Sunday, January 31, 2016

What is the darkness that is outside? 521-2 - 20 - 4

While I don’t think this is the darkness referred to in this discussion question, it is a favorite. John 1:5, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”
Following God’s command “And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days” Exodus 10:22
While we may not yet be into the darkness that can be felt as in the darkness of the 9th plague of Egypt, darkness is encroaching. Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
While I don’t really understand it, there are several passages where God is wrapped in a different kind of darkness. When the Ten Commandment were given the people were afraid they would die if God spoke to them directly, so Moses became their mediator just as Jesus is our mediator.
Exodus 20:20-22, “20, And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not. 21, And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was. 22, And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.”
And again in darkness, 1 Kings 8:11-12, “11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. 12, Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.” And in 2 Chronicles 6:1, “Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.” Darkness here is Strong’s H6205, gloom as of a lowering sky – a gross, thick dark cloudiness. Perhaps the darkness is because there is no illumination except the glory of God Himself.
So what is the darkness that is outside, the darkness of Exodus 10:22? Darkness that can be felt is referenced in Matthew and Revelation.
Matthew 8:12, “But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Darkness, Strong’s G4655, shadiness, that is, obscurity, literally or figuratively. The Jewish authority had rejected Jesus, however, a centurion recognized that like him, Jesus was a man under authority.
Matthew 22:13, “Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Here the wedding guest was not prepared as he didn’t have the proper wedding garment and was subject to the terrible pronouncement,  Matthew 22:14, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Darkness, Strong’s G4655, shadiness, that is, obscurity, literally or figuratively
Revelation 16:10, “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,” Darkness here is Strong’s number G4656, to obscure or blind, literally or figuratively - be full of darkness.
To me, this outer darkness would be the absence of God, to know that for all of eternity you are in a place of utter darkness and will never behold the glory of Jesus. This would cause a great burning of the soul and an unfathomable regret.

What are the purposes of the offerings during the Millennium? 521-2 - 20 - 5

Genesis 3:7, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”
It all started in the garden. Man tried to cover his sins by his own effort by creating covering.
Genesis 3:21, “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
This was a demonstration of the requirement of blood sacrifice as an atonement for sin. This was a temporary atonement and had to be repeated again and again by the sacrifice of animals. A few thousands years later Jesus was the ultimate blood sacrifice and cried from the cross “It is finished.” We are covered by grace through the blood of Jesus if we place our trust in Him. No further blood sacrifices are required, just a reminder of our gratitude for our saving grace provided by Jesus.
Before addressing the issue of the purposes of offerings during the Millennium what of during the tribulation period. The third Temple is to be built/ rebuilt and the blood sacrifices started once more. The final and blasphemous blood offering will be a pig on the altar in the temple by the antichrist. After that will start the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation, the period known as both the great tribulation and the time of Jacob’s troubles.
In this time of Grace while the Church is still on the earth there is a tremendous outcry when there is any abuse of animals. With thanks to Facebook, this comment in a newspaper reflects the thinking of some who don’t associate the killing of animals with putting meat on the table. As offensive as some people find this, I can only imagine their reaction when animal sacrifices start up in the third Temple.

My understanding of the millennium is rather limited but I believe that Jews in the millennium will be followers of Yeshua/ Jesus. Just as blood sacrifices in history were looking forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus, blood sacrifices during the millennium will be looking back in reverence to that sacrifice.
Perhaps blood sacrifices will have relevance for those born to Messianic Jews who survived the Tribulation. Tradition often persists possibly out of habit. That said, I really do not understand why there will be blood sacrifices in the millennium when to me celebrating the Lord’s Supper looks back to the sacrifice of Jesus.

What judgments will God bring upon the nations that oppose Him and His people? 519-1 - 11 - 5

Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” [KJV]
Lessons not learned by “World Leaders,” God says what He means and means what He says. Nations who opposed God and his chosen people have and will continue to come under God’s judgment. Just a few examples follow.
I remember studying world history in high school in hearing the expression that for centuries the sun never set on the British Empire.
As result of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 a considerable amount of land was set aside for a Jewish Palestinian homeland. In 1923 the British took 75% of this land to form the Arab Palestinian Nation of Trans-Jordan. Of course the Arabs have been trying to drive the Jews out of the remaining 25% designated as Palestine.
The Divison Of The Mandate For Palestine
Perhaps it was their treatment of Israel that was due in large part to the fact that the sun now set on the British Empire.
Just as Hitler did in Germany there was a concerted effort in America in the 1930s to denigrate and exclude Jews from mainstream America. Camp Siegfried, a direct link to Hitler and the Nazis was located in Yaphank, Long Island.
Without warning, the Great New England/ Long Island Express Hurricane of 1938, hurricane slammed into Long Island and southern New England. This powerful Category 3 Hurricane was the most destructive storm to strike the region in the 20th century causing 600 deaths and devastating coastal cities and towns. 
In more recent years here in the United States several presidents from both parties have bullied Israel to give up land that not only did God say was their covenant land but land that they also won after being attacked. 
There was "The Perfect Storm" in 1991.  During the Madrid Peace Process, President Bush senior was very clear that Israel was required to surrender parts of the covenant land for peace.  Interestingly enough, President H. W. Bush own home was affected by the storm.
Starting in early August 2005 and continuing through September, the United States put enormous pressure on Israel to withdraw from twenty-one settlements in Gaza and four in Samaria.  The Gaza Disengagement and the formation of Hurricane Katrina, coincidence? I think not.
Both Israel and the United States have suffered through seven years of the Obama administration as Obama and his minions denigrate and undermine Israel. The push for Israel to give more land for peace has only intensified under Obama. As with giving up Gaza, giving up land for peace only brings missile launching sites closer to Israel. Obama and Sec. Kerry were catering to Iran as this country was buried under winter storm Jonah.
Obama Joins Israel Boycott, Labels West Bank Goods
"The U.S. is now requiring goods originating from the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) to be labeled separately from products from the rest of Israel, following the European Union’s crackdown on products from the disputed territories."
I wonder what’s next on God’s agenda to bring judgment on America for the way our politicians are treating Israel.
The for the rest of the world, there is still the expected fulfillment of Isaiah 17:1, Psalm 83 and the Gog Magog War.

