Has the Church replaced Israel?


“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

For unto us a Child is born…


“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6, 7 

“For unto us a child is born” This glorious prophecy of the birth of the Messiah reminds Israel that the victory bringing Messiah would be a man. The Messiah could have been an angel. The Messiah could have been God without humanity. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Child had to be born.

“Unto us a Child is given” This Child would be a man, but more than a man. He is also the eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Godhead. Theoretically, the Messiah didn’t have to be God. He might have been a sinless angel, or merely a perfect man like Adam. Neither of those options would have qualified the Messiah to be our Savior and High Priest as Jesus was. The Son had to be given.

“And the government will be on His shoulder” Ultimately, this will be fulfilled in the Millennium, when Jesus Christ will rule the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords ( Revelation 20:4-6, Psalm 72, Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 65:17-25, Zechariah 14:6-21.) We are still waiting for the ultimate fulfillment of this promise.

“His name will be called”  This is not be mistaken as the literal names of the Messiah. Instead, these are aspects of His character, they describe who He is and what He has come to do.
The Messiah is “Wonderful” The glory of who He is and what He has done for us should fill us with awe and wonder. No one can really look at Jesus, know Him, and be bored. He is “Wonderful” and will fill our heart and minds with amazement.

The Messiah is our “Counselor”  Jesus is the One fit to guide our lives, and should be the Christian’s immediate resource as a counselor. Jesus can help us with our problems. He may use the presence and the words of another Christian to do it, but Jesus is our “Counselor”

The Messiah is “Mighty God” The God of all creation and glory, the Lord who reigns in heaven, the One worthy of our worship and praise.

The Messiah is the “Everlasting Father” The idea in these Hebrew words is that Jesus is the source or author of all eternity, that He is the Creator Himself. It does not mean that Jesus Himself is the Person of the Father in the Trinity.

The Messiah is the “Prince of Peace” He is the One who makes peace, especially between God and man.

From His names and character/attributes, verse 7 goes farther into the future, into the millennial reign of Christ.

“Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end” The reign of the Messiah will not last merely 1,000 years, though the millennium is a special aspect of His reign. There will be no end to the reign of the Messiah, and He will rule for all eternity.

“Upon the throne of David” Jesus will rule on David’s throne, and over his kingdom that is Israel. This is a fulfillment of God’s great covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7.

Jesus Christ can be the Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace for everyone now. One day, these offices will be imposed upon the world. For now, they are real for those who receive Jesus and submit to Him. Have you surrendered your life to Him? Jesus is coming again to set up His kingdom here on earth. At His first coming, He came as the Passover lamb, at His second coming, He will come as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Which one would you rather meet, the lamb or the Lion? Jesus will come in judgment, He will judge the world in righteousness, those who rejected Him will face judgment at the great white throne of God. Do you think that you can face God and defend your life before Him? Those who put their faith and trust in Jesus will not face the great white throne judgment. Believers in Christ have the imputed righteousness of Christ and God the Father will not look upon their sins, they are forgotten as far as the east is from the west.

If you are not sure if you go to heaven or hell, call upon Jesus and ask Him to come into your heart, He will forgive you, no matter how bad you may think you are. The only unpardonable sin is to reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He laid down His life for you, so that you can have eternal life and be with God forever. It is a choice everyone has to make, whether they believe it or not. God is real and death is real, physical death will come to all, no one is excluded. Are you sure that there is nothing after you die? How can you be sure? Jesus has told us of the afterlife, what happens to those who reject God and it is not a pretty picture, eternal separation from God.

Eternity is a long time. I hope and pray if you have not received Jesus into your heart, stop and think, you may be young at this time, healthy, but things change real fast, sooner than you know you will look back at your life wondering, where did it go? Our spirit will not die, the decision whether to follow Jesus or not can have dire consequences, once a person dies without Jesus, it is too late. Think about it.

