Wednesday, November 22, 2017

TRAILER FOR MY NEW BOOK:


Jeopardy

There is a gameshow called "Jeopardy". However, jeopardy is not a game but reality. It is putting one in a position to suffer possible loss. When the contestant hits the bell to provide the question for the answer which is given, they jeopardize their winnings.

In life, people jeopardize themselves all the time. The stock market, being volatile, puts any investor in jeopardy. Usually, anything which is a gamble jeopardizes.

In sports, that blind pass behind the back puts the player in jeopardy. If he misses the target, a point may be lost, and the player benched.

In Christianity, we are not to "enter into temptation (Luke 22:40). If we do, we increase the chance of losing - sinning.
James 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The loss which may occur if we enter into temptation is communion with God. With a life of unrepentant sin, one may jeopardizes their safety.

On the other hand, living for God may jeopardize our relationship with the world. That is okay but difficult. Christians are to be different:
Titus 2:14 Who (Jesus) gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. 
Jesus wants us to be different! In fact He wants us to be peculiar, even zealots. I am  a Christian fundamentalist. Because my faith is not liberal, of course it follows that I am "right wing".  Being an evangelical Christian is good-standing with God but anathema to the world.

As Jesus overcame the world, Christians are to do so as well:
1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world...
How are we to overcome the world? By standing firm in our faith. We are to trust God although it is unpopular.  The outcome of having strong faith, and thus Christian fortitude, is that the zealot for Christ - the peculiar person, is in jeopardy of losing communion with the world. That's not bad. In fact, that is Jesus's intent. The ultimate way of overcoming the world is to sacrifice one's life for Jesus! He doesn't require us to do that, but we are to sacrifice our flesh - the desires of the world:
Romans 12:1 ... present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
We are to quit living for the world, and live for Jesus. That is "double jeopardy". When one has faith until the end, that is "final jeopardy".  Jesus provides the answer; we must only stand there and accept His answer. We win when we merely stand firm for Him! In fact, we are never to question because we have the answer.

The answer is you (not just you, but plural you). What is the question? Who should not perish? I hear the bell ringing right now:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
When I write, I take a stand for Jesus. I attack sin. The world does not like that! I just applied for my book, The Skull of Adam,  to be in the local book fair in the spring. I knew it was in jeopardy because of my faith. Since, I was required to submit my Facebook and blog to the scrutiny of their panel, I knew that I was in jeopardy. I knew in advance that the establishment-type board would reject my entry because I am a peculiar person, and a zealot for Christ.

My brother and I discussed this beforehand. He said, "You must not sacrifice your principles for gain." I concurred, and didn't go back and edit my commentary. I stood there in jeopardy with eyes wide open. Just as I predicted, neither of my books were accepted. Am I surprised? Not at all, even though I am a local writer. Of course, in my pride, I believe my books are worthy, but perhaps not! On the other hand, one excuse I received was the quantity of books of that genre. Just how many fiction books on the creation in first person are there out there? Probably none other!

Christians will always be in jeopardy with the world. That's why Christ came. To stand there for us. He knowingly jeopardized and gave his own life for ours. I can stand a little jeopardy for his Name's sake. So be it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Wicked One

The Wicked (One) is from the King James Version as follows:
2 Thessalonians 2:8 (KJV) 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
In the Good News Translation (GNT) it is spelled out better as "the Wicked One". Most of the other translations call him, "the Lawless One". Most theologians identify the Wicked One as Satan or the Devil. Not so! His coming is Satan's works.  The GNT specifically delineates that idea with verse 9:  "The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders, 10 and use every kind of wicked deceit on those who will perish."

Who is the Wicked One since he is not Satan? The pseudepigraphical Book of First Adam and Eve 63:12 concurs with Holy Scripture: "And Satan departed from him. But the wicked One remained behind in the heart of Cain, who sought many a time, to kill his brother."

Therefore, my conclusion is that "the Wicked One" is not Satan but a demonic spirit of some sort since he/it remained in the heart of Cain.  I agree with Matthew Henry. The Wicked One must be the anti-Christ. Paul said that the Wicked (One) shall be revealed.

