Saturday, 31 March 2018

Saturday Song: Lenny Kravitz, "The Resurrection"

What a joy the resurrection is to us Christians! Without it, we have no hope of our own resurrection when Jesus returns. Better still, we'll have bodies which will live forever and they won't be plagued with sin and death. All this was accomplished by his rising from the dead.

Lenny Kravitz sang about the resurrection on his Circus album. Here's the song for you to hear.

The resurrection is crucial to Christianity. Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:19 (KJV). "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

Jesus is our hope of resurrection. As he told Martha when her brother Lazarus was dead for four days in John 11:25 KJV), "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"

Though our physical bodies die, our spirits will be reunited with our glorified bodies. Paul reminded the church in 1 Corinthians 15:42 (KJV), "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:"

This isn't a strictly New Testament doctrine either. Old Testament saints believed they would be resurrected. Job 19:26 (KJV) plainly states, "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:"

How wonderful it is then that we who believe in Christ aren't abandoned by him. He rose from the dead and after teaching his disciples for forty days, he ascended into heaven.

If you'd like to comment on this post and the song, please do so. Also, have a blessed Resurrection Sunday!

Thursday, 29 March 2018

How Should We Read Revelation?

The sixty-sixth book of the Bible is one of the most mysterious in the canon. It also is the book with the most interpretations.

So what's the proper way to interpret what it says? We need first to understand that the book was written to the seven churches in Asia Minor, now modern day Turkey.

Because of this, we need to know that it isn't written to us but for our instruction and encouragement. As Revelation 1:1 (KJV) explains, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:"

The seven letters to the seven churches are easy to understand. It's the vision John had afterward that is difficult for modern Christians to figure out. That's because we think we're the ones spoken about.

But Revelation 22:6 (KJV) demonstrates that it's the present day recipients of the letters to whom the book is written. "And he said unto me, 'These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.'"

Those folks with Bibles which have the centre column of cross references will realize that John is alluding to the Old Testament prophets to make his meaning clear to the Jewish Christians while making the book mysterious to gentile unbelievers. Only the things which need explanation does John reveal plainly.

We see this in Revelation 1:20 (BBE) where Jesus says, "The secret of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold vessels with burning lights. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven lights are the seven churches."

I'll write more about the confusion people have with Revelation in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Many fans of end times prophecy mistake events from the first century for future events. As far as I can see, only Christ's glorious return and the punishment of the wicked are in the future.

Monday, 26 March 2018

What About Temporal Israel Today?

Various Christian churches and sects have definite opinions on Israel. Some claim that the church has replaced Israel as God's people. Others say that Israel today is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. I've also heard some preachers say that we shouldn't evangelize Jews because they are already saved.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the modern nation of Israel. After two thousand years of wandering, the Jews finally received some of their ancestral land back. As believers in Christ, we must ask for the salvation of the Jews. Psalms 122:6 (KJV) reminds us, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee."

Jesus made it a priority to visit God's people first. As he said in Matthew 15:24 (KJV), "But he answered and said, 'I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'" Of course he did help the Samaritan woman who came asking healing for her daughter after he said that.

We can see that God loves his people but he's calling out sinners from all nations to repent. Not all will be saved but all who profess faith in Christ and follow him will be saved. Paul noted this in respect to the people of Israel when he wrote in Romans 9:27 (KJV), "Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, 'Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:'"

Though the Jews are back in their homeland, just being of the lineage of Israel doesn't make them automatically saved. Otherwise the disciples suffered for nothing when they followed Jesus' command to preach the good news in Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

I could write much more on this matter but I'll save it for my book, You Think You're Going to Heaven? Merely being a descendent of Israel doesn't save anybody. It's faith in the Lord which does.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Saturday Song: Five Man Electrical Band, "Signs"

They're everywhere, aren't they? We see them on streets and in buildings. Even in parks, they have signs posted. Why is this so? In two words: stupid people. If everybody respected each other's rights, no signs, or very few, would be needed. But it's always that one percent of people who have to ruin it for the rest.

Listen to this song here.

God is a user of signs but of a different sort than those posted by folks. For example, his prophets are sign posts. Ezekiel 24:27 (KJV) reads, "In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD."

Jesus himself was a billboard to the Jews and to others who place their trust in him. Luke 2:34 (KJV) says, "And Simon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;"

But some folks look for the wrong signs. Luke 11:29 (KJV) records, "And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet."

In the first century, the Lord used a verbal sign in the form of various languages which the apostles never learned. 1 Corinthians 14:22 (KJV) says, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe."

