Church Immigration

In our political quagmire, rhetoric has evolved that has added to the division of our Country.  Immigration has been front and center to a continuing volcanic eruption of opinions.  The vacillating of viewpoints has driven our divide into a chasm that widens everyday.  On one side, there are the open arms of acceptance to anyone who wants to be part of this great land.  On the other side are those with folded arms of immigration restraint.  One group conveys an open door way, while the other group offers a door that can only be opened by meeting certain criteria.

Parallel to the political landscape is the Church and its immigration policy.  There are Rev Paul Hoffmasterbasically two viewpoints to the accepting of individuals who are seeking Christian citizenship.  One is an open door policy that offers acceptance to anyone occupying a pew.  The other offers citizenship by the person’s acceptance of Jesus Christ.  The oversimplification of these two approaches has led to a corrupted and ineffective Church.

Our Country is concerned about people entering it who seek to destroy our liberties.  The Church needs to be equally aware of people who are entering the Christian community with the intent to destroy the standards of Biblical integrity.  The attack on Biblical inerrancy is not so much an external challenge as it is an internal threat.  There are those within the Church who have assumed leadership roles with the intent to misdirect the “very elect” on issues that challenge the basic core of Biblical truths.  The open door policy of the Church has been a gateway for “Biblical Terrorist” to enter the confines of the elected.  As we read the Scriptures, we find continual warnings about the internal assaults against the Church, yet we turn a blind eye to its reality.  Until the Church understands what it is facing, perilous times will continue to rock its foundation.

When you look at what has been happening in the Church today, we will readily conclude that something is out of kilter.  Have those who have truly been Born Again suddenly decided to question the authority of God’s Word?  Would they challenge the Bible’s stand on homosexuality?  Would they redefine what constitutes marriage?  Would they condone same sex marriages?  The true Believer would never entertain anything that would question God’s Word.  Who then would pursue such a humanistic approach?

The Bible makes it clear that no one can come to Christ except God draws him.  It is also emphatically clear that no one comes to God except through Jesus Christ.  The drawing is implemented by the Holy Spirit.  The problem is “soul winners” try to do it on their own.  Programs are initiated on how to lead someone to Christ.  The intent is good, but sometimes they supersede the working of the Holy Spirit.  The initial response could be favorable, but in many cases the result of their salvation bares no evidence.  This is also where sheep in wolves clothing can enter the commune of Believers.

Difficult days lie ahead for both the Church and the Country.  As there is a path for those who want to pursue citizenship in the United States, shouldn’t there also be a directive for those interested in being part of the Kingdom of God?  The Church needs to take seriously its role in preparing people for their life changing experience, so when the Holy Spirit presents the Son, they will be prepared to receive Jesus not only as Savior, but also as Lord.

 I am asking that we examine the Scripture and see the warnings that have been issued to the Church.  The sheep in wolves clothing is not something new, but has been revealed throughout the Word.  The Church is facing steady decline of its constituency.  Pew Research just released statistics showing that between 2007 and 2014 there was a drop of almost 8% by those who had identified themselves as Christians.  There is an assault against the Church as well as our Country.  It is time to wake up and realize what is happening.  It is time to draw a definitive line and say enough is enough.  When our Constitution and the Bible are not defended, evil will triumph.  May God help us!

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Revelation Chapter 16

Check out the overview by clicking on link below:

Power Point Presentation for Chapter 16

Dr. jStarkIt is difficult to write on something that so many other scholars and want-to-be teachers have already covered in so many different formats. The FACTS don’t change. Bible content is something that cannot be copyrighted. Just like the free will of man to accept or deny the existence of a God supreme, it cannot be outlawed. Simple example in America: To pass a law about discrimination in any form does not eliminate it. This country (2016) is more polarized today than it was just 8 years ago. We can probably go back to the Civil War and see very similar hate, choosing of sides, difference of opinion in neighborhoods and a cluster of houses in a common section of almost any town feeling they are not a neighborhood-in-common.

