Would it be possible to build the 3rd Jewish Temple in 145 days?

In the part 5 of this series I’ve modified the End Times Timeline and one of the things changed was shortening of the duration of the 7 bowls of wrath. Even though I didn’t explain why was that done, the reason was the uncertainty about the timing when Jesus would take up His harvest from the earth (the event No 7 on the Timeline). Because the ministry of the two witnesses was extending deep into the Tribulation period, and I wanted to spread events No 6 and 7 wider apart, the durations of the 7 bowls of wrath on the v2 Timeline was shortened.

The thing is that after the two witnesses are killed and then raptured (event No 6) Bible talks about people being so afraid, recognising their ministry to be the work of God, that they become believers (see Rev 11:11-13). Therefore the event No 6 triggers a spiritual awakening among the people of the earth, and prepares them for Jesus’ harvest (event No 7). I’m not sure how much time would elapse between the events 6 and 7 – it could be either short or long. Consequently, the duration of the 7 bowls of wrath could be short (like shown on the v2 Timeline) or longer (like it’s shown on the v3 Timeline below).

end-times-timeline-v3

If you understand the context of this part of the Timeline, the witnesses couldn’t be killed by anyone (Rev 11:5) and whosoever would try to hurt them would be killed. At the end of their ministry and after he claimed to be God himself, the Antichrist will succeed in killing them (Rev 11:7), so people will start believing that perhaps he really is God and maybe the one that everybody is waiting for: Messiah of the Jews , Jesus of the Christians, Mahdi of the Muslims, 5th Buddha of  the Buddhists etc.

Thus far the Antichrist was portraying himself to be a peacemaker (see event No 3), the one who is uniting the world through peace. Now he proved himself to be powerful by killing the two witnesses (event No 6), which made everybody happy (see Rev 11:7-10).

But the rapture of the two witnesses (Rev 11:11-12) will prove that they were the real emissaries of the One true God, which exposes the Antichrist as a fake. He claims to be God, but he really isn’t, he is what the Bible refers to as the Anti-Christ, meaning “opposed or against” the real Christ Jesus.

It is then that he starts to persecute the true believers, those who know and declare him to be a fake. This is probably the time when the Antichrist would institute the mark of the beast (see Rev 14:9-10) in order to isolate and silence those who oppose him. Whosoever would not take the mark of the beast could not participate in the economy (i.e. buy or sell – see Rev 13:16-17) and will be persecuted (Rev 13:7) and killed (Rev 20:4)

Therefore, this could be a clue for a longer time period in between the events No 6 and 7. Bible tells us that saints need to be patient and blessed are those who thenceforth die for the witness of Jesus (see Rev 14:12-13).

On the other hand, after Jesus’ harvest is done, when 7 bowls of God’s wrath start to happen, those who are left behind are expected to repent and give glory to God (see Rev 16:9,11) , which may indicate that God would prolong the duration of the 7 bowls of wrath (i.e. time between events No 7 and 8) in order to give people more time to repent.

Anyhow, this version of the Timeline prefers the longer time between the events No 7 and 8 over the prolonged delay between the events No 6 and 7. But this could be wrong.

The reason why all these changes in the Timeline happened is because of Daniel 8:13-14, which says, ‘Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed”‘ (Dan 8:13-14, NKJV).

This is giving us another time measurement, which I’ve missed before. It tells us that there will be 2300 days in between the event No 4 (opening of the 3rd Jewish Temple) and the event No 8 (destruction of the Antichrist and his armies at Armageddon). Taking into account other time durations mentioned in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, we can calculate that the 3rd Jewish Temple would be built in 145 days. Sounds short isn’t it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if, apart from the Temple furniture (see The Temple Institute), other parts of the Temple rebuilding project are also being prepared and worked on.

We can also calculate that the time span in between the event No 6 (the rapture of the two witnesses)  and the event No 8 (battle at Armageddon) is 1040 days. This means that the ministry of the two witnesses will overlap with Antichrist’s rule only for 145 days. This is more realistic (compared to the previous Timelines), as after declaring himself to be God, Antichrist will probably try to get rid of the two witnesses by sending other people to harm and kill them, but then eventually (after 145 days) he would need to do it himself.

So, friend, we live in the End Times, just before Yeshua (Jesus) will return to rule on the earth. The period presented on the main portion of the Timeline describes the last 7 years, just before Yeshua comes back. We don’t know when the last 7 years would start, and many tried to set up the date but they all failed, because it’s up to God to set up the date. Nevertheless, you can feel it in the air; it’s close.

We are witnessing the turning of the US back towards God, which is required for her role in protecting Israel during the last 7 years. But, this is triggering the global clash between the globalist communist left and faith-based right. This might as well be the real trigger for the escalation of the WW III (i.e. the 6th Trumpet War).

The best way to get ready for what is coming is to become a disciple of Yeshua (Jesus). If you want to do so, say the following with the full conviction of your heart.

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. I believe that you died on the cross to take my punishment. I believe that you rose from the dead and will come again to rule the world. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Saviour.

Friend, if you prayed this prayer you are born-again, which means that Jesus (i.e. His Spirit) now lives within you. Find a good bible-based, Spirit-filled church that will teach you and equip you for the days ahead.

PS: The discussion in the Youtube clip above doesn’t structurally align with our Timeline, but I thought the illustration about the virgin from Revelation 12 was interesting.

In physics, force is defined as a push or pull exacted by one object upon the other. Force is always a resultant of two objects interacting with each other. When there is an interaction between two objects there is a force exacted upon each of them. No interaction, no force.

When applied, a force does a work. It will create a displacement (i.e. movement) of whatever it is applied to (i.e. point of application) in the direction of the force. The work is then calculated by multiplying the amount of the applied force with the displacement that was observed. For example, if someone jumpstarts a car, the performed work equals the product of the force that was used to push the car and the distance that the car travelled until it was jumpstarted. This can be expressed with the following formula:

work-formula

If we assume that a ‘work of faith’ is also a type of work, we could use the above physics formula to express the amount of work done by each ‘work of faith’.

When God and man interact, the resultant force that goes out of a man and is directed toward God is called faith. God responds with grace, which causes the displacement that occurs in both spiritual and physical realms. It is not man that causes this change (i.e. displacement), but God causes it because of man’s faith. Man cannot do anything by himself; change is always originated by God (John 5:19-20).

But Bible also tells us that faith is an active component. It could be said that man’s faith is a force that materializes things that exists in the spiritual realm and makes them real to our physical senses. It pulls things from the spiritual realm and forces them to exist (i.e. become real) in the physical realm as well (see Hebrews 11:1-3).

So, if we take faith to be a force and if we would also label the spiritual and physical changes that occur in man’s life as a ‘mountain’s move‘ (see Matthew 17:20) we could write the expression for the ‘work of faith’ as:

work-of-faith-formula

In this formula we see faith and grace working together. Faith is the component that comes from a man and grace, here represented by ‘mountain’s move’, is the component that comes from God. Hence, work of faith involves the application of both faith and grace; without one or the other no work of faith could be done.

If a man doesn’t have faith he won’t experience the works of faith in his life. A special case of this is if man doesn’t even believe in God. Because man thus refuses to interact with God the result is that no faith would be present.

On the other hand, if God wouldn’t give grace, not a single person would be able to experience the works of faith. But Bible tells us that God has already made provision, He has already extended grace for every request we would make! Second Peter 1:3 says, “as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (NKJV, emphasis mine).

So, because God is God, He has already blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, NKJV, emphasis min), and we don’t have to worry if God is going to do His part. The grace part is already executed and the mountain has already moved as far as God is concerned.

The Bible calls this ‘predestination’, which means that God, being eternal, already knows who would ask Him what (in Jesus’ name), so He has already prepared the grace that is required for all the works of faith we would ever “perform”, or it’s more appropriate to say, we would ever ‘walk in’ (see Ephesians 2:10).

Therefore, the only missing component is man’s faith. And if we look again into 2 Peter 1:3 mentioned above, it says that God has given us all things, but we have to know this. If we don’t have the knowledge about God, we won’t be able to step into the works He has prepared for us to walk in. Lack of knowledge is one thing that can cause our faith to be ineffective. There are also other things that can make our faith ineffective, but collectively they are known as ‘unbelief’.

There is a story in Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9, where disciples couldn’t cast a demon out of a boy suffering with epilepsy, but Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and the boy was healed. Disciples wanted to know why they couldn’t do it, so Jesus told them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20, NKJV).

Here we see that to move a mountain a very little force of faith is required. But Jesus also said that in a man also operates an opposing force of unbelief, which is able to neutralise the force of faith. Because disciples had unbelief they couldn’t cast the demon out of the boy.

We usually think that our unbelief is not such a big showstopper, because nothing could stop the Almighty God, right? However, even Jesus couldn’t do mighty works where man’s unbelief neutralised their faith. Scripture tells us, “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58, NKJV). This just confirms that for the works of faith to be realised, apart from God’s ever-present and ever-ready grace, man’s effective faith has to be put into operation.

Romans 12:3 says that God gave to every man the same measure of faith. If we label this measure as ‘Faith’ (i.e. capitalised), we can write the expression for man’s ‘effective faith’ as:

effective-faith-formula

And substituting that into the above equation for the work of faith, we get the following:

work-of-faith-with-unbelief-formula

Now this expression shows us that the only variable that affects the work of faith is man’s unbelief, which reduces the effectiveness of the Faith God has given him and stops the mountain’s move from being manifested.

If we refer to the Bible (as shown here), it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th December or even on the 7th January (as celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church), but sometime in September or early  October.

As explained by this article, what is celebrated in December are various pagan customs and festivals, which the 4th century church tried to eradicate by declaring the birth of Jesus to fall on the same date.

However, even though the original pagan meaning to the season is lost, many of the traditions have survived and are masquerading as Christmas trappings of today.

On top of that add the commercialisation of the season, where Santa Claus gets all the attention, while baby Jesus is not even mentioned, or in some places banned, where the words Christmas, Jesus’ birthday, Merry Christmas are unwelcome to say the least.

So, what do you think about this idea, that Christians from all around the world should come together and agree that Christmas is not celebrated in December or January, but say in September or whatever the consensus date is?