My thoughts concerning God’s view of the United States 519-1 - 11 - 7

I suspect that God’s view of the United States is that we have reached a new low and that he will continue dropping His hedge of protection this country has enjoyed since its inception.
The pagans sacrificed babies on the altar to Baal and Hitler and his minions were responsible for the death of 6 million Jews which would have included thousands of children and baby. Horrific as this is it pales in comparison to the destruction of more than 50 million of the unborn in this country alone. Worshiping at the altar of Baal has been replaced by worshiping at the altar of choice and the altar of the Theory of Evolution.
Not only have millions of baby been aborted, Planned Parenthood was caught on tape taking order for aborted baby parts. And in this upside down world in which good is called bad and bad is called good the producers of the videos have been indicted and face the possibility of prison. Meanwhile the hucksters at Planned Parenthood are defended by the liberals.
Same-sex marriage has been approved in United States and business people have been sued for refusing to supply products and/ or a place for these marriages by holding to their Christian beliefs.
Sec. Kerry and the POTUS are denigrating and undermining Israel. Our leaders don’t seem to realize that every time we harm God’s chosen people we suffer for it. We are once again trying to get Israel to agree to give up part of Jerusalem. God has had/ has a lot to say about Jerusalem not being divided and very well may have gifted us with super winter storm Jonah.
What passes for entertainment in this country is often demonic, sexually explicit and a celebration of evil. I couldn’t resist posting my critique of the new series Lucifer on Facebook tonight.
After all the media hype concerning the upcoming series on Fox, Lucifer, I watched it. Even though the production was disparaged by a number of Christian organizations, the hounds of Hades didn't seem to be pursuing me.
It was a rather entertaining show, however, also off-color. The storyline is that Lucifer has taken a vacation from his duties of managing Hades. Lucifer drives a spiffy convertible and either owns or manages a strip bar where the barmaid is one of his demonic minions.
A demonic angel pursues Lucifer and tries to get him to return to his duties in Hades. Meanwhile, Lucifer seems to be developing some empathy towards humans. Lucifer assists a female police detective in solving the murder of a woman known to Lucifer.
Lucifer feel somewhat responsible for the murder of this woman and he is intent on bringing the murderer to justice. Who would think, Lucifer and justice, well he is known as the accuser. At the end of the show Lucifer is seeing a psychiatrist.
 My prediction for the end game is that God will allow Lucifer to become a re-deemed human being. Lucifer will then marry the detective and the demonic angel will be promoted to Lucifer’s old position of being in charge of Hades.
While the show was non-biblical and blasphemous, perhaps the powers that be at Fox are picking up on the possibility of redemption when dealing with a forgiving and loving God. That said, I can safely assume that redemption will never apply to the Archangel Lucifer. Lucifer and redemption, an oxymoron.
Hopefully the redemption of the United States is still possible. However, like Lucifer and redemption, the United States and redemption seems to be more and more an oxymoron.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bible study on the word “stone”.and Jesus is our “precious corner stone, a sure foundation” 519-1 - 10 - 4

Numbers 20:8, "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.”
Moses was to speak to the rock, a type of Jesus. In frustration due to the murmuring of the people Moses struck the rock twice with Aaron’s rod in disobedience to God. In this passage Strong’s H5553 includes rock as a fortress or a stronghold. This rock, a type of Jesus, our fortress, our stronghold and the provider of Living Water.
Isaiah 28:15 refers to a covenant with death that Israel made by depending on Egypt to protect her from the Assyrians. Some commentators equate that covenant with death as being indicative of a future pact between Israel and the antichrist.
Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.”
Israel placed her trust in Egypt which represents the world rather than depending on God. Looking forward, Jesus is our precious corner stone, our firm foundation. In Isaiah 28:17, our righteous judge who will sweep away lies and reliance on false/ other protection.
The precious corner stone is picked up again in 1 Peter 2:6, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, .Precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” BTW, I unintentionally made a pun.
Just as Israel rejected God in favor of Egypt, 1 Peter 2:7 Jesus was the precious stone “which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,”
“The word translated cornerstone in this passage may be understood in at least three ways, and each applies with equal validity and force to the Lord Jesus.” [Believer’s Bible Commentary]
1 Peter 2:8, “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” Here Jesus is the stone of stumbling to unbelievers, harkening back to Isaiah 8:14-15..
Matthew 7:24-25 speaks to a house built upon a rock, the floods came and the wind blew and beat upon the house but it stood just as our faith does when it is built on Jesus, the precious corner stone, a sure foundation.
Ephesians 2:20-21 should put to rest any claims by the Roman Catholic Church that Peter was the rock that Jesus built His church upon
Ephesians 2:20-21, “20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord”
Scripture from KJV

