Saturday, November 30, 2013

What Does “Witness” Mean?

Beyond just testifying to the truth there's counting the cost

by Dan Schaeffer

When we hear the word witness, we often think of sharing our testimony. However, the meaning goes deeper than that and has its roots in the Old Testament.
A witness is one who would be called to testify to an event at which he or she was present—although technically, a witness can even be a pile of stones. One of the most famous lines from a hymn goes, “Here I raise my Ebenezer.” An Ebenezer (literally, “stone of help”) was a stone monument erected as a witness to something God had done for the people of Israel (1 Sam. 7:12).
In Old Testament times, a witness was essential to the law, especially in criminal cases. Making an accusation against someone required two witnesses. Furthermore, when a convicted criminal was sentenced to death on the testimony of witnesses, those witnesses had to throw the first stones. This proved they were resolute about their testimony. Since being a witness could involve a hefty cost, it was a serious matter that was not to be taken lightly. Someone’s life was literally at stake.
In the New Testament, the Greek word martureo is used exclusively to describe a witness—that is, someone who has proven his or her belief in the gospel through suffering. In other words, to be a witness isn’t just what we say about Jesus and the gospel, but what we’re willing to endure if our testimony brings suffering. That’s why Jesus Himself is called the “faithful and true Witness” (Rev. 3:14).
The apostle John’s testimony con-cerned “what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1). When Jesus appeared to the apostle Paul in Acts, He told him, “But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you” (Acts 26:16). This is why we don’t justgo witnessing; we are witnesses.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus tells the church, “You shall be My witnesses.” Being a faithful witness to Jesus comes with a cost. In fact, later in the book of Acts, the first martyr, Stephen, was killed for being a faithful witness. But we face a sobering truth: People’s eternal lives are at stake. And we are called to tell a lost world the truth. Believers have a sacred task—to serve as living evidence of God’s goodness; our very lives should tell the story of it. As Oswald Chambers once said, “Angels cannot preach the gospel; only beings such as Paul and you and I can preach the gospel.”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sensing the Urgency

“You have left your first love.” - Revelation 2:4
A wise person loves Christ supremely.
Because the days were evil, the apostle Paul wanted the church at Ephesus to make the most of their time and walk wisely (Eph. 5:15-16). A little more than thirty years after Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, the apostle John wrote more to them, saying, “You have left your first love. . . . Repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I [Christ] am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Rev. 2:4-5). But the Ephesians did not repent, and the lampstand was removed. Their time was shorter than they believed, because the evil was so great. Their church fell prey to the time in which they lived and, not sensing the urgency to return to its first love, eventually went out of existence.
I believe we need to have a sense of urgency in the evil days in which we live. I don’t know what’s going to happen to Christianity in America, but I’ve asked God that if it takes persecution to bring us to the place where we get a grip on what we ought to be, then let it happen. In many cases throughout history,the church has thrived better under persecution than it has under affluence. As the church father Tertullian once said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
I’m not specifically asking that the church be persecuted. I’m saying that sometimes we don’t sense the urgency of our evil day because we are sucked into the world’s system, and the lines of conviction aren’t clearly drawn. It’s an evil day in which we live, and the time is short. We need to realize that “evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse” (2 Tim. 3:13). The situation is not going to become better. The world is blacker and more expressive of its vices than ever before. We must have a sense of urgency and redeem the time.
Suggestions for Prayer:
In Psalm 145, King David expressed his love for the Lord. Make his psalm your prayer and an expression of your love to God.
For Further Study:
Read in Revelation 2—3 what the Lord says to the seven churches in Asia, noting what He approves and disapproves.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Beautiful Eulogy- Anchor

Free Download here:

(Josh Garrels)
Anchor of my soul you sustain, when I'm in the storm you remain.
Good to me, good to me

When it's a quarter past midnight, and the grey skies fade
to black. The waves splash and set me off track. So my vessel
might crash or collapse, when I'm attacked. And start
wrestling in my head with these bad memories from my past.
I'm aware of my guilt, overwhelmed and the smell of my
blood has the sharks that surround me cast under a spell.
They waited for me to fall but when I fell the water got
still. And the blood that was spilled protects me, it's
the same blood that cleansed me. My only defense against
my nemesis, now I can rest knowing that nothing can come
against me unless the Father gives consent. Evil intentions
will not disturb God's purposes or interfere so, who
shall I fear if my Anchor is secure? Learning to consider
it pure joy when I'm facing tribulations, praising God
instead of complaining or getting overtaken with bitterness.
Looking at the pages of the book of James and seeing
the ways that God works through the trials to make us more
mature in our faith. It reminds me how desperate I am in
this desert land, thirsty for your mercy and plan while you
give me the strength to stand. You're my greatest pleasure,
yeah, no matter the weather I face, Lord you never forsake,
my fragile life is safe under your sovereign grace.

Anchor of my soul you sustain, mmm..
When I'm in the storm you remain, you remain.
Good to me, good to me

(Odd Thomas)
At some point every human looks right in the eyes of agony
and through the tragedy asks himself how can this happen
to me? You might be the type with enough insight to hold
on for your dear life but slip because your grip is not as
tight as I might like. You aint immune to it, naw, and if
you true to yourself then you aint new to it. trusted in
self, lusted and lured to it. So when the darkness overwhelms
me and the tide of life rises and swells it is well
is what compels me. When faced with adversity your truth
constantly reminds me that you command the seas with ease
and with words you're turning wind to breeze. It helps me
to understand that we stand on solid rock not on sinking
sand. Through the providence of pain you perfect your plan.
Predestined to be tested when the works and the Words of
God cooperate and educate men in the great gift of Grace
and Faith. And even though its obvious when my outlooks
ominous you've bound my heart and my conscience and gave me
a constant calmness. So when the pain comes like rain from
the parts of life that maintains it's strain i can put my
trust in the hands that sustain. It's profound that with
all these sinking ships around me, He surounds me and he
anchors me with his grace abounding.

Anchor of my soul you sustain, you sustain.
When I'm in the storm you remain, you remain.
Good to me, good to me.

You're good to me, You're good to me, good to me...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Outline for Understanding Issues of Conscience and Legalism

By Bill Busshaus
Most of us have seen the movie “Chariots of Fire” and have been greatly encouraged by the example of Eric Liddell who refused to compete in races on Sunday. But if a Christian held a different position regarding what is allowed on Sunday, could that believer be just as dedicated to Christ with his differing opinion?
Convictions of personal conscience are those areas where a strict absolute is not laid down for us in the Bible. Having such personal convictions does not mean you cannot make a biblical argument for your position, however. Take for example one of the issues in Romans 14—personal diet. One person could argue for eating vegetables only from Genesis 1:29, stating that eating vegatables was God’s will from the beginning. Others could make a case for eating meat from God’s instruction to Noah after the flood in Genesis 9:1-4. Still others could argue for a “kosher” diet from later revelation in the Mosaic Law such as Leviticus 11:1-23. A fourth group might say that the kosher regulations have been abrogated in Christ and that “all foods are clean” (Mark 7:18-19).
“Sounds simple,” you might be thinking. I wish it were so. The trouble arises when a brother or sister does not see an issue as a matter of “personal conscience,” but as a Biblical absolute. What do we do then? How do we treat the brother or sister who differs with us on these matters? Is there a better position? Am I allowed to do anything my conscience permits? This biblical guide in outline form is an attempt to answer these and similar questions according to the Scriptures.
Moral Absolutes vs. Convictions of Personal Conscience
In his letters to Rome, Corinth, Galatia, and Colossae, the Apostle Paul deals with issues of conscience. Much of the debate revolved around the Christian’s understanding of the Law of Moses. What part, if any, of the Mosaic Law is required for Christians?
When there is no moral absolute clearly stated within the jurisdiction of the New Covenant, then the practice falls under the category of a personal conviction. This does not automatically free a brother to participate in any practice that is not specifically mentioned. Scripture says much about the regulation of these matters, and we will cover them later on in this paper.
To help us understand the difference between a moral absolute and a personal conviction, let’s start with two examples. First, modest dress for women is a moral absolute (I Timothy 2:9). Some obey the absolute by holding a personal conviction of “dresses only.” The conscience of other believers allows that “modest pants” do not violate the absolute.
Consider another example: In order to please the Lord and obey the absolute found in I Peter 2:11, “Abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul,” some have chosen not to have a television. Others believe they can own a television, use it wisely, and still obey the moral absolute.
As much as we would like to consider all of our personal convictions as biblical absolutes, the fact of the matter is, they may not be. Consider just a few historical examples of convictions of personal conscience in order to see how each might demand that his side of the position is an absolute:
  • Vegetable vs. Meat diet
  • Honoring the Mosaic sabbath day vs. Considering all days alike
  • Not eating meat sacrificed to idols vs. All things are clean
  • Participating in war vs. Pacifism
  • Going to the theater, dancing, or playing cards vs. Abstaining from the world
  • Drinking wine vs. Being a teetotaler
  • Playing sports on Sunday vs. Abstaining from “your own pleasure”
  • Gun ownership vs. Nonviolence
  • Political Candidate “A” vs. Political candidate “B”
  • Wearing makeup or dying your hair vs. The God-given “natural” look
We must be honest and careful in these matters. Just because an issue is not presented in the Law of Christ does not mean that God has nothing to say about it. There are biblical principles which must guide us in matters of personal conviction.

