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A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., overturned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s ban on the use of electric shock devices on people with mental disabilities by a Massachusetts residential school.The judges’ 2-1 decision this week will allow the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Mass., to continue using shock devices on its residents. The center, which serves a mix of children and adults with severe developmental and emotional disabilities, has been one of the most controversial institutions for people with disabilities in the country for half a century.
NBC News covered
the FDA's years-long effort to stop the school's use of the devices.In early March last year, the FDA took the rare step of
banning the device
, finding that the significant risk of harm outweighed any medical benefit it could bring. It is only the third such ban in the agency's history. While it applied to a category of "electrical stimulation devices used for self-injurious or aggressive behavior," the agency noted that only one facility in the country uses such devices — the Judge Rotenberg Center.The center decried the ban and petitioned a federal court to review it. The judges’ majority opinion in the case Tuesday overturned that ban, stating that the FDA cannot ban the use of electric shock on intellectually disabled people because federal law restricts the agency from interfering with the practice of medicine, which is regulated by states."We conclude that the FDA lacks the statutory authority to ban a medical device for a particular use," the majority judges wrote.
Michael Flammia, the center’s attorney, said that Rotenberg leaders are content with the ruling, which will allow its workers to continue giving electric shocks to a portion of their residents to correct potentially aggressive or self-harming behavior when other measures have failed.Disability rights activists, former residents and the state of Massachusetts have for decades pushed to stop the use of the device, called a graduated electronic decelerator (GED), or shut down the school altogether. The FDA assembled a panel of experts to study the GED, held hearings, and received thousands of pages of testimony and documentation from the school. After two years, the FDA announced it would ban the GED, but took another four years to finalize the rule.Opponents point to a history of scandals as examples of how the GED can be abused and why the school should be shuttered. In one case in 2002, a student was tied to a restraint board for seven hours and shocked 31 times after he didn't take off his jacket when told to. Five years later, another student was shocked 77 times in just one night, after a prank caller instructed staff to do so.
The center's leaders said such incidents are now in the past and they have made "countless changes to our policies and procedures," including limits on using the device and special training to operate it. The center said it only uses shocks with approval from a patient’s family and a local judge. Flammia said that the shock treatment is necessary to prevent the patients from violent self-injury.Supporters, many of them parents of the center's residents, say that the methods used by the center are the best and sometimes last hope to address some of the most difficult developmental and emotional disability cases in the country. Many residents at the center have severe autism spectrum disorders and are non-verbal and dangerously self-harming — some have been kicked out of or rejected by half a dozen other schools and treatment programs.The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center Parents Association said in a statement that they supported the judges’ decision.“We have and will continue to fight to keep our loved ones safe and alive and to retain access to this life saving treatment of last resort,” the association said.
When I started the research in 2000 for my first book on antisemitism, I identified some troubling trends in the new antisemitism that were slowly becoming a reality. Most people looked at me funny when I claimed that what I was observing, appeared to be an ominous return to the 1930s and 1940s in Europe for the Jews. I was even called a conspiracy theorist, but it is only a conspiracy theory if it is not true, and as it turns out, my fears are now confirmed. We are in the 1930s and we haven’t seen the worst yet.
I have identified 6 signs revealing that we are in a 21st-century version of the 1930s. When we remember how that previous era ended for six million Jews, it should bring chills down our spine and it should really motivate people of goodwill in general and Bible-believing Christians in particular, to expose the lies and fight for the truth. The sad reality is that this time, not just the Jews are the target, but Christians as well. This being said, and as history has shown, the Jews are the first to be targeted and they are persecuted the most. There is a reason why antisemitism is often called the longest hatred.
1 – Demonization
Often, the first step in separating a people group from the rest of society is to make people believe that they are different in a negative and even dangerous way. This has been the stigma attached to my people for much of our history, from the Biblical record to the early Church Fathers to the medieval lords to the reformation to the Holocaust. Yet, it didn’t really stop because antisemitism never stops. Antisemitism is on a continuum that constantly reinvents itself to better attract more people towards hating the Jews. The demonization of the Jews is nothing new. We have been accused of crucifying Messiah from the day of the crucifixion to this day, a false accusation that can easily be debunked starting with the Bible in John 10:14-18Open in Logos Bible Software (if available), where Yeshua speaks of His death as a necessary part of God’s plan, and how He gave His own life for all and was able to take it back at His resurrection. Additionally, we have been called so many things from criminals to wild beasts to poisoners of wells to usurers to little devils to vermin and sub-human. The last two names were part of Nazi propaganda to dehumanize the Jews and facilitate their demonization. Vermin need to be exterminated for the safety of people, thus the Holocaust was thought of, justified, organized and six million times successful.
What about today? Are Jews still being demonized? You tell me. We are called the new Nazis of the Middle East, colonizers, occupiers, guilty of ethnic cleansing. The old antisemitism was going after the Jews in the Diaspora and the new antisemitism is going after them as well as Israelis and the Land of Israel as well. At the 2018 Convention of the Islamic Society of North America, American/Palestinian activist Linda Sarsour said, “if you’re on the side of the oppressor, or you’re defending the oppressor or you’re actually trying to humanize the oppressor, then that’s a problem sisters and brothers and we got to be able to say: that is not the position of the Muslim American community.” I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me that I am trying to humanize someone else, it must mean that they believe that someone else not to be human. If the Jews are not human, they become irrelevant to our society and demonization is ever so easier to commit. Linda Sarsour is closely connected to every member of “the Squad.”
2 – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
The BDS movement has officially been going for 16 years now. It was started by two men, one of whom we all know well, Mahmoud Abbas (current leader of the Palestinian Authority), and Omar Barghouti from Qatar, who incidentally received the Gandhi Peace Award in 2017 for his efforts towards peace in the Middle East. Boycott, in and of itself, isn’t bad; it all depends on who or what one is boycotting, the reasons they do so and of course the integrity of the boycott. Abbas and Barghouti didn’t invent the boycott of Jewish people, products or inventions; they simply revived an age-old practice that was used in the 1930s. Not long after coming into power, the Nazi leadership started to boycott Jewish businesses and Jewish professionals. On April 1, 1933, they decided to station stormtroopers in front of Jewish stores and paint yellow stars of David on storefront windows. The boycott officially lasted only one day, and many Germans ignored it. Nevertheless, it was the start of a campaign of ostracization that would lead to more boycotts and confiscation of Jewish property.
The modern BDS movement relies on the ignorance of those it targets as recruits. Being in the entertainment industry, on the political scene, in academia or even in various Christian denominations, BDS influences people who have blindly bought the Palestinian victimhood narrative. The very fact that Omar Barghouti received the Gandhi Peace Award in 2017 for peace efforts, shows the hypocrisy and lack of understanding of the facts in the Middle East. It is so sad to see so many people infatuated with a false narrative cloaked in the attractive garment of social justice. The BDS movement continues to tighten its grip on Israel and Jewish products, inventions and people (with much hypocrisy as they only boycott what is convenient to them), and financed by liberals like George Soros.
