It’s a Real Fight

Ephesians 6:12

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Matthew 24:24

“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

I have two points I’d like everyone to consider before getting into this.

First, this information is years old.  My eldest daughter keeps sniggering at me, because I’m so far behind the curve on all of this stuff.  She’s been aware for years, but never wanted to get into with me.  I’ve always said that Conspiracy Theorists are a bunch of loons.  Facts, however, are facts.  It’s impossible to deny documented information and direct quotes.

Second, this all has to do with the Vatican and their role in the UFO and alien topic. I personally have serious doubts about the leadership in Rome when the Pope came out not long ago in favor of evolution.  Why evolution is anti-biblical is outside the scope of what I want to cover here.  Suffice it to say that both the geologic record and theology disprove evolution conclusively.

I wrote on the geologic record in 2014. Here’s the link, if you want at least the geologic reasons evolution isn’t supported by the fossil record: https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2014/05/03/evolution-and-the-geologic-record/

In short, I’m extremely leery of the Roman Catholic church at the top. I am in no way am questioning the Christianity of Roman Catholics, their sincerity, or their salvation.  Not my job.  If their beliefs are in line with scripture, who am I to argue otherwise?

Here we go –

This is a summary of an article about the L.U.C.I.F.E.R. Device, owned at least in part by the Vatican, operated by the Vatican right next to the Vatican Observatory on Mt. Graham in Tucson. Obviously, it’s an acronym for the descriptive name it was given.  It isn’t a perfect match, and my first question has to be, “Couldn’t they have come up with just about any other name?!?”

To my first caveat above, the article came out 1/29/2013.

The authors visited said observatory to learn more about the facility, the Lucifer Device, and generally what the Vatican’s interest is in outer space. Their first stop was the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope or VATT.  The VATT is seven stories high!  Not exactly your backyard telescope.

“The primary mirror is so deeply-dished that the focus of the telescope is only as far above the mirror as the mirror is wide, thus allowing a structure that is about three times as compact as the previous generation of telescope designs.”

That’s the technical way of saying it’s state of the art and can see a damn long ways into space.

They asked “…the Jesuit Father on duty that day (whom we got on film) who told us that among the most important research occurring with the site’s Vatican astronomers is the quest to pinpoint certain extrasolar planets and advanced alien intelligence.”

Um…

Indeed, the openness with which the Father discussed UFOs “…stunned us as we sat in the control room, listening to him…speak so casually of the redundancy with which UFOs are captured on screens darting through the heavens…we were shocked at this, how ordinary it seemed to be.”

They also had an interview with Jesuit priest, Guy Consolmagno. Guy often acts the Vatican’s spokesman.  He is a leading astronomer and has “…worked at NASA and taught at Harvard and MIT…”

Bypassing all of the blah-blah-blah and cutting to the chase, Consolmagno shared with them a private article in pdf, “…in which he admits how contemporary societies will soon ‘look to The Aliens to be the Saviours of humankind.’”

He actually uses the story of the Nephilim from Genesis to present a theologically sound position that humans are not the only intelligence created by God. The authors’ reaction?

“Did the Vatican’s top astronomer actually mean to use the story of the Nephilim from the Bible as an example of the kind of “space saviors” man could soon look to for salvation?”

That’s a pretty wild thing to even hint at! The Nephilim (giants) described in Genesis were the product of fallen angels bastardizing the human gene pool.  The goal?  Ruin the line to Eve’s Seed and thence salvation.  They are the reason given for the Flood and the Israel’s reluctance to conquer Canaan when God said to.

How would the fallen angels and their evil offspring become mankind’s saviour?

“Observatory director, Father Josè Funes who has gone equally far, suggesting that alien life not only exists in the universe and is ‘our brother’ but will, when manifested, confirm the ‘true’ faith of Christianity and the dominion of Rome.”

True faith?!? I seem to recall Jesus being quoted as saying. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No man comes to the Father but by me.”  Call me crazy, but He spoke in first Person singular.  No room for adding in additional saviours and information.

As the authors dug deeper, questioned more, and followed up, they were told “…how some Vatican theologians accept the possibility that an extraterrestrial species may exist that is morally superior to men—closer to God than we fallen humans are—and that, as a consequence, they may come here to evangelize us. Father Guy Consolmagno took up this same line of thinking…in his book, Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist…”

Weird enough for you yet? Can you imagine being required to renounce your faith in favor of a more enlightened understanding from those evangelizing aliens?  Father Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti can.

The good Father is an Opus Dei theologian of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

“Giuseppe states this would not immediately oblige the Christian ‘to renounce his own faith in God simply on the basis of the reception of new, unexpected information of a religious character from extraterrestrial civilizations,’ but that such a renunciation could come soon after as the new ‘religious content’ originating from outside the Earth is confirmed as reasonable and credible…(and may require) conducting a re-reading [of the Gospel] inclusive of the new data…’”  (emphasis added)

And, according to former Vatican Observatory vice director, Christopher Corbally –

“…While Christ is the First and the Last Word (the Alpha and the Omega) spoken to humanity, he is not necessarily the only word spoke to the universe…”  (emphasis added)

Which brings us to the reason for The Lucifer Device.

“LUCIFER is curiously described on the Vatican Observatory website as ‘NASA AND THE VATICAN’S INFRARED TELESCOPE CALLED [LUCIFER]—A German built, NASA and The Vatican owned and funded Infrared Telescope… for looking at NIBIRU/NEMESIS.’… Nibiru and Nemesis are hypothetical planets that supposedly return in orbit close to the earth after very long periods of time. They have been connected in modern myth with ‘Planet X’.”

