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Archive for July, 2010

This is a very powerful music video entitled “Revelation Song.”  It contains actual footage from the movie “The Passion of the Christ.”  I can’t see anyone watching this without being touched to the very core of their being.  I know I was.

Be blessed! ~ Meshawn

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The Apostle Paul

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  ~ I Timothy 1:15

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The Apostle Paul, a Hebrew and former Pharisee from the tribe of Benjamin, wrote these words testifying to His belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah who came into the world to save sinners.  Paul also called himself the “chief of sinners.”  He is not alone in this regard.

We are all sinners in need of a Savior.  However, some people don’t think this applies to them.  They think that this label is only reserved for the wretched of society such as murderers, thieves, child molesters, etc.  But God, Himself, tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

God is the one who sets the standard for what is considered sin.  Basically anything that goes against His commandments put forth in the Bible is sin.  He tells us not to lie – so if we’ve ever told a lie, then we are sinners.   He tells us not to steal – so if we’ve ever taken anything that doesn’t belong to us, even something seemingly insignificant like a pen or pencil from our jobs, then we are sinners.  He tells us not to commit fornication or adultery.  He even goes as far as to say that “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) So if we’ve lusted in our hearts, then we are sinners.  The list goes on and on.

God’s ways are not our ways.  (Isaiah 55:8)  His standards of holiness are so much higher than ours — so high that it is impossible for us to ever achieve true holiness.  This is why He sent a Savior into the world to die for our sins.  Just as the Israelites had to put the blood of lambs on their doorposts in order for the Lord to pass over them and not cause death in their houses, we need the atoning blood of the sacrificial Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) on the doorposts of our hearts, so that our sins will be forgiven and so that eternal death will pass over us.  (Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you … ~ Exodus 12:13)

Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

We may not be the “chief of sinners” as Paul claimed to be, but we all need to have our sins forgiven.   If you haven’t accepted the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, won’t you consider doing what Romans 10:9 says above?  If you’re not totally convinced of this message, please study the Bible to prove for yourself whether or not these things are true.  A suggested place to start would be with the Gospel of John.  Be blessed!

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1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:

4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.

6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

                                                                                 ~ Isaiah 11:1-10

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by Meshawn Senior

In the previous article entitled “The Beginning of Sorrows” we addressed Jesus’ statement about the events He prophesied in the first several verses of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Chapter 24.  He then stated in verse 8 of this same chapter that all these things were “the beginning of sorrows.”  We showed how the term “birth pains” can be aptly used as a substitute for the word “sorrows” because it gives a deeper understanding of what Jesus was trying to convey with that statement.

In this particular article in our “Are We Living in the End Times?” series, we will focus on the next verse in the passage which states, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” (Matthew 24:9)

Up until this verse, Matthew 24 speaks about events that will happen before the 70th week of Daniel, which is a seven year time period spoken of in the prophetic Book of Daniel in the Old Testament of the Bible.  (In the Hebrew language, a week is the word “shabua” which is a period of sevens.  This could refer to seven days or seven years.  In this particular passage, it is referring to a period of seven years.)  Daniel 9:24 says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” At the conclusion of the 70th week, the Messiah (the Most Holy) will be anointed and will reign over the earth for 1000 years.

It is generally agreed upon that the 70th week coincides or overlaps with the Tribulation period, which will be a time of great distress that will come upon the entire world.  However, there is some debate over whether the whole seven year period should be called the Tribulation or just the last 3-1/2 years.  Also, some scholars divide this entire period into two distinct time frames – the Tribulation (the first 3-1/2 years) and the Great Tribulation (the last 3-1/2 years).  For the sake of simplicity, though, we will refer to this entire seven year period as the Tribulation.  We will go into further detail with phrases such as “at the midpoint of the Tribulation” or “during the second half of the Tribulation,” etc.  However, this will be in subsequent articles.  In this article, we will refer to this period of time as “the 70th week of Daniel.”

It has been widely believed that Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:9 is referring to Christians and the Church, but in recent years some biblical scholars are leaning towards the belief that this is referring only to the nation of Israel – the nation from which the Messiah came out of.  In fact, some believe that the entire Olivet Discourse is for the Jews and not the Church.

