Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Cross (poem)

 In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath,
Shall I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

A second look He gave, which said,
"I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live."

Thus while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!

—John Newton

Friday, January 1, 2021

Spirits

There are many different opinions out there regarding spirits. It is certain that spirits were formed by God, but how evil spirits came to be is unknown. Many people don't realize that the Bible has a lot to say about Spirits and what they can do.

Let's look at what the Bible has to say about Spirits. 

Luke 24:39- Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Spirits don't have flesh and blood. They are a sort of like wind or air- you can feel them and see the effects of them, some times even see them, but you can't touch them.

Ecclesiastes 3:21- Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Every living thing contains a spirit. When a body dies the spirit leaves and goes somewhere. However, not all human spirits are the same.

Numbers 14:24- But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

This stands to reason that each spirit is unique, just as each individual or animal is unique.

Revelation 1:4- John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

There are spirits which stand around God's throne and they represent churches.

Some things that many people don't realize about spirits is that even though they are unique and individual, they can be shared among people.

Numbers 11:16-17, 24-25-  And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the LORD, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle. And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.

II Kings 2:9, 15-  And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

Notice when Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah's spirit that he wasn't told it was impossible. He was granted this double portion.

Spirits operate in a different world than we do, however they can interact and influence our world.

Some influence our emotions and our decisions. They manipulate us into believing lies, becoming jealous, they can even make us sick- all without actually possessing our person.

Numbers 5:14- And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

Judges 9:2-3 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:

1 Samuel 16:14-15- But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

1 Kings 22:22-23- And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade [him], and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Isiaha 19:14- The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit.

Luke 13:11- And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

Some can possess a physical body, and again they can possess in singular or plural. This is true of both good and evil spirits. When they do possess the body, they can control it. And, they can possess both human and animal.

Matthew 12:43-45- When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Ezekiel 3:23-27- Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.

The Scriptures refer to the third part of the Trinity of God as the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost.

I Thessalonians 4:8- He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

I Corinthians 6:19- What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

When we get saved the Holy Spirit comes and indwells our bodies. This indwelling is taking up residence, but the Holy Spirit never takes control of a Christian's body!

I Corinthians 14:32- And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

Ephesians 1:13-14- In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Spirits also have different abilities and levels of power (if we may call it that). In the Bible, evil spirits are referred to as both spirits and devils. 

Familiar spirits are those that consult with humans and speak as a loved one to deceive people. They don't generally have the power to possess, they only communicate. The Bible tells us that we are not to communicate with spirits or the dead.

Deuteronomy 18:11- Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

1 Samuel 28:7-8- Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

In this instance the woman was scared to death when the actual spirit of Samuel came up. She was expecting her familiar spirit to appear and play the part.

Isaiah 29:4- And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

These familiar spirits can only talk with certain people. There are other more powerful spirits than can do much worse. They possess humans. There is only one instance in the Bible, which is previously mentioned that shows a good spirit possessing and controlling a human. In every other passage of Scripture they are evil spirits.

Matthew 10:1- And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

These spirits know the Lord and those who are faithfully serving Him. They also know when a poser is trying to use them to get their own personal glory- it doesn't end well for these people.

Act 19:13-16- Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Luke 9:38-42- And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child. And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father

 Some are so powerful that it takes days of prayer and fasting by a Christian before they can be cast out of a person. The person can become re-possessed if they don't get saved.

Mark 9:29- And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Act 16:16-18- And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Why did Paul wait several days before casting this spirit out? Possibly because he was praying and fasting. He may have been able to discern that this was a powerful spirit that needed that extra bit to cast it out.

We need divine help to be able to discern whether a spirit is good or evil. There are many different spirits around us daily and as we have seen they can influence our lives. Paul says that it's one of the blessings that God gives to some Christians, not all Christians get this ability.

1 Corinthians 12:10- To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

However, even if we don't possess this gift, John has told us how we can try the spirits to see if they are good or evil. Only good spirits will confess that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh.