I state the above as we close in on the end of our Revelation study. This is precisely what the Apostle John and many other bible prophets and authors of books in the bible have said for 3,000 years. They go into much greater detail, but without knowledge, how can one prepare for End Time? Simple answer… they can’t! This however does not mean End Time will also not come. It simply means that millions will lose his or her opportunity to survive it and spend eternity in a much more preferred place than hell.

Revelation 16

A voice from out of the heavenly temple commands the 7 angels to “go their way and pour out the vials of God’s wrath upon the earth and mankind”. Note that John hears the command that all 7 angels are told to GO! Not go #1; then go #2 and so forth. There is an order or sequence but no timing is evidenced. Since all 7 are told to go with ONE COMMAND, it is highly unlikely that there is a span of much, if any time between the pouring out of the wrath bowls of God. [suggested insight follows later]

The sequence is as follows:

  1. Bowl #1 is great sores upon man (and woman) if they have worshiped the beast, his image or taken the mark of the beast.
  2. *Bowl #2 is God’s wrath on the sea. We are not told if this includes lakes, ponds, or oceans. The Greek word used here is Thalassa. Thayer and Strong point out that this is a term usually indicating the Red or Mediterranean Seas. Since Thalassa is a prolonged form of halce, which means “salt” it would be unwise to conclude it does not include the great oceans and gulfs.
  3. *Bowl #3 is when and where the rivers, streams, springs are included in God’s wrath. The third angel pours out his bowl upon these waters.

    *a word of caution… some bible translations say “the waters turned to blood like a dead man.” Young’s Literal Translation from 1898 says “blood.” We do not know if this analogy is a comparison of similarities or the actual thing. It is not important to know which as all translations worth any study say that all living creatures within these waters die.

At this point there is a short interlude as an angel “in charge of the waters” points out (v5) that God is justified in doing this to his creation. He explains that man has shed the blood of God’s followers and “deserves” the same treatment. Then in verse 7 a voice from the alter seconds this proclamation made by the angel of the waters. The obvious…this is at the end of the Great Tribulation Period of 7 years.

We might also note that the first three bowls of judgement are similar to judgements one and six cast on Egypt at the time of the Israeli bondage in that country. Even though these Egyptian plagues were limited to Egypt, we do know what these “plagues” were limited to in durations. This may only be studied speculation, but it gives us some insight as to the possible duration of each plague in Revelation: The first Egyptian plague lasted for 7 days (Ex 7:25), the 9th Egyptian plague lasted for 3 days (Ex 10:21-23), and the 10th was for one night, beginning at midnight (Ex 12:29-31); all within a given week. This may be helpful to those who want a duration number or some possibilities given for the plagues in Revelation. For some reasonable speculation on days of duration, go to http://www.jesusalive.cc/ques219.htm.scorchingsun

  1. Bowl #4 is the sun scorching those on earth (this does not include anyone who has not worshiped the beast, his image, and/or taken the mark of the beast. One must speculate that the turning of waters into a blood-like substance is not a permanent plague. Mankind would die after a few days of no water. Add the 4th plague of a scorching sun to no available water and mankind would fall like flies in a very short period of time.

We hasten to add another note for the reader. Verse 9 states flat out that men cursed God and refuse to repent or recognize Him for who and what He was, is, (and at this point in Revelation) is to very soon come. It appears there is room for men to repent or at least give God recognition for who He is. Not to keep adding Greek to this blog, but sometimes it helps our understanding of scripture. The word “repent” in verse 9 is metanoeō in the Greek. This means to “change one’s mind.” However, we must recall what Revelation 14:9-11 states. If someone repents at this point, it could be suggested that their eternal punishment from the “books that will be opened” [Revelation 2012] could be lessened. However, changing one’s mind does not mean changing one’s heart. One can begrudgingly accept a previously denied fact but still not embrace it.

