Problems with identifying the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom.


One of the things that dominate my thoughts is how we are lacking in our understanding of end times events and scripture about them. I am also fully aware of how alternate points of view can make closed-minded people angry because it rocks their traditional worldview. I happen to believe that we are in the last moments of the ballgame with one out to go, and then Jesus will return to gather His long-awaited bride, the church.

If you have watched the news about events in the middle east then you are aware that he has already gathered so many of the saints home to himself. While I honestly wish I were home myself, I believe that he has given me a mission, and that is to share and encourage those of us still here, paying attention, and have a heart that longs for an adventure.

I want you to visualize an event with me. Jesus is gathering up the disciples after telling them that He is to be betrayed and specifically hands the chunk of bread to Judas indicating who it was that was to do the betraying. With this announcement, He has made it clear that he is about to die at the hands of the Jewish priesthood, and now his compulsion from the Holy Spirit is driving him to his favorite place on earth, the olive garden. He knows exactly where he is going, he prayed there often. This is the place where Peter and John saw him glow. In addition, Moses, whom they had never seen showed up and they recognized him. He pauses, and then turns looking Peter right in the eyes and says, grab some swords. Peter stunned, replies, we have two. We can buy more. Jesus responds, no, that is enough. It was not about the swords but the readying and the glory of God about to be demonstrated.

If you are a follower of Christ then you know that the sword is His Word. I am asking you to do what the Apostle John tells us that they did:

1 John 1:1(b) NASB …. “what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life”

The word looked in Greek, theaomai, is to view attentively, or to contemplate. I am asking you think about what I am about to say. Look attentively at the scriptures, do not be afraid to challenge God, ask him questions, He can handle your questions. Consider the direction that things are going in the earth. You are surrounded by wealthy people who want control so badly they can taste it, and they are doing it at your expense. This is not just mere circumstance, it is a directed, intentional effort, and if you are paying attention, and student of scripture, then you should be aware that this is all spelled out in the Revelation.

I will tell you straight out this was initiated because of someone coming back at me with, “no its not! We are supposed to be waiting for the revised Roman Empire.” They demonstrated no interest in changing their point of view at that moment, and I do not convey myself well at times. I wish my head could retain information, it does not, but my computer does. I got away for a couple of days and pulled enough information together to reestablish my knowledge base in my head, and write sufficient information to show others what is happening in the immediate future.

I guarantee you that I could not have said this any better than the author Joel Richardson. It his books, “The Islamic Antichrist”, and “The Mideast Beast” that opened my understanding of Revelation, Daniel, and in general, what is going on around me. I have taken portions from his book “The Mideast Beast” in order to convey a clear intent, and added my own comments as I thought necessary. I have indicated quotes from Mr. Richardson’s book by placing an asterisk in front of it.

Problems with identifying the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom.

*”The first problem with the Roman identification of the fourth kingdom is that the Roman Empire does not meet the specific criterion of Daniel 2:40. This verse, speaking of the nature of the rise of the fourth kingdom, says that when it emerged, it would crush all three of the other kingdoms:”

Dan 2:40 then there will be a fourth kingdom. That kingdom will be strong like iron. Just as iron breaks things and smashes them to pieces, that fourth kingdom will break all the other kingdoms and smash them to pieces.

*Later in Daniel 7, speaking of this same empire, we find a similar description:

Dan 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

The three other kingdoms that are to be trampled are spelled out in scripture.

Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.

*“The three empires never coexisted, and thus we must ask what the text means when it says that the fourth empire would “crush” all the others.”

Daniel 5:28 spells out the kingdom that follows the Babylonian.

Dan 5:28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

We call this the Medo-Persian Empire, and are the second kingdom that is to be crushed.

The third empire to be crushed was the Grecian empire.

Dan 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.

male goat … large horn. This is the third Gentile world power, the kingdom of Greece, and specifically Alexander the Great, the notable and “first king” after conquering Medo-Persia. Cf. Dan_11:3. (John MacArthur)

Richardson implies that word crush, as used in Daniel 2:40 means geographically. When I look at the meaning of the word, I find this in the dictionary:

CRUSH, v.t.

1. To press and bruise between two hard bodies; to squeeze, so as to force a thing out of its natural shape; to bruise by pressure.

2. To press with violence; to force together into a mass.

3. To overwhelm by pressure; to beat or force down, by an incumbent weight, with breaking or bruising; as, the man was crushed by the fall of a tree.

4. To overwhelm by power; to subdue; to conquer beyond resistance; as, to crush ones enemies; to crush a rebellion.

5. To oppress grievously.

6. To bruise and break into fine particles by beating or grinding;

Joel Richardson proves his point with historical fact.

*”the Roman Empire only conquered roughly one-third of the regions controlled by Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. About two-thirds of the regions controlled by these empires were left entirely untouched by Rome. In fact the Roman Empire never even reached the two Persian capital cities of Ecbatana and Persepolis.”

Others have claimed that *”because the Roman Empire succeeded Greece, which succeeded Medo-Persia, which succeeded Babylon, the Roman Empire did crush all the others.” Richardson acknowledges a professor named Stephen R. Miller, as substantiating that view, but Richardson goes on to say that the view is based on faulty reasoning because it goes outside the biblical text.

*”Although the Roman Empire did conquer portions of the land holdings of the other empires, it clearly did not conquer all of them, not even a majority of them. The Roman Empire only conquered roughly one-fifth of the land holdings of the Medo-Persian Empire, whose capital cities of Ecbatana and Persepolis forever remained hundreds of miles out of the Roman Empire’s reach.”

The only empire to fully, absolutely, and completely conquer all the prescribed lands was the Islamic Caliphate.

If the definition of crush is expanded beyond geographic to mean culture, religion and language, what do we get when we do a comparison between the Roman Empire and the Islamic Caliphate?

The Roman Empire is known as one puts down rebellions. Putting down rebellions does not qualify as the crushing descriptions found in Daniel’s prophecy.

*”When we consider the nature of the Roman Empire, it was far from being a purely destructive influence to its conquered peoples. Rome is better known for being a nation-building force of the ancient world. When the Roman Empire conquered a people, rather than destroying the culture, abolishing its religion, and imposing a new language, it generally tolerated these things while adding law, building roads and infrastructure, and creating order.”

Referring back to Daniel 2:40 once again:

“Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.” NASB

According to criterion of Daniel 2:40, the Roman Empire does not fulfill the requirements of scripture.

If the crushing means something other, such as, culture, religion, and language, then what do we find when we compare the Roman Empire against the Islamic Caliphate?