The W"icked" is anomos in the Greek, being "the lawless one" - a Gentile who is not subject to Jewish Law. He will be revealed or apokalupto in the Greek meaning "to take off his cover."  In other words, just as Jesus is the manifestation of God, the Wicked One is the manifestation of Satan. The Word was Spirit until his revealing. Likewise, it makes sense that the anti-Christ is a demonic spirit until it is time for his revealing - to be born from demonic spirits as a Gentile man. 

Since scripture refers to "the spirit of his mouth" that begins to make sense, especially when his character is referred to as "brightness" (both in verse 8 at the top).

2 Corininthians 7:14 says that Satan can transform himself into "an angel of light". This spirit with its 'brightness" seems to be the dark spirit of Satan in mimicry of the Holy Ghost as the Spirit of Jesus.

Cain means "hater". Cain was "the lawless one" when he killed Abel. Cain was also a Gentile, as he preceded Abraham. Perhaps, the spirit of Cain still lives because his "father" was the Devil. Satan is called "the hater" throughout the Books of Adam and Eve. The spirit of Cain the hater, son of the Hater, is a prime candidate for the revealing of the anti-Christ. What I am implying is that the evil which Satan planted in Cain's heart will be revealed someday. Perhaps the spirit in Cain will manifest itself in some modern person much as the legions of spirits lived in the man of Gaderene (Mark 5).

Who will be the spirit of Satan revealed as the Wicked One? Many have been named from the General Hadrian, to Hitler, and even the Pope. We don't know who he will be or is already, but it seems that the same spirit which Satan left in the heart of Cain will be manifested as the anti-Christ.

Note: The Books of Adam and Eve are not Holy Scripture, but commentary. As such, they are not to be valued as THE Word of God. However, if they were written in the 3rd or 4th centuries B.C., the writer had great spiritual insight, and must have been a prophet. On the other hand, if the books were written in the 4th or 5th centuries A.D., then the writer understood Holy Scripture enough to superbly comment. He would have been "the Matthew Henry" of the Essenes or Ethiopians!


Universalism and Inclusiveness

Universalism is the religion of inclusion. In their minds, the principles of every religion are essentially the same, and that everyone will in the end be reconciled to god. In their view, God's grace is too great to punish anyone. With that said "Christian Universalism" is a heresy that allows all believers of any faith into Heaven. This notion is propagated in the Hindu Rig Veda: “Truth is one; sages call it by various names.” (Vedanta Society of Southern California Harmony of Religions). This, as it is erroneously called "Christian Universalism" is the practice of western-style Hinduism. With their pantheon of Gods, they always have room for another one!

This idea of inclusiveness is what is ruining our nation. That coupled with Unitarianism - rejection of the Holy Trinity, allows all these other monotheistic gods to be characterized as God Almighty. The coupling of these two heresies in modern times created a new "God" - an Unknown God, who can be called by any name. Allah has become equated with JHVH, and Brahma as well - the four-faced God of Hinduism. In modern times Unitarian-Universalism has gradually drifted toward a galleria of pagan Gods with few even claiming JHVH (Jesus) as one of them. They do include atheists, agnostics, and even Wiccans. They are the most inclusive, but heretical denomination in the world!

Would you attend one of these churches? Likely not! However, many Christians believe their philosophy, and are essentially Unitarian-Universalists. The liberal propagation of inclusiveness is a product of those like-minded with that heresy. Because practicing Christians are not inclusive, we are labeled hateful! Isn't it ironic that the faith that is the epitome of love is called hateful by the religions of the World?  The so-called "inclusive" Roman Empire did the same as they were crucifying Christians, and boiling some in oil. Let's look at the privilege of being persecuted:

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Because the world still persecutes Christians reinforces my faith. Christians may suffer here but they won't in Heaven. "Theirs (ours) is the kingdom of heaven". It belongs to no other religion. The straight Gate is guarded by seraphim, and there is but one password - the name of Jesus! Because Christians profess that, or should at least, we are hated for being exclusive. You remember that "narrow way" to heaven? That is walking the path with Jesus, and not any other god or even alone!

