I received the sad news, that a friend of mine past away in Germany. From what I know, it was a heart related issue. I have lost several family members and friends in the past couple of years, and whenever I hear of someones death, several thought go through my mind about death, eternity and the destination of people.
The first thought that went through my mind, when I learned of his death was, did he believe in Jesus as his Lord and Savior? From what I know, he was not a believer the last time I saw him. Neither was I until 2006. Growing up in Germany is pretty much being secular. People in Germany have lost touch with God. That saddens me quite a bit, knowing what I know now. There is however a remnant and many think that Germany will see a revival.
The second thought that went through my mind, was, what happened to him, after his death? What happened to his spirit after it left his physical body? Where did he go? The word of God is pretty clear about what happens to people who are not saved by the blood of the lamb. They will be eternally separated from God. Something the Bible calls Hell. An eternity without the presence of God. That is not an easy thought, even as a believer in Jesus Christ.
Nobody wants to think that a friend or family member is in Hell, because they didn’t believe in Christ. But, that is what the word of God teaches, and I believe it. They have either rejected Christ or didn’t give any thought towards God. They lived a life without thanking God for all the blessings they received, even as unbelievers. The air that we breathe, the food and water and so many other things that sustain us throughout our lives. God created every one of us and we are wonderfully made.
As a believer, I believe in creation, in a God, Who created all things. I can’t adhere to the theory of evolution or people who believe that we are here by accident or natural selection. Darwin was wrong and people who follow his theory are misguided and deceived by his teachings. Darwin led many people astray from the belief in a Creator.
But, back to my friend. What happened to him, now that his spirit passed on into the spiritual realm? What if he did not believe in God and the finished work of Jesus on the cross? If he was not a believer, will he spent eternity in Hell? As I stated before, that is not an easy thought. I don’t want to think of my friends or family member, who did not believe, being in Hell.
I think that’s where many people who are not believers i.e Christians, take issue with. The say, how can a loving God, send people to Hell. What kind of cruel God is that? Are you telling me that everybody that does not believe in Jesus goes to Hell? What about the Muslims, Hindus and people of other faith, they all go to Hell. That’s crazy.
To be honest, I don’t know how Hell feels or looks like, but I know that I don’t want to end up there. Neither do I want anyone else to end up there. God Himself does not want people to go to Hell. That gives me comfort and hope, to know that God will do anything, for people to come to know Him.
I believe that God will reveal Himself to people facing death. They may not have worshiped Him all their lives, but I truly believe that God will somehow show His love, maybe even in a split second before death arrives. I can’t prove it, but somehow it makes sense to me, knowing that God does not want anybody to perish, but have everlasting life. I believe that God reveled Himself to my friend and to my father, who died in 2005 and was not a believer.
God is a loving God and He has sent His Son to reconcile us to Him. God does not want people to end up in Hell. God does not send people to Hell, they send themselves to Hell, because of their unbelief. They either rejected God, or they just did not want to believe in Him. That is a choice that everyone has to make. He does not force Himself on anyone, but He is long-suffering and patient. He wants all to come to the knowledge of truth and in to His marvelous light.
That is what sets Christianity apart from many other religions. We as Christians believe in the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Who send His only begotten Son, to die and shed His blood for us on the cross. Jesus is our propitiation, the passover lamb. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves. He laid down His life for us, forgiving us of our sins and giving those who believe by faith, eternal life.
The message of the cross is foolishness to many. They believe that all roads lead to God and that they can work out their own salvation, either by good works or religious practices. That is what I like to call, a fig leaf religion. Just as Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leafs to cover their nakedness, to hide their sins. God, however did not approve of that man-made idea and covered them in animal skins, signifying the first sacrifice and that blood was needed to cover their disobedience in the Garden.
God made only one way to be reconciled with Him, and that is through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, Who is a stumbling block to many. Jesus is the only way to the Father and eternal life. Something that many reject and do not believe. They believe that there are many ways besides Jesus. It is not me saying this, it was Jesus Who said it. People can either believe what Jesus said, or reject it and call Him a liar. That is a choice. I would highly recommend to learn about Jesus and seek Him. Eternity apart from God, is a very long time.
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 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. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” John 3:16-20.
I hope and pray, that if you are not a believer to at least read about Jesus and what He has done for you. Start with the Gospel of John and read about Him, the only One that can truly save you and give you eternal life. Maranatha Lord Jesus.
Posts Tagged With: Catholic Church
I received the sad news, that a friend of mine past away in Germany. From what I know, it was a heart related issue. I have lost several family members and friends in the past couple of years, and whenever I hear of someones death, several thought go through my mind about death, eternity and the destination of people.
Maybe this Roman Catholic Cleric should have heeded the words of Paul?