“For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2Cr 6:2

Faith; a gift of God


faithNow faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1

Many people claim to have faith, faith in something or someone, but what is faith from a biblical perspective? Can faith be proven or can it be seen? God’s word says,  that the just shall live by faith and without faith it is impossible to please God.  Can a Christian prove his or her faith to an unbelieving world and how do we explain faith? Paul in writing to the church in Corinth writes: “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.” 1Cr 2:14 

Jesus in speaking to Nicodemus who came to Him at night said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 

Jesus is saying,  that without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a person’s life, there is no way for them to know God or to see things from a spiritual heavenly view. Unbelievers are blind to the things pertaining to God and His kingdom,  they cannot see beyond the human realm which the Bible calls the flesh. They go by their instincts, feelings and emotion that are purely  from a human level and not a divine level.

Most people live by what they can see touch or smell and they disregard faith as something childish or foolishness. Many Atheist are very outspoken these days about people of faith, especially the Christian faith. I like what Norman Geisler once said in his book: “I do not have enough faith to be an Atheist.” What is this faith within the believer, is it something that can be learned or can be earned by some kind of practice or ritual? Where does this faith come from?  Christians walk by faith, a faith that was not earned or attained. 

I believe that faith is a gift of God just as salvation is a free gift of God for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Before anybody was a true believer and disciple of Christ, they walked in darkness just as everybody else. I came to Christ pretty late in life, at the age of 46 years. What took me so long, and why wasn’t I a believer much earlier in my life? Certainly I had heard about Jesus, and that He died on the cross for my sins.  I heard about His resurrection from the dead and that He promised eternal life to those who would believe and follow Him. I’m pretty sure that most people know John 3:16

It seems that knowing about Jesus and reading about Jesus is not enough. There are many people saying: “I think He was a good man and a great teacher.”  They put Him in the same category as Buddha, Krishna and others.  And that is as far as most people will go,  they refuse to come any closer towards the truth of God that would set them free. Why is there such hostility towards Christ?  Why would people not receive Christ by faith and the forgiveness of their sins by repenting of their former ways?  God’s promise is  forgiveness and eternal life. Could it be because there is no faith nor hope in them,  unless God draws them?  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Eph 2:8  
 
How come that some received grace and some not?  Did God predestined some to be saved and some not?  I do not believe that God has chosen some unto salvation and some to hell for eternity (although He knows in His foreknowledge who would come to Him and who not).  People have a free will to choose, and that those who reach out to God asking Him for forgiveness will be saved by His grace.  I can only go from my experience,  how I came to the Lord.  I can’t speak for others, everybody has their own unique story.  I’m not going into a long-winded story, but I had a severe alcohol problem, and my life was going downhill real fast.  I would go on binges days upon days drinking until I would be sick. I took me about a week to get better after these binges and a couple of weeks to get back to drinking resulting in another collapse. Well, long story short, one Sunday morning, May 14th 2006 to be precise, I hit rock bottom. I sat on my patio chair feeling pretty lousy and I remember as if it were today, I cried out to God saying, “please help me, I don’t want to be like this anymore, please God help me I am sorry.” From that moment on, my life completely changed, I was still feeling sick, but something happened, something I can’t fully explain. God took the desire of drinking away and I have not had a drink or desire to have a drink one ever since. 

That day God changed me, He transformed my life. There used to be twelve packs of beer in my car and Ozzy on my radio. That all changed that day,  I went and bought a Bible. Not knowing anything about which translation to get, the first Bible I bought was a NASB version. I’m using the NKJV now, but have others as well to get a better flavor on some passages. I was reading everyday and because I didn’t work at that time and spent all day and night reading God’s word. Looking back, I know that the moment I cried out to God that He saved me from a life of destruction, and the transformation within me started.