1 John 4:1-3- Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 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.

Spirits will be tried by God sometime around when the devil is judged by God. Their fate will be the same as Satan's if they are evil.

I Peter 3:19- By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

Matthew 8:29- And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

They know there is a time when they will be judged and tormented for their wickedness.

Revelation 21:8- But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.




Thursday, December 31, 2020

What Happens After Millions Disappear? How Do I Survive The Tribulation?

If you're searching this chances are that millions, if not billions, of people have suddenly disappeared. You may have been told various theories behind this event ranging from aliens to something like revenge of nature or the earth helping herself out.
But, let me tell you what actually happened.
The Rapture
I Thessalonians 4:16-17- For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
I Corinthians 15:52 - In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
An event the Christians call the Rapture of the Church has occurred. These people didn't actually disappear into nothingness. Their bodies were changed and they left the earth to go live with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.
Sound silly? No one thought that millions of people could vanish in a moment all around the world either!
There are casualties from suddenly abandoned cars and planes.  The world's economy is thrown for a loop because so many people with debt are no longer going to be able to pay.
Read on and then come back once things start to happen, because I'm going to give you a little glimpse of what is about to come.
At first, life will seem to go on as usual. People will speculate and theorize and then finally just accept and move on. There will be doomsday preachers and mockers. There will be blaming and rumors of war. And then, the world will band together to overcome this tragedy.
A one world government.
Someone will be able to rally the troops and get everyone to come together peaceably.  This person will even be able to bring peace to the turmoil of the Middle East.
Zephaniah 3:8- Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
Micah 4:12- But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.
Daniel 11:21, 24- And in his estate shall stand up a vile person, to whom they shall not give the honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries. He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province; and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his fathers' fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: yea, and he shall forecast his devices against the strong holds, even for a time.
It will all seem wonderful, unless you know the truth. This man is not looking for peace, but global domination.
Natural disasters
During this time nature will seem to be in anxiety. Things will happening across the globe that will destroy plant and animal life, and this will cause mass drought and famine.
Revelation 8:5, 7-11- And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up. And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed. And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
A Death and another Disappearance
After a while, there will be two distinct things that happen that will begin an even worse time on the earth- the most awful and horrible that has ever been.
One, the man who brought peace to the Middle East will be assassinated.
Revelation 13:3a- And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death;
Zechariah 11:17- Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.
Whatever kills this man will ruin his right eye and right arm. When you see this happen you better run for cover. Find some place to hide!
Two, there will be another instance of people who vanish without a trace.
If you read Matthew 25 there is a story about 10 virgins who were waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. Five had oil and five had none. When the sound was made that the bridegroom was coming, the five with oil were ready and looking for him while the five without oil had to go searching to get prepared.
Matthew 25:10-13 -And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
This is very important. To escape the last most dreadful days you must go up in this Mid-Tribulation Rapture. But, how? How does one get saved during this time?
Revelation 15:3- And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.
You have to keep the Old Testament commandments and ask Jesus Christ to save your soul. It won't be easy because any time you break a commandment you will lose your salvation. You have to confess your sin and ask God to forgive you and ask Him to save your soul again and try to live according to the commandments given in Exodus and Deuteronomy.
Revelation 14:12- Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
You also have to treat the Jewish people well. Almost the entire chapter of Matthew 25 deals with this. If they're hungry or thirsty or naked and you don't help them it won't go well with you!
Those who are saved when Christ calls during this time will go to heaven (the mid-tribulation rapture), those who are not will be left to endure the next phase- the Great Tribulation.
A Resurrection and a Betrayal
The leader who was assassinated will be dead for 3 days. The entire world will mourn his passing. But, then something will happen that will make everyone gasp. He will come back to life!
Revelation 13:3-5- And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
The Bible is very clear that this man will be in power for three and a half years after his miraculous resurrection. But, he won't be the same. He will be evil and demanding and very unforgiving- the AntiChrist.
Daniel 9:27- And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