3 – Pogroms
The first pogroms occurred in Eastern Europe in the mid to late 1800s. They mostly occurred within what was known as the Pale of Settlement. The Pale (1791-1913) included about 20 percent of European Russia and much of present-day Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and parts of western Russia, for a total of about 1,000,000 square miles. About 90 percent of Russian Jews lived inside the Pale, growing from 1.6 million in 1820 to 5.6 million in 1910. Life was very difficult, and additionally, the pogroms (Russian for “devastation”) of the 1870s through the 1910s created a very hostile environment that exacerbated the miserable conditions in which the Jews lived. The first pogrom might have been as early as 1821 in Odessa, Ukraine. The official reason given for the hundreds of subsequent pogroms was the assassination of Alexander II in 1880, for which some blamed the Jews. Pogroms became government-sponsored riots against the Jews, and they claimed the lives of many in the little Jewish shtetls (hamlets) of the Pale. They included looting, rape and murder.
While today’s pogroms might not be government-sponsored, they are mostly ignored by the authorities. To be sure, we are not seeing major destruction of Jewish property and lives like in the 19th-century pogroms, but today’s new antisemitism is expressed in ways that come very close. Consider the destructive attack on Jewish neighborhoods in conjunction with the murder of George Floyd. Jewish businesses were attacked and looted in the Fairfax area of Los Angeles where many Jews live. Graffiti such as “Free Palestine” and “F…Jews” were spray-painted on walls. What this has to do with George Floyd still escapes me.
4 – Blood libels and other accusations
While the world is still trying to recover from the pandemic that changed everything, to some people, the Jews are to blame for the virus. This is nothing new for the Jewish people, but more of a repeat of what took place in the 14th century. By the mid-1300s, with the advent of the “Black Death” or “Black Plague”, the legend of the poisoning of the wells of Europe had found fertile ground. It was the most devastating pandemic in the history of mankind, responsible for the death of about 75 million people worldwide (25 million in Europe alone) from 1347 to 1350. It was four years of horror for the Jewish communities of Europe. As the rest of the continent appeared to be on its way to total extinction, people started to look for a cause and it was not long before the Jews were once again used as the convenient “scapegoats of humanity”. Jewish people also died during the “Black Death”, but generally in lesser numbers. The Kosher laws Jewish people followed forced them to maintain stricter hygiene and thus resulted in fewer infections and fewer deaths than the communities around them. The Jews also lived in separate communities and the liturgical washing of hands before meals also kept them from being as sick or dying from the Black Death. However, even with these known facts and traditions, it didn’t stop the masses from destroying – slaughtering – over 200 Jewish communities.
So, today, and around the world, some are blaming the Jews for creating the virus to benefit from the sales of a vaccine; which is a combination of the poisoning of the wells of Europe and the myth of the greedy Jew. They come from the left, the right and religious groups worldwide. Some even claim that the Jews are more dangerous than Covid-19 and should be eliminated. Social media is the big culprit in allowing antisemitic rhetoric to go unchallenged and unpunished. More than 17,000 occurrences of the phrase “Hitler was right” have been found on various platforms and very little has been done to stop it. Recently, a Twitter post by ex-congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) resurfaced where she claimed that Jews were behind 9-11
5 – Killings
Tragically, Jew-hatred rarely stops at the defacing of property or online threats. We have now entered a phase where Jews are being killed again. The Holocaust was the most devastating, organized genocide in the history of mankind. It was also the only of its kind where Jews were brought back to their death after they fled, making it incredibly unique. While the new antisemitism is not claiming the lives of Jews in the same manner and comparable numbers, just the idea that Jews would be massacred again should send chills down our spine. Perhaps France, more than any other civilized country, has seen the death of Jewish people in the last decade, and it is very alarming. This is why I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that antisemitism has once again morphed into a more voracious beast: End-Times antisemitism.
The 2017 killing of Sarah Halimi in Paris, when she was thrown out the window of her apartment was one of the worst acts of antisemitic killing in recent years, and it is only one of several in 2012, 2015 and 2018. To add insult to injury, her killer was allowed to walk free without a trial because he had been found high on cannabis. This sets a precedent for the killing of Jews in France, and this should also be a wake-up call for French Jews. France is no longer a safe place for Jews. Let’s also not forget the Pittsburg Synagogue massacre and the one in San Diego. Jews worldwide now live in constant fear for their lives. It is not safe to walk outside with a yarmulke on your head or a star of David around your neck. They used to be potential targets for verbal abuse, but the abuse is now turning physical. It is not only on the streets that Jews are at risk. Just days ago, a bullet was fired at the window of a Brooklyn synagogue.
As if all these signs weren’t enough to sound the alarm, there is one more aspect that must be brought up, and that is the apathy of the general public. For the most part, people don’t care about Jewish people being the victims of antisemitism. If they are not affected, they move on. This tragically is reminiscent of the Holocaust era when many looked the other way when trains overfilled with Jews passed through their towns. Even worse, as Erwin Lutzer documents in his book, When a Nation Forgets God, the story he heard from an eyewitness telling him how people would sing louder in church when they heard trains go through, packed with Jews in cattle cars: “I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it because what could we do to stop it. A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance, and then the wheels coming over the tracks. We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars. Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we would hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us. We knew the time the train was coming, and when we heard the whistle blow, we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church, we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more.”
The apathy of yesteryear is still contagious today. I am not surprised when people who do not believe in God act selfishly, but I am disgusted when people who call themselves Christians either denigrate the Jewish people or reenact the Holocaust era scenario and ignore the tragedy befalling my people today. The bystanders of the 1930s and 1940s are part of history, and please don’t go trying to cancel that! My disgust is with the bystanders of today; the apathy within and without the church is a clear sign that the Jews have very few friends who will come to their rescue in time of need. Incidentally, American Jews being oblivious to these signs is another mystery to me. How much do my people need to go through to accept the fact that we are back in the 1930s and 1940s?
China in recent weeks has sent tens of thousands of troops to its disputed border with India in Ladakh, high in the Himalayas.
Beijing looks as if it is preparing for a full-scale invasion of Indian territory.
This deployment occurred while Chinese ruler Xi Jinping, in the words of the Communist Party's China Daily, made a "pro-peace, pro-development, and pro-cooperation speech" to celebrate the centennial of the Party's founding.
"The Chinese people have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will," Xi said on July 1.
In May of last year, the People's Liberation Army moved troops south of the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, in other words, into Indian-controlled territory. A month later, on the night of June 15, Chinese soldiers launched a surprise attack, killing 20 Indian troops.
India responded by reinforcing its forces and launching a counterattack in August. China then added to its troop count, increasing the number of soldiers from 15,000 a year ago to 50,000 at this moment. Beijing has also brought advanced weapons to the area and began building bases.
Ladakh is not the only Himalayan hotspot. There is a Chinese encroachment in India's Sikkim as well as incursions in neighboring Bhutan and Nepal.
Beijing's campaign against India has been multifaceted. "Since June of last year, there was a China-attributed attack on the Mumbai electric grid, Chinese-linked Maoist terrorists killed another 20 Indian security forces, and we witnessed a destructive attack on an iPhone parts-manufacturing plant that looks like part of a Beijing political warfare operation to discourage the shifting of supply chains to India," Cleo Paskal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Gatestone.
As a result, many in India now see China in the worst possible light. As Paskal explains, "The breadth and depth of the Communist Party's aggressive unrestricted warfare against India leads one to think there are no barriers to Beijing's malign behavior."
The Indian people are right to be concerned. China has changed the definition of "warfare," and one of its instruments is disease. If SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing COVID-19, did not start out as a biological weapon, Chinese Communist Party leaders turned it into one, by lying about contagiousness and pressuring other countries to take disease-ridden arrivals from China.
"It's no wonder many Indians think their second wave of coronavirus was a deliberate release by China to weaken them further," Paskal notes.
