife, Ruth, during a review of her husband’s manuscript for his book, World Aflame, published in 1965. He had just finished a chapter vividly describing the sinful conditions in America, and gave it to Ruth to read. She was very much sobered by the writing and returned the document to the study where he was writing and laid it on his desk, saying, ‘Billy, if God doesn’t come soon and bring judgment upon the United States, He’s going to have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!’ The account was recalled briefly as an illustration in a message by Dr. James Kennedy (pastor, Coral Ridge Presbyterian, Fort Lauderdale, Florida), entitled ‘Prayer and the World Crisis’, at the National Prayer Congress, Dallas, Texas in 1976. The statement has frequently been requoted by many others since that time.

 

 

How to Understand Bible Prophecies for Today

 

Almost one-third of the Bible is prophecy. According to one Bible teacher, from whom I received my first prophecy lessons, of that one-third, 90 percent pertains to our generation! But from what I have seen in my study of the Scriptures, the percentage is even more. It is more likely to be 98 or 99 percent, with one or two percent specifically referring to events that happened at the first coming of Christ or events that relate to some ancient nations which do not exist anymore.

The first truth you should know when reading the prophecies is that almost all the prophecies, except the one or two percent that I referred to above, have a dual fulfillment, and several have a threefold or more fulfillments. Let me give you a few examples.

There are about 350 Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled by the life of Jesus Christ when he came in the flesh over 2000 years ago. But except for the very few that speak of events that relate to his birth, betrayal and crucifixion – which are fewer than 10 prophecies (his virgin birth, betrayal by Judas, physical abuse by his enemies, hanging on a cross, the piecing of his side, not a bone of his being broken) – all the other verses that were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming are going to be fulfilled in far greater scope when he comes again. Take this prophecy, for example:

‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’ Gen 3:15

When Jesus died on the cross, he fulfilled the first phase of this prophecy.

‘Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil’   Heb 2:14

But this original, or archetypal, fulfillment foreshadows something far more universal and absolute in scope that will happen in the endtimes. Satan will once again bruise the heel of Christ’s body, the Church, with persecutions, but when the Lord returns with power, he is going to crush Satan’s head with a greater force and finality that the devil will never be able to raise his head again to bruise God’s people.

‘And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are [‘had been thrown’ – NIV], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.   Rev 20:10 KJV

Here’s another example:

‘The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.’   Ps 72:10-11

‘Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.’   Mat 2:1,11

The wise men giving gold and other gifts to baby Jesus is only a miniature precursor of what is going to take place when the King of Kings rules in glory on his throne in Jerusalem.

‘Your God has commanded your strength; strengthen, O God, what You have done for us. Because of Your temple at Jerusalem, kings will bring presents to You.’   Ps 68:28-30

‘You have ascended on high, you have led captivity captive; you have received gifts among men, even from the rebellious’   Ps 68:18

An example of a prophecy that has a threefold fulfillment relates to Elijah. There was the original Elijah of ancient Israel, and then there was John, the Elijah during Christ’s first coming, and then there will come yet another Elijah in the end times just before Christ’s second coming.

‘And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist.’   Mat 17:11-13

Another prophecy with a threefold fulfillment is about ruler called the Beast.

‘The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.’   Dan 9:26-27  NIV

The archetypal fulfillment was when the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes desecrated the Second Temple and erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy of Holies.

But this prophecy mainly refers to the king who will come in the endtimes and defile the temple. Jesus’ prophecy was about the endtimes, in answer to the disciples’ question as to what are the signs of his coming and of the end of this age.

‘Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”…Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.’   Mat 24:3,15-16

Antiochus IV Epiphanes is the archetype of a king of similar character in the endtimes, called the ‘Beast’ in Revelation 11:7, and referred to by Paul as the ‘man of lawlessness’ whose coming will precede the return of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:2-4 NIV). But after this beast is destroyed, another world ruler, also called the Beast, will rise to oppress God’s people again, as described in Revelation chapter 13.

That’s the first principle you should remember in studying Bible prophecy. Every prophecy, except for the very few I mentioned earlier, has it greater fulfillment in the last days. The first fulfillment was only a foreshadowing, on a much smaller scale, of sooncoming world events, many, or most, of which will happen in our generation – the generation that is already witnessing several signs of the last days.


Almost all the prophecies have a dual fulfillment, and several have a threefold or more fulfillments.


The second truth is the cyclic rise and wane of nations and empires throughout history – from the rise of the first empire, Babylon, to the destruction of the Beast’s global realm at Christ’s return, and from the beginning of Israel as a nation in the land of Canaan to its final exile and restoration in the last days.