All his promises to the Jews will end. The temple will no longer be for their use, but for his own. He will sit in there as a god and demand absolute and unquestioned loyalty and obedience.
II Thessalonians 2:3-4- Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Daniel 11:37- Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
Prophets and Beasts
There will now be some even more unbelievable things happening. There will be some preachers who will go throughout the world, two in particular who will be in Jerusalem working miracles and wonders.
Revelation 11:3- And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
These two men will seem life terrible people because they will be preaching repent, and if someone tries to kill them they will in turn be killed. These two men will cause more destruction to this planet's environment making the water and food reserves dwindle.
But, they won't be the only ones working "magic". The AntiChrist will have his own prophets.
Revelation 13:11-14- And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
It might seem hard to decipher who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Those who get in the Bible and read and learn will be able to tell the difference.
On top of all the global chaos there will be mutants roaming the world.
Revelation 9:1-3, 7-10 - And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.  And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.
If those weren't frightening enough, there will be an army of mutants wrecking havoc across the globe.
Revelation 9:15-19- And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
Sounds incredible! Sounds frightening! But, it's only the beginning.
An image and a mark
The AntiChrist will set up an image to be worshiped. Not only will he demand the worship of this AI, but he will also demand people get an implant. Whoever doesn't get this implant, his mark, won't be able to buy food. If they're caught without it then they'll be killed.
Revelation 13:15- 16- And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
You might be wondering how anyone could buy food with all the devastation that has happened. It's said people will become cannibals and feed on those who are killed for not taking the mark.
Do you think it would be worth accepting the mark. Think again. Because the moment you take the mark you are damned. You can no longer get forgiveness for you sins or ask God to save your soul.
Hebrews 10:26-27- For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
The worst part is that this deal with death won't last forever. The devil lies about the eternal life part.
Isaiah 28:18- And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.
If you don't take the mark and are caught, you'll be killed.
Revelation 14:9-11- And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
You must now keep the commandments, ask God to forgive you and save your soul through Christ's sacrifice on Calvary, and not take the mark- either by avoiding those hunting you or by willingly dying instead of taking it.
Revelation 12:11- And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Matthew 24:13- But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Mark 13:13- And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
It will hard for anyone to live during this time. If you find yourself about to die because you won't accept the mark, I suggest that you confess your sins and ask Christ to save your soul before you lose your life! But, the terrible time won't be over yet.
Death is selective
There will be something weird that happens during this time. Those who take the mark will be unable to die. The mark will change their DNA and damn their souls. That zombie apocalypse that everyone goes on about will seem to come true.
Revelation 9:6- And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.
What happens when you shoot yourself in the head but continue to live? How about when you jump off a cliff but continue to breathe? Immortality sucks when you live in constant pain.
The only ones who will be able to die will be those who don't take the mark, and they will be beheaded and they will die.
Revelation 20:4b-and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands;
That's the punishment for rejecting the mark and not worshiping the image.
Death of the prophets and a final disappearance
The two prophets who have been driving people in Jerusalem crazy will be killed by the AntiChrist. He'll finally be able to overcome them and behead them. And, he'll leave their bodies laying in the streets of Jerusalem.
Their death will be broadcast for days for the entire world to gloat about their victory. They'll send gifts to each other and party- sounds almost like Christmas.
Revelation 11:7-10- And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
But their jubilation will be short lived. Because after three days they will come back to life and be called up to heaven, along with others who endured and kept the commandments and were still saved when it happens. And, since this is being broadcast globally, everyone will see it.
Revelation 11:11- - And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
Armageddon
And then will come the end.
Zechariah 14:3-5, 12- Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.
Joel 2:1-8-  Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
An immortal army which cannot be killed will sweep the land causing a destruction like that of a nuclear bomb against those who have taken the mark. It will be the end of the AntiChrist's kingdom and the beginning of the Thousand Year Reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Millenium.
Revelation 11:15- And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
I don't know where you fall as you read this. It is lengthy and exhaustive, and it doesn't even list everything that will happen!
I urge you to get yourself a King James Bible and start reading. Find out what the commandments are and ask God to have mercy on your soul. Be willing to lay down your life or run and hide until the end.