Beijing looks as though it is even thinking of using nuclear weapons to fight the next war.
The Washington Post reported China appears to be building, in an area covering more than 700 square miles in the Gansu desert, 119 missile silos for the ten-warhead DF-41 intercontinental ballistic missile. When added to 26 more silos the Chinese military is building elsewhere, China could soon be housing from these fixed locations about as much firepower as the existing U.S. nuclear arsenal. When China's missiles carried on mobile launchers and submarines are added, China's warheads could end up exceeding America's.
Because Beijing already has a sufficient number of nukes to deter others — China has had for a long time sufficient weapons for a so-called "minimal deterrent"— it looks as if Chinese military planners are thinking of using nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity. China's flag officers and political leaders have in public threatened to use their arsenal in this way.
In any event, Xi Jinping in his bellicose July 1 speech promised to "crack heads and spill blood" of those standing in the way of what are, in essence, his plans to take territory under the control of others.
More significantly, he threatened to take down the existing Westphalian international system of sovereign states, established in 1648. "The Communist Party of China and the Chinese people, with their bravery and tenacity, solemnly proclaim to the world that the Chinese people are not only good at taking down the old world, but also good at building a new one," Xi said.
A new world? Throughout this century, Xi has made indirect references to tianxia, or "all under Heaven." For two millennia, Chinese emperors believed they both had the Mandate of Heaven to rule tianxia and the obligation to do so.
Lately, Xi's references in public pronouncements have become unmistakable, and his subordinates have been clear that Xi believes that everyone outside China owes him obedience.
Xi, while spouting tianxia-like language and bellicose words, has been getting the Chinese people ready for war. On July 1, he talked about foreigners meeting a "wall of steel built with the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people."
Moreover, he is making preparations to use his shiny new military. Amendments to China's National Defense Law, effective the first of this year, transfer powers from civilian to military officials.
The amendments reduce the role of the central government's State Council and transfer powers to the Communist Party's Central Military Commission. Specifically, the State Council will no longer supervise the mobilization of the People's Liberation Army. At most, the central government will merely implement Party directives.
It is true that the law could be mere posturing — the Communist Party has always been in control — but the signaling is ominous nonetheless. The new law, after all, contemplates the mass mobilization of society for war.
The changes signal the growing clout of the People's Army inside the Party and highlight the militarization of the country's external relations. China is fast becoming a military state.
Xi Jinping on July 1 told the world what he is going to do. We are, in all probability, in the last moments of peace.
5 "You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ ...
2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (2nd Peter 2:5-9)
I had a dear sister ask me what will we be (the saints borne of God) during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ ? She understood that we will be given duties by our Lord and Savior, but her question was “will we rule over the people still living after the tribulation? Besides what will we be and will there be mortals able to sin during this time?” Good set of questions and those that I feel need further exploration by looking at scripture to get an idea of just what we will be and our task during this 1000 year reign after the rebellion during the great tribulation is put down by our King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Let’s start in Romans on our journey to identify what and who we will be and our responsibilities that our Lord will impart to all that are found in Him at His coming. Paul speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit reveals what we will be:
8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:17-19)
Can you fathom what these verses means? It is almost too glorious to ponder and beyond our immediate comprehension of its full implications.. It is a infinite promise of future glory of those found in Christ. Verse 17 says we will be “joint heirs” of our Savior Jesus Christ. Heirs of what? Simple answer is that all that He is in spiritual nature, in His glory, in the ability of our mind to comprehend as we will have the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:16), and in the inheritance that He, our Savior has, we will be given the same inheritance. For a lack of a better illustration, we will be adopted into the family of YAHWEH, Jehovah, God Almighty, God the Father. Jesus will be our “Big Brother” if we can even call Him that. He is our King, but He is our elder brother in a family type relationship. We will be adopted because Jesus will bring us into the family at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when we are joined to Him, our bethrothed, our Groom spiritually, as a groom takes his wife and they become one.
I can't EVEN imagine it...my mind cannot wrap around such glory. Our God and our Savior will be the source of all of our glory and power upon this earth during a time when the earth is restored to its former glory as during the Garden of Eden. It will be a perfect environment with no war, no inclement weather, no disease, and no tempter of the nations. Satan will be given his Sabbath rest of 1000 years from being the source of all temptation and lies. But note, even though we will be on this earth during the Millennium, this planet is NOT our home, till God creates a New Heaven and new earth . Jesus told us where our home is and it's in 3rd heaven with our God and Father..
2 “In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)
As we will see, we will come and go from the heavens, which is our home, to the earth in an instant of time, according to the desires of our Father in Heaven.
Even though this earth will become a near perfect world, sin will still be around. We, His Saints, will be sinless, immortal and of the same new body that our Lord was resurrected with when He came out of the tomb and appeared to the living. He was able to walk through walls, but be handled and able to eat, but disappear at will. He had a new glorious body, and we will have the same body as He does. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus when he came to Him in the night: John chapter 3,
3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
This totally confused Nicodemus as the following verses after this show that he did not understand what Jesus meant. Jesus went on to explain of being borne of the Spirit and of water (baptism that shows that a man or woman understands that they are buried with Jesus Christ and are dead to the world, but raised a new creature in Him, by obediently following His footsteps in our life) a man cannot inherit the Kingdom of God or enter therein unless he is born again. He then said something that many overlook what we will be when He changes us into His likeness:
3:7 "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:7-
Did you catch that? We will be as the wind. On earth, we now see the effects of the wind through the trees, but we cannot see the wind,, but its effects on the material world. Spiritual bodies will come and go much as the wind, but appear at will to whomever we decide to let see us. It’s the ultimate description (to illustrate something we can comprehend) of our bodies when Captain Kirk on Star Trek says “beam me up, Scotty.” Our bodies will move at lightning speed without aid of some transporter as on some popular outer space program. It is how we will come and go from the heavens and our heavely mansions to earth, in an instant.
HOW CAN THIS BE?
When Jesus comes for His saints, there will be an awards banquet in heaven. The Bible calls it the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with the Bema Judgment seat of Christ. Here Jesus will impart to each of His saints a measure of ruler-ship by the deeds they have done for Him in this life. Paul speaks of the revealing of what we have done in the body in this life, and what we have done for Jesus Christ and its eternal rewards:
3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1st Corinthians 3:9-15)
What we have done in this life for Jesus Christ will stand and for that we will receive a reward, much like the following parable given by Jesus.
Note the parable of the talents:
25:14 "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods"
Jesus is this man, who has gone to heaven and is sitting beside God the Father in Heaven and delivered unto us the servants, His goods. What goods? Let’s read on.
25:15 "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." (Matthew 25:14-15)
In ancient times, a talent was a measure of gold. It was the most precious of all possessions. I ask you, what is the most precious possession our God has given us? I tell you plainly, it’s HIS WORD! God doesn't need our gold, He already owns it all. He is giving us something much more valuable and He wants a return on imparting us with the responsibility of spreading His Word by personal witness. God's Word is His instructions for living, for His reaching us by His Holy Spirit unto repentance and using that same Word to reach others. That Word is our handbook for living this life, your Bible:
25:16 "Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two." (Matthew chp. 25)
Each of these servants added to what he was given, by sharing that Word with the world around him. And receive an increase by winning the lost to Christ. How much of an impact does that Word have on the world? We may never know fully till it be revealed to us at this Bema Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ, but we are commanded to share it with all who will listen.