Since its inception the Islamic Caliphate (Rashidun Caliphate in 632 AD ending with the demise of the Ottoman empire in 1923) *was an Arab-Islamic-supremacist force that crushed and erased the cultures and religions of the peoples it conquered. This is due to the uniquely all-encompassing ideology of Islam, which includes every facet of life. Islam has rules and commandments that pertain to far more than just theology. It also dictates law, government, language, military, and even the sexual and hygienic practices of those under it authority.”

* “The very name Islam means submission to the laws of Allah, the Muslims’ god, as well as the practices of Muhammad, their prophet.”

*“Wherever Islam spread, it brought with it this oppressive ideology of submission. Islam conquered all the regions of the former Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian empires. It exported and imposed the Arabic language onto a vast proportion of its conquered peoples. Today, in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and throughout much of North Africa, the people speak Arabic. While the Persians and Turks have retained their own languages, their alphabets were both Arabized. Later, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk enforced a new, anglicized alphabet in Turkey.”

 

*“As an Imperial force, Islam imposed Arab religion and culture onto all of its dominated peoples, while erasing evidence of previous religions and non-Islamic cultures.”

 

Consider where we have seen the evidence of this type of activity. The first I can recall was when the Taliban shelled two large images carved into the side of a hill. These two images were considered global art treasures. Although we have witnessed the death of, not only the worshippers of other religions, but also the destruction of any identifying symbols of religion outside of Islam. Under the guise of overthrowing a regime, this destructive activity has gone on in many nations including: Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria, Sudan, most any northern African nation, and we are beginning to see this in Britain as well.

There is calculated effort to destroy any evidence of a historical Jewish connection to the temple mount in Israel today. This has actually been going on for several years.

*“Examples of Muslim ‘Temple Mount denial’ in both popular and academic contexts are legion. The former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, has stated on many occasions that the Jewish connection to the Temple was a myth. In 1998, Sabri stated, ‘Moslems have no knowledge or awareness that the Temple Mount has any sanctity for Jews.’”

These atrocities by Islam and it’s followers are many, outlandish, and ongoing.

*“Wherever Islam has spread, the conquered culture is gradually erased, the symbols and evidences of the former culture destroyed. The religion of the subjugated peoples are most particularly targeted. This is Islam’s heritage, the perfect fulfillment of the criterion of Daniel 2:40.
Richardson warns us to stay within the context of both scripture and Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a concept we Westerners struggle with, because we trace much of our culture and history through the Roman and Greek empires. We also tend to look at the Bible from a Western perspective. I consistently admonish my bible study to remember that for the most part the scriptures were written primarily to a Jewish audience; we are fortunate to be included by adoption. Changing the way we think will definitely aid in our understanding.

THE DEMISE OF THE FOURTH KINGDOM

The second problem for the Roman identification of the fourth empire is the criterion of Daniel 2:34-35. The verses spell out the demise of this fourth kingdom, its destruction, and the return of the Messiah and His kingdom. Christ’s kingdom is that rock-cut out, but not with human hands. This is a specific destruction of the Antichrist’s kingdom, but also of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece; all at the same time.

Daniel 2:34-35 NASB “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. (35) “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

 The point to this is that this empire is so all-encompassing that it takes all these with it. You could not and cannot obtain that level of destruction based upon the effectiveness, and conquering abilities of the Roman Empire.

BABYLON DID FALL

Exactly as the prophecy declared. Later, the Medo-Persian Empire was conquered by the Greek Empire by Alexander the Great. But in the midst of Alexander’s conquest of the region, he dies leaving the empire to be split four ways among his generals/successors.

This is discussed in detail in Daniel 8 and 11.

And so did the Roman Empire

The “Roman Empire” ended in 1453 with the death of Constantine XI and the fall ofConstantinople to the Ottoman Turks.

There is only one entity that does everything that Daniel’s interpretation covers, and that is the Islamic empire or Caliphate. They have conquered every piece of property and more. They have obliterated and crushed entire religions in their path, and are more than willing to do that again. There are only two things that have stood against Islam in their efforts to gain world dominance; one is their inability to get along with each other. This strife was demonstrated during our first ventures into Iraq, as Sunnis and Shiites fought against each other. This will never end. Look at what God says about this:

Genesis 16:11-12 NASB The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. (12) “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”

The other thing that stands in the path of Islam is Jesus Christ coming physically back to this earth. When that happens he will slaughter those that blatantly oppose him, and radical followers of Islam will fall into that category. Scripture tells us that anyone worshiping the beast will be cast into outer darkness with their leader, Satan. This is difficult for me to write about because tradition (yes, I struggle with it too) gets in my way. What I see clearly, is that even in the last days God is merciful. I know this because while we as followers of Christ want to see a world purged of sin, all you have to do is read about the millennial reign, and you will find statements implying that there are vile sins going on as nations not turning their hearts willingly to Christ are forced to participate in the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem every year. Choosing not to participate results in no rain upon your land for a year. A second offense brings a plague upon and what sounds like a rather instant death. While that does not sound so merciful at first read, you have to understand that tradition and poor teaching would have these people wiped out so that all the happy people can have free reign of the 1000 years.

Why then do we have those martyred being brought back to life to rule and reign over this earth during that time period?

Who are they reigning over, other followers of Christ?  I do not think so. There will be middle of the road people that refused to worship the beast and yet do not a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps mere compliance during this time grants you entrance into the 1000 years. It also sounds like life just continues.

Don’t fight and argue over this stuff. Take the time to look intently into it, and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

Should you not know this Jesus Christ I speak of, you can. Merely ask him into your life and allow him to have all of it. That is actually a process, but know this, He will come into you immediately, as you are. You do not have to do anything like shower, and fix your bed, just ask him. He will change your life as you allow him the freedom.

 

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What an odd statement.


remso:

This is important to me. We are in the last innings of this ball game.

Originally posted on A voice in the wilderness:

(7/21/13) Our usual men’s Sunday morning bible study.

The leader opened in prayer, asked if someone wanted to read the passages, which they did. He then turned to the group and said anyone have anything to say about what was read, giving me the impression that he had nothing.

I always have something to say. I operate on the principle of always be prepared to give witness to the faith that is in you. So, I waited several long, silent moments to see if anyone else would jump in, and then I started with verse one of John chapter 10.

The gospel of John is awesome, powerful, and consistently demonstrates that Jesus was God. Mere moments into the points I  started to make I was cut off.

One of the men in our group has seminary training and feels that his dominance and voice is mandatory for most discussions. This…

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It is hard to imagine the despair.


Having gone to the tomb and finding it empty the ladies are confronted by an angel who tells them to go and tell the disciples, but John did not tell us that. We need to look at Mark’s gospel which would have been conveyed to him by Peter. Peter had not been there, so how did Peter know all this? Mary (We cannot exclude that the others were there with her.)