Instruction from Romans Chapter Fourteen and Fifteen:
  1. We must accept one another when we differ on matters of personal conviction. 14:1, 15:1, 7
  2. We must not be on a campaign to convert others to our position. 14:1, 22, 15:1
  3. There are stronger and weaker positions. 14:2, 15:1
  4. We must not judge others or view with contempt those who differ with us on these matters. 14:3
  5. We are individually accountable to God, and will indeed have to give an account of our behavior to Him. 14:4, 10-12.
  6. We must be convinced in our own minds; that is, there must be no doubt in our minds as to the acceptableness of our position. 14:5
  7. It is possible for Christians with differing conscientious convictions to be pleasing to the Lord. 14:6
  8. The goal is to ascribe to Christ His rightful position as Lord. 14:7-10
  9. Don’t let your liberty of conscience cause a brother to stumble. 14:13, 21
  10. All things are clean that are not forbidden, but I can’t proceed with a doubting conscience. 14:14
  11. Do not practice your liberty in such a manner that will cause offense; this would violate the law of love. 14:15, 20
  12. Temporal matters are not central to the Kingdom of God, but it is the eternal things wrought by the Spirit that should be our focus. 14:17
  13. Remember that your personal convictions are between you and God. 14:22
  14. Never violate your conscience. You cannot do so without sinning. 14:23
  15. We should strive to be at peace, and to please the other for his edification. 14:19, 15:1-2
Biblical Guidelines for evaluating the exercise of our personal convictions:
  1. Does it Glorify God? Isaiah 43:7, I Corinthians 10:31, John 15:8
  2. Can it be done in the name of Jesus? Colossians 3:17
  3. Does it cause a weaker brother to stumble? Romans 14:15, 21, Matthew 18:6-9, I Corinthians 8:9-13
  4. Is it profitable for you? I Corinthians 6:12
  5. Does it involve wrong company which may lead you astray? I Corinthians 15:33, Psalm 1:1
  6. Does it have the appearance of evil or make provision for the flesh? I Thessalonians 5:21-22, Romans 13:14
  7. Can it be done for the Lord? Colossians 3:23
  8. Do you have any doubts about it? Romans 14:23
  9. Would your parents understand this activity to be honoring to them? (How do you find out? ASK THEM!) Ephesians 6:2-3
  10. Is it something you would like to reap in the life of your children? Galatians 6:7-8
  11. Are you willing to face it in judgment? II Corinthians 5:10        
Matters of Conscience and Legalism
A discussion of one’s personal convictions almost always includes the topic of legalism. To assist in understanding what constitutes legalism, consider the proper and improper ways to understand legalism.
     Legalism is:
  1. Distorting the gospel by adding conditions to free grace: Acts 15:1, 7-11; Gal.1:6-7, 2:11-16, 4:8-11, Gal. 5:2-4; Col.2:16-17
  2. Substituting man-made regulations for the Word of God: Matthew 15:1-3
  3. Majoring on the minors and neglecting the more important issues: Luke 11:42
  4. Overconcern with the externals while disregarding matters of the heart: Matthew 23:27
  5. Regarding with contempt or judging a brother based on matters of personal conviction: Romans 14:1-5
  6. Trusting in ourselves that we are righteous based on religious performance: Luke 18:9-14
  7. Hypocrisy, the leaven of the Pharisees: Luke 11:53-12:1
     Legalism is not:
  1. A zeal for the commandments of Christ: Matthew 5:19; I Corinthians 7:19
  2. A ministry that teaches others to follow Christ in obedience: Matthew 28:20; I Thes.4:1-2
  3. Strong personal convictions (as long as they are not required of others): Romans 14:2,5
  4. Man-made restrictions for personal protection from sinful habits (as long as we do not begin to view them as binding on others): Romans 13:14; I Corinthians 6:12
  5. A zeal for good works: Eph.2:10; Titus 1:16, 2:7, 14, 3:8, 14
  6. Limiting our liberty for the benefit of others: Romans 14:15, 21, 15:2; Acts 16:1-3
  7. Obedience: John 14:15, 23, 15:10; I John 2:3-5, 5:2-4
The church of Jesus Christ needs men and women of strong conviction. We must, however, submit all of our convictions to the test of God’s Word. Our Lord Jesus Christ commands us not to be judgmental towards those who differ with us on matters of personal conviction. The kingdom of God revolves around much higher things than food, drink, or other external matters. The unity of the Spirit is a precious thing and it should not be sacrificed for issues of personal preference. We should strive to maintain it with all the grace that God provides in Christ Jesus. Let us conclude with the Word of our Lord through His servant, Paul:
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Romans 14:17-19
Copyright © 2013  Bill Busshaus
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.
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Monday, November 18, 2013