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1Timothy 10, 11.
- Church official arrested in Vatican bank investigation (foxnews.com)
- Vatican Responds to Arrest of Nunzio Scarano (netnewsledger.com)
Since the airing of the Factor with Bill O’Reilly, there has been somewhat of an outrage about his statement that the Gospels have contradictions and that many of the stories in the Bible are allegories. Many of his viewers and myself do not agree with his view and interpretation of the Bible.
On March 6th, Bill interviewed Robert Jeffress the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. O’Reilly in his own words admitted that he personally does not believe in the story of Adam and Eve, Noah and Jonah who was in the belly of the great fish for three days. He said that the Roman Catholic Church teaches that those and many other stories in the Bible are allegories to teach us spiritual lessons.
Pastor Jeffries did not agree with Mr. O’Reilly on those points such as Adam and Eve and Jonah. The Pastor pointed out to O’Reilly that Jesus confirmed those stories and that He did not look at them as allegorical stories but real people and that they are true stories in the Bible.Unfortunately, O’Reilly also believes in evolution rather than a six day creation of all things by Almighty God.
I am attaching the video link of that conversation between Jeffries and O’Reilly. You can judge for yourself. I have come to the conclusion that Bill O’Reilly has absolutely no spiritual understanding of the Bible and what it teaches. He even wants to separate the Old Testament from the New Testament, which is absurd. The Old Testament is all about Jesus and without the OT we would not have the full picture of God’s plan for the redemption of mankind.
Every single book of the Old Testament points to Jesus. The New Testament reveals what the Old Testament concealed.
Bill O’Reilly is exactly the kind of person Paul wrote about: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14.
Here is the link: http://youtu.be/bcAZm4_LLnA
My original article before the above revision/update:
Bill O’Reilly did a segment on the factor about the new documentary series, “The Bible” on the History channel. He stated in this segment that there are many contradictions in the Gospels, which led me to respond, because I couldn’t believe my ears that evening, that a statement like that would be made by a so-called Christian.
Since I wrote this article, some people wrote Bill via e-mail, which he reads at the end of the factor. One of the viewers responded by writing that Jesus confirmed Jonah, creation i.e Adam and Eve, to which O’Reilly responded that the viewer was absolutely wrong and that he should read his new book Killing Jesus to find the truth. There are many people who disagree with Mister Bill O’Reilly.
Mr. O’Reilly, there are no contradictions, the four gospels compliment each other, each from a different viewpoint.
It’s like 4 people, standing on a different corner of an intersection, watching an accident. All four saw the same event, but from a slightly different perspective.
Each Gospel gives us a unique look at the life of Jesus and we get the complete picture by studying them. There are no contradictions.
Every time someone claims that there are contradictions in the Bible, they have been refuted by various true Bible scholars and people who have studied the Bible in-depth.
As followers and disciples of Jesus, we all need to know and study the word so that we can defend our faith.
Bill O’Reilly comes from a Roman Catholic background. I don’t doubt his faith, but when it comes to the knowledge of the whole counsel of God, I have to question that. I have heard him many times speak about faith and Jesus, but I am certain that he hasn’t done any expository studies of any books in the Bible.
The Roman Catholic Church is not known for teaching the word of God to the people verse by verse, book by book in an expository fashion. I don’t mean to offend any of my Roman Catholic friends, but in my opinion, most Roman Catholics around the world do not have a comprehensive understanding of the written word of God.
When it comes to Mr. O’Reilly, I wish that he would just stick to politics, where he has an opinion, but please Mr. O’Reilly do not make statements like you did tonight and presenting them as factual.
God’s word does not contradict itself. God’s word is the absolute truth.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15.
The Fear that I have is , that once the new book is coming out that many weaker or liberal Christians in the faith will believe the views of O’Reilly, just as many of these weak unlearned Christians believed Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.”
I hope that many will see this error of O’Reilly and realize that he is not a strong and studied Bible believing Christian. His tip of the day the other day was to at least spend one hour a week thinking about spiritual things. One Hour? For a true disciple and follower of Jesus Christ we are or should be in the Spirit 24/7 365 days a year. Everyday we commune with God not just once a week to atone as he said it on his show.
Personally I view Bill O’Reilly as a very opinionated and arrogant person, that acts like he is above others. I do not see the humbleness Jesus Who is God displayed while He was walking the earth in Bill O’Reilly. Even-though scriptures tell us to become more and more like Christ, conforming into His image.
I don’t like judging people, but I believe strongly that O’Reilly is wrong on this and I will not read his book, because I have the feeling that it will have many inaccuracy in it that stem from his Roman Catholic View rather than from a born again view.