Unitarian-Universalists (UU's) hate the next passage more than any, and because we believe it, they hate us:

John 14:6 (NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 
UU's, it is by Jesus alone that we can go to the Kingdom of God. That hurts doesn't it? They are pushy about inclusiveness because our God is in opposition to their pantheon of gods.

You may think that UU's are a Christian denomination. Far from it. They are anti-Christian. I've been told that 20% of UU's are Christians. I submit if they are Christians, they cannot be UU's. They are anti-Christian in that they fail to accept Jesus as the only Way to salvation. Shucks... they don't even believe the Holy Bible is true. How could they be Christians?

Catholics, once "defenders of the faith" are now "offenders of the faith". Pope Frances said this:

“Many think differently, feel differently, seeking God or meeting God in different ways. In this crowd, in this range of religions, there is only one certainty that we have for all: we are all children of God.” (Pope Francis said in his message, released Jan. 6, the feast of the Epiphany; from infowars.com).
I believe it was Pope John Paul who made reference that other gods are a way to heaven but Jesus is the super way.  That doctrine is Univeralism, and is heresy.

Catholicism is guilty of that heresy, but just look at Joel Osteen. Many sincere Christians buy into his theology of biblical ignorance. Sure, he's a nice guy and good salesman, but he's pushing the wrong doctrine. When he referred to the Indian people of Asia as worshiping the same God as we do, that was an ignorant and heretical thing to say!

At this time, Jesus has been removed from the public arena in America. His Name is hidden and put away in museums which were once called churches. Just as Robert E. Lee and others are having their statues toppled, Jesus Name is being top in the same manner. Liberally indoctrinated Americans just cannot stand the thought that a Divine Being is going to punish them for doing what is right in their own eyes. Basically, worshiping other gods is the worship of the gods of "selves". People take it on themselves to reject the Real God.

The official religion of America is secular humanism - that mankind is self-ruled. Mankind wants that "none should perish" just as God does (John 3:16), but it is by their rebellious way that none should. The inclusive way, according to them, to accomplish that is universalism.  In America, that includes the Catholic and mainline Protestant faiths. In those "churches" sin is accepted as readily as righteousness because God is too gracious to send anyone to hell, as they claim. Many even deny the existence of Hell, or even claim that we're already living in hell. All this thinking is heretical because it's not what scripture says!

You may find it fair that all mankind deserves a reward in heaven. That is very inclusive of you! However, that is not justice. If a person despises God and the Laws of God, why would they even have a desire to reside in the Kingdom of God? Why would Hitler and Stalin, or even Bill Mahrer deserve heaven? That is foolishness! No one deserves heaven.

Likewise, with the election of Donald Trump, liberals express the opinion that they don't want to live here anymore. Why would they want to? Inclusiveness was soundly rejected. They should go to where their doctrines say they belong, and that's not here!

Why do we have Donald Trump in office? It was because the right Christians, the Christian Right, propelled him to office by rejecting inclusiveness and liberalism. Obama did more to elect Donald Trump than any other person! He was unabashedly a universalist who propagated inclusiveness, and the people of most states rejected that.

Trump campaigned on making Christianity respectable again. That's why respectable Christians voted for him! Most others have eyes to see but fail to see:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"Whosoever" is everybody and anyone. That includes Muslims, Buddhists, and Catholics; as well as murderers, adulterers, child molesters, liars, Hillary, and Donald Trump. Maybe even Obama!

However, read the rest of the story - " that whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus) should not perish."

"Whosoever" is not everybody. It is anyone who believes in and trusts Jesus for salvation. Jesus's Name excludes most of the world, unfortunately, because even though people take a knee in protest, they refuse to take a knee for Jesus.

Universalists and those who are into inclusion are excluded from salvation. The solution is simple - rebirth. Become a new creature in Christ. He is the Way and Only Way to salvation, and people hate Him for it!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Growing Weary

I am tired! I am weary from failing, and seeing other Christians fail. We aren't who we're supposed to be. Very seldom do I see emulations of Christ. If Christ walked with me, I would need to apologize all the time. He does, and I do! It seems being apologetic, and then repeating the wrongs, is insincere. Sometimes, I feel my apologies are insincere. Most of the time, actually, because I go ahead and repeat them.