A Rising Tide of Jew Hatred Today

 ( Excerpted from: Judgment Day! Israel, Islam, and the Nations)
Anti-Semitism did not end with the defeat of Nazi Germany and the death of Hitler. In fulfillment of
biblical prophecies, not only in Muslim countries but worldwide, it is again on the rise, causing a heightened level of alert in Jewish communities. A brief search of the internet reveals scores of examples. There is an alarming increase in the widespread desecration of Jewish cemeteries. Violence against Jews and Jewish property is rising. In Istanbul, Turkey, in the middle of the fast of Ramadan (a time of “peace” for Arab tribes prior to Islam) car bombs devastated two synagogues, killing or wounding dozens. In Morocco, in May 2004, terrorists hit a Jewish community center and hotel, leaving a trail of death. Other incidents are too numerous to mention.
In polls across the EU, most Europeans continue to rate Israel as “the greatest obstacle to peace” in the world, ahead of the United States, which places second. The EU has repeatedly condemned Israel for using force against Palestinian terrorists who attack her, killing and maiming thousands of innocent women and children. Yet they never condemn the terrorists and have been supporting the Palestinians at the rate of five hundred thousand Euros a month, much of which has been used to fund terrorism against Israel. Apparently, Israel is expected to fight terrorism nonviolently. Like we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq?
The Jewish synagogue in Vienna, Austria, has suffered attacks in the past. As others throughout Europe, it must be guarded by heavily armed police twenty-four hours a day. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, recently wrote: “I am convinced that we currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s—if not a greater one.” Violent acts against Jews have risen to an alarming level in France, which has a Jewish population of about six hundred thousand, surrounded by six million Muslims worshiping in fifteen hundred mosques. As a result, record numbers of Jews are leaving France for Israel.
The rising tide of anti-Semitism in Germany brought more than four thousand Christians from all over that country to stage a protest demonstration in front of the Reichstag in Berlin in August 2002. A poll by Germany’s University of Bielefeld early in December 2004 revealed that 51 percent of Germans believe that Israel’s present-day treatment of the Palestinians is similar to what the Nazis did to the Jews during World War II. The survey also found that 68 percent of Germans believe that Israel is waging a “war of extermination” against the Palestinians. How could they get it exactly backwards? Anti-Semitism, prophesied in the Bible, blinds to the truth.
Even in Israel, anti-Semitism is on the rise. According to the Information Center for Victims of Anti-Semitism in Israel, there have been some five hundred such incidents in Israel during the past three years. “The Russian-language newspapers in Israel print a story on an anti-Semitic incident every week, and at every police station in the country at least one anti-Semitic case is registered,” says Zalman Gilichinsky, director of the information center.
Harvard University’s president, Lawrence H. Summers, recently condemned what he termed “growing anti-Semitism” at Harvard and elsewhere. “Nearly 600 professors, students, staff members, and alumni from Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, signed a petition urging Harvard and M.I.T. to divest from Israel. Similar efforts have been mounted at about 40 other universities.”
The Presbyterian Church USA (it had a “Palestinian” president in 2002) is leading a campaign to pressure Caterpillar, Motorola, ITT Industries, and United Technologies to cease sales of military equipment and supplies to Israel under the threat of churches divesting themselves of their stock. A similar campaign of divestiture was successfully waged by American churches during the 1980s to pressure South Africa to end apartheid.
The Reason for Anti-Semitism
According to the Bible, there are two reasons for this universal hatred of Jews and Israel. First of all, the Jews, as God’s chosen people, are under His judgment for their rebellion against Him and the rejection of their Messiah. Secondly, anti-Semitism is inspired of Satan—a being whose existence many “educated” people deny. The reason is obvious. It was foretold that the Savior of the world, who would rescue mankind from Satan’s control, would be a Jew. Satan’s only hope to escape eternal doom, therefore, was to destroy those whom God chose “to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” Had Satan been able to destroy the Jews before the birth of the Messiah, he would have prevented his own defeat. For promising a Messiah who never came, God would have proved Himself a liar....
The Bible declares that the Messiah came and defeated Satan by “tast[ing] death for every man” and bearing “our sins in his own body on the tree.”
But that fact did not end the battle between God and His arch-enemy for the hearts, minds, and eternal destiny of mankind. That battle continues to rage—and Israel is at its center. The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies that, although God would severely punish Israel for her sins, He would preserve a remnant and bring the scattered Jews back into their own land. This prophecy, too, is undeniably in the process of being fulfilled in our day.
Satan could still escape his eternal doom if he could wipe out Israel. That fact provides the only rational explanation for Muslims’ irrational obsession with destroying that tiny nation. It also stands as evidence that Satan is a reality, not a myth.
Establishment of the State of Israel
Nothing aroused Satan’s desperate fury and the wrath of Islam as did the birth of the nation of Israel. It must be annihilated. And to this end, the driving force is not a few “extremists” but Islam itself. Islam promises Muslims victory against the Jews as well as against the entire world. Instead, they taste only humiliation in every attack they launch. Israel, on the other hand, in spite of being under God’s judgment, enjoys His protection in many ways, as we have already seen: “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like…a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about.”
The wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973 have borne eloquent testimony to the truth of Scripture: “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us…Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth…. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”
The Arabs’ repeated defeat at the hands of Israel is both embarrassing and maddening for them. The Imams blame this shame upon the departure from true Islam by the masses of Muslims. They are whipping up a worldwide revival of fundamentalist Islam as the way to regain Allah’s blessing and thereby defeat Israel.
As long as Israel retains autonomy over one square yard of land, it is an affront to Islam and declares to the world that Islam is a false religion, Allah a false god, Muhammad a false prophet, and the Qur’an a false revelation. This is the issue—and all the talk of “peace,” without recognizing and changing this teaching of Islam, is both a fool’s dream and a fraud.
It has well been said, if Arabs/Muslims put down their weapons today, that would be the end of Arab-Israeli wars. If Israel put down her weapons, that would be the end of Israel. These are simple facts that no one can deny—and  are worth thinking about very seriously.
Another Amazing Prophecy
Balaam is one of the most enigmatic figures in the Bible. He was at one time in touch with God and made some genuine prophecies as recorded in Scripture, yet he later turned away from God and is in hell now. For example, he foretold the star in the East that the wise men saw and followed to find Christ at His birth. One of Balaam’s prophecies recorded in the Bible that has been and is still being fulfilled in our day is most unusual. He declared that Israel would “not be reckoned among the nations.”
This remarkable utterance does not stand alone. God has stated it many times and in other ways. For example, “The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth”; “I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people...I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.” Except for the holiness it was to manifest, this is precisely the situation in which Israel finds herself today. Israel has been a member of the United Nations for more than fifty years. Yet she is not allowed to take her two-year turn as one of the ten rotating nations (joining the five permanent ones) on the UN Security Council. Of the 191 current UN members, 190, including the worst terrorist nations, are allowed to take their turns on the Security Council—but not Israel.
Nor is Israel, as already noted, allowed to take a rotating term on the fifty-three-member UN Commission on Human Rights (UNHRC). All of the other one hundred ninety UN member nations are allowed to do so. These have included Libya, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and other egregious violators of human rights. Incredibly, Sudan, where more than two million blacks in the south have been slaughtered by Muslims, has been voted in for a third consecutive term. But Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, is excluded, as the Bible foretold.
This “watchdog” commission (UNHRC) has never found anything questionable or to be criticized in the deplorable human rights record of some of the worst violators such as Libya, Saudi Arabia, or Syria. Yet Israel is continually condemned by the UNHRC—more than one hundred times in the past two years. Far from denouncing suicide bombers, it upholds “Palestinian rights” to take any kind of retaliatory action against Israeli “aggression.”
Nor is Israel allowed to be a member of the International Red Cross. The Red Crescent, representing Muslim countries, among which are many terrorist nations, is part of this international humanitarian organization. But Israel, which signed the 1949 Geneva Conventions (many of the members of the Red Crescent did not), is barred from the International Red Cross.
As we have noted, whether the rest of the world likes it or not, the Jews are God’s chosen people. That fact carries not only blessings and privileges but also responsibilities—and penalties for disobedience. Israel has experienced both God’s blessing and judgment in the past. Both testify to the integrity of God and His Word. Israel remains in His hands and under His protection today, even while she is at the same time experiencing His discipline. God must fulfill His Word concerning judgment—as well as the prophesied full restoration and eternal blessing—for the remnant that survives Armageddon. Woe to those who oppose God’s promises to Israel....
More Anti-Semitism Among Christians
Another idea gaining popularity among Christians today is the false teaching that the church has replaced Israel. This Roman Catholic doctrine, which is a form of anti-Semitism, is also promoted by evangelicals. It declares that Israel has been cut off because of her sins, and the prophecies concerning her restoration are no longer valid. If that were so, then the “everlasting covenant” promised to Israel eleven times in the Old Testament and the everlasting possession of the land promised twice were not everlasting at all, and God has lied. Again, Satan has won, and this world belongs to him.
There are scores of promises that God would in the end restore Israel fully to her land. Yet Christian leaders deny these promises by saying that Israel is finished: “…physical Jews…are in slavery and will not be heirs of God’s promise because they are not the children of promise [author’s emphasis].” Another author writes, “The idea that corporate national Israel is still God’s chosen people is prevalent in the minds of many today. But…the Word of God shows that…Israel broke the Old Covenant and thereby forfeited any rights to it.” This claim, if true, would clearly make God a liar. We will deal with this more fully in Chapter Eleven, proving that it is false.
World Vision is the largest and one of the oldest (founded in 1950) independent “evangelical” charitable organizations in the world, with annual income exceeding $1.2 billion. It claims to use its resources for “emergency relief, education, health care, economic development and promotion of justice.” Of the millions of dollars it allocates to the Middle East, nothing goes to Israelis—everything  goes to “Palestinians.” All of the wars Arabs have started from 1948 to the present and all of the Muslim terrorism is blamed upon Israel. World Vision calls security measures that Israel takes to protect its citizens from Muslim attacks “collective punishment” against Palestinians. Terrorists are the “victims,” not those they murder in cold blood.
The anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian bias exhibited by Christian organizations is staggering not only in its wickedness but also in the misinformation it persuades supporters to believe. Christian Aid Mission promotes some of the worst anti-Israel propaganda: the Holocaust killed 600,000, not 6 million; it is not the Arabs who are terrorists, but the Jews; “Ashkenazi Zionists” are not Jews but Khazars, who, “through acts of terrorism...have killed, driven out or displaced over 2 million of the originial residents of Palestine.” The fact that such claims are false will be fully documented herein.
Why did God choose Israel? He had to choose a people through whom the Messiah would come into the world as a man to pay the penalty for our sins. Abraham, like Noah, “found grace” in God’s eyes. He is called “the Friend of God.” Abraham was promised a land as an “everlasting possession” for his heirs. The present conflict in the Middle East is a dispute over who those heirs are today. We will turn to that issue next....