If he had the Holy Spirit dwelling within him, he would never say the things he says, because it is the Holy Spirit Who bears witness to the truth found only in the Word of God.
I would like my readers to understand that these opinions are mine and I am not out to offend anybody, but I as believer need to speak up when someone makes a bold statements by people like O’Reilly. Please pray for Bill Reilly and many other Roman Catholic believers that have the same views, that they would be filled with the Holy Spirit and see the truth.
Video courtesy of Fox News Corp.
“Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) That is the shortest verse in the entire Bible. Yet, those two words are so profound and powerful. Why did Jesus weep? Might it be because Jesus seeing Martha and Mary in such a grief and anguish over the loss of their beloved brother Lazarus? Jesus already knew that He would raise Lazarus in just a few moments, but He still wept.
I believe that Jesus felt compassion, seeing the grief death causes to those who have lost a loved one. Death is not natural and came into the world because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Their sin caused first of all spiritual death i.e. eternal separation from God, and secondly physical death. When God made Adam and Eve, He made them perfect, they were sinless and in communion with him. They had a relationship that was close and intimate, and I believe that they would have lived forever in eternity with God, if it were not for that one-act of disobedience. Just think about it, one sin and they were banished from the garden. God gave them the world and they forfeited it to Satan by their disobedience and listening to the deceiver rather than God. Sin brought forth death and with it dire consequences, the first murder, Cain killing his brother Abel.
I can just imagine how Adam and Eve must have felt seeing the death of Abel by his brother as a result of their sin. And as we know things got worse from there, being separated from God, people lived after the flesh and the works of the flesh are evident even today: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like (Gal 5:19-21).
I believe that at the time of Jesus, people had lost hope and Jesus seeing this wept out of compassion for them. People were lost and felt helpless. Jesus came for that very reason, to reconcile mankind to God, to die for the sin of the world and overcome death so that those who believe will have eternal life with God. Jesus loved Martha and Mary and He raised Lazarus from the dead, not only for their benefit but for ours also.
Jesus demonstrated His power even over death. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25, 26.
We may all die physically, but the spirit of the believers will be with Jesus at the moment of death. Mankind is lost and it is by the mercy and grace of God, that He has sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. When Jesus saw the anguish and pain in the faces of Martha and Mary, He wept for a moment, but knowing full-well that He a few days later would lay down His life for them. Jesus loves us so much that He became sin for us and willingly went to the cross and faced the wrath of God which was reserved for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves, He paid the price and appeased and reconciled us to God the Father.
“For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:17-19.
That is glorious news in which we as believers can rejoice in. Believers in Jesus Christ are justified before God and the righteousness of Christ was imputed onto them. We as believers have nothing to fear, death can not hold us and Satan has no more power over our lives (unless we let him). Just as Jesus wept over the condition of man, so should we have the heart of God for our fellow-man, the once that are lost and without hope. Seeing the condition of the world should bring us to tears, weeping as Jesus did. It should make us wanting to share the gospel the good news about Jesus and the salvation through Him. Do we have the compassion Jesus had for the lost? Are we willing to share with our friends and neighbors about the coming judgment, or are we just plainly satisfied with our own salvation? I hope that we all have a heart for the lost and are eager to share the gospel of truth with them.
I hope that we all have the heart of God, the compassion, the mercy, the love that He demonstrated for us by going to the cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The News outlets featured a story today about that Jesus may have had a wife. There is nothing to support that claim, the text is only partial and the sentence that starts with “Jesus said, “my wife…” ends there. This ancient text is probably part of the gnostic writings and thus irrelevant.
But, to my point, I don’t see Catholics or Christians protesting in the streets, rioting and killing people, burning the American Flag and storming the University which examined the text and came out with the statement. What a starch contrast to the as Hillary Clinton put it the other day, “great religion” of Islam. Great Religion? One stupid YT video can bring forth death, hate and destruction to a whole region. One little remark about Muhammad or a cartoon of him leads to suicide bombers, and the killings innocent people.
One remark leads to hate, the killing of four Americans and the threat of the radicals to kill more Americans. That is anything but a peaceful religion. Where are those who normally come out and speak out against Christianity, the Hollywood elite and Atheist like Bill Maher?
What if we as followers of Jesus Christ, would go out into the streets killing and rioting every-time someone says anything against Jesus, Who is used a swear word everyday, Who gets spit on by liberals and Atheist everyday? How come that Christians don’t react like radical Muslims to a depiction of Jesus in the series of South Park? Or what about the paintings about Jesus? One that was very offensive, named “Piss Jesus” was displayed in an art gallery in the 90’s. Yet there was no retaliation towards the artist. I could list many more offensive remarks and insults that are made against Jesus and Christians everyday, but I think you know them already.