The first empire in history was that of the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar. It was, compared to the empires that would come after, a golden one in glory. When the golden empire waned, it was followed by a silver empire, then a third one like bronze, and finally an empire that’s as strong as iron. (Daniel 2:31-43)

A similar vision is given in Daniel chapter 7, which speaks of a succession of four empires – the first represented by a lion, the second by a bear, the third by a leopard, and the fourth by a dreadfully awesome beast. These two visions saw their first fulfillment in the Chaldean empire,  succeeded by the Medo-Persian, then the Greco-Macedonian Empire led by Alexander, and finally the mightiest of them all, the Roman empire.

The fourth and final empire is itself prophesied to have 10 revivals (Daniel 7:24). In its first reign, Rome took the Jews captive and dispersed them among the nations, until God brought them back as a nation again in 1948 in the modern state of Israel. The Roman empire waxed and waned through the centuries. One of its revivals was under Napoleon, who tried to conquer Britain but was thwarted by the intervention of God.

Napoleon Bonaparte

After Napoleon’s reign ended, there was a period of dormancy for the Roman empire. In the early 20th century, it briefly revived again as the ‘Deutsches Reich’, that is, German Empire, which ended with its defeat at World War 1. It did not rear its iron head for about 20 years, after which it rose again, this time as the ‘Third Reich’ under Adolf Hitler, with the same mission of destroying the chosen people of God. It succeeded in destroying 6 million Jews – about two-thirds of the total Jewish population in Europe, and about one-third worldwide – who had been living peacefully as citizens in Germany and the nearby countries that Germany annexed. When Germany with its ally Japan,  tried to destroy the rest of the chosen nations by attacking Britain and US, God rose again and caused both the German and Japanese empires to be annihilated from the face of the earth, just as they had intended to destroy God’s people.

But the Bible prophesies yet one more revival of the Roman Empire, before it is eternally destroyed by God. The next revival has already begun with the emergence of Germany as the greatest economic force in the European Union, and with Japan, its future ally again, as the greatest in the East. Soon both Germany and Japan will turn their attention to becoming the greatest military forces in the world. And then, the endtime events relating to God’s modern chosen nations will happen in quick succession.

A deep study of the similarities of the nations and the individuals involved in the cyclic world events will reveal some astonishing facts. Just to ignite your own interest in researching prophecy, consider these similarities between the two kings of the revived Roman Empire.

Napoleon Bonaparte sent millions of men to their death without any remorse, in an age where one million people hardly ever lived in a single city, and European countries were composed of only a few million people. Adolf Hitler slaughtered far more millions of people. They both thought and felt alike:

Napoleon: “I shall bury the world beneath my ruin”
Hitler: “We may be destroyed, but, if we are, we’ll drag the world down with us, a world in flames.”

Napoleon: “A man like me cares little about losing the lives of a million men.”
Hitler: “I can send the flower of German youth into the hell of war without the slightest pity.”

In reference to Europe,

Napoleon: “A rotten old whore whom I shall treat as I please”
Hitler: “I had to rape it in order to possess it.”

Adolf Hitler

Also, consider this incredible timing of events in their lives:

Napoleon was born in 1760. Hitler was born in 1889 – 129 years difference.
Napoleon was elected in 1804. Hitler was elected in 1933 – 129 years.

Napoleon captured Vienna in 1809. Hitler captured Vienna in 1938 – 129 years.
Napoleon attacked USSR in 1812. Hitler attacked USSR in 1941- 129 years.

Napoleon was defeated in 1816.
Hitler was defeated in 1945 – 129 years

Both came to power, when they were 44.
Both attacked Russia, when they were 52.
Both lost the war, when they were 56 years old.

Information about the similarities has have been collected from various sources, including ‘Napoleon and Hitler’ by Desmond Seward; ‘Mein Kampf’ by Adolf Hitler; ‘Age of Napoleon’ by J. Christopher Herold.

I don’t know yet the significance of the 129 years difference. It is a number divisible by 7, if that means anything. But the similarities are certainly not coincidental.

Now consider the cyclic rise and fall of another nation, different from all other nations in history.

Israel is delivered from slavery in Egypt, and settled in the Promised Land. After some years of obedience, they forget their covenant with their God, and their hearts turn to other gods.  God removes his protection from them and they are attacked by enemies. They repent, and God sends them judges to deliver them. These happens repeatedly (read Judges) until they start committing wickedness on such national scale and of such depravity, which includes burning their infants alive to appease their new gods, that God completely withdraws from this nation. Israel is taken as slaves by the Assyrians, and eventually they become ‘lost’ among the nations, and come to be known as the ‘Lost Sheep of Israel’.

The tribe of Judah, known as the Jews, however, continues to exist as a nation for some more time. When their sin becomes great, they are conquered by Nebuchadnezzar and taken captives to Babylon. The first temple at Jerusalem is also destroyed. After 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the nation repents and God allows them to return to Jerusalem. They build the second temple and submit to their God for a while. Then it happens again, they sin terribly, and the nation, along with the temple, is destroyed by the Romans. In 1948, Jews are again able to return to their homeland Judah, although the country is now officially known as Israel.

