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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

There is only one Name under Heaven
Given to man by which we must be saved
He is above every dominion
Jesus Christ, Yeshua is His Name

 

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by Meshawn Senior

In “Hated by All Nations for My Name’s Sake” we discussed primarily how Israel as a whole would be hated during the Tribulation period because it was their lineage through which the Messiah came.  This hatred is not only of the heart but has deep spiritual roots going all the way back to the Garden of Eden and the fall of man.  In this new installment of the “Are We Living in the End Times” series, we’ll look at Matthew 24:10, which states, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.”

What does it mean to be offended?  When we hear this word in English, we usually think of someone getting their feelings hurt for one reason or another.  But the word translated as “offended” in the above passage of scripture has a slightly different meaning in the original Greek.  The word is “skandalizō” and according to the Blue Letter Bible search engine, the following are all the biblical usages for this word:

 1)  to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon
……..which another may trip and fall, metaph. to offend
      .a)  to entice to sin
      .b)  to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom
……………he ought to trust and obey
             i)  to cause to fall away
            ii)  to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I
…………………disapprove of and what hinders me from acknow-
…………………ledging his authority
           iii)  to cause one to judge unfavourably or unjustly of
…………………another
      c)  since one who stumbles or whose foot gets entangled feels
………….annoyed
             i)  to cause one displeasure at a thing
            ii)  to make indignant
           iii)  to be displeased, indignant

Also, the Amplified Bible translates Matthew 24:10 as follows:  “And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.”

So it appears this passage is indicating that people will stumble and fall away from the message of the Messiah of Israel, Jesus Christ, and will no longer trust His message as truth.  There are many Jews today who believe in Yeshua ha Mashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and of course, many more Gentiles.  So there is no contradiction here with Jesus speaking about people – Jews and Gentiles alike – who will turn away from Him during this time.

Interestingly, the Bible speaks about a “falling away” just before the return of Christ.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 tells us, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;(“That day” is speaking about the return of the Messiah and the term “man of sin” is speaking of the Antichrist.)

Not only will many stumble and fall away from their belief in the Messiah, Jesus said that they would betray one another.  To betray someone is to double-cross them or to turn them over to their enemy.  So during this horrible time of tribulation when many believers in the Messiah will be hiding for fear of their lives because of their beliefs, they will be turned in to the authorities by people whom they have always trusted – including family members. (“Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.” ~ Mark 13:12)

In the last part of the Matthew 24:10 passage, Jesus also said that many will hate one another.  In order to betray someone to the degree that we see above – especially a family member – there has to be a deep-seated hatred in one’s heart.  How could people hate others to such a degree just because of their religious beliefs?  There’s obviously an underlying supernatural component to this type of extreme emotion.

Even in the present year, 2012, there is hatred in the hearts of many against the followers of Jesus Christ.  Christians are being persecuted and killed on a global scale.  This is a highly underreported fact.  Here’s an article that shines light on this troubling state and deliberate cover-up of this worldwide problem.  It’s entitled “War on Christianity” and can be read here.

How many reading this are surprised by this revelation?  We have all heard of Jewish persecution throughout the years, but I’m sure most had no idea how widespread Christian persecution is. You would think that this would be front page news – but it’s not.  And if it is reported, it has a totally different bend than that of religious persecution.  It’s mainly portrayed as “ethnic violence” or “warring factions.”  But it’s much deeper than that.  (To learn even more about the plight of persecuted Christians around the world, please visit The Voice of the Martyrs website. You will be shocked at what’s really going on in the world we live in.)