Christians are not called to hate and kill people who may offend them. Jesus and His teachings, Who in my opinion is the total opposite to Muhammad and the teachings of the Koran, told us to love your neighbor as yourself. We are to love, even those who hate us or offend us. That is what makes Christianity different from Islam. We do not by force convert people or kill them if they do not want to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior. We turn the other cheek.
We do not repay evil with evil. Love will always triumph over evil. It was Jesus, who Muslims regard as a prophet (obviously not heeding any of His teachings) that taught us:
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, “that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44, 45.
As Christians we do not follow a doctrine of Jihad or Sharia law, we follow Christ and His teachings of love and forgiveness. As we see these unrest in Africa, the Middle East and beyond, let us as followers of Jesus not turn to hate. Let us pray for the Muslim world and for the radicals that one day the would have their eyes opened and that they will see that Jesus is the Messiah.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
That is what Jesus and His Apostles taught past generations and us today, love your enemy and do not hate. Be wise, but not foolish. Do not seek revenge. Vengeance is mine says the LORD, I will repay.
I’m sure that many of the radical Islamist have never even read the Koran. Many have not even seen that dumb YT movie, yet they go out and riot. They listen to radical clerics and Imams that use the Koran and Muhammad to further their agenda and ideologies. They are blinded by this religion of antichrist. Let us pray that they will see the light one day. God is doing a mighty work in the Middle East and surrounding areas. We may not understand everything, but His purpose will be fulfilled. God loves the Muslim world and He wants them to return to Him. the true and living God.
And in closing, just for those who teach that the God of the OT is different from the God of the NT, here is what Jesus was quoting: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: “I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18.
“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13.
Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth almost 2000 years ago. Even in the early days of the church, divisions and conflicts plagued the church in Corinth. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus to correct and rebuke them. People had formed cliques and had their own leaders. There was the “Paul Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the founder of the church, the apostle Paul. We’re the ones that are right with God!” There was the “Apollos Party,” who declared “We are following a man who is great in power and spiritual gifts, and impressive. We’re the ones really right with God!” There was the “Peter Party,” who declared “We are following in the footsteps of the man who is first among all the apostles. Jesus gave him the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and he’s our man. We’re the ones really right with God!” There was the “Jesus Party,” who declared “You all are so carnal, following after mere men. We are following in the footsteps of no one less than Jesus Himself. We’re the ones really right with God!”
Really not all that much different from today’s church. There are many denominations that claim that they are right with God and others are not because of what they believe or teach. They believe that the have the truth. There are so many denominations that it can get outright confusing for believers, let alone unbelievers.
Many unbelievers that watch the church are asking the question: “Which of all the different churches is the right one? Shouldn’t you Christians all be the same? How come there are so many contentions and divisions amongst you?” I can see their point. There are the Roman Catholics, the Protestants, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians and the list goes on. Which one holds the the truth? They all claim to be the right church, yet there are vast differences between them.
Than there are these Tel-evangelist who are fleecing the people of their money, selling their anointed holy oil or prayer cloth on TV like a shopping channel. Some teach the prosperity gospel, talking about sowing “your seed” so that God will bless you. Send in a seed of a thousand dollars and God will double it. God is not an ATM machine. Some of them want you to send them a love gift. These people are greedy and exploit people. They prey on the vulnerable and weak. They come in the name of God, but have alternative motives. Mostly to fill their own pockets and boast about their awesome ministry and how God has blessed them. No, you ripped off the people, that’s how you can afford to be on TV selling your anointed prayer cloth.
Jesus never taught a prosperity gospel. He never taught that we should be after riches in this lifetime. Seeing these TV preachers makes me not want be a identified as a Christian sometimes. They turn me off and admittedly they do make me angry.
What about so-called churches like the Westboro Baptist church that demonstrates at military funerals, condemning all homosexuals to hell and preach on the street corners that God caused 9/11. Is that anything like what Christ taught? Did Jesus come to condemn the people? Shame on these so-called Christians. They are not representing Jesus and they are far from Him. Is that how the church should act or look like to the outside world? Is that what a Christian church should look like?
What is the church? I know on thing for sure, it is not a building, a temple or denomination. The true church is the bride or the body of Christ. Every true believer are individual stones that make up the temple of God, with Jesus being the cornerstone.
There are so many today just as in Paul’s days that follow a denomination, a certain preacher or liberal theologians. Many of the churches have compromised with the world, they are lukewarm and some are so far removed from the true faith that I could not even consider them as true followers of Jesus Christ. Many of those are seeker friendly churches, that do not address sin or talk about the blood. They want to be politically correct and don’t want to offend anybody. Was Jesus politically correct during His ministry? Jesus went right to the heart of a person, convicting them of their sins which led many to repentance. He did not hold back or softened the message.