Friday, December 25, 2020

The True Story of Christmas



 So many people have an idea of how Christmas came to be. There are plenty of traditions that we look to and observe. But, what really happened at that time?

Let's see what the Scriptures say!

The story begins about 9 months earlier...

Luke 1:26-38- And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

An angel appeared to the virgin Mary. We know she's a virgin because she's only engaged (espoused) and she says she's known not a man (she hasn't had relations yet). The angel, Gabriel, tells her that she's going to be the mother of the child, but the father will be God and it will be a spiritual conception through the Holy Spirit without a man being involved.

In those days, in the Jewish custom, if an engaged girl committed fornication with someone she would be stoned to death along with the man. When her pregnancy became known, her fiance would have a serious problem- say the baby is his or allow her to be killed.

Matthew 1:18-25- 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. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 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.

God didn't send an angel to Joseph. He knew that Joseph was a just man and would heed what was spoken to him in a dream. God told Joseph to go ahead and marry this pregnant girl because she didn't cheat on him. She was chosen by God for a special purpose- to bring the Messiah into the world.

Galatians 4:4-5- But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Many people think the above verse is wrong. But, it's not. God sent forth Jesus who was made of a woman. Every piece of genetic DNA in Jesus was from Mary. His father was God, so the only way for him to have a human body was to use the genetic coding from Mary- he was literally made of a woman!

Joseph's genealogy is given in Matthew 1. His lineage runs through the kings of Israel. God curses that lineage in Jeremiah 22. He says that no man from that family would ever sit on the throne of David again.

Mary's genealogy is given in Luke 3. It runs through King David, but not King Solomon. Her line goes through one of Solomon's brothers, Nathan. This is how God kept his promise to David without reversing his curse on Jeconiah. 

Luke 2:1-7- And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

During her ninth month of pregnancy, there was an order from the Roman ruler of the Middle East/ Asia Minor that said everyone had to go to the place of their birth and pay a global tax. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but Joseph's lineage was Bethlehem. So that's where they traveled to pay their mandated taxes.

When they got to Bethlehem many people were there for this mandatory tax. The inns were completely filled and they couldn't find anyone willing to take them into their home. So, they stayed in a barn. The hard journey put Mary into labor, and Joseph delivered the baby in that stable and they wrapped him in the only thing they could find- burial cloths. It was a sign to the world that they wouldn't recognize- Jesus Christ was born to die.

Luke 2:8-20- And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The entire world was oblivious to this miracle. Heaven was in an unfamiliar state. Never before had the God head been divided. One member of the Trinity- the Son- was no longer in their presence. They went to the earth to make this momentous occasion known.

There were shepherds outside of Bethlehem that night. They were watching their flocks in the field. It was actually around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles when the Jewish people were to dwell in booths- around the end of September. The angels showed up to these shepherds and proclaimed their joyous news.

Can you imagine their shock and awe as the sky filled with angelic being singing about the Messiah born that night? They rushed into the city to go see the baby and then told everyone they could about what they had witnessed!

Most people get messed up around this point. The story is different than many realize.

Luke 2:21-38- And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Mary waits 8 days and then goes to the temple to get Jesus circumcised according to the law. And, to offer the sacrifice required of new mothers which was also stated in the law. Two different people meet her there. 

The first, a man named Simeon. People assume he's an aged man, but that's no where in the passage. He sees the baby Messiah and says that he can die right now and be okay with it. He could have been in his 20's or 30's!