Let the Santa have his “holiday season” and distribute presents to those who want to celebrate his day, while Christians celebrate the birth of the Saviour on the more Biblically appropriate day, without the pomp and commercial mishmash.

What do you think? Please let us know by voting below.

Posted by: Nito | December 10, 2016

The Arrangement of the Israeli Camp (Numbers 2)

In the second chapter of the Book of Numbers God commanded Moses and Aaron how to layout the camp of the Hebrews, and how to organise the tribes around the Tabernacle of meeting. In the middle is the Tabernacle and the tribe of Levites camps around it. The rest of the tribes are grouped into four  groups, three tribes in each group, camping at some distance towards the East, West, North and South from the Tabernacle. Nobody was  to place his tent in the regions of Northeast, Northwest, Southeast or Southwest from the Tabernacle.

If you take into consideration the number of men, mentioned in this chapter for each of the tribes (which doesn’t nnumber the women and children), and you estimate the size of the tribal groups, you would realise that the biggest group is on the East of the Tabernacle (with 186,400 men), the smallest group is west of the Tabernacle (108,100 men), while the groups on the North (157,600 men) and South of the Tabernacle (151,450 men) are of a similar size.

If you could be translated in that ancient time and would have a bird’s eye view of the camp, coming from the East and looking towards the West, you would see that the camp has the shape of a cross, as it is shown below.

The point is that even a smallest detail in the Bible, which you may be inclined to skip as insignificant (like for example, the layout of the camp around the Tabernacle of meeting), points to Jesus and what He did for us. So we don’t have to be surprised when Jesus said that Scriptures testify about Him (John 5:39) and that, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” (John 5:46).

The above image is taken from Chuck Missler’s expositional commentary on the Book of Genesis, from the last episode in the 24-part series.  You can watch this episode via the Youtube link below, where he talks about the Israeli camp around the 64th minute.

Posted by: Nito | May 14, 2016

Spirit, soul and body

Man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23). Body is like a vehicle, equipped with five instruments (senses) that enables man to move in and interact with his physical surroundings. Soul represents man’s personality; it includes his mind, will and emotions. Spirit is the real man; the part that is perfect and made in the image of God (Genesis 1:28), who himself is the Spirit (John 4:24).

Man’s spirit is that which communicates and has a relationship with the Spirit (God). But when the first couple (Adam and Eve) sinned, this relationship was instantly broken (i.e. they spiritually died, see Genesis 2:17) and they were separated from God. Before that point in time they knew and experienced only goodness (God) and did not have any experiential knowledge of the evil (Genesis 3:5). Devil tricked them to trade their immortality for mortality in order to learn what’s not to be learned.

Over time, as man lived separated from God, his spirit became dormant. Man’s spirit (and the relationship with God through his spirit) were not the primary guiding forces of man’s life. The driving force for man became the desires of his heart and imaginations of his mind—the faculties of man’s soul (see the diagram in this post). And those were “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Such is the sinful nature or “old Adam” (Ephesians 4:22-24) that is passed from one generation to another, and nobody is righteous before God (Psalm 14:3, Romans 3:10-18). So, we need Jesus, because through His sacrifice on the cross we are reconciled with God (see Romans 5:10). Receiving Jesus in our life we become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17), and we are born again.

When we are born again (John 3:3-7) our spirit is the part that is revived and born again. In that moment we receive the new spirit but everything else is still the same. Our body looks the same and our soul still has the same old sinful nature. Our body would change through us taking care of it with physical exercises and a wholesome diet. But to change our souls (hearts and minds) we would need to change the way how we think and act (see Romans 12:2), which is also referred to as “renewing our minds”.

So, friend, if you are confused because you are born again, but still have the same old desires, don’t be discouraged. Paul faced the same issue (see Romans 7:15) and so does every other believer. Mind renewal is a process and it takes time. I pray that God will give you strength and wisdom. His provision and protection follow you everywhere you go and His peace be settled in your heart, in the name of Jesus!

 

Spirit-soul-body

Posted by: Nito | May 1, 2016

Life Begins at Conception

Researchers at Northwestern University have documented the striking event in a new video that accompanies a study published this week. At the moment of conception, the egg releases massive amounts of zinc, which creates a spark that can be seen with the aid of a microscope…

The study may have far-reaching consequences the research team did not intend, such as strengthening public belief in the longstanding scientific consensus that life begins at the moment of conception/fertilization.

Many of those who saw the Northwestern video said it testifies to the beauty of life and the shallow lies that buttress the argument of abortion-on-demand….

(read more here).

Posted by: Nito | January 27, 2016

Father’s Love Letter To You

From: www.fathersloveletter.com

My Child,

You may not know me, but I know everything about you. (Psalm 139:1)
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. (Psalm 139:2)
I am familiar with all your ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Matthew 10:29-31)
For you were made in my image. (Genesis 1:27)
In me you live and move and have your being. (Acts 17:28)
For you are my offspring. (Acts 17:28)
I knew you even before you were conceived. (Jeremiah 1:4-5)
I chose you when I planned creation. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. (Psalm 139:15-16)
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. (Acts 17:26)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)
I knit you together in your mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)
And brought you forth on the day you were born. (Psalm 71:6)
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me. (John 8:41-44)
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. (1 John 4:16)
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. (1 John 3:1)
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. (1 John 3:1)
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. (Matthew 7:11)
For I am the perfect father. (Matthew 5:48)
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. (James 1:17)
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. (Matthew 6:31-33)
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Because I love you with an everlasting love. (Jeremiah 31:3)
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. (Psalms 139:17-18)
And I rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
I will never stop doing good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)
For you are my treasured possession. (Exodus 19:5)
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. (Jeremiah 32:41)
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. (Jeremiah 33:3)
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. (Deuteronomy 4:29)
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
For it is I who gave you those desires. (Philippians 2:13)
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
For I am your greatest encourager. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. (Psalm 34:18)
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. (Isaiah 40:11)
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:3-4)
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. (Revelation 21:3-4)
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. (John 17:23)
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. (John 17:26)
He is the exact representation of my being. (Hebrews 1:3)
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. (Romans 8:31)
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. (1 John 4:10)
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. (Romans 8:31-32)
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. (1 John 2:23)
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. (Romans 8:38-39)
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. (Luke 15:7)
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. (Ephesians 3:14-15)
My question is… Will you be my child? (John 1:12-13)
I am waiting for you. (Luke 15:11-32)

Love, Your Dad
Almighty God

Father’s Love Letter used by permission
Father Heart Communications ©1999 FathersLoveLetter.com

Posted by: Nito | January 4, 2016

Did You Know: Your Appointments With God?

In Leviticus 23:2 God is instructing Moses, “Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The appointed times (established feasts) of the Lord which you shall proclaim as holy convocations—My appointed times are these” (AMP, underlining mine). Father God is telling us that these are His feasts. These aren’t feasts that man has figured out and set up, but are the appointed times we have with God. They are ordained by Him and occur on the exact dates within a Jewish year.

If your boss would schedule a meeting with you for tomorrow afternoon, and you appear in the morning of the day after tomorrow and say, “Here I am Boss, you wanted to see me!?”, what would your boss say? Would he compare you to the five foolish virgins who were late for the wedding feast and were rejected (see Matthew 25:1-13) or would he compare you to the lazy and disinterested wedding guests who refused to come to the wedding having all sorts of “good excuses”(see Matthew 22:2-10).

People say that we cannot possibly know when the end times would come. They base this on Jesus’ words that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32, NKJV). But, right before He said this Jesus also said, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Mark 13:28-30, NKJV, underlining mine).

Did you know that, throughout the Bible, the fig tree consistently symbolises Israel and her people?  So, when we see that Israel is reborn as a country and nation, and becomes to bud and put forth leaves (which has started back in 1948, when she began again to exist as an independent country) we should know that the end is near. Moreover, the generation that coincides with this event (i.e. the “baby boomers“) will not pass away before the end times would come.

So, even though we cannot exactly know the year of Jesus’ second coming, when the end of the human government on earth would end and the 1000 years of God’s government would begin (see Revelation 20:1-4), we can conclude, with a certain dose of assurance, that this time is very near. We are practically living in the end times, very close to the end.

Even though we don’t know the exact year of Jesus’ second coming, could we nevertheless assume that this would happen in the days that God has set up as His appointed times? If we successfully establish a correlation between Jesus’ first coming (that happened 2000 years ago) and the Jewish feasts, could we have some confidence in conclusion that His second coming would also occur on these appointed days?

Like, if we don’t know the year of His coming, could we assume that the days of His appointments (when we are supposed to gather together and appear before Him) are milestones on His project plan? And we could therefore come to these holy convocations expectant, and if nothing happens this year then we would expect something to happen the next year and so on?

Let’s have a look at the Jewish feasts and what has happened on those days. There are altogether seven feasts: three in the spring, three in the autumn and one in the middle. The first one is the Passover (see Leviticus 23:5) which Jews celebrate in remembrance of the night when the Hebrews, while still in bondage in Egypt, took the blood of a lamb and marked the doorposts of their houses (see Exodus 12:7), so that death, which swallowed up the firstborns of the Egyptians, would pass over them (see Exodus 12:12-13). As a result, the Pharaoh let them go and they were free from the slavery. Similarly, Jesus came as the Lamb of God and at the cross He took the punishment for the sins of the world (John 1:29) and so set us free from the slavery to sin (Romans 6:18). Without shedding of the blood there is no remission of sin (Hebrews 9:22). His blood has covered us and is cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

Immediately after the Passover the next day starts the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven days (see Leviticus 23:6). At the Last Supper meal, which Jesus had with His disciples a day before the Passover, Yeshua (Jesus’ Hebrew name) broke the bread and said, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19, NKJV). The broken bread symbolises Yeshua’s broken body, which was broken for the remission of our sins and was laid down in the grave for us. Yeshua is the bread of life and whosoever believes in Him will never hunger or thirst (John 6:35).