The true Gospel is offensive and many churches are refusing to preach that message today. They care more about how many people attend their church, giving their tithe and offerings or making them feel comfortable. Let’s not talk about sin or hell. Let’s rather focus on prosperity and how God will bless you if you do certain things. God loves you and blesses you and as long as you give us your money and stay at our church, He will continue to bless you.
I don’t even want to go into certain churches that are either sects or cults. They shall remain nameless at this time. So many of them are very legalistic in their teachings and some have total control over their congregation. Some teach that the Sabbath and dietary laws need to be kept or that water baptism is needed to be saved etc. Others teach that Sundays is the wrong day and that those who go to church on Sundays are worshiping Satan. Others deny the Trinity i.e the triune Godhead altogether, they teach that there are 3 gods or more. How much more confusing can it get? No wonder many unbelievers and especially atheist think of Christians as delusional and backwards.
Paul was very clear about being of one mind and one spirit:
“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1Cr 1:10.
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.”Phl 1:28.
“Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.” Rom 12:16.
This is happening today, people follow a denomination or a leader. They listen and follow the teachings of those denominations and some put their trust in their salvation by being members of a certain church. Many people are very religious, but do not know the first thing about true faith or what the Bible teaches. Membership does not save anyone, a certain denomination does not save, neither does following a cult, sect or religious leader. Jesus Christ is the One that saves and a person that has received Jesus as Lord and Savior belongs to His church, the bride of Christ.
I for one rather follow Jesus rather than man. He is my guiding light, He is the way, the truth and the life. If I would rely on a church, pastor or priest for my salvation, I might be in trouble. Man is finite, corrupted and sometimes deceived. Unfortunately many have been deceived by certain church doctrines.
Jesus is the head of the church, it is He that we need to follow. He is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is God in the flesh. He humbled Himself to become one of us. Because of Him we can know the Father. Because of Him we are reconciled and justified before the Father. Because of Him we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know God. If we know Jesus, we are One with God.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Col 1:15-18.
Just think about it, the Creator of all things, Who was and Who is and Who is to come, the great “I AM” loves you and me with an unconditional love. He lives in our hearts and we are secure in Him, if we abide in Him. He is our teacher and He is the One that sees us through every obstacle or challenge we might face. Don’t follow finite man with their egos or pride and often times wrong motives. Follow Jesus instead!
“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston Mass., and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference. “We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”
I believe that the Vatican and the institution of the Roman Catholic Church as well as some other denominational churches are gravely mistaken and have embraced the “replacement theology” and are in the process of abandoning Israel.
Replacement theology also known as supersessionism teaches that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God. There is no biblical evidence that God has cast Israel aside, quite the opposite is true. God has made an everlasting covenant with Israel, in Genesis God made a covenant with Abraham: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Gen 17:7
God said everlasting, not just for a certain time period. God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the nation shall be blessed i.e. the promised Messiah would come through the nation of Israel (Gen 3:17) from the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God made another covenant through Abraham’s son Isaac: “Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.” Gen 17:19
The word everlasting appears 100 times in the KJV/NKJV and if God says everlasting it means everlasting i.e. forever. The replacement theology has been around for a long time, but is contradictory to what the Bible teaches. Israel and the Church are two different entities, God has not made a covenant with the Church as He did with the nation of Israel as for example the mosaic law which was conditional and involved works.
The New Testament covenant is unconditional, no works, such as animal sacrifices or the keeping of dietary laws etc. We come through faith not by works. God made an unconditional covenant with Abram in Genesis 15. It was unconditional, God put Abram to sleep and walked among the animals and it was God that upheld the covenant without any works or doings of Abram. Please note, at that time his name was still Abram not Abraham which came later when God promised him that he would be the father of a great nation which were the twelve tribe of Israel.
Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. We as the bride of Christ come through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is His righteousness that is imputed onto every believer. God’s sovereign plan of salvation. We are saved by His grace through faith. It is true and documented in the Bible that Israel disobeyed God many times, which caused them many afflictions, enslaved to Egypt for 400 years, captivity in Babylon for 70 years and much strives and wars with the neighboring nations.