Lucifer is an infrared telescope. Why would someone want that?  Some UFOs cannot be seen with the naked eye; only infrared.  We only ever see camera phone videos on TV and YouTube.  They are shaky, unfocused, and rarely definitive.  However, “…some of the most astonishing UFOs ever caught on film have been recorded with infrared.”

So the Vatican is interested in UFOs and aliens. It is prepared to accept a different, “enlightened” gospel from what they had been entrusted with.  Further, they are willing to compel the faithful to renounce their faith in favor of an “alien’s” story, it’s enlightened version of God and the Bible.

If you want to see the whole article with much more detail, here is the link: http://www.timetobelieve.com/2013/01/l-u-c-i-f-e-r-project/

For further information, following is a list of articles with their links and some key quotes from each.

ALIEN LIFE FULL DISCLOSURE VATICAN & NASA NOW TALKING (2012)

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrBT9G78k1X.LQA2EBXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA2Noci15aWUxMQRncHJpZAMxcG5qM29NdVFrNjlLYmpaS3RuVE1BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMzBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzIxBHF1ZXJ5A3ZhdGljYW4lMjBvbiUyMGFsaWVucwR0X3N0bXADMTQ2NDcyNjQ1OA–?p=vatican+on+aliens&fr2=sb-top-search&fr=chr-yie11

“Allow science to lead us…without going into it with ideology.”

How would it change the church’s teaching?

“Maybe our understanding of perennial truths needs to be updated…How God created…it’s not about the question of original sin, the Adam & Eve story, but how that played out.”

We have to make sure that science is not in some way ideologically driven. We have to make sure that religion and faith are not ideologically driven.  Faith and reason go together.”  Father Jonathon  Morris on Fox News.

Vatican Astronomers Believe In Aliens by Elliot Hill

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrBT9G78k1X.LQA2EBXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA2Noci15aWUxMQRncHJpZAMxcG5qM29NdVFrNjlLYmpaS3RuVE1BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMzBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzIxBHF1ZXJ5A3ZhdGljYW4lMjBvbiUyMGFsaWVucwR0X3N0bXADMTQ2NDcyNjQ1OA–?p=vatican+on+aliens&fr2=sb-top-search&fr=chr-yie11

“Who says religion can’t adapt and change with the times, eh?”

Father Jose Funes, Dir of Vatican Observatory in Rome – “It is probably there was life and perhaps a form of intelligent life…I don’t think we’ll ever meet a Mr. Spock.”

“The Pope is recognizing change and he’s recognizing science…need to make religion and Catholicism relevant.” This is about the growing secularization of society. It’s about survival.

Vatican’s man says Aliens exist & describes them – 2014

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrBT9G78k1X.LQA2EBXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA2Noci15aWUxMQRncHJpZAMxcG5qM29NdVFrNjlLYmpaS3RuVE1BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMzBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzIxBHF1ZXJ5A3ZhdGljYW4lMjBvbiUyMGFsaWVucwR0X3N0bXADMTQ2NDcyNjQ1OA–?p=vatican+on+aliens&fr2=sb-top-search&fr=chr-yie11

What would you say to those who say aliens are already around us?

We can’t think any longer whether it’s true or false…These beings are real. We can’t have doubts.

Aliens in the Vatican

https://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AwrBT9G78k1X.LQA2EBXNyoA;_ylc=X1MDMjc2NjY3OQRfcgMyBGZyA2Noci15aWUxMQRncHJpZAMxcG5qM29NdVFrNjlLYmpaS3RuVE1BBG5fcnNsdAMwBG5fc3VnZwMzBG9yaWdpbgNzZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzIxBHF1ZXJ5A3ZhdGljYW4lMjBvbiUyMGFsaWVucwR0X3N0bXADMTQ2NDcyNjQ1OA–?p=vatican+on+aliens&fr2=sb-top-search&fr=chr-yie11

Giants Old Testament Slaughter Greek Gods Bigfoot and Technology Part 1

https://jeffreyhking.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/giants-old-testament-slaughter-greek-gods-bigfoot-and-technology-part-1/

How to Be a Christian?

2 Timothy 3:16

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,…”

It seems it should be such a simple question. Love God above all, love one another as you love yourself.  There we go.  End of article.  Right?

Not so much. I’ve been reading a translation of Eusebius.  He was an ancient Greek historian, his approximate birth and death being roughly A.D. 260-339.  Modern church historians depend heavily upon him for early church history.  He drew from his first-hand knowledge of the church as well his vast collection of historical, primary documents.  His goal was to provide a definitive, full length history from the Christian perspective from the 1st century to the 4th.

He succeeded so well that others after him continued his history after he died. Socrates was among those who continued his work.  This chain of contributors would, in large part, set the mold for how history would be recorded for the next thousand years.  (source, Wikipedia)

He and the church fathers before him wrote extensively, all being much of the Greek philosophical bent. One would publish a heresy.  Another would write volumes in refutation.  I’m reasonably sure we aren’t the first generation to suffer carpal tunnel syndrome.  Philosophers on both sides absolutely churned out amazing volumes of…volumes.

I’ve been reading Eusebius’ accounts of Origen, who spanned roughly A.D 184-253. From Wikipedia-

”He was a prolific writer in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality written in Greek. He was anathemised at the Second Council of Constantinople.”

He spent a lot of time at the office. I couldn’t help thinking after reading for a number of pages about all his writings, that he never got out there.  I started looking at him as an ivory tower Christian.

Turn the page.

He was tortured severely for his faith while in his 60’s’. He never gave in.  He never recovered and died three years later from his injuries.