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread (i.e. within the 7 days of this feast) the third appointment is scheduled, which is the Feast of Firstfruits. This feast falls on the first Sunday that occurs within the 7 day period of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:10-11). The Feast of Firstfruits symbolises Yeshua’s resurrection, because He is the firstfruit of those who are raised from the dead (see 1 Corinthians 15:20). We were spiritually dead due to our transgressions and sin, but with Yeshua, God has also raised us (who believe) from spiritual death into an everlasting life. Because of His great love for us, God has made us alive together with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-6).

So, we see how Yeshua fulfilled the first three of God’s appointments 2000 years ago; with His death, burial and resurrection. To really understand the precision with which these spring feasts (appointed times) were fulfilled, we need to know that a day in Hebrew calendar doesn’t start at midnight, like our does, but at 6 PM (18:00) on the previous day (which is a zero hour according to the Hebrew time measurement). Also, we need to understand that the Passover lamb (that was to be slaughtered for the Passover meal), was required to be separated from the rest of the sheep, examined to verify it doesn’t have any blemishes or defects and then was killed on the Passover day at 3 PM (9 PM Hebrew time), so that it could be prepared for the Passover meal in the evening.

Yeshua was brought before Pilate early in the morning on the Passover day (see John 18:28). At 6 AM in the morning (exactly at noon according to the Hebrew time) Pilat succumbed to the angry mob that wanted Yeshua killed so he delivered Him to the legionaries to be crucified (John 19:14-16). He was crucified at 9 AM, which is 3 PM Hebrew time (Mark 15:25), and He died on the cross at 3 PM (9 PM Hebrew time, see Mark 15:34-37). He died exactly at the time when Passover lambs were slaughtered in the Temple in the preparation for the evening Passover meal.

What is also amazing is that Yeshua, the Lamb of God, was presenting Himself in the Temple for the previous three days, so that people could examine Him and see that He doesn’t have any blemishes or defects (just like it was done with other Passover lambs). Therefore we see how Yeshua fulfilled all religious rituals and passed all requirements for the sacrificial lamb. The Lamb of God died on the cross at the same time as the Passover lambs were sacrificed in the Temple. He wasn’t a bit late or too early; He appeared right on time for God’s first appointment—the Passover.

Yeshua said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40, NKJV). Traditionally, Christians celebrate Good Friday as the day when Yeshua was crucified, but if this is true then Yeshua’s statement that He would be “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” isn’t. There simply aren’t three days and three nights (i.e. 72 hours) from Good Friday to Easter (Sunday). Matthew 27 describes the account when chief priests and Pharisees came to Pilate to ask him to set the guard at Yeshua’s tomb because they’ve remembered His saying that He would raise after three days (see Matthew 27:62-63). So, they’ve also heard “three days”.

Did you know that according to the Jewish law a person must be dead for three days before their death is deemed official? For that very reason Lazarus’ resurrection, after he was in the grave for four days (John 11:14-17), was a great problem for Jewish priests, because a great multitude started to believe in Yeshua (see John 12:9-11). If Lazarus was not officially dead, chief priests could have dismissed his resurrection as fake and explain it to the people in a more natural way. But when his decomposing and stinky body (John 11:39) came to life everybody knew this was God’s doing. Similarly, if Yeshua didn’t spend three days in the grave, His death wouldn’t be official and consequently His resurrection wouldn’t be a miracle.

Did you also know that in Leviticus 23 God sets up two types of nonworking days (i.e. days of rest). Each Saturday (Sabbath, or Shabbat in Hebrew), which is the seventh day in a week, is a day of rest (Leviticus 23:3), but also are some of the feast days, which are also referred to as Sabbaths. According to Leviticus 23:7, such is the day after the Passover (i.e. the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread). In Mark 15:42 we see this day was referred to as Sabbath, but it was actually a Thursday. We know this because the next day, after this Sabbath, three women bought spices to anoint Yeshua (see Mark 16:1). In Luke 23:56 we see the same women spending the whole day (Friday) preparing the spices and then they’ve rested during Sabbath (i.e. a regular nonworking Saturday). Matthew 28:1 says that on the first day of the week (Sunday) women came to the tomb.

Also bear in mind that Hebrew Sunday starts at 6 PM on Saturday and the daylight during the Passover season lasts until 7 PM. So, Yeshua was really “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth,” as shown in the diagram below, and He rose up on Saturday evening (which was officially Sunday) during the Feast of Firstfruits, as the first (1 Corinthians 15:20) of those who were raised from the dead. After His resurrection, many saints were resurrected as well and appeared in Jerusalem on Sunday (see Matthew 27:52-53). So, can you see how Yeshua, apart from fulfilling the Passover to the exact specifications, also fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits as per requirements written in Leviticus? Can you see that when God says these feast are His appointed times, He is doing something important on those days and is expecting us to come and participate?

Jesus was resurrected after three days and three nights

The next appointment with God, as defined in Leviticus 23:15-16, is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. On this day Holy Spirit came upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-4). Yeshua had commanded them to stay in Jerusalem until they would be baptised with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5), which happened exactly fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits, on the day of Pentecost. So we see that God is doing something on the scheduled feast days. He said those are His appointed times and we could view them as milestones in His plan of redemption. The progress of the redemption “project” is scheduled to be revealed on those feast days and we (as project participants) need to come to the project meeting to reconnect with the Project Manager, realign to the plan and check if a new phase is going to start. So, year after year, we are coming to the scheduled project meetings not actually knowing if this would be the year when a particular project milestone would be met and if a new phase would be started. Nevertheless, we come on the appointed dates expectant and ready (in the case it does).

Hence, the reasoning could be, now that we have established a good correlation between Yeshua’s first coming and the first four feasts, that we take a guess and assume that the last three feasts relate to Yeshua’s second coming. If this is true then we could expect that the most important events of the second coming would occur on the last three feast days. Those three fall feasts could represent the Rapture of the church (event #2 on the end times timeline), God’s wrath (starts after the event #7) and establishing of Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom on earth (event #10). If this is true, even though those events will be separated by several years, we could be somewhat certain that Yeshua will fulfil them all with the same precision He did fulfil the first four feasts. Many scholars support this view, so let’s examine the three fall feasts, and their symbolism (so that we could see why is this so). Let’s start from the last (seventh) feast, working our way backwards to the fifth feast (the first of the fall feasts).

The last of the feasts is the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34), which represents the time period when Yeshua will establish His 1000 year reign on earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and will rule all nations with the rod of iron (see Revelation 19:15-16). If you could describe the Feast of Tabernacles with a single word it would be ‘joy’. Joy of being together with God that dwells on the earth, in a beautiful age filled with peace and love, and where evil is absent (as Satan is locked up inside the Abyss, the bottomless pit, see Revelation 20:1-2). Isaiah describes this time period with the following words: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11::6-9, NKJV).

But before Yeshua comes for the second time, the world will go through a period of distress and calamity. Yeshua mentioned that the Great Tribulation (see Matthew 24:15-21) will start with the event that was prophesied to occur in the middle of the last seven years (see Daniel 9:27), which is marked as the event #5 on the end times timeline. At that time the Antichrist will stop the sacrifices (in the Third Jewish Temple that will be built on the Temple Mount), will declare himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) and will set up an idol in the Temple (i.e. the “abomination of desolation” referred to by Yeshua in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14). Antichrist will declare his dictatorship around the world and will force people to take his mark (i.e. “mark of the beast”, see Revelation 13:16). Who will not have this mark will not be able to buy or sell (Revelation 13:17). But everyone who would worship the Antichrist, or his idol in the Temple or receive his mark will end up in hell (Revelation 14:9-11).

Immediately preceding Yeshua’s return God will cleanse the earth from all evil. Antichrist will be removed together with all those that served and worshipped him and who took his mark. This series of events is known as God’s Wrath (placed after the event #7 on the end times timeline). Revelation 16 describes seven angels with seven bowls of wrath that are poured on the earth, causing various diseases and calamities. After the sixth bowl of wrath is poured, Antichrist is mobilising the world’s army and gathering them at Armageddon is an attempt to defeat Yeshua that has come (see Revelation 16:14-16). Antichrist and his armies are defeated (Revelation 19:17-21) and the seventh bowl of wrath starts a great earthquake. This earthquake levels all the mountains, moves all islands and destroys all the cities. What follows after that earthquake is a great hail with hailstones that weigh tens of kilograms (see Revelation 16:18-21).

But before God’s Wrath is poured out on the earth, Yeshua will “harvest” the earth (Revelation 14:14-16) and take all the believers out of the world (event #7 on the end time timeline). They are removed before the wrath, but they did come through the Great Tribulation (see Revelation 7:9-14). Hence, this event corresponds to the “pre-wrath” rapture that some folks talk about. This harvest event is symbolised in the feast called the Day of Atonement, which is the second of the fall feasts and is described in Leviticus 23:27.  It’s also worth mentioning here that there is also a “post-tribulation” view of the rapture, because Yeshua said He will gather His elect at the time of His “official” appearing to the whole world (see Matthew 24:29-31), when the sixth bowl of wrath (event #8 on the end times timeline) is poured out. I believe this talks about the Jewish remnant that will somehow “miss” His earlier harvest, but nevertheless the Day of Atonement for them (i.e. the Jewish remnant) symbolises this later gathering. Perhaps this is the reason (i.e. two distinct gathering of Yeshua’s disciples and people) that the word “kippur” (atonement) used in Leviticus 23:27 is actually a plural noun.

However, the actual rapture proper, the “pre-tribulation”rapture of the firstfruits (also referred to as the “rapture of the church”) which is marked on the end times timeline as the event #2, is symbolised with the first fall feast, which is the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the seventh Hebrew month (Leviticus 23:24) which in our calendars occurs in September or October. The Hebrew New Year begins on the same day and also a ten-day period of repentance called the Days of Awe. The climax of this period (i.e. the tenth day) is the above-mentioned Day of Atonement. During this period one should introspect where they stand in their relationship with God and others. If one needs to ask for forgiveness from somebody, they should do it, because they want to be found worthy at the Day of Atonement (i.e. symbolically they need to be ready for Yeshua’s harvest mentioned above). The reason why this feast is taken to symbolise the rapture is because the Days of Awe represent the tribulation and Yeshua promised that some people will not go through it (see Revelation 3:10).  Those are His selected firstfruits (i.e. not all the church) that will be taken (Revelation 14:3-4) before the last seven years would begin.

