What Happened at Babel?

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Genesis 11:1-9
And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.
And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.
And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Genesis 11:1-9 is a literary masterpiece, but unless you are familiar with ancient compositional techniques, you might not know why.

The chiasmus—named after the Greek letter chi, which looks like the English X—is just one of the techniques at work in this passage. It is formed by parallel lines that make half of an X pattern. Genesis 11:1-9 makes a chiasmus.

On the surface, the Tower of Babel story seems like a power struggle between God and humanity. Did God intervene because He was envious of their technological advancements? Is God the cosmic killjoy? You might take it that way, but only if you read the story apart from its literary and cultural context.

The details about migration and settlement (11:2) are no small matter. Earlier in Genesis, God judged humanity by expelling them eastward from the land. He expelled Adam and Eve in that direction (3:24), and Cain, too (4:16). But here the people are moving back west (from the east), reversing the judgment (11:2). Their settlement in the valley also reverses another divine action: God’s command to fill the earth, which He gave to Adam and Eve (1:28), and to Noah (9:1). But this is only the beginning.

The structure they were building was more than just a tower. Scholars believe it was a ziggurat, a construction that was “used for worship” and was “similar in profile to the step pyramid of Egypt” (Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, pg. 2198). Ancients believed that deities dwelt on high places, and so worship should take place on hills and mountains where they could be closer to the gods. Since these people were in a valley or plain, they built the ziggurat as a substitute for a mountain. So either the people wanted to manipulate God to come down for worship, or they wanted to ascend the structure to become like God. (Remember, they wanted to make a name for themselves.) Ironically, God does come down (11:5). But He comes down to mix up their language because they mixed up His created order (11:7-9).

Putting this story in context shows that God is not a cosmic killjoy—jealous of the accomplishments of humanity. Rather, He is the loving Creator-King who commands love and loyalty from His subjects. Yes, He judges. But He also redeems.

The next chapter in Genesis and the book of Revelation testify to the divine redemption that began at Babel. The very things humanity tried to take by force God gave to Abram as a gift: a great name, nationhood and land (Gen 12:1-3). In doing so, God did not abandon the other nations. Instead, He called Abram from the east to the land of Canaan so that He could bless the nations. Bless those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Israel. Looking forward, God invites all tribes, nations, and languages to come and worship Him (Rev 5:914:6). He leads them not into a garden, but into His city—the New Jerusalem—where He Himself is the temple (Rev 21:9–27).

Adapted from J. P. Fokkelman’s analysis of Genesis 11:1-9 in his book Narrative Art in Genesis.

Sources:

Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988). Logos.com/BakerEncyclopedia

J.P. Fokkelman, Narrative Art in Genesis: Specimens of Stylistic and Structural Analysis(2nd ed.; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1991).
TOWER OF BABEL TODAY

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Fight the Good Fight

I believe Paul was a sports fan; in this case boxing. We are told to fight the good fight of faith.

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We are in a spiritual battle. One that is unseen to us. Paul tells the Church of Ephesus that we are in a wrestling match.

In this blog post, I talk about fighting the good fight. He used great sportslike analogies in his epistles. Paul instructs us we must fight the good fight. We are in a spiritual battle. One that is unseen to us. Paul tells the Church of Ephesus that we are in a wrestling match. He tells us in Ephesians 6:12-13, “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.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

FIGHT’ IN GREEK
Two usages of the word fight here. One usage is the actual sport itself, similar to boxing or a karate match in which someone is aiming for a prize. The other the gathering where the fight is at. It implies to fight the good fight right where you are.

WORD: fight
GREEK: ἀγωνίζου
IN ENGLISH: agōnizou
DEFINITION: to contend for a prize, struggle

WORD: fight
GREEK: ἀγών
IN ENGLISH: agōn DEFINITION: a gathering, contest, struggle

There is a fight going on around us and most of us don’t even see it. The one good thing is that God has fought the fight for us. We already know the outcome of the fight or the wresting match. As a certain pastor says it, “The fight is fixed! We know who wins!

KEEP FIGHTING!
Even though we know who wins the fight, that doesn’t mean we stop fighting this spiritual war. The devil would love for you to hang up the gloves or tap out of the match. But we must press on! We must not be afraid to get hit either! No matter what we go through we must keep going. We cannot back down! No matter how big the giant is. Remember David slew Goliath, a great big giant. David was a wee little man too.
We are fighting against the devil and also our sinful desires that we are easily drawn to. That is why we must repent and turn away from those desires. When we do that we can fight the good fight of faith. The repentance or turning away from those sins says that I am trusting in Christ and Him alone. He is the only one that can see us through the fight.

THE ARMOUR
Because we are in this fight, we must protect ourselves. That is why we must put on the whole Armour of God. Note the Whole Armour! The Armour is that like of a Roman Soldier that is going off to war or fight a battle. Each piece serves a special purpose.

Ephesians 6:10-17, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
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.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Is It a Sin to Drink Alcohol?

There are some scriptures that might, at first reading, seem to teach total abstinence from wine and other strong drink. Here is one example:

Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” . . . “Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
(Proverbs 23:19-21, 29-35)

These verses are among those often quoted by those who believe that it is wrong to drink alcoholic beverages. They claim that this passage proves it is sin to drink wine, and by extension, any drink containing alcohol. However, this scripture does not say these things. What then does it say?

It warns that:

The excessive drinking of alcohol is a sin. The winebibber drinks too much and too often.

Improper use of alcohol is as poisonous as a snake’s venom (verse 32).

God’s children should avoid company with winebibbers (verse 20; see also Matthew 24:49; I Corinthians 5:11).

Poverty is just one potential negative result of drunkenness (verse 21).