Origen studied scripture, but he also applied it. He not only knew that love for God and man were important, but he knew why! He could explain it to you, give you understanding gained by his own countless hours of study.

Not all of his writings are in complete agreement with apostolic teachings of the original 12. It seems he may have gotten a few things wrong, as he was blotted from church history at one point, but preserved by the Greeks.

My point in all this is that modern day Christians know they are supposed to do good works, but they don’t know why! It isn’t to get to heaven, but to feed our faith, to be a loving response to God.  They know they believe in God, but they don’t really know His nature.  They don’t really know why they believe.  If challenged on their faith, if confronted with a non-believer – especially one with rack or boiling pot of oil –  who might convert who?

I used to blow off Revelations. It’s a tough read.  I figured I can’t do anything about it, so why get twisted up trying to figure it out.  Live a God-pleasing life and trust Him to sort it out, to run His plan as He decides.

As nice and logical as that might sound, it’s WRONG! Why?  In Matthew 24, the Olivet Discourse, which might be described as a Revelations preview, Jesus says,

“Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many…12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold…24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand. 26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it.

Jesus did not just tell us to love God and man to fulfill the commandments, he warned us about what will happen in the end days. If we aren’t prepared, things could happen that will strip us of our faith, because we didn’t take heed.

If, however, we make ourselves ready by absorbing the Bible cover-to-cover, we can run into trials and instead of saying, this is beating me up; time to quit, we can say, almost there! Bad time to give up!

How can we share Christ when we don’t understand Him, because we haven’t taken time to study His Word? How can we love and survive and protect ourselves if we haven’t put on the armor of God’s Word?

Don’t confine yourself to the familiar Gospels and Bible stories! That’s shallow!  It’s one step.  Start at Genesis and keep going until you finish Revelations.  Then go back and do it again.  When you read the New Testament, following the notes referring back to Old Testament scripture and go back.  Read that OT passage in context again.  Learn the connections.

How to be a Christian? A careful balance between loving it and studying it.

When the Grave Grabs Ahold

“Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!”  Mark 9:23-25

Over the last year and a half I’ve seen half a dozen friends and acquaintances get cancer. About half of those do not have a good prognosis.  At all.  It stinks.  And it’s scary.

They’re being eaten alive. The doctors try to hold the inevitable at bay, but pushing out the finish line a little is about all they can do.  One I know through work watched two of his own family go, and then was diagnosed himself right on top of that.  Some are Christian, some not.  I don’t know how those without faith can cope.  I’m not always sure anymore how those with faith do it.  Some are keeping the faith.  It just obviously isn’t easy anymore.

I’ve had three brushes with death. It seems at least some of my physical make-up came from the shallow end of the gene pool.  So I feel I have a slightly better understanding than most of our mutual friends as to what it feels like when the tendrils of the grave snake out like a horror movie monster and grab ahold.

I’m watching the inexorable slide to the open tomb, fingers leaving furrows in the ground as each one seeks one last hold on life. Not gonna happen, though.  Life is one huge spoiler alert.  From our youngest days we’ve seen this movie over and over.  Great grand parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, our contemporaries.  Sometimes the end is a mega-volt shock.

With cancer it’s happening in slow motion, just like a replay of a gruesome sports injury. Remember Joe Theismann?  We’re not allowed to look away.  Hell, we can’t even close our eyes.  Now it’s just a matter of how much longer it will last.  How much more it will hurt.  The tendrils of sin and death have laid their inevitable claim.  It is their historic due thanks to one lousy choice Adam and Eve made on humanity’s behalf.  Did I say thank you?  No?  Good!

I once felt I had great faith. No more.  I have faith, but it isn’t the confident, sin-do-your-worst, bring-it-on faith I thought I had.  Now it’s more like, I’ll do this but I’ll probably scream like a little girl en route (my apologies to little girls).  Kinda like talking smack about riding the baddest roller coaster on the planet…right up to the moment you summit the first big hill, then wish you’d stuck with the merry-go-round.

My first look at my torso after my last operation made me cry. I saw that fresh, eight-incher along with the double-bypass scar and three others, and I just had to lose it.  My only upside was the possibility that I might get work as a body double if they ever do another Frankenstein movie.  These cancer victims makes my situation look like a series of paper cuts.

I’m writing this, hoping to figure out SOMETHING that’ll make sense by the end. Before starting, I went to biblegateway.com and entered “Salvation” for the search.  I almost searched “Death,” but I feel like I’ve got more than enough data on that right now.  I knew I’d need something positive by the time I got just part way through this.  There are over 100 entries.  Most are in Psalms:

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  Psalm 18:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?  Psalm 27:1-3

But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvationPsalm 69:12-14

But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me.  Psalm 69:28-30

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.  Psalm 119:80-82

My eyes fail, looking for your salvation, looking for your righteous promise.  Psalm 119:122-124

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”  Isaiah 12:1-3

Did you read those? I mean REALLY read them well and slowly?  Did you feel the sometimes confidence?  The sometimes cry of barely-there belief?

Did you notice where the focus is every time? Not on self, but on The Rock, the One and Only, the Never-Say-Die Forgiver From Before Time, The Father who loves you and me…despite our being the wretched children of Adam and Eve, riddled with sin and disease, and ensnared in the tendrils of the grave, dragging us to our doom.  Fast or slow.

And, when we land with a sickening thud in the soft, wet dirt of that grave, just before the ugly, fanged mouth at the base of those tendrils takes a bite, something will happen. We’ll see a light.  A bolt hole that we always – usually – believed was there  will pop open.  A strong hand with a hole in it will shoot out and tell the beast, “This one’s Mine,” and pull us out of our corpsey shell and out of the grave.  And into His marvelous light.