So, this concludes the article. Friend, we cannot predict exactly when things will happen but we can make a good guess they would follow the patten of the Jewish feast days. Therefore, get ready because we do live in the end of days. And the best way to get ready is to become a disciple of Yeshua. If you want to do so, say the following with the full conviction of your heart.

Lord Yeshua (Jesus), I repent of my sins. I believe that you died on the cross to take my punishment. I believe that you rose from the dead and will come again to rule the world. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Friend, if you prayed this prayer you are born-again, which means that Yeshua (i.e. His Spirit) now lives within you. Find a good bible-based, Spirit-filled church that will teach you and equip you for the days ahead.

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Nito | December 24, 2015

Rapture: Have You Missed It?

If you are a Bible prophecy fan like I am, you probably wondered what happened to all the talk about the blood moons, signs in the heavens, Shemitah years and the “scheduled” market crash, Rapture of the church in the Jubilee year and so on.

In the second half of 2015 there was a great number of programs (on Christian TV channels) about Bible prophecy, encouraging us to believe that Jesus is coming soon to take His bride (i.e. the church) home, which is marked as the event #2 on the end times timeline and is called the Rapture of the First Fruits (or the Rapture of the church).

I sincerely thought this is it, as Jesus said: “when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Matthew 24:33, NKJV), but my wife was telling me “but of that day and hour no one knows” (Matthew  24:36, NKJV). Clearly, she was right. “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (Proverbs 12:4, NKJV) and “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14, NKJV).

So, if all this prophecy euphoria looks like a Y2K scenario to you; a lot of smoke but no fire, don’t discard it as yet. Us failing to pinpoint a place on God’s calendar just confirms that Bible is always right. We were trying to set a date: it’s the beginning of the Jubilee year, it’s the end of the blood moons, it’s the end of the Shemitah year and so on, but you cannot do that. Otherwise, God would be predictable and devil could use that to his own advantage.

If Jesus said “no one knows” then there will be a certain element of mystery to the events that will unfold, but if He also said “you can know” then we are expected to watch for the signs and be ready. So, this is one of those “Yes” answers, where both propositions are correct. Jesus is saying that we cannot know the exact date, but we can surely know the season. Hence, don’t set the dates, but be ready, or otherwise He will catch you off guard as a thief in the night (see Revelation 16:15).

Nevertheless, to the unbelievers the signs of Jesus’ second coming will not be so obvious.

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17:26-30).

We see that it will be a business as usual; people will go about their daily duties, will plan for the bright future (will marry and be given in marriage), will build their business empires (will buy and sell) and assume that nothing wrong will happen in their lives (will plant and build). This to me says that God’s signs will not be so obvious to the unbelievers and I think it is so because He doesn’t want to impose Himself.

If you want to believe, you have to do it by your own free will, even when it looks foolish to everybody else: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18, NKJV). We are not saved by works following a breadcrumb trail of scientific facts, but by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8). To have faith means that when God is not scientifically provable, you still believe in Him, regardless of the lack of the scientific evidence.

So, coming back to the topic of the end times and Jesus’ second coming, you might ask yourself “Are we there? Can I really know the season of His coming and prepare myself?” First, Jesus said we should always “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew 24:44, NKJV). Hence, first century Christians took this very seriously and were busy readying themselves for His return. They thought Jesus was coming back during their lifetimes (see, James 5:8 and Revelation 1:3). Even though 2000 years have elapsed since that time, we cannot assume that another 2000 years will go on uneventful—we have to be ready for His near return.

Second, it’s not that you could sin until you see the season of His coming and then you would repent, because the season is already here. The war at the river Euphrates (Revelation 9:14) have already started (marked as the event #1 on the end times timeline). Bible says that after this 6th trumpet war God will issue a declaration that “there will be no more delay” (Revelation 10:6) and “the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets,” (Revelation 10:7, NKJV) when the seventh angel (i.e. the 7th trumpet) “is about to sound.

Ok, so the “mystery of God” will be finished immediately before the blowing of the 7th trumpet (which is marked as the event #2 on the end times timeline) and there will be no more uncertainty about the end times—everybody, that has a little bit of the Bible prophecy knowledge, would know for sure that the end time countdown has started. The end time events would then unfold with the precision described in the Bible and people would be able to “calculate” when to expect Jesus’ second coming (the event #10 on the end times timeline), when He will establish His millennial kingdom on the earth.

So, what we are uncertain about is not the timing of Jesus’ second coming, but the timing of the 7th trumpet, which signifies the Rapture of the church according to the “pre-trib” view. For the comparison of the “pre-trib” view with other views refer to this article written by Dr. Chuck Missler (khouse.org). Btw, those other views could be associated with the events #7 (Jesus’ harvest) and #8 (Armageddon) on the end times timeline.

But, to be sure that Rapture is included in the above-quoted “mystery” of the Revelation 10:7, we need to find if Rapture is spoken of as a “mystery” in the Bible. And, we can find those verses in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (NKJV, underlining mine). 

That doesn’t actually use the word “rapture”, but this same event is also described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (NKJV,underlining mine).

In verse 17, the English phrase “caught up” translates the Greek word harpazo, which means “to seize upon with force” or “to snatch up.” The Latin translators of the Bible used the word “rapturo,” the root of the English term “Rapture.” At the Rapture, living believers will be “caught up” in the air, translated into the clouds, in a moment in time to join the Lord in the air. (this paragraph is taken from Dr. Chuck Missler’s article ‘The Great Snatch?‘).

But rapture isn’t the only “mystery” we can find in the Bible. As explained in Colossians 1:26 a mystery is a truth that “has been hidden from ages and from generations [i.e. the Old Testament believers], but now has been revealed to His saints [i.e. the New Testament believers]” (NKJV, brackets mine).

Until Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection, the following intentions of God were hidden and devil could not have guessed them (if he could, he would had never wanted Jesus’s death):

You might be familiar with the above, as that is applicable to you and me now and has been provided by Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, but did you know that there are two other mysteries (i.e. apart from the Rapture) revealed to Paul and he talks about them in his epistles?

The first mystery is the fact that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles” will come in (see Romans 11:25). This says that church has not replaced Israel as God’s chosen people and that Israel is still very important in God’s plan of redemption and is serving as His prophetic time clock. God’s warning to those who hate Israel, and His blessings to those who help her people still applies. For more details see this article from the web.

Israel’s rejection of Messiah Jesus is a blessing for the rest of us (Gentiles), but the 7th trumpet will mark a global awakening of the Jews to their (and our) Messiah. Hence, the end times timeline places Israel’s restoration to strength, as described in Joel 2:17-27, after the Rapture (event #2).

The second mystery, which was touched upon in ‘The Problem of Evil’ series (see part 3, ‘The End of All Evil’), is that Jesus’ sacrifice was to redeem the whole creation (Ephesians 1:9-10) and “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth,” but also that “manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (see Ephesians 3:8-12).

This means that God’s decision to destroy devil and his minions (which was made back in the Garden of Eden) will start to execute with the sounding of the 7th trumpet. That’s the reason why the end times timeline also places the Revelation 12:7-9 war in heaven (when devil and his angels are banished from heaven to the earth) at the 7th trumpet. With the 7th trumpet blowing, the gathering of the evidence against the devil and his angels will be finished and he will be expelled from God’s presence.

Thus, all God intentions will be revealed at the 7th trumpet and all of His mysteries would be made known (i.e. “would be finished”). The final stages of the redemptive plan for the whole creation will start to execute a whole series of the end time events. There will be no doubt about it—the whole creation will know that the end has come. And once the end time actions start to happen, the final 7 years before Jesus’ second coming will commence.

We started this article wondering about when would the end times begin, but it seems that we are already deep within the season of Lord’s return. What is unknown is the exact timing of the 7th trumpet, but it seems that the 6th trumpet has been blown already, so get ready.

In the follow up article we will concentrate more on the Jewish feast days to see if we could pick up some clues about the Rapture from there. After all, God said “The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:2, NKJV, underlining mine), indicating that these are His appointed times, when we should come before Him expectant. Some people call them “dress rehearsals”, indicating these appointments are very important on God’s prophetic timeline.

But friend, if you are reading this and you don’t know Jesus or you don’t have a current relationship with Him (i.e. He doesn’t know you), you might be frightened by all this end time talk. Bible does warn us about the perilous times ahead: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NKJV).

However, if you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you will find safety, as that is what His Hebrew name Yeshua (Y’shua) means (salvation, safety). So, if you would like to do so, just simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Merry Christmas

Posted by: Nito | December 7, 2015

The Problem of Evil – Part 3 – The End of All Evil

In part 2 we saw how Satan became god of this world by tricking Eve and Adam to sin. They became mortals and as such came under his power of death. Moreover, all their possessions automatically fell into Satan’s hands, including their authority and power to rule over the earth. Hence, by this single feat, and through their ignorance and naivety, Satan became the god of the earth, or as mentioned in  2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this age” . He is also named the “prince of the power of the air” in Ephesians 2:2.

Almighty Father din’t make Satan god of the earth, Adam and Eve did! So, don’t blame God for the evil in this world. It’s not His fault that Satan, as “the god of this age” brings evil upon the people with death and disease, cataclysms, upheavals and accidents that take innocent lives. Your loving Father in Heaven is not the author of these evil things.

The main complaint that atheists and agnostics have against God, and their strongest argument for not believing in Him, is the existence of evil. However, as described in the part 1 of this series, their logical arguments fail because they try to fit God into their own limited thinking and do not understand all of His attributes. But, there is also one other thing that mankind in general (including most of the believers) fails to understand. It was mankind (i.e. the first people) who created the problem of evil.

Evil in this world would not exist if Adam listened to God. If Adam obeyed God he would  be still alive today (as God created him immortal) and would be ruling this world. God had a beautiful plan for the earth; He wanted people to turn it into a paradise. Mankind was created with a mission—to be the extension of God’s will on the earth: “And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth’” (Genesis 1:28, Amplified Bible).