Paul had a thorn in his side. I believe that thorn was false teachers - one which was Simon Magus by name. Paul preached the truth but for every one that the apostles converted, the gnostics converted another. They even stole Christians, if not entirely, through creating doubt and confusion. It seems that Christians today are still doubtful and confused about who they are!

Ask Christians what "born-again" means. Catholics don't even believe in it yet they are the oldest Christian group in existence, and claim to be the true Church. I am tired of millions of people misrepresenting Christ. I bet He is too! I'm tired; I can't change them. The Lord could by force, but He doesn't do things that way. Imagine how weary He is!

Few Protestants know what "born-again" means even though they hear it from the pulpit every Sunday. Ask them and they will reply very catholic-like: "I believe in Jesus." Congratulations - the demons believe as well (James 2:19). I want to be better than demons. If I am to believe, I desire it to include trust as well. I am weary. Sometimes, I fail to trust Jesus.

Scripture says that to be saved we must believe:
Acts 16:31 ... Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved... 
Simple, huh? "Believe" means much more than believing! Are you confused yet? The Greek word transliterated "believe" is pisteuo, meaning "to have faith in" and "to entrust one's spiritual well-being to Christ" (Strong's Dictionary). Hence, one must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, have faith in Him, and that faith includes trusting that He can and will do what he says He can and will do!

Jesus claimed that He was God. He showed that He was (Is) by dying in our place and coming alive again. Do you believe Jesus is God? do you believe that He did the impossible? You accept it because that notion is ingrained in your training. However, do you truly believe that?

The part about Jesus being God: Do you believe that? Sure you do, but then deny that God created the earth! How weak your faith suddenly becomes. If He can make and take you to a heavenly kingdom, indeed God can make and Create you in this world. If He is so weak that He can't do that, how would He be able to fulfill the promise, "And thou shalt be saved?" How much faith do you have now? Are you confused? It's in the Bible, and that is claimed to be truthful. Do you really believe that, or do you pick and choose?

Picking and choosing what to believe is relegating to oneself what belongs to God. "I won't surely die if I eat of the fruit," was what Eve thought. She picked and chose what Words God said that she would believe.  Maybe you are your own god! If you don't admit to that, perhaps you should look in the mirror. God looks at your face all the time; maybe you should consider it for awhile as you are reflected back to you. Do you like what you see?

You may be beautiful. I'm sure inside most of us think we are. Mirrors reflect that beauty. It doesn't have the ability to reflect what's inside. Now as you stand in front of the same mirror, close your eyes and look within. I do that, and I am weary of what I see. I don't like what I am inside, and desire to be better. The reflection you physically see in the mirror is of the flesh, and it is weak.  With your eyes closed, your spiritual reflection is uglier than sin. I don't like my spiritual reflection, and tire of seeing it. Some avoid that by closing their eyes to the ugliness inside.
Matthew 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Ironically, the eyes in this verse are spiritual eyes - eyes that are opened with the natural eyes closed! Saul was made blind that he could see (Acts 13:11). When Saul finally saw through spiritual eyes, with natural eyes closed, he changed. Saul became Paul as God created him anew. Saul was born-again because with eyes wide open but blind to the world, he could see the Light of God.

Close your eyes now. Do you see Saul in you or Paul. Saul was the murderer. If you hate anyone, you are too! In fact, if you wrong another person, you are hating them. If you wrong God, you are hating God. If we truly love God, we are to obey his commands (John 14:15).

People don't obey God, and fail to love others. God gets tired of that. Are you growing weary of yourself, and want to change that? Most people aren't weary of the way they are but God is! "I won't change for anybody," some contend with rebellion.  Anybody includes God. He requires that you change for Him, and Comforts you as you do. His Holy Spirit does the changing, yet it is never by force. The Spirit awaits only your willingness to change, but that willingness seems to never arrive.

Another verse adds to the first:
Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...
Another criteria is added here: one must be baptized. That is more than getting wet. Some have been baptized several times, and have only become damp or wet by the water. It's not the water which is saving, but the spiritual change which comes about. The immersion is a testimony to the believer's spiritual change, but many get soaked even though they have yet to change!