A logical question then would be, “Why is the world not being told about the violence against Christians?”  An even more logical question would be, “Why are the world governments allowing these atrocities to continue?”  Sensible reasoning would lead one to believe that they should be doing everything within their power to put a stop to it.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

As I mentioned above and also wrote about in the previous installment of this series, the followers of Judaism, the Jews, have also been hated and persecuted from their inception.  And most of us know that there is a common thread between Christians and Jews.  This thread, of course, is that both follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – a God whom Satan, the devil, hates.  So it’s no surprise that he would spur the whole world to come against those who follow the one true God of the Bible – the One who defeated him ages ago and cast him out of Heaven.  Satan hates Christians and Jews and he influences the world to do the same.  Jesus Christ – a Jew and the founder of Christianity – said it perfectly when he stated, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)  And as blatant as the anti-Christian and anti-Semitic sentiments are today, it will be even more intense during the tribulation period.

Yes, offense to the point of leaving one’s faith, betrayal of friends and family, and supernatural hatred will characterize this period that Jesus said would be a time of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. ” (Matthew 24:21 NIV)  Hopefully all reading this are prepared to escape this terrifying time should it come in our lifetime.  If you’re not sure of how to prepare, please click here to get more information on this very important matter.

The next article in this series will center around yet another ominous element which will permeate this prophetic seven-year period in the not-so-distant future.  The verse which speaks of this is Matthew 24:11, and it states, ‘Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.”  Unfortunately, it’s already happening today.

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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
  7. Hated by All Nations for My Name’s Sake

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The following is an older article from the “Our Daily Bread” devotional.  However, it contains such a poignant message that I felt a great need to share it on this blog.  May it touch and bless every reader in a special way.

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by Dave Branon

Just as her friends were doing, my daughter Melissa was busily preparing for adulthood.  At school, she was getting ready for college by taking the right courses and had signed up for the ACT college entrance test.

Outside of class, Melissa was learning the socialization skills it takes to get along with people by spending time with friends, classmates, and teammates.  At her job, she was learning the relational skills needed for a future career of work.  At home, Mell was preparing for future family life by experiencing the way a Christian family would interact.

Getting ready for life as an adult takes work, and Melissa was making good progress.

But none of that preparation was what she would need.  In 2002, when she died in a car accident at age 17, the only preparation that mattered was her readiness for heaven.

When the truest test of preparedness came so suddenly on that beautiful June evening—when eternity’s door opened for Melissa—she was prepared.  She had put her faith in Jesus and trusted His sacrifice on the cross for her sins (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8-9).

When she faced the ultimate test of being prepared, Melissa was ready.  Are you?

God’s time is now, for the days fly fast,
And swiftly the seasons roll;
Today is yours, it may be your last;
Choose life for your priceless soul! —Fithian
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If death comes today, will you be prepared to meet God?

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This is an amazing performance by a young boy from Brazil singing Agnus Dei.  (Goosebumps!!!) 

Be blessed!

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What would be a good way to describe the relationship between Christians and atheists?  Well, right away the words “contrary” and “awkward” come to mind.   But an even better description would conjure up the image of two animals – let’s say a sheep and a goat – butting heads with each other.  The views of Christians and atheists are so diametrically opposed that they inevitably produce conflict between the two.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a person who claimed to be an atheist and he actually ended our conversation with the words, “I’m a devout atheist and I’m very happy.”  Admittedly, I was a little taken aback (I’d never heard that one before) and simply replied, “Really?  Okaaay.”  So, I went about my business.  Of course, I prayed for him afterwards.  (That’s what Christians do.)

From my experiences with atheists, and from what I’ve seen in the media, it seems that most have a strong aversion to Christians – more so than to other religious groups.  Why is that?

Most atheists will probably tell you that it’s because Christians are very pushy and they make people feel bad by telling them that they’re going to hell if they don’t believe like them.  Well, I believe this is a misconception about Christians – or at least the great majority of them.  Most people who call themselves Christians do not ever tell others about their faith.  They are perfectly happy with keeping their beliefs to themselves.  It makes you wonder, “If they really believe what Christianity teaches, wouldn’t they want to share it with others?”

Famed magician and atheist, Penn Jillette, actually approves of Christians sharing their faith and summed it up perfectly by saying, “If you believe that there’s a heaven and hell, and you believe that people could be going to hell – or not getting eternal life – or whatever…  How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize?  How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?  I mean, if I believed without a shadow of a doubt that a truck was coming to hit you, and you didn’t believe it – and that truck was bearing down on you – there’s a certain point where I tackle you.  And this is more important than that.”  This says a lot coming from an atheist!

