Obama is Fulfilling a Prophecy…

President Obama’s term is almost over (God willing) but in one of his last attempts to express his disdain for the only Democracy in the Middle East, and our Ally ,Israel,   He has instructed his UN Ambassador Samantha Powers, to vote ‘abstain’ ,while the UN  denounced Jewish settlement building in the West Bank ,(Judea and Samaria). Normally the US would veto such a brazen vote, which puts incredible pressure on the state of Israel, to “cease immediately all development of settlements in the West bBank and East Jerusalem”.

In view of this outrage I am reposting a teaching from the prophet Joel to demonstrate the stunning relevance of this passage to the current Geo-Political situation. This chapter is based on an excerpt from My book ,A Sword On The land-The Muslim World in Bible Prophecy.

God Sues the Nations…Joel 3
Posted on November 5, 2010 by billrandles

For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. (Joel 3:1-3)

Joel, the Biblical prophet, who ministered between 835-800 BC, prophesied with amazing clarity Geo-Political events that are occurring right before our very eyes.

To demonstrate this, allow me to ‘unpack’ Joel chapter three.

*The Time of fulfillmentFor, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem…”. This prophecy is slated for the time when God would bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, that is it is going to be fulfilled post 1948.

* I will also gather all nations…The literal possibility for this aspect of the prophecy is only recent, for at no other time in human history has there been even a possibility for the “gathering of all nations” since the Tower of Babel judgment.

All nations have indeed been assembled into a congress, the United Nations which arose, like Israel, out of the aftermath of World War 2 in the late 1940’s. As Psalm 2 predicts,

the kings of the earth and their rulers take counsel together against the LORD and His Christ”.

* Valley of Jehoshaphat– “… and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat… “. The point is not that there is or isn’t an actual geographical valley of Jehoshaphat, the point is that the name Jehoshaphat is part of the prophesy. It means “Jahweh shall Judge”, ie God shall judge the nations of the earth.

It could also be a reminder of the story of the seige of Juda in the days of King Jehoshaphat, in which after repentance and a national day of prayer and fasting, the instruction was given not to fear the combined gentile armies of Ammonites, Moabites and Edomites.

This is the battle where Judah, at God’s command, marched the Priests out front of the army, with instruments instead of weapons, and praising the goodness of the Lord ! the enemy turned upon itself and was routed.

* “…and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel…” This is not a prediction that God will ask the nations to go easy on Israel. This is legal language, God is going to slap a lawsuit upon the Nations, he is serving an indictment, for this is the court of Divine justice!

The indictment has four counts, 1) they scattered God’s people, 2) they parted God’s land, 3)they cast lots for God’s people, 4) they sold out the children of Israel, for the hire of a harlot, and for wine.

My people, whom they have scattered among the nations- The nations of the world indeed scattered the children of Israel, thoroughly across the world, it is not unusual even to this day to find a tribe in remote China, India, or even black Africa, who keep kosher, and observe other practices of the Jews, though cut off for centuries from the rest of the world.

But one could argue that this was exactly what God told Israel would happen, should they prove faithless.

And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste.(Leviticus 26:33)

So why is there an indictment on the nations of the world for doing exactly what God said they would do? We have to turn to Zechariah for the answer ,

And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction.(Zechariah 1:15)

God is bringing suit against the nations because though He used them to scatter the children of Israel, and to afflict them, they have taken it further than He wanted.

The nations were “at ease” when holocausts and pogroms were occurring, it didn’t bother them. Hitler was offering shiploads of German Jews to any nation that would shelter them, but there were no takers.He then knew that his ‘final solution’ was possible to undertake without international interference.

All through the 1940’s into the 1990’s the word of the nations to Israel, in the midst of intifada and terror campaigns was “don’t rock the boat” and inflame the Arabs, give them “land for peace”so that oil prices would be stable.

The nations could overlook the Palestinian bombing and murder campaigns, the slaughter of children, women, Olympic athletes, etc., for they themselves were ‘at ease’. This is what is bringing upon the world the final judgment.

The second indictment against the nations of the world is that they have participated in the partition of God’s land.This will bring judgment to the World.

