Light on the Rock Blogs

The blogs are short articles, almost like a “sermonette” compared to a sermon. They are on a variety of topics, please enjoy.

REKINDLE your FIRE for God, “Have you lost your first love?”

When we read Christ’s comments to the 7 churches of Revelation 2 and 3, comments he says we all should hear what he says to all seven churches, one theme seems to pop up from our Head of the Church: “GET YOUR FIRE burning for me again”. “You’ve lost your first love”, as he said to the first church. And to the seventh church Laodicea he says, “repent of being lethargic and lukewarm. Get your zeal back”.

I feel those two elements really describe us in 2023. We’ve lost our original first love passion for Christ and God’s kingdom. We’re lukewarm at best. And yes, I preach to myself again as well. I need more zeal, more fire, definitely.

And who is speaking to the seven churches? I ask this, since we’re told to heed what the SPIRIT says to the churches at the end of each message to each church. 

Revelation 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'

WHO is “the SPIRIT”? WHO was actually speaking? Was it the Holy Spirit speaking, or was it Christ, who is called “the Spirit”?

Revelation 1:12-20 12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

7 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”

So clearly the One speaking from the midst of the seven lampstands was our Saviour Jesus the Anointed one (Messiah, the Christ). So when Rev.2:7 says to heed what the SPIRIT says to the churches, clearly that “Spirit” is Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 3:17 “for the Lord IS the SPIRIT…”

Revelation 2:1 "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, [Rev. 1:20] who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.”

WHO is this? Clearly it is Jesus Christ, holding the seven stars (Rev. 1:20), who is also the Spirit who is talking to them. Remember 2 Cor. 3:17, “The Lord IS the spirit” as I’ve been explaining in recent sermons. So the one speaking to us is Jesus Christ, who is also “the Spirit”.

Revelation 2:2-3 "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

In Africa, I’m finding several claiming to be a bishop, a pastor, even an apostle – whom I later find are self-proclaimed, self-ordained. They’ve never been legitimately ordained. These are false apostles and false elders and we must remove those titles until they are officially and properly ordained if they ever qualify for ordination.

Rev. 2:4-6   “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

Revelation 2:7 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."'

So hearing the Spirit is the same in this context as hearing Jesus Christ speaking his admonitions when you compare Rev 2:7 with Rev. 1:17-20.

Your first love: Do you remember when God was first calling you into the Body of Christ, and how exciting it was to learn the truth? And how much Bible study you did? How much praying you did? How much repenting you did? Well, that was your “first love”. Go back to that hot fire for God.

I believe God is lighting the fire of his work again in these end times over the next decade. He’s using ordinary people all over the world. Maybe even you. Answer God’s call. Be a part of that. Rekindle the fire in your heart. That means praying more. Study my sermon on “Constant Contact” and be applying that. Find ways to be part of helping getting the work done that needs to be done.

And watch for my sermon on how God uses very ordinary people to do his super-natural work.

I know in East Africa, God’s work is booming. God is causing strong responses to radio broadcasts and to the messages from this Light on the Rock website too. The people need Bibles. Many households don’t have the money to buy even just one Bible for the family, so we’re doing it. Hundreds need a Bible. They’re not asking for money. They’re asking for a Bible. Surely, we in the West can help with this. Will you?

Would you let your new fire cause you to help us buy Bibles for very poor but zealous brethren? We need your help. This is not just money we’re handing out here and there. No, these are actual purchased Bibles in their own language of Swahili, or Ekugusii or Luo so they understand what they read. Few in Tanzania really speak much English. They need a Swahili Bible. Help us help them. I need to buy at least 150 Bibles so eventually every adult can have his own Bible. Let your new FIRE cause you to spring to action in helping get this work done. How can these people grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus if they have no Bible? And thank you, to you who have contributed some for this goal. 

They all also need some hymnals, with songs in their own language. Tanzanians especially do not speak English, so English hymnals are not helpful to them. So we’re buying some hymnals in Swahili/English and then we’ll go back to the publisher who is willing to create our own unique hymnals as we add songs they like and that are biblically appropriate. So we’ll remove the Easter and Christmas songs and maybe a few more, and add some other beautiful songs like “As the Deer” or “10,000 reasons”, which hopefully are available also in Swahili.

Over 500 now meet each sabbath in 12 congregations and many more groups waiting for ministers to teach them the truth of God’s word, so we’ll need a few hundred hymnals for the Feast of Tabernacles.

Let’s help them sing and praise God in their tongue. I need your help to ignite these congregations to have their song service be filled with joy as they sing praises in their own language. Can you help? God may be speaking to your heart right now. Again, your help will go for tangible hymnals and Bibles.

You may not receive much glory, or any glory in this lifetime at least, for helping us buy Bibles and Hymnals. But you can be like the little unnamed boy who had 5 loaves and 2 fish who used what he had to be a part of a huge miracle we still read about today.

Sometimes we have to help those who are in the hospital. One young man was badly burned recently in Mombasa, but the hospital allowed him in but would not treat his burns without payment ahead of time. The local congregation had no money. I found out later. We sent what we could for the hospital stay and extra, but the man died from his burns. I regret we didn’t move faster and have more money. But we did what we could with what we had.

Right now one family has two young girls in treatment. One has malaria of the brain and she’s in the hospital. Cerebral malaria is the most severe neurological complication of infection with Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Will you help me help them by your fervent prayers and help with the medical bill? This girl could die if God doesn’t heal her.

The other daughter broke a leg while doing the long jump at school. The family has no money to pay for the hospitalization. So we do what we can. Will God’s fire in your heart move you to get back your first love you used to have, to help people so poor they can’t afford bus fares, or food, or hospitalization or even a Bible?

To another congregation this time in Revelation 3, the Laodiceans, our Anointed one calls them sickeningly lukewarm and self-assured that they’re OK and even spiritually rich. Jesus warns them (and US!) that they’ll have to be purified in the fire of tribulation if they don’t repent of their lukewarmness. You’re surely aware of this at the end of Revelation 3. This is clearly end time, as Christ is seen knocking at their door already. I’m telling you: Jesus is outside, knocking on YOUR door also. What are you doing about it? Let him in, ask him to come into your life and to BE your life.

To the 3rd and 4th churches – Pergamos and Thyatira – they were allowing sexual immorality in the church. Unmarrieds living together. Some are open about their fornication, I’m told. Adultery. Today we can add porn to that list. Sexual sins are so prevalent so we all have to heed the warnings. The world’s enticements are constant. Also, Thyatira was allowing outside ministers to come in and speak, and we have to put a stop to that immediately.

The fifth church, Sardis in Revelation 3, is dead or dying spiritually. Only a few are worthy, Jesus says. Are you vibrantly alive in Christ, or dead or dying?

I believe God can still do electrifying work around the world when His people get excited to see what He is doing in far-away parts of the earth. When he sees us red hot on fire for him and excited to share what we have come to learn with others – you’ll see growth and excitement come back into the flock of God. But whatever you do, don’t remain lukewarm, self-contented and having lost your first love. 

How? A dying flame needs more fuel and oxygen. DO much more prayer and Bible study to fuel and re-ignite what you have into a hot fire, a flame. Don’t be content with being just “so-so” with God. And yes, help support the work that is feeding you the truth of the complete Gospel (1 Cor. 9:14). I know God is causing such a boom in the last few months that we can’t even get to the dozen congregations who want to have a minister come and teach them. Laborers are few. Pray for that too. Get your heart back into doing God’s work especially where God is clearly working and bringing in spectacular growth.

REKINDLE that flame for God! Be a PART of where the fire of God’s word and his zeal are flowing freely in parts of the world right now. This gospel must be preached in all the world, and it’s really moving in East Africa at the moment with growth I haven’t seen anywhere else for many years. And I don’t mean “growth” that comes from taking sheep from one existing flock and having them come to your congregation. I mean NEW GROWTH. It’s happening. And it excites me to see God so working with the poorest people – but people who are zealous and excited about truth and about God’s promises.

God’s inviting you. I’m inviting you too. Would you join me and be a part of this new fire of God’s zeal to get his word out and to save people – even the “least of these my brethren”.

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A Perfect Human Being?

Note from P Shields, host of LOTR: This blog comes from www.TacticalChristianity.org and was written by a close friend, an ordained minister of God, who goes by his pen name of R. Herbert. I recommend you check out his site as it has SO much more than blogs. This article matches well with my sermons on Perfection as well, except he knows how to cut to the chase better than I. Enjoy his article or blog.

perfect human

In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1).
“…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  

These two scriptures ­­– Job 1:1 and Romans 3:23 – are loved by skeptics as they feel the two verses provide a “perfect” example of biblical contradiction.  How, they ask, could Job be “blameless” (NIV, ESV, etc.) or “perfect” (as translated in the King James Version) –  in other words, sinless –  if, as Paul affirms, all have sinned?

Many Christians realize that when the New Testament uses the word “perfect” (as when Jesus tells his followers to “be perfect” – Matthew 5:48), the Greek word used means “mature” or “complete” (see “Does God Expect You to Be Perfect?” here).  In the Old Testament a similar situation occurs.  The Hebrew word tam translated in Job 1:1 as “blameless” or “perfect” (and again in Job 1:8, 2:3) has several shades of meaning. It comes from a root word meaning to be complete or finished (Genesis 47:18, Deuteronomy 31:24) and in a secondary sense to be morally sound or upright (Job 22:3, Psalm 18:26).  Tam itself can be translated “complete,” “finished,” “blameless,” “innocent,” or “having integrity.” In Proverbs 29:10, for example, the word is used in the phrase “a person of integrity.”

This meaning –  of having moral integrity or “uprightness” –  that lies at the heart of what we are told in Job does not imply perfection as we might think of the word in modern English usage. In fact, the respected Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abingdon, 1981) states categorically: “the words which are rendered in English by ‘perfect’ and ‘perfection’ [in the Hebrew Bible] denoted originally something other and less than ideal perfection.” 

So although Job 1:1 records that Job was blameless, and in Job 1:8 and 2:3 God is said to have declared Job to be blameless, the Hebrew word translated “blameless” does not have to mean morally perfect and completely sinless.  This can be seen by the fact the book itself shows Job’s failings.   In 7:21 Job states, “Why do you not pardon my offenses and forgive my sins?” and in 42:6 Job confirms his own sinfulness when he says: “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”  

When we take these facts into account, it is clear that being “blameless” or “perfect” before God in Job – and elsewhere in the Old Testament – means being morally upright, but it does not have to refer to some kind of sinless perfection.

Putting the scriptures together, then, there is no contradiction between what the Book of Job tells us and what Paul affirms in Romans.  All humans, including Job, have sinned, as Paul stresses; but Job had attained a level of integrity or moral uprightness that God himself acknowledged as being remarkable – just as the Book of Job states. 

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“TRY ME OUT!”, says the LORD

Not all of you will understand this--but a lot of you will. My husband and I believe (with all of our might) the principle of tithing. Good times, bad times, it doesn't matter. EVERYTHING belongs to God anyway so we are happy to give back to Him the tiny bit He requests. Deuteronomy 10:14--"Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it." So we tithe--and God has ALWAYS taken care of us--even in bad times! 

My story involves my handicapped friend. We met 22 years ago when she was impoverished and living in squalor. She had been away from religion for decades and she asked to start attending church with us. I did not mention tithing to her but she found out through sermons. She WANTED to give to God. Her heart was incredibly generous. She was on government disability so at first she could only afford a dollar or two. As the years passed, her checks grew larger. The more she gave back to God, the more physically blessed she became! Doors opened and she was moved into an incredibly beautiful and caring facility that she is in now.

After a few years of knowing me, she asked me to handle her money. (Become her 'Payee'). Every month, when she knew her check had arrived, she would call me up and tell me how much she wanted to send to her favored church. Part of her handicap is mental so she would often ask me to send MUCH more than she could afford--more than her tithe. We would talk and, usually, meet somewhere in the middle. 

These days, she is too far gone to judge wisely so I ASK HER if she wants to give money to God. I make sure she is honored by sending in a token amount. God loves her and respects her widow's mites. Her expenses have gone up substantially so she is more limited.