The following is a quote by Dr. Chuck Missler, founder of Koinonia House, regarding this passage of scripture:

“It’s not Church oriented.   It is the Mashiach (Messiah) of Israel briefing the *disciples.  The twelve disciples’ role and mission in the future is to rule over whom?  The twelve tribes.  And how long and how mature I was in my Bible studies without realizing the Jewishness of the disciples’ mission.  Peter, to some extent, but Paul especially was called to whom?  Gentiles. Right.  And that’s why Paul is an apostle but not one of the twelve.  If you get that insight it will help you put things in their proper perspective.
It would be very surprising to find a mention of the Church in Matthew 24 and 25.  Why?  Because the Church hadn’t been revealed to the disciples, yet. The Church doesn’t surface as a concept really until Acts 2.  It’s my suggestion to you to approach Matthew 24 and 25 with the possibility that the Church will have been introduced and be gone during the interval between the time Matthew 24 is presented and the time it’s fulfilled.  So recognize, if you will, the essential Jewishness of Matthew 24 and 25.
Having said that … as you go, I think it will leap out at you.  We generally get into deep trouble in Matthew 24 and 25 if we impute into it Church ideas.”  (Excerpted from “The Book of Matthew – A Commentary,” Dr. Chuck Missler)
*  Dr. Missler is speaking of the “insider” group of disciples, the Twelve Apostles.

So, this passage of scripture is directed mainly to the Jews.  And Matthew 24:9 says that they will be delivered up to tribulation and will be killed.  This has been the plight of the Jews throughout their history.  God has allowed this in the past because of Israel’s disobedience to Him in many forms, but especially in the form of worshiping other gods.  And in the case of the 70th week of Daniel, the reason for this time of great tribulation and sorrow will also include a very specific trespass by the Jewish people.

The Messiah of Israel said in Hosea 5:15, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” This passage of scripture plainly says that the Messiah will “return” to His place until the people of Israel acknowledge their offense!  What was their offense?  It was failing to recognize when He came the first time … and rejecting Him.

Jesus said in Luke 19:41-44, “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.

So, the main purpose of this 70th week period of tribulation and sorrow is clearly to bring the Jews to repentance and to the realization that Jesus (Yeshua) is their Messiah.  And once again, Hosea 5:15 specifically states that they will have to acknowledge their offense and seek His face in order for Him to return.  And when He does return, Zechariah 12:10 says, “then they will look on Me whom they pierced.  Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” What a bittersweet moment that will be!

Matthew 24:9 also says that the Jews “will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.” It is a widely known fact that the Jewish people have been hated by other people groups throughout history.  This fact still remains today.  Israel can be bombarded with missiles, rockets, and suicide bombers and the world says very little against the perpetrators of this aggression against Israel.  But the moment Israel takes a stand to defend itself and retaliates (sometimes months and years after ongoing attacks against them), the world cries out in anger against Israel. This makes no logical sense whatsoever!  But what’s really going on here defies all logic because logic works only in the physical realm.  What’s really going on here has a spiritual component to it.

It actually goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Satan the devil caused Adam and Eve to sin against God.  After this occurred, God told Satan, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  (Genesis 3:15)

The Seed of the woman is the Messiah, the One who was promised to come and save mankind from the curse of death which commenced in the Garden of Eden.  And because God chose the nation of Israel through which to bring forth the Messiah, Satan has hated the nation of Israel since its inception through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And Satan has incited the world against Israel, as well.  So, they are hated of all nations for Messiah Jesus’ “name’s sake” because He came through the nation of Israel.

In the next article in this series, we will continue discussing the 70th week of Daniel, or as it’s more commonly referred to – the Tribulation. Speaking of this period of time, Matthew 24:10 says, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” This is already the state of the times we are living in.  It’s hard to believe that it could get much worse.  But, it will!

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Next installment in the series:
If you have not read the previous installments in this series, they are listed below in chronological order:
  1. Are We Living in the End Times?
  2. Take Heed that No One Deceives You
  3. For Many will Come in My Name
  4. Wars and Rumors of Wars
  5. For Nation will Rise against Nation
  6. The Beginning of Sorrows

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1 O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.

2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.

4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.

7 Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.