Other potential—even probable—negative consequences of chronic drunkenness include woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, bloodshot eyes, hallucinations, nightmares, addiction, lack of self-control in speech and other matters, and bodily injuries without apparent cause—the cause being forgotten because of drunken stupor (verses 29, 33-34).

We should not tarry long at wine (verse 30) [yeah, drink it fast…
{just kidding! 😝*}].

Seriously though; what the last warning is *actually saying, is that when a person lingers where alcohol is consumed he/she can so easily become a winebibber, or in plain, modern English, a drunkard. God, through Paul, lists drunkenness as one of the works of the flesh, warning that no drunkard will inherit God’s Kingdom:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” . . . “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
(Galatians 5:19, 21).

OLD TESTAMENT APPROVAL

God’s Word shows that it is perfectly fine to drink wine in moderation. It is replete with accounts of the proper uses of wine—accounts of people considered righteous according to God’s standards. Here are some examples:

Melchizedek brought some wine to His meeting with Abram: “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.” (Genesis 14:18).

When giving his blessing to his son Jacob (who he thought was Esau), Isaac drank wine and asked for plenty of wine as a blessing from God:

He said, “And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.” . . . “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:” (Genesis 27:25, 28)

Is it likely that Isaac would have asked God to bless his son with an abundance of wine if he knew that He forbade it? Wine was included in other blessings too. Through His servant Moses, God told the Israelites that wine would be included in the many blessings He would pour out upon them if they would obey Him:

And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.” (Deuteronomy 7:13)

Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.” (Deuteronomy 33:28)

Here we read of wine promised by God for the Israelites as a blessing for obedience. Conversely, if they were to disobey Him, He solemnly warned them that He would take their wine and vineyards away from them as a curse:

Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them.” . . . .
And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee.” (Deuteronomy 28:39, 51)

In many scriptures in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy—too many to list here—God commands that wine be used in Israel’s drink offerings to Him. In addition, God’s people are commanded to pay to Him His tithe of all the wine they produced: “The firstfruit also of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the first of the fleece of thy sheep, shalt thou give him.” (Deuteronomy 18:4).

In His instructions on the proper use of the festival tithe (or “second tithe,” as it is often referred to today) for the celebration of His feasts, God authorizes the purchase and use of wine and similar beverages (Hebrew shekar: “strong drink” or intensely alcoholic liquor):

And thou shalt eat before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose to place his name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the LORD thy God always.” . . . “And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,” (Deuteronomy 14:23, 26).

NEW TESTAMENT APPROVAL

The instruction and example continues throughout the Old Testament. However, in turning to the New Testament, let us begin with a question. In the transition between these two eras of time covered by the volumes we call the Old and New Testaments, did God change His mind regarding the use of alcohol?

It is certainly true that drunkenness and excess of alcohol are as clearly condemned in many New Testament scriptures as they are in the Old (see Matthew 24:49; Luke 12:45; 21:34; Romans 13:13; I Corinthians 5:11; 6:10; 11:21; Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:21; I Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7; 2:3; I Peter 4:3).

Jesus and His apostles mention wine and other strong drink numerous times in the New Testament, but nowhere do any of them say that moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages is wrong. A few verses strongly indicate that Jesus Himself liked the occasional glass of wine:

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!” (Luke 7:33-34)

Why would anyone call Him a winebibber if it were anything other than wine that He had been seen drinking? Jesus drank wine with His disciples at His last Passover service, promising that He would again join them in a glass of wine after their resurrection: “But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:29).

The very first miracle Jesus performed was to turn water into wine (John 2:1-10). Some have argued that, at the Cana wedding, Jesus changed the water into unfermented grape juice, not wine. However, the Greek word translated “wine” throughout John 2:1-10 is oinos (οἶνος), which means “fermented wine.” Not only did Jesus condone the proper use of wine, but He knew what the qualities of a good wine were, a fact confirmed in Luke 5:39: “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.

The apostle Paul follows His Master’s lead on this subject. In the same letter to Timothy in which he soundly condemned excessive alcohol consumption (I Timothy 3:3, 8), Paul advises him to drink some wine to help ease his chronic stomach problems: “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” (I Timothy 5:23).

God gave us wine and other alcoholic beverages for our enjoyment and so that we may learn to use them properly. We can develop character by properly exercising wisdom and self-control in consuming them. However, if one has a low tolerance for alcohol or one is an alcoholic, the wisest course is to abstain from them altogether (with the exception of the small amount to be taken during the Passover service {except of course an alcoholic} ).

The proper use of alcohol is a great responsibility, but it is only the wrong use of it that is sin.

See the Son of Man coming in the clouds?

Please remember when Jesus Christ comes for His followers, He will arrive in the clouds, in the air. Like a thief He will appear unexpectedly, but His appearing will be missed by none. The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be no secret and not at one location or another. Further, while His body will have been glorified, the marks of Love suffered in His body for us will remain unhealed.
Whether we are “gathered” or “caught up” to be with Him “in the clouds,” it will be a supernatural event and beyond our ability or control. Upon seeing Him, we shall be changed, for “we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Finally, in both Matthew and Luke God has warned us not to heed nor give in to false or misleading reports of His appearing. Jesus was specific in saying “go not forth” and “go not after them” So do not go, not even out of curiosity.