As for the lost tribes of Israel, there are churches that believe that the modern day descendants of ancient Israel can be historically traced. According to their view – a view which I personally strongly endorse – the lost tribes of Israel who had been taken captive by the Assyrians, continued to live among the nations until around the fifth century, when they began to flourish in Europe, and especially, in the British Isles. They were mainly known as the Angles and Saxons.

It is beyond the scope of this message to give you historical proofs that the Anglo-Saxons, along with the Celts, Danes, and some other races, are the descendants of ancient Israel. Some evidence is available with a few churches that believe this, and you may search them online. Presently, I will base my evidence on what happened to the Anglo-Saxons in the light of Bible prophecies.

Let me caution you at the outset that if you are going to base your beliefs about the identity of the descendants of ancient Israel purely on historical records, you may be getting into a lot of controversial theories and counter theories. I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt – my conviction being based on the prophetic events being fulfilled today among these peoples –  that the nations I mentioned above, who are settled in UK, US, Canada, France, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Australia, and a few other nations, today are the descendants of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel. That is, just as God’s prophecies were fulfilled by what happened to ancient Israel, they are fulfilled in what has happened, what is happening, and what will soon happen to these modern nations.

For your enlightenment consider these parallels between ancient Israel and the modern nations I mentioned.

First, consider the calling of the nations. God called out a slave people from Egypt and made them his own nation. He went before their armies and miraculously delivered them from their enemies. Above all, he gave them the way of life which would ensure their continued blessings. This way is based on The 10 Commandments which God gave to Israel through Moses. As long as they submitted to Yahweh and his commandments and acknowledged him as their only Lord and God, they fared well. When they forsook God to indulge in harlotry with the idols of other nations, they began to wane, until, when their sin reached incorrigible proportions, they ceased to exist as a nation. The became lost among the other nations.

Then, around the 6th century, a people began to rise in Britain. They quickly advanced in their civilization like no other nation since ancient Israel. They became the world’s greatest empire ever, stretching from one end of the earth to the other. Even as this empire was expanding, another people from within the British empire, left homeland and settled in anther continent. This nation soon became an even greater world power than Great Britain. This new world power comprised a multitude or union of peoples, and came to be known as the United States of America, with a population presently about three times larger than that of Britain.

‘his [Ephraim’s] descendants shall become a multitude of nations’.   Gen 48:19

‘They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.’   Deut 33:17

These two nations were given the very choicest of lands to settle in. From Britain, France, and Scandinavia to America, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. A land flowing with milk and honey, and abundance of oil and metals, and every other resource they need so they dont have to depend on imports from any pagan nations.

Strangely, for reasons not explained by any mainstream Christian churches, these very nations also had the same holy Scriptures that ancient Israel had, and they also acknowledged the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The British and US constitutions are based on the same Scriptures that ancient Israel was governed by.

The founding fathers trusted God to protect their nations, and therefore Britain and the US were always protected from their enemies, including their attackers in the two world wars. Here is just one example of how God protected his people by repressing the enemy’s attempts and assisting his people’s efforts in war.

In 1939, during the early stages of World War II, a large contingent of British soldiers where trapped in Dunkirk, a town on the coast of France adjacent to the English Channel. They possessed no means of crossing the Channel, and the Germans pursued close behind. If caught, the soldiers would be forced to surrender, and England and the allies would lose hundreds of thousands of valuable troops. As news reached Britain, a plan was formulated to evacuate the British soldiers back to England. Hundreds of ships, including many small boats, crossed the channel to do their part and help the men of England. Miraculously, while the men were being evacuated from May 25 to June 3, foggy weather inhibited the efforts of the German Luftwaffe. However, in the channel, which normally had notoriously bad weather, the waters were calm, allowing for quick evacuation. By June 3rd, 338,226 men were evacuated from Dunkirk. Without the men saved at Dunkirk, World War II might have had a very different outcome.

God always went before his nations’ armies.

But again, as in ancient Israel, these chosen nations began to be so surfeited in their abundance of blessings, that, like overfed stallions and bull elephants on heat, they began to lust after their neighbors’ wives. The nation became guilty of harlotry against their God, more than her pagan neighbors. They descended so low that their sin was greater than that of Sodom and Gomorrah.

These chosen nations began to legalize homosexuality. Some of the churches that claim the God of the Bible as their Lord, even began to ordain gay priests. Their lives became so decadent that God again withdrew in disgust from a nation that did not want him in their lives anyway.

Beginning with the Vietnam war, God stopped going out with modern Israel’s armies. Even US’s so-called victory over an impoverished second-rate military power like Iraq, has ended in ignominy, with her own people condemning the war and calling it a great mistake.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, the pagan nations began to acquire the wealth and power that once belonged to Britain and America (please see my message ‘The “Times of the Gentiles” Has Begun’).