  1. This is a turning point for Satan, the beast, and his false prophet. Up to this point the false trinity may have escaped the plagues on earth and man. But, plague #5 is pointed… God’s wrath is turned upon the kingdom of the beast. There will be total darkness and an unspecified pain poured out on the throne of the beast and his kingdom. People will finally see that the false-god isn’t even able to prevent or immunize itself against these judgments. What a Day That Will Be!
  2. Now to set the possible stage for the fulfillment of Plague or curse #6. We have the angel of vial #6 drying up the Euphrates. We know that this is already happening. Type drying of the Euphrates River into your search engine and read it from secular sources. There are multiple events happening at this time. Let’s briefly look at a few of them.dryingupriver
    1. Water has by now become very scarce due to the plagues. It may even replace the demand for oil by that time. There already is and has been a short supply of drining water in the Middle East; even during the time of Jacob.
    2. Putin and Netanyahu have recently agreed to a joint venture in developing oil and gas reserves found in Israel.
    3. The most recent world class oil reserve has been found in Har Megiddo; i.e. Armageddon territory; 55 miles north of Jerusalem.
    4. When oil reserves are threatened, armies converge to protect or steal it.. Examples? The Kuwaiti war with Saddam; Iraqi War; WWII… *(See the asterisk paragraph below)
    5. When water becomes totally scarce the Aswan Dam in Egypt will become a terrorist target. If breached or destroyed, this will fulfill the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:9.
    6. The dams in Jordan, Russia, Syria, Turkey…; King Hussein of Jordan has said “the volatile issue of water could drive the region to war. (See Matthew 24:22)
    7. UN Secretary-General Bhoutros-Ghali, while he was still Egypt’s foreign minister, said, “The next war in the Middle East will be fought over water, not politics.”
    8. Ironic as it may sound, the Persians defeated the Babylonians by diverting and drying up the river waters to Babylon back in 539 B.C.. Is this a preview of the fall of the Revelation Babylon???

*There needs to be something that calls these armies together at Har Megiddo; 55 miles north of Jerusalem. We are not without strong compelling attractions to this Valley of Jezreel in northern Israel AKA, Har Megiddo. Here are a few:

  1. Daniel 11 prophecies battles between the King of the North (probably the anti-Christ) and the king of the South (probably Muslim nations who refuse the anti-Christ as their master.) In their final battle they meet at Har Megiddo.
  2. In order to protect its oil rights in Israel and as agreed upon between Putin and Netanyahu (2016), Russia marches in to fend off destruction of their oil rights only recently discovered. See Daniel 11:44.
  3. A dry Euphrates River allows the king(s) of the East cross over and to get into the battle to either prevent a mutual destruction or to make sure it gets its fair-share of booty after the fight (war)
  4. Why would they gather to do battle? Revelation 16:13; it is all God arranged.

Plague #7:

Cataclysmic events such as islands disappear, mountains collapse and are no more, Jerusalem rises up to a high altitude as the waters from under soon-to-be Throne of God in Jerusalem begin to flow both toward the Jordan River and to the Mediterranean Sea. Jesus Christ sets foot on the Mount of Olives east of Jerusalem. Zechariah (14) tells us that the place of Jesus’ return to earth will not be Zion, Illinois, but the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. The city of Jerusalem is divided into three parts. The armies gathered in plague #6 march on Jerusalem and are judged by Jesus. Babylon the Great, city or an institutional power, is destroyed as announced by an angel in Revelation 14:8 and again in Revelation 18:21. Great and fiery hail falls from the heavens. This hail from heaven has similarities to the Exodus account of plague #7 on Egypt recorded in Exodus 19:13-35. Is it a coincident for us to overlook the fact that this hail in Revelation is plague #7, just as it was in Egypt; i.e. #7?

Much of these plague events and event to follow occur simultaneously and/or in rapid succession. These events continue to be recorded by John in the next couple of chapters in Revelation.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army [Revelation 19:19; NIV]

___________________________________________________________

 REVIEW QUESTIONS

1) What are the main points of this chapter?