GATHERED

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:11
And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:22-31
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:27
And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Mark 14:62
And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. Luke 17:22-24
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.I Thessalonians 4:17
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” John 20:19-20

CHANGED

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. I John 3:2
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. I Corinthians 15:50-53

STAND FAST IN THE LORD

And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.Mark 13:21-26
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;Luke 17:20-28
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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.Ephesians 6:11-12
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.Philippians 4:1

I AM NOT THE CHRIST

Christ is singular.
Jesus is the Christ, Messiah or Anointed One.
Anyone who focuses on Christ without acknowledging Jesus as the ONLY Christ is a liar and a deceiver wresting the scriptures to their own destruction.
The purpose of THEChrist in you, WHOM Paul preached, was in hope of presenting us “perfect in Christ Jesus.
There are subtle variations being paraded in semi-scriptural garb. John the Baptist was “filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” and yet John clearly communicated “I am not the Christ.
Know the Word of God and you will know the Truth, because Jesus Christ is both.
All scripture should be read within the context with which it was written, but here are a few to get you started. Please look them up to be sure of what God is saying.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:” Col 1:27 & 28
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb” “And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. Luke 1:13-15 & 20
The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew 1:1
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:16-18
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.Matthew 1:21-25
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;Mark 1:1
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.Luke 1:31
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.John 1:1-4
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.John 1:14-15

WE ARE ADOPTED

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. Romans 8:15
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:5
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will Ephesians 1:5

ONLY ONE CHRIST JESUS, BUT MANY ANTICHRISTS

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22
And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 1 John 4:3
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 1:7
As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16

The Gospel in Amos

The prophet Amos ministered during a time of material prosperity in both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah (sometime between 791-740 B.C.). But underneath this veneer of material prosperity was idolatry that led to empty religious ritual, mistreatment of the poor, and other forms of social injustice.
God raised Amos up to pronounce judgment: on the nations (Amos 1), on Israel (Amos 3), and in visions (Amos 7). Amos pictures God as a lion circling his ultimate prey: Israel herself! Amos used repetition (“For three transgressions of Damascus,
and for four,”; see Amos 1:3, Amos 1:6, Amos 1:9, Amos 1:11, Amos 1:13; Amos 2:1, Amos 2:4, Amos 2:6) as well as biting irony (e.g., Amos 4:9-11) to call Israel to repentance, but they did not return to Yahweh (Amos 4:6-13). Instead, they clung to the misguided notion that the nations would be judged on the Day of the Lord but they themselves would escape unscathed (Amos 5:18-20).

How can we as God’s people today benefit from Amos? What is it that God has to say to us today through this Minor Prophet?
I believe the starting point is determining the theological big idea, which I would summarize as follows: When the Day of the Lord comes, God will judge the sins of His people and reconstitute His people under a Davidic king to inhabit a new creation.
Of course, for us as believers our Day of the Lord has already come in the death and resurrection of Jesus. On that day when the sun went down at noon and the Passover festival was turned into mourning for an only Son (Amos 8:9-10), our sin was judged. God has raised up the fallen booth of David and called Jew and Gentile alike to himself (Amos 9:11-12). By faith in Jesus our Davidic king, we have been made part of the people of God who are new creations awaiting the consummation of the Messianic Age in a new heavens and earth, when the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed;
and the mountains shall drop sweet wine,
and all the hills shall melt. (Amos 9:13).

Testing of Your Faith

The glory of God is more important than your or my comfort. That is a statement with which all Christians will readily agree in theory. A Puritan prayer begins:
Lord of all being,
There is one thing that deserves my greatest care,
that calls forth my ardent desires,
That is, that I may answer the great end for which I am made—
to glorify thee who hast given me being….
That is a fine and noble prayer. But it has awesome consequences from which we naturally shy away. Of course, we say, there can be nothing more important than the glory of God. What Christian could possibly disagree with that expression of correct piety? And yet before long we find ourselves recoiling from the implications of this statement.
The introduction of the book of Job in 1:1–5 portrays a world with which Disney would by and large be happy. It is a world in which the right people come out on top. We are ready, as it were, to go home happy, knowing it is all working out as it should. But then the action begins, with four alternating scenes in Heaven and on earth. The story is told sparingly and brilliantly, as a cartoonist might, as a few well-chosen lines on the page conjure up whole worlds of drama. In this drama we shall see that it is necessary for it publicly to be seen that there is in God’s world a great man who is great because he is good, and yet who will continue to be a good man when he ceases to be a great man.
Ultimately, in the greatest fulfillment of Job’s story, we will need to see a man who does not count equality with God (greatness) as something to be grasped but makes himself nothing for the glory of God (Philippians 2:6–11).

Scene 1: Heaven (Job 1:6–12)
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?
Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
After the timeless introduction, which describes who Job was and what he habitually did, we read, “Now there was a day…” day” (v. 6); and what a day! On this particular day something happened in Heaven that would change Job’s life forever.
The day began in what seems to have been a routine way: “when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD. “sons of God” speaks here of beings whose existence is derivative from God (hence “sons”) but whose rank is superhuman. The expression literally translated “sons of God” are “angels”. We meet them again in Psalm 29 as (“Give unto the LORD, O ye *mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.” Psalm 29:1) and in Genesis 6:2, 4, mighty. They form a “divine council” or heavenly cabinet, and we see reference to this in Psalms 82 and 89.