Some of us will die with few trials. A car wreck, a plane crash, or something in our sleep and pffft!  Some of us leave pieces of ourselves along the way like lepers.  Our faith is challenged, the great Satan whispering wonderful-sounding warnings in our ears about what bull manure this whole salvation thing really is.  He whispers that we don’t believe enough, we’re not good enough, we’re not (your temptation here) enough.

And that’s the trick, isn’t it? He’s putting the focus back on us.  He’s pulling our eyes off of God and back into the mirror.  It’s the First Commandment.  Why not start tempting from the top down?  It worked on Adam and Eve.  Should work on their children.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”  Philippians 2:11-13

Yup. Fear and trembling.  ‘Cause that ol’ Devil is prowling around, looking for someone stupid enough, unguarded enough, to listen to his crap.  It’s so easy to say “Enough!”  It would seem to be such a relief to quit fighting it and yield to the supposed inevitable.

Sometimes he wins on the first swing. Sometimes he bunts his way to victory.  He wears us down like water dripping on stone.

But we don’t have to fight alone. Jesus fought the battle for us and won.  All we need do is ride His coattails.  Keep praying and believing.  Ask for help when you need it.  It’s there.

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvationHebrews 1:13-14

Sometimes I say I believe with a lump in my throat. Sometimes I’m a giant with thick-veined biceps bulging with faith; Arnold Schwartzenfaither.  Just sometimes.

God gives us more than angels, though. He gives us each other.  That’s why we are exhorted to gather together, build each other up, and study the scriptures.  Focus on The Author of Life and not ourselves.

I felt pretty lousy as I started writing this. It’s taken a couple hours to get to this last part.  But I feel OK at this point.  I stopped looking at myself for now and re-focused on God.

Maybe that’s how they do it. Maybe their God-focus is better than mine.  Which is why I need to continue to work on my own salvation with fear and trembling.  Just so I don’t lose it.

Making Euthanasia Fun!

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

I’ve had several posts regarding abortion and euthanasia:

  • 10/12/14 I Love You Enough to Kill You
  • 10/08/14 When to Die
  • 10/05/14 Father Knows Best

It’s easier to talk ourselves and others into killing people when we can’t see what we’re killing and are careful not to call it “human.” So abortion becomes a commonplace, acceptable “medical procedure” and an issue of “women’s health.”  That begs the question, what about the health of the baby in the womb?  Also, what about women’s mental health? There are many stories of women who bear horrible guilt over having aborted their babies.

Let’s visit the other end of that murderous spectrum: euthanasia for old folks and the mentally handicapped. We decide we can’t really empathize with someone who’s retarded.  They aren’t really thinking anything , right?  It’s a lousy way to live.  What the heck; let’s kill ‘em.  Not so, you say?  Already being done in Holland.

“…euthanasia in Holland has trebled in the space of a year, new figures have revealed. In 2013, a total of 42 people with ‘severe psychiatric problems’ were killed by lethal injection compared to 14 in 2012 and 13 in 2011.”  Check Father Knows Best above.

Euthanasia. Sounds kinda peaceful, doesn’t it?

Same posting, discussing killing the elderly; the basic argument is that, with low quality of life and inability to contribute to society, maybe “…we’ll at least consider suicide as a socially approved alternative to living longer. I mean, why be a burden to our loved ones or society?”

And now, unbelievably, someone has invented what he calls the Euthanasia Roller Coaster. Seriously.  It’s designed to pull excessive  forces for an extended period that will cause the riders/victims to die from oxygen starvation of the brain.  Most experts think it’ll just be unpleasant and likely make someone pretty sick, but WHAT KIND OF MIND THINKS UP THIS STUFF?!?

To paraphrase the inventor, it’ll be a fun way to go. Your last experience on earth will be a roller coaster ride!  How cool is that?

He also says he’s not necessarily promoting euthanasia, but this would be a decent way to do it.

I wonder, can you switch the track to a non-lethal, short course where you only pass out and not die? I mean, for those who might want to ride it more than once.  When you’ve thrilled yourself out and are done with this earth, you can give them the thumbs-up, er, -down, to switch to the lethal course.

Read the article yourself. It’s one more desensitizing mechanism to make killing certain segments of the population acceptable.

“Euthanasia rollercoaster will be the last thrill you ever get” http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3402836/The-white-knuckle-ride-death-Euthanasia-rollercoaster-thrill-experts-warn-spend-final-moments-feeling-SICK.html

The Harbinger and the Shemitah, Part 4

The Mystery of the Shemitah by Rabbi Jonathon Cahn, an overview

I think the majority of people are aware of the Jewish Sabbath. Just as God worked on creation for six days and rested on the seventh, so He commanded that His nation of Israel should work six days and keep a Sabbath day of rest on the seventh.

Less familiar to non-Jews would be the Sabbath year, the Shemitah. From Leviticus chapter 25:

“When you come to the Land which I give you, then the land will keep a Sabbath to the Lord. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years shall you prune your vineyard, and gather its fruits; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord.”

During that seventh, Sabbath year, no work was done on the land. Anyone who was hungry was allowed to forage in any field.  Everyone owned everything.  They relied on God and not their own labors.  Indeed, whatever grew on its own was called “hefker,” meaning “without an owner.”

Also, at the end of seven years, all debts were erased. Everyone got a fresh start.  From Deuteronomy 15:1-2:

“At the end of seven years you shall grant a release of debts. And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called the Lord’s release.”