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote? Give me a sign that you agree or disagree in the comment box below.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

What about the End Times Slaughter of Jews?

Up until a few hundred years ago, Christians uniformally believed in the sudden and total return of Jesus Christ. Then a man named John Nelson Darby ran with an idea by some obscure monk that there are two groups of people who God is working with, namely Jews and the church universal.

Worse yet, some Christians think that there will be a future slaughter of the Jews that will make the Holocaust seem like a paper cut. These people even worked to settle Jews in Israel while believing that most of them would be exterminated during the great tribulation.

I object to this end times notion. People who cling to that idea don't realize that they're reading their Bibles literally rather than literately. Proponents of end times prophecy assume that we who live nearest to Christ's return are somehow special and the Bible is written to us. Careful study and an understanding of Jewish history shows how wrong these people are.

The entire Bible is about humanity's fall and God's plan to save as many as will trust in the Saviour. Jesus himself said to the Pharisees in John 5:39 (KJV) that they should, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

Certain people also misread end time scriptures and come up with two resurrections in time. The verses they quote are actually two types of resurrection.

But we can see how the good and bad are separated in Matthew 13:47 to 50 (KJV). "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

I'll be writing so much more about eternity in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heven? Choosing to follow Christ is the most important decision we can make.

Monday, 19 March 2018

What Did Paul Mean by All Israel being Saved?

I mentioned this briefly in a previous post but I feel I should explain it further. What God has always looked for is people who would trust and love him. He chose Abraham and made a nation from his offspring to be a light to the world. It was through them that Jesus was born. He also lived a perfect life, died to ransom those who believed in him and his father, then rose again.

In Romans Chapter nine, Paul explains that not all Israelites are of the ethnic nation. There's a spiritual Israel made up of all who are trusting in God. As he noted in Galatians 3:6 (KJV), "Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."

Throughout the Old Testament, we can also find this truth. Habakkuk 2:4 (KJV) says, "Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith."

These just ones are in the Israel of God. As Paul wrote in Romans 9:6to 8 (BBE), "But it is not as if the word of God was without effect. For they are not all Israel, who are of Israel: And they are not all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, 'In Isaac will your seed be named.' That is, it is not the children of the flesh, but the children of God's undertaking, who are named as the seed."

Paul used Isaac as a picture of the children of promise. Since Jesus came from that lineage, and since we are adopted into his family through our belief in him, we too are the children of promise.

And as Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 10:16 (KJV), "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."

So Christ is our good shepherd and we are included with the sheep he has from Israel's flock. As he said in Matthew 25:32 (KJV), "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:"

I could write so much more about the awesome promise of being the Lord's people. I'll save that instead for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Whoever isn't following Christ is following the Devil, no matter how nice they might seem. People need to realize that and repent of their stubborn refusal of his magnanimous offer.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Saturday Song: The Marmalade, "Reflections of My Life"

This is one song which resonated perfectly with me, though I was only thirteen when it was on the air. I remember standing on the brow of the hill overlooking the classrooms at Jericho Hill School for the Deaf and Blind one March afternoon. On my transistor radio came this song and I thought how it reflected my life.

Listen to the song here.

Like the person in the song, my life seemed terrible but I didn't want to die. I was as trapped in my misery as that character in the song was trapped in his.

Fortunately for me, God had my future in his hands. Had I known that I wouldn't be going to Jericho anymore after the school year ended, I would have felt more hopeful.

Though Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) was addressed to the Israelite exiles, we can take it as our promise too. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

My exile ended in 1970. That autumn, I was sent to a public school in Edmonton which had disability counsellors to help us with reading print texts. I boarded during the week with a family and went home on weekends. Not only did I feel better about being in a regular home during the week but I was able to stay with my family on the weekends. The dorms at Jericho were so sterile and unnatural compared to a real home with a real family.

So, what do you think of this song and what I wrote here? Please drop me a note. Have a great weekend too.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Has The Messiah Come?

Like the Apostle Paul, I feel sad for the Jews. As he wrote in Romans 9:1 to 5 (BBE), "I say what is true in Christ, and not what is false, my mind giving witness with me in the Holy Spirit, That I am full of sorrow and pain without end. For I have a desire to take on myself the curse for my brothers, my family in the flesh: Who are Israelites: who have the place of sons, and the glory, and the agreements with God, and the giving of the law, and the worship, and the hope offered by God: Whose are the fathers, and of whom came Christ in the flesh, who is over all, God, to whom be blessing for ever. So be it."