They rejected Jesus as their Messiah at His first coming, which resulted ultimately in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD by Titus and the fall of Jerusalem which caused them to exist as a nation, resulting them to be dispersed all over the world. Because of their rejection of Jesus/Yahshua as Messiah, the Gentile nations became heirs, with that God fulfilled the promise He made to Abraham, that, through him all nations will be blessed: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ, which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,…” Eph 3:1-6
God wanted the nation of Israel to be a shinning light before the pagan nations, He chose them not because they were special people but because He loved them and keeps His promises: “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; “but because the LORD loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments; “and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face.” Deu 7:7-10
Israel did not keep the commandments, and they even went in to idolatry, something the LORD hates, they failed miserably, despite all this, God has not cast them out or broken His covenant with them. Currently we are in what is called by many the Church age, which began at the time of Pentecost with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the believers. (Acts 2) God is using the Church to preach the gospel of salvation in Christ and Him alone. The Church was chosen by God for a specific time period i.e. Church age, to preach the gospel and reach the lost, the church was grafted in. (Rom 11:17)
The apostle Paul certainly did not believe that Israel was cast out by God, he wrote: “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Rom 11:1-4
God has always preserve a Jewish remnant. One of the biggest evidence of God not breaking His covenant is manifested in the re-birth of the nation of Israel on May 14th 1948. After almost 2000 years of Israel not existing, God brought them back into the land as prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel in chapter 36. The Jews are back in the land, as one nation/kingdom not two as it was before the dispersion, ( 2 southern tribes Judah and Benjamin and the 10 northern tribes) they speak one common which is Hebrew and the shekel is their currency. Today Israel is one of the most fruitful areas in the Middle East, they are the biggest vegetable and fruit exporters in the region. Israel is on the news daily and Jerusalem with the temple mount has been a sore point to many nations and has become the epicenter of the world. Israel is surrounded by many hostile Islamic nations, and one day the war of Gog and Magog will take place as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Most scholars believe that at the time of the rapture of the believers in Christ, the church age will end and will usher in a 7 year tribulation period on the earth spoken of in Daniel chapter 9. 70 weeks were determined for Israel, 69 weeks or 483 years or 173880 days have been fulfilled, from the commandment by King Artaxerxes in 445BC to rebuild the walls and Jerusalem and with Jesus riding into Jerusalem April 6 AD 32 as prophesied by Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zech 9:9
The Messiah was cut off as prophesied in Daniel 9 i.e the crucifixion and finished work of Christ upon the cross. This leaves a seven-year/one week period which has not been fulfilled, commonly referred to as Jacobs troubles or the seven years of great tribulation. It is in these seven years of tribulation that God will once again turn to Israel and they will recognize that Jesus is their promised Messiah, and they will embrace Him as such. The tribulation period will be a time of trouble like the world has never seen before or ever will again, God will pour out His wrath upon the unbelieving world and Christ will come again with all the believers, which is the second coming, this time He will come not as a lamb but as the Lion from the tribe of Judah. Christ will judge the nations, and the once who made it through the seven-year tribulation period who did not take the mark of the beast will enter into the millennial reign of Christ here upon the earth. This is the separation of the sheep from the goats.
“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” Rev 20:4-6
Many Jews will receive Christ as their Lord and Savior during the great tribulation, many Jews and Gentiles will have to die/martyred, but because they have not worshiped or bowed down to the Antichrist , they will be saved and enter into the kingdom of God and have everlasting life. God has not cast out the Jews, neither has He forgotten them, God keeps His promises, to us as Christians and to His chosen people; Israel. God has always preserved for Himself a remnant.
The Roman Catholic Church is wrong regarding Israel and the Bishops are contradicting what the word of God clearly states. As true followers of Jesus, we must stand with Israel and love them, they may not have yet embraced Yeshuah as Messiah, but in due time God will open their eyes. We should bless them and not cast them aside.
“I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12:3
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…Phl 1:27
“Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Phl 2:1, 2
When Paul made these statement to the Church in Philippi, division and false teaching had already crept into the churches. Paul exhorted the believers to be like-minded and to be of one spirit and of one mind. Just as in the past, we see much division in the body of Christ today. We have denominations that vary in doctrine i.e. teachings. Some are so liberal that they deny the inerrancy of the scriptures. Pastors today preach a seeker friendly message from the pulpit in order not to offend anybody.
Many are driven by the prosperity gospel, thinking God is a ATM machine and others have embraced the “green gospel”. Paul and the other apostles had to deal with a lot of false teachers, deceivers and heretics. Looking at Christianity today around the world, the picture is not much different. Some churches have completely departed from the faith, denying sin, denying the deity of Christ His blood sacrifice on the cross and they do not want to talk about hell at all. The goal is to make people comfortable and cozy by preaching a watered down gospel, which really is no gospel at all.
I heard someone say once that if John Wesley, who founded the Methodist church, would preach a sermon today, he would be kicked out of his own church. There are so many divisions within the church today that it can get very confusing to the unbelievers who may be seeking God and instead are getting bombarded with different doctrines. How is it that if we all read the same book, come up with so many different opinions, views and teachings? Are we not suppose to have the same Holy Spirit living within us and teachings us all the same truth? How is it that some that call themselves Christians come up with false teachings, taking scriptures and twisting them to fit their own theology?