* Israel isn’t the property of the UN, the Vatican, the European Union nor the Arabs. neither is it the property of Israel, for it belongs to God himself.

‘The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. (Leviticus 25:23)

Therefore for the nations of the world to deliberate at the UN, or in Rome or Washington or Cairo as to the disposal of the Holy Land and it’s borders, as if it were their’s to dispose of is arrogant presumption.

Not even the Jews have the right to trade land for peace, although the leadership of Israel being for the most part secular in their outlook,would desperately love to do so if it would bring peace.

Currently this prophecy is being fulfilled by the insistence of the UN that Israel return to its pre 1967 borders(rendering it indefensible), as well as the pressure everted to cede the Gaza, and the so-called “West Bank” territory, which is biblically named “Judea and Samaria”.

The United States under the Obama administration, has been insisting upon a “No Natural growth” policy for Judea, which means that the number of Jewish settlers there is to be “capped”, allowing for no further growth in population. This would effectively strangle the existing population, forcing the remaining Jews to leave.

While Arab leaders, International statesmen, “human Rights”champions of every stripe, the Pope, the presidents of the free world, UN delegates, and a host of other parliamentarians the world over heatedly debate the “status” of Jerusalem and the “legitimate” borders of Israel,The Holy God of the Bible observes.

It would be well to remember the Words of the prophet Ezekiel in his prophecy to the “West Bank”, that is the mountains of Judea,

Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD:Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession:Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made you desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and are an infamy of the people:

Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that are round about;

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.

Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen:Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that are about you, they shall bear their shame.

But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come.For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown:And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, even all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded:(Ezekiel 36:1-8)

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In The Fulness of Time…Christmas Sermon #5

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

The birth of Jesus was a predicted event. Centuries before it occurred it was described as to its place, time and significance. The Prophets anticipated the birth of the one who would come to crush the serpent’s head and remove the primal curse, and announced beforehand the conditions which would prevail at the time of the birth.

Consider one of the earlier prophecies of the Messiah, uttered by Jacob over his son Judah.

Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:9-10)

Jacob predicted that Judah would be the Kingly Tribe, but that the sceptre would not depart from Judah’s hand until “Shiloh” come. The sages universally agreed that ‘Shiloh” was a name for the Messiah. The scepter refers to the national power of self-determination, particularly in matters of justice. It is a symbol for capital punishment.

Judah did become the Kingly tribe, in the days of David and Solomon, and retained the Kingship even after the Kingdom was rent in two. Eventually the ten tribes which split away, went into Assyrian captivity, never to be seen again, Leaving Judah and the remnant of Israel. The scepter continued even through the dark days of the Babylonian captivity, and on into the restoration.

The scepter departed around 7 AD, the Romans having taken the ultimate sanction away from Judah, as they did every other province that they ruled. Rome alone would hold the power of life and death. This is the human reason why Jesus was eventually crucified and not stoned to death for blasphemy.

Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die.(John 19:31-32)

The scepter had indeed departed from Judah, and to those Jews who had no doubt noticed, it must have seemed like they had been abandoned by God! Where was Shiloh? Little did they realize that “Shiloh” at that time was a young boy learning carpentry in his family home in Nazareth.

An even more precise prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah was uttered by the prophet Daniel. 560 years before the birth of Jesus , the prophet Daniel was given a timing prophecy, which was carefully observed by the Magi centuries later, allowing them to be more aware of the coming of the Jewish Messiah, than the High Priest himself!

How did they know the time was near for the birth of Messiah?

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. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.(Daniel 9:24-27)

Daniel predicted that the Jews would be given a set period of time, 490 years, to complete their God given task. The way Daniel describes those years is in a series of “weeks” of years.

*from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: … The starting date is the commandment to restore Jerusalem…which occurred on March 14, 445 BC., according to Nehemiah 1 and 2.

* Sixty nine weeks of years commenced– each year consisting of 360 days, thus a total of 483 years, or 173,880 days from the edict of Artaxerxes to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and its walls,

* Shall Messiah the Prince come, and be cut off, but not for himself but for the people… Daniel predicted that the Messiah would come and die for the people at the 483rd year. The Magi calculated correctly when they arrived to see “the King” and to worship Him. The prophecy works out to April 32 AD that Messiah would come and be “Cut off”.