Mankind was supposed to make the rest of the earth as beautiful as the Garden of Eden. The whole earth was supposed to be filled with life, love, peace and joy. The very things that man is searching for today, in the world around him, are the things that he was supposed to bring into the world himself. It was not God’s design for evil to be even present on the earth, let alone reign on the earth. However, through Adam and Eve’s fault, mankind blew it and now would want to blame God for their own mistakes. The problem of evil was not originated by God and He is not responsible for it.

On the contrary, after Eve and Adam sinned, God immediately revealed His intention to revert the situation and put things back into order, according to His original design. He said to the devil, “And I will put enmity (open hostility) Between you and the woman, And between your seed (offspring) and her Seed; He shall [fatally] bruise your head, And you shall [only] bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15, Amplified Bible). God effectively did two things, 1) He cut short devil’s dreams to be worshiped by humans by declaring enmity between him and the mankind, and 2) He said that a man (i.e. offspring of the woman) will eventually come and put an end to his (devil’s) rule on the earth.

We know that the Seed of the woman is Jesus and that He did receive ALL power “in heaven and in earth” (see Matthew 28:18), but how did that happen? How was He able to take back the power and authority, originally given to Adam and Eve, out of devil’s hands? As was mentioned in the previous post, whoever is stronger, and rules over others, he takes into possession everything they have. When Jesus rose from the dead He showed that He has a greater power (i.e. is stronger) than the power of death (which is devil’s main power). Father then sat Him on His right hand (see Psalm 110:1 and Matthew 22:41-46), and made Him the ruler “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion [whether angelic or human], and [far above] every name that is named [above every title that can be conferred], not only in this age and world but also in the one to come. And He put all things [in every realm] in subjection under Christ’s feet, and appointed Him as [supreme and authoritative] head over all things in the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills and completes all things in all [believers]” (Ephesians 1:21-23, Amplified Bible).

So, we can see that by the same principle (as when Satan got Adam and Eve’s ruling power and authority after they, as mortals, fell under his power and rule), devil was stripped of all power and authority, because he fell under the higher power and rule of the man named Jesus. That’s why it was so important that Jesus was born, grew up and lived like any other man, because the first man (Adam) made Satan god, and it was required from another man to defeat the devil and take back what was stolen by trickery. Everything that devil took from Adam and Eve was placed back into Jesus’ hands, and the mankind was now able to rule the earth once again, just as God designed it in the first place.

Here comes an interesting question, “Why then evil still exists in the world, if man is once again ruling the earth?” To answer that question we have to ask another: “Who defeated the devil and is set by the Father to rule the universe? Was it Krishna, Buddha, Mohamed,… or any other man, or was it Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (a Jew that we know as Jesus Christ)?” Father God knows there are many good people who follow different religions, but Yeshua Jesus didn’t give the power and authority back to the mankind in general—He gave it only to those who would follow Him.

And it’s not that they would have this power and authority independently from God, like Adam and Eve had, so it was up to them to give it away (and God could not stop it). No, Yeshua’s disciples need to draw from the account of power and authority by using His name. Yeshua said, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:17-18, NKJV, underlining mine).

There are few things to understand here: 1) if we want to do something that is not aligned with God’s will, we will not be able to draw from His account, 2) if we use some other name instead, we will not be able to draw from Yeshua’s (Jesus’) account, 3) if we aren’t Jesus’ disciples we cannot draw power and authority from this account, because we aren’t authorised, and 4) if we don’t draw from this account we shouldn’t blame God for not providing the means (i.e. power and authority) to fight the devil and stop the evil he spreads around (blaming God in the process!).

It’s so silly when people worship the devil, because he doesn’t have any authority. He has the power of death, because that’s what God gave him originally, but believers in Jesus have the power over death. They are supposed to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons” (Matthew 10:8, NKJV, underlining mine). Do you realise that Christians are supposed to reign over Satan and not cringe from him? Do you understand that we should laugh at the devil commanding him to go away in the name of Jesus? He has been totally defeated, his power of death is powerless against Jesus’ power of resurrection; “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, KJV).

However, what devil can do, and is still doing, is to try and borrow man’s power and authority and use it for his own ends. You might ask, how is he able to pull this off and who would be so stupid to empower his evil schemes? Well, he is still using the old tricks, the same ones he played on Eve and Adam, but this time he is not so open; he is coming at you through your own thoughts. That’s why you are advised not to believe everything right away. Bible tells us: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit [speaking through a self-proclaimed prophet]; instead test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets and teachers have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, Amplified Bible).

Not all thoughts and voices are coming from a good source. The above Bible quote warns us about false prophets and teachers (i.e. people telling you stuff), and that’s why this post contains Bible quotes and references, so you could cross-check every thought, execute your own research and make your own conclusions. The safest way to validate somebody’s ideas is to check what the Bible has to say about the same topic. Bible is God’s Word and in it you can find answers to all life’s questions.

Satan’s deceptive work on people could be broadly categorised into two streams of activity: 1) get people to worship him instead of God, and 2) make God look bad, unloving, sternly demanding and tolerating evil. The first group of people doesn’t contain only satanists (i.e. people that openly worship Satan) but also everybody else who worships idols and false gods. All those give Satan their power and authority, even though they might be thinking otherwise.

The second group of people doesn’t really trust God, so they stand on the sides disconnected, not understanding His plans for the earth. They cannot draw from Jesus’ account of power and authority, not because God doesn’t let them, but because they don’t believe they could or are entitled to. Hence, they aren’t a real threat to Satan. With every new evil he would send to them (see 1 Peter 5:8) he would try to get them more disconnected from God, more secular, more blended into the rest of the unbelieving world.

So, where does this lead, you might ask? It leads to a secular society where everybody would be able to do what they like and all opinions would be equally valued, except true Christian values, which will be regarded as intolerant and offensive. There will be no absolute standard of godliness, and people will be able to invent their own ways of being “spiritual”. Sounds like something you’ve noticed in the world today? The Bible tells us about the end times when people “will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! ” (2 Timothy 3:2-5, NKJV)

In such an environment the devil will be able to openly establish his dictatorship on the earth.  Bible calls this period the Great Tribulation, and Jesus said it would start when the antichrist (the ruler of the global government that will be empowered by the devil and would serve him) would sit in the Jewish temple (after it will be built on the Temple Mount) and declare himself to be god (for more details refer to this post). Bible says that whosoever would worship him will surely end up in hell (see Revelation 14:9-10) but he would kill those who don’t want to worship him (see Revelation 13:15),

In the Great Tribulation we see a short timespan when Satan’s desire to “be like the Most High” (see Isaiah 14:14) is seemingly fulfilled. Nevertheless, after 3.5 years Jesus will come back (i.e. this is His second coming), destroy the antichrist and his army and establish His kingdom on earth. Devil will be thrown into a prison and a thousand years of peace and prosperity will be ushered in as God’s kingdom on earth is established (see the description of this period in Isaiah 11:6-9). After a thousand years of Jesus’ reign on earth devil will be loosed once more from his prison (for a little while) and will start deceiving nations once again (see Revelation 20:7-8). This final rebellion will end up in devil’s total destruction and he will end up in the lake of fire (see Revelation 20:9-10).

Then people will be judged according to their works and those who worked evil will be destroyed. Revelation 20:11-15 describes how books (of the works) were opened “and the dead were judged according to what they had done as written in the books.” In another place Bible says, “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Corinthians 6:3, NKJV) Hence, these books contain not just someones deeds, but also the list of people who suffered from those deeds, or in other words, the witnesses who lived through the hardship and injustice caused by the evil deeds. Those books contain the condemning evidence not just against the evil people but also against the evil angels who served the devil. They also are judged and will end up in the lake of fire, as everything evil (i.e. Death and Hades) will be removed from Father’s creation and will be destroyed (see Revelation 20:14).

So, that will be the end of the devil (and all evil) and the Eternal Father, who lives outside of time and knows the end from the beginning (see Isaiah 46:10), must have planned it all after He became aware of Satan’s desire to be worshiped like god. He knew the depths of the evil Satan was capable of, but until devil came out in the open (by tempting Adam and Eve) it was hidden and could not be judged. Once he was flushed out, the whole plan of salvation through Jesus was put into motion.

But, the plan of salvation seems to be transcending the boundaries of this little earth. As Satan managed to mobilise one third of the angels to rebel against God (see here for more details), and all of them will be judged (and we shall be witnesses), then redemption through Jesus indeed has cosmic ramifications—the whole creation will be purged from all evil—not just the little earth. By falling, Adam and Eve actually unlocked a huge chain of redemptive events that will touch every corner of the universe. That’s why one could think that the whole thing with the tree in the middle of the garden, and why it was even placed there, was not to test man’s obedience, but to expose Satan’s evil nature.

And with man’s original power and authority, which Jesus took back from Satan, mankind can again rule over the earth and the gates of hell will not prevail against them (Matthew 16:18). But to be able to access this power and authority, which is stored in Jesus’ account, one would have to be authorised to draw from it.

Friend, if you would like that, you need to receive Jesus in your life and make Him your Lord (master). If so, just simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Did you ever thought how was the devil so smart to know that by tempting Eve and Adam to sin he would immediately take over their power and authority on the earth?

Like, how did he know that? He must have heard that God told them: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28, KJV version). He knew they had a complete dominion over “ALL the earth” (see Genesis 1:26, emphasis mine), but how did he know that this dominion would fall into his hands if they would sin against God’s commands? Why wouldn’t it go to somebody or somewhere else, or just return to God who is the source of all authority and power?

God told Adam that he would surely die if he would eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:17 says, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (KJV version). To me the phrase “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” means “dude, if you eat it you gonna die!!!, disappear and be gone forever, like, breathe no more!!!”. Such a phrase does lead us to think that Adam and Eve should have physically died right then and there. However, because they didn’t, we now understand that they’ve died spiritually and became separate from God.

But could Adam and Eve have known that? Could they have assumed that what God meant with “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,”  is that they would “only” immediately separate (i.e. die) from His spirit, but would continue to live physically in a fallen state? Why did they trust Satan (i.e. the serpent) when he exclaimed they will not die? He accused God of lying and implied that Father doesn’t really want what’s best for Adam and Eve: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5, KJV version).