The purpose of prophesy is not “divining” the future 519-1 - 10 - 5

Fortunetellers, astrologers, Tarot card readers and others of their ilk try to read the future usually with dismal results. However, there have been some very well-known individual who seem to have some luck reading the future such as Nostradamus and Edgar Casey, the sleeping prophet. Nostradamus was said to have predicted the rise and fall of Hitler in part by his use of the word Hister.
Jean Dixon achieved considerable notoriety and authored a syndicated newspaper astrology column for years. Ms. Dixon had many well-known followers of her advice.
Medians claim to channel the departed, a practice strictly prohibited by the Bible. Conjuring up the prophet Samuel really didn’t work out very well for King Saul
Millions start their day by reading the various astrology columns. In my opinion, card readers are reading their customers face rather than the cards. Usually a few vague comments are made by the psychic and she will study and be guided by her customer’s body language. There are 900 numbers where you can talk to a psychic day and night. Since the reader can’t see the her customers face over the phone she listens for nuances in the voice.
 I have Direct TV which carries several religious channels. While there are some good programs, most feature tele-evangelists of the name it and claim it prosperity orientation. Several call themselves prophets apparently not remembering what payment was extracted in biblical times for false prophets.
So what does all this so called prophecy have to do with glorifying God? Nothing! These individuals glorify themselves and many make a very good living doing so. I’ve suggested to friends that rather than going to a fortuneteller just quiet your mind and keep it stayed upon God. 1 Chronicles 16:9-11, “9 Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. 10 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord. 11 Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.”
So where does prophecy glorify God? The prophets of the Old Testament had a 100% rate of success. The prophets were not speaking in their own behalf, rather they were taking a sort of dictation from God himself. As the prophecies were/ are being fulfilled we are reminded that God says what he means and means what he says. To God is the glory!
2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”

How do you see Genesis 16:12 working out today? What of the 12th Imam? 521-2 - 19 - 4

Genesis 16:12 As a man, he’ll be uncontrollable.[a] He’ll[b] be against everyone, everyone will be against him,[c]and he’ll live in conflict with[d] all of his relatives.” [ISV]
ISV Footnotes:
Genesis 16:12 Lit. be a wild donkey; i.e., stubborn, volatile, and highly resistant to being tamed.
Genesis 16:12 Lit. His hand will
Genesis 16:12 Lit. against his hand
Genesis 16:12 Lit. in the face of [ISV]
Genesis 16:12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. [KJV]
Genesis 16:12 is certainly working itself out today. Past dictators of various Muslim countries committed human rights violation against their own people including the use of chemical weapons. During the time of POTUS George Bush Saddam Hussein was captured and executed. Then came the Arab Spring.
“Arab Spring refers to the democratic uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011. The movement originated in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly took hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.”
"Qaddafi Warned Tony Blair of Coming ISIS Invasion: Obama Ordered Qaddafi’s Murder” By Geri Ungurean"
In my opinion, Islamic eschatology is more complicated than the anticipated arrival of the 12th Imam. The Hatfield and McCoy’s have nothing on those competing for power in the Islam faith. Starting in 656, only 24 years after the death of the Prophet Mohammed, there was competition within the Muslim Ummah (nation, people, community) between the followers of Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law Ali and the Umayyad clan led by a general Muawiyah. So one of the fundamental differences between the Sunni and Shi’a lines of the Islamic tradition is the role given to the family of the Prophet Mohammed and to his descendants in general.
Born in the 10th Century Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam, was the final Imam in his line. He, the Twelfth Imam survived attempts on his life by withdrawing/ being hidden from the world possibly residing in a well. Allah will recall him to usher in the End of Days.
As an aside, those of the Hashemite Dynasty in Jordan are descendants of the Prophet from another line.
To add even more to this stew, there are the Zoroastrians for whom the end of days would bring someone called the Saoshyant (or Astvat-Ereta), who would serve a role similar to the Messiah or Mahdi.
Then there are the Ismai'li Shi'a Muslims, AKA Seveners who had had a living Imam called the Aga Khan. However, Aga Khan lived the lifestyle of the rich and famous in the 20th Century, a no-no.
Regardless of Twelver’s, Seveners or Saoshyant, In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will rule for at least seven years before the Day of Judgment/ Day of Resurrection. During his rule the Mahdi will rid the world of evil, that evil being the non-Muslims, convert, pay a tax or die.
Ahmadinejad of Iran was quoted as saying, "Yes, that’s true. I prayed for the arrival of the 12th Imam." With the resent capitulation of the POTUS and his minions toward a nuclear Iran, the clock to the End of Days was advanced.
It will be interesting to witness how ISIS finally fits in with the Islamic End of Days. 