What is the report? The tomb is empty; Jesus is gone, and someone who just appeared out of nowhere told us to go tell the disciples.

Do John and Peter analyze all this information, comparing it with the comments that Jesus had made and make some decisive conclusions that motive them to investigate for themselves because they need foundational information for their next sermons?

Get real! What you hear barely registers – you are still in shock. The man that loved you like no one else ever had, and while you stayed by his side he took care of every need you had has died and was buried in that tomb, and now he is gone. You don’t even have a plan; you merely respond and run to the scene.

John 20:3 Moffatt NT So Peter and the other disciple set out for the tomb;

 Even though Mark conveys that the ladies ran trembling from the tomb, that does not mean that they, at least Mary Magdalene, did not do what the angel told her. We do not see the angels demanding a hasty conveyance of the message, but the implications are there. Merely to be a character enveloped in the moment would imply that you would run with all haste. 

 Where did Mary find Peter and John? That is not given to us, but can be assumed. You probably do not just rent out a room for your Passover meal, so this had to be a relative of one of the men and we can assume, to some degree, a disciple. 

 In time Jesus will tell the followers, all 120 of them, to wait in the upper room. This may have been the same room that they had the passover in, and may well be where they found Peter and John. Distraught, you either run to seclusion or to a familiar place. Having been told Mary ran to the familiar place and found Peter and John there. 

 As we have worked through John’s gospel it is hard to imagine the despair they felt as Jesus told them that he, the best thing that ever happened to them, was to be brutally murdered (a voluntary act on his part) and taken from them. 

 I do not think we can accurately imagine how they felt, or what they thought as they heard these words – the tomb is empty, and an angel said, he is not here. Looking at a picture recently coming out of Syria, I see a small boy, approximately 2-3 years old, standing in front of an older man sitting on the ground. They both seem to be in the street. What the boy is looking at we do not know, but he is crying in anguish because horrible people have wantonly slaughtered his mother because she is of a differing religion. Anguish, despair, loss of direction, no sense of purpose, and no idea of what is to happen next. Maybe that is what they felt.

 John 20:4 NASB ” The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first;…”

 I have heard deeply spiritual sermons that seemed to focus on Peter coming second. We know that Peter was very disappointed by his own actions and you might think that it showed in his lack of enthusiasm in running. Get over it; he ran; John just ran faster.

 What were they hoping to see? Perhaps nothing; perhaps they just needed to verify that the tomb, which bordered upon impossible to get into, was empty. Why do we crane our necks, some even stopping to look at the horrid car crash, as they traverse the freeway? What are you hoping to see? Why should these men be so different, except that Jesus was like family with one exception; he gave them hope.

 Empty! What does that imply? Back to it’s original state. If grave robbers had come they would not have taken the time to leave grave cloths. 

 We have a clear indication of what they might have expected.

Matthew 16:21-22 NASB From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. (22) Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”

Peter even challenged Jesus about it, but this only added to Peter’s disillusionment, and John tells us none of them believed. 

 If you read the 20th chapter of John you will see that John indicates that after having seen the clothes lying as they were he believed. Belief has such varied depths of understanding to it. I personally know people who have a belief in Jesus, but we are cautioned to look at the fruit that comes off the tree as an indicator. (Don’t judge one bad apple coming off a tree that may be filled with good apples, as an indicator of the health of the tree. Occasionally the tree can become infested. Should you be a horticulturist then you would know to be observant, take action, and stop the infestation that could destroy not only the fruit but the entire tree. Your fast actions can help to maintain that tree for its lifetime. You should also understand that a well maintained tree has its own natural defense system and often includes the nutrient flow. In a pine tree you would call this sap, and in a well watered tree the sap flow is strong enough to inundate the boring beetle or push it back out. Locally, we lost a large quantity of forest due to drought and beetle populations that went out of control. Ordinarily the trees themselves would have been their own defense but rain had been sparse.)

 Have you ever heard the sentence, “hindsight is twenty twenty”.  It means, looking back I can see clearly what was going on; at the time I could not. John wrote this almost 90 years after Jesus death, and possibly 40 years after Mark wrote his gospel. 

 You can easily look back and see that when John chose to finally step inside the tomb, and saw the grave clothes, not strewn about hastily but placed in different locations, was the point in time where something changed in him. Suddenly this was becoming real to him. Kind of like my tree story a moment ago there was a point at which God stepped in, did some maintenance work and changed the direction of John’s life.

 Many of you have already looked back. Could you see twenty twenty? Did you see your need for Jesus Christ? All it takes is for you admit that you have messed up and that you need him. Ask him into your life. He will take the burden of your sins off you – He did this on that cross so many years ago. He merely has been waiting for you to accept that he did it for you. The moment you do this a new life begins in him, along with the assurance of a life with the Father in eternity.

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A couple of things that got my attention. John 18:1,2

Aside


My co-leader led the bible study this A.M. He put a slightly different spin on the passage than I would have, but he added a couple of things that got my attention.

John 18:1 GNB After Jesus had said this prayer, he left with his disciples and went across Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place, and Jesus and his disciples went in. John 18:2 CEV Jesus had often met there with his disciples, and Judas knew where the place was.

2Samuel 15:30And David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went, and his head was covered and he walked barefoot. Then all the people who were with him each covered his head and went up weeping as they went.

David, the man after God’s own heart, was accustomed to going to the Mount.

Zechariah 14:4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

Zechariah prophesied of his physical return to the earth, to make things right in the last days.

Matthew 24:3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

This was their quiet place. Oh yes, he was very familiar with this place.

It seems I did not realize the depth of two simple verses. But then that may be part of our problem; we seem to think that everything is just a simple, meaningless verse. One of the ways you shake that kind of thinking is to realize that this bible you hold is a Jewish book. Yes, the appeal tends to change with Mark’s gospel and then Paul’s writings, but overall it speaks deeply to the Jewish heart. Having at least a minimal understanding of the Jewish heart can help.

My co-leader had done a bit of reading on the brook Kidron, and said some things I have never heard before. I looked at some of my commentaries and found this:

John 18:1

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.