That date on the Hebrew calendar is Elul 29. That is the last day of the Hebrew calendar year.  The Hebrew day instituted by God at creation begins at sunset.  Our modern way of reckoning days observes the passage from one day to the next comes at midnight.  Jews, however, see that cusp as the time of sunset.

That release mentioned above is called “Shemitah.” It is most often translated as “the release” or “the remission.”  So Shemitah became the name of the last day of the last year in the seven year cycle.  Rabbi Cahn writes that “…everything about the Shemitah year builds up to that final day, when everything is released, remitted, and wiped away in one day – or more specifically, to the eve of that day, to the final sunset.”

So the Shemitah year levels everything. It also calls for absolute dependence on God, since no farming was done.  It clears away material attachments and is an act of submission to God.  The Shemitah addresses both the financial and economic realms.  With all debt cancelled, you can see where it bears some resemblance to a financial and economic collapse.  No production is done and no loans are collected; they are cancelled.  The ledger sheets are wiped clean.

Next: the ruins and bondage of ancient Israel.

The Harbinger, and Now the Shemitah Part 3

The Mystery of the Shemitah by Rabbi Jonathon Cahn, an overview

Before delving into the mystery of the Shemitah, Rabbi Cahn reviews in brief the nine harbingers/warnings that were seen both by ancient Israel before its destruction and their modern appearance to the United States of America.

The First Harbinger: The Breach

The nation’s security is breached. For ancient Israel; in 732 BC the nation’s hedge of protection was breached by a an enemy attack.  It was temporary and contained, but shook the nation, hopefully to return to God.  For the United States, 9/11.

The Second Harbinger: The Terrorist

The opening strike was not just military, it was an act of terrorism. For ancient Israel, the masterminds of the attack were the Assyrians, the world’s first terrorists.  For the United States, 9/11 was carried out by their “spiritual children” who even used the sister language of the first Assyrians in executing their plan.  American soldiers would eventually fight on Assyrian soil.

The Vow of Defiance

Israel’s vow of defiance is recorded in Isaiah 9:10; “The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with hewn stone; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will plant cedars in their place.” Senator Tom Daschle used quoted that exact verse in a speech to rally the nation, apparently unaware that he was using words of defiance against God.  He should have prayed for God’s strength, not rally the nation to rely on their own strength.

The Third Harbinger: The Fallen Bricks

For ancient Israel, this was the heaps of rubble the Assyrians left them. For the United States, it was the wreckage of the Twin Towers.

The Fourth Harbinger: The Tower

Ancient Israel vowed to rebuild bigger and better walls, dwellings, and towers. The United States built the so-called Freedom Tower, the biggest object of defiance ever erected on American soil.

The Fifth Harbinger: The Gazit Stone

The people carve a massive rectangular block of stone from mountain rock and place it at the site of destruction. Ancient Israel rebuilt with stone cut from the surrounding mountains.  The United States chiseled out a massive, 2 ton block from the mountains of New York state and placed on the floor of Ground Zero in a ceremony, during which American leaders spoke vows of national defiance.

The Sixth Harbinger: The Sycamore

The Assyrians struck down ancient Israel’s sycamore trees in the course of their attack. In the United States, the sycamore which stood next to St. Paul’s chapel on the corner of Ground Zero was destroyed as it took the hits from falling debris, saving the chapel from a single impact.  You might recall this is where George Washington  met with the first congress and prayed for the nation’s health as well as acknowledging that turning from God would mean loss of His Countenance.

The Seventh Harbinger: The Erez Tree

“But we will plant cedars in its place.” Ancient Israel planted Erez (cedar) trees, which was a sign of their resolve to come back stronger than before.  In the United States, a Hebrew Erez tree was planted in the exact spot next to St. Paul’s chapel where the sycamore was destroyed.  It was named the Tree of Hope.  It withered and had to be removed.

The Eighth Harbinger: The Utterance

A national leader utters the vow of Isaiah 9:10. Ancient Israel’s utterance is recorded in Isaiah 9:10.  Senator Tom Daschel quote that scripture to rally the nation on September 12, apparently unaware of its context.  On the third anniversary of 9/11, those words were used again.

The Ninth Harbinger: The Prophecy

A national leader utters the vow, making it part of the national record. For ancient Israel, this was recorded by Isaiah.  Senator Daschel spoke at a congressional caucus, making his words of prophecy part of the national record.

These are the Nine Harbingers reviewed by Rabbi Cahn to start The Mystery of the Shemitah. You see, God uses these harbingers, these warnings, to get the nation’s attention to return to Him.  He does it in a very organized way.  He organizes it according to His ancient institution of the Shemitah, given through Moses at Mt. Sinai.  It all happens down to the day, even the hour of the Shemitah.

Next: Defining the Shemitah

The Harbinger, Overview Part 2

The Harbinger by Rabbi Jonathon Cahn; an overview

The last installment left off with the USA having it’s start as the destination of those seeking relief from religious prosecution, an Exodus from Europe to start their own New Israel. The first full meeting of our government with President Washington and the full congress was at St. Paul’s Chapel in the nation’s capital of New York City, and Washington’s prayer/prophecy concerning faithfulness to God and His providence for the country.

The church had a sycamore tree planted on the property near the church. It grew over the years until September 11, 2011.  It died that day, killed by falling debris from the Twin Towers.  As it took the punishment of the wreckage, it’s end protected the church itself from any damage.  Not so much as a window was broken.  That church is known as The Miracle of Ground Zero, the only structure in that area to escape any real damage.  It was used for months as a staging area for rescue and relief, which I find appropriate.  Ground Zero itself was, at the time of Washington’s prayer, part of that church’s property.