Here is the point of this story: EVERY TIME SHE GIVES, our God gives her back more than she gave Him! This time it was a letter stating that her next rent and care payment (for July) is less than it was formerly quoted. She had paid her "tithe" and the differences in the rent cost leaves her with more money than what she gave to God! He paid her back plus some!

I have proven to myself that tithing is a "living principle". God pleads with humanity to test Him In Malachi 3:10 "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there will not be room enough to receive it."

He doesn't say in this verse to "Make a lifetime commitment to do this." He says to TEST Him to see if He's telling the truth!

I love my friend. I'm glad she decided to try God out!

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Is God’s will always done in this world?

I first wrote this in 2015 with 2,585 hits or views but have made a few edits as I repost.

This question may sound almost crazy to many of you at first glance, as probably 80% of people would react with “of course God’s will is always done!  He’s GOD!”

But since YHVH has all power and since He truly is the Supreme Being, does it follow then that He always enforces his will, especially in this world right now? This blog may surprise you. But everything I say will be backed with scripture.

First of all, Yeshua (Jesus) himself says in his sample prayer, that we are to pray for God’s will to be done here on earth, just like His will IS always done in heaven.  “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”   Hmm.   Why would we be told to pray for something if that “something” is not an issue? Or maybe it is an issue?  Is God into us praying for the obvious?  Is God asking us to waste our time by asking for things that are already a given – that God’s will is always done on earth? 

Or could it be that God’s perfect will for every single person on this planet -- isn’t always done and it’s His will to allow that free moral choice?  Is that even possible?  But then again, if you believe it is, the wording in Yeshua’s sample prayer is intriguing, with implications of Yeshua’s statement as follows:  “Pray God’s will is done here on earth all the time with everyone – just like Father’s will is always done all the time with everyone in heaven.”         

So when will be the time when God’s will is done here on earth?  Notice the sentence in “the Lord’s Prayer” that comes before this statement about God’s will.  It is: “Thy kingdom come.”  That is mentioned first. For sure, when God’s kingdom is established on earth, where God’s rule is established, God’s will is going to be done.  That applies in our individual lives now too. If His rule is established in our lives, his will is being done.  When we are not in the will of God, it’s because we have moved out of his rule and governance. 

Surely, God clearly sets boundaries on what Satan is allowed to do or not do. Surely God’s will is going to be done as far as world-shaking events go. Prophecy will happen according to His will. He declares the end from the beginning. Surely God also will, in specific instances, put thoughts and ideas into leaders and rulers - - so that His will is done.

But there’s so much more. 

And back to my question: can we say everything happening in the life of every human being every minute of time – is God’s will? How about in your own life? Are you sure of your answer?

Let’s look now at some clear verses that might shed more light for us on this topic.

We know that if you are one who loves God and are one of the called-out ones, that God will work everything out for good in your life (Romans 8:28) in the end.  He is so powerful and gracious that he can work even the “bad things” we get involved in to work out to be good in the end, and be according to his divine will and purpose. That should give us great peace and comfort, even when bad things seem to be happening to us.

Joseph said that very thing in Genesis 50:19-21. He admitted that his brothers meant him harm but God used those evil actions to move Joseph into position to save the family eventually. But again, God was working with that family.  Could the same be said about every family everywhere else on the planet? I think not.  God isn’t and wasn’t working with every human being yet.  But he was working with Jacob, Joseph and their families and God’s will was being done, and became so clear at least in the end. 

So let’s look now at some clear examples where Yeshua (Jesus) himself says God’s will wasn’t done in those specific cases.  

Do you know what God's will for the Pharisees was when they came to hear John the Baptist?  And was God’s will done?  Let’s see.

Luke 7:29-30  ”And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.”

I’m hoping to give a sermon real soon on this topic of God’s will. How we are to find God’s will in our lives and do it. What IS God’s will for us?  So be watching for it and in that sermon I will go into far more details to show that God’s will is only being done in the lives of those He is right now calling, working with and who are responding to His call.  Later, when Yeshua is ruling on earth, more will have their hearts and minds opened and the will of God will be done in their lives too.  

But for now, let’s look at a few more examples to show that God does not force His will on us just yet. Not even on you – yet.

Let me be clear of my belief on this: when God decides to act and intervene, HIS will is always done.  But it’s also clear, as you will see, that God allows a lot of space and room for us to make our own decisions right now.

In the broader sense, that is God’s will for now – that we have free moral agency – and in that broader sense, you could say God’s will is being done.  But now let’s get specific.  I hope the rest of this article will make you ponder some things you may not have before. 

***Apparently there are many people who do not do the will of God, and God allows that  --  as only those who do the will of God are the ones Yeshua considers to be his brother, sister or mother.

  

Mark 3:33-35 “But He answered them, saying, "Who is My mother, or My brothers?" And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, "Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother."

Not everyone is the brother or sister of Christ, apparently. Not yet, at least. 

1 John 2:17 “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

***Here’s another example.  Yeshua said HIS desire would have been to gather the Jews in Jerusalem under his wing like a mother hen would gather and protect her chicks -- "but ye would not". In other words, “I wanted to protect you, but you wouldn’t submit your will to mine, so it’s not going to happen.” Jesus was allowing their will to be done in that case.

Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Apparently then, God allows us a lot of latitude. There is such a thing as “free moral agency” and so God lets us make decisions in or out of his will so that we learn the consequences of going our own way.  Look at Romans 10 and Isaiah 1, for example.

Romans 10:21 “But to Israel he says: ‘All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people."

Isaiah 1 is full of God’s heart to offer a better way to His people, but they refused to listen to him. Please read it.

***God clearly tells us that His will is for people to follow his Way and His laws. But are they? Even those of us with God’s Spirit don’t always do that, do we?  Even Paul admitted, that at times, “That which I hate, I do” (Romans 7). 

What follows next is a clear statement of God’s will, that we all be morally and sexually pure. Living in this world makes it difficult to always have a pure mind and heart. Ask yourself as you read it, is this stated will of God being followed around the world by everyone?  Or for that matter, have YOU even always followed this?  So if the answer is “no” – then it should be clear that God’s will is not always done everywhere with everyone. Yet.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7   “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

Here’s another.  As you read the verse below, ask yourself:  do you always rejoice, do you always pray without ceasing, do you give thanks in everything? In the passage below, God’s will is clearly stated.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies.  Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”

So be looking for the sermon that will come sometime in the future that explores seeking, recognizing and doing God’s will in our lives. Send me your input on this topic and I may include your notes and comments too.

I hope it is clear that our loving God allows us to make many of our own decisions – and allows us to live with the consequences of doing our own will. He wants us to learn what His will is, because He knows best what will work for us.  But right now He isn’t forcing HIS will on you and me or the whole world.  Certainly no one wants to believe that all the evil we see going on in the world today is God’s perfect will being done, do we?  This is not yet His world, not yet His kingdom. When it is His kingdom, things will be far different, as His will is going to be done more and more until the whole world submits to the new King of kings. 

Let’s end this blog with this: we are to learn and then do God's perfect will as we come to complete submission to Him as our King and God. 

1 Peter 4:1-4   “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles — when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.”

So it’s clear that God allows us a lot of free moral agency. For example, God’s will was for the Pharisees to be baptized by John, but they rejected the will of God for them (John 7:29-30)! And he let them refuse to be baptized by John. Jesus wanted to protect Jerusalem as a mother hen does its chicks, “but you would not” (Luke 13:34). You and I may be surprised to find someday, how much our lives could have been so different if we would have just sought and followed the will of God for our lives more carefully.

So it’s pretty clear, that for now, God does not always force HIS will, but he loves hearing us pray “thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” And we have to pray that prayer because his will is NOT always done on earth yet, obviously.

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Are you a real “Berean”?

Wherever Paul preached, the cities were engaged, to say the least. Paul was accused of teaching there was another king – King Jesus – and not just Caesar. So in Acts 17, he was ejected from Thessalonica because of that accusation and so he went to the next city – Berea – and this is what we read…

Acts 17:10-11   “Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, AND searched the Scriptures DAILY to find out whether these things were so.

The point of this blog is to encourage us all to double-check everything we’re hearing in church services and from the booklets and articles we read. This implies perhaps much more Bible study than some of us now do. Each of us should LOOK UP the scriptures that are being cited in sermons and articles. Be a Berean who ‘searched the scriptures DAILY” to verify that what was preached is truly in the Bible. Notice they didn’t search the scriptures to prove the minister wrong, but to prove the minister right. They “received the word with all readiness”, it says. They were eager to listen. It was a positive investigation. Always read 10 verses before the cited verse and 10 verses after so you’re getting the context.

We have so many Bible tools today that make it easy to verify what scripture says on any topic. Verify MY sermons and blogs too. The Bereans probably had to go to their synagogue and ask permission to look up the large scrolls of the Old Testament. There was no New Testament around yet at this time. Imagine how hard it would be to look up scriptures in large scrolls – one scroll per Bible book, normally. And they didn’t have chapter and verse back then either.

I guess this blog is to encourage us all to get our noses into God’s word more than ever. And I mean into God’s word itself. I know so many people who listen non-stop to sermon after sermon, or read articles and booklets that churches put out. That could be helpful, of course, but keep in mind each fellowship has their own set of beliefs and their booklets and articles and sermons will reflect the verses and scriptures that substantiate their beliefs. I’m saying, dig into the word yourself on various subjects. You will be surprised so many times.

For example: many church groups baptize people into the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit, because that’s what Matthew 28:19 does say. But dig into that subject more deeply. I do have sermon audio on it (“Into Whom are we baptized?”), but dig into it yourself, even when hearing or reading MY own material here on Light on the Rock. Here’s what I found, when I dug into that: there’s not even ONE example where that’s the wording any of the apostles and deacon Philip used when baptizing.

We are after all baptized into Christ, into his body, and into his name. My sermon explains how Matthew 28:19 was added by Constantine, according to the historians, to back up the trinity doctrine. The original verse was to baptize “in my name” (Jesus speaking) – and that is exactly what those who were baptizing DID! Every single time.

So now when I baptize anyone, it will be in Jesus’ name, into HIS body. Look up these verses and see what Peter, Philip, Paul and others said and did: Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12,16; Acts 10:48 - Cornelius; Acts 19:4-5 - the men of Ephesus; Romans 6:3. Also see Galatians 3:27 - baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 

Not one single time can be found where any of them baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Not one time. If you think I’m wrong, show me. 

By being a Berean who digs into the word, you’ll find that a lot of the traditions of various groups cannot be backed up by scripture. 

Here’s another. Some groups let only ordained elders baptize (immerse) people. Is that scriptural? The disciples baptized for Jesus (John 4:1-2), and they weren’t ordained yet and didn’t even have God’s Holy Spirit yet. Philip the DEACON, not an ordained elder yet, baptized many in Samaria and the Ethiopian eunuch. When I baptize, if a brother or father wants to “assist” in the baptism of his daughter, I’m delighted to let him participate. So I say if you want to be baptized, and especially if there are no ordained men near you who teach the truth of God’s word – find a leading member of the church or deacon to baptize you. But beware: your church organization may not approve! But also remember, we’re not baptizing you into any corporate group or church organization, but into the body of Christ.

It does appear that only ordained ministers did the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit.  After Philip baptized those in Samaria, Jerusalem sent out Peter and John to lay hands on them (Acts 8:14-17) so they could receive the Holy Spirit. But what do you do if, again, there are no ordained true ministers around? Study that and ponder that. Let me know what you find. The “elders” – as best as I can see in the New Testament – weren’t just older men but were the ordained teachers, bishops, overseers, pastors of the areas. I’m praying for direction on this too, for indeed, the Holy Spirit CAN be given without laying on of hands, as the case of Cornelius shows us, though that was a strong exception possibly. Peter was being clearly shown that God was now also calling Gentiles to repentance and conversion. See Acts 10 for the story of Cornelius. Note verses 44-46.