The chosen nations’ first major devastation by their enemies was the fall of the Twin Towers, which symbolized US dominance over the world’s markets. Far greater catastrophes have been prophesied for the coming years, and I urge you in the Lord’s name to be daily aware of the latest happenings in America and her kin nations in the West. Watch the world news channels. For a Biblical perspective on world happenings, read my other messages in this section.

World Trade Center on 9/11 shortly after the second tower had collapsed.   Courtesy: Wally Gobetz (flickr.com/photos/wallyg/159454993/)

Finally, to understand Bible prophecy, you should understand which are the nations God refers to today when he uses the names of ancient nations and cities in his prophecies for the endtimes.

Jacob – Refers to all the 12 tribes descended from Jacob, which today are found in Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other Bible-holding nations of the West (though they may not acknowledge it as their spiritual authority anymore), and a few Catholic nations, especially France.

‘For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with eastern ways; they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they are pleased with the children of foreigners.’   Is 2:6

Israel, depending on the context of the Scripture, may refer to the 12 tribes, or the 10 tribes (without Judah and Benjamin).

‘For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel, and settle them in their own land. The strangers will be joined with them, and they will cling to the house of Jacob.’   Is 14:1

More specifically, Israel refers to the descendants of Joseph – Manasseh and Ephraim – who are the English speaking nations today: UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. Jacob, whose name was also Israel, when blessing the sons of Joseph, declared that these two tribes will be known by his own name.

‘Bless the lads [the sons of Joseph]; Let my name be named upon them’   Gen 48:16

The British and US constitutions are based on the same Scriptures that ancient Israel was governed by.

Great Britain and the former British Commonwealth, which included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, where the Queen is or was the official head of state, inherited the blessings of Manasseh. The US became modern Ephraim, even greater than Britain.

‘His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns like the horns of the wild ox; together with them he shall push the peoples to the ends of the earth; they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.’   Deut 33:17

‘He [Manasseh] also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations…And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.’   Gen 48:19-20

France is Reuben. This nation has always tried to be a world power, but could never excel over Britain or US or match their political stability because the eldest son of Jacob deprived himself of this honor by defiling his father’s bed.

‘Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it’   Gen 49:3-4

Judah and Benjamin, along with a good percentage of Simeon, are the tribes that are now settled in modern Israel.

The endtime characteristics of the other chosen nations are given in Genesis 49. Apart from the few nations I have identified, I am not venturing in this message to identify the other nations. But it is the descendants of the nations that I have identified – the English-speaking nations, France, and modern Israel – that will play the key roles in the prophecies relating to the God’s chosen nations in the end times. All the tribes of Israel will be caught up in what happens to these leading nations.

‘And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the LAST DAYS’   Gen 49:1 Emphasis mine

Assyria is Germany. Gog and Magog are the nations of the former Soviet Union, China Mongolia, and, possibly, Korea. Moab and Ammon are the peoples in Iraq, Palestine and Jordan. Kedar refers to the Bedouin Arabs in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries. Kush is Sudan, and, possibly, India.

Many nations still retain their Biblical names, such as Egypt, Libya, Syria, Ethiopia, Persia (which is also referred to as Elam).

Now to the spiritual identifies of some nations today.

‘Babylon’ refers today to the system by which governments run their societies, especially the commercial aspect.

‘Egypt’ in a spiritual sense refers to the governments themselves. Egypt is the government that gives power to Babylon to run society, including powers to regulate religious freedom. In the last days, just before Christ comes, this relationship between Egypt and Babylon will see its greatest fulfillment in the relationship between the two ‘beasts’.

‘Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast’   Rev 13:11-12

Israel refers, in the New Covenant, to all the people called to Christ from every nation. Those who are not Israel are the Gentiles.

Samaria refers to the leadership of Israel, the shepherds who are responsible for the nation’s actions.

Jerusalem refers to the shepherds, that is, the priests, the pastors and other leaders over God’s flock, the Christians.

Zion refers to the bornagain believers in God’s church.

Jews, in the New Covenant, refer to Christians born again in Christ.

‘For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.’   Rm 2:28-29

‘I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.’   Rev 2:9

Many of the identities of the present-day nations will become increasingly evident as the prophecies relating to them begin to unfold. Many have been revealed by God, many are yet to be revealed. Continue to watch world events regularly, and seek to understand them in the light of Bible prophecies. To the extent you earnestly desire it in your heart, God will make plan to you what’s happening today, and you can understand prophecies more clearly than the great theologians and preachers in Christianity who believe the ancient prophecies have little relevance for today.

God bless your study of the prophecies in the Bible so you can be better prepared for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Pappa Joseph