25:18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.”
This unfaithful and unprofitable servant hid His Masters goods, His Word, away and shared it not with those around him. Woe to those who fail to follow the command of our Lord Jesus.
25:29 “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew chp. 25)
Did this man believe or just mouthed the words? Only God knows, but to hide away what we have been given determines our reward or our lack thereof. Each of these faithful servants were given a reward. They were made rulers over many things! Listen to what Jesus reveals to John the Beloved in Revelation:
» Revelation 2:7, 26; 3:21: "To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. . . . I will give power over the nations. . . . I will grant to sit with Me on My throne."
» Revelation 5:9-10: . . . "You . . . have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
» Revelation 21:7: "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."
Note that verse 9 of Revelation chapter 5 says we will be kings and priest before God on this earth. We have established that we will rule on this earth in the coming Kingdom of God according to our deeds done in this life for our Lord and Savior, but what about priest? What will be our duties as priest? Jesus Christ embodies all that is royal for a King, but is also our High Priest. He calls us kings and priests. If priest, then who will be minister to?
In ancient Israel, the priest were the ministers of God. They provided direction to the people and point them to God. They did the sacrifices given by the people for the atonement of their sins daily. Although the nation of Israel became blinded by the ceremonies of sacrifices in the Temple being a forerunner of the Supreme Sacrifice in the body of our Lord and Savior, they were the keepers of the oracles of God and were to be a priestly nation to shine before the Gentile world and lead them to God. We know that they failed miserably in their departure from following after God in spirit and in truth. They knew scripture inside and out, but failed to glean the central message when their Messiah was standing right before them.
PRIEST BEFORE GOD
There are four things that we can learn here about a priest, and actually three of them are spin-offs of the first one, which is this:
A priest has access to the God of Israel that other people did not have. Now because he had access to God, we therefore understand that the priest served God personally. Think of this in relation the life that’s coming, but do not detach it from today. Remember, you are a royal priesthood.
The priest ministers to others.
The priest was actually ministering to the average Israelite who came to him whenever he represented him before God. in the Old Testament and we will minister to the mortals who still need a Savior.
He therefore had to have something to give. He had to have something to give to the Israelite, and he also had to have something to give to God. So it will be in the Millennium. You ask, "are mortals in the Millennium"? That was one of the questions needing to be answered.
During this time of blessed peace and security that comes upon the earth, men will enter into the Millennium as mortal men and women. The Bible speaks of them in Isaiah,
65:20 "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
65:21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD." (Isaiah chp. 65)
Verse 20 speaks of the sinner? Yes, men will still have a mortal sin nature, but not to the extent as in our world now, as the tempter has been locked away for a 1000 years. We will be the teachers of the ways of God as spoken in Isaiah:
Isaiah 30:21 "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. "
We, as priest, will teach them the Way of the Lord and point them to the cross.
Understand, Jesus will be known to all, as the sea covers the earth.
8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:11)
All people on earth will be subject to the righteous rule of Jesus Christ as He sits on the Throne of David and all the earth will know Him…..in their mind they will know, but in their heart they still possess a sin nature. That’s where we come into our responsibility. As kings of the King of kings, our job, our commission is to be rulers, yes….priests to the people to point them to the Savior, most definitely. We are being instructed in righteousness right now, on this earth, in this time we have left.
9 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”( 1st Corinthians 6:9-11)
We were saved before the foundation of the world, in God's foreknowledge, He knew who would be in His Kingdom, but are not the elite of this world....not at all.
25 “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”(I Corinthians 1:25-31)
God has chosen the humble, not the proud. He has chosen the poor, not the rich. He has chosen the weak, not the noble or strong. He has chosen a select group of people of this earth that you would not consider leaders in this life, but by the Holy Spirit, as 1st Corinthians 6:11 states,
11 “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1st Corinthians 6:11)
We are being changed into His likeness, one day at a time. We are being sanctified, as He also justified us by His blood.
8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)
JESUS WILL SHOUT, “COME UP HERE”.
We have an appointment with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, very soon. One of these days in the near future, Jesus will break out of eternity into our time and say “come up here.” And we will be changed in an instant in the twinkling of an eye.
15:49 "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1st Corinthians 15:49-54)
If you're like me, before I became a follower of Jesus Christ, I wondered, “how can I become someone that Jesus trust so much that He gives me rulership of anything in His Kingdom. It is beyond my imagination. Yes, it will be glorious, and we can't grasp it right now, but to start your road on building a house, that is YOU, that is made without hands, becomes something anyone who says “yes, Lord, and believes on Him by faith. It’s so simple, that a child can do it. Want to know the secret to obtaining such a high honor of a king and a priest in God’s Kingdom? It's not really a secret, but it escapes many on this earth.
6:28 "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28-29)
That’s it in a nutshell. Believe with your heart and ask Jesus to come into your heart and life, and by example, live as He lived, as humanly possible.
Paul gave us a simple formula that it guarantees us to enter into the service of a Holy God,
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:8-11)
We are being made a spiritual house, made without hands, and will begin our eternal destination of being kings and priest before our God, to lead other men who enter the Millennium to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We will rule righteously and give the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the living mortals who still have their free moral will to accept or reject the message. And we will serve God for all eternity in works we have no ability to comprehend.
“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (1st Corinthians 2:9)
We will not coerce anyone to believe and accept, but as Jesus does by His Holy Spirit now, we will point them to the same cross that we came to know, and the same perfect sacrifice that we accepted upon our own lives for the remission of sins by our God in Heaven. So come Lord Jesus, yes, Amen. Come my Lord. We await our glorification of being kings and priest before You. That is our glorious future of all who believe on His name, by faith and obedience to His call.
AND THE ETERNAL QUESTION
Will you be counted as being changed into the likeness of Almighty God and our Lord Jesus our Messiah? Or will your future be different, because you have rejected His call, rejected His payment for your sins in His own blood. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to make your future sure and set in stone. In comes down to the object of the whole writing of Holy Writ, your bible, in this one verse:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting (eternal) life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:16-19).
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying for your salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. If there be any need for prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at
Understanding the ramifications of a seemingly insignificant comment at Jesus’ last Bible study with His Apostles at the Last Supper
When Jesus was just hours away from His crucifixion, He taught His last Bible study with His Apostles at what is referred to as the Last Supper.
The Apostles had gathered at Jesus’ instruction in an “Upper Room” inside the southern walls of the city of Jerusalem near the Essene Gate.
Jesus knew His crucifixion was destined for Him the next day—and it was a difficult death. But His focus was teaching several topics to His Apostles before allowing Himself to be arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This Bible study must have been quite the dissertation by the Creator of the universe as He gave last instructions to the 12 men who knew Him best. Still in the dark about what was going on, the 12 settled in for the long Passover meal with Jesus as the host.
Based on the content Jesus covered that night, it was probably the greatest Bible study He ever taught. Most of the doctrinal points He espoused are well-known to Believers today, but most Christians don’t realize all this was from His last Bible study.
The following is a partial list of major Biblical topics covered by Jesus the night before His faithful execution.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;” John 14:2
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again”… John 14:3a
…“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6
“If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also;” John 14:7a
“Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me;…” John 14:11a
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
“…love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
“You did not choose Me but I chose you,…” John 15:16a
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18
“I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” John 15:19b
“…A slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you;” John 15:20b
“He who hates Me hates My Father also.” John 15:23
In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
“…if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” John 16:23b
I’m sure to the Apostles, hearing all that in one Bible study felt like they were trying to drink out of a fire hydrant! And again, that’s only a partial list of what Jesus taught that night.