God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment….
I have said, Ye are gods;
and all of you are children of the most High.” (Psalm 82:6)
For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord?
who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?
God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,
and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.” (Psalm 89:6-7)
As members of God’s heavenly cabinet, they come “to present themselves” before Him (v. 6). The expression “to present oneself” or “to stand before” means something like “to attend a meeting to which one is summoned” or “to come before a superior ready to do his will.” It is the expression used of the wise man in Proverbs: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business?
he shall stand before kings;
he shall not stand before mean men.” (Proverbs 22:29). That is to say, he will be a senior civil servant or a government minister rather than just a local council employee. The same expression is used with apocalyptic imagery in Zechariah when the four chariots go out to all the world after “standing before the Lord of all the earth.” (Zechariah 6:5). First they present themselves for duty, and then they go out to do what they have been told to do.
This “day” that turns out to be so devastating for Job begins with a normal heavenly cabinet meeting. God summons his ministers rather as an American President might call his senior staff to an early-morning meeting in the Oval Office before sending them out for action.
Only one member of the heavenly cabinet is mentioned individually: “…and Satan came also among them.” (v. 6). The word “satan” means something like “adversary, opponent, enemy.” When the Lord stops Balaam in his tracks, he does so “as an adversary [satan]” (Numbers 22:22). When the Philistine commanders tell the Philistine king Achish they don’t want David fighting with them against Israel, they say, “let him not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary [satan] to us:
(1 Samuel 29:4). Here in Job 1, it is not yet clear whose adversary satan is. It will soon become apparent that he is Job’s adversary.6
We are not told explicitly whether or not satan is present as a member of the heavenly council or whether he is in some way a gatecrasher. It is sometimes assumed that because satan is evil he cannot be a member of the council and must have barged in uninvited. So the Lord’s question, “Whence comest thou?” (v. 7) is read in a hostile voice (“What do you think you are doing here?”). But this is unlikely. The word “among” (v. 6) probably suggests that he is a member of the group. There need be no hostility or implied rebuke in the question, “whence comest thou?” Probably it represents something like a President asking a Cabinet secretary for his report: “Secretary of War, it is time for your report. Tell us where you have been and what you have seen.
In 1 Kings 22 the prophet Micaiah vividly describes the same heavenly council: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.” Then as Micaiah describes the conversation in the council, “a lying spirit” speaks up and is sent out by the Lord to do his will (1 Kings 22:19–22). So there is apparently no inconsistency in “a lying spirit” being present in God’s council. In the same way, it will become clear that satan is present at the council because he belongs there. His presence (and indeed that of other lying spirits and evil spirits) has been described as being analogous to the expression in British governance, “Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.” They oppose the government, but they do so in ultimate and unquestioned subservience to the Crown. Their opposition is a necessary and good part of British governance. They in themselves are devoted to trying to bring the government down; and yet in spite of themselves their opposition serves a purpose in making the government better than it would be in the absence of opposition (as tyrannies attest). In the same way satan will oppose Job and yet will do so in a way that strangely and paradoxically will eventually be seen to serve the purposes of the Lord. As Luther put it, the satan is “God’s Satan.

How the World Is Governed

This description of the Lord and “the sons of God” gives us an important insight into the way the world is governed. Presumably this language of God sitting surrounded by a heavenly council is anthropomorphic language. God does not literally sit at the head of a council any more than he literally has hands or feet. This kind of language is used of God because we can understand it, to accommodate to our limitations. But what does it mean?
Broadly speaking there are three models for understanding the spiritual government of the world.
The first is polytheism or animism, in which the universe is governed (if that is not too strong a word) by a multiplicity of gods, goddesses, and spirits, none of whom is perfect and some of which are exceedingly evil. There is no absolutely supreme god or goddess, although some are generally more powerful than others. The end result is a universe filled with anxiety, in which we may never know in advance which spiritual power will come out on top in a particular situation, in which different deities have to be appeased and kept friendly, much as a citizen in a corrupt society may offer bribes to different officials, hoping he or she gets the bribes right in their amounts and their recipients. This is the world of animism and of Hinduism. In a strange way, it is also the world of Buddhism, where the “gods and goddesses” are within ourselves. Each person is his or her own god or goddess. Who knows who will win?
At its simplest this view becomes a dualism in which the world is governed by the outcome of an ongoing contest between God and the devil, who are thought of as pretty much equal and opposite powers battling it out for supremacy, like the Empire and the Federation in Star Wars. The devil is perceived as having an autonomy and agency independent of God. Some Christians are practical dualists in this way.
The second is a kind of absolute monism, in which the world is governed absolutely and simply by one God. What this God says goes, end of story. Above the visible and material universe there is one, and only one, supernatural power, the absolute power of the Creator of Heaven and earth. This model underlies the classic objection to the goodness of God: “If God is God He is not good. If God is good He is not God.
As I understand it, this is the model of Islam, and many Christians think it is the Biblical model. It is not.
Christian people can veer toward either of these, a dualism or a monism. Neither does justice to the Bible’s picture, which is more nuanced and complex. The Bible portrays for us a world that lies under the absolute supremacy and sovereignty of the Creator, who has no rivals, who is unique, such that there is no god like him. And yet he does not govern the world as the sole supernatural power. He governs the world by the means of and through the agency of a multiplicity of supernatural powers, some of whom are evil. That is to say, the “sons of God” represent powers that are greater than human powers and yet are less than God’s power. They include among their number satan and his lying and evil spirits.
Above the visible and measurable material world of human senses lies a world in which is the one Jesus calls “the prince of this world” (John 12:31) and whom Paul will later call “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” (Ephesians 2:2). “the air” here speaks of a region higher than earth (hence supernatural) but lower than the dwelling-place of God himself (Heaven). Our battle does not just take place at the human level (“against flesh and blood”) but “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
This model is not dualist; the sovereignty of God is not compromised one iota in this model. But the nature of the government of the world is significantly different than in the monist model. We need to take account of these supernatural agencies, “the sons of God” in the language of Job and other Old Testament passages. And we need to grasp that the evil agencies, the devil and all his angels, while being supernatural and superhuman, are sub-divine. satan is, to again quote Luther’s famous phrase, “God’s Satan”.
Some will object that since God cannot look at or have fellowship with evil (Habakkuk 1:13), he cannot allow the satan to be in his presence. But this is to confuse fellowship with government. God can have no fellowship with evil, because he is pure light, and “in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5, 6). But he can use evil in his government of the world, and he does. His having business dealings, so to speak, with the satan in the government of the world is not the same as suggesting that the satan enjoys God’s presence in the sense of his blessing.