*The Stop Watch is clicked off- The Jewish people have one more “Week” of years to fulfill what is written of them, but the clock has been stopped. In the intermediate period, Daniel predicted that the temple would be destroyed…

Thus Messiah would have to have come between the Gentile decree to halt capitol punishment and strip Judah of her Sovereignty as a nation,(& AD) and the Gentile destruction of the temple(70AD).

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On Singing Christmas…Christmas sermon # 4

On Singing Christmas…
Posted on December 18, 2010
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.(Luke 2:8-14)

I know, I know, I’ve already heard it all, every year. Christmas is a pagan holiday, the celebration of the winter solstice, a christianised celebration of the feast of Bauchus. The Yule log is Celtic paganism, the decorated tree is all about Babylonian Tamuz worship, and besides all that Jesus probably even born in December! Right?

My friends who de-cry the paganization of Christmas are to be applauded, I think their work is important, and people need to be made aware of how close we all are to God dishonoring paganism which we are surrounded with. Many of my preacher friends are adamant about Christmas and Easter celebrations, and the defiling traditions associated with them.

But on the other hand we are told by the apostle, “Don’t let your good be evil spoken of…”.

Once a year, there is a holiday ,that however imperfectly, commemorates the Incarnation of God into this sin “weary world”. It wouldn’t matter to us what month or day, because the Bible doesn’t give us the birthdate of Jesus. What matters is that “unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given“.I love it.

Upon my conversion to Jesus Christ somewhere around 1977-78, I remember being amazed to find around Christmas time, that the familiar words to the carols I had sung for years actually conveyed powerful ,relevant,theological meaning.

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Tears streamed down my face as I sang again the songs I had known and loved since childhood, now realizing personally the depth of the message,

“…God and sinners reconciled…veiled in flesh, the Godhead see,Hail the incarnate Deity, pleased as man with man to dwell,Jesus our Emmanuel…Born to raise the Sons of earth, born to give them second birth…”

Everywhere I go this time of year, I hear this evangel streaming from the radio, covered by popular singers, pouring out of loudspeakers at shopping malls,sung by choirs and carolers in the streets themselves. Personally , I love it.

Who knows how many hard hearts have been touched, melted, perhaps even turned back to God in repentance. by Lyrics such as ;

“Silent Night, Holy Night , Son of God, Loves pure Light, radiant beams from thy Holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Christ our Saviour is born…Silen night, Holy Night, Shepherds quake, at the sight, Glories stream from heaven afar,Heavenly Hosts sing Hallelujah, Christ the Saviour is born…”.

And yet as I was for years, so many are oblivious to the meaning of the songs of the “Heavenly Hosts”, repeated every Christmas season. But this is as it was at the first Noel. How else could it be that of all the people of Judea, who had long been promised a coming deliverer, that only the lonely and despised Shepherds heard the Angelic songs ?

“Gloria ,Gloria,Gloria, in Exelcis Deo !…Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on earth to Men with whom He is pleased!”

We are told that the Sovereign God himself has chosen to hide the things of God from the wise of this Age, yet reveals them unto babes in his sight ,

At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.(Matthew 11:24-28)

How fitting, that not to the powerful, but to the lowly, and not into a palace or temple, but into a lowly, filthy barn, basically a cave, did the “High and Lofty God”, from of Old, choose to condescend unto us, in order to save us.

You would have to be willing to stoop to enter into the place where “unto us The child was born…” even as one would have to stoop 33 years later to enter into the other cave, the empty tomb! Don’t you love it? Has the Incarnation of God yet done its softening work in your heart?

But other than scripture who says it better than Philip Brooks,the hymnist who gave us “O Little Town of Bethlehem”?

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in

Merry Christmas everybody!

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The Sign of The Swaddling Clothes…Christmas sermon # 3

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.(Luke 2:6-7)

At the beginning of Luke’s gospel, Joseph and Mary are together in an enclosed place, wrapping Jesus tightly in cloth strips,laying him out on a table/manger.