Without the circumcision of the heart the baptism is meaningless:
Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
It's not the baptism of which circumcision is symbolic, but the new creation which is significant. When one is "born-again" is when the new creature emerges, and not from the swamp! This is validated when Paul wrote:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When people believe, one would expect to see all these new creatures walking around. I don't see them, and sometimes not even in myself, if I look with sincerity. All I see are the walking dead who have a wrong belief that they are alive. I grow weary of my own walk. God grows weary with our walk. How are we to walk? As Jesus did! I see few walking in the manner of Christ, and grow weary with my search. God's search is easier; he looks at their hearts.
1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ...
For the layman, this is said more easily: It's not the water which cleanses but having a good conscience toward God. Baptism is the testimony to that cleansing. Many engage in the washing without ever having been washed! Baptism is not saving, but many wet people think it is. What is saving is the willingness to allow God to put away the filth of the flesh. Most are willing to be baptized but unwilling to have the filth put away. They are confused.

We grow weary with ourselves because we are not the new creature that we ought to be. Close your eyes and look in the mirror right now. Are you born again? Do you even know what being born-again is? I know; you believe. Dig deeper than that. Have you changed? Are you willing to quit doing it your way, and do it God's way? I don't see that. Are you willing to trust God to cleanse you from sin, and even deliver you from temptation? You pray that in the Lord's Prayer... of do you pray His prayer?

To trust the Lord means to understand what "born-again" even means. That trust will mean change, or you are trusting yourself. I submit that you are born again when you are enlightened that I must do it God's way - through Jesus, and that you are unable to obtain salvation by any other name, including yours.











Saturday, November 18, 2017

Strongholds

Mankind was born with what some early writer called a "bright nature", and as such their vision was through "bright eyes" (The First  Book of Adam and Eve). To have bright eyes is to see the Kingdom of God clearly without having the view clouded by the things of the world. Truth is clearly seen in this Bright Light because those with that nature clearly see Truth. Knowing truth, and obedience to it, out of reverence to the Provider of Light is a bright nature.

Because of original sin, mankind no longer has a bright nature. All men walk in darkness, and will do dark things. Because of that, men can't see the truth for the darkness in which they walk.
John 1:5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
This "light" is the knowledge of God. It is abundant, desirable, safe, hopeful, and truthful. Although the Light always shined, sinners with clouded eyes do not comprehend it. Jesus was clear on this when he commented about his accusers:
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.
The ignorance of truth is "darkness". The Word of God sheds light on this darkness. It's purpose is for mankind to again have bright eyes and a bright nature!
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
With the new birth - born-again to the Designer's Intent, we again have bright eyes to discern truth.  Before we are born again, scripture says that "every man hateth the light" (John 3:20). Why so? "Lest his deeds be reproved." (ibid).

Sinners intentionally closed their eyes to the Bright Light because they fear conviction. Because conviction leads to guilt, sinners prefer to walk in darkness. Guilt is stressful, and can make one sick! That's why sinners hate reproof. For instance, just let a preacher preach on a person's sin of choice, and see the response. There are three: disregard, repent or get angry. Most people disregard the Light shining in their face. It's just too bright for their cloudy eyes. They prefer the darkness of their spiritual caves!

God calls sinners from their cave (John 6:44). God is Light. God calls sinners to step out of the darkness, and let His Light shine upon them.  Walking in the Light is called enlightenment. When one is born-again, that person walks out of his or her dark cave into the Bright Light of God:
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought (formed) in God. 
Thus, as Jesus explained to Nicodemus, being "born-again" is one who does truth. The new birth is walking out of the cave from the darkness into the knowledge of God. That is being enlightened. I believe that since men do their own will, then in practice, they are their own gods. The Light given to them is: you are not gods, you can't save yourself, and only Jesus can. That realization and admission is walking from the darkness of the spiritual cave into the Light of God. Suddenly, out of the darkness, the sinner trusts God instead of himself. Presto, change: a new creature is Created! This is the second birth, and a brighter nature is regained, and with eyes wide open to truth, clearer eyes ensue. Of course, bright eyes and a bright nature are fully regained at glorification -  the full presence of God!