But I submit that the main reason why atheists don’t like dealing with Christians is because deep down inside they know there is a God.  And Christians remind them of this truth which is imbedded into their very being – a truth which they are trying to run away from for one reason or another.

Perhaps they feel disappointed by God because of something that happened in their past and they are lashing out at Him by trying to claim His non-existence, because if He really existed (they reason), He would never have let “this” or “that” happen.  Or perhaps they feel that a belief in God would mean they would no longer be able to continue in the “no holds barred” lifestyle they’re accustomed to.  They know that if there’s a God, then they would be accountable to Him and would have feelings of guilt whenever they committed what the Bible calls sin – and they don’t want to have to deal with that.  Another reason could be that some atheists have a huge problem with authority and don’t want anyone, not even God, telling them what to do.

The Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.'” (Psalm 53:1)  The word “fool” is defined in the dictionary as “a person lacking in judgment or prudence.”  To judge something is “to form an opinion about it through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises.”  And prudence means “to discipline oneself by the use of reason.”  If these attributes were strong in the minds of atheists, then they would know that it’s neither logical nor reasonable for them to believe the way they do.  They have not formed an opinion about what they believe through the careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises.  There is no evidence that can be weighed that proves “everything came from nothing.”  And if you test the premise of that statement, it can be proven to be false.  If one ignores these facts, that’s bad judgment – and very bad science.   So, the laws of science support the fact that everything in the universe had to have originated from something else – or rather Someone else.  And that Someone is God.

God is the Creator of everything we see around us.  (Genesis 1:1)  And He didn’t just create us and go away, leaving us to fend for ourselves, as deists believe.  He is very active in the lives of all His creation – especially His human creation.  He’s a very hands-on God who deals with us individually and collectively.  And He’s also given us a very special book called the Bible.  It’s an instruction manual, if you will, that tells us all about Him, the people He’s interacted with in the past, and how to get through this life He gave us.  In this book, God tells us how to live – and how to die.  He even tells us what happens when we die.

Atheists believe that when they die, they cease to exist and just go into a state of “nothingness” with no cognitive awareness of anything.   But the Bible states otherwise.  It tells us that when we die, we either go to heaven to be with the God who created us (2 Corinthians 5:8) or down to hell to eventually be thrown into the lake of fire.  (Revelation 20:11-15And we will be cognitively aware of everything that’s happening to us. (Revelation 6:9-11Luke 16:22-24)

I guess you could call me one of those proselytizing Christians that Penn Jillette spoke about.  Another name for this would be “evangelical” and I’m not ashamed of that.  I am more gentle than some, though.  We all have different ways of going about telling others about the good news (gospel) of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ.  But we all have one thing in common.  We don’t want to see anyone die and enter eternity without Christ having covered their sins by the blood He shed on the cross.  (See “What is the meaning of the blood of Christ?”)

My intention is not to offend atheists – or anyone else for that matter –  but to share this message that I believe with all my heart.  And I want to share the peace and security I have in knowing that when I die, I will be with God forever.   I will not go into a state of nothingness and cease to exist – which would make this life totally meaningless.  And I will not have to face eternal punishment in the lake of fire.

May the Lord bless and give peace to anyone who is not sure of where they will end up after they die.  May He reveal Himself to them in a big way.  That is my prayer.  In Christ’s Name, Amen.

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The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9

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What do most people think of when they hear the word “heart?”  They may picture the organ that pumps blood through the body.  Or maybe they visualize the pretty red “Valentine” shapes that children draw and color.  However, another less thought of meaning would be “the innermost character, feelings, or inclinations of a person.”