Satan effectively said, “God lied to you, you won’t physically die. On the contrary, the day you would eat the fruit, you would become like Him!” So, here comes an interesting question. How come Satan knew that Adam and Eve would not physically die, and what God said (i.e. “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die“) would not come to pass? Why did he assume that, after they’ve sinned, God would not kill them, they would not die, and he (Satan) would get all their power and authority? How come he didn’t assume that God would, for example, remove the first couple and create the second one?

The reason is simple. God is love (1 John 4:8) and Bible tells us that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT version). Father is patient and kind and doesn’t want to kill His own children, “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9, NLT version). God is a good God and the Old Testament harshness and carnage must be viewed from the right perspective.

When people think of the garden of Eden, they usually think how everything was incorruptible and there was no death. We know that Adam and Eve were created immortal beings, as otherwise God’s caution about them dying doesn’t make any sense. So, from the fact that Adam and Eve were supposed to live forever, and we were supposed to see them and hang out with them today, people assume that everything else: the cattle, the fish, the birds and plants were also created immortal—in other words, people assume there was no death on the earth.

But Hebrews 2:14 tells us, among other things, that devil has the power of death. It says, “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death” (NLT version). So, here is an interesting dilemma; did devil have the power of death before he tempted Eve, or did he receive that power from Adam and Eve? If Adam and Eve had the power of death why would God tell Adam “thou shalt surely die“? Because, if Adam had the power of death, he could have chosen not to die; like, be rebellious to the max! Therefore, Watson, the only right conclusion is that devil had the power of death right from the start. Death was intended for the mortal creations (i.e. plants, fish, birds and land animals) and Satan was the one administering it (outside of the garden of Eden).

That’s why he knew Adam and Eve won’t die, because he wouldn’t let them, at least not immediately. He figured out that if God told Adam “thou shalt surely die“, mankind would become mortals like everything else and would fall under his power of death. And whoever is stronger, and rules over others, he takes into possession everything they have. So, Adam and Eve’s authority to rule and reign over the earth went straight to Satan (when they became mortals). What a deal that was for Satan! He had the power of death and now with this authority over ALL the earth (from Adam and Eve) he became god of this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). But, let us remember, it’s not the Father who made him god—it’s His rebellious children who did that!

Satan had a hidden desire to be like the Father, for others to worship him (see Isaiah 14:12-14). When he told Eve, “in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5, KJV version), he was projecting his own desire, because in his heart he was thinking “I will be like the Most High” (see Isaiah 14:14). So, here he was, he had an unique opportunity to realize his dream and become god! If he could somehow get Adam and Eve’s to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would become mortals and would consequently come under his power of death. Then all they had will be his and he will become god of the earth. In no time, people will have to worship him and he will be like the Most High!

Eve (and Adam, but seems like Eve was doing most of the thinking!), on the other hand knew that Satan had the power of death, so she probably thought: “If Satan says we won’t die, then it must be true, as he would know—he is administering death to all the animals. If Satan is telling the truth then God must be lying. God is actually keeping us from reaching our full potential. Maybe our Father has good reasons for it, but I’m ready for more! Yum, this is tasty. See, husband, I’m still alive, take a bite and eat it too. We will surely be as gods!”

Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Adam refused to eat the fruit? As the leader of that first family he needed to choose who does he trust more; God who created him and with whom he have conversed in the cool of a day, or his helpmate—the woman who was given to him by the same God. If he had chosen God, Satan would have not become god of the earth, and Adam would still have that title. God certainly expected Adam to refuse his wife’s suggestion to sin.  He told Adam, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it” (Genesis 3:17, NLT version).

Since you have listened,” God said. If Adam had not listened to his wife, if he took a leadership position and refused to eat the fruit, nothing would have happened to him. He would still rule and reign on this earth and maybe Eve would have been pardoned, as she didn’t really hear the commandment about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil directly from God, but from her husband. And there was a little bit of a “Chinese whispers” in regards to that commandment. God told Adam”thou shalt not eat of it” (see Genesis 2:16), but when Eve talked with Satan she said that God said, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it” (Genesis 3:3, KJV version). Obviously, somebody added to God’s words—He didn’t say anything about touching the fruit, only about eating it. Was this done by Adam to protect his wife? Maybe, as it seems that she genuinely believed in the commandment as she expressed it.

But, this was Satan’s chance to point to that obvious error, and he used it as a springboard to slander God and accuse Him of being a bad Father. Eve fell for it, and Adam didn’t make his stand. What was God supposed to do? Was he supposed to say, “Whoa! Wait a minute, I didn’t want Adam to blew this one up. Let’s forget about all of this and start all over again?” Not quite. Because His Word stands eternal, God could not annul what He have told Adam. Adam would still had to become a mortal and as such automatically fall under the power of death Satan had. With the same automatism Adam’s power and authority went to Satan, who was watching with glee how Eternal Father must punish His own immortal children because He must stay true to His own word.

Dear friend, can you see how truthful and faithful our Father is to His word? The Bible is full of the promises He gave to us. Do you think these promises are empty and without value now that you know your Father’s integrity? If He didn’t care about His word, He could have destroyed the whole universe and started from scratch—who would know? But, God chose instead to destroy the devil by the very people he (devil) has desired to worship him. Nevertheless, that’s a story for the part 3

What I would like to leave you with here is a conviction that Satan is always the bad guy and our Father is always the good guy. Just as Jesus said, Satan was “a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44, NLT version). Having the power of death Satan was a murderer from the beginning. Also, having death he doesn’t stand in truth, because the truth is that our Father gives us love (see 1 John 4:7-10) and life (see 1 John 5:11-12). Therefore, devil is a liar and a father of all lies.

Friend, give devil a boot and turn to your Father who loves you and is offering you a gift of the eternal life. If you want to receive it just simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

This post is inspired by the book written by Dennis and Dr. Jen Clark entitled: Releasing the Divine Healer Within – The Biology of Belief and Healing.

I got inspired reading how “the brain has seven cognitive operators that allow us to interpret the world around us as mental perceptions. They control how sensory, thought, or memory inputs are related to each other and are translated into adaptive behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. However, the driving force behind our survival as a species is our emotional evaluation… The emotional operator ‘exists to assign an emotional valence to all the elements of perception and cognition… Without the emotional value function , we would move through the world like very intelligent robots…'” (page 39,40).

In an earlier episode of Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural (see the embedded video below) the authors talk about the ease of being emotionally healed when we yield to Jesus the Forgiver and Jesus the Healer. They mention how all of our wrong thought constructions (i.e. strongholds) build upon toxic emotions that we burry in our hearts. And because the emotional value operator (which is located in the limbic center in the brain) is the one that gives importance to thoughts (causing the will to initiate actions), those emotions we have in our hearts will drive our behaviour. Hence, Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]” (Amplified version).

But because Jesus the Healer, when yielded to, heals quickly, those toxic emotions are really easy to get rid of, when you know and receive His love and forgiveness. Therefore, a personal revelation hit me: if your emotions are healed in an instant it practically means that you’ve renewed your mind in an instant. Technically, this is not true, but because emotional value operator is the most important in the human decision-making process, and because your heart is healed, bad thought patterns and memory will not get passed through the emotional value operator as no emotional value would be given to them. Therefore, your will and actions will reflect the healing you’ve received and the strongholds built upon the toxic emotions that Jesus just healed would disappear completely from your consciousness. As Christians we hear about renewing the mind and I always thought of it as a long process, but here is the fresh, new and easy way to achieve the same – let Jesus heal your emotions. To illustrate this point I’ve made the attached infographic.

As he thinks in his hearth so is he

 

Infographic notes (top – down):
– Omnipresent God is written with transparent “ink” to highlight how Father God in not imposing His will upon us. He has “faded” into the background in order to hide Himself and allow us to exercise our own free will. He mainly influences us through our conscience and that still small voice is coming from our innermost being – our spirit (i.e. our spiritual nature).
– Man is a triune being having three parts – a body, a soul and a spirit. This infographic doesn’t show the physical (body) part, but if it would, it would be placed somewhere between the world (shown as a grey cloud) and the “input from the senses” function in the brain.
– Man’s soul consists of the mind, will and emotions (i.e. heart). Mind is shown to contain mentioned seven cognitive value operators, emotional value operator, thoughts, memory and input from the senses.
– The feedback loop is shown between the world and man. Part of the feedback is created by man’s own actions spawned through his own free will.
– There is another input coming directly into man’s mind masquerading as his own thoughts – a demonic influence. Refer to the story in 1 Chronicles 21. It starts with, “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel” (NLT version). Now, think of it. Did Satan appear to David to tell him about this idea. No, he just placed it in his mind and David, thinking of the benefits of such action, could not be persuaded otherwise (see 1 Chronicles 21:4). Don’t think that all thoughts you think are yours. Examine them and cast “down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Friend, if you want to receive the emotional healing described above, you would need to yield to Jesus the Savior, Forgiver and Healer. If so, simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Then close your eyes and put your hand on your belly. This is where Bible describes your emotional center is – this is the heart Bible talks about (not your physical heart organ). Notice that your focus has shifted from your head into your heart. Open your heart to the Divine Healer, who is now in you (i.e. after you’ve said the above prayer, God has adopted you into His family, He has given you a new spirit, you are born again, and His Spirit lives inside you). Relax, don’t try. Welcome healing power into every cell of your body.

More practical healing “exercises” could be found in the book mentioned above.

Posted by: Nito | October 11, 2015

The Problem of Evil – Part 1 – Are You Good?

Here is a modern definition of the problem of evil (from wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil):

  1. God exists.
  2. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent.
  3. An omnibenevolent being would want to prevent all evils.
  4. An omniscient being knows every way in which evils can come into existence, and knows every way in which those evils could be prevented.
  5. An omnipotent being has the power to prevent that evil from coming into existence.
  6. A being who knows every way in which an evil can come into existence, who is able to prevent that evil from coming into existence, and who wants to do so, would prevent the existence of that evil.
  7. If there exists an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God, then no evil exists.
  8. Evil exists (logical contradiction).

There is much pride in this logical construction, but it fails on point #3. Here is why:

  • God exists. Everything else lives through Him, by Him and in Him (John 1:3Acts 17:28).
  • Apart from being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent, God is also eternal.
  • Because He is eternal, God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).
  • Only God is good, everything else is evil in comparison to Him (Mark 10:18).
  • Because God doesn’t want any evil whatsoever to exist, He decided never to create the universe.
  • The universe exists (logical contradiction).