8 My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.

9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

10 They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.

11 But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him shall glory; but the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

                                                     ~ Psalm 63 (A Psalm of David)

 

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In my article from a year ago entitled “The Total Solar Eclipse of July 22, 2009,” I discussed the solar eclipse which occurred over India and parts of China on that particular date.  I also talked about two other significant solar eclipses — one which happened the year before on August 1, 2008, which was seen over Russia, and the other, which will be occurring this year on July 11, 2010.  This one will be visible in the southern Pacific Ocean regions from the Cook Islands to Easter Island, and in southern Chile and Argentina.

To help us better visualize these eclipses, here are maps from NASA depicting each of their paths:

(click on image to enlarge)

Careful study of these images reveals that during the first eclipse on August 1, 2008, it traversed across the northern hemisphere of the earth; during the second eclipse on July 22, 2009, it made a path across the central part of the earth; and in this year’s total solar eclipse on July 11, 2010, it will move across the earth’s southern hemisphere.  This is quite interesting.

Also in last year’s article, I explained that these three eclipses have no noticeable significance when looked at only from the perspective of the Gregorian calendar.  But if we convert the above dates to Jewish calendar dates, we will notice that they all fall on the same date, the 1st of Av, three years in a row.

To help us grasp the importance of this, imagine if three total solar eclipses happened on, let’s say, Thanksgiving Day, three years in a row.  Even though this particular holiday falls on a different Gregorian calendar date each year, it’s still recognized as being “Thanksgiving.”   So if this heavenly event happened for three consecutive years on Thanksgiving, would that be a noteworthy event?  Of course it would!

It’s the same here with the three solar eclipses that are occurring on the 1st of Av in 2008, 2009, and 2010.  This date is right in the middle of Israel’s three weeks of mourning which commemorates many catastrophic events that have happened in their history during this time.  This time of mourning begins on Tammuz 17 and ends on Av 9.  However, the last nine days are the most intense, beginning with the 1st of Av.  This is why this date is so significant.

So, we have three total solar eclipses occurring on a very meaningful day on the Jewish calendar three years in a row.  Is this a sign, and if so, is it directed to the nation of Israel or quite possibly to the rest of world?

Here is a quote from my article written just prior to last year’s eclipse:

“Pastor Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries says that solar eclipses are generally warnings to the Gentile nations (from God) that judgment will soon follow.  Some Biblical prophecy scholars have surmised that this is exactly what happened last year with the first solar eclipse in this triad.  Shortly after that event, there was a global financial collapse.  Could this have been the first judgment to the Gentile nations or was it a mere coincidence?

This year, there is speculation that tomorrow’s eclipse could mean that war will ensue in the near future. There is no argument that war is definitely looming on the horizon and, interestingly enough, it involves the nation of Israel.  However, since last year’s post-eclipse financial crisis involved the whole world, and if these eclipses are truly warnings of judgment from God, will the next one mean a war is coming that will encompass the entire world?  It’s been said that if war breaks out between Israel and Iran, this could set the stage for World War III.

If tomorrow’s eclipse does, in fact, signal the soon start of a global war, then what judgment could next year’s solar eclipse possibly bring with it?  Could it be pestilence, disease, or famine, which are all aftermaths of war, or could it be something totally inconceivable?”

As we can see, the war between Israel and Iran has not happened, yet – although the threat is still there.  And instead of it looming on the horizon now, it seems to be moving “extremely close to shore.”  At the time this article is being written, there is increased United States military presence in areas of the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, and the Persian Gulf, as well as other strategic points in the Middle East.  Middle Eastern countries such as Israel, Iran, and others, have amassed troops in these areas, as well.

Here is an excerpt from The Debka File dated just four days ago:

“In a rare move, Iran has declared a state of war on its northwestern border, debkafile’s military and Iranian sources report. Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps men and equipment units are being massed in the Caspian Sea region against what Tehran claims are US and Israeli forces concentrated on army and air bases in Azerbaijan ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.”  (The Debka File, “Iran on war alert over ‘US and Israeli concentrations’ in Azerbaijan,” July 6, 2010)

So, war could be a reality very soon, perhaps even on a worldwide scale.

Also, the world is still reeling from the financial crisis that happened shortly after the eclipse in 2008.  Unemployment rates are rising in the United States, as well as in other countries around the globe, and there seems to be no end in sight.