Ezekiel 38 and 39, headlines lining up with the Bible plus God jealous for His Holy Name 521-2 - 19 - 1

Our world seems to be on a downhill slide to the events prophesied in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39. Just a few resent news stories:
 “Putin asked Assad to step down”
Russia setting up a proxy in Syria?
“When Russia's money runs out, the 'real trouble starts'”
Ezekiel 38:12, Russia to “take a spoil?”
Prior to the Gog Magog war I would expect two major prophecies to be fulfilled. Isaiah 17:1, “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.” In error I expected the destruction of Damascus by Israel three years ago when the Damascus military was mixing chemical weapons that had a 60 day shelf life.
Psalm 83:13-15, “O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; 15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm.” So “stubble before the wind.” The destruction of Damascus?
Psalm 83 is predictive of a future war between Israel and the “inner circle,” her enemies that border her. Bill Salus has written and held seminars on this subject.
Israel will defeat the inner circle of her enemies and then dwell in peace. In peace until the Gog and Magog war. The Gog Magog War will involve Israel’s “outer ring” countries, those not sharing a border with Israel. Here God will supernaturally defeat Israel’s “outer ring” enemies.
There is great interest in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 even by people who know little of Bible prophecies because Ezekiel seems to describe a nuclear confrontation. Thousands of years ago the procedure for identifying hazardous radiation materials and the proper disposal of same was dictated by God Himself.
God is jealous for His Holy Name. In chapter 36, famously known as the Valley of dry bones, God breaths life into Israel and brings her back to her covenant land for His namesake.
Ezekiel 36:23, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” [KJV]
Sanctify is a verb that includes To consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy and set apart. The heathen refers to the Nations (non-Hebrew) and also to a swarm of locusts. [Strong’s]
God keeps His Unconditional Covenants with his chosen people, else He would be a capricious God. With thanks to CM, these include:
The Abrahamic Covenant: Genesis 1 7:7-8
The Land Covenant: Genesis 15:18-21
The Davidic Covenant: 2 Samuel 7:16
The Everlasting Covenant: Genesis 26:3-4
As an aside, God is jealous of His name as Creator. Romans Chapter 1 shares the price paid for denying God as Creator and worshiping at the altar of the theory of evolution. I remember reading in the mid-80s of some dreaded unknown disease spreading across the world. Aids, the price of Homosexuality, was ultimately traced back to an individual man who was a steward on international flights.
Romans 1:25-26, “25, Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26, For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature” [KJV]

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Is the Mormon teaching of Eternal Progression Biblical?

Joseph Smith is often credited with the quotation "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become," however, it is not found in “The Book of Mormon.” Nevertheless this profession of faith is found in other declarations including “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” Doctrine and Covenants 132:20

The Mormon teaching of Eternal Progression, that a man can become a god, contradicts the clear teaching of Scripture that God has no beginning or end and that there is only one God.

Through His prophet Isaiah God makes the statement “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God,” Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me." God further states through the Psalmist, Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” There are many more passages detailing the uniqueness of God including Isaiah 43:10, 44:8, 45:5,14,21,22 and 46:9.

The doctrine of Eternal Progression is promoted through the twisting of specific scriptures such as John 10:34, “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” Jesus was quoting Psalm 82:6, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Digging a little deeper, Psalm 82:7, “But ye shall die like men, and fall (naphal) like one of the princes (sar).” The Hebrew verb naphal that is translated as "to fall" carries many meanings including cast down, cease and die, but in this context it means die. The Hebrew noun masculine sar that is translated as "princes" means a ruler of some kind such as an official, captain or prince.

John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God “ contradicts The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, "In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God." Jesus, not the Gospel, is the Word. Jesus was and is with God and is not a created being of God. The noun masculine Logos that is translated as “Word” has many meaning including the most appropriate one “the Divine Expression (that is, Christ)” John 10:34 has incorrectly been taken out of context as proof of godhood. By changing John 1:1 Jesus is reduced to being created rather than God so indicating that man can become His equal.

The doctrine of Eternal Progression harkens back to the Garden and the serpent's deception of Eve as described in the Bible. Genesis 3:4-5 4, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

Eternal Progression appeals to pride as evidenced in the fall of Lucifer, Isaiah 14:13-14, "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" With great pride Lucifer falsely claims that he will be like the Most High and therefore be equivalent to God. As is was thousands of years ago so it is today, Eternal Progression appeals to human pride by promoting the same falsehood as in the Garden, that we can attain godhood.

The doctrine of Eternal Progression is convoluted. Spirit children are born to God and his goddess wife. After a war in heaven one third of the spirits become evil and have no chance of obtaining bodies. Those who merit it are born on earth. There are several biblical concepts that have been incorporated in the schematic. One third of the spirits are evil, there is a paradise and a Spirit prison Hell. A first resurrection followed by a millennium and a second resurrection leading to a judgment. There is a second death for the sons of perdition, Satan and his followers.