Did I have true faith at that early stage? To be honest I don’t know. What I do know is that reading the word of God brought me closer and closer to Him. I had a change of mind which came through His word. His word ministered to me. Reading the Bible and studying it, showed me without a doubt that I was reading the truth and that God had a wonderful plan for my life.  Faith came by reading the word of God just as it say’s it in the Bible. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Rom10:17
 
Today,  I have absolute faith in God. It is not a “blind faith” as many atheist like to call it. I know in my heart that God is the truth and that He is faithful. He keeps His promises, and one day I will see Him face to face. Can I prove faith to an unbeliever?  Maybe not, but I believe that faith can be shown by the conduct and behaviors of  Christians in the world.  Genuine faith brings forth good fruit.

Many will laugh at believers and mock them, but the genuine believers have a blessed hope of salvation and eternal life. They have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, something the unbeliever searches for but will not find apart from God.  Jesus explained why many will resist Him and fight tooth and nails against His Lordship: “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

The unbelievers are already condemned because they do not want to acknowledge God.  Many want to keep living in darkness, they want to live a life without being accountable to anyone. They love the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life.

The Muslim Dilemma


As Christians we have many opportunities to come in contact with Muslims, maybe at Starbucks, the grocery store or at work. It is not very tough these days to meet them. They are our neighbors, colleagues and fellow citizen of this great nation. Because so many people from different parts of the world with various backgrounds and different beliefs have come to this country,  makes it much easier for us to share what we believe as Christians. We don’t necessarily have to travel abroad on mission trips. I do respect and admire those who do have the calling of God to go out into the world. God has brought many of them right here to America, from Europe, China, Asia and of course the Middle East.  In the past I had plenty of conversations with Muslims, some of them were moderates almost secular and some of them very religious following the Quran. It is always exiting and interesting to me, starting up a conversation about God and faith.

I like to share my faith when the opportunity arises, and as Paul said: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Gentiles).  Rom 1:16.

In the past I  have tried to show them that the Bible is the true word of God versus the Quran. That Jesus was and is more than just a prophet of God.  But those conversation never really went anywhere. Most Muslims have made up there mind that the Bible is corrupted and the Quran is the true book and that Muhammad  is the greatest prophet of God.  Most of these conversations or debates just go back and forth without any real outcome or a changed mind on either side. I believe that we have to go to the fundamentals, one of them is the subject of a just God.

Asking Muslims about Allah and how they view him, they will answer most likely with that Allah is just. Allah is a just god. My second question to them is, I am a sinner and you are a sinner, both of us will die and one day and stand before God to face judgment. If Allah is just, how do you as a Muslim have assurance to make into paradise?  If Allah is a just god, he has to punish sin, he cannot let sin go unpunished.

Most likely the answer is that Allah is also merciful. That is what Muslims believe. Allah is just and at the same time merciful.  If sin demands justice i.e. the punishment for the offense, how can Allah be just and at the time be merciful. If Allah is just and merciful at the same time, would he not compromise being just? 

It would be like a criminal found guilty before the jury for his crime and the judge saying, well I feel really good this morning, I will let you off the hook. That judge would not be just. He would have compromised justice. Some may argue that they can be merciful and just let someone go. That is a human perspective and many people may think that way, but none of them or any of us for that matter know true righteousness. If Allah is a just god, he cannot be just and merciful at the same time. And that in my view is a dilemma for the Muslims.

A dilemma, because Muslims cannot be sure if they are good enough to make it into paradise. There is no loving relationship with Allah. So they try to weigh out the good and bad they have done, in hope that Allah will be merciful and let them into Paradise.

That is another reason that we see so many suicide bombers. For them according to the radical Islamist, it’s a short cut and assured entry into paradise where they will be welcomed by 72 virgins.

Do Christians have the same dilemma as the Muslims? The Bible clearly teaches the God is just and cannot let sin go unpunished. God is also perfect in His Holiness and a perfect God cannot compromise His justness. The Bible declares that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all have offended God, no matter who we are or from where we are, we all have fallen short i.e. missed the mark. How can God be appeased? How can we get a right standing before Almighty God?

The Bible says that we cannot come before God and stand on our own righteousness or by our works. The Bible also says that the law cannot make us righteous and save us from the wrath of God. What are we to do, how can we escape the punishment for our sins?  May I say, nothing? God has provided a way out, and that way is Jesus Christ.