And who among the apostles and believers in Acts 2 Pentecost had hands laid on them to receive God’s spirit before Peter preached his sermon? We’re not told of any! But they certainly received the Holy Spirit. Again, without any laying on of hands from elders. So we can’t be so rigid as I myself had been to insist that only through an ordained minister can someone receive God’s spirit. I think that’s the ideal when there are ordained true elders available. We read of Peter and John laying on of hands for baptized Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17). But remember the Holy Spirit actually comes from God the Father  (1 Cor. 6:19) – through Jesus – through the elder laying on his hands. But the Spirit comes from God. Let’s not box God in to our limitations.

Just recently a man told me that he heard a rabbi say that King David never really sinned. My immediate reaction was “What Bible is HE reading?”. And he explained there were five, supposedly, who never sinned. OK, let me ask you. What scriptures or concepts would immediately flood into your mind to refute that? For me it was “ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And “there’s none righteous, no not one” {by God’s perfect righteousness at least) – Romans 3:10-12. PLUS the prophet Nathan told David he had sinned and David admitted it in Psa 51:4 and 2 Sam 12:13.

Don’t confine your searches to verses being preached at you or just from the scriptures in an article or blog, including this one – because obviously the preacher will pick scriptures that seem to substantiate his view. Do some extra digging yourself. Bereans didn’t have everything handed to them. No, they had to go do some digging into the scriptures themselves. Be doing so much Bible study that now when something is preached, you can either nod in agreement or make a note to check up something that seems obviously wrong. 

Beware: ministers are still human. If someone constantly finds them teaching what's false, you won’t be popular with that minister for long. In that case it’s probably time to find a different teacher anyway.

Use the tools available. I do a lot of intensive Bible studies at my desk with all the tools I have, but also will listen to the Bible audios as I weed, do dishes, or feed my birds outside. I listen to each chapter several times so I don’t miss anything.

We’ve all been given so much, and we’ll be partly judged by what we’ve been given. We have free apps like Bible Hub, Bible Gateway, E-Sword, and many more apps. BE SURE TO LOAD up your laptop and cell phone with these apps. You can even listen to the Bible audio in numerous translations and in scores of languages. One I bought some years ago is so comprehensive, called PC Biblesoft version 5. There are so many free study apps that let us dig into the original Hebrew or Greek, or even find loads of cross-references. They have “topics” – so you can do topical studies and look up any word you like – like Berea for example – and learn all about that topic. Plus Commentaries galore. Bible maps. Bible photos. My PC Biblesoft does all that and much more. Of course these tools also have dozens of Bible translations you can check.

By playing the audio Bibles, what the Bible says will come more readily to you. I have made a practice to listen to each chapter at least twice in a row, often three times. Often on the 2nd and third go, I change to a different translation, as I find that rings different bells for me. So now, when I hear something being preached that is obviously wrong, I usually can instantly think of some scriptures that say it’s wrong.

A Berean not only searches the scriptures – which for them would have been quite a chore – but they would come to KNOW the scriptures better. And better yet, we’d want to come to know the AUTHOR of the scriptures, the Son of God who is known as The Word of God.

John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to ME that you may have life.

So be a Berean who knows the scriptures, but better, is coming to know the Author too.

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DO NOT speak evil of dignitaries

When President Trump was in power, all the anti-Trump folks spoke evil against him continually. Now that President Biden is president, it’s the other side’s turn and they sure mock his dementia and what he tries to say and do. Our presidents may or may not have wrecked the country, but the point of this blog will still stand. Governors, senators and mayors also are routinely mocked. But I hope and pray, not by or from the people of God.

Scripture totally backs me up in saying that, as you’ll see. I hope you will read the scriptures below, slowly and carefully. It’s going to get harder and harder for believers to respect government offices and authority, as their persecution of us will grow intensely in the coming years. We must still respect their office.

We should not mock them, make fun of their names, despise them, or ridicule their policies – no matter how tempting that is sometimes.

We are not of the elephant party (Republicans). We are not of the donkey party (Democrats). We are of the Lamb of God. And let’s act like children of God. Even in Moses’ day, this is what was taught:

EXODUS 22:28    "You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.”

What we’re about to read was all penned by Paul, Peter, and Jude – ALL three of whom were wrongly beheaded by the governing authorities. God delivered them several times. Paul was left for dead in Lystra after being stoned but he rose up again and went straight back into the city.

Peter was captured during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Acts 12) and guarded by 16 Roman soldiers who even chained him up. Angels miraculously delivered him and the innocent 16 Roman soldiers were killed instead. I say innocent because how do you battle with the unseen supernatural deliverance Peter received?

My point is, in spite of all this, these apostles command us to be respectful and never curse our leaders or ridicule them. Some of you good friends of mine do that. We should not. That must stop. We must RESPECT government and authority, whether we agree with them or like them or not.

Jude 8-10 “Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the Devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.”

1 Peter 2:13-17   “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men — 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor ALL people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. HONOR the king”. 

2 Peter 2:9-11   “the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous and self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.” 

You can read all through verse 7 in Romans 13. Some brethren don’t pay taxes and feel they don’t have to. Romans 13:6-7 is very clear on taxes. Read it in your own Bible.

Romans 13:1-2   “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”

So I know it’s tempting to ridicule, mock, name-call, and despise our government leaders – of either party – but I hope we can take the admonition of scripture and honor them instead. At least for their office’s sake.

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On Eagles’ Wings (Ex. 19:4)? - NEW

Many of you know that God describes how he bore, or carried, Israel out of Egypt “on eagles’ wings”. Have you wondered what that could mean?

Exodus 19:3-4 “And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: 4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.”

I’m convinced that from where they left Goshen to arriving at the Red Sea crossing, our great YHVH did some supernatural miracles to allow them to travel 272 miles in perhaps as short as 5-6 days.

WE will have our own Red Sea moments, especially in the years ahead, when only the supernatural will deliver us, so that’s why I’m focusing on this. But we humans like to be over-factual. Things to us have to make sense. But when we’re dealing with the spirit world of God and his abilities, He can go way beyond what makes sense to us. If you over analyze what “must” happen, you might miss some miracles, LIKE flying out on our own eagle’s wings. I’ll explain.

I also believe the evidence that God hurried them along, beyond the normal possible human limits as you will see, leads me to believe He wanted them to be at a certain spot by the Last day, a holy day, of Unleavened Bread. There would be no need to hurry them along if they didn’t have to arrive someplace – the real crossing of the real Red Sea – within a certain time frame. Yes, I believe they crossed on the Last day of Unleavened Bread.

I urge you to listen to the audio sermon on how WE will also increasingly have our own “Red Sea moments” in these last days and see powerful miracles if we believe.

God made sure they were all strong and healthy when they left. Nobody was feeble according to Psalm 105:37. Did you realize God even arranged things so they could travel day or night?

Exodus 13:21-22 NIV   “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could TRAVEL BY DAY OR NIGHT. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.”

They camped only three times but that’s all (Numbers 33:3-8) – at Succoth, Etham and near Migdol. It’s all clearly explained in my audio sermon. So the other days they were apparently traveling day and night. We would say “IMPOSSIBLE” to expect 2-3 million people and their herds and flocks to travel day and night. That’s where our miracle-working God comes in though. 

Psalms 105:36-40 NKJV   “He also destroyed all the firstborn in their land,

The first of all their strength. 37 He also brought them out with silver and gold, And there was none feeble among His tribes. 38 Egypt was glad when they departed, For the fear of them had fallen upon them. 39 He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to give light in the night.”

Then again remember, in Ex 19:4 God says HE brought Israel out “on eagles’ wings”. Here’s what one of the commentaries had to say. 

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) I bare you on eagles' wings.--Comp. Deuteronomy 32:11, “When its young are first fledged, the eagle is said to assist them in their flight by flying beneath them, so that they may settle upon its wings or back, if necessary. God means that He has bestowed upon His people the same tender and powerful care, has borne them up mightily when they might have fallen, supported their first flight as fledglings, and so saved them from disaster”.

This theme from God of carrying or bearing Israel up continues in many other scriptures. Notice a bunch more scriptures that gives clues as to what God may have been doing. (I go into many more possibilities in the sermon.)  In Deut 32, focus especially on verse 11. 

Deuteronomy 32:9-12 NKJV   “For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance. 10 "He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.

11 As an EAGLE stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, 12 So the LORD alone led him, And there was no foreign god with him.”  

WOW, did you read all that carefully? Here are 2 more translations of verse 11.

Deut 32:11 NIV “like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft”. 

Deut 32:11 Legacy  “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, That hovers over its young, He spread His wings and caught them; He carried them on His pinions.”

Deut 32:11 – Aramaic Bible in Plain English   “As the eagle that flies over his nest and broods over his chicks, he spreads his wings and takes them and picks them up on the strength of his wings:”

Deut 32:11 Brenton Septuagint Translation “As an eagle would watch over his brood, and yearns over his young, receives them having spread his wings, and takes them up on his back,

There’s more going on here than just walking fast, with children, old people and flocks, etc.

Other Scriptures verify that whatever God did, He equated it to carrying them.

Deuteronomy 1:29-33 NKJV   "Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified, or afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and in the wilderness where you saw how YHVH your God CARRIED YOU as a man carries his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.'

32 Yet, for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God, 33 who went in the way before you to search out a place for you to pitch your tents, to show you the WAY You SHOULD GO, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day.” (Ex 13:21)

Isaiah 46:3-4   "Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth,

Who have been carried from the womb: 4 Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will CARRY you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you”.

Isaiah 40:31 NKJV   “But those who wait on YHVH shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like EAGLES, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint”.

Isaiah 63:9   “In all their affliction HE was afflicted, And the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; And He bore them and CARRIED them all the days of old.”

Surely something supernatural had to be going on. They could travel up to 272 miles total, when needed, day and night. They were not tired or feeble. Scripture quotes God saying He CARRIED them. Many more possibilities are in my sermon on this. It will make you think.

And remember, things don’t have to “make sense” when it comes to what God is capable of.

Manna made no human sense. Walking on water –including Peter walking on water – makes no human sense. Resurrecting a man dead 4 days already (Lazarus) makes no sense either. Supernatural events were going on even before the crossing of the Red Sea.

You know about the walls of water above the Israelites as they crossed 8-9 miles to Midian, to Arabia – where the real Mt Sinai is (Galatians 4:25). The so-called “Sinai Peninsula” was never part of Arabia or ever in Midian!

Galatians 4:25 “for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children”

I also mentioned in the sermon that they walked the entire route not on soft sand, but on a highway. They could travel much faster this way. 

Isaiah 11:16 Holman Apologetics    “There will be a highway for the remnant of His people who will survive from Assyria, AS THERE WAS for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.”

Moses and Miriam led Israel in a song and dance of celebration after God’s victory over Egypt in the Red Sea. Now notice part of their song in Ex. 15:8 

Exodus 15:8   “And with the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together; The floods stood upright like a heap; The depths CONGEALED in the heart of the sea.”

The Hebrew word translated “congealed” means “congealed”. The ground became rock hard. That made it easier to hurry across and possible for chariots and horses to cross easily as well – that is, until God took their chariot wheels OFF!

Most translations on Exodus 15:8 also say “congealed”. But look at these. NIV also says congealed. New Living translation says, “the deep waters became HARD.”

Good News translation says, “the deepest part of the sea became SOLID.”

Just thinking out loud now as Dr E Martin and others have also wondered: Is it possible that with God’s storm-like winds against the Red Sea that the walls and bottom of the sea became frozen, rock hard, like walking across a deeply frozen lake in Canada? Some have floated that possibility. All I know is that the Bible says the deeps became rock hard solid dry surface. To Israel, it was like walking across on a concrete-like surface.

The deepest part of the Gulf of Aqaba Red Sea by the way is 6,070 feet deep (1,850 meters). If they crossed at the shallower underwater land bridge from Nuweiba Beach to Midian, even there, the walls could have easily been hundreds of feet high – say 20-50 stories high or higher, and not even touch the real possible heights.

And yet God says in the very last days, when he brings his people back from around the world where they will have been sold as slaves, those events of bringing them back to the land of Israel will be so spectacular that nobody will even remember the Red Sea story. So some VERY exciting miracles are yet ahead of us.