There are three kingdoms for those not deserving the second death. There is the Telestial kingdom for the wicked people of the world. There is the Terrestrial kingdom for honorable people who didn't accept Mormonism. And finally the Celestial kingdom for those who have reached godhood exultation and were married in the temple.

There are numerous websites providing instructions for achieving Eternal Progression including 2015 Lesson Manuals, Chapter 13: Preparing for Eternal Progression, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young. According to this lesson, “We are able to progress as we increase in knowledge and experience.”

The heavens cited in Eternal Progression have nothing in common God’s Word. The very humble Apostle Paul refers to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:4, “How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” Paul never claims to be the man caught up to paradise, actually Paul has a thorn in the flesh “lest I should be exalted above measure.”

The first heaven is Atmosphere and populated by Birds and clouds. The second heaven is the Celestial Heavens containing Stars, galaxies; the vastness of the universe. The third heaven is beyond Space-time and is where God dwells.

Determining the increase/ decrease in the number of practicing Mormons required compiling statistics from several sources. Mormons have a very active evangelical effort and have converts in a many countries. Often former members are kept on the roles after they resign or are excommunicated.

Richard Packham used the US government related to the census in reaching the conclusion that “Thus it appears that there are more ex-Mormons than there are Mormons. The Mormon Church leaders are using the Internet to maintain membership. An example is the video is “Top 5 Myths and Truths about Why Committed Mormons Leave the Church.”

The Mormon teaching of Eternal Progression is not Biblical and appeals to pride. There always was and is and always will be only one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Twisting of Scripture either to elevate man or to denigrate Jesus as being only a creative being is false and is reminisce of Jesus' parable concerning building on shifting sands.

Jesus tells Christians to take up our cross and follow Him and Mormonism tells members that through the false teaching of Eternal Progression they can become gods. As Christian apologists we should be knowledgeable about this doctrine when talking with Mormons as this is something that they strongly believe in/ hope for. Being told one can become like god if they are “worthy” encourages a works dogma rather than justification by grace. It teaches prideful reliance on self rather than humility and dependence on God. By adhering to false doctrine Mormons are rushing through the wide gate that leads to destruction.

We need to pray for those captivated by the false doctrine of the Mormon Church. Teaching that men will become gods deceives not only current Mormons; it is being spread throughout the world by Mormon missionaries.

The LDS Scriptures include The King James Version of the Bible so there is common ground between Christians and Mormons. When talking with Mormons it is important that we bring out the Biblical truths found in the KJV that challenge the false teaching in their other scriptures. We must share with Mormons that Jesus is the only way to a relationship with the God of the Universe.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The ISV as compared to the KJV, 519-1 - 9 - 4

Currently my preference is for the King James Version of the Bible as it is like a comfortable old friend. There is something very special about reading the words of the Lord when He says “Verily, verily I say unto thee.” Also, it is my understanding that any deficiencies in the KJV are well known.
Full disclosure, I’m electronic geek. I had my first electronic Bible a decade or so ago. My first one was the Franklin and I pretty much worn out three Franklin electronic Bibles before I moved on to cell phone. I use e-sword on my old iPhone, which incidentally, I no longer use as a phone. I use Touch Bible with my android phone, Galaxy Note 4. Both Touch Bible and e-sword directly link to Strong. Not only that, I can do a quick look up far faster than flipping through the pages of a hard copy Bible. Now that’s the good news. The bad news is so far the only electronic Bible that I have found with quick links to strong numbers is the King James Version of the Bible. So once more it’s the KJV for me the majority of the time.
As for the ISV, The Uniqueness of the ISV as quoted from The ISV Foundation Committee on Translation (2011-05-01). The Holy Bible: International Standard Version (Kindle Location 159). Davidson Press, LLC. Kindle Edition.
“1. The ISV is a New Translation, Not a Revision The ISV is a totally new work translated directly from the original languages of Scripture and derived from no other English translation.
2. The ISV is a Computer-Friendly Translation YES!
3. The ISV is Sensitive to Poetic Forms in the Original Text. The ISV treats subtle nuances of the original texts with special care.
4. The ISV is Sensitive to Literary Forms in the Original Text The ISV treats synoptic parallels with special sensitivity.
5. The ISV is Sensitive to Conservative, Modern Textual Scholarship The ISV includes the latest scholarly analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls
6. The ISV is a Literal-Idiomatic Translation
The goal of an idiomatic translation is to achieve the closest natural equivalent in modern language to match the ideas of the original text.”
Kindle format ISV has footnotes embedded in the text and can be read by clicking on them. e.g. Deuteronomy 34:5, "So Moses, the servant of the LORD, died there in the land of Moab, just as the LORD had said. 6"
6 34: 5 Lit. Moab, according to the word of the LORD Click 6 to return to the passage.
My favorite online site is Biblegateway. Here the ISV also has footnotes embedded in the text.
The use of heading in the ISV is helpful, e.g. Ester Chapter 2:
The King Searches for a New Queen
Esther’s Background
Esther Becomes Queen
Mordecai Thwarts a Plot to Kill Ahasuerus
Daniel 12:4, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” [KJV] Knowledge shall be increased, I think most certainly in these end days. We are indeed fortunate to have so many resources available to us, a God thing.