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beautiful Eulogy-Vital Lens (Lyrics)

This is a great song and wanted to post the lyrics:

Yup, this is a re-introduction plus some practical perspective
For those of us indeed who are in need of complete vision correction
The only thing that’s required is a lens that’s genuinely objective
And a minute of your time to wrap your mind around divine perception
Because even the most mindless and spiritually blind can be the spectator
In the theatre of God’s magnificent design, if you would incline
Your ears and your eyes to these sounds and these signs
We would attempt to rightly refine and align your crooked sight
But we’re not implying that a sunset or an ocean can begin to set in mind
What the Son of Man began to set in redemptive motion

But morals, meaning and devotion, heart, mind and emotion
Substance, significance and truth cannot be explained
Or reduced to a big bang explosion

Because His character and nature cannot be known through natural revelation
Or shown through random acts or figments of your imagination
We, the Beautiful Eulogy, attempt to communicate audibly
And visually to help you hear and see the glory of God clearly

 [Verse 2: Braille]
My life is in the hands of Your love everlasting
I start where I finish, pick it back up where I left it

I'm just a man of unclean lips, I've only seen a glimpse
But everywhere I look I see His finger prints, all things were made through Him
We received His revelation so we reflect it when we breathe
And the concepts we conceive are born of spiritual seed
Manifest in the material realm as musical composition

The rhythm of heart beats transformed by the Gospel and Godly wisdom
I'm an instrument of His mercy
Unworthy but still He uses me the Beauty of the Eulogy
Through His death we are truly free, free indeed
The condemnation and the bondage of our sin was abolished
On the cross and He alone accomplished it

God made Himself known exposing His own nature and His glory
Through His Son
The revelation of Our Saviour the fullness of God born in human form
Deity in the flesh
we need the Spirit
And the Word to open our eyes so we can see correct; the Vital Lens

Free Download here:

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Secret of Biblical Self-Improvement

Nov NL cover.jpg The popularity of self-improvement, or self-help, books throughout the history of publishing is rather amazing. The reasons given for the wide acceptance of such books, historically, and especially in our day, are many, but they all boil down to man’s desire to improve his condition or situation, whether financially, socially, educationally, physically, psychologically, spiritually, or “all of the above.” Although the goals are improvement and the bettering of one’s circumstance, the primary method and motivation is by self and for self : how can I improve me ?
Since self is the fundamental focus of self-improvement, we need to give some serious thought to what it is. A gathering of definitions from contemporary dictionaries reveals self to be: the entire person; an individual’s typical character or behavior; an individual’s temporary behavior or character; a person in prime condition; the union of elements (as body, emotions, thoughts, and sensations) that constitute the individuality and identity of a person; personal interest or advantage. Simply stated, it’s you and me and all that makes up each of us as individuals. The definition of “self” becomes more confusing, however, when words are added to the front or back of it, such as one’s true self or self- realization . Moreover, the number of hyphenated “self” words are in the hundreds, from self-actualizing to self-worth, and each one adds its own meaning or nuance to “self.”
Two “self”-related adjectives convey the best and the worst condition of self.  Selfless : concerned more with the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own: “an act of selfless devotion.” Its synonyms clarify its wonderful qualities: unselfish, altruistic, self-sacrificing, self-denying; considerate, compassionate, kind, noble, generous, magnanimous, ungrudging, charitable, benevolent: “Her love was manifest in selfless service.” Selfish , on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure: “I entertained them for selfish reasons.” Synonyms include: egocentric, egotistic, egotistical, egomaniacal, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-obsessed, self-seeking, self-serving, wrapped up in oneself; inconsiderate, thoughtless, unthinking, uncaring, uncharitable; mean, miserly, grasping, greedy, mercenary, acquisitive, opportunistic; looking after number one: “He is just selfish by nature.”
Scripture uses the term “self” in a very straightforward way, i.e., the entire person, and most often as reflexive pronouns such as “himself” and “themselves.” So the “secret” of the biblical use of the term is not in its definition but in what the Word of God says about self and what it instructs us to do with it, which is in direct opposition to what the so-called wisdom of the world advocates.
According to our world, which has been heavily influenced by humanistic psychology (the contemporary breeding ground of all the selfist teachings), “self”—meaning the entirety of a human being—is innately good . Flaws or dysfunctions within a person’s life stem from sources of influences external to the person himself, e.g., his parents, or his physical, social, and educational environment, and so forth. The belief in inherent goodness is involved in all psychological counseling—and not as an option; it is foundational. The reason is obvious. If a person is not inherently good but has a fundamental defect in his nature that affects to some degree every aspect of his life, there is nothing a psychotherapist can do to alter the defect and its ultimate consequences. It’s like the proverbial attempt to change a leopard’s spots. One could dye the leopard’s skin or cover it in some fashion, but such superficial acts would do nothing to truly change the spots. The leopard’s genetics won’t allow it.
But if self is indeed innately good, then it’s simply a matter of a psychological counselor getting a client to recognize the goodness of his “self” and to psychotherapeutically remove all the things that are preventing the success of that belief. There are more than 500 different psychotherapies that have been conjured up to do just that. But many of them conflict with one another, and none of them proves or even makes a plausible case for man’s inherent goodness. Consequently, all of the methodologies only address a client’s problems as symptomatic issues, because they can do nothing to change the nature of humanity. However, what is impossible for man is possible with God!
The Bible declares unequivocally that the heart of man is not good :
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?; For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man. (Jeremiah:17:9; Mark:7:21-23)
Scripture tells us that “men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (John:3:19) and that “all have sinned…” (Romans:3:23). These verses, and many more, describe the fallen nature of humanity, and there is nothing that anyone can do to change it or improve it.
Only God can change self and make it better, but He doesn’t do it by man’s way. That’s the “secret” of biblical self-improvement, which is only secret in the sense that Christianity has lost sight of what the Scriptures clearly teach and what the church has practiced since the time of the apostles. That blindness began in earnest in the middle of the last century as psychological counseling made deep inroads to Christendom. By the 1970s some of the most influential names in the evangelical media were Christian psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists such as James Dobson, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier, Gary Collins, John Trent, and Gary Smalley, to name but a few. Books promoting “self” flooded the Christian marketplace, including Hide or Seek: How to Build Self-esteem in Your Child by psychologist Dr. James Dobson and Self-esteem: the New Reformation by Robert Schuller, whose book was sent out gratis to 250,000 evangelical pastors. Self-love and self-esteem became new doctrines that were taught by most of the popular evangelical pastors of the day.
What too few Christians realize is that the rise of the unbiblical teachings of self-love within the church in our day is a matter of prophecy being fulfilled. In 2 Timothy 3, the Apostle Paul warns Timothy about a “perilous” time when self-love will be foundational to sins that will wreak havoc among believers: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves ” (vv. 1-2). Some might wonder why that is prophetic, when mankind has had a self-serving bias going clear back to the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Looking out for “number one,” Adam blamed the woman whom God had given him, and Eve blamed the serpent (i.e., Satan), who seduced her into disobeying God.
Self-love has created problems for humanity throughout the centuries, but it wasn’t until the last 100 years or so that the selfisms were promoted as the basic solutions to nearly all of mankind’s ills, especially our mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Much of that began with the “looking within” and the self-analysis practiced by Freud and Jung, but ironically—and more specifically—it involved a chiding by anti-Christian Friedrich Nietzsche that Christians didn’t love themselves enough. That was picked up and promoted by psychologist and humanistic philosopher Eric Fromm, as Dave Hunt noted:
Fromm, an atheist, popularized the idea of self-love. He got it from Nietzsche. One of Fromm’s books was Ye Shall Be as Gods . He took the lie of the Serpent for its title. In his book, Man for Himself , he justified the idea that we all hate ourselves and need to learn to love ourselves by saying that Jesus taught it when He said, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (TBC, Q&A, 9/1986)
That distortion of the Scriptures was then accepted by increasing numbers of evangelical preachers and teachers who should have known better. First of all, it’s a simple error in math. The proponents of self-love have made loving one’s neighbor as oneself into a third commandment, whereas Matthew:22:37-40 declares:
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
It’s two commandments, not three. Furthermore, as Dave points out, “…if we were deficient in self-love, Jesus wouldn’t have said to love your neighbor as you love yourself, because he said it to everybody and not to a certain class or category of people. So it’s a given—we must already love ourselves. And he couldn’t say ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ (Matthew:7:12) if we all innately hated ourselves and wanted to do ourselves harm.” That error is further contradicted by Ephesians:5:29: “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”
Loving self before loving God and others is mankind’s natural bias, whether he or she is a committed Christian or not, and the consequence of that is associated with nearly all of the difficulties we experience in life. Paul’s words to Timothy give a litany of the after effects of loving self:
…covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy:3:2-7)
So that’s the bad news. What, then, of the good news of how God can change our nature and improve self? It can happen only by turning to Him for the salvation that He alone has provided for all of mankind. That involves being reconciled to Him by admitting our sinfulness and accepting Christ’s full payment for our sins by faith alone. Nothing more is required to receive the gift of eternal life, other than trusting in Jesus for saving us from the infinite penalty that our sin deserves. That’s the gospel, and it’s the only way that humanity can be saved.
Once a person puts his trust in Jesus for salvation, he becomes a new creature: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians:5:17). He has been purged from his old sins and is no longer under the bondage of sin (2 Peter:1:9; John:8:31-32). As a believer in Christ, he has been born again spiritually, is in communion with God, and is fully able to love and obey Him. This was impossible prior to becoming a new creature in Christ. He is a “new man,” a new self (Ephesians:4:24), someone who can now live his life according to God’s instructions in His Word.
The first instruction for a blessed and fruitful life is, however, that just as he could not save himself, neither can he do the things that will improve his life by himself . Biblical self-improvement is nothing like the world’s “self-improvement”; in fact, it’s the opposite. Although a believer’s new life in Christ has set him free from the bondage of sin, he still retains his old nature with its self-serving bias. That is a major battleground for every believer in Christ. Yet for all who have committed their lives to the Lord, He has provided through His Word and the enablement of the Holy Spirit all that they need to win the battle over their flesh and to do the things that please God. Contrary to the world’s loving, esteeming, glorifying, even deifying self, Scripture tells us to deny self—to submit oneself completely to God and the instructions of His Word:
And he [Jesus] said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke:9:23)
Denying self is not the same as denying one’s existence. For the believer, it’s the recognition that although “self,” which was formerly in rebellion against God, continues to have autonomy (the capacity to make moral decisions for good or evil), it has now been enabled to choose and to live in righteousness in one’s desire to please the Lord.
Scripture abounds with verses exhorting us to put the Lord and others before ourselves. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another” (Romans:12:10); “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s [well-being]” (1 Corinthians:10:24); “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself” (Romans:15:2-3). Furthermore, the Word of God gives us instructions on how we can do those very things, in essence “biblically improving self.” Ironically, it involves a dying process.
We are to die to self—that is, to our autonomous will (also known as self-will)—not only by turning it over to the Lord and submitting to Him, but also by allowing Him to live His life through us:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians:2:20)
The issue of self is one of the most confused and distorted doctrines among Christians today, including those who profess that the Bible is their authority in all matters of faith and practice. That’s the primary reason why the troubles of non-Christians differ little statistically from those who profess to be Christians. The hope for this series is that we might clarify what the Bible says about self and how we can biblically improve it. There is no doubt that such an understanding and a carrying out of what the Scriptures teach will transform us and improve every aspect of our lives in Christ.    TBC