“I detain the Reader at the very entrance on this Chapter, in order to beg his attention to what the Sacred Writer hath said of this brook Cedron, or Kidron. It is evidently the same as that mentioned, 2Sa_15:23. And as David, in passing over this brook in his distresses, was clearly a type of Christ, it merits our attention the more. Some have thought that the name of Cedron, or Kidron, which signified black, was given to it because it lay in a dark valley. And others conclude, that its name was taken from the black and foul waters which ran into it from the temple sacrifices. In either sense, the gloominess of it, and the filth of it, rendered it loathsome. And if, as is supposed, the prophetic Psalm concerning Christ had an eye to this brook when it is said, that he should drink of the brook in the way; Psa_110:7. it may serve to lead the mind to some very solemn and interesting reflections. Here it was that the good king Josiah caused the polluted vessels of the temple to be burnt. 2Ki_23:4. And all the uncleanness found in the house of the Lord in Hezekiah’s reign, was carried here. 2Ch_29:16. Jesus passing over it, and drinking of the brook in his way, may not unaptly be supposed to represent the filth and blackness of sin, in which Christ as our representative appeared. And his drinking of it might be supposed to refer to the cup of trembling, which, as the Church’s Surety he drank to the very dregs, that his people might drink the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. Isa_51:22; Psa_116:13.”

Poor Man’s Commentary, by Robert Hawker

This all makes so much sense to me now considering what was about to befall Jesus.

Papa, are we there yet?


In ways they were much like the grand kids on a longer trip, saying, “papa, are we there yet?” But how much do I still sound like this, for sometimes I find myself doing and thinking the same things as the disciples did.

John 16, it seems, should be the epic heroes tale, with Jesus as the hero telling his troops (the boys) about the things of the future, a conquering victor, a life with that victor, and an end of the story that is beyond comprehension and belief, for nothing has ever turned out that good, except for one thing; this life they have lived in his presence.

Now if that is the way they thought then the idea of Jesus leaving them must have been unconscionable. If you are honest as you read chapter 16 you can see what I am talking about.

I did not lead this last Sunday, our co-leader did, but I always go ready; one never knows, besides, didn’t Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tell us that we are to be ready all the time.

2 Timothy 4:2 GW  Be ready to spread the word whether or not the time is right. Point out errors, warn people, and encourage them. Be very patient when you teach.

So when my partner threw out his first question, and you could cut the silence with a knife, I jumped in (I always have something to say.) Many  times I refrain from saying things because I want the guys to interact. Interaction tells me that you are either learning, or at least invested in the story.

We did not cover the rest of the chapter the way I would have, but we finished.

I am not done yet. Let’s pick this up at John 16:13

John 16:13 ASV Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, these shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come.

John 16:13 MKJV However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever He hears, He shall speak. And He will announce to you things to come.

I am not the great theologian. If I were I would dissect this section where it talks about, “when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come,…”

This seems so impersonal, so vague, and yet we should understand that Jesus interacted with this same spirit when he was in the presence of the Father.

I could be wrong in interpreting this but it seems that Jesus was speaking of himself, not the spirit, when he said this:

John 14:18 I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.

Loosely I could say he fulfilled this promise after he rose from the dead. He could not make this promise once he departed back to the Father, which was the trigger for the Holy Spirit to come, because none of the disciples would live on forever. Many died within months of this oration, others, like John, lived on for many years. And yet none had a physical visitation from Jesus Christ, (I think).

Having read the book, “The Shack”, where the Holy Spirit is an ethereal, undefinable entity, that seems to move as though he is responding to the slightest breeze. It becomes difficult to think of it as a he. Why not? Jesus came from the Father, so does the Spirit; Jesus does only what the Father tells him, so does the spirit. So the Spirit and Jesus fully carry the importance, and duty of the Father.

How would you go about trying to define the Holy Spirit, that is going to replace him, to a bunch of guys that apparently are coming apart at the seams?

when the Spirit of truth comes,”

We already understand that Jesus had laid out what would occur: his death, his resurrection, his ascent to the Father, and his word that they Comforter would come to them. This is all in the near future to them.

Spirit of – pneuma – We find this throughout scripture. This is the Holy Spirit.

Jude 1:20-21 NASB But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, (21) keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.

2 Timothy 1:12-14 NASB For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (13) Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (14) Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you.

1 John 4:13 NASB By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

Truthalētheia - what is true in any matter under consideration.

This concept is something I ran across while involved in the faith movement. I had no idea that the Word itself conveyed this meaning. Circumstances may say otherwise but God’s word is true regardless of the circumstances around you.

Comes – to be established, find its place, become known, and shows itself.

 he will lead you into all the truth;”

hodēgeō – to be a guide, lead on one’s way, to guide.

I suppose that all we have to do is to trust him. Having been raised to be negative and not trust, I find it difficult at times to decide whose voice I am hearing. Therefore, We are forced to live by faith and have to learn to trust.

Again, the wide view is to say that with the Holy Spirit to guide me, then I probably do not need a pastor. Somehow I feel like this is inappropriate, and yet how much less appropriate is it to argue against God’s word.

I will be honest. I go to church, and I enjoy my Pastor’s messages. My concept of Pastor has had to change as I have a variety of relationships with such. This one has been my pastor for about seven years and we have shaken hands, perhaps twice. Compare this lack of contact with the pastor that I used to ride motorcycles with. I suppose that is the drawback of a large church. Selah.

Sometimes though, like when I have been up since sunrise, and now, hours later, I am sitting in a comfortable chair, I fall asleep, far too often.

If I were to choose my greatest reason for being at church I would have to say that it is the people, for so many of these people have become family to me. Yes, I deeply value worship. It is the time that opens me up spiritually, and I always find myself pouring my heart out in prayer during worship. But having “family” that understands and makes themselves available when I am struggling, and they with me.

Honestly, if each one of us has the Holy Spirit in them, capable of teaching them, and guiding them, then our greatest draw should be the interaction with others.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, then I suggest you come to know this Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will come into you and fill you with the power and presence of the living God. You will be a member of the family and Jesus will come to restore us to the Father once again.

Time is short.

Practice loving on people and enjoy this life we have in Christ.

If you do not know this Jesus, nor have a hope of salvation from the onslaught that is coming, I suggest that you give him your life and take his in return. Jesus said he would come into you and abide in you, that is the Holy Spirit of God he is talking about. Along with this relationship comes an assurance that he will come again and take you to be with him and the Father in  a lasting, eternal relationship. A life that is beyond anything  that you can imagine (I, and others, have come up  with some wild scenarios like plants that light up when you touch them or make music as they emit colors). Enough weirdness. Just know that God  loves you and longs to have you rejoin the family.

This is that! 1of 2


The girlfriend asked me, “so what do you want to study?” My answer was, I am usually motivated to dive into whatever has challenged me or I whatever has made me feel the need to understand something more completely. Such was the case with men’s bible study over the last two weeks.

You cannot possibly do the scriptures justice in five words or less. Mind you there are good reasons for giving overviews of an entire book of the bible in one hour, but trust me, all the listener will get, if they do not dig themselves, is an overview that they will most likely forget. The entire gospel of John, is that way to me. I need to absorb it.