Across the front of that dark spiritual cave are strongholds. Satan didn't put them there for you, but built them back in Adam's time. Just as God puts a hedge of safety around those born gain, Satan built walls thousands of years ago. We each have our own wall. They are lusts of some sort: power, greed, envy, lasciviousness, and as we can see, all types of sexual sins. (I bet Al Franken and others are trapped in darkness in their spiritual caves by this type of stronghold. Ironically, the accusers of popular figures have their strongholds too. Many are now being revealed).

Even those who walk out of darkness into the Light, still have vestiges of sin remaining in their lives. Mankind will always have to deal with temptation. As a Christian, truth shines in the face of those of us with brighter eyes, but the spiritual strongholds we have are clouded vision. We take God's grace for granted, and continue to do our own will with specific sins rather than God's will. We know what we do, and do them anyhow! Being a Christian is bearing the cross. That burden is light but we still must bear it. Strongholds make the cross heavy when it could be light!

The cross we bear can be made lighter  if we depend on God:
2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
I believe as "the Angel of God" Jesus rolled back the stone from his own dark cave. If He can roll back his own stone, he can tear down our walls for us as well. In this age, it seems that one specific stronghold which Satan built years ago is sexual sin. I believe that the "shame" of mankind was covered with the shed blood of innocent animals for a reason. Somehow, sexual sins are mankind's strongholds. Satan built that wall high and sturdy around the dark cave to keep mankind's eyes clouded.  As Reagan asked of Gorbechev, we can ask: "Mr. Jesus, tear down those walls which make us weak Christians!"  With that trust, God will take care of removing those strongholds.

The key to removing those strongholds is trusting that God can do it. He says that he can and will:
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
There is no shame toward men for being a sinner - that shame is reserved for God. All men have sinned, and live in their spiritual caves until God gives them a brighter nature. The nature is not a full return to original man but only partial. We can only seek Christian perfection. It is not to be obtained because we are not God! When we truly become like God at glorification, then we will be fully out of the dark, and have bright eyes and a bright nature as God intended in the beginning.

Even Christians - diligent ones, often have strongholds. Some are lesser than other but they are not of our own making. Christians are willing to climb over that wall, but the flesh is weak. It is possible to scale that wall but not on our own. God will make a way to escape that stronghold because He is faithful to Christians.

Self-righteous people fail to recognize their own strongholds. Their eyes are not bright at all because their dark nature has a cloud still lingering over them. Some choose to keep the cloud because they prefer darkness to light, and enjoy their spiritual cave. They care little that there is a wall before the only gate out of the darkness. If only they can cloud the issue in a futile attempt to fool others! They do that by blamig, judging others more harshly than themselves, and gossiping. False gods elevate themselves by tearing down the worshipers of the One True God. That behavior is the stronghold of many Christians. Tear down that wall, and God can help with that!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Skeletons Arise - Part 3

Now, for some more encouraging words on the resurrection: It was always God's intent to give mankind a second shot at immortality! We were not Designed to lie moldering in the grave. I submit that even atheists lose their "faith" in a Godless universe, and on their deathbeds hope that they are wrong.

An acquaintance said recently, "I believe everybody will go to heaven." That implies that everyone deserves eternal life. That person missed the intent of the entire Bible. God restores our immortality out of grace. His grace is boundless - even Hitler and Stalin could have been recipients of grace, and have the hope of being resurrected. Of course, they don't deserve anything more than death; the same as sinner Larry. Regardless of the sin, we all deserve death.

God even called Hitler to repentance. It appears that he never did. Just as the thief on the cross, Hitler could have repented, even at the last moment. I believe this vile man could have had the hope of resurrection, of course thinking it was for a Thousand Year Reign. Repentance and trust are the only things necessary for immortality, but it must be for right reasons. The idea that everyone is going to heaven, and thus be resurrected, is called universalism. It implies that mankind deserves eternal life, when it is eternal death that the unrepentant deserve!