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hirelings Versus Shepherds and the Biblical Model of A New Testament Church

Brannon plays a shocking video clip of a pastor mocking those in his church that want to go deeper into the study of God’s Word by calling them babies and selfish. You have to see this video clip to fully understand the mean and spiteful remarks by this hireling toward God’s people. Are those that want to go deeper into God’s Word being selfish or actually the opposite of selfish? How do hirelings manipulate, marginalize, and characterize Biblical Christians so they either leave their “church” or embrace the unbiblical model of their church?

Watch it here:
Hirelings Versus Shepherds and the Biblical Model of A New Testament Church

Saturday, November 9, 2013

An Appeal to Churches to Use Bibles

I’ll never forget my shock the first time I attended a Bible-less church. My kind of church was a Bible-teaching one and Bibles were standard operating equipment. The last word I heard as I got in the car to drive to church was, “Jimmy, do you have your Bible?” A child might forget his belt or socks, but never his Bible. Just as dutifully, the church children found their mothers after the church meeting to load her up with their Bibles while they ran around the church building with their friends. If a family was not using its Bibles at home, at least you could find them behind the back seat in the Buick, curling up under the sunlight, all ready for next Sunday.
I was a young married man when I first attended a mainline Protestant church devoid of Bibles. I wasn’t in a Communist country where Bibles were confiscated and therefore rare, but in a southern state. The mainline church I attended that day was built upon its founder’s love for the Bible. In rain or shine, that 1700s apostle and his cohorts had carried the Bible to villages and cities all across England and the United States in order to proclaim a message with authority. But, that day, I looked all the way down the long row on the left and didn’t see a Bible. On the right, as far as I could see, the people were sans Bibles. I’m sure the church’s founder would have hung his head in shame.
When the message was given by an otherwise articulate pastor that day, he successfully annihilated the Bible story of the Gadarene demoniac. Demons became distractions rather than evil spirit beings—distractions such as parent meetings, club gatherings, and soccer games—since, to him, the story was all about our fractious lives. But, the listeners didn’t care. They had no orientation to the Bible or concern about correct interpretation. They swallowed what was being said without choking because the church had long ago replaced the Bible with warm religious sounding words, emblems and ceremony rather than reality.
The Sunday School class for adults that day was no different. Since no one had Bibles, the short form of the 10 Commandments was put on the board for everyone to see and discuss. The first discussion from the Bible-less participants was quickly knocked out. “No other gods before Me” with a few verbal contortions, became “people who worship other gods are sincere therefore OK before God.” In fact, a spokesman said, “they are more sincere than we are.”The opinions from the group trumped whatever might be in the Bible, which to them was only another symbol of some kind of benevolent Being out there somewhere.
I don’t place the blame entirely upon the people in the churches however. The Bible left because the seminaries marginalized it. Professors keeping up with their peers in other schools of higher learning trained young pastoral students to think less of it. The mainline seminaries were mostly about doubt, and the power of professors to create it—heady professorial stuff to destroy a student’s na├»ve beliefs, to be sure. It was necessary to learn to express themselves with some Bible-like tones—everyone knew that— but full adherence to the Bible itself was unpopular, and even dangerous. Too much Bible will lead to a kind of Bible idolatry, they would say.
Gradually, it became easier for pastors to avoid the kind of discussions that would arise with Bible-believing members from the old school. They didn’t mind if such people left the churches actually, though they wouldn’t say it. Looking directly in the Bible to teach the people was a pattern that died because the pastors died. Now, not carrying Bibles, and that kind of Sunday teaching arrangement that does not invite hearers to look in Bibles, are the well-accepted marks of the liberal church. You almost never find it otherwise. It wouldn’t be said aloud perhaps, but the Bible for many churches is a sort of embarrassment and might cause people to forget just what kind of church they were a part of after all.
But . . . there are some exceptions in the membership of many of these churches. There are some people here or there who long to return to the Bible. They remember what church life once was like. They feel that the church has been hijacked while they were sleeping. Or, better yet, they have a hunger for His word that comes from a higher source, the Spirit himself.

Why Should Churches Return to Using the Bible?
Whether the Bible is under your arm or on your tablet or phone, it must be used. Here are some reasons to turn back to the use of the Bible in our church meetings:
1. It is axiomatic that the people of God are led by the word of God. In fact, I think I could go so far as to say that a church is not Christian without demonstrating that it uses God’s word as the revealer of Christ, guide to heaven, rule of life, and explanation for all that is.
2. Failure to use the Bible says that man’s opinions are the final arbiter of truth. How can one think otherwise when the Bible is not looked to—or when it is only used to place a scent of godliness over man-made ideas?
3. The people are dying with their doubts and need to be rescued. Some churches are proficient at raising doubts about truths held by the Bible. But the end result is devastating. This is not to mean that doubts are not to be addressed. But using the Bible faithfully goes a long way to saying, “Doubts are answered here; troubles are resolved.” I mean to say here that liberal churches can turn from being doubt producers to solution-givers through the Bible.
4. Some will find life in Christ through use of the word. I know that we cannot guarantee that everyone who hears the Bible will live. Yet, it is through the message taught faithfully that God promises forgiveness and a future with him. This theme is replete in the Bible. Only truth will lead us there. So, going to the source of all our understanding about Christ and to God’s best revealer of Himself, is the very thing we must do for the salvation of people.
5. A right use of the Bible publicly, will encourage its use privately. All of us know that people ought to read the Bible, but where will they get the encouragement to do so? Likely only through the example of those leaders who focus much attention on it. When a pastor or teacher opens the Bible and talks from it, with the eyes of the people looking at it as the pastor or teacher explains its meaning, is a strong encouragement to read the Bible at home. Indeed, those who do this best publicly will see the most private use of the word among its audience.
6. A people using the word as teaching takes place, assures that the truth will rule in the church. No pastor or teacher is infallible. And, we know that even the true words of Scripture can be wrongly interpreted. But the open Bibles of the people will go a long way to assuring that what is taught is true. Their evaluation and discussion about the texts, openly and in private, move the church toward truth consistently and positively.
7. Spirituality is dangerous without the use of the God’s word. Man is incorrigibly religious. All kinds of spirituality emerge from man, most of which are condemned by God. How spiritual were the worshippers of false gods in the Bible and how dangerous was the heart-felt worship of Gnostics who emerged in the early church? Worship that is offered to God must be true, fully informed by His word. Using the word to guide worship and life in the church is the way we assure ourselves that our spirituality is accepted by Him.