The next was an old women, Anna. She also acknowledged the presence of the Messiah and proclaimed that to those around.

Joseph and Mary were in awe at what was happening. They knew this child was special, but I'm wondering if they understood exactly how special He was!

After this, Joseph and Mary settled into their new life. They had a normal marriage relationship, bought a house, and lived as any other couple.

The angels that appeared to the Shepherds had vanished, but a singular phenomenon had remained in the sky. A star that gained the attention of some men in the east.

These men decided that they would follow the star to the King that it heralded.

Matthew 2:1-12- Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The wise men traveled far following this "star". It led them to Jerusalem first. Here, they went to the ruler and asked where the King was so they could worship Him. Herod quickly gathered the religious leaders and demanded that they search their scrolls for the answer.

As this was occurring, he grilled the wise men on when the star appeared. Herod was troubled because he knew this new king was a threat to his reign. He lied to the wise men that he, too, wanted to worship the child.

The religious leaders found the Scripture that said Bethlehem would be the place. The wise men then proceeded to the city and the star guided them to the house. They went in and worshipped the child. Not Joseph or Mary. They gave gifts to the child of gold (representing his status of king), frankincense (representing his life as a prophet of the Lord), and myrrh (representing his sacrificial death). These things were not necessarily known to the wise men or even Joseph and Mary. They were a sign by God to His people Israel.

The wise men didn't show up at the barn in Bethlehem. They showed up at a house. It wasn't a baby in a manger, but a little toddler of about 2 years old that they saw and worshipped.

God told the wise men that Herod was deceitful and warned them not to go back and tell him where Jesus could be found. Then he warned Joseph.

Matthew 2:13-18- And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

It is important to notice that Mary had no idea that her child's life was in danger. I'm going to upset some of you, but Mary is not the mother of God; she's the mother of Jesus humanity. She's not some special saint to be prayed to.

When God chose to warn of the impending danger, he warned the man of the house. Joseph was the leader of the home and it was his job to protect his family. God told him where to flee with his family so they would be safe.

Herod had grilled the wise men for a specific time that the star had appeared. It had been two years ago that they had first seen the sign of the newborn king. It was because of this timing that Herod sent to Bethlehem and killed all the children two years old and under- he was covering all the bases! He thought that surely he had destroyed this threat to his kingship.

Matthew 2:19-23- But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

When the danger was past, the angel again appeared to Joseph in a dream. Note that each time the Lord speaks to Joseph it is in his dreams. He never sent an angel to physically appear to him. Joseph could be trusted to discern the Lord's will through his dreams.

Luke 2:39-40- And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

Afraid that Herod's progeny would seek to destroy his family, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth, the city they originally lived in when they married. Here is where Jesus and his brothers and sisters were raised by a humble carpenter.

Mark 6:1-4- And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples follow him. And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

Mary was not a perpetual virgin. She would be breaking God's law if she defrauded her husband for all those years.

Jesus wasn't an only child. He had at least 4 half-brothers and 2 half-sisters.

The Bible is very clear that the birth of Jesus was a miracle! But, it didn't happen the way most people want to believe. Many love the baby in the manger, but they want to avoid the Savior on the cross. Christ was born to die for our sins. If you choose to accept Him as your Savior then you, too, can have forgiveness in the sight of God and be accepted into Heaven when you die.

If you choose to reject him you will spend your first second in hell realizing that you made a mistake. You next second will be the dreadful acknowledgement that you will be there forever. And for all eternity you will mourn the fact that you rejected a loving Savior's gift of forgiveness for sins!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Believer's Heritage- Helpful Gleanings

 I've always thought that the wives of missionaries never got enough training in what to expect both on deputation and out on the field. This is a series of articles written from the perspective of a missionary wife for missionary wives. The testimonies and practical advice shared here are intended to help others who may be facing similar circumstances. If you are looking for encouragement or some helpful tips, please visit this website!

Helpful Gleanings