So, on the very soil that saw the first meeting of our government, a shaking occurred to hopefully call the country back to God. For three weeks, the country’s churches were filled with frightened citizens looking for…something.  An explanation?  Reassurance?  No one can really say for certain, other than it was not for penitence.  After three weeks, attendance dropped back to previous levels.  The shaking God sent caused no more than a collective snort of a snore before we rolled back over and to sleep.

How do we know this was a shaking sent from God and not just one of those lousy things that happens in an increasingly rotten world?

The answer lies in Isaiah 9:10. Isaiah was the prophet sent by God to a rebellious Jewish nation to deliver a shaking in the form of prophecy.  God would send disaster.  It was also predicted that Israel would pay no heed.  Isaiah 9:9-10:

“9 All the people will know— Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria— Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: 10 ‘The bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with hewn stones; The sycamores are cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.’”

Bricks refer to inferior building materials, as they were made of straw and mud. Hewn stone means they would take native rock out of the hills and use that.  Likewise, the cedar is a much stronger tree than the sycamore.  The meaning is that Israel would rely on its own strength and ability to plant and quarry instead of relying on God.

So what happened on September 11? The sycamore was destroyed.  Its remains, including its roots which contained a brick, were displayed as a memorial to the disaster.  What happened later?  A conifer tree of a cedar type was planted in the exact same spot the sycamore had stood!  I also recently learned that the cedar that was planted in the place of the sycamore is withered away.  They tried to prune it, hold it up with ropes…anything to keep it alive.  But it continued to wither along with the plantings around it.  It is a symbol of America’s continued withering as it refuses to return to God.

So that takes care of the sycamore, the cedar, and the brick. Now, the hewn stone.

When the new tower was set to get started, a 2 ton block of hewn store, cut from the mountains of New York state, was laid as a ceremonial cornerstone for the new tower, which our country would build bigger and better than what had stood there before.

Sound like a familiar refrain?

Other connections are the speeches given by our government leaders regarding September 11, 2001.

Senator Tom Daschle delivered a speech before Congress on September 12 to rally the nation. In it he quoted Isaiah 9:10, omitting the verse 9 which condemned the attitude of verse 10.  He used the same words of defiance the Israelites used to proclaim our coming ascendency.  He thereby invited judgement on the nation as he spoke on its behalf.

President Obama did the exact same thing, employing a paraphrase of Isaiah 9:10 years later in a speech observing the anniversary of September 11.  As if one government official unwittingly inviting judgement was not enough.  Obama also WROTE those defiant words on the final beam to be placed at the top of the new tower at Ground Zero.  This placed those defiant words at the highest point of the highest building in America.

Altogether Jonathon Cahn, a Christian Rabbi, cites nine harbingers sent to warn the United States of the destruction it faces without repentance of its ways:

And there is more to come in The Mystery of the Shemitah.

Heaven or Hell? YOU Choose!

I’ve been reading “thelovemanifesto” for a time now. He is a Christian turned atheist.  We have traded some arguments – and I mean that in the sense of a debate – pro & con regarding Christianity.  He reads and thinks a lot, and has a good mind.  Other Christians visit his site and offer their own answers to the positions he has taken.  While maintaining his own beliefs, he listens fairly.

Earlier this week he had a post about hell. He and at least one other decried Christianity, because a loving God wouldn’t condemn someone to an eternity in hell for a sin that maybe lasted seconds or minutes.  He also stated quite emphatically – and quite correctly – that if Christians really believed in hell, they would spend every waking minute trying to warn people away from that fate.  Instead we go to church on Sunday and forget about it the rest of the week.  A great many Christians do work at spreading the Gospel; you just don’t always hear about them or see them.

The one analogy he used that is really very impactful is this: a loving God wouldn’t send us to hell for eternity due to a temporal disobedience. It would be like a father watching his toddler heading for the street, busy with cars.  That father would run to his child’s rescue, of course!  He wouldn’t stand on the sidewalk and say, “You’re getting what you deserve for not listening to me.”

My answer to that at the time was that I know intuitively that the premises are wrong somehow. He might have come to a completely logical conclusion, but his conclusion was wrong based on faulty premises.  I could only tell him that I knew it was wrong and couldn’t pinpoint it.  Kind of like when your subconscious assures you of something without telling you how it arrived at that conclusion.  Not a terribly satisfactory answer, but all I had at the time.

Driving many hours this week, I’ve had plenty of time to think about this. I suddenly realized what was wrong.  The general situation he composed does not accurately reflect our relationship with God and our situation as regards our eternal destiny.  I offer what I am sure is an accurate analogy.

Hopefully, he and you have seen “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” He and his father, Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) try to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis (“I really hate these guys”).  And yes, Indiana is Henry Jones Jr.  He hated that name and adopted the dog’s name as a nickname – “I loved that dog!”

In the last sequence, the grail has been found, but carrying it past a threshold in the cavern causes the whole place to start falling apart. The floor splits open in huge fissures, swallowing people and equipment.  Ilsa (the bad gal) has the grail but falls, dropping the grail into a fissure.  She goes after it where it landed on a small ledge.  In doing so, she loses her grip and falls to her death.

Indiana tries his luck to grab it before the whole place caves in. He is desperate to save this relic, but he falls in and is hanging by his fingertips when a pair of strong hands grab one of his; it’s his dad.  And here’s where the analogy really starts.

Indy is reaching for the Grail. He even touches it with a fingertip but can’t get a hold on it.  Henry Sr. is losing his grip and calls to Indy to grab ahold with his other hand – “I can’t hold you, son!”