An almost identical scene plays itself almost at the end of Luke’s gospel. True its a different Joseph in the second instance, but the scene repeats, Joseph and Mary are in a tomb, Jesus is laid out on a table, and this time Joseph wraps Jesus’ body in strips of cloth for burial. And Mary is there.

And he(Joseph) took it (The Body of Jesus)down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.(Luke 23:53-56)

Everything in scripture is meaningful, all is the Word of God. What is it that God is saying in this double binding of Jesus?

I believe it is a statement that Jesus, who is the eternal God, allowed himself for thirty-three years to be bound by men, that He whose power is limitless, could save us from our sin. This is real Power, power restrained voluntarily, even hidden, that we might be saved.

God entered into limitation, “he emptied himself” as Paul said in Phillipians 2. The ancient psalmist cried out “Bind the sacrifice with cords to the altar”! Sampson once put forth his hands to his brethren, the men of Judah, and allowed them to bind him, and lead him as a captive, to the Philistines where he won one of his greatest victories.

Power restrained, hidden glory, power revealed in apparent weakness, this is the gospel A sign was given to the Shepherds by the Heavenly hosts, but not one that anyone would associate with raw power or heavenly mystery,

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.(Luke 2;10-14)

Our God bound himself, he allowed himself to be bound by men, that men might be free of sin! We can only join those who have given us our beloved Christmas Carols, in singing-

“Highest, most holy,
Light of light eternal,
Born of a virgin,
A mortal he comes;
Son of the Father
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord!

Merry Christmas everybody!

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A Woman And An Angel …Christmas sermon # 2

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?( Genesis 3:1-2)

The Angel approached the couple in the garden very calmly, and in an attractive form. “Eve, has God really forbidden you to eat of all of the trees of the garden?” By exaggerating the prohibition placed upon the couple, the serpent was probing, looking for any indication of a rift between they and God.

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.(Genesis 3:3)

The Woman didn’t accept the premise that all of the trees were forbidden, the serpent knew she wouldn’t go that far. But she did exaggerate the prohibition of God, when she said, “We can’t touch the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden.”

Aha! There it is! Now the woman is ready to hear the Word of God openly denied!

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.(Genesis 3:4-5)

Exploiting the opening, the serpent wasted no time, slandering the One who had placed the couple in the garden of delights. Maximizing the prohibition, and minimizing the penalty- “You shall not surely die”- he captured the couple’s imagination, they believed the lie, and acted on it.

Millenia of suffering, pain, death, alienation and misery hung on the few seconds of thought described in the next verse. She considered the “word” of the serpent, and what this ‘revelation’ could do for herself. And she stretched out her hand towards the fruit…

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.(Genesis 3:6)

Long ,weary centuries later, another Angel approached another woman, a young Jewish virgin, in the Galilee, on the edge of the Roman Empire, in the hamlet of Nazareth.

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.(Luke 1:26-28)

A Holy Angel approached a peasant girl. She happened to have been engaged to a carpenter, together they would keep a pious home, for they were devout Jews. “Highly favored? The Lord is with me? I am blessed among women?” What could these strange greetings possibly mean?

Then came the most shocking words;

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.( Luke 1:30-34)

As a pious Jew ,Mary knew, as all devout Jews knew of the promise of God to her ancestor David, that God would give him a greater Son who would one day reign forever! But she was to be the mother of this Son?

Almost unbelievable! Indeed Mary’s family claimed descent from the line of King David, as did hundreds of thousands of others in the tribe of Judah. Nothing about her life and family spoke of royalty, and furthermore, the royal line of David had long been cut off, the scepter had indeed departed from Judah years earlier.

Oh and one other thing, how was this to come to pass? Would Joseph be the father of this chosen one?

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.(Luke 1:34-35)

The child would be virgin born, truly the Son of God, not in the sense that David and those Sons of David who followed were “Sons of God” , as regents of Israel. This child will be The Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and without the agency of man, a “Holy Thing would be born” of her.