Heresies and Blasphemies

PLEASE READ THIS

The New Testament was written in Greek.
The originals are all gone, no one has them. But there are over 5,300 extant (existing) Greek manuscripts of the New Testament available. About 95-97% of them agree together. They are called the Majority Text.
The remaining 3-5% that disagree with the majority of manuscripts.
A man named Erasmus, a brilliant scholar and reformer in his own right, examined a collection of Majority Text Greek manuscripts. He compiled them into a Greek New Testament based on the readings that the true church has accepted throughout the centuries. His compilation came to be known as the Textus Receptus. The King James Bible translation is based on the Greek text found in the Textus Receptus.
The new Bible versions are not based on Erasmus’ Textus Receptus. They are based on the Greek New Testament compiled by a couple of heretick infidel blasphemers named Westcott and Hort (*you will see this when you read their own words below).
Ignorant people are now saying that the Authorized King James Bible is wrong because they have believed the scholarship of these two blaspheming infidels. You will read their words for yourself in this article.
Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament is the “source text” for many of today’s modern Bible translations. These men were hereticks. [The personal letters of Hort and Westcott sound like the letters of men of the Jesuit order (that is, if you know the Roman Catholic Jesuits. If you are a Christian, I highly suggest that you read the The Deception Series. Not only will you know more about the Jesuits and their activities, you will become more acquainted with yourself, the problems with the visible church, Revelation 17, and these end times.)
Again, Westcott and Hort’s Greek New Testament is the “source text” for today’s modern Bible versions . Let us examine what Westcott and Hort actually believed.

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FROM THEIR
OWN MOUTHS

A selection of
statements revealing the
attitudes of these two
most noted textual critics.
Westcott and Hort
Reprinted with kind permission
from the Traditional Text Pamphlets Homepage
and compiled by David Blunt of the James Begg Society
WE should always be reluctant to engage in ad hominem arguments, i.e. those that concentrate on personalities rather than issues, but the character and professed beliefs of those involved in such vital matters as the text and translation of the Bible cannot be overlooked. It is necessary that those handling the inspired word of God themselves be spiritual men. This is the teaching of Scripture itself (1 Cor. 2:11-16).

Brooke Foss Westcott (1825-1901) was born at Birmingham and Fenton John Anthony Hort (1828-1892) at Dublin. In 1851 Westcott was ordained an Anglican “priest” and Hort in 1856: their careers were spent mostly in academic positions rather than pastorates. As early as 1853 they began work on their Greek text of the New Testament: this project was to occupy most of their remaining lives. In 1870 the idea of a modest revision of the A.V. was sanctioned by the Southern Convocation of the Church of England, and this provided the opportunity for Westcott and Hort to introduce their radical changes. They defended the inclusion of a Unitarian scholar on the Revision Committee. “The New Testament in the Original Greek” was published in 1881, as was the Revised Version based upon it: this latter failed to gain lasting popularity, but the Westcott-Hort text and theory has dominated the scene since.
Textual criticism cannot be divorced entirely from theology. No matter how great a Greek scholar a man may be, or no matter how great an authority on the textual evidence, his conclusions must always be open to suspicion if he does not accept the Bible as the very Word of God (in FULLER, p.157).