What about saints being preserved through the Great Tribulation period 519-1 - 9 - 2

Isaiah 24:13-15 doesn’t really suggest to me that the Saints (Gentiles) are being preserved through the great tribulation. However, a remnant of the inhabitants of the earth (perhaps believing Israel) are singing praises for the majesty of God. Perhaps this suggests that they’re spared throughout a time of abject terror.
From a pre-tribulation rapture perspective those referred to as saints present on the earth during the tribulation would have had to come to faith post rapture.
Who are the saints who come to faith during the tribulation? One point of view is that the tribulation is a period of time to bring a remnant of Israel to finally realize that Jesus is their long sought Messiah. Unfortunately, Gentiles who were left behind will be so deluded by the antichrist that most will not be able to come to faith. Most of those gentiles who do come to faith during the tribulation will likely lose their life thus becoming tribulation saints.
In my opinion, passages such as Isaiah 26:20 deal with Israel, "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."
Revelation 12:1-9 begins with a description of a woman clothed with the sun and having the moon under her feet. She is wearing a crown of twelve stars and is about to give birth to a man child. A great red dragon/ Satan is set to devour her child as soon as it is born, however, before Satan is able to, the man child is caught up into heaven and the woman is given “two wings of a great eagle” and flees into the wilderness where God has prepared a place to feed her for three and a half years. This time period is described in Daniel 12 as a time of trouble that has never been seen before and is often referred to as “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.”
Who is the woman of Revelation 12? There is a minority who believe the woman is the Church which is hidden during the second half of the tribulation. This view repudiates the Rapture. Most Bible commentaries, however, identify the woman as Israel and she gives birth to the man-child, the Messiah, who is caught up to Heaven.
The dream of Joseph in Genesis regarding the 12 stars is key to the identity of this woman as Israel. Deliverance of Israeli on eagle wings is confirmed in the Old Testament in Exodus 19:4 and Isaiah 40:31. Throughout the Old Testament Israel is protected by God; again in. Isaiah 26:20, God’s people were told to enter into a place of safety and to hide until the “indignation” be completed.
Pray fully the Gentiles who are left behind and come to faith during the tribulation will also be provided "A place of safety and to hide until the 'indignation' be completed."
As an aside, does Revelation 12 suggests a mid-tribulation rapture? The woman gives birth her child, Revelation 12:5 and her child was caught up unto God. As the Church do we represent the body of Christ and are we being raptured at this time? In verse 6 the woman flees into the wilderness where she will be protected during the second half of the tribulation, the period of time known as Jacob’s trouble. This would place the Rapture of the Church at the middle of the seven year Tribulation.

Replacement Theology, Twisted Views 521 - 18 - 8

Replacement Theology is a subject I’ve written about a number of time and I find it fruitful to once again review my past work. I’ve come to understand that there more to it than the usual claim by many in the mainstream church. The claim is made that since Israel rejected Jesus as her Messiah she forfeited the promises/ covenants made to her by God and these passed to the Church which became “spiritual Israel.”
If God cannot be trusted to keep His word to Israel can Christians expect Him to keep his word to us and honor our salvation? Of course God will honor His covenant with Israel as well as our salvation. The concept of replacement theology marginalizes Israel and the Jewish people making it easier for the world to turn its back on the Jews, most notably during the Holocaust.
In another KI class I suggested that...“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” as the ultimate victim of replacement theology." The movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” is a recommended must watch.
Set during World War II, the movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” involves the growing friendship between two 8-year-old boys separated by a fence in a concentration camp. Bruno is the son of the commandant of the concentration camp where the Jewish boy Shmuel is imprisoned. They form a friendship through the fence and one faithful day Bruno sneaks into the concentration camp. On that ill-fated day Shmuel and Bruno search the camp looking for Shmuel’s father who disappeared a few days before. The boys make the mistake of entering a building that is holding dozens of men about to be herded into the gas chamber.
The movie ends with the door to the gas chamber being sealed and crystals being dropped into the chamber as Bruno’s father frantically looks for him. Sad as the ending of the movie is, Bruno’s father was about to learn the deadly efficiency of his camp of extermination.
Replacement theology is not only found in the Christian church. Always the student, I attended a Mormon seminar and was surprised to hear that they expect New Jerusalem to come down in Middle America. This replacement theology teaching of Joseph Smith is totally non-biblical and easily ignored.
Then there is Islam. Those of the Islamic faith falsely claim that Ishmael is the child of promise offered as a sacrifice by Abraham rather than Isaac. Just as with Mormonism, there are no ancient manuscripts to support the claims of Islam. As with Joseph Smith so with Mohamed. Both were visited by an angel who gave them a series of revelations.
Both Islam and Mormonism are obviously very incorrect in their attempt to twist biblical truth to their heresy of replacement theology, however, what of mainstream Christian churches? Here replacement theology is cloaked in the respectability of Christianity but it is still heresy. 