What atheists fail to take into consideration is that every human on earth is evil.

Did you ever say a lie in your life, even a little one? Did you ever steal, even a little thing that seemingly nobody would miss? Did you ever hate? When you did, you’ve committed a murder in your heart (1 John 3:15). Did you ever look at another person with lust? When you did, you’ve committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:28). Jesus didn’t consider himself good, but said that only God is good (Mark 10:18). Therefore, if even Jesus didn’t consider himself good, why do you think you are good? Human heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). By comparison to God you are downright evil and that’s why you need a Saviour (Jesus).

Having this in mind, and following the logic of points #4, #5 & #6, the omniscient and eternal Father, who “declares the end from the beginning” (Isaiah 46:10), or in other words, knows what would happen in the universe before He created it, would  see upfront all of the evil (read “all people”) that would exist in the world, and would decide not to create the universe in the first place. He would want to prevent the existence of evil and hence would abstain from creating the universe.

Because the universe exists we know that this thinking is wrong. Otherwise, God would kill us all long time ago. Therefore, premise #3 is invalid.

Friend, leave atheism to those who war against God. They are hurt inside and they blame God for everything that happened to them. As a Christian I feel for all that are hurting, but I also know the futility of atheism. I was raised as one! I know the emptiness and meaningless of the atheistic life. You die and then, puff, you are no more. Gone forever, like a foam on the river. And when those who remember you die too, you are really erased from all books. Contrast that to the eternal life that Jesus offers! My message to every atheist is: just pause for a second, humble yourself, get down on your knees and say, “God, if you are real, show me!” He will answer and heal you!

The real problem of evil is expressed in the following sentence: “How does God effectively remove the objective evil (i.e. devil and his demonic powers) without simultaneously wiping out His own evil children?” But, let’s talk about that in part 2.

Friend, if you want to receive the gift of eternal life, simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

In part 3 we discussed the first version of the end times timeline. In this post a revised version is given (see below). Printable PDF file could be downloaded here. Two changes were made: 1) 6th Trumpet War was extended until right before Antichrist will broker the 7-year peace agreement with Israel and 2) the duration of the 7 bowls is shortened.

To clarify, this timeline doesn’t contain dates, as only God knows when would something happen, but it contains major events, their sequence and duration (when it’s given in the Scripture).

End Times Timeline v2

So, here is the overview. Timeline focuses on the events immediately preceding as well as occurring during the last seven years of the human government on the earth. This is what is called “Daniel’s week” and is described in Daniel 9:27. In part 2, we discussed how Daniel’s week should coincide with the Shemitah cycle, which is becoming visible when we look into the cycle of  stock market crashes in the following years: 1973, 1980, 1987, 1994 (bond market crash), 2001, 2008, 2015 (?).

In the middle of Daniel’s week the Antichrist, who will lead the world government, will sit in the 3rd Jewish Temple and declare himself to be God (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).  Jesus said (see Matthew 24:21) that after this event (which in Daniel is called the “Abomination of desolation”; marked as the event No. 5 on the timeline), the Great Tribulation will start. So, we know that the Great Tribulation will last for 3.5 years, or to be more precise, 1290 days (see Daniel 12:11). But Daniel 12:12 also tells us that “blessed is he who waits and comes to the 1335 days”. This just means that 45 days after the tribulation, Jesus will start his millennial reign as the King of kings and the Lord or lords (marked as the event No. 10 on the timeline).

The Book of Revelation gives us some other durations. It says that the Antichrist will rule for 42 months (a Hebrew month has 30 days), which means he will rule as the absolute (world) dictator and self-proclaimed god for 1260 days (see Revelation 13:5). We know that Jesus will defeat him and throw him into the lake of fire (see Revelation 19:20) after the battle of Armageddon (which is the 6th bowl of wrath; the event No. 8 on the timeline), so that will mark the end of his rule. Therefore, this probably means that during the 30 days after the battle of Armageddon the great earthquake and great hail (7th bowl of wrath) will finalize God’s wrath and the Great Tribulation will end (i.e. tribulation lasts for 1290 days).

The scripture talks about other durations as well, one of which relates to the 126o days of ministry that two prophets of God will have in Jerusalem (see Revelation 11:3). People usually put the start of their ministry at the beginning of the 7-year period (i.e. Daniel’s week), but as they are mentioned after John is measuring the temple, this timeline assumes that their ministry starts when the 3rd Jewish Temple would open.

After Antichrist will kill these two prophets (witnesses) they will be raptured and the earthquake in Jerusalem will destroy their enemies. Everybody in the world will see it (i.e. through the news programs), and people will give glory to God and turn to the Father. In other words, there is some kind of an awakening happening. I’m not sure if the word ‘revival’ would be appropriate for the environment where Christianity is persecuted, but something along those lines will then happen throughout the world.

This ushers the time of the Jesus’ harvest (event No. 7), which happens some time after the rapture of the witnesses, but before the bowls of wrath are poured out. Jesus will take the harvest of the earth and gather his people (Revelation 14:14-16). They will come out of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 7:14) and they will overcome the beast, the Antichrist (Revelation 15:2). I believe that the rapture of the two witnesses is the last chance for people on the earth to accept God’s offer of salvation through faith in Jesus (Y’shua), because after the harvest the Sanctuary in heaven will be closed (i.e. no access to God) until the 7 bowls of wrath are executed (see Revelation 15:8).

One other thing that people can’t really agree upon is about the timing of the rapture of the church. As you can see, we already mentioned two other raptures: 1) of the two witnesses and 2) Jesus’ harvest, but this first rapture describes the event when Jesus would take his true disciples (i.e. the firstfruits) out of the world before the Great Tribulation would begin. Jesus promised this (see Revelation 3:10) to the church of Philadelphia (a type of the evangelical church), or better said, to those evangelical disciples that would hold fast to what they have until the end. These are the firstfruits (Revelation 14:-3-4) of the believers, the rest of which will be reaped later, during Jesus’ harvest (within the tribulation).

After the rapture of the firstfruits there will be no more mystery about when the end would come. This rapture will undoubtedly signal to all that the end days have arrived and there will be no more guessing about it. Revelation 10:7 says, “but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets.” 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 also talks about rapture happening at the trumpet call. So, this timeline aligns the rapture of the firstfruits with the 7th trumpet event (see event No. 2 on the timeline).

The immediate event preceding the 7th trumpet is the 6th trumpet (event No. 1) and that’s where the timeline starts. The previous version of the timeline indicated that the 6th trumpet war finished long before the rapture of the firstfruits, but after hearing Bill Silas talking about prophecies of the destruction of Elam (area in Iran where their nuclear facilities are located), the Ezekiel 38 War and the Psalm 83 War in particular, I’ve changed my mind. What caught my eye was the Psalm 83:3 verse, which says: “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.” It talks about Israel’s enemies coming against Israelis, and some of the Israelis are “hidden”! It looks like these “hidden ones” are 144.000 sealed Jewish believers that are part of the first rapture (i.e. rapture of the firstfruits).

So, this should conclude our “The Book of Revelation” series. A bit later I shall post about Jesus’ epistles (i.e. letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3), but this is it for now.

Friend, in this series I’ve tried to give you an overview of what Bible says about the end times and how many signs are converging right now. We are living in the year that prophets spoke about. The world doesn’t have much more time. The time is near when Jesus will come back and you will have to face Him. Will it be on the good terms or bad terms? If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you can be sure it will be on good terms.

But before Jesus comes back, the imposter, the Antichrist will claim to be the Jesus Christians are waiting for. But don’t fall for that. There will be a false prophet also, who will give his support to the Antichrist and will be working out false miracles. And when we say ‘false’ it means these miracles are not from God, but they will look very, very real, so that even elect might be deceived (see Matthew 24:24).

Your only chance is to become a disciple of Jesus (i.e. make Him your Lord) and start educating yourself by reading the Bible. So, if you want to be sure of your salvation, and get the eternal life as a free gift, simply say the following words and mean them:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

In the Book of Revelation things come in sevens: seven churches, seven Spirits which are before His throne, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls of wrath… Is God trying to tell us something? Dr. Chuck Missler thinks so. He also noticed that if you take this “rule of seven” seriously, and look for places where this structure is somehow broken, you will notice that the whole text has a peculiar sevenfold structure.

In his commentary on the Book of Revelation he writes: “In each of the major series of “sevens”—the seals, trumpets, and bowls—we notice that there always appears to be an inserted parenthetical passage between the 6th and 7th of each series. Having completed 6 of the 7 seals, Chapter 7 pauses for some amplification before we continue with the 7th seal in Chapter 8” (Dr. Chuck Missler – Book of Revelation, An Expositional Commentary).

Sevenfold structure of the Book of Revelation

Sevenfold structure of the Book of Revelation

With the opening of the 7th seal the trumpets are introduced and then between the 6th and the 7th trumpet we can read (in chapters 10 through to 14)  a commentary about what is happening on the earth. Note that 7th trumpet is blown in chapter 11 but bowls of wrath are described in chapters 15 and 16. The same pause or parenthesis is found in chapter 16 (verses 15 and 16) between the 6th and 7th bowl of wrath (see the diagram above – borrowed from Dr. Chuck Missler’s notes).

We can see that trumpets come out of the 7th seal and bowls come out of the 7th trumpet. This means they are chronological (as traditionally assumed) but also that we could assume they represent different time durations (as per Irwin Baxter’s suggestion), with seals having the longest duration and bowls being relatively short in duration.

However, I like Perry Stone’s explanation that the 7-seal scroll contains “the legal right to redeem the earth” or a “title deed to the earth” as Dr. Chuck Missler puts it. So, in that sense, seven seals represent the types of events that must happen in order for God’s kingdom to be established upon the earth.

In the ancient times when a title deed or contract was signed it was sealed with wax seals created by the rings worn by the witnesses of the signing. So, in order to later open the same scroll the same people would have to be present, or better said, the same rings would have to be present. If the original witnesses passed away their descendants would come bearing the original signet rings. Only when all rings were present the scroll could be fully opened.