But there was one more statement to His disciples that night. Referring to His death, resurrection and ascension, He said:
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” John 16:7
Jesus said if He didn’t go away God’s Holy Spirit could not come to earth to indwell Believers. Jesus said He had to leave for heaven first. Only then the Holy Spirit could come to earth to indwell Believers.
And as promised, God’s Spirit arrived 50 days after Jesus’ Resurrection at Pentecost, first falling on the 12 Apostles.(2)
The time of the Holy Spirit indwelling Believers on earth is called the Church Age. When God’s Holy Spirit departs, that ends the Church Age.
Now, since Jesus had to first depart before the Holy Spirit could come to earth, for Jesus to return to the earth to reign as King, God’s Holy Spirit must be removed from earth.
God says “I will never leave you” (Heb. 13:5b). That means when He goes, Believers go with Him. We call that the Rapture.(1Cor. 15:51,52; 1Thes. 4:16,17)
But the question arises, since Jesus doesn’t come to earth to reign as king until the end of the Tribulation, why does God’s Spirit depart prior to the 7 years?
Obviously part of the answer is since Believers are not appointed to wrath, God takes us off the earth prior to His wrath, which is unleashed in horrible divine judgment on non-Believers.
Persecution happens to Christians worldwide every day. But God’s wrath is beyond anything we can imagine. Noah’s flood is an example of God’s wrath.
But we also find there’s more to the answer about God’s Spirit departing in Revelation 7 and 14.
In Revelation 7, we see 144,000 Jews being set apart and marked on their foreheads. It concludes with those Jews crying out:
and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Rev. 7:10
These 144,000 Jews, 12,000 from each of Israel’s tribes (so much for the 10 lost tribes theory) are crying out praise to the LAMB, which of course is Jesus.
In Revelation 14, we get a little more clarity about what’s going on with the 144,000:
Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb [Jesus] was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. Rev. 14:1
Here we see Jesus on the earth, post-Rapture, and during the Tribulation. For Him to be there, the Holy Spirit had to have already departed at the Rapture.
In the past we've shown the identity of these 144,000 Jewish male virgins who we refer to today as Rabbinical Jews.(1)
Pre-Rapture, these Rabbinical Jews are a unique group. They don’t touch a woman until marriage, wear all black, are quite zealous for God and spend their days pouring over the Old Testament Scriptures from cover to cover.
But they are spiritually blinded by God from understanding that the Jews crucified God’s Son, their Messiah, 2000 years ago.
“HE HAS BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND I HEAL THEM.” John 12:40/Is.6:10
Imagine that scene on Mount Zion in Jerusalem when Jesus reveals Himself to them. They will immediately realize their forefathers had done the unthinkable and murdered their God-sent Messiah.
Knowing well their Holy Scriptures, they will immediately understand Isaiah 53 and be cut to the bone.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Is. 53:5
With all the Messianic Scriptures coming to life, the realization that their forefathers had killed their Messiah will cause crushing emotional pain.
“…they will look on Me whom they have pierced [Hebrew means literally “pierced to death”]; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” Zech 12:10
Standing face to face with their risen Messiah, the coin will drop when they see the five (God's number for "grace") visible scars on the hands and feet which were pierced during His crucifixion.
When Jesus lifts the veil, these new Believers will undoubtedly begin pouring over the God-inspired New Testament accounts of Jesus and the Epistles.
These 144,000 will then become even more zealous for God… because they now will have Messianic understanding.
As the Scriptures roar to life, they’ll be brokenhearted and overjoyed, all at the same time.
Most Bible scholars believe they will become world evangelists. They apparently will all be in Jerusalem in the middle of the Tribulation when the Abomination of Desolation trigger-point happens (Matt. 24:15-21).
Protected by God, the 144,000 will be in the group that escapes death by running to the wilderness.(2)
All of this happens because the Holy Spirit was removed, along with His Believers, before the Rapture. Then and only then could Jesus come back to the earth to personally teach them during the Tribulation.
This dispensational Bible truth of Jesus being on the Mount of Olives teaching the Rabbinical Jews during the 7-year Tribulation torpedoes any notion of a mid- or post-Tribulation Rapture.
So rest in the fact that although Believers may be persecuted on this earth, God will whisk away those who are alive before His judgmental wrath is unleashed on an unsuspecting earth.
His wrath on those left behind after the Rapture will be dumbfounding and painful to endure.
I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Then the kings of the earth [Biden, Trudeau, Merkel, Johnson, et al.] and the great men [George Soros, Schumer, Pelosi, Clintons] and the commanders [Colin Powell, et al.] and the rich [Gates, Fauci, et al.] and the strong [Non-patriot players in the NFL, NBA, Olympics et al.] and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne [Jesus], and from the wrath of the Lamb [Jesus]; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” Rev. 6:12-17
And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them. Rev. 9:6
That sounds awful! But Believers are comforted knowing that we will be raptured away PRIOR to His wrath that’s definitely coming on this wicked earth. PTL!
Worth a read www.bornagainchristians.org/forum/end-times-prophe…
Throughout the Dark Ages and Reformation, Amillennialism remained the mainstay of the church because of three critical factors.
I know my title sounds a bit theological. Why even bring up the topic of amillennialism?
I do so because a great many pastors today subscribe to some form of this errant teaching that denies the prophesied restoration of a kingdom for Israel as well as the biblical promise of Jesus’ millennial reign before the eternal state.
Amillennialism dominated the church during the dark ages and persisted long after the Reformation. The reason for this rests with three factors that fueled this teaching for well over a thousand years and remain in place today, at least to some degree.
It’s vital to our faith that we understand the errant foundation of amillennialism so we can recognize the error and defend the integrity of Scripture when others seek to lead us astray.
Apart from the allegorization of Scripture, amillennialism would not exist. Rather than interpret prophecy according to the intent of biblical author, those who apply this method to prophecy retrofit biblical texts with meanings that do not match the words nor the intent of the authors.
The practice of allegorizing biblical texts began with Philo, an Alexandrian Jew who lived during the time of Christ. He admired Greek philosophy and used allegory as a means to make the Old Testament agreeable with Greek.
In the second century AD, Clement and Origen adopted Philo’s allegorical approach to God’s word. Clement (AD 150-215) “embraced Greek philosophy and maintained that Scripture must be understood allegorically so as not to contradict it.” Origen (AD 185-254) used allegory to make biblical prophecy comply with Plato’s dualism, which stated that only the spiritual, immaterial realm was good.
The church Council of Nicea, which met in in AD 325, condemned the teachings of Origen and affirmed the place of the book of Revelation in the New Testament in direct contradiction to Origen’s rejection of Jesus’ thousand-year reign as described in Revelation 20:1-10.[ii]
At the beginning of the fifth century AD, a much more capable theologian named Augustine utilized Origen’s allegorical approach to biblical prophecy and steered the church away from its premillennial footing in favor of amillennialism. During the dark ages, theologians extended Augustine’s allegorization of prophetic texts to passages in the New Testament, which led to the contamination of the doctrine of justification by faith.
We see this same pattern happening today; the practice of allegorizing Bible prophecy invariably leads, over time, to an undermining of the purity of the Gospel and an acceptance of immoral cultural norms for behavior. Allegory never remains confined to biblical passages dealing with prophecy; it always spreads. Always.