Could Churches Return?
There is hope. Without turning back to a visible and rigorous commitment to the Bible, churches will continue to lead the way in moral decline, giving credence to all kinds of errant and ungodly ideas. Why are some churches, for instance, on the vanguard for homosexuality when the Bible clearly places homosexuals outside of His people? Homosexuals are to be loved, also a biblical truth, but repentance is necessary for homosexuals to be accepted into the visible body of Christ. Only people without the word of God as its guide can miss this easily discernible message.
I do mean it when I say that there can be a return to the Bible in any professing church. Even if pastors struggle with its claims, emphasizing that people need to hear it and talk about it and hold it in their hands to study it can be a step in the right direction. But leaders must get over their embarrassment concerning the Bible. As with many important reforms, leaders can make a difference. Suppose a leader humbled himself before God on this important issue. What would happen? Who would follow? Could God possibly be unhappy when a leader becomes this humble, seeking to obey God through His revealed word? And can God not help him to become the man of the Bible God calls leaders to be if only he will seek the truth in the right place and the right way?
But leaders are not the only ones who can make a difference. Any member with an intense interest in the Bible can speak out about that desire, can meet with others who are interested for Bible study, and can become an instrument for change. It is hard to speak against such actions in any professing church since we all know that a church is at least supposed to be interested in God’s word. That is at least among the first things to do.
But I have to say, a bit sadly, that members who cannot thrive as Bible believers in one church, even if it is the church they have always attended, must consider finding a more biblical one. If they cannot find any true concern and room for growth in the Bible where they are, a change must come. If you are a member of a horse-riding club, but the leader never takes the horses out of the stable for you to ride, you have to find another association that accomplishes that purpose. There is no possible logic for you to remain in a church that has abandoned the Bible for its own perceptions of truth.
Copyright © 2013  Jim Elliff
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Post Rapture Survival Guide

by Kurt Seland

The purpose of this manual is twofold:

First of all, it is to warn those who receive this manual prior to the rapture of the events that will take place in the last days as foretold in the Bible. Based on what the Bible has to say about future events, nobody in their right mind would want live on earth after the rapture. Hopefully, many will read, believe, seek God, repent and be saved. Salvation is very simple, so simple to attain, in fact, that most people cannot accept its simplicity; thereby reject it completely. However, it is complex because it is life-changing and based on that which we cannot see; it is based on faith. Simple, because Jesus does all the work. If you want to be saved and have eternal life, simply pray in belief and humility to Lord Jesus:
"Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and ask you to forgive me of my sins and prepare for me a new heart. I surrender my life to you."

Secondly, to those left behind after the rapture, this is indeed a survival manual. You still have an opportunity to repent and have eternal life. The same prayer of salvation is applicable to you; the only difference is that you will spend a little time experiencing a taste of hell while you remain on earth.
Let me be really frank with you. If you are reading this manual and the rapture has already occurred, then you probably are not going to physically survive; you most likely will die sometime un the next few years. This manual is about the survival of your soul. You are going to go through terrible suffering. The only question that remains is whether you will go to Heaven or go to hell when you die.
Definition: Rapture--This is the event that will occur when Jesus calls His followers (both gentile and Jewish believers) with a trumpet blast, and in the "twinkling of an eye" they will be removed from the earth and transported to be with Jesus in the heavens.
Biblical Foundation for the Rapture
"Take notice, I am telling you a secret. We shall not all die but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet call. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall all be changed" (I Corinthians 15:51-52).
"For with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, and those who died in Christ will rise first. Afterward we, the living who remain, will be caught up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall forever be with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
"...For I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when I have gone and have prepared a place for you, I will come again and take you to Myself so that where I am, you also will be" (John 14:2-3).
Events and Circumstances Prior to the Rapture
At the time that this manual was being written, and for the remainder of the time left in this age, the one word that describes the condition of the world is change. All of this change is being accomplished through the work of Satan, as he cannot tolerate anything that originated from God's creation. Originally, the Bible tells us that when God created the world He declared that it was "good." That means that it was perfect and no changes were necessary. Included in His creation were standards to live by that He gave to Adam and Eve. These standards covered everything from how to live in our private lives, to proper domestic relationships, to principles for governing a community. Satan seeks to change everything that God has created and established, thus he has used his power and influence in the world to make subtle deviations to God's original plan. Satan's goal is to establish a world order headed by his protege (the world dictator known in the Bible as the Beast and anti-christ) who will spend his time and effort changing everything to be in opposition to God's will as expressed in the Bible. This is predicted in the Bible in the book of Daniel: "and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law."
In today's political environment there is no effective leadership in the world. Every nation lacks strong and competent leaders able to deal with the problems at home and abroad. The United States, which has been the world leader for the last 50 years, has steadily lost its influence among other nations because of political leaders in the United States who have no moral center to direct their decision making process. However, this distrust and dislike of government and government leaders is not just an American phenomenon but is a common theme in Europe, South America, Asia and the entire world. Because of this leadership vacuum in the world, there is now an opportunity for a man to arise who is very charismatic, strong, and attractive to peoples of all nations. Based on the prophecies in the Bible such a man will arise, and he will be successful in uniting the various nations to rule as a dictator.
The move to unite the world under one government has been active since the early 1950's, and in recent years this has become more of a reality as many nations have given up their sovereignty to the United Nations during armed intervention of conflicts (eg. Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia). In these conflicts, the nations of the world contributed manpower and machinery to be used under the flag of the United Nations. The United States of America surrendered its sovereignty in these situations to much weaker nations by allowing its military to be controlled by these nations. In addition to these military actions the nations of the world also agreed to control trade and labor practices with international treaties such as NAFTA and GATT.
There is no dominant nation to provide leadership to the world, thus the stage is set for a man to arise out of the masses to unite the world as dictator.
The foundational building block of society, that element which has always been responsible for social order and peace, is the family, and it has been virtually destroyed. The family is to be a man, his wife and their children. The man provides for the wife and children, the wife nurtures and educates the children, and the children obey their parents. In a community of families, adults hold the other adults and children accountable for their actions. The family is based on marriage.
Marriage is an institution of God and therefore hated by Satan. The devil has worked very hard, primarily through communications media such as TV, movies, news journalists, and entertainment in general to convince women that marriage is detrimental to their freedom and fulfillment in life. Satan has deceived women into believing that they have the same sexual desire as men and that all differences are the result of culture. Satan has worked hard to divide men and women and have them at war with one another, and because of this, the violence between men and women has dramatically increased.
Civil war has been a constant theme of this age and unrest will continue into the end times: man vs. women, black vs. white, Muslim vs. Jew, Catholic vs. Protestant, Muslim vs. Christian, one Muslim faction vs. another Muslim faction, one black African tribe vs. another black African tribe, nation vs. nation, people vs. people. Whatever divides people into different groups, Satan uses to inspire hate, strife and violence.
Homosexuality and all sorts of perverse behavior are accepted as normal. The world dictator (anti-christ) himself will not have the normal sexual attraction to women and may be asexual. Many theologians believe that he will probably be openly homosexual as indicated in the Bible in the book of Daniel 11:37: "and he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women". And therefore, after the rapture, more than likely marriage will be discouraged or illegal, and homosexual and lesbian relationships highly encouraged.
On the economic scene, the trend is toward poverty for the masses with wealth concentrated into the hands of very few people. These controllers of the wealth will be the kings of commerce and banking and also be the power behind politics of the world. Small businesses are merged into larger companies and the larger companies merge with themselves to increase profits. The result is huge multi-national companies that have no allegiance to any community, state, nation or people, whose only allegiance is to increased profits for management and shareholders. The result is workers who are little more than peasants and presidents of companies who are more and more like kings. It will be these "kings" who usher in the world dictator to protect their wealth and power. Expect all commerce, buying and selling, to be controlled by a mark on the right hand or forehead of every person who wants to participate in the economy. Only those people with the mark will be able to buy and sell, but the consequences of taking the mark is eternal damnation (Rev 14:9-11).
Therefore don't take that mark. You will have a very difficult time surviving, and probably won't, but you will save your soul. Again, don't take the mark on your right hand or forehead.