“But Dad, I’m almost there!”

Very quietly his father simply says, “Indy.” That breaks the spell and Indy looks up at his father.

“Let it go, Son.”

Indy grabs hold of his dad with both hands, leaving the grail to be lost forever in that fissure.

Now let me run this in again with my commentary added.

Indiana tries his luck to grab it before the whole place caves in. He is desperate to save this relic, but he falls in and is hanging by his fingertips when a pair of strong hands grab one of his; it’s his dad.

(INDY HAS STOPPED THINKING ABOUT HIS DAD, WHO HAD BEEN SHOT, THEN REVIVED THROUGH THE POWER OF THE GRAIL. HE ONLY HAD EYES FOR THE GRAIL – WHAT HE WANTED.)

James 4:2-4New King James Version (NKJV)

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet[a] you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and[b] adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

 

Indy is reaching for the Grail. He even touches it with a fingertip but can’t get a hold on it.  Henry Sr. is losing his grip and calls to Indy to grab ahold with his other hand – “I can’t hold you, son!”

(THE FATHER WANTS TO SAVE HIS SON, HIS CHILD WHOM HE LOVES. BUT SAVING HIM REQUIRES INDY ACCEPTING HIS FATHER’S SALVATION FROM THE FISSURE.  IT CAN BE ARGUED GOD NEEDS OUR HELP SINCE HE HAS GIVEN US FREE WILL ALLOWING US TO REJECT HIM.  PLUS, INDY IS IN THE FISSURE ALREADY.  HIS DAD DIDN’T PUT HIM THERE.  HE ENTERED AND STAYED OF HIS OWN FREE WILL.  IN THE SAME WAY WE ARE ALL IN A STATE OF CONDEMNATION BY REASON OF OUR SINFUL CHOICES.  GOD HASN’T PUT US HERE.  HE CAN LIFT US OUT, IF WE JUST CHOOSE TO ACCEPT HIS SALVATION.)

John 3:18

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

 

“But Dad, I’m almost there!”

(INDY WAS SO WRAPPED UP IN HIS PERSONAL DESIRES, THE TEMPTATION TO GRAB THE GRAIL AT ANY COST, THAT HE IS IN A STATE OF REJECING HIS DAD’S LIFE-SAVING EFFORTS. IF HE CONTINUES TO REJECT THEM, THERE WILL COME A POINT WHEN HE WILL FALL AWAY.  THEN IT’S TOO LATE.  NOTHING AND NO ONE COULD HELP HIM, BECAUSE HE CHOSE TO STAY IN THE FISSURE AND ACCEPT HIS DOOM – EVEN IF HE WASN’T SEEING IT THAT WAY.)

Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

 

 

Very quietly his father simply says, “Indy.” That breaks the spell and Indy looks up at his father.

(THIS WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT IN THE FILM. THE WORLD OF THAT CAVERN WAS IN CHAOS, LITERALLY FALLING TO PIECES AMID THE DIN OF DESCTRUCTION.  BUT THE DAD’S QUIET, LOVING CALLING OF HIS SON’S NAME BROKE THROUGH.)

John 10:3

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

 

 

“Let it go, Son.”

(IT WAS ENOUGH FOR INDY TO HEAR THAT MESSAGE OF SALVATION IN HIS NAME BEING SPOKEN. HE HEARD THE CALL TO LET GO OF HIS DESIRES AND LISTEN TO THE SIMPLE LOVE OF HIS FATHER.  HE THEN CHOSE TO FORGET HIS SELFISH DESIRES AND HIS ACCEPT HIS FATHER’S SALVATION.)

Deuteronomy 30:19 [Full Chapter]

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

 

 

Indy grabs hold of his dad with both hands, leaving the grail to be lost forever in that fissure.

(BOTH HANDS. LEAVING HIS MATERIAL DESIRE BEHIND.  WE NEED TO LEAVE OUR MATERIAL DESIRES BEHIND AND LISTEN TO GOD CALLING US.  ONE WAY GOD CALLS US IS THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE TALKING TO US.)

Hebrews 12:1-3 [Full Chapter]

[ The Race of Faith ] Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

 

God doesn’t condemn us; we are already condemned by sin. He just wants us to accept His salvation with both hands and let Him pull us out of the trouble we are in.

To: thelovemanifesto

The post at this link is a very interesting read. It highlights one of the biggest challenges to faith; the inerrancy of Scripture.  Not wanting to overwhelm thelovemanifesto in the comments section, I decided to offer my perspective here.

https://thelovemanifesto.wordpress.com/2015/12/25/my-story-the-greatest-question-of-them-all/#comment-1189

To thelovemanifesto: please accept this as an offering of things for you to consider.  In my heart, I see you as someone who is honestly searching and evaluating and doing so in an intelligent way.  What I offer you below are things that I have only recently come across myself.  I found myself quite amazed at what I’ve learned from others who have delved more deeply than I, perceived more clearly.  Like you, I’d given some credence to evolution.  I studied geology in college and was very well versed in the geologic layers.  It seemed inevitable.  I’ve learned otherwise since.

MY RESPONSE:

If you accept the idea that the Bible is prone to human error, then you are left with a problem; whose grain of salt do you use to weight the content? That approach makes the individual the final arbiter of the Bible’s meaning…but only individually.  I would propose that the-grain-of-salt method ultimately makes God’s Word – His message – unknowable by subjecting it to as many whims and perceptions as there are people.  Interpretations can and do range from literal readings to de-deifying Christ to the status of being merely a good and wise prophet.