Be getting closer to God than ever before. Spend more time in constant contact prayer with God and in his word. BELIEVE, and you will see and experience some amazing things in the years ahead.

We’re told that God’s children of the Philadelphian type will be protected from the Great Tribulation, coming soon to test those on the earth (Revelation 3:10). Those of the Laodicea type will not be protected but may have to give up their lives to show God they are in earnest, as they “buy from me gold refined in the fire” (Rev. 3:18).

How will God’s people be protected? Revelation 12 says God will fly them to their place, singular, in the wilderness – are you ready for this? “ON EAGLES” WINGS”.

Revelation 12:13-14 “ Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great EAGLE, that she might FLY into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”

Once again, being borne on the wings of a great eagle. Keep your eyes open.

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The Second Passover

“The Second Passover” – 30 days after the first Passover on the 14th of Abib, which is usually in late March or early April.  I was amazed that I had not addressed this or written a blog on this topic earlier. So here it is!  In fact, I think the “2nd Passover” should be included in the cards some groups hand out listing the dates of the various key dates and holydays for the coming years.

Passover remembers the sacrifice of our Savior Jesus the Messiah – and let me add, the sacrifice of God the father also – which makes forgiveness possible. I say “the Father also”, because any loving father would gladly take a bullet for his beloved son. God CERTAINLY sacrificed so much for us in the Passover. And it was GOD’s idea. GOD who so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son to come die for us, for our sins, so we wouldn’t have to die and bear our own sins and their penalty. And of course His one life as the Son of God was more valuable than all of humanity put together, hence his one life could cover as many repentant sinners as would accept his sacrifice.

But now what happens when unavoidable circumstances force you to miss the Passover? God considers the Passover to be so important, that he allows for those who can’t keep the first date to have a second shot, 30 days later. It comes up in Numbers 9:6-12, a year after Israel left Egypt. Touching a dead body made Israelites ceremonially unclean and unable to keep the Passover.

Several Israelites could not keep Passover the year after the exodus from Egypt, because they had touched a dead body (Numbers 9:6-8; Leviticus 7:20-21). That rendered them ceremonially unclean. This deeply concerned them so they asked Moses what to do and he in turn asked God (Num. 9:8). God’s answer shows his tender love and his willingness to accept that sometimes events occur that make it impossible to do what God commands – like keeping the Passover on a certain time and date. So God allows – in this case – for an exception to the rule. (It reminds us of the “ox in the ditch” ruling that even on the weekly sabbath, some real emergencies can arise.)

So if you just cannot make the Passover because you’re away on a big, long trip, or there’s been death in the family, read the scripture below and understand: you can keep Passover, but a month after the first one. The fact that God allows us to have a second chance at Passover, shows how important it is to him.

Hallelujah and praise to our God. This second Passover is truly for those in unavoidable circumstances. Examples of this could certainly apply to those in the hospital or other clear emergencies. If a new pandemic hits us that is sweeping the globe lightning-fast, that may also be a reason to postpone for a month, if you need to meet with a group.

But remember, worshiping God in a “group” could be smaller than you might think. In the case of a pandemic,  I believe I’d just stay home with my beloved wife and the two of us would have Passover together, by ourselves. Don’t forget “Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in my name, I AM THERE in the midst of them”  (Matthew 18:20). 

So if at least two believers can keep Passover – with footwashing and eating of the Bread from heaven and sipping of his cup and all that means, by all means do it, even if it is just 2 or three of you. No, you do NOT have to have an ordained minister leading the service. In the original Passover of Exodus 12, they were family meetings led by the father of the household. They weren’t led by Levites or priests (in fact there were no priests yet at that time) 

Notice too that Christ and Paul focused on the cup as much as what was in the cup.

Drinking of his cup says you are willing to accept whatever God has in store for you as a believer and you will be true to your Savior no matter what. Of course the red wine pictures everything the Son’s blood does for us: cleanses us from our sins, forgives our sins, reconciles us to God, removes the wrath of God that is on us due to our sins, and restores our right relationship with Most Holy God.  I have a sermon that goes in depth into what the Blood of Christ does for us.

Now here’s the account of how the Second Passover came to be.

Numbers 9:1-13

Now YHVH spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2 "Let the children of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time. According to all its rites and ceremonies you shall keep it." 4 So Moses told the children of Israel that they should keep the Passover. 5 And they kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month, at twilight, in the Wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did.

6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day. 7 And those men said to him, "We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the Lord at its appointed time among the children of Israel?"

8 And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you."

9 Then YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, 10 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the Lord's Passover.

11 On the fourteenth day of the SECOND month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.

13 But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the LORD at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.”

Interesting that we either let Christ bear our sin – or we bear it ourselves (verse 13).

Are there any other examples of Second Passover besides Numbers 9?  Absolutely.

Read 2 Chronicles 30 for yourself. In King Hezekiah’s day, he invited the remnants of the House of Israel who had survived the Assyrian wars and captivity, to come down to Jerusalem and turn back to God. Most of the northern Tribes laughed at the messengers, but quite a few DID respond. But time was passing and they missed the first Passover. Nonetheless, they remembered the SECOND Passover, in the second month. It was a time of jubilation and reform in Judah and for many from Ephraim and Manasseh and Zebulon from up north as well.

So they kept Passover a month later, in the second month of God’s calendar. I’ll pick up at 2 Chronicles 30:10.

2 Chronicles 30:10-22

So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 Also the hand of God was on Judah to give them singleness of heart to obey the command of the king and the leaders, at the word of the LORD.

13 Now many people, a very great assembly, gathered at Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the SECOND MONTH.

14 They arose and took away the altars that were in Jerusalem, and they took away all the incense altars and cast them into the Brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought the burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood in their place according to their custom, according to the Law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood received from the hand of the Levites.

17 For there were many in the assembly who had not sanctified themselves; therefore the Levites had charge of the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was not clean, to sanctify them to the Lord. 18 For a multitude of the people, many from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the good Lord provide atonement for everyone 19 who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though he is not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary." 20 And YHVH listened to Hezekiah and healed the people. 

21 So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to YHVH, accompanied by loud instruments. 22 And Hezekiah gave encouragement to all the Levites who taught the good knowledge of YHVH; and they ate throughout the feast seven days, offering peace offerings and making confession to the LORD God of their fathers.”

What a wonderful God we have.

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Who REALLY killed Christ? (NOT who you think)

Reposted April 2024 from Thursday, March 2, 2023

Almost nobody to whom I ask this question – “who really ultimately was responsible for killing Jesus?” – almost no one ever gets it completely right. Do you think you would get it right? You might be surprised. For almost everyone, it’s not who anyone thinks. Be ready to be surprised. This is not a trick question. But it’s amazing how few people get it right. If you think I’m going to say we all killed Christ by our sins – please read on, because the full answer is much, much deeper and more meaningful even than that.

(Remember you can just control-click on the scriptures in our blogs and the whole passage will pop up).

Many say the Jews did.  Certainly they’re right.  They did. Paul and others attest to that (see 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15).  Many say the Romans did. They’re right too – for it was the Roman government that had him nailed to the cross and who thrust the spear into His side. Still others say – and I’ve said in the past too – that we ALL killed Yeshua of Nazareth. Peter seems to say this to his sorrowful Pentecost audience (Acts 2:36-37), and later to a group in Acts 3:12-17, see especially verse 15.  How did we ALL kill the Christ?  By our sins, which required his atoning death. But there’s more. MUCH more. We haven’t hit on the full answer yet. Please look up those verses and read them in your own Bible or by control-clicking on to the scripture in this blog.

But all of those answers miss the biggest answer of all! As I’ve said, all the answers traditionally given are also correct, but there’s one more who really killed the Christ. 

WHAT was the Messiah? One answer is what John the Baptizer said: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Later, the apostle Paul referred to Christ as “our Passover Lamb” (1 Cor. 5:7), so the Passover and days of Unleavened Bread of Exodus 12 pointed to, prophesied about, the REAL Lamb, the One all those little Passover lambs were pointing to – the Lamb of God. Of course you remember that in Exodus 12, God told Israel they could present a lamb or a goat kid that had no blemish or defect (Exodus 12:5).

Who was responsible in Exodus 12 to select a lamb without blemish and to have a lamb ready on Passover and to kill that lamb for their family in that original Passover service? It was the FATHER of the household who presented the selected lamb (Exodus 12:3) and who killed the family’s Passover lamb in Exodus 12. This was happening among all the Israelites (Exodus 12:6-7). Exodus 12:3 “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.”

So when we read that Yeshua/Jesus was called “the Lamb of GOD”, what was John referring to? Well, we know Jesus was crucified on Passover day, to die in our stead. He was blameless and without sin.

GOD the Father had pre-selected the Word, who became flesh and became the SON of God (John 1:14) to be His Lamb. In fact, Jesus was as good as already slain from before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20). So ALL the Passover lambs of Exodus 12 and afterwards, all pointed to the future fulfillment of Messiah, the Lamb of God.

God the Father had to present a lamb for His household just as the fathers had to present one lamb or kid goat per household, remember? (Exodus 12:1-3).  The Lamb being offered had to be enough for the household. ALL who wish to be part of the Household of God will partake of Father’s lamb, in Father’s house.  On Passover day, the Israelite heads of households took their chosen lamb and killed it, spilling its blood, and establishing a blood covenant between them and God. Hyssop branches were used to splatter the blood of the lamb on the lintel and door posts of each home. When God saw the blood, this protected the household from the Destroyer – but it was really God Himself who was making the decision who lived and who died. Yehovah Himself inspected and passed over each house – where we get the word “Passover” from, when He saw the blood.

Exodus 12:23
“For YHVH (the LORD) will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when HE sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD (YHVH) will PASS OVER the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you.”

So who really and ultimately had to kill the Lamb of God? Who alone truly could do it? Yeshua gives another clue during his final Passover.  He is quoting from Zechariah 13:7.

Matthew 26:31
Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:  'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'

Who is the “I” in “I will strike the Shepherd?”  WHO is going to strike the Shepherd? Remember that Yeshua was the Word who was God and WITH God (John 1:1-2).  So let’s see what the original source – Zech 13:7 – says, and notice how God calls that Shepherd “the Man who is my COMPANION”.  If you take the time to read it, it is YHVH who is speaking. Yeshua is quoted in Matthew 26:31 as saying “I will strike the Shepherd” – but He is quoting GOD speaking in Zechariah 13:7. So GOD will strike the Shepherd. Who is the Shepherd? Jesus himself says HE is the good shepherd (John 10:11); the Shepherd who was struck by God.

Many of you know that the end of Isaiah 52 and all of Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about the crucifixion and sacrifice of Yeshua of Nazareth.  (Remember I use the name His mama called Him – the Hebrew name Yeshua, which means “salvation”.)

Let’s see who did the striking and sacrificing here. Isaiah 53 explains John 3:16 – that GOD so loved the world that HE gave his one and only Son. Why? So that those who believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. God the Father saw that by sacrificing His only Son for a time, that in his love he’d be opening the door to potentially millions or even billions more sons and daughters (2 Cor. 6:18). And Jesus was perfectly OK with that too (John 10:17-18).

Isaiah 53:4,6
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him STRICKEN, SMITTEN BY GOD, and afflicted….
6 All we like sheep have gone astray, We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And Yehovah (the Lord) has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Isaiah 53:10-11
10 “Yet it PLEASED YHVH (the Lord) to bruise Him;
HE has put Him to grief.
When YOU make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of Yehovah (the Lord) shall prosper in His hand. 
11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many; For He shall bear their iniquities.”

Did you catch that?  HE – YHVH – has put Him to grief.  WHY would God put His own innocent Son to death?  I know, I know; it’s easier to blame the Jews or the Romans.  But that misses the point of the entire Passover!  Isaiah 53:10 says GOD made His soul an offering for sin in His love for all of us!

So really the One who killed Christ was the Head of the Father’s House – Yehovah Most High, God our Father, for all those in His House who would accept this blood. The blood that covers and cleanses us from ALL our sins, no matter how bad they were. The blood of the Lamb of God, whom FATHER slew for His household, protects us from the Destroyer, saves us from the penalty of death that we earned, and covers us by His grace. Yeshua becomes the Covering for His people, for His Bride.