– The pronouncement (1)

– The seven bowls of wrath (2-21)

2) What did a loud voice from the temple say to seven angels? (1)

– “Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth”

3) Upon what was the first bowl poured out?  What happened? (2)

– The earth; foul and loathsome sores came upon those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image

4) Upon what was the second bowl poured out?  What happened? (3)

– The sea; it became blood as of a dead man; every living creature in the sea died

5) Upon what was the third bowl poured out?  What happened? (4)

– The rivers and springs of water; they became blood

6) Why did the angel of the waters proclaim God’s judgments as just?

(5-6)

– Because they had shed the blood of saints and prophets

7) Upon what was the fourth bowl poured out?  What happened? (8-9)

– On the sun; men were scorched with great heat

8) Despite these judgments, how did men respond? (9)

– They blasphemed the name of God, and did not repent and give God glory

9) Upon what was the fifth bowl poured out?  What happened? (10)

– On the throne of the beast; his kingdom became full of darkness, and people gnawed their tongues because of the pain

10) What again is said about the response to these judgments? (11)

– They blasphemed God because of their sores and pain, and did not repent of their deeds

11) Upon what was the sixth bowl poured out?  What happened? (12)

– On the river Euphrates; it was dried up, so the way of the kings from the east might be prepared

12) What did John see next? (13)

– Three unclean spirits like frogs coming of the mouths of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet

13) What were these, and what was their mission? (14)

– Spirits of demons, performing great signs

– To gather the kings of the earth to the battle of the great day of God Almighty

14) What warning and beatitude did Jesus give at this point? (15)

– Behold, I am coming as a thief

– Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame

15) Where were the kings of the earth gathered? (16)

– To the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon

16) Upon what was the seventh bowl poured out?  What happened? (17)

– The air; a loud voice from the temple of heaven, from the throne, proclaimed, “It is done!”

17) What then occurred? (18-21)

– There were noises, thunderings, lightnings, a mighty earthquake

– The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell

– Great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath

– Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found

– Great hail from heaven fell upon men

18) How did people respond to the plague of the hail? (21)

– They blasphemed God, because the plague was exceedingly great

 

666: the Mark of the Beast

What number is more intriguing than 666; 13? Perhaps, but for those who like miniJimmental puzzles 666 is one of the best and almost universally known. Standing in line at the check-out one time, the cashier handed me a receipt that totaled $6.66. She handed it to me and said, “Good luck today.” Yet, this is not a game. Neither is it a vain pursuit. The book of Revelation instructs us: “Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast” (13:18).

Sadly, when it comes to wild ideas, it may be difficult to surpass the absurdities finagled into the public domain as are solutions to the enigma of 666. Popular ultra-modern views include concepts of a cashless society, the universal use of bar codes, the implantation of computer chips and biochips in each individual for identification and control, and the most recent “face imaging” via those hidden cameras throughout society. It is easy to see how the anti-Christ might control commerce, even private lives through technology. We have television sets that are voice activated and don’t ever totally shut off. They are capable of recognizing voices in the room or house.computerchip

At the other extreme, many commentaries on Revelation assert that it is useless, foolish, or even dangerous to attempt to discover a specific name with a fulfillment of 666. They treat 666 and most items in Revelation as if they were parables devoid of specific predictions with only historical significance. Many even write articles that are well worded and convincing to those who are not founded in bible study; that Revelation has already played out and we are now in some type of ozone territory.