The pivotal question in coming to the current conclusion of the Bible not being 100% God-inspired is this: “Who determined which books would be a part of the New Testament and which ones would not?”

This begs the question, “Who is more powerful; man or God?” The obvious answer is God, since he made the universe, including man.  If this is indeed so, is it then possible, even likely, that God, in His love and concern for us, would ensure the preservation of His Word through man?  Surely He would not leave us all adrift and allow His Word to be watered down with man’s fallibility.

“I thought that these books were all written by first hand encounters with Jesus.”

That is a very good question. Attribution is not always easy. Honestly, I started putting together a list of attributions and supporting data.  I realized – fortunately before getting very far – that it would be pointless.  If we accept that God inspires and influences men to ensure His Word remains as He would have it, this becomes a non-issue.  I read both links provided.  There is no denying that there were disagreements over NT canon.  Even Peter and Paul had it out at least once.  God’s work was done in their instance, as I believe God has done in NT canon.

The post is admittedly “an over-simplification, and not 100% accurate.” Indeed, this is a topic of many dissertations, books, articles…and blogs.  There is not enough space or attention span in any one venue to entertain a full discussion.  But I must refer us all back to the original question I propose; who do you trust to execute His will and purpose, who is more powerful and capable?  Once you answer that, everything else becomes moot.

One other thing I noticed; the Old Testament is painted with the same brush as the New Testament as far as inerrancy is concerned. While no reasons are given, this may well be a matter of the superficial treatment necessary in a blog.  I would like to offer the following as support for Old Testament inerrancy.

First, evolution does not fit biblically even with liberal interpretation. If you believe that God created man and that evolution was His method, you are left with a problem; God created everything in a perfect state, and then man sinned.  Death entered the world.  The primary driver of evolution is death.  If your genes don’t cut it in the current environment, you die, making room for someone with a better package.  That means God would have used death to “create” man.  If you accept evolution, a whole lot of theology goes down the drain, including sin, the need for Jesus, etc.  And those items are the whole point of the Bible.

I would encourage visiting https://answersingenesis.org/.  There are many books available on this issue.  Ken Hamm is the founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum outside Cincinnati, OH.

Also while at that site, find Already Gone, a scientific research project to discover why people, especially youth, are leaving the church. The results point toward the need that the bible fills and that modern churches do not.  One of its conclusions is that Sunday School is a major contributing factor…to youth leaving, not staying!  I wholeheartedly agree, as I recall the inane tortures Sunday School!

Next, go to Amazon.com and find The Exodus Case by Dr. Lennart Moller. He researched a number of archeological finds that support a literal reading of Exodus.  If you see two DVDs suggested along with the book, I recommend those as well.

Ultimately, the Bible is the first among books. However, if we do not read widely and critically, we will not improve our understanding of both God and the world as His creation.  Why do many Christians simply spout Scripture in response to questions and issues?  My theory is that they are not literate enough where the Bible intersects the world and can’t connect the two meaningfully.  Learning as much as possibly about that intersection has become my mission.

Please accept this in the spirit of Christian love and sharing.  If  I have come across any other way, I ask your forgiveness.

The American Remnant

“Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”   I Kings 19:18

I often pray for The United States of America. I ask God to restore our faith as a country, to make us a strong nation again as we once were when our strength was in Him. It’s a prayer that is getting harder to pray.

I’m starting to think that we, as a country, will not revere God as we once did. Atheists have taken over the government and the media. Politicians no longer dare to call for a day of prayer for anything as was the case so few decades ago. The atheists who are fairly well in control these days forbid it, because, you see, they are not content to have their own beliefs. They want to destroy everyone else’s faith. Why else would they spend every ounce of their energy to tear down any public reference to God? Why else would they create an environment where Christians have become afraid to even admit their faith, let alone actively witness to lost souls?

Christians have been cast as the intolerant ones even as those who gave us that brand have no tolerance for us.

We are not at the same stage as Elijah who prayed to God lamenting that he was the only one left in all of Israel who believed. God opened his eyes to the truth. God reassured Elijah that there was indeed a remnant of believers left with him. God encouraged him to keep the faith, even when it seemed there was no one else home. God told him there is still a remnant of the faithful.

God kept a remnant to Himself even when he allowed the Syrians to take His chosen people into captivity. God will always keep a remnant of the faithful to carry on His name and His work.

I still meet other Christians, and we strengthen each others’ faith. We encourage each other, we meet at church, we talk on the phone, and we keep ourselves going. There is a remnant in America, and it’s a lot bigger than what Elijah had. We are a part of that remnant, kept by God to encourage and be encouraged.

I still fear the day is coming that we will not be able to meet and speak as openly as we do now. I fear it may get worse. After all, who would have thought things would be as they are today a mere 20-30 years ago? Do we really think that today’s state of affairs will suddenly arrest itself?

Regardless of how bad you might see things get, no matter the persecution – small or great – that will indeed come our way, remain as part of the remnant of believers in The United States of America.

Read your bibles. Stay strong in the Word. Don’t practice your faith only on Sunday mornings. Don’t encourage just other Christians. Witness to the lost, as Elijah did. He thought he was alone and still did God’s work. So should we.

Things have happened gradually here, to the point that we scarcely realize it until it’s pointed out. Look at what has become acceptable, even on so-called family channels. Compare that to TV of the 80’s and before. It comes slowly, giving us time to get used to it. We are then fed just a bit more disgusting fare until that too becomes palatable.

Read your bibles. Stay strong. Be the remnant God intends you to be. The days will come that will make today look like nothing. Jesus told us in two places; the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and all of Revelations. Ready, study, discuss, and, as Jesus warned us many times, WATCH!