Still not convinced? Then what does John 3:16 say?  GOD gave His only begotten son as His LAMB for all and any who believe in the whole WORLD.  The Head of the House had to be the one to slay HIS own lamb at Passover. Perhaps this will make John 3:16 and 1 John 4:9-11 mean more now. 
What an incredible HEAD of the household of God that we have.  He offered His OWN innocent Son for all of us who will accept Him as our Savior. Paul certainly understood this in Romans 8.

Romans 8:31-34
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 HE WHO DID NOT SPARE HIS OWN SON, BUT DELIVERED HIM UP FOR US ALL, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

John 1:11-13

“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

What an incredible duo. Father and Son. Yeshua adds another fold to this incredible story.  Father offers His innocent Son in order to save all who would repent and accept Him. The Son – Yeshua - -ALSO offers HIMSELF willingly and agrees to step up to Father’s Plan.  This just gets more and more amazing. Show me another religion whose God offers HIMSELF for His people!

Of course that too was pictured by Abraham offering up his grown son Isaac until God stopped it at the last minute (Genesis 22). Isaac was big and old enough to refuse it, but he obviously agreed to be sacrificed, just as Jesus did. And Isaac carried the wood, picturing the stake/cross of Christ.

John 10:17-18
"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."  

Yeshua, can I speak to you on behalf of all who are reading this: “Well done, our Master, well done. You’re simply amazing. We are not worthy of your grace and love but you offer it anyway. Thank you, our Beloved, thank you, and yes, we accept you and your covering blood again this year. You’ve washed us in your blood, you’ve wiped away our sins, and you’ve washed our feet of any of the dust/sins we’ve picked up in the last 12 months. And yes, Master, we are slowly learning to forgive and love one another as you have loved and forgiven.  You have set such an awesome example for all of us to follow. You’re amazing, holy Brother -- our Lord and Master, our Friend, our Savior, our King, our Husband-to-be, our JOY, our Love – and yes, our God. Thank you. We sure love you.”

“And Father, all of us fathers wish we could be a father like you. You are so kind, so patient, so loving, so giving, so forgiving – over and over. Thank you for that. Thank you for offering up your eternal Companion the Word so that ultimately in your plan, he becomes the Firstborn among many brethren. But what an example you are and please help me and all of us fathers be a better father.  Help all of us fathers to more perfectly turn our hearts to our children and please, please Father, turn our children’s hearts to us also, back to their fathers, and especially to you, as the ultimate Father. Please. Please teach us how, please make us all one, as you and Yeshua are one. We love you so much, holy Father. In Jesus/Yeshua’s holy name, Amen.”

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Prayer request: Reuniting our FAMILIES - NEW

This is special prayer request.  One of the most joyous parts of our lives is to be able to spend happy times especially with our children and grandchildren. So many of you know exactly what I mean and experience this joy often. I know the joy we feel with our daughter and her husband and their five wonderful children just minutes from where we live.

I want to put out a very special prayer request now though.

I’m learning of more and more friends and even just people I hear about in their 60’s and above especially, whose children won’t have anything to do with them. Some won’t allow any contact, even by mail or phone, with grandchildren. Talk about painful!  Sure, it could easily be the parents’ fault – or perhaps there are other issues, but surely this is not something even remotely pleasing to God Most High, the supreme Father over all.

Regardless of whose fault it is, please join me in prayer that anyone going through all this can find a loving and joyful resolution with God’s help and working through His Holy Spirit.

This is not just an isolated situation here and there. I’m speaking of situations that are rampant.

Did you know that reconciling and reuniting families is one of the commissions given to the very end-time Elijah to come? See Malachi 4 below. 

It also applied to John the Baptist, a type of the end-time Elijah of Malachi 4. There is yet to be a coming “Elijah” figure just before the dreadful “day of the LORD”. Now read verse 6 especially. Let’s pray God sends this man soon, who will reunite families and it also that this end-time Elijah will also successfully turn many “children” back to God the Father. See Luke 1:16 below.

Malachi 4:5-6
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.
6 And he will turn 
The hearts of the fathers to the children,
And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse."

Notice the hearts of the fathers changes first, turns first. Then the children turn their hearts. OK dads, let’s be turning our hearts and asking for a miracle from our loving Abba.

And where it ends with “lest I strike the earth with a curse”, the word for “curse” can also even extinction! 

            NIV – “with utter destruction”

            ESV  -- “a decree to strike the land with total destruction”.

            ISV:  “ Otherwise, I'll come, strike the land, and utterly destroy it."

So you see the importance God himself places on this prayer request.

This next scripture is about John the Baptist, who was a type of the end-time prophesied Elijah to appear on the scene, hopefully soon.

Luke 1:13-17

But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.

16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, 'to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Please join me in praying for this loving reunion to start happening soon.

And if you’re one of those cut off from your own children or grandchildren, confess any faults you have in it, repent to our Abba God Most High, and pray for God to bless them and your situation. But please pray for specific people you know about in this situation and also generally, as I just keep hearing of more and more cases.

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Cannot buy or sell… (Rev. 13:16-17)

Foundation for the Beast system being laid

Many of us have pondered scriptures in Revelation 13 and have wondered what they could mean or how the Beast system could forbid anyone to buy or sell.  Certainly it appears we’re watching the groundwork already being set here in America and around the world.  In a few months I hope to come out with a far more detailed sermon on this topic and other topics related to it.

Revelation 13:16-18    “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.   18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

This is not a political blog, though some of you may feel it is. This is intended to show you how the foundation for the coming Beast system, which is almost here now, is being laid and has been laid.

There is a coming “mark of the Beast”. Many postulate what that is, but I won’t. We’ll recognize it soon enough and when we do see it, we must not accept it for ourselves.

We believers are absolutely warned NOT to take the mark of the Beast or we will come under God’s severe punishment. We cannot love God and the Beast. But if we don’t take the Beast’s “mark”, we may find ourselves unable to buy or sell anything, or to even pay our mortgage or rent or to receive or cash a pay check from work. So it will be tempting to some to give in – but we will die if we do.

Please carefully read Revelation 14:9-11; 15:2 and Rev 16:2. Those who stand before God refused to ever accept that mark. Check out my blog about “which mark will be on your forehead”?  Just type in “Mark” in the Search bar. GOD also marks his children on their forehead. See Ezekiel 9 and Rev. 3:12; 14:1.

We want God’s mark. We will NOT want the Mark of the Beast.

Are we much closer to this hellish nightmare being possible soon?  President Biden recently implemented Executive Order # 14067 to start the beginnings of the Digital Dollar system. It’s officially called “CBDC” -  Central Bank Digital Currency, having to do with controlling Digital Assets.

As countries adopt this, their digital currency will come under the complete control of their country’s central bank. Cash, dollar bills and coins as we know them – will eventually totally disappear. Start learning about it. It’s been in effect since December 13, 2022. Eventually  - be watching – this could begin to replace our current cash money system and replace it completely with digital currency. Each will have his or her own “digital wallet”.

The EU plans to go digital as well, and do the same thing. Watch Canada, Britain and dozens of countries around the world follow suit. There are some positive benefits of having CBDC – digital currency. When the government wants to give certain ones some Stimulus checks, they can just drop it in to their account, reducing fraud (they tell me), waste and wasted time. We will hear of a dozen or more exciting examples of how much better it will be – and truly there will be some initial benefits.

But IF and when this gets implemented as planned, we COULD all be at the mercy of our governments – and eventually the one world-ruling Beast power. Whether you live in USA or Kenya or the Philippines, this will likely come to your country and every country soon.

Just be aware of it, and be watching. You may want to move some of your cash 401K plans to silver or gold. Learn about it.

NOTE:  I AM NOT saying this CBDC – the digital currency – will be the “mark” of the Beast, but it looks very possible to me that for the Beast power to KNOW you want to buy something, they have to have something that immediately TELLS their system where you are and what you want to buy or sell. They need a way to allow billions of people around the world to buy or sell or to shut them down.  

            So the digital currency may not be the mark – but could be the METHOD that is used to work WITH the “mark of the Beast” to control the whole world.

We already have had crypto currency – but not at the government level. Now we do. This could give the government all the authority they need to turn off your money supply instantly and remotely without giving you any notice. If the government feels you are a threat to their goals – they could stop you from buying gas or food or anything else, with the flick of a switch.

They could, conceivably, even restrict which companies you could invest with, if certain companies weren’t deemed compliant enough.  China already has their Social Credit Score system. Much of the world and their companies are already being evaluated on an ESG scoreEnvironmental, Social and Governance.  Everything you’re hearing from the WOKE liberals would be part of the Social side, so now many of our boys don’t know if they’re a boy or girl – and vice versa.

Oil companies, for example, are rated low on ESG scoring because of their Environmental score. So you would be encouraged to invest in companies with high ESG scores, because they are more inline, more “woke” and doing the government’s bidding on Climate change. (See my teaching on Climate. Just use the Search bar). If a central government is given complete control of everyone’s spending and investing, it would be very easy to punish those who are not complying in the Government’s view. It would be easy for them to freeze your account.

WILL all this happen? I’m not saying they absolutely will. I’m saying they absolutely can.

For example, if a government feels your family is consuming too much meat, they could limit how much meat, eggs – or even gas – we’d be allowed to buy.

Or if you’re considered to be one of these who are deemed a “threat to our democracy” because of your conservative views, you could be targeted so you could not buy any guns or ammunition. (You in other countries, yes – so far – we in America still have in our Constitution the right to bear arms.)

Our private digital accounts could also be frozen outright. Do a Google study on what “bail-in” means.

In the past our governments ‘bailed out” companies deemed too big to fail, to important to let them collapse. SO your money was used to bail them out. A “bail in” is when governments feel they must confiscate private savings, IRA’s, checking accounts, etc. to bail the government out!  This has happened in recent memory in Cyprus, Lebanon and other  countries. People lost their total retirement savings! Don’t believe it can’t happen here or in your country.

You like that?  Revelation 13:16 is coming – when we won’t be able to buy or sell unless and until we receive some kind of mark in your right hand or forehead. Ideas of exactly what that will be are myriad. But I believe it could be just a matter of months or possibly a few years before we finally see it starting to happen.

But again, dear believers, WE MUST NOT take the mark of the Beast. We must not.

I believe and speculate that The Beast and the False Prophet are already alive and here, but just have not revealed themselves yet. Someone or something is still holding them back, as 2 Thess 2 says.  I believe the Two Witnesses, two men – are already alive, but neither have they yet begun their ministry, but will begin 3-1/2 years before Christ returns. I find this very exciting, even though I don’t look forward to the terrible times we’ll see before Yeshua (Jesus) returns.

 I don’t believe this “turning off your access to your money” will be implemented for months yet, maybe even a year or more, but watch for it; I believe it’s coming. Maybe I’m being too optimistic! Maybe it’s just a few months away.

Here are some more examples of how it could work against you:

For example, let’s say you refuse to get the Covid vaccination or a future similar vax. The Government could keep you from financially functioning until you do get the vax. Is it possible that the armed 87,000 additional IRS agents to be hired are going to be the ones to be sure to implement this digital currency?  They could make sure all the banks and businesses transition to this new system.  But maybe the Republican house will not fund the hiring of these 87,000 armed thugs.

You think I’m going overboard? Do you remember how Canada’s government treated the Freedom Convoy of truckers?  They were protesting Canada’s harsh lockdowns and vaccine mandates that made no sense as they went back and forth from/to the USA.

What did Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau do? He described the truckers as a crazy “fringe minority” and said their views were unacceptable. Many of the truckers’ bank accounts were frozen and they had no recourse. The crime?  Peacefully protesting – but they lost access to their money. Don’t think that can’t happen here or in your country. Those in power don’t like dissent or lack of cooperation to their “woke” ideas.