It was no one less than the Holy Spirit, the real author of Revelation, who directed John to write: “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666” (Rev. 13:18). We are instructed to “calculate” or “count,” as some translations translate it. We are dealing here with a mathematical computation. The Greek word means “count,” as illustrated in the only other text where it appears in the New Testament: “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it”(Luke 14:28). This parable also has a spiritual application. It is talking about a man counting his money. This brings to mind the number of people who don’t count or budget what s/he has and then will have in disposable time, energy, or money before making a commitment or taking on a project. Seldom if ever do people when personal energies or ambition exceed what it will take to complete the race.kidcounting

Seldom does Revelation directly tell us to apply understanding to grasp the meaning of a particular symbol. It does not tell us to try to figure out who the lamb-like beast is. It does not tell us that if we have wisdom we can figure out the meaning of the third trumpet or many other symbolic representations. It only hints at the identities of the beasts from the sea and earth. However, when it mentions 666, it specifically tells us to calculate or count.
There is a view that Rev. 13:18 should not be translated “the number of a man,” but rather “the number of man” (without the indefinite article “a”). The reason given is that the indefinite article “a” is missing in the original. Of course, it is missing; Greek has no indefinite article. For this reason, one must examine the context to determine if the translation into English should include the indefinite article or not; “a” versus “he, she or it.” Better yet, use a proper name when identifying a person, place or thing. Revelation 13:18 says to calculate this name, but not everyone will be able to.

Some theologians and I use this term liberally, Give distant historical dates when this all happened. This leaves us in a bible void time today. If one thinks this all happened in the distant past, then where are we biblically referenced in the here and now?

The following tables are included so the reader of this blog can venture down this trail of “calculating the name” of this man. It has already been done dozens if not hundreds of times and to little absolute avail. In Bible times primary languages included Greek, Latin (in Rome) and Hebrew as concerns commerce and common communication. On the table to the right, find the equivalent numeric number for Greek letters and their number value. On the right find an example of doing this. Caution: English was NOT a primary language at this time when John wrote Revelation. English does not have a numeric equivalence.

 

greeknumber

latios

The above is but one example of the meaning and identity of 666; i.e. the Roman Catholic Church and its leadership. For those who are old enough to recall, the Catholic Church said mass in Latin for hundreds of years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to include all possibilities, we would need to include the Hebrew letter-to-number equivalence and include the use of Roman (Latin) numerals. We can only deduce that John means to use the Greek since Revelation and most of the New Testament was written in Greek. However, Revelation 13:18 is after the Rapture of the church so perhaps it is intended to be “calculated” in Hebrew… those chosen as God’s special people. Remember or know for the first time that a sign was posted over the cross of Jesus that said “He was the King of the Jews.” It was written in Greek, Latin and Hebrew.

Revelation 12 (Part 2)

 

All armies will begin to march to the valley of Jezreel, on the plain of Esdraleon, near the ancient city of Megiddo.

They will come to do battle in part at least, over the *dwindling petroleum resources in the Middle East. We know that speculation today points to a massive world class oil reserve in this area. Israel has invited Russia to help exploit this oil. It will give Russia a vested interest in this territory. *See Revelation 12 – Part 1

JIV side note: It may be of value here. In WWII Germany invaded and conquered Norway, Romania and other Eastern European nations for resoures petrotheir oil reserves. As oil supplies dwindle in the Middle East, a world class oil supply in and around Megiddo would be highly sought after; a good excuse albeit a hidden agenda of the invaders, to invade Israel. To the conqueror go the spoils of war. Megiddo, the town, is in the Valley of Jehoshaphat; i.e. Esdraleon.

God will be drawing these forces and nations there to put an end to mankind madness. What a perfect reason for enemies of Israel to descend on this area armed to the teeth. The Lord says: I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land (Joel 3:2). The Lord will destroy the armies of rebels that day at the final battle of the war called Armageddon. This incident parallels the sound of the seventh Trumpet in prophecy; the 3rd woe [Revelation 11:14 and chapter 12]

https://www.raptureready.com/rr-oil.html  Is it 1,260 or 1,335 days? This will be explained in a later article.