With the clear revelation of God throughout the Old Testament, they still didn't understand that faith in God was what they were supposed to have. By the time Christ was born, the Pharisees had made Judaism into a burdensome religion rather than a love relationship with the heavenly Father.

Jesus proved himself to be the Christ, the long-awaited saviour of the world. John 1:41 (KJV) relates what Andrew did when, "He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, 'We have found the Messias,' which is, being interpreted, the Christ."

But in spite of all the miracles Jesus did, the religious rulers refused to believe him. We can see that demonstrated easily at his mock trial. Luke 22:67 (KJV) says, "'Art thou the Christ? tell us.' And he said unto them, 'If I tell you, ye will not believe:'"

I think it's also ironic that the gentiles were easier to reach than the Israelites. John 4:25 and 26 (KJV) shows how a whole Samaritan village came to believe in the Lord. "The woman saith unto him, 'I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.' Jesus saith unto her, 'I that speak unto thee am he."

So why do the Jews still refuse to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah? The Apostle Paul explained it using the incident of Moses coming down from meeting with God and he had to put a cloth over his face since it shone. The people asked Moses to be a go-between to God for them. Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 3:15 (KJV),  "But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart."

I could write so much more on this subject but I'll save it for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Through many infallible proofs, Jesus showed himself to be God incarnate. People must either believe or reject him. There's no neutral position.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Why Are Jews Universally Despised?

Since the Jews are God's people, why do they end up being uniformly hated? Of all the world's ethnic groups, and as far as I know, they've suffered the most. That doesn't seem right if they're chosen by God.

The Devil hates God and anybody who follows him. But the Lord punished his people through Satan's servants whenever they turned away from worshipping and loving him. The Bible is filled with instances when foreign powers oppressed his people. As Jeremiah 36:31 (KJV) forewarned, "And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not."

But God didn't leave his people in bondage. In fact, he punished those who punished Israel for being so wicked. Jeremiah 25:12 (KJV) reads, "And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations."

The faithful of Israel and the followers of Christ receive persecution because Satan and his followers hate being rebuked. As Amos 5:10 (KJV) explains, "They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."

In fact, anybody who follows the one and only true God will be persecuted by Satan. As Christ said in Luke 6:22 (KJV), "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."

The Apostle Paul also explained how those of Israel who were faithful and the believing gentiles are one people. In Galatians 6:16 ((KJV) he wrote, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Paul also explained how there are those in Israel, the ethnic group, who are united with gentile believers through faith in the Lord. Romans 9:6 (KJV) and onward explains this. "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:"

I'll write more about this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is one long story of God's plan to rescue humanity through Christ and present those who believe to himself. This key makes the entirety of holy scripture come together and make sense to we who believe in its author. But he has graciously allowed people to choose to follow or reject him.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Saturday Song: C. W. McCall, Convoy

Who here remembers the Citizen's Band craze of the seventies? I was one of millions of people who became fanatical regarding this public form of communication. All a person needed was a radio, coaxial cable, and an antenna. Unlike amateur radio with its strict rules, CB was a much easier choice for millions of folks.

CB radio became so popular that movies were made around the hobby. C. W. McCall also released a song called "Convoy" in 1976.

Here the song here.

But like anything fun in life, a few idiots had to ruin it. People often had their conversations interrupted by "turkeys," as we called them. Rude individuals would deliberately play music to blot out somebody's signal. Sometimes people got so angry that physical fights broke out.

Because of CB radio's bad reputation, the elders of the house church worried that I'd be influenced by the swearing and dirty jokes I heard on the air. As I've written before, they considered CB radio to be a waste of time and an outlet for the Devil.

But those superstitious fools didn't realize what Jesus said in Matthew 15:11 (KJV). "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man."

Instead of being "defiled" by CB radio, I chose the handle Cosmic Christian and I often spoke about the gospel on the air. This angered many CBers but I persisted.

So, what are your memories and experiences of CB radio? Were you active or was it just a passing phase with you. Please leave me a reply in the box below. And if you don't feel like doing that, have a good weekend anyway.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Why Were the Jews God's People?

I pointed out before why God chose the descendents of Israel. But why would he do that? Couldn't the Messiah have been born into any family?

We see one reason for this seemingly strange way of saving humanity in Genesis 12:3 (KJV) which explains, "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

God chose the most stubborn of all peoples to work his will through in order to display his awesome power. Judges 7:2 (KJV) shows why he worked through the Jews. "And the LORD said unto Gideon, 'The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, "Mine own hand hath saved me"'."