Genesis 16:12 and Islam 521-2 - 18 - 1

Genesis 16:12, “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” This was to be the future of Ishmael the son of Abraham by the Egyptian slave Hagar and the future of his progeny.
After Sarah died Abraham married Keturah and had several more sons, however, Sarah’s son Isaac was the son of promise and the inheritor of God’s covenants.
Isaac had twin sons by his wife Rebecca, Jacob and Esau. God’s covenant now past to Jacob. Meanwhile, Ishmael had 12 sons. Esau married women from Ishmael’s line. Again, many, many descendants of Abraham but only one line inherited the original covenants with God.
So many sons, so many pagans. The Allah of Islam is the moon god of ancient pagan Arabia. There were 360 pagan idols worshipped in Mecca the highest being the moon god Allah.
Forward a few thousand years to the time of Mohammed and his attempt at replacement theology. Muhammad was praying or meditating in a cave when he had revelations and/ or hallucinations from an angel. Mohammed’s first inclination was that he was demon possessed. He went running to his wife and she assured him that this was not a demon and to go back and meditate some more and the rest is history.
After Mohammed's death his followers pieced together the Quran, a hodgepodge of misinformation taken from the Bible and twisted around to Islam’s advantage. Ishmael replaces Isaac as the son of promise and the inheritor of the covenants that God gave to his Abraham. Sadly worldwide there are more than a billion deceived followers of Islam.
The moon god of Islam is a capricious god and the followers of Islam face a judgment day not knowing where they will spend eternity. One can be assured of going to the Islamic paradise by dying in Jihad. The late Osama bin Laden once said of Islam that we love death and you love life. Difficult to win against those seeking death. Even during the height of the Cold War between United States and Russia mutual assured destruction resulted in proxy wars rather than open confrontation.
Interestingly, Islam has their own anti-Christ named Dajjalis who is blind in one eye. They also have their version of Jesus. The Islamic Jesus would fit the Biblical description of the false prophet. A question currently being debated is could the antichrist be Islamic?
It is politically correct to refer to Islam as a religion of peace and the terrorists committing horrific acts of Jihad as an anomaly. Then there is the fear of death threats for denigrating Allah and/ or Mohammed.
Not everyone is either PC or cowardly when it comes to speaking the truth about Islam. On Nov. 10, 2013 a concert was held at the Memorial Church of the Reformation in the Rhineland city of Speyer, built to honor Martin Luther. A Muslim imam was invited to give the call to prayer. Heidi Mann became known as the “Brave German Woman” who spoke out. Ms. Mund responded in German, "No it's not! Allahu Akbar is what Muslims scream while murdering people! Don't be fooled! Don't be fooled! This is a lie!"
“Brave German Woman: Why Heidi Mund Rebuked Islam:”
Ms. Mund added, "Many people ask me, 'Are you afraid of the Muslims?' And I can only say, 'No, I'm not afraid of them.' I know my God." 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Watchman on the wall and witnessing 521-2 - 17 - 1

2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “3, But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Note the use of a lower case g in the "god of this world.”  Satan, the god of this fallen world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. Watchmen are to witness to counter this Satan imposed blindness.
Ezekiel was held accountable by God to deliver God's message, however, he was not held accountable for its success or failure. Like Ezekiel believers are called to be “Watchman on the Wall” and provide warning of coming judgment.
God is very direct in His demands of those called to be watchmen in Ezekiel 3:17-19. We are called to issue the warning or we share in the responsible for the lost. If we are faithful to being watchmen but the lost “turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” However, if we fail to “warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
Hundreds of years later Jesus charged His disciples to bring people to faith by The Great Commission. Matthew 28:19-20, “19, Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Nevertheless Jesus understood that there would be unbelief, Matthew 10:13-14, “13, And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14, And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”
I’m a watchman giving warnings to thousands who I have never met in person. I make extensive use of the internet to witness to people throughout the world. I maintain a blog that has a diverse readership that unfortunately has had less than 30 thousand page views. In the last month my greatest readership was in the United States followed by Russian, China and Ukraine. Again, rather small readership, however, if one person comes into the Kingdom and brings in another….
Facebook is another useful witnessing tool by authoring, sharing or “liking” Christian oriented posts. Being a Christian apologist on Facebook has cost me friends and family. While most have not “unfriended” me I suspect that most don’t follow me. Again, if one….
As for face-to-face witnessing, I have a good friend whose deeds are more Christian then those of many calling themselves Christians. She is very helpful taking neighbors to doctor appointments, giving firewood to those who need it and more. Her parents were both children of pastors who likely turned against “religion.“ My friend considers God to be unloving and responsible for the evil of killing in the name of religion. I gentle witness to her when possible to avoid her shutting down completely. My concern is that she will reject Jesus so often that her heart will be hardened. I pray to God and ask that the Holy Spirit will convict of her of her need for Jesus.  