*Beliefs
The following quotes from the diaries and letters of Westcott and Hort demonstrate their serious departures from orthodoxy, revealing their opposition to evangelical Protestantism and sympathies with Rome and ritualism. Many more could be given. Their views on Scripture and the Text are highlighted.
1846 Oct. 25th – Westcott: “Is there not that in the principles of the “Evangelical” school which must lead to the exaltation of the individual minister, and does not that help to prove their unsoundness? If preaching is the chief means of grace, it must emanate not from the church, but from the preacher, and besides placing him in a false position, it places him in a fearfully dangerous one.” (Life, Vol.I, pp.44,45).
Oct., 22nd after Trinity Sunday – Westcott: “Do you not understand the meaning of Theological ‘Development’? It is briefly this, that in an early time some doctrine is proposed in a simple or obscure form, or even but darkly hinted at, which in succeeding ages,as the wants of men’s minds grow, grows with them – in fact, that Christianity is always progressive in its principles and doctrines” (Life, Vol.I, p.78).
Dec. 23rd – Westcott: “My faith is still wavering. I cannot determine how much we must believe; how much, in fact, is necessarily required of a member of the Church.” (Life, Vol.I, p.46).
1847 Jan., 2nd Sunday after Epiphany – Westcott: “After leaving the monastery we shaped our course to a little oratory…It is very small, with one kneeling-place; and behind a screen was a ‘Pieta’ the size of life (i.e. a Virgin and dead Christ)…I could not help thinking on the grandeur of the Romish Church, on her zeal even in error, on her earnestness and self-devotion, which we might, with nobler views and a purer end, strive to imitate. Had I been alone I could have knelt there for hours.” (Life, Vol.I, p.81).
1848 July 6th – Hort: “One of the things, I think, which shows the falsity of the Evangelical notion of this subject (baptism), is that it is so trim and precise…no deep spiritual truths of the Reason are thus logically harmonious and systematic…the pure Romish view seems to me nearer, and more likely to lead to, the truth than the Evangelical…the fanaticism of the bibliolaters, among whom reading so many ‘chapters’ seems exactly to correspond to the Romish superstition of telling so many dozen beads on a rosary…still we dare not forsake the Sacraments, or God will forsake us…I am inclined to think that no such state as ‘Eden’ (I mean the popular notion) ever existed, and that Adam’s fall in no degree differed from the fall of each of his descendants” (Life, Vol.I, pp.76-78).
Aug. 11th – Westcott: “I never read an account of a miracle (in Scripture?) but I seem instinctively to feel its improbability, and discover some want (*lack) of evidence in the account of it.” (Life, Vol.I, p.52).
Nov., Advent Sunday – Westcott: “All stigmatise him (a Dr. Hampden) as a ‘heretic,’…I thought myself that he was grievously in error, but yesterday I read over the selections from his writings which his adversaries make, and in them I found systematically expressed the very strains of thought which I have been endeavouring to trace out for the last two or three years. If he be condemned, what will become of me?” (Life, Vol.I,p.94).
1850 May 12th – Hort: “You ask me about the liberty to be allowed to clergymen in their views of Baptism. For my own part, I would gladly admit to the ministry such as hold Gorham’s view, much more such as hold the ordinary confused Evangelical notions” (Life, Vol.I, p.148).
July 31st – Hort: “I spoke of the gloomy prospect, should the Evangelicals carry on their present victory so as to alter the Services.” (Life, Vol.I, p.160).
1851 Feb. 7th – Hort: “Westcott is just coming out with his Norrisian on ‘The Elements of the Gospel Harmony.’ I have seen the first sheet on Inspiration, which is a wonderful step in advance of common orthodox heresy.” (Life, Vol.I, p.181).
1851 Dec. 29,30th – Hort: “I had no idea till the last few weeks of the importance of texts, having read so little Greek Testament, and dragged on with the villainous Textus Receptus. Think of that vile Textus Receptus leaning entirely on late MSS.; it is a blessing there are such early ones” (Life, Vol.I, p.211).
1858 Oct. 21st – “Further I agree with them in condemning many leading specific doctrines of the popular theology as, to say the least, containing much superstition and immorality of a very pernmicious kind…The positive doctrines even of the Evangelicals seem to me perverted rather than untrue…There are, I fear, still more serious differences between us on the subject of authority, and especially the authority of the Bible” (Life, Vol.I, p.400).
1860 Apr. 3rd – Hort: “But the book which has most engaged me is Darwin. Whatever may be thought of it, it is a book that one is proud to be contemporary with. I must work out and examine the argument in more detail, but at present my feeling is strong that the theory is unanswerable.” (Life, Vol.I, p.416).
Oct. 15th – Hort: “I entirely agree – correcting one word – with what you there say on the Atonement, having for many years believed that “the absolute union of the Christian (or rather, of man) with Christ Himself” is the spiritual truth of which the popular doctrine of substitution is an immoral and material counterfeit…Certainly nothing can be more unscriptural than the modern limiting of Christ’s bearing our sins and sufferings to His death; but indeed that is only one aspect of an almost universal heresy.” (Life, Vol.I, p.430).
1864 Sept. 23rd – Hort: “I believe Coleridge was quite right in saying that Christianity without a substantial Church is vanity and dissolution; and I remember shocking you and Lightfoot not so very long ago by expressing a belief that ‘Protestantism’ is only parenthetical and temporary. In short, the Irvingite creed (minus the belief in the superior claims of the Irvingite communion) seems to me unassailable in things ecclesiastical.” (Life, Vol.II, p.30,31).
1865 Sept. 27th – Westcott: “I have been trying to recall my impressions of La Salette (a Marian shrine). I wish I could see to what forgotten truth Mariolatry bears witness; and how we can practically set forth the teaching of the miracles“.
(*There is a lot more writings of these two but I posted the most eye-opening ones)

Chronology of the Revision

1825 Jan. 12th – Brooke Foss Westcott born at Birmingham.
1828 Apr. 23rd – Fenton John Anthony Hort born at Dublin.
1851 Dec. 21st – Westcott ordained “priest” in Church of England.
1853 Jan.-Mar. – Westcott and Hort agree upon plan of a joint revision of the text of the Greek Testament.
Apr. 19th – Hort: “He (Westcott) and I are going to edit a Greek text of the New Testament some two or three years hence, if possible.” (Life, Vol.I, p.250).
June – Mr. Daniel Macmillan suggests to Hort that he should take part in an interesting and comprehensive “New Testament Scheme“. Hort was to edit the text in conjunction with Mr. Westcott; the latter was to be responsible for a commentary, and Lightfoot was to contribute a N.T. Grammar and Lexicon. (Life, Vol.I, pp.240,241).
Sept. 29th – Westcott to Hort: “As to our proposed recension of the New Testament text, our object would be, I suppose, to prepare a text for common and general use…With such an end in view, would it not be best to introduce only certain emendations into the received text, and to note in the margin such as seem likely or noticeable – after Griesbach’s manner?…I feel most keenly the disgrace of circulating what I feel to be falsified copies of Holy Scripture (a reference to the A.V.?), and am most anxious to provide something to replace them. This cannot be any text resting solely on our own judgment, even if we were not too inexperienced to make one; but it must be supported by a clear and obvious preponderance of evidence. The margin will give ample scope for our own ingenuity or principles…my wish would be to leave the popular received text except where it is clearly wrong.” (Life, Vol.I, pp.228,229).
Nov. 4th – Hort: “I went down and spent a Sunday with Westcott…We came to a distinct and positive understanding about our Gk. Test. and the details thereof. We still do not wish it to be talked about, but are going to work at once, and hope we may perhaps have it out in little more than a year.” (Life, Vol.I, p.264).
Westcott and Hort start work on their Greek text.
1856 Feb. ? – Hort ordained “priest” in Church of England.
Mar. 20th – Hort: “I think I mentioned to you before Campbell’s book on the Atonement, which is invaluable as far as it goes; but unluckily he knows nothing except Protestant theology” (Life, Vol.I, p.322).
1857 Feb. 23rd – Hort to Westcott: “I hope to go on with the New Testament text more unremittingly” (Life, Vol.I, p.355).
First efforts to secure revision of the Authorised Version by five Church of England clergymen.
1858 Oct. 21st – Hort: “The principle literary work of these years was the revision of the Greek Text of the New Testament. All spare hours were devoted to it.” (Life, Vol.I, p.399).
1860 May 1st – Hort to Lightfoot: “If you make a decided conviction of the absolute infallibility of the N.T. practically a sine qua non for co-operation, I fear I could not join you, even if you were willing to forget your fears about the origin of the Gospels.” (Life, Vol. I, p.420).
May 4th – Hort to Lightfoot: “I am also glad that you take the same provisional ground as to infallibility that I do.” (Life, Vol.I, p.424). (*For further quotes…)