Keep an eye out for how this starts. If you don’t agree with the leftist leaders, your ideas are called “dangerous”. We’re even hearing them described as “treasonous”. This makes it much easier to justify to the rest of the country why severe action had to be taken against such people who are even being labeled as “internal terrorists” – like the moms who protested at school boards about the pornographic books in the school library that their children were being told to read. Dangerous, treasonous internal terrorists. They sound terrible and when the majority of the country says nothing, government is emboldened.

Again, we’re talking about the digital dollar – or the CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency) and how a person or group is labeled can determine what is done to their assets. Part of the goal of CBDC is to have the country go cashless – no more dollar bills, no more $10 bills and no more coins.

WHY?  You can’t track and trace cash, but they absolutely can track every penny coming from your digital wallet in the months or years ahead when we go completely digital. I just wanted you to be aware of what could be developing right under our noses.

When all these things finally happen, it will all seem “so suddenly”.  Look at how much our country has changed just in the past two years! We’re watching changes wash over our country in ways we could never have imagined.

Don’t let this frighten you. Let it wake you up to get closer to God and to Messiah as never before. Pray you be accounted worthy to escape all these things (Luke 21:36).  And God bless you all.

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URGENT – Where our leaders are taking America

Instead of my own blog and own ideas, this week I feel strongly I wanted you all to be aware of a very strong message from Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic rabbi who speaks often on end time events. Some of you may have heard and watched this already, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s worth being aware of this. If you meet with a small group, maybe play it for everyone’s benefit.

The time is coming soon, if not already here, when I believe we will all have to either confess if we’re with Jesus Christ and all he stands for - - or for the woke madness sweeping the world. This message by Cahn is a great start – spoken directly to President Biden. Satan is certainly busy. I wonder if he’s been cast down now and is angry at God’s children.  Please pass it on to other believers as soon as you can, as I’m sure YouTube will take it down in time, perhaps soon.

Jonathan Cahn’s Prophetic Message II to Joe Biden (The White House Apostasy)

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“Something good is happening”

 

If practiced, this blog and the sermon tied to it -- will change your life.

When we think of Romans 8:28, we think of it as something we’ll realize in the future.  “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and who are the called according to his purpose.”  So we receive comfort from that scripture that eventually, in the end, things work out for good. Even the really bad things that we go through will work out for good.

But there’s so much more than waiting and knowing that everything will eventually work out. This blog and a recent sermon can change your life if you practice what is taught in them.

I recently gave a sermon on “How to have Perfect Peace in troubling times”.  The points I gave in that teaching are actions and thoughts I still have to consistently apply in my life, but when I do, I have peace, just like Philippians 4:6-7 promises. I hope you hear/watch the sermon.

Now I want to add another dimension to it that I didn’t have time to fully explain when recording it.  

Here it is: Instead of looking for things to eventually work out for good, start to realize that we don’t have to wait to know good things are already happening.  I now realize that I don’t have to think “good things will come” – but good things are already happening, even if I don’t see them yet.

Do you see the difference? I hinted about that when I taught that we should actually thank God even BEFORE we see the answers, knowing that God is already working!

Remember the examples I used? Jesus thanked God for having heard him about raising up Lazarus – while Lazarus was still dead (please read John 11:33-45). Paul and Silas began to praise and sing and worship God WHILE still in stocks and bound by chains in a dungeon, but it was when they began to praise that God loosed their chains (read Acts 16:22-34, especially verses 25-28). King Jehoshaphat when facing a huge invading army, moved the choir to the front lines, ahead of his Delta Force and Seal Teams that had been in front. Be sure you study that sermon. WHEN they began to sing – as soon as they began to praise and sing – God had the enemy soldiers kill each other and Judah did not have to fight. (See 2 Chronicles 20:20-24),

A similar story can be found about King Asa of Judah against a million Ethiopians (2 Chronicles 14:9-15). When Asa confessed his faith in God, his trust in God’s power – while the enemy forces were still there in front of him, that God completely routed the enemy forces and gave complete victory. “Something good is happening” could have been Asa’s thoughts even before God intervened visually. But Asa, like all of us, had times of great faith and times of weakness, so it’s something we must watch carefully.

In all these cases, their actions and thoughts of praise and thanksgiving happened before the deliverance, but as soon as they acknowledged God’s goodness even while still “in trouble” as far as they could see, God sent deliverance.

We must get beyond thinking “if only this or that would happen, THEN I’ll have peace.”  But that’s how we often think. Start thinking “God is working already though I don’t see how or where yet, and something good is happening already.”  So we learn from Paul and James to thank God IN the trial and FOR the pain and suffering, knowing God is working something we need, something good, for us already.  

In my own life, in several cases, it was only when I truly began to actually thank God IN and FOR my cancers, knowing that He could heal or do whatever he wanted, and I trusted Him -- that they disappeared. I don’t always do that so well, but when I do, it’s often so amazing what God does. But we also have to trust God even when his answer is that we must go through the trial, just as he answered his own Son. All of us will eventually die if our Savior doesn’t return soon. And even that’s fine too because we trust Him.

But trusting and praising before we see the results we hope for, are not easy to do from the heart, and really meaning it.  “Good things are happening” – is the thought we should believe while in the worst of troubles, even the ones we brought on ourselves. Things will work out for good even for sins we did, that we have deeply repented of.  “ALL THINGS” has to mean “all things” doesn’t it?  I used the examples of the brothers of Joseph who sold him into slavery, but Joseph says clearly that God intended it for good, to save people alive.  In another example, even the murder of Uriah and the adultery with Uriah’s wife, though there were terrible consequences, something amazing came out of that. What amazing things?  Full details are in that sermon on “Perfect Peace in troubling times”.

We need to see God is already working. Elisha had to pray for God to open the eyes of his assistant, who was worried about the army that had come to arrest them. God was already acting. Elisha perfectly knew this, but it was only when God opened his servant’s eyes that he saw the countless angelic forces invisibly overhead already there, already prepared to intervene to protect them. Read the story in 2 Kings 6:11-23.

This is where we must grow to: having peace IN and FOR the pain, for the storms of life around us, knowing our God is already working, even while “the storm” is still raging. Our own fiery angelic armies are already around us, even though all we can literally see are the problems still in front, for now.  Something good is already happening; not something we have to wait for, but knowing God is already acting – unseen for now – behind the scenes.  

God spoke to Joseph while he was still in a horrible dungeon. When God freed the Israelite slaves out of Egypt, God not only liberated them, but had them come out with great abundance, as God had let them spoil the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36) with a lot of gold, silver and expensive garments. God’s power was evident while still in Egypt. Even Jesus Christ’s story – includes how God had to call him while he and his parents were still in Egypt (read Matthew 2:19-23). Even the news that fierce Herod Archelaus was reigning in Judea – so they moved to Galilee and Nazareth –was all part of God’s plan, that he would be called a Nazarene (not a Nazarite. Jesus did NOT have long hair.) 

So once we truly understand that God is working in our lives, even in the “bad times”, when we acknowledge him and ask for his deliverance, we can come to see that “Good things are already happening!”.   We trust Him so much that in fact we start to experience the peace of GOD himself, a peace beyond description as Philippians 4:6-7 says.

Be sure you watch/hear the full sermon and re-read this blog. When practiced, this can change your life.

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An often-overlooked sign of End times

It’s happening right before our eyes but I haven’t heard others mention it yet.  Jesus gave a lot of signs that He said would help us recognize we’re in the last generation before Christ returns. You have heard of all these signs in Matthew 24 and Luke 21. You know, like the nation of Israel existing again in the Middle East, of worldwide pandemics that will keep happening and getting worse each time, like endless wars and rumors of more wars coming, powerful earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, plus the stage being set for the final world-ruling government before Christ returns.  Each of those and many more are worthy of a blog or sermon all by themselves.

Not the topic of this blog, but just to be aware: scientists have just discovered a LOT more magma (molten rock) under Yellowstone than was ever imagined. This means when it does erupt, it will be far, far more explosive and destructive than thought. We’re also assured it’s not about to erupt, so go about your daily chores, they say, and we’re told not to worry about it.  Just be aware of Yellowstone though. An eruption there would have disastrous impact on the USA and Canada especially – and around the world.

Also, I’m reading that Israel finally HAS at least FIVE red heifers, which would be needed to purify the temple and priests. This is also happening now. And as you read this, certified priests from the lineage of Aaron are being trained in all functions of priesthood, as they prepare for the long-anticipated Third Temple in Jerusalem. Or at least these priests will be able to offer sacrifices on an altar there. And my wife and I have personally seen all the instruments of temple service already produced in and through the Temple Institute. You can Google that.  Even the golden menorah has long been created and is sitting there – waiting for that temple.

But even all that is not what I’m focusing on today.  There’s ONE sign that I never hear about as a SIGN and often gets overlooked.

When God sends his Two Witnesses of Revelation 11, the whole world will watch their ministry and their martyrdom by “the Beast” power that comes out of the bottomless pit (that’s another topic). The whole world will watch them be killed and will be jubilant. Let’s read it and really grasp what has to happen first for this to be fulfilled. And why is it exciting?

Revelation 11:7-13

“When they [the two witnesses] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

 9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

Notice some very important points: 

***  the Two Witnesses are killed and lie in the streets of Jerusalem “where our Lord was crucified.”(verse 8). 

***  It appears that EVERYONE around the whole world will SEE them (verse 9) killed, and their dead bodies lying on the streets of Jerusalem. When John wrote this, he probably was wondering what that could mean.

***  These two Witnesses proclaim and cause plagues to affect the whole earth, not just Israel, not just Jerusalem (v. 10).  So everyone, everywhere around the world – except God’s children who are led by His spirit – are upset with them.

Then God resurrects them – and once again everyone around the WORLD is watching this happen, in real time, as it happens.

Here’s my point:  Even as I write this, this prophecy STILL cannot happen, but that is rapidly changing. For even at this very minute, there are still many spots around the globe, even in our own country, where one cannot receive internet signals or have a reliable connection. But that’s rapidly changing.

Elon Musk is launching into space orbit many thousands of satellites all around the globe so every village, every spot on earth, and everyone can see anything happening anywhere else in the world. What they call his constellation of satellites is known as Starlink. His most recent SpaceX launch released 53 more satellites.

The prophecy of Revelation 11 – that every eye could actually see what’s happening in Jerusalem – STILL, even now, late December 2022, could not happen just yet, but that’s rapidly changing. We’re almost there.

This is very exciting because everyone in the world being able to watch events in Jerusalem is one more indication we’re in the prophesied very end-time events finally coming to pass.

Wikipedia says thisStarlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX, providing satellite Internet access coverage to 40 countries. It also aims for global mobile phone service after 2023. SpaceX started launching Starlink satellites in 2019.Wikipedia

Check it out on https://www.starlink.com. Here’s what they say:

“Elon Musk’s SpaceX is developing a low latency, broadband internet system to meet the needs of consumers across the globe. Enabled by a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, Starlink will provide fast, reliable internet to populations with little or no connectivity, including those in rural communities and places where existing services are too expensive or unreliable.”

It's NOT all up and running yet, but be watching this news from SpaceX or from a competitor. There are many competitors.  Starlink already has more than 3,000 functioning low-orbit satellites overhead. He plans on 12,000 satellites soon, and eventually 40,000.  But, Starlink is operational only in 40 countries worldwide so far, so there’s still a lot to do – but again, Elon Musk is sending up dozens of these satellites constantly.

But when I heard this news, I got excited because NEVER BEFORE NOW could it be said that it was even possible that everyone in the world could watch something happening in Jerusalem. Though there’s a lot of internet already up around the world, it’s still not 100% feasible yet. But soon will be.

This news is simply one more indication of how close we are to seeing our Redeemer and his mighty angels returning in the clouds above to come and gather you and the rest of his elect to Him. Even that event will be watched by everyone.

The world, in the meantime, is becoming more and more dangerous, evil and perverted. This is overly upsetting some of you. Please be sure to listen to a new audio sermon I’m posting in mid-December 2022 on “How we should be reacting to End Time Events” – to world conditions, to news about how dangerous the world has become, and realizing it’s all very likely coming down to the last few years soon. Should we be afraid? Should we be upset? Should we lose sleep over it all?  Please listen to that new teaching.