THE BIBLICAL RESPONSE: WORDS MATTER
Words matter in Scripture.
Notice the words of the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “. . . knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Just as the prophets of old did not speak from their own understanding, in the same way we must not apply our own private “interpretations” to what they wrote; we must let the words speak for themselves.
The Greek word for “spoke” in verse 21 is laleo. According to Trench in in his book Synonyms of the New Testament, the “prominent notion” of this verb is “the fact of uttering articulated speech. . . it is the words uttered, and that these correspond to reasonable thoughts . . . .”[iii] Biblical prophets, in both the Old and New Testament, expressed truths in words as God moved them through the Holy Spirit (see also 2 Tim. 3:16; Proverbs 2:6).
Yes, the biblical authors used symbolism and figures of speech, but they did so in a way that was clear from a normal understanding of the text. We must not veer from what the authors of biblical prophecy intended to communicate to us at the time they wrote. We are not free to interpret Scripture in a way that does not align with the words on the page such as many pastors do today, especially with the book of Revelation (see my previous post on this matter).
The practice of allegorizing Scripture began with the purpose of making Greek philosophy compatible with the Old Testament. Theologians such as Origen employed it to diminish the physical blessings of the millennium in order to comply with the teachings of Plato, who taught that all matter was evil.
Although Augustine claimed to disagree with Plato on most issues, he nevertheless incorporated the philosopher’s unbiblical scheme of reality into his theology. He stated that the millennium “would not be objectionable” to him if somehow “the nature of the millennial kingdom was a ‘spiritual one’ rather than a physical one.”[iv] He objected to the thoughts of “carnal banquets,” which he visualized as a part of such a kingdom.[v]
Augustine’s basis for rejecting the premillennialism that dominated the first three centuries of the church came from Plato, not the Bible.
Although the Reformers firmly rejected the use of allegory to interpret Scripture, they retained it in regard to biblical prophecy and thus continued the amillennialism of Dark ages. A key reason for this was the enduring influence of Plato upon Reformers such as Calvin and Luther.
E. J. Hutchinson, in his article Calvin’s Plato, cited several of John Calvin’s references to Plato. He summarized his findings with these words, “In conclusion, Calvin makes regular use of Plato’s philosophy both in philosophical and in theological contexts. Far from being mere window-dressing, he often finds in Plato an argumentative ally against his contemporary opponents. Plato was, in other words, a living source of truth for Calvin.”[vi]
Calvin’s affinity for Plato played a key role in his continuing use of allegory to reinterpret biblical promises regarding the future restoration of a kingdom for Israel. His comments regarding the question of the disciples regarding the future of Israel in Acts 1:6 clearly reflect Augustine’s Platonic repulsion regarding the “carnality” he saw as an aspect of the millennium.
Martin Luther, a former monk who once belonged to the Augustinian Order, also did not distance himself from Augustine’s Platonism in regard to future things. Though not as evident as with John Calvin, Luther nevertheless maintained a high regard for Plato.[vii]
A key motivating force for the enduring strength of amillennialism since the time of Augustine down to the current time is the organized church’s long-held affinity for Plato’s dualism.
THE BIBLICAL RESPONSE: GOD CREATED THE MATERIAL WORLD
The Bible absolutely refutes the dualism of Plato. Throughout Genesis 1, God made it abundantly clear that His creation of the material world was “good.”
Paul wrote these words in 1 Timothy 6:17, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” The Lord intends for us to enjoy the good gifts He gives to us, which certainly includes material benefits and earthly pleasures. He blesses us both spiritually and physically in this life, which is but a foretaste of the kindness God will show to us throughout eternity (Eph. 2:7).
Consider the words of Psalm 16:11,“You make known to me the path of life; / in your presence there is fullness of joy; / at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Even as I typed the words of this verse, I felt the platonic influence on the church suggesting to me that the meaning of “pleasures” is not really what it says. However, the Bible says that the redeemed of the Lord can look forward to a wondrous eternity complete with many physical pleasures.
If the Lord says we celebrate at the marriage supper of the lamb, why would anyone consider that carnal or sinful; that’s ridiculous.
I encountered anti-Semitism in a prophecy class that I taught a few years ago. The man who often opposed my teaching held to a popular variation of amillennialism called Preterism, which teaches that Jesus returned to earth in AD 70 and fulfilled most, if not all, of future prophecy in the Bible. It was not until the end of the class that I discovered his hatred of the Jewish people lay at the root of his false beliefs.
Anti-Semitism was a factor in Augustine’s amillennialism and it also helps explain why the Reformers did not extend their literal approach of Scripture to passages that teach the future restoration of a kingdom for Israel. Both Calvin and Luther retained the anti-Semitism that dominated the church during the Dark Ages, which in turn helped keep amillennialism in place during and after the Reformation.
With the return of amillennialism to many evangelical churches during the past twenty-five years, anti-Semitism has also resurfaced as seen in the increasingly popularity of Christian Palestinianism as well as in the current anti-Zionism movements. The further that the church drifts away from premillennialism, the more it becomes susceptible to an unbiblical view of Israel’s claim to the Promised Land.
Let me be clear; I am not saying that those who now teach that the current nation of Israel is just an anomaly of history are anti-Semitic, not at all.
However, such racism has historically been one of the three foundations of amillennialism and the resurgence of this teaching explains, at least in part, the rapid increase of animosity toward Israel and the Jewish people, even within churches that claim to believe the Bible.
THE BIBLICAL RESPONSE: THE LAND BELONGS TO ISRAEL
The Promised Land belongs to Israel.
Psalm 105:8-11 tells us that God’s covenant with the Patriarchs regarding the Land is an “everlasting covenant.” Although Israel’s enjoyment of the land has always been conditional upon her obedience, the Lord unconditionally promised that the Land would always belong to them. We have not yet reached the end of “everlasting;” the covenant of the Land thus remains in effect.
Apart from retrofitting the Old Testament prophets under the veil of allegory, one cannot read the words of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah without recognizing the Lord’s intention to someday restore a glorious kingdom to Israel in the future. If the words of Scripture mean what they say, and they do, God will keep all His promises to the descendants of Jacob.
Any hatred for a particular race or group of people is evil; it’s something that God hates. Anti-Semitism in the established church during the Dark Ages, fueled by Augustine’s amillennialism, led to centuries of murderous hatred toward the Jewish people.
Amillennialism came back to life under Augustine and flourished during the Dark Ages because he popularized the allegorization of Scripture in order to align biblical prophecy with the teachings of Plato and his hatred of the Jewish people.
These same three factors empowered amillennialism throughout the dark ages, sustained it and through the Reformation, and to varying degrees contribute to its sustainability and growing popularity in many churches today.
Amillennialism has produced catastrophic results inside and outside the church since the time of Augustine and continues to undermine the integrity of Scripture in churches where it has been the mainstay of teaching for several years.
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Randy Alcorn, Heaven (Carol Stream: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), p. 477.
[ii] Grant R., Triumphant Return: The Coming Kingdom of God (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook Press, 2001), p. 127.
[iii] Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), p. 287).