What is being conveyed in Jeremiah 17:9 is that our hearts (our innermost character, feelings, or inclinations) are full of deceit.  And not only that — they are more deceitful than anything!  What a shocking statement!  But it doesn’t stop there.  This passage goes on to say that our hearts are also desperately wicked.  And the sad thing is — we don’t even realize it.

The Bible says in Proverbs 27:19, As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.”  What this is saying is that our hearts are the mirror image of our true selves.   And because our hearts and our thoughts go hand-in-hand, if the majority of our thoughts are loving and compassionate towards others, then we are truly loving and compassionate people.  However, if we constantly have negative and critical thoughts in our hearts towards others, then that’s the “real us” — whether we know it or not.  Even if we’re smiling and seem friendly on the outside, this is just a façade.  We may be able to fool other people —  and even ourselves — but we can’t fool God.  (…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. ~ I Samuel 16:7)

So, what can we do to overcome the negative thoughts that bombard our minds on a regular basis?  The Bible gives us answers regarding this.  In 2 Corinthians 10:5, it speaks of “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”  What exactly does this mean?

The definition of the word “captivity” is an interesting one.   It’s “the state of being kept within bounds.”  So, if a thought goes out of the boundaries of what God says is pure and right according to scripture, then we should “cast it down” or discard it.  Then we should replace it with a good one — one that is in accordance with what Christ says in His word.  This is a conscious effort on our part to do this continuously.  Eventually, it will become easier and easier to think good thoughts, and the bad ones will become less and less.

I once heard a speaker years ago who really helped me to purge the evil thoughts I used to have in my heart towards others.  Like most people, I thought it was okay to have these thoughts — just as long as I didn’t act on them.  But this person helped me to realize that God knows our every thought and if they’re bad ones, He views them as sin.  And He is very grieved when we choose to dwell on these thoughts.

If we look back in the book of Genesis, we get a glimpse of how God really feels about evil thoughts.  Just before the Flood of Noah, the majority of the people’s thoughts were evil — as well as their actions.  God was so vexed by this that He destroyed all but eight humans on the earth.  Genesis 6:5-6 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” So, I think it’s safe to say that the way we think is very important to God!  We should do all we can to keep our thoughts pure.

There’s a little prose I ran across years ago that I’ve shared with my children to help them realize the above principles.  It goes something like this:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words;
Watch your words, for they become actions;
Watch your actions, for they become habits;
Watch your habits, for they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

There’s so much wisdom in those words.  It all begins with the thoughts of our hearts.  They can make us — or break us.

May we all be mindful of the thoughts we think every moment of every day.  Choosing to think good ones will eventually transform us into people who please God not only outwardly, but also inwardly — in our hearts.  And let us not forget the age-old saying based on Proverbs 23:7, which says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  So true.

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Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? 

~ Proverbs 20:9 ~

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And the answer to this question is, of course – no one!  Human beings cannot cleanse and purify their own hearts from sin.  Only God can do this. (Psalm 51:10)

The definition of sin is, “an offense against religious or moral law.”   More specifically, it is a transgression against the law of God.  And the law of God tells us not to hate, lie, steal, lust — the list goes on and on.  So, if we’ve ever done these things, then we have committed sin.  How many of us can honestly say that we’ve never sinned?

“So, what’s the big deal about sin?,” some reading this may be asking.  Well, for one, it separates us from God who resides in a place called Heaven.  And that’s a REALLY big deal if you consider the consequences of not getting things right with Him before we leave this earth.  Need I say more?

But the good news is that God provided a way for us to overcome this dilemma that we find ourselves in.  He sent His son, Jesus Christ, to this earth to pay the penalty of death for our sins.  Only through us accepting what He did on the cross can our hearts be cleansed and we, ourselves, be purified from sin.

Even if you’re having trouble believing this message to be true, why not at least prove to yourself once and for all whether it is or not.  What can it hurt?  A hundred years from now, all who are reading this will know for sure if this is right or wrong.  If it’s wrong, you have nothing to worry about.  But if it’s right… 

Just something to think about…

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Related post:  None of Us are Promised Tomorrow


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