In the gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus spoke to his disciples and indicated to them that one of the signs of the time of the end of the world would be, " it were in the days of Noah so will the coming of the son of man be." We read in Genesis that in the days of Noah "the earth was filled with violence.". This speaks not only of the violence that men inflict on one another--war, civil wars, rape, brutality, murder, abortion, and other indiscriminate, random acts of violence, but the earth itself is also filled with violence. We see increasing earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, drought, lightning storms and unusual atmospheric phenomena. While all of these have existed in the past, over the last 50 years, the number and intensity of these conditions and the property damage associated with these natural catastrophes has increased. As the level of violence that the human species has inflicted on one another has increased, so has the violent reaction of the earth increased.
Signs of the Times
When Jesus' disciples asked Him about the signs that would be a precursor to His coming and the end of the age His response, recorded in Matthew 24, was:
    • Wars and rumors of wars
    • Nation will rise against nation. It is very interesting to note that the Greek word that is translated as nation is "ethnos" which deals with ethnic background and race. Most of the wars and conflicts in the 1980's and 1990's are wars among ethnic groups and tribes.
    • Kingdom will rise against kingdom
    • Famines
    • Earthquakes are like the early pangs of childbirth. As the time grows nearer and nearer to His coming, the frequency and intensity of these five signs will increase.
    • The followers of Jesus will be handed over to be persecuted and killed. This is happening with more frequency in the Muslim controlled nations in the Middle East, and in Africa where Black Muslims are enslaving Black Christians.
    • Christians will be hated by all nations on account of His name. In many parts of the world, Christians are jailed and killed for their beliefs; in the United States those who are Christians are hated by the media and liberals, and are known by the code words "religious right."
    • Many will fall away...that is, many who claimed to be Christians will recant their faith, and betray and hate Christians.
    • Many false prophets will arise and deceive many.
    • Due to excessive lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.
The Rapture
This is an event that will not be hidden. The concept of the rapture has already been made known to the masses. It will be treated with ridicule, contempt and mockery by the world's media, but God will see to it that it will be highly publicized before it occurs just so that those left behind might still come to their senses. It will occur in the open, and everybody left behind will know someone who was raptured.
It will happen suddenly, unexpectedly, and lightning fast--"in the twinkling of an eye," as the Bible puts it. And there will be evidence all over the world that this event occurred. Some national leaders will disappear, celebrities in entertainment and professional sports will disappear, entire families will disappear, disbelieving spouses will see their mates vanish, children will disappear. Bank accounts, homes, cars, businesses and relationships will be left behind. The problem for the world's leaders will be trying to convince people that it didn't happen. Because if the world's leaders admit that it did happen then, logically, everything Christians preached about Jesus Christ being the Son of God, the Savior, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings and everything that Jesus preached and taught must be true. And if all of this is true, then the only logical response would be to fall on one's knees before God in confession and repentance and absolute submission to every word of God (as revealed in the Bible). But all of this is diametrically opposed to the way of the world, which preaches freedom from the constraints of God's word, perverse sex, materialism and the devaluation of human life. So, although the rapture will shock everybody and will be covered in the media and everybody left will be aware of someone who is gone, the leaders of the world will begin their great deception, trying to convince the population left behind that there was no rapture.
How is this going to be accomplished? Well, pretty easily because most of the people left behind are already in a state of deception. They have been deceived into believing that Jesus is not the Messiah; they have been deceived into believing that the word of God is not true; they have been deceived into living a lifestyle that only brings constant pain and suffering instead of the freedom and paradise that God offers. The world's leaders will declare that there was no rapture, that a mass hysteria took place, and the news media will follow the party line. Then to make things easier, shortly after the rapture, one-fourth of the world's population will be decimated due to wars, famine and plague. Those who were raptured will be counted among the dead.
After the Rapture
Shortly after the rapture, a seven-year period known in the Bible as the Great Tribulation will take place. It will begin with the signing of a peace agreement between Israel and her enemies and it will end with the physical return of Jesus Christ to set up His kingdom on earth. In between, will be seven years of terror for those on earth. The following events and trends will take place in that seven-year period:

    • A man will arise who will achieve victory after victory both in politics and in war(Rev 13:7). This man, who should be easily identified by his rapid rise and popularity, is your the anti-christ. Many people believe that this person must be Jewish. That is, in order for Jews to accept him as Messiah, only a Jew will suffice. This is not necessarily the case. The Bible does not specify that he is a Jew, and it does not specify nationality. Only God-fearing Jews will require a Jewish Messiah. The liberal, ungodly Jews who dominate Israel will be as lost when it comes to Biblical truth as the Gentiles of the world and will be deceived by his charisma, and more than likely, the desires of the world's media. Currently the new nickname for the United States is the Great Satan. This may have some significance.
    • Violence will increase in all parts of the world, both nation against nation (ethnic wars) and domestically. Men will indiscriminately slay one another as peace will be removed from the earth (Rev 6:3-4).
    • There will be extreme inflation, poverty, and lack of food as one day's wages will buy enough food for one day for one person (Rev 6:5-6).
    • In a very short period of time, one-quarter of the earth's population will be killed due to wars, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. These wild beasts could very well be viruses, bacteria and other microbes. In late 1995, Time magazine ran a cover story on the rise of new infections and called microbes "malevolent little beasts" (Rev 6:7-8).
    • Many people will experience a religious conversion and become followers of Jesus Christ and most of these people will be hunted down and killed (Dan 7:21).
    • There will be a great earthquake, the sun will be blackened, the moon will turn red and all mountains and islands (which are underwater mountains) will be moved (Joel 2:30-32).
    • There will be a brief period of calm on the earth following this great earthquake which will give those who survive a false sense of security.
    • One-third of the earth, one-third of all of trees and all the green grass will be burned up due to a comet or meteor that hits the earth (Rev 8:7).
    • A meteor will hit the earth causing the sea to become like blood, killing one-third of all sea creatures and destroying one-third of all shipping (Rev 8:8-9).
    • A "star" named Wormwood will fall from the sky and poison one-third of all fresh water killing many people (Rev 8:10-11).
    • The sun, moon and stars will be darkened by one-third. The day and night will be reduced by one-third. There is some speculation that this means the rotation of the earth will be changed so that a day lasts only 16 hours instead of 24 hours (Rev 8:12).
    • Fearsome locust-like beings will be released from underground who only attack people who are not followers of Jesus Christ. These attacks will be very painful but last only 5 months (Rev 9:1-11).
    • An army of 200 million horse-like creatures will kill one-third of mankind (Rev 9:13-19).
    • Two men (known as witnesses, see item 7 below) of Jewish origin will preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for 3 1/2 years and be killed at the midpoint of the 7 year tribulation. These two will be responsible for a 3 1/2 year world-wide drought and will be killed by the anti-christ (also known as the beast in the Bible).
    • People will be required to receive a mark on their right hand or forehead in order to buy and sell. Those who receive this mark will develop a loathsome and malignant sore on their bodies within a short period of time (Rev 13:13-18).
    • The oceans will chemically change and become like the blood of a dead man (congealed?) and everything in the sea will die (Rev 16:3).
    • The fresh waters will become like blood (Rev 16:4-7).
    • The sun will scorch the people on earth with fierce heat (Rev 16:8-9).
    • The throne of the anti-christ and his kingdom will become darkened (Rev 16:10-11).
    • The Euphrates river will dry up allowing the kings of the east to march westward (Rev 16:12).
    • The kings of the world will gather their armies together to battle God at Armageddon. There will be an earthquake so great that all of the mountains and islands will disappear. There will be hailstones weighing close to 100 pounds that will crush the armies that have gathered (Rev 16:17-22).
    • Shortly after this great earthquake, Jesus Christ will return with His army to claim the earth as His possession (Zech 14:3-5).
The Two Witnesses These two men are God's gift to the people of the earth who refused to submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ prior to the rapture, but who will recognize the error in their life and seek God knowing the terrible mistake they have made. These two men will proclaim the gospel and provide hope for those left behind. Their message is for the salvation of the soul. They will have no message as to how you can avoid the hell that life on earth has become, because there is no hope to avoid that tribulation. If you are left on earth, then your destiny is to suffer and more than likely die. But you still have the hope of salvation. Listen to what these two men are preaching and turn to God.
The Bible does not say who these two men are. Many speculate that they are Elijah and Enoch, two ancient prophets of God who never died. Regardless, they will be responsible for many of the natural catastrophes that will wreak havoc on the property and economy of the earth. They will have the power to prevent rain, and there will be a 3 1/2 year drought on earth until they die. They will turn water into blood and cause all kinds of plagues on earth and, in general, make life miserable for those who are living on earth. Also, they will be invincible, as many will try to kill them only to be killed by their own hands. Those who attempt to blow them up will themselves be blown up; those who attempt to shoot them will have their guns explode in their hands; those who attempt to poison them will be poisoned by their own efforts. Only the world dictator will be able to kill them and only when God allows it.
The purpose of all the misery that these two witnesses inflict on the earth dwellers is to turn people back to God in repentance. The misery will be so great that when the world dictator does finally kill these two, the world will rejoice in a Christmas-like celebration, giving gifts to one another. Three and one-half days after their death they will be resurrected and, in full view of the entire population of the world, ascend to heaven at the command of God when He calls them to "Come up here." Shortly after he kills the two witnesses, the world dictator will declare himself to be God. He is the anti-christ.
The 144,000 Jewish Witnesses Shortly after the rapture, God will call His army of 144,000 Jewish believers into service to provide a voice of hope for Jews throughout the world. The best friends and most staunch supporters of Jews have always been true, believing Christians. It was this element of the world's population that provided help and support for Israel and Jewish people. The rapture removed the Christian people from the earth and awakened the 144,000 to their purpose. These 144,000 preach to Jews worldwide that Jesus is the Messiah. These 144,000 will be spread out worldwide and more than likely go about in pairs, two by two, as Jesus instructed His disciples to do. It will be these 144,000 who will oppose Israel signing a peace treaty for protection; it will be the 144,000 who will identify the anti-christ for who he is; it will be the 144,000 who will warn Israel of the treachery of the anti-christ, and it will be the 144,000 who will lead the Jews worldwide to the hiding place prepared for them by God in the Judean desert. These 144,000 Jews are going to be strange people by normal standards: they will be celibate, very bold, fearless, spiritually strong and probably very much like John the Baptist. You can read more about the 144,000 witnesses in Revelation 14.
Money Hard currency will become obsolete. This is no surprise, as banks and governments have been working to eliminate currency, coin money and paper transactions for decades. Currency and coin is expensive to produce, lends itself readily for drug trafficking and, with high tech equipment, is too easily counterfeited. Banks desire to eliminate the teller position as an expense item, and with the elimination of paper checks and currency, all financial transactions can be handled with a computer. The debit card will become the tool for all personal financial transactions. However, at some point after the rapture, probably right after the two witnesses are killed, everyone will be required to get a mark on their right hand or forehead in order to buy and sell. Do not, do not, do not under any circumstances participate by receiving this mark. All those who receive this mark known as "the mark of the beast" are doomed for eternity. By taking this mark you are swearing allegiance to the anti-christ. You may as well attempt to enjoy life as best you can because eternity for you will be hell. It is at this point that God will have separated His followers from Satan's followers. Those who have taken the mark will persecute those without the mark. God will render judgment on those with the mark by inflicting them with a disgusting looking and very painful ulcer covering their bodies.
So how can a person without the mark survive and still buy and sell? Again, this will almost be impossible, but there will be people who are part of the anti-christ's regime who don't believe in the anti-christ; they are just "survivors" who pick the "winner" and seek to profit from that relationship. Therefore, save up for yourself gold; gold has always had value as money and always will, even in a cashless society. Identify one of these profiteers and seek to purchase food and living supplies from him. However, don't ever disclose to him how much gold you have and where it is. You want to be more valuable to him as a dealer than as a bounty. By the way, you will have a price on your head for not taking the mark. Obviously you won't be living an open life, as you will be in hiding somewhere at a remote location or in the forest on the outskirts of a large city. Your only goal will be to eat to live and hope to escape the militia hunting for you and those like you. Should you get caught, your fate will be either death or slavery.
If you receive this manual before the rapture and plan to be around after the rapture, then start storing up food and living supplies and put them into hiding in some remote and difficult to access area. You should include weaponry to defend yourself and medical supplies as part of your living supplies.
Safety Concerns This era will be the most violent of times in the history of the world. Death, brutality and destruction will be part of everyday life. One of the defining characteristics of the last days following the rapture will be a lack of peace. There will be civil wars throughout the world: people will kill one another indiscriminately. Random acts of violence will fill people with fear. Car-jackings, home invasions, drive by shootings, and bombings will all increase with an intensity that will leave people with absolutely no sense of security.
In order to survive this time, you will need to remove yourself from society and live in a remote area that is difficult to access. Getting together with a group of like-minded people would provide additional support and safety.
As mentioned earlier, stock up on food, medicines, living supplies, weaponry and gold. You will need enough for 7 years. Don't plan on being able to supplement your food with hunting and fishing because the stocks of wild animals and fish will have been depleted and destroyed by the 3 1/2 year worldwide drought and three successive meteor-like or comet-like objects that strike the earth sometime after the rapture. The 3 1/2 year drought is brought on by the two witnesses. The first object from outer space to strike the earth will destroy 1/3 of all trees and all the green grass on earth. The second object, more like a meteor, strikes the sea and destroys 1/3 of all sea creatures and 1/3 of all shipping. The third object turns 1/3 of all fresh water poisonous and kills many people. Needless to say, all of this will also seriously deplete the food supplies for the world's population, causing food prices to skyrocket. Those people in the world who never before missed a meal or worried about food will become very familiar with hunger pangs and the feeling of going without food for long periods of time. This will be one of the causes of the increased violence as people become more self centered, short-tempered, and competitive for the food sources in short supply. As Jesus spoke to His disciples about these days, He said, "people will betray one another and hate one another...the love of many will grow cold."
Health Concerns Prior to the rapture, the world experienced an increase in health-related catastrophes, an increase in new infectious diseases and an increase in the return of diseases thought to have been eradicated or brought under control. The past two decades have brought on AIDS, EBOLA virus, flesh-eating bacteria, the return of tuberculosis, incurable gonorrhea, herpes and many other virtually incurable sexually transmitted diseases. After the rapture, things do not get better, as one quarter of the world's population will die as the result of wars, famine and plague. Sometime after the two witnesses are murdered and after people are required to take the mark on the right hand or forehead, there will be a terrible plague causing a loathsome and malignant ulcer on the bodies of those who have taken the mark. This will be a very ugly and very painful sore that will make life miserable for those who have it.
In addition to all this, because of the poor economic situation worldwide and the 3 1/2 year drought that depletes the world's supply of water, sanitation practices will deteriorate even in what were advanced nations in Europe and North America. With the short supply of water, there won't be sufficient water for flushing toilets, taking baths, washing clothes and transporting wastewater to treatment facilities. This will result in the increase of typhus, cholera, salmonella and E.coli infections.
Therefore, since you have decided to reject Christ's offer to join in the rapture, your concern is how to maintain good health in the post rapture era. You must build a supply of multiple vitamins with particular emphasis on anti-oxidants such as C and E and minerals. It will also be necessary to have a supply of disinfectants, particularly one that can be added to water to make it potable.
Above all, do not accept the mark of the beast on your right hand or forehead. If you do take the mark then nothing can be done for you. You will suffer the malignant ulcer making the rest of your life almost unbearable. Did you ever have a canker sore in your mouth? If so, then you know how painful that one little canker sore was. Now think of having canker sores all over your body, on your genitalia, in your mouth. Think how painful and unbearable your life will be. Then follow that misery with eternity in hell. Don't take that mark.