The woman had asked a question of the angel and she had received an answer. An incredible answer, with huge implications for a young ,pious Jewess in a small town. A virgin birth? What will people think? What will Joseph think? She realized that at best, a lifetime of reproach and undeserved shame awaited her decision. But she was highly favored for God wanted to use her…

In that few seconds of agonizing decision, Mary counted the cost. Then said to the Angel and to God –

… Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.(Luke 1:38)

One woman believed an Angel and said to God, “let my will be done,not Thine”. “I do what I want with my body” and trampled underfoot true love, loyalty, and faith.

The other woman believed an Angel of God and said to Him, “Not my will but thine be done, I yield all, even my body to you, even if it means bearing te reproach of Christ”.

Merry Christmas everybody!

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Christmas Sermon # 1…

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.(Micah 5:2)

The story of the birth of Jesus, is perhaps the most familiar and loved portions of the Bible. But the problem with familiar passages of scripture is that people think they know what needs to be known about them and often aren’t open to a fresh look at the same text from another angle.

It is called the Christmas story, but I believe we should look at it as an account of some of the same conditions that will be prevalent at the time of the second coming of our Lord and Saviour to this earth. As it was in the first coming, so shall it be at the second coming.

* Once again the world will be globalized and ruled from the west,

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.(Luke 2:1)

Rome ruled the Mediterranean world, in the days of the first coming of the Messiah, and there will be a revived Roman empire, a European super state at the time of the second coming.

*And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.(Revelation 13:16-17)

Once again a man claiming to be god will seek to count and number the people of the world at the time of the return of the Saviour. Caesar Augustus was the first Roman Emperor to be deified while yet alive, his decrees were called ‘gospels’, his emissaries were called evangelists, he was described as “Divine Saviour of the world” and was thought to have ushered in a golden age. The world worshipped him.

The World is being prepared for another ultimate Caesar, the antiChrist, he will be heralded by all, at first, as the leader we have long-awaited, and will seem to have solved many of the world’s most intractable problems, such as the economy, terrorism, and the mideast peace problem.

People will have no problem rendering worship to Him. After so many decades of our own impotent, feckless, terror appeasing leadership in the western world, the man the Bible warns of,calling him “the Beast” will seem like a breath of fresh air.

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Revelation 13:3-4)

* Once again Jerusalem and Judea will exist under foreign domination. True Israel is a reborn nation, as of May 1948, and this is a major sign of the second coming. But the U.N. and the European Union, and the USA and Russia have formed a quartet, and they presume to determine the boundaries that Israel should have and what territory she should cede to her enemies.

Just as Jesus came at first unto an occupied Israel, languishing under the domination of gentiles, Jesus shall come again to an Israel in the same situation. An ancient prophesy by Jacob, concerning the future of each of his twelve sons, foretold that the coming of “Shiloh”, that is the Messiah, would be at the time that Judah should lose her national sovereignty.

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.(Genesis 49:10)

The situation today is similar, for though Israel captured the city of Jerusalem in 1967, she immediately ceded the custodianship of the most sacred piece of real estate , the Temple Mount, to the Muslim Wafq. Israel watches helplessly while Muslims dig out the Holy mountain, destroying priceless relics from the first and second temple, crushing them into gravel! Neither Israel or Judah wield a sceptre to this day .

The logical capital of Israel, would be Jerusalem, right? But virtually all the nations of the world,including the USA refuse to have their embassies there, in order not to offend the Muslims. As at the first coming ,so the second coming of Christ. Jesus himself predicted this,and that it would be an issue until he returned-

…Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)

* Once again, popular religion will not be ready for his return, as they were unprepared for his first coming. Herod had a Jewish Rabbi in his court. When there were rumblings about who the Magi were and what they were seeking, Herod asked the Rabbi where in scripture was Christ to be born.

The Rabbi immediately rattled off the scripture from Micah 5 that I opened this article with. Messiah will be born in Bethlehem Ephratah! But there is no record that he made the slightest effort to go see for himself. He knew the scripture but he wasn’t expecting anything real to happen.

* Once again, very few will even be aware of what is happening. What happened at the first coming of Jesus?

>Shepherds were watching their flocks at night – He came at night-He comes again in the night, the moral and spiritual night of apostasy,moral decline, darkness and rebellion. But some Shepherds,(Pastors) who were watchful for their flocks, they were ready when the Angels came, they saw him.