John 16 is filled with emotion, both as Jesus wrestles through to his purpose, and the disciples struggle with, what did he just say! We are losing him? But they are not losing him; try telling them that. That is exactly what Jesus was trying to do.

John 16:7-8 BBE  But what I am saying is true: my going is for your good: for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.  (8)  And he, when he comes, will make the world conscious of sin, and of righteousness, and of being judged:

He told them, I am going away, but it is for your good. Now let me get this straight. We have walked around with you for three years. Judas has taken money out of the bag on a continual basis and it never had an impact on us financially. Our families have never been without or sick the entire time, and you say your leaving will be better. Have you lost your mind?

That might have been the way it played out in their minds. I think it is a mistake to assign them some holy status that they did not have, and therefore would have been far above human reasoning and pain. Please, spare me. They were men, and they did not get it.

“…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you….” We should all know the way this went. He was beaten by the religious leadership and then handed over to the Romans who gave him a beating that most would not have survived. Jewish leaders demanded his death and got it. The disciples were devastated. Peter quit and went back to fishing. When Jesus found him there, there were several other disciples there with him.

Almost like rallying the troops, Jesus has re-appeared to many (over 400) and told them to wait for the Paraclete to come. I cannot begin to understand what that word meant to them. Translated some have called it a friend, and yet can almost carry a legalistic tone as a mediator. The idea that the Holy Spirit is a helper is easier to swallow, but Jesus, when explaining it moments later said, “I“. The Holy Spirit is no less God than He was, and instead of being outside talking to us, demonstrating how to act and walk, He is now inside. I do not think we grasp that; I know I don’t. Jesus was God in the flesh. The Holy Spirit is God inside of us.

What have we got so far? Jesus died, rose again from the dead, and, on the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came, just as he said it would.

Now here is what I want to talk about.

John 16:8 NASB  “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

Hang around any religious circles and you will hear the term conviction come up. It usually applies to you and what you are doing wrong. But pay attention to what Jesus said:

“when He comes…” Who? The Holy Spirit, and He did already. Peter, after hearing the mockery and insults coming from the religious crowd outside, responded under the power this new Spirit inside of him with,  “but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:  (17)  ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; …….” (Acts 2:16-17 NASB). Peter did not stop there, but you will have your eyes opened if you will read it, in its entirety, from Joel chapter 2. He is talking, under the power of the Holy Spirit, about the end of time, the years which we call the great tribulation. Does anyone see anything positive when they envision the tribulation  years? No! And yet God has told us that during this time HE will pour out his SPIRIT on all mankind. Why do you think that when John sees the martyred before the throne, the second time, that there is an uncountable multitude? Because of His spirit being poured out.

Luke 9:26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Luke 12:37 “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them.

2Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed.

John 16:9 NASB concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;

So what is sin in this case?

Sin – hamartia – also means offense or failure.

Think in terms of offenses to God. While we pursue money and think this is ok apparently God has a different idea.

Revelation 18:4 NASB I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins (OFFENSES) and receive of her plagues (the beatings that “she” is about to receive because of her blatant actions); [Italics - mine.]

The word plagues, used above, is the Greek word plēgē and means blows, stripes, a wound, public calamity, or heavy affliction.

The answer to the question above actually comes from the previous verse:

Revelation 18:3 NASB “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”

Her/she is the lust for money and power.

Revelation 18:2 NASB And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.

Nations are wrapped up in her. The Kings of the earth are possessed by her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by her.

There is a commonality here, money and greed.

Look around you, all these players have come together under the cloak of NWO, Illuminati, World Health Organization, Common Wealth of Nations, Agenda 21, and have killed and poisoned the population in order to thin the herds, so to speak. It is a mass, concerted effort.

We are knowingly being poisoned on a daily basis, by aerial spraying, putting aspartame, and fluoride (known poisons in just about everything that is deemed convenience food), just to name a few. We call these conspiracy theories because the concept of a small handful of people attempting to control the world is so outlandish and unbelievable, but getting to you live in a state of unbelief is exactly what they are hoping for; that is until they have such a grip that you cannot do a thing about it.

Perhaps this will help to open your eyes.

We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years.”
He went on to explain:
It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
David Rockefeller, Speaking at the June, 1991 Bilderberger meeting in Baden, Germany (a meeting also attended by then-Governor Bill Clinton and by Dan Quayle

Where is the tie in with scripture? Revelation 18:5 Haven’t you ever read the Revelation and wondered why it comes crashing down on what is left of the horrors of humanity with such a vengeance?

Revelation 18:5-20 NASB (5) for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (6) “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. (7) “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.’ (8) “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong. (9) “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, (10) standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ (11) “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more– (12) cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, (13) and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. (14) “The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. (15) “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, (16) saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; (17) for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every ship master and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, (18) and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ (19) “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ (20) “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”

It is as though the scripture speaks in code. Most will not understand this, even if explained to them.

Ask yourself, who are the players in this scenario?

What is their attitude?

What is their goal?

And who takes the brunt of their desires?

I would say the world but that is really to broad. It is the poor, the broken, the destitute, and those that may live their lives just getting by. Those that take the attitude, I am rich and have need of nothing, not even a savior, they are ones that he is speaking about.

 

I have been struggling with self-esteem


I have struggled lately. Not with “sin” but with learned behaviors and the longing to be free of them. As some of you know I put myself into a recovery group at church because I need to get a handle on this (poor choice of words seeing as you find out quickly that everything that you have done has not worked and it is only the act of turning your life over to Jesus Christ, continually, that affects any change in your life.)

On the plus side I am now the co-leader of a men’s bible study.

One of the guys from the 12 step group, passes me a note at the end of last nights meeting. It says read Psalm 139 everyday for one week. I opened the computer this morning to that Psalm. If you have never been involved in groups like these there are guidelines, read at the beginning of every meeting, and one of those rules are, there is no cross talk allowed. That means no one gets to interject, interrupt, or try to advise while you are talking. If you are struggling with self-esteem issues and consistently find people cutting you off, telling you what you are thinking, finishing your sentences for you, and their comments are not what you wanted to say, then groups like these are a God send because sometimes you just need to express yourself. (I am seriously thinking of instituting these rules into our bible study group, primarily because of one person.)

One more thing. I am on Facebook more than I need to be, but I have noticed something there. Anonymity. People seem to think they can make some vague entry, berating or abusing people by not stating who you are directing your comments at, and think that no one can figure it out. We all figure it out, and your vagueness only compounds the problem because those not involved can think that you have just taken your selfish shot at them. I say this because of such a comment a short time ago. It easily could have been directed at me because I consistently place comments about end times and the enemy, Satan, that we all have to deal with 24/7. I am not the odd ball when it comes to spiritual attacks, and even learned behaviors are, in my opinion, a spiritual attack.