It's all coming together quickly. How exciting! And yes, COME Lord (Revelation 22:20). And Father, please send your Son back soon. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

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God’s plan revealed in patriarchs’ names

The more we dive into God’s word, the more surprises there are. Big stuff, little stuff, but always interesting. So many “hidden gems” within scripture.

You may or may not realize that the Ten Patriarchs from Adam to Noah  -- spanning a time period of about 1656 years – had within their names the plan of God’s salvation for mankind. How could that have been orchestrated by man? How could it have been mere coincidence?

Below you’ll see a list where I have each one’s “English” name and then to the right of each name, the meaning of each name. I didn’t come up with this. It’s possible Chuck Misler was the first to come up with this, but then again, perhaps he in turn got it from others. But nonetheless, it’s very interesting.

Methuselah was interesting too. It seems apparent to many that he died just before the great Flood of Noah’s day. And his name means “his death shall bring”. 

            Now just read the right side, top to bottom in an even pace and you’ll hear yourself saying God’s Plan of Salvation as a compilation of the ten patriarchs’ names.

Adam                           Man (is)
Seth                           appointed
Enosh                         mortal

Kenan                         sorrow; (but)
Mahalalel                   The Blessed God
Jared                          shall come down

Enoch                       teaching
Methuselah             his death shall bring
Lamech                     the despairing
Noah                         comfort, rest.           

This time, just let me put it into sentence form, so there’s no misunderstanding what I’m asking you to do.  Here’s how their 10 names would read as a sentence:

Man is appointed mortal sorrow, (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching his death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.” 

I love it. How could this just be mere coincidence?

There are so many hidden gems like this in the Bible, and over time I’ll share more.

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God’s children don’t do Halloween – at all!

You’ll find several articles and even a sermon on this website from over the years, as to WHY God’s children must NOT participate in Halloween. For those of you who have not seen them or heard the sermon on it, you can just type “Halloween” in the search bar on the home page.

For the rest of you: Surely you know we cannot worship God and the devil at the same time.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18     “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.

As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." 

17 Therefore, "Come OUT from among them and be separate”, says the Lord. “Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."  18 'I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters’, says the Lord Almighty."’

There is no western holiday that bears all the signs of Satan’s presence as clearly as Halloween does. Come out of Satan’s world, people of God. It’s time, if you still dabble in Halloween, to stand up and teach your family that you no longer are able to participate in it. So many of God’s servants were commended for leading their families in to God’s righteousness.

Joshua said famously in Joshua 24:15, “As for me and my household, WE will serve the LORD.”

And YHVH himself said this to Abraham:

Genesis 18:17-19   And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that YHVH may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him."

I strongly encourage all of you reading this to do everything in your power to distance yourself and your family from anything to do with this evil, dark, and demonic evening.

Do not go to any Halloween parties. Do not watch any spooky movies in this time period that have everything to do with demonism, horror, fear, terror, murder, mayhem, torture, and everything against God. SHOW God where you stand.

1 Corinthians 10:21-22 – “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to be jealous? Are we stronger than He?”

So to be clear, we do NOT prepare candies to hand out and don’t hand out a single one. And if I had children today, I certainly would NOT want them going out there door to door with the present crime rate AND all that deadly FENTANYL that is getting into candies. It’s too dangerous.

We usually just turn the lights off and hunker down in a downstairs room. We don’t answer the door. We don’t get involved.

Will you join me? If you’ve made plans to have your children involved, cancel them, please cancel them. Give them something better. Be sure you’re keeping the Feast of Tabernacles, where you take your children to wondrous places around the country, lavish them with gifts and lots of fun – as long as you save up your festival tithe or an amount that would let you do what I’ve just said.

Romans 13:12    “The night is far spent; the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

Ephesians 5:8-13    “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the LordWalk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.”

1 Thessalonians 5:5    “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”

I hope this year that you and your family will have nothing to with the darkened celebration of a very dark and evil night – Halloween.

Let’s come out of this world together, my dear fellow household of God.

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WORSHIP during the Feast

WORSHIP during the Feast of Booths

Many of you who come to this site also keep the Feast of Booths (or Feast of Tabernacles), or Sukkot.  If you’re like many, you’ve traveled to a distant place after packing your bags and Bible. And you’ve also done some research into what is available to do and see while you’re there.  Of course you’re going to go to church services, but no doubt you’re looking forward also to the meals and outings and the things to do. 

You’ve probably also already planned some outings, socials, family get-togethers – on top of the group activities being planned.

That’s all fine and good. I just send this as a reminder. While we’re at Sukkot /Feast of Booths – remember WHY we’re there. There’s one place you don’t want to miss: the Holy of Holies of Heavenly Jerusalem. First and foremost, we are there to worship the King. That’s the prophesied reason the nations will send their people to Jerusalem after the King Yeshua sets up his reign:  to come and worship Him.

Zechariah 14:16

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, YHVH of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

            The theme of worshiping is repeated in verse 17.

Also in John 12:20, it mentions those who had come to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast. That was also true of the Ethiopian eunuch – he had come to worship.

I know from my own decades of experiences at the Feast: it can get hectic. So hectic, you’re scrambling for time to pray and study. That’s the point of this blog. Don’t be up so late each night that you can’t get up early enough to have intense and fervent personal prayer.  Some people make the Feast a time to party so hard they don’t get enough sleep, or they’re sleepy during services or prone to get sick. Remember why you’re there. Don’t rely just on the group worship. Make time for your own personal devoted worship, prayer and Bible study. Even if it’s just 15-20 minutes at the start of the day. Make time for it. 

We are to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), Abba won’t be content to just have us wish we had made time for him. Make time. Put him first. Love him with all your heart, mind and soul. And worship the King – and His Son Yeshua – while at the Feast. Visit that exciting place:  the heavenly throne room. Talk to that exciting Being – the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, Abba our daddy.  Spend time with Yeshua, our Beloved King. 

One tip that will help you do this:  If you have children, offer ahead of time to take another family’s kids one day and they take yours on another different day. Use that day without your children after services – somewhere near the middle of the feast – to be able to do more intensive prayer and study, or even catch up on a nap for that matter, so you can enjoy the remaining days even more so. 

Whenever we did this, and we did do it a lot, it was one of those “best ideas” ever.  But that should be arranged early so everyone’s in the loop and knows what’s going on. I’m talking about one afternoon out of the 8 days! But it makes a world of difference.

Have a wonderful Sukkot/Feast of Booths everyone. And put first things first: personally worship the King, every single day and the other things you do will be put in their proper context.  And yes, go have fun and enjoy and celebrate everything the Feast pictures for us.

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Tithing magnified in the New Covenant

The New Covenant differs from the Old Covenant in many different ways, and I have sermons about the glorious New Covenant

I’ve also recorded sermons recently on tithing, as the Bible teaches it.  I believe in tithing and stated so several times in those lessons – but I explain tithing from the New Covenant point of view, after first examining the Old Covenant. Please check them out. I STILL hear a lot of sermons to new covenant believers that base all their statements from the Old covenant laws to Israel.

Usually, in the New Covenant, God’s Old Covenant laws are not discarded but magnified.  In the Old Covenant, you had to have actual sex with someone else’s spouse to be said to be committing adultery. In the New Covenant, if you merely lust after someone else, you’ve committed adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Now hating someone becomes murder (Matthew 5:21-22). We could go on with more examples.

In terms of tithing, in the NEW COVENANT we are told to help the poor in practical terms and not just in good platitudes, “be warm, be filled” (James 2:14-17).  The Old Covenant spoke of a “tithes of the third year” given to the poor and strangers. Now we help every time we can, not just in the third years. 

In the Old Covenant, the only stated resource for tithing was from what the land produced in grain, fruit, wine, and oil plus every tenth of the herds flocks. You can find no scripture commanding Israelites to tithe of their income or other resources. None. Show me if you think I’m wrong. In the New Covenant, believers are instructed to provide for the needs of the ministers of God who are spreading the true gospel and feeding you spiritually from God’s word (1 Cor. 9:4-13; Philippians 4:15-19)

But in the Old Covenant, all tithes went exclusively to Levites, not to the church or church ministers (Hebrews 7:5). Those Levites (of the tribe of Levi) then gave a tithe of their tithe they received – to the priests. It’s all in the sermons I’ve just given. Nor can we read of Jesus ever receiving tithes, but was supported by well-wishing followers (Luke 8:1-3).  But now we have no practicing Levites, priests, or physical temple of God. We do have churches and ministers who need some help, for all the time and work they put into preaching the gospel and God’s word.

So Paul explains that now, God is searching our hearts to see what we will give, from what WE decide to give from our hearts willingly, instead of from what God commanded us to give. This means it’s magnified – not reduced. Most of us surely would say that scripture indicated 10% -- the very meaning of tithing – should be perhaps our minimum. Magnify God’s law now. But in the New Covenant, it is not called tithing anymore. Show me if you think it is.

Jesus spoke of tithing as NOT being one of the big tenets of the law, but something we should do, and remember he was still speaking from the Old Covenant point of view as he had not died and been resurrected yet. He was himself, still fulfilling the Law. And again, his example of tithing was on the produce of the land – mint, anise and cummin – and not on wages or salary (Matthew 23:23).

I hope you will hear both sermons before jumping to any conclusions. After Matthew 23:23, the word “tithing” or “tithes” – are not mentioned even ONCE in all of the New Testament, except Hebrews 7 when speaking of Abraham’s voluntary tithe of the spoils of war (Gen 14) to Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:4), when the author was making the point that though Yeshua (Jesus) was not of the tribe of Levi, he is now our High Priest, of the order (kind, rank) of Melchizedek.

The LAW of tithing was not clearly instituted as a LAW until the time of Moses. Just because Abraham tithed on spoils of war does not prove it was already a law. It was likely voluntary, as God’s rules of how to handle spoils of war (see Numbers 31) never even mention tithing. It does mention giving 1 of every 500 captured virgin girls and animals to Priests and 1 of every 50 to the Levites – but that’s not a tithe. Tithe means one out of 10.

Also, there’s not a single scripture in the whole Bible that commands Gentiles living outside Israel to tithe, using that word – “tithe”.  Not one. Those living in Israel were bound by the same law that Israelites followed; one law for all. Today we are the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16) and we all follow what we’re told to do in the new covenant, so I know you’ll have a lot to think about in those 2 sermons I recorded on tithing.  

But -- now those who are of faith in Christ are considered sons of Abraham and heirs of the promises to Him (Gal. 3:7-9, 29) and we are ALL now the New covenant “Israel of God”, and “Jews spiritually”  (Gal 6:16; Romans 2:28-29). 

So Paul taught voluntary sharing to the ministry, not tithing,  in 1 Cor. 9:4-13 and 2 Cor. 9:6-14.  This would have been his golden opportunity to talk about tithing to Gentile Corinthians – but he did not; he never mentions the word.  To me, this magnifies tithing.  Hear the 2 sermons to get the full, deeper dive into this important topic.

And yes, I still tithe and share. And thank you for supporting where God’s ministers are taking a lot of time to share the truth of God’s word to you.

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WHICH MARK will be on your forehead? The mark of God, or the mark of the Beast?

(Note: you can see the whole verse by just hovering with your mouse over the scripture).

There’s a lot of interest about the “mark of the Beast” of Revelation. And so there should be!

EVERYONE in the whole world – at some point – will either have to take that mark or die according to the book of Revelation  – unless some are divinely protected by God from the consequences of not having that awful “mark”.  God WILL protect some of his children, but not all. Many of God’s people will die as witnesses and martyrs, as you’ll see.

If we get to someday die for believing in our Yeshua /Jesus our Savior, then so be it. Let’s do it with resolute honor for our Savior who died for us, as Stephen did. He was blessed to see Yeshua STANDING to honor him (Acts 7:54-56). Paul often said he wanted to suffer and die for Christ, as if “crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). And eventually he had that honor to be a martyr for his Savior.