[iv] Allen, D. Matthew, Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology, A paper published on the Bible.org website, Chapter Five
[vi] E. J. Hutchinson, in his article Calvin’s Plato, on The Calvinist International website: calvinistinternational.com/2017/08/07/calvins-plato/
[vii] See Eric Parker, The Platonism of Martin Luther, on The Calvinist International website: calvinistinternational.com/2013/05/20/th...sm-of-martin-luther/
I have written about this before, but this story just got a whole lot stranger. In previous years, most Americans haven’t been too concerned when giant swarms of insects have devoured crops on the other side of the globe, but now this is actually happening right here in the good old United States of America on a massive scale. The hot, dry conditions in the western half of the nation have created ideal conditions for grasshoppers to flourish, and millions upon millions of them are now wreaking havoc wherever they go. In fact, the National Weather Service says that some of the grasshopper swarms are so large that they are showing up on radar…
The National Weather Service (NWS) Glasgow says the radar is lighting up, but not with rain.
Instead, the radar is picking up “countless” grasshoppers in the area according to a post from the NWS.
The grasshoppers are flying as high as 10,000 feet above the ground and are being picked up by the radar the NWS said.
I have never heard of such a thing happening in this nation in my entire lifetime.
According to one news source, some of the grasshopper swarms are so dense “it can appear the earth is moving”…
They’re arriving in swarms so dense it can appear the earth is moving. They’re covering roads and fields, pelting ATV riders, and steadily devouring grains and grass to the bedevilment of farmers and ranchers.
A massive population of grasshoppers is proliferating in the sweltering American west, where a deep drought has made for ideal conditions for grasshopper eggs to hatch and survive into adulthood.
Agricultural production in the western half of the country was already going to be below expectations because of the endless megadrought, and now these grasshoppers are “steadily devouring” fields that farmers have meticulously cultivated.
Not only that, grasshoppers are also eating much of what our cattle herds were supposed to be eating as well…
Grasshoppers, which thrive in hot, dry weather, have been defoliating trees and competing with cattle for food — and the bugs are winning. Ranchers are selling cattle “due to poor forage conditions and a lack of feed,” according to the latest US drought monitor.
This is not a small problem that we are talking about.
On average, in seven western states “each square yard of land contains at least 15 grasshoppers” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…
Around 93% of the West is in some level of drought this week, and a bizarre impact of this pernicious dry condition is the explosion of the grasshopper population. Grasshoppers have devoured so much vegetation that many ranchers fear rangelands could be stripped bare.
A 2021 grasshopper hazard map from the US Department of Agriculture shows each square yard of land contains at least 15 grasshoppers in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska.
That is nuts. I knew that this crisis was bad, but I didn’t know that it was this bad.
From the moment that they are born until the moment they die, these grasshoppers are constantly eating.
In the past, I have used the term “voracious” to describe them, and that is precisely what they are. They are never satisfied, and they are always looking for new fields to ravage.
One rancher in southern Oregon is absolutely horrified that they have shown up in his area in such massive numbers this year…
“I can only describe grasshoppers in expletives,” said Richard Nicholson, a cattle rancher in Fort Klamath, a small community in southern Oregon, who once recalled seeing grasshopper bands eat 1,000 acres a day and cover the ground like snow. The insects cause innumerable headaches for farmers and ranchers, competing with cattle for tough-to-find wild forage and costing tens of thousands of dollars in lost crops and associated costs. “They are a scourge of the Earth … They just destroy the land, destroy the crops. They are just a bad, bad predator.”
Needless to say, this is yet another factor which will have a huge impact on agricultural production this year.
Food prices have already been rising quite aggressively in recent months, and this certainly isn’t going to help matters.
Just when you think that things can’t possibly get any worse in the western half of the country, somehow they do, and many believe that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning.
Scientists are telling us that there is no end in sight for the endless megadrought that is affecting so many western states right now, and that means that the grasshoppers will be with us for the foreseeable future as well.
The summer of 2021 is only a couple of weeks old, but already there have been so many problems. Hopefully things will start to return to “normal” soon, but personally I have a feeling that a whole lot more chaos is just around the corner.
Iran’s media gave major headlines to claims of attacks on US forces in Syria on Sunday. The July 4 date was symbolic; it was US Independence Day. What could be a better day for Iran to claim it had struck a US base in Syria?
However, it turns out the rumors of the rocket attacks were likely false, and the US-led coalition denied any incident happened in Syria.
That doesn’t matter for Iran’s media outlets, especially those that have links to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The reports claimed there were attacks and “explosions” at a US base. However, sources there denied the reports.
What Tehran may be messaging on this issue is more complex than just rumored attacks. Iran may be pinpointing where the next front will begin in its conflict with the US.
Since 2019, Iran has upped attacks on the US in Iraq. It has used militias, such as Kataib Hezbollah, to carry out numerous attacks. It also downed a US drone in June 2019 and mined ships in the Gulf of Oman in May and June of that year. At the time, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo warned about the Iranian threats. The threats increased rapidly through the fall of 2019.
There were concerns expressed by American officials in the fall of 2019 that Israeli-Iran tensions could affect the US. An inspector-general report from the US-led anti-ISIS coalition Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in November 2019 spotlighted “tensions with Iran and suspected Israeli airstrikes” as a complication for the OIR mission against ISIS in Iraq.
In addition, the report said US Central Command was concerned that “Iranian backed forces in Syria might look to target US military personnel or its partner forces in Syria if they view the US as complicit in Israeli strikes on its [Iran’s] forces.”
The report cited a July 2019 incident in which there was the “first of several suspected Israeli drone strikes in Iraq,” and it targeted a Popular Mobilization Forces’ “munitions depot near Baghdad.”
What did this mean? “Tensions with Iran and suspected Israeli airstrikes complicate OIR this quarter,” the report said. “According to media reports, suspected Israeli airstrikes on Iraqi bases belonging to Iranian-aligned militias this quarter exacerbated ongoing tensions between the United States and Iran and complicated the OIR mission.”
US Central Command also cited increased threats against US forces from Iranian-aligned groups in Iraq.
“Iranian-backed militias may view the US as complicit in the Israeli strikes, which targeted Iraqi militia bases allegedly housing Iranian weapons,” the report said.
That was in the fall of 2019. But much changed soon after when the pro-Iran militias in Iraq killed a US contractor in a rocket attack in December. The US responded with airstrikes, Iranian groups attacked the US Embassy, and the US responded by killing IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January 2020.
Then the pro-Iran militias increased the use of rockets to attack US forces. The US consolidated its facilities in Iraq, and by this January, the pro-Iran militias had shifted course. They began to target Erbil in the Kurdistan Region, using drones and rockets to strike at US forces.
US President Joe Biden responded with airstrikes, the most recent of which hit pro-Iranian units in Syria in late June. The pro-Iran groups responded by shelling US troops in Syria.
This is the scenario the US has been concerned about for years. The pro-Iranian attacks may spill over into Syria. It is widely known the Islamic Republic has entrenched itself with boots on the ground in Syria. It tried to use Hezbollah to launch a drone at Israel in the fall of 2019. It launched a drone at Israel from Syria’s T 4 Airbase in February 2018 and again in May 2021.
Iran also tried to bring its 3rd Khordad air-defense system to Syria in April 2018. The same system was used by Iran to down the US Global Hawk drone in June 2019 off Iran’s coast.
What is known today is that Iran appears to be messaging about new attacks on the US in Syria. This could include attacks on US forces at al-Omar oil field or the Conoco petroleum company in areas the US is known to be stationed.
The US is in Syria to defeat ISIS and support the Syrian Democratic Forces. Satellite images published online by Aurora Intel from Planet Labs show that an area of the US facility at al-Omar oil field, called Green Village, was allegedly damaged in the June 28 shelling. A warehouse was damaged.