God in His foreknowledge has determined long ago before the foundation of the world that He would send His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ is the propitiation i.e. satisfaction or appeasement for our sins.  Jesus who knew no sin became sin for the sinners. He suffered on the cross and paid the penalty that we deserved as sinners with His blood.  Justice was served without God compromising His justness, and because the penalty for the sin of the world was paid in Christ, God by His grace showed mercy to those who will believe by faith in His Son Jesus. God loves us so much that He provided, the unblemished passover lamb, the only acceptable sacrifice and payment for fallen man.

The God of the Bible YHWH is truly just and merciful without compromising His perfect Holiness. For a Christian there is no dilemma, God is Holy,  just and merciful to those who believe in His Son and His finished work on the cross.

The Islamic faith however has a dilemma, and if you are a Muslim, you have to ask yourself this question: How can Allah be just and at the same time be merciful? Do I have assurance of eternal life?

“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

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Eph 1:3-6

The Christian Dilemma


“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.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31, 32

The Buddhist Dilemma


Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, although technically it is not a religion but a philosophy.  Buddhism attracts about 376 million followers worldwide and was founded in Northern India between 553 BC and 460 BC. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism has many different traditions, but share a common set of fundamental beliefs. One fundamental belief of Buddhism is reincarnation. The concept is basically that people are reborn after dying. The Buddhist believes that most individuals go through many cycles of birth, living, death and rebirth. The person that dies may not ever return to the earth as the same entity, they may be similar but not the same. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering. Besides that, there are many other practices a Buddhist adhere to.

I will list just a few short examples: The three trainings or practice: 1. Sila: virtue, good conduct, morality. 2. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation, mental development. Developing one’s mind the Buddhist believe, is the path to wisdom which in turn leads to personal freedom. Mental development also strengthens and controls our mind; this helps us maintain good conduct. 3. Pranja: Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment. This according to Buddhist is the real heart of Buddhism. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm. Buddhist also follow the eightfold path, in order to reach Nirvana.  But in order to reach that enlightenment a Buddhist must master the eightfold path. The Buddhist must also follow rules, such as the five precepts. 1.”Do not kill” 2. Do not steal” 3. “Do not lie” 4. “Do not misuse sex” 5. Do not consume alcohol or other drugs”. The Eightfold path consist of Panna: Discernment, wisdom: 1. Samma ditthi Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths.  2. Samma sankappa: Right thinking; following the right path in life. Sila: Virtue and morality: 3) Samma vaca: Right speech: no lying, criticism, condemning, gossip, harsh language. 4 Samma kammanta Right conduct by following the Five Precepts. 5. Samma ajiva: Right livelihood; support yourself without harming others. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation: 6. Samma vayama Right Effort: promote good thoughts; conquer evil thoughts. 7. Samma sati Right Mindfulness: Become aware of your body, mind and feelings. 8. Samma samadhi Right Concentration: Meditate to achieve a higher state of consciousness i.e.Nirvana. And I am sure there is much more a Buddhist has to do in order to achieve a higher consciousness.

This to me looks like a lot of work,  to archive the ultimate goal of eternal bliss. Just as many other religions, Buddhism is a man centered religion/philosophy. It is man’s vain attempt to reach perfection or a higher consciousness, i.e. a higher state of mind. It is another attempt of man to be either a god or god like, archiving this by a set of rules, by rules that were implemented by man. The dilemma to me with Buddhism is that the teachers tell the people to live a certain way and if they do and follow all the rules, they will reach Nirvana. It’s like somebody telling you, here is Mount Everest, when you reach the top you will have Nirvana. But Buddha and his teachings does not give them any kind of equipment to climb Mount Everest and so people slip and fall, trying desperately to reach the top. I guess that’s where the reincarnation comes into play. If you don’t make it in this lifetime, try it in the next. If that fails, keep on trying and one day you will arrive.  Buddhism is man’s attempt to become a higher enlightened person by their own strength and set of rules, just as other religions wanna come on their own merit to God, making their own version of god. A god that caters to them, a god that no one needs to be accountable to. They have a made themselves a Burger King god, “have it your way.”