While discussing Revelation, chapter 4 forward, keep foremost in mind that Israel is the center of the discussion. The woman represents Israel; the child is Jesus Christ; the dragon is Satan. He hates God. Look back to Jeremiah 33. This chapter, and several other chapters to his writing credit, is exclusive to Israel. It talks about the End of Time. When writing Jeremiah himself is imprisoned in his own country of Judah. King Zedekiah did not like what Jeremiah was saying about Israel and God’s judgment, so he threw him into prison. NOTE: Like throwing him into prison will somehow thwart Gods’ judgments?????

What is the Revelation point found in Jeremiah? There are many scripture that discuss end time so either the bible is infallible or full of major errors. Let’s not bet our lives and life after death on it being errant. Israel is the focal point. Israel is God’s hand-picked people (Isaiah 43:21) who supposedly were to be a light, mentors for spiritual and moral guidance of the world… (First paragraph: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_Unto_the_Nations; Isaiah 49:6, Isaiah 60:3). They failed but God will give them a second chance. No wonder in Revelation 12 the Dragon wishes to destroy the woman and her male child; Israel and her offspring; Jesus through the Tribe of Judah, and Christianity.

Jumping ahead several chapters we find in Revelation 19:15 “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.” Chapter 12 is the backdrop to this great battle when Christ sets foot on the Mt of Olives east of Jerusalem at the same time as these opposing forces converge on Megiddo 55 miles to the north.

Revelation 12:3-17 is a terse and accurate history of Satan’s efforts to bring to ruin God’s eternal plan for man. Ultimately, Satan will decide if he can’t stop God from redeeming his own creation, he will try to destroy it (WMD). One of Satan’s efforts to destroy Jesus upon his birth via King Herod’s decree to kill all male children under the age of two; Matthew 2:16) was not to simply kill the young Jesus, but to prevent him from growing up, demonstrating his powers as the begotten (birthed) son of God, and going to the cross to give mankind a path to eternity with Him paying our penalty for sin.

When war broke out in heaven, Revelation 12:7-9, it did not end with Satan’s defeat. According to chapter 12, along with his fellow fallen angels, Satan is barred from heaven (V10). This is at the mid-point in the 7 year Tribulation. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says: “For the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) is already at work: only “He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” This does not mean the Holy Spirit is removed. He is taken out of the way or ceases restraining Satan’s deeds, deception and recognition of the false church after being cast to earth [Revelation 12:9].

If it is the church and the prayers of believing and practicing Christians within the church that act as the biblical restrainer it is theologically logical that a pre-tribulation or mid tribulation rapture is why the restrainer is removed. The Rapture of the church would be over. Satan is then unrestrained.

However, if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, He is just as much God as is Jesus and God the Father. He is omnipotent and omnipresent; all knowing and always present. He will remain available to anyone who accepts, then follows Christ’s example on earth; i.e. being born again in the Spirit of God.

According to Hebrew 2:5-8, Satan realizes that humans have the potential of being higher than is/was he as an angel.

Heb 2:5  For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.

Heb 2:6  It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?

Heb 2:7  You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,

Heb 2:8  putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. (ESV)

Rightly dividing the Word of God, this passage is speaking of Jesus. In verse 6, man is included so we are a part of this God-given authority. Satan hopes to destroy mankind by making wars and rumors of war with mankind killing off each other; not just the Christian of Israeli populations. I have not read all of his writings on this subject, but *http://www.sayadi-al-nas.ae/eng_monthly_flyer/engl_may06.htm is a good brief. I cannot speak to the rest of his theological positions and withhold opinion. However, this website page/blog itself is good study and reading.

*Saladi Al-Nas is an Arab who sees the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not believe, as stated in our ”What We Believe” section of this website, that speaking in tongues is the only sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit. Neither does Saladi. He offers it as ONE possibility. This baptism includes any of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 13 tells us that when Satan realizes he is cast from the approaching the Throne of God and bound to earth, he turns his wrath on “the woman which brought the child into the world.” i.e. Israel.