Why? Because the enemy, Satan, came for one reason, “to kill, steal, and destroy, and we are his targets.

Why? Because we were all made after the pattern of Christ; not just the believer, although this statement is more true of us. God is who Satan tried to overthrow; Jesus is who Satan tried to kill, and anything we do that makes us a threat to his destructive practices makes us a bigger target. (Don’t think that doing nothing will make you less of a target, for your actions prove that he already beat you down.)

Opening my bible program to Psalm 139 immediately reminds of an album I had years ago, by a Messianic band called Lamb. They put much of Psalm 139 to music, and I loved it.

Psalms 139:1 GNB LORD, you have examined me and you know me. When and where did this happen?

Before the foundations of the earth were laid God knew me.

Knowing how I struggle internally and externally the thought occurs to me that we speak about God in terms of those He chooses. We know he does this because we (believers) find this in:

Ephesians 1:4,5 GNB Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him. Because of his love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose.

I have a terrible time finding myself to be acceptable lately. I think it primarily has to do with questions that I am having to answer that ask, do you act the same at work as you do among fellow believers at a worship service?

Work for me was a continual barrage of stress and stress impacts me negatively. At work I would be aware of a couple of small voices inside me. One would say, do this as unto the Lord, in other words my spirit was telling me to focus on work as though I was working for Jesus. There is a secondary guilt trip that falls into that statement, and that is, that if you are working for Jesus then your every move should be winning the lost for him.

May I be honest with you, sometimes I feel like the lost.

What I am getting out of this is that God knew how frail or pathetic I would be and loved me anyway. I suspect that the question of why me and not someone else is irrelevant or an improper question because we are making the assumption that God’s love does not or did not extend to a particular person, and that is not the case. The situation with Judas, one of the disciples, is the biggest monkey wrench that people throw, but I do not want to take the time to pursue that now.

Psalms 139:2 NASB You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.

There is no escaping God. Consider this in light of Adam’s transgression.

Genesis 3:8-9 GNB That evening they heard the LORD God walking in the garden, and they hid from him among the trees. (9) But the LORD God called out to the man, “Where are you?”

Seriously! The God that knows everything I do has to ask that question?

I think that over time we have established that God, out of respect for the relationship, gives man the space to cover his shame. Some might call this God honoring man’s boundaries. I have looked at this statement a couple more times and thought that maybe we are trying to cover our indiscretions, but that is impossible. You can see this with Cain, the first murderer. Able has been buried, in an attempt to hide the crime, and yet when God shows up he tells Cain that his brothers blood cries out to Him from the ground. Remember that the life is in the blood. My goodness, this puts a whole new spin on the creativity and magnificence of man, God’s creation.

Psalms 139:3 GNB You see me, whether I am working or resting; you know all my actions.

Nothing is hidden from God. Many will read this and see it as oppressive, a situation where you get scrutinized and judged constantly, and that is not the case. We have already seen that God showed respect for Adam’s boundaries (if you wish to put it that way – if there were boundaries then God would have created them.) and if God was the all oppressive tyrant then Cain would have been dispatched immediately, and yet Cain is given a protective seal on his head by God.

If he knows all my actions then He knows how my heart longs for him and wants to do the right thing. The religious theme we shove down each others throat is, walk like Jesus, or what would Jesus do.

Consider: Jesus took the time to find cords, fashion them into a whip, and then drove the thieves out of the temple courtyard. Everything about this act is premeditated and powered by an anger that I do not understand. Obviously he was capable of doing serious damage, but a study of the situation will show a man who had anger under control. I also see a man who, like me, has little tolerance for people being taken advantage of.

So here is a little piece of truth for you. October 21, 2013 I got terminated from my job. This happened, in my opinion, because I expressed my opinion about irrational demands, in front of the opening staff, and made the statement, “but I will make it happen, and turned to go do it.”

I was angry and stressed beyond reason because I had attempted to make it happen the week before, and failed miserably. Beside that I was under a mandate from my department head to do this same thing, as time allowed, already. All while doing other tasks, helping customers, assisting other employees when needed, and working by myself.

 No stress here, yeah right.

Psalms 139:4 GNB Even before I speak, you already know what I will say.

David carries this theme throughout the writing. God is already ahead of you.

Does this show an acceptance of bad behavior? I do not think so.

First you must consider that sin has been done away with, that happened at the cross, so he is not looking at things the way we do. He still sees the end result which in part has to do with the person he is forming in you. And the other has to do with the life that we will have with Him in eternity.

Does the fact that sin has been done away with in God’s book eliminate our need to deal with people who act out? No. We have some clear instructions on how to deal with unchecked behavior, and we each have to deal with the outcomes of our choices to act against sound wisdom.

Don’t think for a second that God just hangs us out there on our own while knowing all that we will do. It just seems logical that he could have diverted us from some of the tragic actions we take. This thought reminds me of the years that I spent drinking and how fortunate I am that I did not kill anyone or myself in a tragic car crash. So maybe God has diverted me, and you, from more things than we know. (Consider those times when you were angry because you missed your turn, or there was some road work that prevented you from taking a path you wanted, only to find out that there had been a tragic accident happen there only moments before and you may have been in it.

Cut God some slack. He has plan for you and much of what you are experiencing is part of the plan to develop you into someone who can make a difference in perhaps one specific life.

I am not done with this but do need to move on for now. My acquaintance handed me a note directing me to read this chapter, each day, for a week. The way I look at scripture it will probably take longer. Already I can see things that I need to focus on, things that in a sense will be like getting an overhaul on a car. I need to show that no matter what, He knows where I am going, and that God loves me with an everlasting love.

John 6:37 MKJV All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will in no way cast out.

You are loved, wanted, understood, respected, and always welcome into His loving arms. Never forget that!

If you do not know Jesus Christ by asking him into your life I suggest you do so now. I believe time is short, and the events that are about to happen will be overwhelming and deadly. Those that refuse to take what symbol that indicates allegiance to this coming world leader, and refuse to worship what the Bible calls the beast, will be welcome into the arms of God as saints. This trouble that is coming will be tougher than you ever thought possible, and I wish for you to avoid these pains.

See to it that you be not troubled. (That was not my intent)


I posted this on FaceBook. I felt led to post it here too.

I share many disturbing things with you for the purpose of making you aware.

If you are awake then  perhaps you can withstand what the enemy is doing and if nothing else fight back in prayer.