The preservation of the lineage of Judah is also a miracle. Through the times of punishment, when God let other nations afflict Israel, there were always some left to carry on the line of the Messiah. As Jeremiah 29:10 and 11 state, "For thus saith the LORD, 'That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,' saith the LORD, 'thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.'"

Furthermore, the nation of Israel was chosen to be messengers of the Lord to the world. Isaiah 66:18 and 19 (KJV)states,  "For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles."

I'll be writing more about how the Lord worked through Israel to save humanity in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? The entire Bible is the story of how God rescued humanity. Understanding that truth makes the whole of holy scripture make sense.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Has God Forsaken the Jews?

Along with the mistaken idea that all Jews will be saved, there's the opposite error preached by some that God has forsaken his chosen people. Had these people read all the passages in the Bible, they'd see that some will indeed be saved.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 9:27 (KJV), "Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:"

There's also the mention of these people in Revelation 12:17 (KJV) which says, "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."

Knowledgeable students will realize that chapter twelve is a recapitulation of Christ's time on earth. When he was born, Herod wanted him dead but Joseph and Mary took him to Egypt. The flood of waters was the soldiers which were sent to kill all infant boys two years or younger. Christ became the one who was taken up to heaven and will rule all the nations with a rod of iron.

I also agree with Hank Hanegraaff that The Revelation of John the Divine was written for the seven churches of Asia Minor during the first century, not to twenty-first century North Americans. John wrote the book in a code which only Jews would understand. Therefore many passages allude to Old Testament scriptures as an analogy of what would SHORTLY come to pass.

The utter destruction of Jerusalem was the fulfillment  of what Christ prophesied about the people of his generation. Matthew 23:35 (KJV) records him as saying, "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar."

This is such a vast topic that I'll save the details for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? People come up with the weirdest ideas from the Bible because they read it literally rather than literately. And as rock singer Larry Norman sang about doubters of Scripture, "I bet they all own a Bible that's never been read.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Saturday Song: Anthony Moore, World Service

Ever since I discovered the joys of shortwave listening on the Pye table top radio at the school for the blind I attended, I've loved listening to foreign broadcasts in English. Tuning in stations from Japan, the USSR, and other lands thrilled me. Instead of going outside for recess, I searched the shortwave bands for distant signals.

Here Anthony Moore's "World Service" song here.

To me, shortwave radio has a glamour all its own. The thought of distant signals bouncing off the ionosphere and down to me fired my imagination. No wires or satellites were needed. All a person had to purchase was the radio.

This interest in the countries and peoples of the world has helped me identify with the Great Commission. Mark 16:15 (KJV) reads, "And he (Christ) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

By that, he meant anybody. Christianity isn't a white man's religion as some people suppose but an inclusive faith for all the world. It doesn't matter which country you're in or from wich ethnic background you came. All that is irrelevant. Belief in Christ and following him after repenting of your sins is the only requirement.

If you liked what I wrote and the song I chose, please let me know. Otherwise, have a great weekend anyway.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Heaven promotion video 2

Good news! I just uploaded this book trailer to YouTube. Eternity is a crucial destination which we must get right while we're here on earth. Don't be one of millions who ended up in hell because of their mistaken beliefs.

Are Jews Saved?

Since God calls the Jews his chosen people, some folks might say they're all saved. But as we see from the most famous Bible verse, it's whosoever believes on Jesus that are saved.

So if the chosen people weren't chosen to be saved, what does it mean that they were chosen? It was so that the Messiah would be born through the lineage of Abraham. As the Apostle Paul explains in Galatians 3:8 (KJV), "And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed."

This shows that the purpose of God to work through Abraham was to lead humanity to salvation. These people are what Paul calls the Israel of God. As he wrote in Galatians 6:16 (KJV) regarding those who are in the body of Christ, "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."

Some folks might argue that Romans Chapters nine to eleven claim that all Jews will be saved. They quote Romans 11:26 (BBE) which says,  "And so all Israel will get salvation: as it is said in the holy Writings, There will come out of Zion the One who makes free; by him wrongdoing will be taken away from Jacob:"

But look at the context of the verse and you'll see that Paul's writing about those of Israel who are faithful to the Lord verses those who were not. Likening them to olive tree branches, he said that it's possible to graft them back into the tree. Therefore, this Israel of God is all the faithful believers in the Lord down through the ages without regard to ancestry. Like wild olive branches, we gentiles who trust in Christ are grafted into the Israel of God tree.

There's so much more I could write but I'll save that for my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? It isn't a matter of genetics but of trust in God and his son which saves us from eternity in hell.