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.and judgment, inheritance, and rewards 521-2 - 17 - 4

We are justified by the work of Jesus on the cross. There is nothing that we can do to add to this. However, sanctification through works such as leading others into the kingdom should follow justification. Jesus’ brother James wrote that faith without works is dead.
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
This will be the Bema Seat Judgment. Bema is a Greek term meaning "judgment seat," a seat usually resting on an elevated platform. This will be a time of judgment for what we did or did not do during our life.
1 Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Our foundation is Jesus, the cornerstone, any other foundation is building on shifting sand.
1 Corinthians 3:12-13 deals with what we build on this foundation, our works.  Will our works be as gold, silver and precious stones which will survive purification by fire or be as wood, hay, stubble which is consumed by flames?
1 Corinthians 3:14 assures us of rewards if our works withstand the flames. However, if our works are consumed by the flames we are given assurance in 1 Corinthians 3:15 that although we will suffer loss of any inheritance or rewards, nevertheless, we shall not lose our salvation.
However, there is Matthew 25:30, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Is this the fate of one who is justified but one who did nothing with it? Is this outer darkness for those who barely made it into heaven, but are not in proximity of Jesus?
It is my prayer that when I’m ready to make my departure I can say as did Paul. 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” The only crown I am sure that I’ll receive is the crown of righteousness as I eagerly await the appearing of Jesus.
According to CM's “Inheritance and Rewards” if our works withstand the flames we will receive crowns:
• The Crown of Life is promise for those who have “suffered for His sake.”
• The Crown of Righteousness is promised to those who loved His appearing.
• The Crown of Glory is promised for those who “fed the flock.”
• The Crown Incorruptible is promised for those who press on steadfastly.
• Crown of Rejoicing for those who win souls. 1 Thessalonians 2:19, “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?”

Psalm 83, the Ever-lasting Hatred and the Edomites 519-1 - 6

The Edomites’ hatred of Israel goes back to the time of Abraham. Abraham’s covenant with God passed to Isaac. Rebecca, the wife of Isaac, was told by God that she had two nations warring in her womb. These were Jacob, later renamed Israel by God, and Esau. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of porridge and later Rebecca and Jacob deceived Isaac and to giving Jacob his blessing. There has been an obsessive hatred of the Jews by the descendants of Ishmael and Esau.
The Edomites were the descendants of Esau and often battled the Jewish nation and often allied themselves with whoever was fighting Israel, The Book of Obadiah is a one chapter book that really shows the anger of God. Jeremiah 49 predicted utter destruction of Edom as did the Book of Obadiah. Amos 1 also told of their destruction.
During the Maccabean wars, the Edomites were conquered by the Jews and forced to convert to Judaism. Herod the Great was appoint King by Rome thinking he was a Jew, however, he was an Edomite; “say they are Jews, and are not.”
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: Revelation 3:9, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” A future defeat of the Edomites?
Psalm 83 and the “Inner Ring of countries” in close proximity to Israel.
Psalm 83:4, “4, They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. 5, For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee.”
Asaph, the author of Psalm 83, refers to the Edomites several times including verse 6, “The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes.” Tabernacles of Edom? Tents of Edom, today’s Palestinian refugees, Gaza? The homeland of Edom is modern-day Southern Jordan so the West Bank?
Psalm 83 tells of a future battle between Israel and her inner ring neighbors. The defeat of her neighbors will be so complete that Israel will be living in un-walled villages, a prerequisite to the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Dealing with the phrase “at that time” in Isaiah 19:16 -25 519-1 - 8 - 2

Isaiah 19:1, “The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.”
This passage brought to mind Ezekiel 1:4, “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” God in a great cloud, here the throne of God.
But I digress, when Isaiah uses the phase “At that time” God is referring to future events. Daily we are witness to many of these predictions coming true.
Isaiah 19:2, “And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.”
The removal of long-standing Arab/ Muslim leaders such as Hosni Mubarak of Egypt gave rise to Islamic warring groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Isaiah 19:16, “In that day shall Egypt be like unto women: and it shall be afraid and fear because of the shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts, which he shaketh over it.”
Egypt experienced desolation and deportation in the past, however, I find future shaking by the hand of the Lord to be rather confusing. It is my understanding that in Psalm 83 Israel as the chosen of God gains the victory by their hand rather than “The shaking of the hand of the LORD of hosts”. Of course, any time Israel is victorious, the glory goes to God.
Isaiah 19:17, “And the land of Judah shall be a terror unto Egypt, every one that maketh mention thereof shall be afraid in himself, because of the counsel of the LORD of hosts, which he hath determined against it.”
Likely dealing with the fulfillment of Psalm 83 concerning the “Inner Ring” of Israel’s enemies. After the defeat of these inner ring countries by Israel, she will be living in security and in un-walled villages. That is until the fulfillment of the Gog Magog war.
Jeremiah 33:15, “In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.”
Eventually the remnant of Egypt and her enemy the Assyrians will experience conversion and live in peace with Israel. However, I would expect that this is after the tribulation and the reign of Jesus as the “Branch of righteousness” on earth.
Isaiah 19:24-25, “24, In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: 25,  Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”
Full disclosure, I still don’t understand the nuances of these scriptures, perhaps someday.