Christians live with the "hope of salvation"; that our faith will restore us with a resurrected body on "the great and terrible day of the Lord" - great for Christians, and terrible for all the others. Adam had the hope of a rebirth when he would be resurrected after he died. He longed for a return to the Garden! That longing is inborn in us, just as Adam's original sin is.  After Adam spiritually died, I'm sure he thought, this can't be all there is to life. God bailed him out, not because he deserved it, but in spite of not deserving it. Adam lived his 963 years looking forward to living forever in his peaceful Garden. As soon as he sinned, he began to wither and die. His hope was for a second chance, a new Creation, and to be resurrected; thus regaining his spiritual and physical body.

That promise was shown when God displayed his power one day.

The Word of God spoke to Ezekiel. The Israelites were reproved of their sins. They didn't deserve anything because they had become dead. God promised Israel that their nation would be resurrected. As usual, God meant that literally and spiritually. They were to become a great nation, but more importantly, God showed that the people could be resurrected as well:
Ezekiel 37:5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.
Ezekiel heard God speak and saw those things, apparently in a vision. It's obvious that the arising skeletons were symbolic of the Jews and their resurrection, but there was a spiritual promise there as well. Ezekiel saw dry bones resurrected. It is clear that the dead lived again in this vision. That is our hope!

The dust gave up the bones, God shook them to their place, the tendons grew back, the flesh was reattached to the tendons, and then everything was covered with skin. God didn't stop there. He blew breath back on their dead bodies and they became living souls again! Restored as human beings, they lived and stood up on their feet, thus retaining the mind they once had.

The body came from the dust but the soul came from another place. The four winds delivered the soul from God to the once dry bones. These were not mindless zombies but became a great army. Somehow God keeps the mind and soul together when He transforms men!

The Word was speaking of more than Israel. His people are Christians. The resurrection is not for the Jews but those who trust in Jesus. Ezekiel understood who was speaking, and what God really meant. For those who know that Jesus is Lord, they "shall be saved". That day is resurrection day. It comes at different times for different people but for all Christians, they shall be raised from the dead!

I once was dry bones. I had no hope, and realized that someday I would die. My fear was that I would just lie in the grave. Because of righteous parents, I was taught young that there is hope. As soon as I realized the inevitability of death, I turned to the One and Only One who could save me - Jesus Christ. Salvation is only by that name and no other! I will still die one day. I know that, but the Word asks:
1 Corinthians 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 
Death comes quickly. I won't survive death but God will defeat it because I trust in Jesus. The grave will not be able to contain my dry bones. God will raise my dry bones, assemble them as before, grow new tendons, put my flesh back, and cover my new self with skin. More importantly, I will arise when God blows a new spirit back into me. The winds will carry me to the heavens as the trumpet sounds. There I will be a private in Jesus's army. We will march to victory when death is overcome!

You see, because Jesus died, I believe that. The resurrection is a necessary component of being born-again. My soul, after the sting of death, will wait in the presence of God - being glorified, and at the resurrection my dry bones will join the spirit there. I will still be me, not someone else, but this will be a new me - with an indestructible body who will be in God's army forever, not fighting but praising!

When we are born-again, the character of this new person begins to develop. God breaths His Spirit into the soul of Christians. When that happens, Christians are set apart to be part of Jesus's spiritual army. That is sanctification. God wants His army to be as perfect as they can be. He trains us to follow Him as King in the Kingdom of God. Our training consists of being like Jesus as much as humanly possible. After we are trained sufficiently, each boot camp being of different duration, God puts the trained soldier away until it's time.

The body rests in he grave - returning to the dust, but the soul lives on singing and praising God. That is reward enough in itself, but God made a covenant with Adam - He would be recreated! Our bones will someday rise, Adam's among them, and God will breath into our soul, imbuing it with His Holy Spirit - right back into those old dry bones. That's what all Christians wait upon. That's the end of being saved. It fulfills our hope!

I look forward to the day when my dry bones arise from their storage and are made like new. Even more so, will be when my soul returns to meet my flesh and God blows His Spirit back into what was once dry bones. What a great day that will be for some of us, but a terrible time for most,