The specifics of it being a similitude of Israel’s exodus from captivity in Egypt are most peculiar. They (she) are provided for per physical needs. Her every need, not wants, is God provided. Just as with the Red Sea swallowing up the Egyptian forces chasing the Israelite’s as they crossed over, and the seas swallowed up the enemy of God, V15 and V16 of Revelation 12 show a strong parallel. The “flood out Satan’s mouth” is a huge army.This fits so well with the gathering of forces in Har Megiddo (Armageddon). Just as the Red Sea swallowed up the Egyptian forces pursuing the Israelis and Moses, in Revelation 12:16 we read that the “earth opens up and swallows” the pursuing army (flood) sent by the dragon or anti-Christ.

Satan seeing and knowing (YADDA) that to continue chasing her is a direct confrontation with the protection of God, something he knows is a lost cause. He changes tactics, attacks “making war with the remnant of her seed [poieō polēmos meta hē  loipoi hautou sperma].” Some thoughtful and insightful bible scholars suggest that the woman that flees to the protection of God in Petra is the *144,000 [Revelation 7 and 14] reserved by God for himself. This means the remnant are those left on earth and in Jerusalem.

Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus
[
Revelation 12:17].

*This does NOT in any way suggest that there will  be only *144,000 who enter heaven or the safe haven of Petra. The bible is specific… these *12,000 are from each Tribe of Israel minus Dan. There is nothing symbolic about this specific identity. Revelation 7 tell us that these are “sealed.” Don Koenig states: These brethren may have been killed or God may have supernaturally removed them from the earth. Scripture gives no answer as to the fate of their mortal bodies. https://search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hspart=adk&hsimp=yhs-adk_sbnt&p=Don+Koenig+on+the+144%2c000&type=appfocus31_ra_ff&param1=20160307&param2=545e5dc5-629b-4287-ae2e-fc50d5dd5c8e&param3=radio_0.2.0~US~appfocus31&param4=14215-bb8~firefox

This 144,000 can very possibly be those who against all odds have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior and are surviving the Great Tribulation… up to this point. Now we might consider the voices from under the throne calling for their deaths to be avenged. God says… when the right number has died for my cause, I will bring judgment on those who have slain my people. [Revelation 6:9 – 11; the opening of the 5th seal]. Let’s allow for a possible connection.

  1. The 144,000 are all sealed on their forehead and are servants of God.
  2. They are sealed before any harm is done on earth.
  3. They are from the tribes of Israel; exception is the Tribe of Dan

At this time, no one will be guessing IF this is the Time of Jacob’s Trouble; i.e. the great tribulation [Jeremiah 30:7]. Revelation 13:7,8 point out that this anti-Christ or evil one will dominate all politics in the world, rule over all tongues and nations, and those remaining on earth not sealed to God will worship him. These people are those whose names are not WRITTEN in the book of life.

Verse 12:9… If any man has an ear, let him hear.

 

 

Why does Jesus call God “Father?”

In the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, this identity of Jesus addressing God as father is given well over 100 times. In the Book of John, also synoptic, it is used 60 plus times. We are taught in the Lord’s Prayer to use this identity of father in “Our Father…” But why? We often hear of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit is in fact a part of a triune God, meaning three-in-one, then how can Jesus become the son of God? How could God create himself? Why would Jesus consistently call him Abba-father?

Many people, including seminarians ever think upon these things. JIV Note: Don’t confuse assumption with faith or doctrine. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and we must worship him in spirit. In a previous post we discussed “Our Father” and the fact that God created man with body, mind, spirit and soul. Click here to read this article. If God is spirit and created mankind with spirit, he metaphorically or literally fathered all. (You decide if it is metaphor or literal; circle your choice)

Let’s take a brief look at this. If something is an unknown biblical factor, it cannot add to our confidence in Jesus Christ. Understanding is at the lower end of the human Learning Pyramid; i.e. Awareness – Understanding – Convinced – Conviction – Desire – Action. This is a study in and of itself but here is the very short version and explanation.