Last evening I had these words rush through my head, “See to it that you be not troubled!

Yes, no doubt it can be overwhelming if you focus on what is going on around you. (This becomes a real issue when you are a believer living in a nation where violence against followers of any opposing belief is met with extreme violence and death.)

Focus on who your salvation is and the difference He can make through you if you let him.

This is the time of release. God will release His power through those who will put their trust in Him and allow Him to move them.
(John 10:3-4b ESV)
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them,
and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.

I am telling you what I hear in my spirit. Do with it what you wish, but do not ignore the voice of the shepherd, He is working for your good.

the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
(Matthew 24:3-13 ESV)

If you read the passage above then ask yourself who is he talking to? Jews, yes, but also us.

So the passage has some dire warnings in it.

Is it getting this bad? Yes.

Can it get worse? Yes, and it will.
Walking around with your eyes closed does not make it go away.

Already you are surrounded by hurting people. Personal friends of mine have taken such hard hits in an extremely short period of time. A two year old child, an in-law, was diagnosed with cancer affecting the spinal chord in June, suffered through three surgeries, chemo, and radiation treatments. Yesterday, August 10th, he died. That is sudden in my book and devastating.

What are we supposed to do?
Wake up. Realize that this is the enemy fighting against anything that looks like God, and guess what, YOU were made in the image of God. Now mind you, you do not look all that similar when  you are lying face down in your own vomit because you did what you wanted to do, but NONE-THE-LESS you are still His image. This is particularly true of  the follower of Christ.

Eyes open moment here. God did not promise you a life of picking daisies and staring at rainbows. He did promise the believer that He would come back for you, and that he would empower you with tremendous strength to endure victoriously over any situation. I do not care if it does not feel like it to you. You need to ask yourself what does it feel like to the FATHER.

In John chapter 11 Jesus ordered the stone moved away from the cave where a man’s body was now in decomposition; he stank!
Somebody responded, and though it is possible that the stink clung to the grave wrappings on the man, the man was restored.
Do you not get it yet? Do something! Roll away the stone. Be strong. Listen to the voice of the Lord that is leading you out.

Act like Joel chapter is actually happening right now, and you are a part of it. (By the way, IT IS in some people. Why? Because they choose to believe.)
Peter blared this message to the Jewish crowd standing before him, mocking him and the others, on the day of Pentecost. Peter, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit stated, “this day is  this come to pass in your hearing!” How long ago  was that? 2000+ years. WE ARE IN IT, and, if you will read your bible, you will find that Joel was specifically talking about THE LAST DAYS.

Folks, it is upon us.
Turn to the Lord with all your heart. Do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways follow him, and he will direct your path.

Father, in the name of your mighty and glorious Son, Jesus Christ, the risen one, I ask that you release hope and strength into your people. Fill their minds with dreams and visions of you as you approach. Give them words to say as they listen to your voice, even if they do not understand where those words are coming from.
Empower your people to stand in  the face of the enemy and say NOT ANOTHER STEP FORWARD. The enemy must and will respond to the name the Jesus Christ for there is power in that name and that name alone.
Move in and through your people and cause them to bring hope to those around them for the days are getting darker by the minute.
Cause them to know  that WE are that which is holding back the enemy because we are awakening. Cause them to know that their voice can convey the voice of the Spirit of God and bring  life to people.

Father, I ask you to open ears and prepare hearts to receive the King as we speak and stumble through those words. In that people will know that it was God speaking through us.
Be magnified through our lives as we step up and declare the love and power of the Holy God.
Amen

Walk in Love at all times for the enemy is trying to cause hatred and fear to erupt in people. If you are paying attention at all you can see it. This is the enemy and the battle is on big time.
Pray without ceasing for we are in it.

Finally I was able to get there.


My place of employment always hires extra help in the Spring; this year was no different, but for once we got some help in my department. I have a tendency to not want the new people to go through the same exclusionary practices that I experienced, so I say hi to them or at least treat them like they are part of the team (Yes, that means I torment them just as I would do anyone else.)

One day as I was passing through the lunch room I see one of the new guys reading his bible. I stopped momentarily to ask what he was reading. I understand the sarcastic response is “a bible” but without explaining my question, which I suppose I should have, the question was more specifically meant to be, “what are you studying and what are you getting out of it?” I remember that he was reading out of the gospel of Luke. I did not know at that time that he was coming to my department.

Why is any of this important?

For one, I have learned that there about six people who work there that claim to be “Christians”. That word has come to mean little or nothing because of its vagueness, and the oddity that many in this nation of mine seem to believe that merely living here makes you a Christian. That kind of belief tells me that you know nothing about having a relationship with Jesus Christ and that you are a follower of him. Look up the word follower and you will find it also means to pursue; one who pursues goes after or walks behind Christ with him as the leader. Now how many of those, so-called Christians, are followers? Of those six only one cares anything about talking about Jesus or their relationship with the Father. I find that to be very discouraging and do not waste my time talking with Pharisees.

This is why I was elated to have this new guy join us. On the first day he joined us we found reason to talk about our savior Jesus Christ. I even told him that I had prayed that God would send me someone who I could communicate with. I think we both agreed that God hand his hand in him being there.

He invited me to his church to join in their Wednesday evening bible study. When I finally was able to get there he was not, but that is okay.

Pastor Marcus, who my friend tells me is very skillful with the Greek and Hebrew, was starting brand new in the book of Daniel. While I am not an expert in Daniel, I am skillful and consider myself well versed in the end times. Daniel, along with several other old testament prophets, plays an integral role in defining the events of these last days.

I must tell you that while I enjoyed it, we flew through the book. Pastor tends to expect his audience to have done their preliminary reading; I had. When he got to the part where Daniel explains to Nebuchadnezzar about the iron legs pastor ran right along tradition and declared that this was the Roman empire.

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever read the book of Daniel? If so, and you were paying attention, then you know that the Roman empire was not mentioned or defined as being the iron legs, in any way. If you are going to emphasize how important it is to read and understand the context then the person leading the group should either be honest and say they do not know, or not give false information merely because it is tradition.

Later, I wrote this pastor a short letter. I introduced myself and how I came to the bible study. Then I told him how much I enjoyed it and that I would be back, and I have been. I also told him how I ran across Glen Beck, then on national television, explaining by comparison on a white board how Jesus of Nazareth and Mahdi of Islam paralleled each other. This information was new, poignant and alive to me, and the author of the book from which Glen Beck had obtained this information was sitting right there and spoke about it all with clarity. I obtained two of his books, and from that point on my understanding began to grow. I told the pastor that it was like the lifting of a fog bank from my mind and suddenly the Revelation and end times events all began to make sense. Joel Richardson, the author of the Mideast Beast, defined the iron legs as the Islamic Caliphate, and gave solid reasons to defend that position.