1892 Nov. 30th – death of Hort.
1901 July 27th – death of Westcott.
1908 The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopaedia discusses the Westcott-Hort theory: “Conscious agreement with it or conscious disagreement and qualification mark all work in this field since 1881.
This is still almost literally true.

References:
Hort, A.F., Life and Letters of Fenton J.A. Hort, MacMillan and Co., London, 1896, vols. I,II.
Westcott, A., Life and Letters of Brooke Foss Westcott, MacMillan and Co., London, 1903, vols. I,II.

The unmitigating emergence of unauthorized Bible versions is risen up to challenge and remove the Authorized Version of the Bible (which thing cannot be done for the Lord said that his words shall not pass away. There will be a true church awaiting His return. The Authorized Version of the Bible is the precepts of a mighty nation whose King is the LORD. This proliferating emergence of unauthorized versions is a full frontal attack launched (and sustained) against the word of God to remove it and replace it with something else. satan knoweth that he hath but a short time. As for the saints, we are exhorted to
Jude 1:3…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Why Hasn’t Jesus Come Back Yet?

It has been around 2,000 years since Jesus left Earth, and many wonder why he has taken so long to return. In his book, Why I Am Not a Christian, atheist Bertrand Russell accused Jesus of breaking his promise to return.¹ So is it possible that Russell is right, and Jesus did break his promise?

The Apostle Peter predicted scoffers like Russell would point to Jesus’ delay as a broken promise. He writes, “…by way of remembrance: that ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”²

Perhaps Russell and other scoffers should have looked closer at Peter’s words, as well as what Jesus said about the timing of his return, and the events that would precede it. Jesus did say that, although no man would know the exact timing of his return, certain clues would tell us that it is drawing near.³

Additionally, the Old Testament prophets and Jesus’ apostles also provide insight about what the world scene will look like just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. Let’s look briefly at a few of these clues to the general timing of Jesus’ return:4

•Major earthquakes
•Worldwide famine
•Wars
•Worldwide epidemics
•Persecution of believers
•Gospel proclaimed worldwide
Earthquakes, famines, epidemics, and wars have occurred throughout human history, but Jesus said there would be a noticeable increase of such events prior to his return.5 Persecution of believers began with the apostles and is on the increase today. More Christians are being persecuted for their faith now than at any time in history. Jesus tells us that such persecution will continue until his return, as will the worldwide proclamation of the gospel.

According to Jesus, when all of these events capture the world scene, we are to “look up,” for his return will be soon.6 Although Bible scholars don’t agree on all the details regarding Jesus’ return, many believe that the time Jesus spoke of is rapidly approaching. Paul told believers to be ready and “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”7

So why is he delaying so long to fulfill his promise?

Peter explained the reason for Jesus’ delay, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”8

Peter was writing to believers who were experiencing trials and persecution. They wanted Jesus to come sooner rather than later. However, Peter tells them that God’s first priority is to spread the gospel of Christ throughout the world, reaching as many people as possible.

The above post was excerpted from the article “Is Jesus Coming Back?”

1. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Touchstone, 1957), 16.

2. 2 Peter 3:4.

3. Matthew 25:13.

4, Matthew 24:3-14.

5. Matthew 24:3-51.

6. Luke 21:28. Titus 2:13.

7. 2 Peter 3:8-9.

8. Matthew 24:14.

TV Host Witnesses to Muslim Who Attempted to Murderer Him and Converts Him to Christ

By Walid Shoebat

A major leader for ISIS was looking to make a high-profile murder of a famous Christian TV ministry host. He claimed to be interested in learning about Christianity and wanted to meet the host so he could kill him. Instead, he ended up getting converted after hearing the Gospel:

After watching Leading The Way’s satellite TV channel, he had a plan, according to Michael Youssef’s ministry.

That plan: to kill a member of Leading the Way’s follow-up team.

“Muhammad called the number on the screen. ‘I need to meet with you,’ he told Peter*, one of Leading The Way’s follow-up team leaders,” according to the ministry.

For security purposes, the ministry is strategic about vetting callers before meeting with them in person. But follow-up team leader Peter discerned God’s voice urging him, “This time is different. Go and meet this man—and be bold with him.”

According to the ministry, Peter met with Muhammad and boldly proclaimed the gospel to him. After they parted ways, the ministry reports, God continued to speak to Muhammad, revealing Himself in a dream and bringing great conviction upon him.

“He shaved his beard—the symbol of his radical devotion to Islam,” the ministry reports. “He decided to follow Christ. And he reached out to Peter once more, desperate to meet with him.”

“Peter, I have a confession,” Muhammad told him. “The first time I was going to meet you, I intended to kill you, and I am sorry.”