The greater one’s understanding of something the more likely s/he will be convinced of its actuality instead on one’s perception or their personal reality. (This too is an article discussed in another article in this website) Once convinced of possibilities we have but three choices. Two of them are excuses, not reasons once there is a personal understanding. One can opt to Ignore, reject, or accept. It is at this point humans will DESIRE to either move on, the first two options, or take the third option desiring to do something with this gained knowledge. This takes us to the action level. We take a given learning situation and apply it to our life.

In the Old Testament the use of the word “father” is remarkably missing, Where it is found it is usually within a context or single scenario. This is how Robert Stein puts it:

“Throughout the Bible we find God portrayed as a Father. This portrayal, however, is surprisingly rare in the Old Testament. There God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel ( Deut 32:6 ; Isa 63:16 ; [twice] 64:8 ; Jeremiah 3:4 Jeremiah 3:19 ; 31:9 ; Mal 1:6 ; 2:10 ) or the (metaphorical) Father of certain individuals ( 2 Sam 7:14 ; 1 Chron 17:13 ; 22:10 ; 28:6 ; Psalm 68:5 ; 89:26 ) only fifteen times.” (emphasis mine)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/fatherhood-of-god.html Robert H. Stein; Fatherhood of God

Other than in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus answers a disciple’s question, “teach us how to pray,” Jesus identifies God as his FATHER, not our father. This is a very personal identity. So how, when or where did this identity originate? Go to the Bethlehem record found in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.

This article is not intended to tell the Christmas narrative. We are researching and discussing the term “father” in its relationship to God the “father.” We read in Matthew 11:18… (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

So much content is skipped in this verse. First, Matthew is looking back at the birth of Jesus; “when his (Jesus’) mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph.” Matthew is looking back at this event in history. He is actually explaining to the Jews that Jesus is within the bloodline and DNA of King David and that HE is the promised Messiah of Isaiah prophecy. Both Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, and Mary, his earthly mother, are from the Tribe of Judah and a blood-relative of King David. This is important to the Jewish leadership of that day as this is the birth-line from which they expect their Messiah. Matthew targets Jews.

In the Book of Luke, a book targeted to the Gentiles, he does not attempt to make this connection. He makes the connection with Adam, the first human. Luke begins with current names and genealogically lists names from current to back Adam; i.e. son to father DNA. Matthew does just the opposite, he begins with King David and shows that Jesus has a legal right to the throne of King David; i.e. father to son DNA. Matthew targets the message to the Jews and Luke targets his message to the Gentiles; same message but different beginning points.

Matthew 11:18 also points out that Joseph refrained from, as this verse states (ESV) “before they came together.” That means, before they consummated their marriage. Why? Mary was already pregnant via God the Holy Spirit… “…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (ESV). This is the reason Jesus always identified himself as the Son of God. Mary conceived through God the Holy Spirit. This is why he always called God, ‘Father.’ He was actually his “only begotten son.” John 3:16.

Now that you know the rest of the Bible Story (history), and evidence has been provided not through an opinion but through the Bible itself, this puts all of us in the Learning Pyramid at “desire.” Each one of us is left with Ignore – Reject – Accept; our only three choices. If one ops for either of the first two, s/he puts destiny (not eternity however) in human hands. If one opts for the third choice, accept, then destiny and eternity is put into Gods hands. Are you in good hands?

Action is the top level of the Learning Pyramid. After learning facts we still have the options of ignore, reject, or accept, that is, to remain ignorant via denial; say it means nothing to you by rejection of facts; Accept Jesus Christ for who he is! Of course, this is a choice. Exactly the way God intended it to be. It is called a Free Will (Romans 9:16).

Using cellphone outdoors while crossing the street.As a friend once commented in a home Bible study, we can opt to ignore the oncoming traffic, reject the fact that crossing the street at this time is deadly, or, accept the facts and use one’s choice to act(ion) accordingly.

Merry Christmas.

jStark3Rev. Dr. Jstark
December, 2015