Could it be that many that claim to be Christians never really study the Bible and rather listen with itching ears what others teach? They follow men rather than the word of God. They call themselves Calvinist, Armenians, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and the list goes on and on. Every one of them claims to have the truth, but obviously are not of the same mind and spirit as Paul exhorted us to be. The Bible is the infallible word of God and the absolute truth, by which we must abide. It is the responsibility of every believer to study the Bible and to know the word, so that they would not listen to false teachings or getting trapped into legalism.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2Timothy 2:15
Paul is making it very clear, we as believers need to study the word with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth and if we do we will not listen to false doctrine. We who know the word will not be lead astray from the truth and we will have the knowledge to defend the truth against those who are contrary to the teaching of the Bible. The institution of the Roman Catholic Church kept the people in darkness for over 1100 years, telling the people that they can not understand the Bible and that they need to be taught by the priest, rather than reading and learning for themselves. Until today, most Roman Catholics don’t know the Bible.
Many believers in other denominational churches are in the same boat, because they are not getting encouraged by their pastors to read and study the Bible. I believe that knowing the word of God, by studying and attending a Bible believing and teaching church is crucial to every believer. If not, many that confess to be Christian can easily be drawn into false teachings and liberal views and there is a danger to fall into the hands of a cult or legalistic oriented church. These false fellowships are all over the place and many are drawn to these movements like the Toronto blessings, the Holy laughter movement, the emergent church headed by Brian McLaren and Rob Bell and the many seeker friendly, make me feel good churches. The Christian dilemma is that we look divided, striving with one another and are not of the same mind and spirit. To the outsider, the churches do appear to be divided and striving against each other.
That is not what the Bible teaches. We as believers are the body with Christ being the head of His church. We are to follow Christ and His teachings and not the teachings of men. Do we trust and believe in Men or do we put our faith and trust solely in Christ Jesus?
“For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1Cr 1:11-13
Just as in Paul’s days, today we have many that follow certain men and their teachings rather than being one and all in Christ. Christ is all-sufficient and we do not need anybody to lead us into the truth. God has given us His truth and it is not hidden or in secret for some select people. God wants us to know the truth and it is revealed in His word. Christians, I exhort you to read and study God’s word, the word of truth.
- The Atheist Dilemma (media4lifeministries.com)
Throughout Church history there have been times of peace. The early apostolic church suffered from very heavy persecutions under Nero, who was trying to wipe out the church and killed many, but instead of wiping out the church, the church grew. The early church continued suffering persecution until Constantine embraced Christianity. Unfortunately Constantine compromised with the world and kept many of the pagan symbols and customs of various religions in order to unite all people under the banner of Christianity.
At that time there was relative peace in the Empire and the known world. When the Roman Catholic church came into existence in the 4th century, there was relative peace, but they also lorded over the people and kept them in darkness. People didn’t have Bibles on their own to read and they followed whatever the Pope and the Priest would tell them, many things that had and have no biblical grounds and it was taught in Latin. In the pre- reformation period, the Roman Catholic Church persecuted and killed those who translated the Bible into English.
Later with the reformation at the time of Luther, many suffered persecution and death. The reformation gave the word of God back to the people into their own hands. People were finally able to read the Bible in their own language and they learned from it that salvation is by God’s mercy and Grace. Luther re-introduced the biblical teaching that was lost, that “the just shall live by faith.” Something that the Roman Catholic Church did not teach then and even until today. They still teach that salvation is based on works, good behavior and continues membership in the Roman Catholic Church.
There always have been some kind of persecutions throughout the history of the church. In the 20th century alone, more Christians have been persecuted and killed worldwide then in the 19 previous centuries. Christian are persecuted in the Middle East, Africa, China and many other places. In the US for example there is relative peace to worship and live as a Christian at this time, which may change in the future. The problem with “peaceful Christianity” is that it can lead some Christian’s to become complacent and comfortable.
The believers that are persecuted worldwide, live out their faith, even unto death. The church has always grown under persecution. For example here in the US we have Bibles, we have technology to reach the world, but for whatever reason, there are still many unreached people. Why is that? Have we become comfortable and complacent? Unless someone goes into those unreached areas and preaches the gospel, how will they know about Jesus and the free gift of salvation? Many sit in the pews on Sunday’s and think, well, that was my service for the Lord and they go on with their busy lives during the week.
That maybe peaceful but at the same time very comfortable and complacent. Jesus Himself said this: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
There can be peace for a Christian, but that also means that they may have compromised with the world. If anyone anywhere in the world lives and proclaims the name of Jesus and teaches biblical principles, he or she will face some kind of persecution on way or another, either from the government, religious leader and people in general.