Iran’s militias tend to have good intel on US facilities. In April, they used a drone to target a secret CIA hangar in Erbil. A June 27 drone attack on Erbil targeted an area near the new US Consulate.
There is more to the Iranian threat than just using militias to harass US forces in Syria. Iran’s media reported about the targeting of an “Israeli-owned” ship making its way to India from the Persian Gulf is also likely signaling more targeting of commercial ships linked to Israel.
Iran began targeting ships in May 2019 and increased attacks against commercial ships linked to Israel this February. Israeli officials accused Iran of at least one of these incidents.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz had tough words for Tehran on Sunday, saying Israel would not accept Iran’s activities and entrenchment in the region. Iran knows that Israel is ready to act, he said.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened a meeting on Sunday to discuss US-Iran talks and the possibility the US might return to the so-called Iran deal, journalist Barak Ravid reported.
These points of concern expressed by Israel, along with the messaging from Iran about targeting a ship and the US in Syria, appear to sketch out the possibilities for a new round of tension. This tension and incidents may include thousands of kilometers of possible strike targets by pro-Iranian groups.
This is how Tehran operationalizes these groups from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. Iran doesn’t fight wars; it gets others to do that. Now it wants to provoke more tensions with the US in Syria and possibly with Israel as well.
The following events have happened in the last few days. These and all the things that are going down seem to indicate that history is at the end of the age.
One, concerning Jerusalem: on Thursday, June 24, 2021, Honduras became the fourth nation to move its Embassy to Jerusalem, thus recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (the other 3 are the U.S., Guatemala, and Kosovo).
Two, concerning control of the Temple Mount: on June 27, 2021, because of threats against Jews visiting the Temple Mount, a large group of police escorted a Jewish politician named Itamar Ben-Gvir on a tour of the Holy Site.
Ben-Gvir later said, “We will never cede the Temple Mount, the most sacred place in Judaism. We demand full sovereignty, raising the Israeli flag there and removing any Waqf element (Palestinian-led violence) seeking to harm Jews.”
Three, concerning a resumption of sacrifices: on June 28, 2021, a small group of Jewish priests reenacted the offering of a sacrifice at Mitzpeh Yericho to remember past tragedies that have happened to the Jewish nation.
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, a former spokesman for the Jewish Sanhedrin, said, “Every reenactment comes closer, teaches us more of what we need to know to bring back the service forever…. Technically, we could go up to the Temple Mount right now and begin the service. All of the necessary elements stand ready. We are preparing several options for each element to make this possible. But it is not our intention to make a provocative political statement. The Temple is the source of peace, not conflict. Our only intention is to bring about the prophesied House of Prayer for all nations” (Adam Berkowitz, Israel365 News, June 29, 2021).
Four, concerning freedom of speech: on June 22, 2021, it was reported that the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) seized several Iranian-backed foreign-run terrorist organization websites in addition to Iran’s state-run T.V. website because they were posting “disinformation.”
In the U.S., Pres. Biden and the DOJ call Trump supporters and those that criticize Covid-19 vaccinations domestic terrorists.
There seems to be some evidence that the FBI encouraged and facilitated the Jan. 6, 2021, demonstrations at the capitol, and now the DOJ is prosecuting citizen protesters as terrorists.
This is the point: the seizure of foreign media websites could easily evolve into the DOJ seizing U.S. media websites.
Website owners that disagree with the government on some issues should be aware.
Five, in past articles, this writer has suggested that some politicians may be trying to collapse the U.S. economy to bring in a one-world economic system and currency.
This sounds ridiculous, but it is now being reported that California Gov. Newsom is planning to pay the rent on all Californians that are behind on their payments.
Six, on June 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) told the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccination fact sheets will contain a heart inflammation warning label “in light of increased reports of post-vaccine heart issues.”
On June 23, 2021, Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of mRNA technology, told viewers of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight:
- “The government is not being transparent with us” (about the risks of the Covid-19 vaccines).
- “We don’t really have the information we need to make a reasonable decision.”
- When Carlson asked Malone, “Do the benefits outweigh the risks,” Malone replied, “I have a bias that the benefits probably don’t outweigh the risks.”
On June 24, 2021, an article by Matt Lamb on LifeSiteNews.com said:
- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the largest healthcare union in the U.S.), has come out against forcing its members to be vaccinated against Covid-19 because none of the vaccines have full FDA approval.
- The New York State Nurses’ Association (NYSNA) has come out against making Covid-19 vaccinations a state or federal condition for employment.
- The American Medical Association (AMA) has come out against forcing employees to be vaccinated, at least for the time being.
(First Note: On June 28, 2021, Wisconsin Sen. Ron. Johnson held a press conference and let people talk about their adverse effects. According to Johnson, people “are having a hard time [getting] their truths communicated without being vilified, without being ridiculed, without being censored.”)
(Second Note: Concerning the Delta Variant, on June 30, 2021, the pro-liberty group Brighteon posted the following: “New research finds that ‘fully vaccinated’ individuals are suffering an eight times higher mortality rate than the non-vaccinated. And a stunning report out of the U.K. finds that 62 percent of those dying from covid are people who have been vaccinated.”)
(Third Note: The stated reason why the mortality rate of the non-vaccinated is less than the mortality rate of the fully-vaccinated is that the non-vaccinated still have their natural immunity, but the fully-vaccinated do not.)
Seven, concerning great wickedness (Days of Noah) at the end of the age and the efforts of Democrats to disarm Americans: on June 23, 2021, it was reported that an off-duty U.S. Border Patrol Agent took his family on a fishing trip to the Rio Grande River.
They spotted and photographed 3 men (thought to be members of a drug cartel) crossing the river with guns and backpacks (presumed to be narcotics).
As this writer sees it, in recent months:
- Many criminals have been let out of prison free (released without bail).
- Many Black Lives Matters and Antifa rioters, looters and arsonists have not even been arrested (police have stood by and done nothing).
- The charges against many rioters and looters were dropped without prosecution even though they have been identified in videos of their crime (prosecutors said there is not enough evidence).
- Democrats bailed some rioters and looters out of jail.
- Some Democrats want to defund the police, and some have tied the hands of the police (the police cannot chase criminals that run; the police cannot use restraints, handcuffs, etc.).
- Democrats have thrown the U.S. Mexican border wide open for gun-carrying members of drug cartels.
How can we not believe that some politicians only want to disarm honest citizens?
If any lives matter (black, white, Hispanic, Asian, whatever), why are drugs that kill multitudes of every race allowed to pour across our border?
Finally, are you Rapture Ready?
If you want to be rapture ready and go to heaven, you must be born again (John 3:3). God loves you, and if you have not done so, sincerely admit that you are a sinner; believe that Jesus is the virgin-born, sinless Son of God who died for the sins of the world, was buried, and raised from the dead; ask Him to forgive your sins, cleanse you, come into your heart and be your Saviour; then tell someone that you have done this.
Birthdate04. 01. 1973
About meHello and a warm welcome to Born Again Christians. My name is Peter and I live in Scotland. I have been trained to minister and preach the Proclamation Trust with Cornhill Scotland, which was brought to Scotland by Rev Willie Philip of the Tron Church Bath Street in Glasgow. We are a Bible-believing body of believers in Christ whose passion is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Word of God verse by verse with expository sermons.
LocationHelensburgh (Helensburgh,Argyll and Bute,Scotland,G84 8SQ,United Kingdom,gb)