The original meaning of “martyr”, by the way, meant to “witness”, from the Greek “martus”. So many of Christ’s witnesses were killed, proving the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by their violent death, that “witness” became synonymous for dying for Christ – hence, a martyr. Hover over these verses:  Acts 22:20; Revelation 2:13; 17:6 in NKJV or KJV. Other translations just use the word “witness”. 

Revelation 17:6, about Babylon, mother of harlots:  “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”

Let’s talk about it which mark we want to have.

So yes, if you refuse to take the mark of the Beast, you will likely die. And on the other hand, anyone who does accept the Mark of the Beast will have to face God’s own divine judgment and condemnation. So you must remember this: do NOT accept the Mark of the Beast. And DO accept whatever penalties and consequences you will incur for not accepting that dreadful mark. We’ll know what exactly the mark is, soon enough. Right now just be firm that we cannot participate in it.

But there’s also a different mark placed on people. This time it’s a mark placed by God or God’s angels on God’s people!  We want that mark. So there are 2 marks. One is the mark of the Beast, and the other is the mark of the one true living God.

You’ll be required to choose to accept or decline these two marks. You will live or die based on what you decide to do.

Let’s look at some scriptures.

We can read of a marking by God in Ezekiel 9:1-11. Again, please take the time to hover over the scripture and read it. There we see in a vision of Ezekiel where God puts a special mark on his people, so they are not among those He kills in his judgment on evil Jerusalem and Israel.  God wants to see and hear His people “sighing and crying” over the abominations in our lands – for all the crime, all the false religion and false prophets, all the murders and rapes, like all the bribery, abortions, and perversities. So God’s people receive His mark on their foreheads and are not killed like the rest will be.  

And now notice the 144,000 who are standing before Christ, the Lamb, in heavenly Mount Zion.  Note they have Christ’s father’s name written on their foreheads. That’s the “mark” or name we want on our foreheads! Nothing else.

Revelation 14:1   “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads.

Now let’s look at the Mark of the Beast.  “The Beast” is what scripture calls the pagan kingdoms. Even in Daniel, we read of various kingdoms represented by beasts like a bear, leopard or Lion or goat.

In the very end time, probably in the lifetime of many of you reading this, this end time military-political power will demand everyone pledges their undying allegiance to their regime. Everyone wants to tell you what exactly the “mark of the Beast” is or what 666 means, but we’ll find out soon enough. 

This is important: I don’t think God’s people will accidentally take this mark. I think God’s children will know what it is when it comes. No, I do not believe it’s the MRNA vaccine. Millions of believers have already had the vax, so I sure hope it’s not that. But I don’t think God’s children will accidentally find out they have taken the dreaded mark of the Beast.

Let’s read what scripture says about the Mark of the Beast and how difficult it will be to refuse it – as you won’t be able to function in society (Can’t buy or sell) and you’ll face certain death if you refuse it.

CONSEQUENCES FROM MAN if you DON’T TAKE The Mark of the Beast – you’ll be killed. NOT everyone of God’s people will be spared death or martyrdom. That’s why we are to PRAY that we be counted worthy to escape these things which shall come to pass (Luke 21:36).  Maybe sometime in the next few months we’ll go into more depth into this mark of the Beast with a full sermon.  

Revelation 13:11-18 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

16 He causes ALL, both small and great, rich, and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

I’m told that when this was written, the pagan emperor was Nero Caesar – and his original name came to 666. Maybe that’s a foretaste of what will repeat at the end time.  Notice God’s condemnation though, on all who take that mark of this end-time world power called the Beast. REMEMBER THIS. We must not submit to that mark.

Revelation 14:8-13 And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

9 Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,

10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'"

"Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."

Here is an accounting of more of God’s children who do not submit to the Mark of the Beast. And notice there are many, many believers who will NOT take the mark but have victory over that world-ruling kingdom. Obviously not all believers get a free ticket to having no great persecution by somehow being raptured to heaven!

Revelation 15:1-3 Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.

2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the VICTORY over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. 3 They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:

We see God celebrating his people who will not submit to the false kingdom. It will be a time when you and I will have to stand up for God, speak up for God and let everyone know your king is Jesus the Christ. The carpenter from Nazareth, Yeshua the Messiah. But for that witness, many of God’s children will die by beheading. That’s OK, folks. HE died for us, so we can feel honored to die for him. Paul often said something like that.

Revelation 20:4-6 “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had NOT received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”

And I  hope you noticed there isn’t just one resurrection. Verse 5 speaks of “the REST of the dead did not live again til the thousand years (millennial rule) were finished.”

Be sure you realize God is really upset at anyone who accepts the Mark of the Beast on his/her forehead or right hand. So we must not partake of it. Ever.

Revelation 16:1-2 “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."

First Bowl: Loathsome Sores

2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image”

Then in Revelation 19:20, the two false leaders – the political/military leader – the Beast, and the great end-time FALSE PROPHET who deceived the world into taking their mark, will be captured by Yeshua, and thrown in to the lake of fire.

Revelation 19:19-20 “And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse [Jesus, the coming King of kings]  and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

So the time is coming when we ALL will have to make it very clear to the world and to God where we stand. Many of us may have to be martyred for standing with Messiah, but we’ll be resurrected and live forever as co-rulers with Christ in the coming millennial rule on the earth. And life won’t be so peachy either for those who do take the mark of the beast, as they experience the wrathful judgment of Almighty God.

Remember this blog. Your eternity could be largely affected by which mark you want, and which mark you accept.

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John 6:44 Too many misapply this verse

Jesus the Savior said in John 6:44 something well known to many of you who come to this website. But the reason I’m writing on it, is that this statement by Jesus is SO misunderstood and SO misapplied by so many. 

John 6:44  “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

What does this verse mean to  you? Of course, I totally accept and believe this. Every single person who has a real relationship with Jesus Christ is in that relationship because Father in heaven opened the door and invited/called them in. No exceptions. If you go on to read the next verse John 6:45, these same people are described as being taught by God himself. Keep that in mind.

The reason for this blog: many believers, especially some who keep 7th-day sabbath, feel there is no basis for “evangelizing” or witnessing to people about the saving work of Christ or about God’s Kingdom – because, they believe, ONLY God the Father can open others’ minds to understand spiritual truth or to come to Jesus/Yeshua.  (Yeshua is the given Hebrew name for Jesus.) So since this is solely God’s work to call them, they say, therefore what’s the point in talking with people about the Word, or Christ, or the gospel?” 

That is so wrong and such a false conclusion, and has drastic consequences. Should we forget “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” (Romans 10:15). Should those hearing The Good News to be limited only to those you’re already certain God has already called? And is “preaching” to be limited to just ordained ministers? You’ll see shortly that some of the most effective talking about Jesus was by regular members!

I’m coming out in a couple of months with a full teaching or sermon on whether or not we confine the sharing of our joy just to those we somehow are certain God has called.  This blog is an introduction to get you thinking about this.

A tangential part of this discussion – which I’ll cover in my full sermon on it – is whether or not the “good news” is to be limited to strictly the “Ezekiel warning message” (Ezekiel 33:1-11) as too many believe. Others limit any witnessing to those times someone initiates the conversation and asks you why you believe the way you do (1 Peter. 3:15). That’s better than total silence, but there’s surely more.

Let me ask: Sure, God the Father has to call individuals before they can come to Christ. But how would you know WHICH ones God is calling?  

And doesn’t God use people to do his work in much of what He does? Does he just use preachers, prophets and teachers?

I believe those who believe the average church member has no calling to evangelize or witness to people because of John 6:44, have a serious misunderstanding. The result of this is that the good news doesn’t get shared as much as it could be.

I know a lady who came happily for the first time to seventh day sabbath services, which she learned from reading certain magazines. But when she entered the church hall, she spotted one of her best friends there. Short story: her best friend had never shared the truth of God’s word with this newcomer  because the member felt there was no point. That was God’s job to open her mind (she reasoned), or maybe it was up to the ministers. She felt that wasn’t her job. So she never ever shared the joy of the wondrous truth she knew.

The newcomer was so shocked, hurt and appalled that someone who had the Pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46), or had the message of the truth, did not think she should share it with her own best friend. The newcomer walked out of the building. I don’t know if she ever came back. The newcomer saw it as an act of profound selfishness. We have the Pearl of Great Price. Show it, share it, talk about it.

True, God IS the one who must first call people.  But please understand, God uses PEOPLE – people like you and me – to share the good news. He doesn’t use just ministers and preachers.

Let me show you a couple great examples of average church members sharing Christ and God’s kingdom with others. They didn’t wait for ordained ministers to do it. This blog may be a challenge for some of you who have grown comfortable not having to speak God’s word to anyone.

You surely know the story of the deacon Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts 7. Please read the end of the story here if you’re not familiar with it (Acts 7:51-60).

As a result of Stephen’s murder or martyrdom, a great persecution broke out and the enemy started rounding up believers in Christ everywhere and throwing them into jail.  Some were martyred. As a result, many of them fled Jerusalem. The apostles stayed, but the regular brethren left town.

Acts 8:1-5   “Now Saul [became known as Paul] was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were ALL scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.

2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.  3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”

Please focus now on verses 1 and 4: the regular brethren – NOT the apostles – were scattered and went everywhere PREACHING the WORD (v. 4)!  They didn’t know which people God in heaven was calling or would call, so they preached the word to everyone they could, starting with the Jews.

Would you or your brethren where you attend right now have done that? Or would you have remained silent and played it safe? After all, believers in Christ were being imprisoned (v. 3). So just be quiet, right? And just let God call people, since preaching is not what the regular brethren do, right?  Wrong.

The scattered brethren started by sharing the Good News just to Jews and later to Hellenized Jews – Jews who adopted Greek culture.  

Again, remember those who were scattered were not the apostles but regular church members. They did not just sit back while claiming “there’s no point in sharing what we know because I don’t know if God has called them or not.” Got it?  So what happens next?

Acts 11:19-21  “Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but the Jews only. 20 But some of them were men from Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they had come to Antioch, spoke to the Hellenists, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21. And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number believed and turned to the Lord.”-- BECAUSE OF The WORK of the brethren sharing the word. 

Read Acts 11:22-26 next and see how this witnessing resulted in having a solid congregation in Antioch.  Result of what? Of regular brethren sharing the Word, sharing the Lord Jesus with everyone they could. At this point they didn’t realize God would call Gentiles as well! But they didn’t wait for ministers to do the witnessing. They didn’t just remain quiet. There comes a point where you’re so full of the joy and love for Messiah in you that you can’t contain it anymore. You have to say something! (Acts 4:20)

Are you seeing the point? God calls, yes. But He uses you and me to speak to and share with those He’s calling. In my sermon I’ll show how.

After Stephen’s death, another deacon – PHILIP – not Philip the apostle but Philip the deacon, went to Samaria and shared the gospel there. Result: multitudes came to be believers! Again, this was not one of the apostles.

Acts 8:5-8  “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed, and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city.”  Continue reading Acts 8:9-12.

After the preaching in Samaria, Philip again approached a man he had never met before, think of it! He shared with the Ethiopian Eunuch the redemptive story of Yeshua/Jesus. You can read the story by hovering over Acts 8:26-40, and see how Philip preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:35-40), resulting in this eunuch being baptized right then and there.

I’ll say more in the full-fledged sermon on witnessing. We have a VITAL part in working with those God is calling and helping them become one of the chosen and who remains faithful to the end, so they come with Christ at his return (Revelation 17:14). I’ll describe HOW we do it in a tasteful way that results in people coming to Christ.

Some years back, while flying back to Portland from a conference in New Orleans, I shared my sabbath beliefs with one of my associates. We had not planned to sit together but that’s how it worked out. The short story is that he and his family became 7th day sabbath keepers some months later and now he in turn has taught ME a lot about sharing God’s word with others. They’ve been instrumental in bringing many neighbors to Christ and to the truth.

Read Philippians 1:12-14. There Paul makes it clear that while he was in chains, the brethren became bolder to speak out the word of God. Something similar is found in 1 Thess. 1:6-8. 

The seed of God’s word gets planted and it won’t come back empty (Isaiah 55:11).  How blessed we are to be able to help get the Seed out! 

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