Of interest, there have been many great and terrible earthquakes in various places over the past year which have caused great loss of life and unimaginable suffering.   The one that is still fresh in our memories is the earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010 which killed and injured hundreds of thousands of people.  Some of the people there are still living in tents and out in the open in horrid sanitary conditions.

Finally, this article would not be complete without mentioning the present major oil leak spewing into the Gulf of Mexico at an alarming rate.  This has been ongoing since April 20th of this year.  Gulf coastlines from Florida to Louisiana have been tarnished by oil from the spillage.  Also, there has been a great loss of jobs because of this disaster as well as diminished state tourist revenue for the affected Gulf Coast states.

Such monumental catastrophic events are happening in our world today on a global scale.  Could these three consecutive eclipses be a warning to all of us that the times spoken of in the book of Matthew, Chapter 24 are upon us and that the end of this age is near?

The way things are shaping up, we could very well know the answer to this question very soon.

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Eclipse map images provided by “Eclipse Predictions by Fred Espenak, NASA’s GSFC.”

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“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” ~ Isaiah 5:20

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There are certain things that are accepted in today’s society, even though they have been considered “taboo” for thousands of years.  I’m sure we all have certain images that come to mind when reading this statement.  The purpose of this article is not to focus on any one political or moral point, but to provide thought-provoking arguments as to why we should not listen to every voice which purports to tell us what is good or evil.  We should choose carefully the voices we follow, because if we choose the wrong ones, it could cause us grave spiritual consequences.

The following are organizations and people who have great influence over us in our society.  We should not follow them blindly without knowing what’s behind the decisions they make.  Some of their beliefs may be contrary to ours, but more importantly, contrary to those mandated by God in His Word.  This can be very dangerous.

Governments are organizations whose main role is to control and direct the actions and conduct of the people who are under their authority.  However, we must realize that they are made up of human beings who must choose their eternal destinies just as we all must do.  They have their own personal beliefs physically, morally, and spiritually.  In fact, some may not even believe that there’s a God.  So, just because the government says something is right, does not necessarily make it right with God.  This is why we must choose our government officials carefully.  (When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan. ~ Proverbs 29:2)

Celebrities are people who are famous for their acting, singing, or some other ability that gets our attention on a large scale.  Just like government officials, celebrities will answer to God one day about their choices in life – whether they chose to follow Him or to do what they felt was right in their own eyes.  A great majority of celebrities have extremely troubled personal lives.  Many actually seek ongoing professional help to try to get their lives in order.  Even so, it’s amazing to see how many people choose to listen to what these people say instead of what a perfect and Holy God says!  (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. ~ Romans 12:2)

College professors are responsible for molding and shaping the minds of our newly adult young people.  However, a great majority of them have secular humanistic beliefs.  This means that they don’t necessarily believe in God.  Most secular humanists are either atheists or agnostics who do not believe in any spiritual existence after death.  Consequently, they are not concerned with heaven or hell. They believe that every person is right in their own sight and that there are no moral absolutes.  (The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good. ~ Psalm 14:1)

These college professors have a great deal of influence over our young people and most take full advantage of this.  Along with the subjects they are supposed to be teaching, they also infuse their own secular humanistic beliefs into their lectures. They are respected by these impressionable young minds because they are seen as wise authority figures.  A great deal of college graduates emerge from college with ideologies similar to their professors – even those that grew up in Christian homes.

So once again, just like the other two societal influences discussed above, these college professors will also have to individually answer to God one day.  How horrible it will be if some of their students end up eternally separated from God as a direct result of the teachings of these spiritually blinded individuals who believed in themselves rather than the God who created them.  (There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death ~ Proverbs 14:12)

We must be careful not to fall for the political correctness that permeates our society today.  If God says that something is not right, then it’s Him we should listen to – not other human beings who make decisions based on each of their personal likes and dislikes.  These people will be judged individually one day – just as we will.  And depending on their spiritual choices, they will end up either in heaven or hell when they die – just as we will.  They are responsible for deciding if they will follow God’s way or this world’s way – just as we are.

So, before we say that something is good when, in fact, God calls it evil, we’d better be absolutely sure that these government officials, these celebrities, these college professors, and any other voices we choose to listen to, are right about the personal beliefs which cause them to go against God, the Creator of the universe – a God whom most don’t even believe in.  If they’re right, then we have nothing to worry about.  But if they’re wrong ….

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