“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 2Timothy 3:12.
Here is a so-called Christian (I chose him just as an example) that has compromised the Gospel and compromised with the world: The Archbishop of Canterbury. “Dr Rowan Williams also criticized Christianity’s history for its violence, its use of harsh punishments and its betrayal of its peaceful principles.” That in part is true, I can not make any excuse for the history of the Church, some terrible things were done in the name of the Lord.
But were those crusaders real biblical Christians? Or the inquisitions led by the Roman Catholic church, real biblical Christianity? I think not. Many horrible things have been done throughout the history by the organized church. Just because someone or a denomination calls themselves Christian, does not necessary make it so. Jesus never told His followers to kill and overthrow governments or persecute those who do not agree with certain dogmas. He said: “love your enemy, do good to those who hate you”.
Dr Rowan Williams also said the Christian belief in the Trinity; “that God is Father, Son and Holy Ghost at the same time – “is difficult, sometimes offensive, to Muslims”.
“Trinitarian doctrine conflicts with the Islamic view that there is just one all-powerful God.”
Considering his influence as a church leader, maybe he could reach out to the Muslim leadership and community and explain why Christians believe in a triune Godhead i.e. the Trinity. The concept of the triune nature of God is found in the very first page of the Bible in the book of Genesis. We as Christians believe in One God, we are monotheist. The Gospel of Jesus Christ and salvation through Him alone is offensive to many, including Islam, Atheist who really are Anti-theist and many that do not want to believe or are blinded by the god of this age.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Cr 1:18.
We can either compromise with the world, being quiet trying not to offend anyone, or we can speak the truth in love to those who will perish without the Son. Let us pray that many around the world would have their eyes opened through the love of Christ. It is all about Jesus, not a church or denomination, we follow Jesus, not the teachings and opinions of man.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-3, 14.
Some of the most beautiful passages in all of the Bible. Jesus, second person of the triune Godhead became one of us. God became flesh and dwelled (tabernacled) among us. That is something to meditate on and to grasp. Jesus, even before the foundation of the world already knew that He would become one of us and to voluntarily lay down His life for mankind.
“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1Peter 1:20, 21.
Jesus came despite the fact that He would be rejected by His people, He came into the world as prophesied long before by the prophets. He became the suffering servant spoken of in Isaiah 53. It blows my mind, thinking about Jesus becoming one of us, because God’s love for us is so big that He gave His only begotten Son. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
God in the flesh, who died for the sin of the world. He was full of grace mercy and love. He demonstrated the love of God on the cross at Calvary. His ministry lasted only about 3 1/2 years and He healed the many sick and forgave their sins. He showed love to everyone, without any partiality.
Although He is God, at that time He humbled Himself. Paul put it this way: Let “this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Phl 2:5-8.
Jesus was in full obedience to the Father, fulfilling the plan of redemption for mankind. This humbleness is something to be behold and comprehend. Even the night before His death on the cross, Jesus was the servant. The disciple on many occasions, argued who would be the greatest among them. Jesus knew man’s heart and He gave the disciples an example that night, that they would never forget.
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” John 13:3-5.
It was custom in the middle eastern culture to wash the feet of guest before entering the home. It was regarded however one of the lowest task. Here Jesus who is God in the flesh, stoops down and washes the feet of the disciples. I think they must have felt pretty bad, considering that they argued so many times about who’s being the greatest. Jesus was giving an illustration and He explained it to the disciples after Peter wanted no part of the washing, acting like he was so much more humble than the other disciples over there.
“Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me. Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.” So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” John 13:8-15.
Jesus makes a point here, the believers in Him are already washed of their sins, being human however the believers will not be sinless in these earthly fleshly bodies. All of us who believe need our feet washed, the body is already clean but we walk in the filth of this world. If we do stumble or fall or step into some dirt, Jesus will wash our feet.
Oh, the humbleness of Jesus. I see many so-called servants of God today exalting themselves, the wear fancy religious outfits, giving themselves titles and have others bow down to them. The wear gold, purple robes and live a life of luxury, getting served and love to rule over the people. They are put in offices and exercising power over people. They drive around in a bullet proof car, allowing themselves to be worshiped. There are many that think very highly of themselves. That is not humble and a far cry from what Jesus demonstrated. Jesus my Lord and Savior who is God, humbled Himself. He left the glory of heaven to come down to this fallen world and to redeem man. He shed His blood for us, it is He who should be exalted and not these arrogant puffed up so-called religious leaders. Thank you Lord Jesus for your love and your mercy and grace. I bow my knees before you and thank for your sacrifice
and that by believing in you I will have eternal life and spend eternity with You.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,..” 1Peter 5:6.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mat 11:28-30.