> Zechariah and Elisabeth a pious priest and his wife in a time of corruption, they saw what was coming.

> The Magi- who were a caste of gentile wise men from Persia(Iran) whose school was once headed up by the prophet Daniel, and who searched the prophecies of Daniel, they saw Him and worshipped him. Another earlier gentile prophet that they were no doubt well aware of named Balaam had predicted the star which would lead them to Jesus .

The 9th chapter of Daniel alone is an amazing prophecy which pinpointed the exact timing of the Messiah’s coming, death and the destruction of te temple following it.Jesus would tell us in Matthew 24 that once again an understanding of Daniel the Prophet is essential to being ready for his second coming.

The events of the first Christmas are history indeed, but they are prophecy as well, and we are all in the story somewhere. Ready or not, Jesus is coming again! Maranatha! Merry christmas!

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How Faith Overcomes The World…I John pt 21

Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.   By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? ( John 5:1-5)

 

The Christian is engaged in an ongoing struggle against a threefold enemy,namely,  the World, The Flesh and the Devil. These three entities have array themselves against the believer, as rivals to the Holy Trinity; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, Satan sets himself against the Son of God, and there is no room in the heart, for both the love of the world and the Love of the Father.

The citizens of heaven are all over-comers, there are no idle spectators among them. All have had to fight and win, and through their faith , they have overcome lukewarmness, idolatry, temptation, the worship of the Beast, the fear of man, and a host of other obstacles laid out before them by their adversary.

We are told that the victory that overcomes the world, is our faith. The purpose of this article is to answer the question, how is it that our faith overcomes the world?

First we must understand the use of the term ‘the world’, in scripture. The world, literally the “cosmos” , which means ‘the order’ or ‘the adornment’, refers to the way that humanity instinctively organizes itself independently of God.

The world is a spiritual entity, it resists Christ, is at enmity with God and cannot receive the Holy Spirit. The whole world, lies in the (power of) the wicked One. Therefore the world will hate Christians because it hates Christ itself.

At it’s core the World has a central doctrine, which was first taught in the garden of Eden, by the serpent. That doctrine is “…you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil...”. It is the exaltation of man to the place of God and even to the replacement of God, it is humanism, the deification of man! This is why the world hates, rejects and persecutes Christ.

Worldliness is an outlook, which excludes God, rejects his authority, and which would allow all of us to decide for ourselves what good and evil are. The Self is the supreme authority in worldliness, the highest ideals of this world are human autonomy. Concepts such as to follow one’s own heart, and to be true to self at all costs, permeates our modern culture.

Paul warned us that “In the last days, perilous times would come for men would be lovers of Self…”, and as a consequence , they would be,  “…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.(2 Timothy 3:1-5)

It is not “faith” in general that overcomes the world, it is the specific core of the Christian faith,  the incarnation of God in Christ. The man who turns to Christ with all of his heart, embraces a doctrine which is a direct refutation of the core doctrine of Satan and the world.

We no longer believe that man can be as a god… in fact the Christian conversion involves giving up on being as a god, we want instead to be mere men again, but redeemed by Christ, and  under God as worshippers of God. In fact our new core doctrine is the incarnation, which is the opposite of the Serpent’s lie, and of the core spirituality of worldliness, “Man can never be as a god….but God has descended to us and has become a man, for God was in Christ…!

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.(John 3:13)

What a man worships, he conforms to. Worldly man, worships man, the self, and exalts self above all that is called God or that is worshipped. He has cast off reverence to the God of the Bible,  self is supreme. This is the source of the corruption of the soul, for man was created to know and worship God and as a consequence, grow into godliness.

When a worldly man repents of his self worship, and turns to the God revealed through Jesus Christ who humbled himself and came down to save us, in the flesh, this doctrine has an incredible capacity to humble us! We worship  a God who “emptied himself and took upon him the nature of a servant”, which is the absolute opposite of worldliness.

The deep inner acceptance of the doctrine of  the incarnation automatically delivers us from the Spirit of the world, we can never be the same again, nor can we ever have the same values again, after worshipping the God who condescended to us in our needs.

 

 

 

 

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