Christianity teaches the opposite of what many Buddhist believe. The Bible declares that there is only one true and living God and that is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Creator of all things. There is only one absolute truth and that is the truth that comes from God. There are many that will claim to be a good person, but by whose standards?  Man’s standards or God’s standards? God has declared everyone guilty, we have all violated His Holiness and perfect standard.

In God’s eyes no one is good: “Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” Psalm 53:3.

In the eyes of God there is none righteous: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.” Rom 3:10, 11.

People seek all kinds of ways to be spiritual and many claim to be spiritual or enlightened. They are either following a man-made religion or attempt to reach God on their own merit. The problem is that man is spiritually separated from God because of sin and there is not one that has not sinned before God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.

It is the sin nature that everyone inherited that keeps man from fellowship with the true God. We are spiritually separated from God because of sin.  God is a Holy God and in Him there is no darkness at all. Mankind apart from God is in darkness and the heart of man is the problem: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jer 17:9. People are deceiving themselves by following teachers, philosophies and religions that promise them eternal life if they do certain things. People wanna come on the own righteousness before God, but no matter how hard someone may try to reach Him or to achieve a higher consciousness, it is in vain, because they are all man driven and self-centered.

The Buddhist tries to achieve a higher consciousness, Nirvana the ultimate goal, eternal bliss. The problem with that thinking is that the Bible does not teach about reincarnation, that people can come back and try over and over again until they get it right. Quite the opposite is true: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment..” Heb 9:27.

There is only one life to live and death will come to everyone sooner or later. The Bible also tells us that there is either eternal life or eternal damnation. Humans have a spirit, in fact we consist of  the flesh i.e. the body, a soul which is our consciousness and a spirit. The spirit of a person will not die after the death of the flesh and there are only two places for the spirit to go, either eternity in heaven or eternity in hell.  Since God has declared everyone guilty it would seem that all go to one destination, Hell. But wait, there is good news, God in His mercy and His grace has provided a way to be reconciled to Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, He died and rose from the dead,  so that those who would believe in Him by faith would be saved from the wrath and judgment of God to come upon sinful man. “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.

By believing and trusting in Him alone as Lord and Savior, people are born again of the Spirit and there is now no more gap between them and God the Father. God has reconciled those who believe and trust in the finished work of Christ on their behalf, it is the righteousness of Christ that the Father looks at, not the righteousness of man. The righteousness of Christ is imputed onto all who believe by faith. That to me is so much better than trying to transform myself into a higher consciousness.  God did for me what I could not do for myself, a true transformation through His Son Jesus Christ. Buddha, Krishna, Allah cannot truly transform a person, people may try to better themselves, to become good, but in the end they will fall short of God’s glory. Jesus is the only one that truly transforms the life’s of people. I thank God for His revelation, His mercy and His grace. I thank Jesus Who became one of us, that loved me so much that He laid down His life for me, so that I can be with Him for eternity.

“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.

Only Jesus can give us rest and it is only through Jesus that anyone can be at peace with the Father. Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life. Buddha is dead, Jesus lives, He is the true an living God.

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.

Abiding in Christ


The Christian walk is not always easy and from time time we may stumble and fall, but we have Jesus to see us through every situation that may come.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us and through His power we also can overcome the world and it’s lust.

We can resist the temptations of this world just as Jesus did in the wilderness when Satan tempted Him with the very same things that we face today, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.

If we abide in Jesus, we can do all things. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phl 4:13.

Let us cling to Jesus, abide in Him and seek the kingdom and all things will be possible. Thank you Jesus for Your love and compassion, patience and long-suffering .  Thank You that through You we can overcome and be victorious.

You, unlike the world has told us to bring our burdens before You and that You will give us true rest.


”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.