Pastor Marcus wrote me back, and this I was not excoriated for my “opinion or lack of understanding” but was thanked for informing him about this author, as he had never heard of him before. Pastor Marcus, in person, informed me that he did some research on Joel Richardson and became convinced that he needed to read these books of his.

I cannot begin to tell you how that made me feel. No one, for several years now, has given me much credence. Oh I notice how with every post I get a new follower, and yes that does say that the Father is giving me credence with some, but sadly I do not know any of you. And honestly, how many, who enthusiastically started following me still do?

The second week of my attending Pastor Marcus’ bible study.

I already had a heads up that this week we were covering Hosea, Joel and Amos in one night. That is like watching a bullet train go by and then having someone ask you to verbally paint a picture of the happenings that you saw in the twelfth window of the third car. Really, I did not notice any windows and it seemed as though it was one long car.

The short recap:

Hosea

Hosea and his relationship with his wife (Gomer) is representative of Israel, not just in turning it’s back on God, but in running after everything that is not God, just to satisfy the flesh. Isn’t that what adultery, or cheating is? Hosea is ordered to take a wife from the prostitutes, those who help to satisfy the burning desires of the flesh to do what it wants. Hosea has children with her but has to go and buy her back on several occasions. His children have names that are hugely significant. The first is named Jezreel; the name of the valley where God will judge the nations in the last days. The last two have the prefix Lo added to their names and it means NOT! Not loved and No longer having compassion on Israel. The book speaks of the judgment against Israel for turning their backs on God, and yet ends by changing their names back and telling of how he will show mercy on them again.

That went by quickly

Joel

I anxiously awaited Pastor’s comments on Joel. If you have read it then you know it is another one of the prophets speaking about judgment upon Israel. Joel chapter two opens with:

Joel 2:1-3 NASB Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, (2) A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness. As the dawn is spread over the mountains, So there is a great and mighty people; There has never been anything like it, Nor will there be again after it To the years of many generations. (3) A fire consumes before them And behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them But a desolate wilderness behind them, And nothing at all escapes them.

To be honest, Joel took on a whole new meaning to me when I finally really saw what Peter did on the day of Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the promised comforter that would empower them, they (possibly 120 “disciples”) were doing something they had never done before, speaking in heavenly languages (tongues) and the people on the street heard this, and heard it in their own tongue. Does what I just said mean that the disciples were speaking in French and Swahili? Perhaps, or not. Does it matter? They were obedient and receptive, and the Holy Spirit fell over them as Jesus said it would.

Peter declared, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel,” and he went to quote a part the verse, out of context, to the religious crowd.

Joel 2:28-29 NASB “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. (29) “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Of all the things pastor could have talked about he focused on this. He told the guys sitting in the room that they were not to pull scripture out of context and use it to prophesy as Peter did. I suspect that the men there needed to hear some strong wisdom about jumping ahead of the cart. Pastor also talked about the judgment that is predominant in this book also.

Amos -

We barely made it Amos and he reiterated that we were to have done our reading and should have an understanding of what Amos speaks of; again, judgment.

When the meeting was over the pastor came over to talk with me. He thanked me for the recommendation on the author Joel Richardson and noted how I had tried to speak to him the previous week. I took the opportunity to say how much I love the prophesy of Joel 2:28-29, and told him that I put a little different spin on it when I talk about it. I told him that though it is a prophecy embedded in the end times, that Peter, led by the Holy Spirit, kicked the door open by saying, “this is that!” The Holy Spirit moved that prophesy into the present. Now the question is really, What are you doing with it and if not, why not?

As usual I am compelled to say, that what I am talking about will be relatively meaningless unless you have a faith and hope in Jesus Christ. That would mean that you are a follower of Jesus Christ and in active pursuit of him. Should you need to do that, ask Jesus Christ to come into your life and give you a life with the Father. Turn from your sins, as a believer you have a new clean heart, and the garbage of the world is no longer you, and it no longer owns you. To say repent of your old ways has a couple of connotations.

  1. You need to be honest, today is great day to start. Tell God that you have made a mess of your life and need him to come into your life and run it. Give it over to him, you were screwing it up anyway.

  2. 2. He will begin to heal the wounds that have brought you to where you are now, but again, being honest and turning those things over to him will move that along quicker. My own personal experience was one of trying to fix things myself (it is the nature of man to do things on his own, regardless of how inexperienced and ineffectual we are at fixing ourselves.) God had to use someone else to reopen an old wound from my youth in order for me to see it and allow God to heal it. I honestly had no idea how to gain relief from the pain that wound caused me, and I had no idea that I had made agreement with it.

  3. Break your agreements you have made with the enemy. As followers of Christ, one that studies the scripture, I know that I have an enemy and that he is trying to steal (everything from me) destroy me, and kill me in any way possible. I am hoping that this gives you some insight to understand that death and damage come in many ways and forms. I am not asking you to stay in relationships that are not safe, but to understand that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are designed by Satan himself; he merely uses people as tools to meet his end (and that is to take you out or out-of-the-way.)

  4. If you have given Jesus Christ control of your life then you have a good heart. Jesus even describes you as a good tree and it is not the pattern of a good tree to produce bad fruit. I can give you a number of reasons to explain the biblical concept of a good heart, such as the Apostle Paul’s statement that you are now flesh of his flesh and he is perfect.

  5. As a follower of Christ you have a hope! A hope in what? That he will come and retrieve those that are his. He rose from the dead just to prove his point. He got collected back to the Father and he used that as an example of how adamant the Father is about upholding his word. He has spent the last two thousand plus years establishing that he is believable. He will come and gather us up; we call that the rapture.

DOES BIBLE PROPHECY FORETELL THE DESTRUCTION OF DAMASCUS?


Originally posted on Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog:

Earlier this year, a prominent Member of Congress asked to meet with me in Washington, D.C. I thought the topic was going to be the possible coming war between Israel and Iran. Instead, the official asked, “What are your thoughts on Isaiah 17?” For much of the next hour, therefore, we discussed the coming judgment of Damascus according to Bible prophecy, and how this scenario could possibly unfold in the coming years in relation to other Bible prophecies and current geopolitical trends in the Middle East. Here is a brief summary of what I said.

There are actually two key Biblical prophecies that explain that at unspecified time in the future, the city of Damascus will be completely destroyed — judged by God — and will not be inhabited again.

* Isaiah 17:1-3 — “The oracle concerning Damascus. ‘Behold, Damascus is about to be removed from being a city and will become a fallen…

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