With that, Leading the Way reports, the ISIS leader fell on his face and repented before the Lord.

“This former ISIS leader is now your brother in Christ,” the ministry says. “His conversion happened just weeks ago, and by God’s mercy and grace, he is already serving Christ where he lives. Only God can change an ISIS leader. Only God can transform hearts—and yet we are blessed to join Him in His work of reaching the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ. (source)

Like I have said before and I will keep saying, no matter how evil these guys are, we have to pray and make sacrifices for Muslims just like this man because there are a lot more out there- just like how Walid once was.

Article reposted with permission from Shoebat.com

*Article by Andrew Bieszad

EXPLAINING “TO CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS”

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Moses spent forty days and forty nights atop of Mount Sinai. That was where the Lord wrote the Ten Commandments upon the tablets of stone.
The Ten Commandments are God’s “Laws.” His ETERNAL and UNCHANGEABLE laws.
Incidently, the ten commandments are typically depicted as two stone tablets containing 5 commandments each. Actually the first contained 4 and the second 6. The first set are guidelines for our interaction and relationship to God; following these brings us into a better relationship with God. The second set are guidelines for our interaction with other men; following these brings us into a better relationship with those around us. As a side note to ponder, since the Hebrews wrote right to left, the start of the commandments could have been on what we consider the second tablet.
However, there are those around who feel that such guidelines infringe upon their personal rights. ‘Darn tootin’; just imagine how awful the world would be if our parents treated us with respect and we did the same to them, how awful it would be to walk the streets without the fear of murder, a rotten world where we choose our spouces carefully and respected them and were able to have complete trust in them, how unfair it would be not to be able to take something from someone else, how unprofitable it would be to actually offer truth in testimony, and how much unfun it would be to being content with that around us and not having to worry about what someone else may have or running off with what have. These ‘commandments’ must really be out of line, we wouldn’t have need for most of the laws and punishments we currently got!’
If you need a better example of sarcasm, I’d be happy to dig one up because isn’t all this the whole goal our civilation is looking for within its cries for peace? Ironic.
So, in any case, has there been any world power that has thought to CHANGE God’s laws? The answer to that is “yes.”
For most people who call themselves Christians, they are shocked and appalled when the see the following. How could anyone ever have the audacity to change and rewrite the Lord’s Ten Commandments? Yet, it was done.
Then it all becomes very, very clear. All it took was having one extremely large and powerful group with the settled conviction that they had the “authority” to CHANGE even Divine Laws.
At least in THREE places, the Church of Rome altered the handwriting of God that originally appeared on the tablets of stone to more accurately reflect their compromising attitude toward Paganism. [Paganism relied heavily on Sun-Worship and Idol-Worship, so by changing these Laws the Church of Rome found it easier to accomodate the Pagan peoples they had conquered into the church.]

THE LAW OF GOD
The Ten Commandments in
The Old Testament
The Law of God As Changed By The Papacy:

I. Thou shalt have NO OTHER gods before me.
I . You shall have no strange gods before me.
II. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, … Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them:…
…commandment against bowing down to images is gone! …renumbering time.
III. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain….
II . You shall not take the name of the Lord in vain.
IV. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work,…
III . Keep holy the Sabbath day.
( Although it is now called Sunday… )
V. Honour thy father and thy mother….
IV . Honor your father and mother.
VI. Thou shalt not kill….
V . Do not kill.
VII. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
VI . Do not commit adultery.
VIII. Thou shalt not steal.
VII . Do not steal.
IX. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
VIII . Do not bear false witness.
X. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
unless something was done there would be a commandment missing.
Solution: split one of them.
IX . Do not covet your neighbor’s wife.
X . Do not covet your neighbor’s goods.
See EXODUS 20:3-17 for complete text! (Naturally it now becomes dangerous to let people read the Bible for themselves and a good idea to start doing religious ceremonies in a language not understood by commoners….)
As for the changing of “times,” notice that in chapter 2, verse 21 that Daniel gives credit to God, how God “changes the times and the seasons“, how God “removes kings and sets up kings…” It is God‘s prerogative to “change times“. It is God who has the destiny of nation’s under His control.
For the little horn” to endeavor to change times would indicate a deliberate attempt to exercise the prerogative of God in shaping the course of human history.
Did the Papacy ever think to exercise this type of control in the world? Most definitely.

In the eleventh century Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the church had NEVER ERRED, nor WOULD IT EVER ERR. The proud pontiff also claimed the power to DEPOSE EMPERORS, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced could be reversed by anyone, but that it was HIS prerogative to reverse the decision of all others.
A striking illustration of the tyrannical character of this advocate of infallibility was given in his treatment of the German emperor, Henry IV. For presuming to disregard the Pope’s authority, this monarch was declared to be excommunicated and dethroned. Terrified by the desertion and threats of his own princes, who were encouraged in rebellion against him by the Papal mandate, Henry felt the necessity of making his peace with Rome. In company with his wife and a faithful servant he crossed the alps in mid-winter, that he might humble himself before the Pope…
Upon reaching the castle where Pope Gregory was staying, Henry was conducted into an outer court without his guards, and there, in the severe cold of winter, uncovered, barefoot and in miserable dress, he awaited the Pope’s permission to come into his presence…
Not until he had continued three days fasting and making confession, did the pontiff condescend to grant a pardon.
…even then it was only upon the condition that the emperor should await the sanction of the Pope before resuming the insignia or excerising the power of royality. Gregory, ELATED WITH HIS TRIUMPH, BOASTED THAT IT WAS HIS DUTY TO PULL DOWN THE PRIDE OF KINGS. This event took place in January of the year 1077.