In Revelation 5:1-7 we read that no man was found worthy that could open the “title deed  to the earth” except Jesus Christ. It does say that He had “seven Spirits of God” and I think that is the very reason why Y’shua (i.e. Jesus’ real name, which in Hebrew means”the Lord saves”) was able to open the scroll – He had the original seven rings – the seven Spirits of God. These are: Spirit of the LORD, spirit of wisdom, spirit of understanding, spirit of counsel, spirit of might, spirit of knowledge and spirit of the fear of the LORD (see Isaiah 11:2).

And the scroll could be opened only by a man that has these seven original spirits. Think of it. There were no people present when God the Father created this scroll, which was at the time He planned the redemption of the earth, and that was before He actually created it. There were only His Son and the Holy Spirit (and the 7 spirits thereof) present. So, it’s clear that the Messiah Jesus, who has the seven spirits is the only one who could open this scroll with the seven seals.

Breaking each seal unlocks the particular type or a series of events that are like major tasks in God’s ‘Redeem The Earth’ project plan, containing (or defining) the steps to execute before earth is redeemed. Trumpets and bowls are like milestones in the same project. For example, 6th seal and the 7th bowl refer to the same great earthquake. Such earthquake “had not occurred since men were on the earth” (Revelation 16:18), and “every island fled away, and the mountains were not found” (Revelation 16:20), so the 6th seal earthquake where “every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:14) refers to the same earthquake.

Stay tuned. In part 5 we will revisit the timeline and potentially do some changes. I’m starting to believe that the events of the 6th trumpet don’t necessarily have to fully finish before the 7th trumpet blows. I also believe that the events of the 6-trumpet nuclear war will include the events of the Psalm 83 war, which describes what will happen around Israel and her victory over the neighbouring enemies.

 

Posted by: Nito | May 25, 2015

Nuclear Showdown On the Horizon?

Many today look around at the rising threat of radical Islam and the weak Western response and wonder if we are repeating the costly mistakes of a bygone era.

No doubt we live in perilous times. The clever mass murderers of al-Qaeda have now morphed into the sadistic executioners of Islamic State. Iran is exporting its own fierce brand of Islamic militancy, destabilizing and devouring nations across the Middle East, while building a renegade nuclear weapons program to further its expansionist agenda. Each of these radical Islamist movements see themselves as the vanguard of that final jihadist surge which will ultimately destroy Israel, spread throughout the world, and subjugate humanity to a foretold “golden age” of Islamic rule. Meanwhile, many Western leaders are pressuring the small democratic nation of Israel to sacrifice the heart of its ancient homeland to secure an illusionary peace, and pacify these ravenous beasts…

Read more at icej.org: From Munich to Mushroom Clouds: Failed Statesmanship and Global delusions in a Nuclear Age (ICEJ as the acronym of the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem).

What this reminds me of is a setup for the Psalm 83 war. This Psalm talks about Israel’s neighbours forming a confederacy against her and engaging in the attack in order to destroy her completely. They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.” (Psalm 83:4, KJV)

I believe this war is going to happen pretty soon. Pope Francis (a.k.a. the false prophet) doesn’t help with his recognition of the Palestinian state and his praise of Abbas as the “angel of peace“. Such statements only encourage radical islam to continue its deadly march. The above ICEJ article describes how Western players wanted to appease Hitler by sacrificing Check Republic and these days they are trying to use the same tactics with the radical Islam—they would like to sacrifice Israel to appease the beast of jihad.

But, God will defend Israel and shame those who abandoned her. Israel will come out victorious from all confrontations with its neighbours, like she did in the past, since becoming the nation in 1948.

There is an interesting verse in Psalm 83; verse 3. It reads: “They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones” (Psalm 83:3, KJV). Some Bible scholars believe that the strange reference to the ‘hidden’ ones indicates that this war will happen around the rapture, as those who will be raptured are the hidden ones. Other Bible translations refer to those people as sheltered or cherished ones.

So, if this is true, Psalm 83 war should happen around the 7th trumpet (see the end times timeline) and should align with God’s promise in Joel 2:20 to destroy the “northern army”.

I also believe that Psalm 83 war will be a very brief, nuclear, war and will execute as part of the greater WW III scenario, which also is a nuclear war with devastating consequences on the worldwide scale.

I wrote more about WW III and post war New World Order in an earlier article.

In this part of the Book of Revelation series we will discuss the end times timeline (shown below). The timeline starts at the sixth trumpet and ends with the creation of the new sky and the new earth. My intention is to get the timeline reviewed and publish updates as I would get comments from other people. Printable version could be found here.

End Times Timeline

 

While making the timeline I made the following assumptions:

1) In the Bible, descriptions of the same event are consistent across different Bible books. We take the Bible as a single integrated message system, so the same applies to the symbols used in the Bible—they are consistently used across every Bible book. It cannot happen that the same symbol in different Bible books would have a different meaning.

2) So, based on the assumption above scriptures are aligned along the major events, when they could be found or recognised in them.

3) While aligning the scripture we also used logic. For example, the great earthquake that happens when the seventh bowl of wrath is poured “had not happened since mankind came upon the earth” (Rev 16:18), and “every island fled and mountains were not found” (Rev 16:20), so the 6th seal earthquake where “every mountain and island was moved out of its place”(Rev 6:14) is the one and the same earthquake. Therefore, logic dictates that we should look at the seals as access points to particular title deeds and not necessarily as chronological events that have to happen before trumpets and bowls (vials). Title deed thus highlights a type of the events that would happen, while trumpets and bowls tell us when those events would happen.

The timeline is divided into three swim lanes. The top one contains the major events, the middle one deals with wars, cataclysms and judgement, while the bottom one deals with apostasy, evangelisation, faith and rapture.

The major point to take from this timeline is that Jesus is coming as the King after the tribulation and not before. There will be a rapture before the tribulation, but His major harvest (i.e. taking up the rest of the believers) is somewhere within the tribulation period. Following His harvest there will be a second, wrath harvest, which is pretty much God destroying the evil that is left on the earth and wiping the earth clean in order to make it ready for His Millennial reign.

Another important point to take away is that the one who will proclaim himself to be the Messiah before the tribulation is actually the Antichrist, so don’t even think to bow down to him or to take his mark (of the beast) no matter who tells you it’s OK. The Bible tells us that the false prophet (and many believe Pope Frances is this guy) will promote the Antichrist and will coax people to believe in him. Nevertheless, the Antichrist will be killed 3.5 years after claiming to be the Messiah. He will be killed by Jesus, the real Messiah. Antichrist and false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire after the battle of Armageddon.

In the part 1, written in March, I’ve mentioned that “because God gave us the outline of the plan in the Book of Revelation, where He detailed the sequence of events that will happen in the “end time”, this is not just a warning but also a blessing for those who do not believe. Once they realize that the sequence of events in the world is tracking exactly according to God’s plan, they should figure out that God does exist and He is true to His Word. This should lead them to repentance and realization that Jesus died for them as well, so their ticket (to heaven) is also purchased and ready for pick up. There will be multitudes that will change their minds during the tribulation and will take this “exit clause” and join other saved believers in heaven (see Revelation 7:9-17).

So, the intention of this article is to talk more about God’s “end time” plan and lay out some specifics about it as far as He has made it known to us (through various people). Thus, this is a compilation of different sources and thoughts (and I’ll put references in the text as we go) and my understanding of it all. You are advised to study the original sources and make your own conclusions.

World War III

Back in March 2014 I’ve mentioned World War III. Bible says it will kill one third of the mankind (more than 2 billion people!) and will start in the region of the river Euphrates (which flows through Turkey, Syria and Iraq).

Since then we saw the rise of the Islamic State which “claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world[85] and aims to bring most of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control[86] beginning with territory in the Levant region which includes Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey” (from Wikipedia).

Is this the beginning of the WW III? Let’s check what the Bible says: “Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind” (Revelation 9:13-15).

Never before, in any of the great wars, it happened that 1/3 of the mankind was killed. Hence, this event is named the World War III as it will eclipse (in atrocities and viciousness) the previous two worldwide wars. If you want more information about WW III get hold of Irwin Baxter’s 14-part DVD series named “Understanding the EndTime” mentioned in the part 1.

In that same DVD series Irwin Baxter talks about the meaning of the trumpets and I think he makes a good case for aligning the first five to WW I, WW II, Chernobyl disaster and other events. Based on his interpretation of the Book of Revelation five trumpets had sounded during the 20th century and the mankind is facing the 6th trumpet. It does seem to me that the 6th trumpet have been also sounded and that four angels, who were bound at the river Euphrates, are now released.

Post WW III: New World Order

How will the events play out is left to be seen, but apart from Muslim desire to dominate the world there is another force that wants to do the same in Asia – Chinese. Nevertheless, The Bible describes the post WW III dominated by the One World Government where control would be held by the coalition of the Great Britain, Germany and Russia.

Where do we get this? Revelation 13:2 says: “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” God is consistent in the use of symbols across the Bible, so leopard, bear and lion are already mentioned in Daniel 7. In there they are mentioned as separate beasts (i.e. separate countries) , after which the fourth, even bigger, beast comes out. In the Revelation verse above we find that leopard, bear and lion are somewhat included in this new and bigger beast (i.e. previously separate countries are now united).

Beasts symbolize the kingdoms and also their rulers (e.g. see Daniel 7:17). According to Irwin Baxter’s explanation leopard represents Germany, bear represents Russia and lion represents the Great Britain. This would mean that the One World Government (i.e. the dreadful beast mentioned above) would be controlled by the nations of Germany, Russia and Great Britain (probably in that order of power and authority). The other thing to notice is that this world government is not of God; it will not obey Him or do His will. The devil (the dragon) will give it “his power, his throne, and great authority.

Notice that there is no USA in the One World Government system, even though Irwin Baxter successfully argues its mention as a separate country in the Book of Daniel (i.e. eagle wings plucked out of the lion—Great Britain, and given the face of the man—Uncle Sam, see Daniel 7:4). Is this a hint that USA will be diminished in her power and influence or even cease to exist? Or does it just mean that USA will choose to stay out of the devil-controlled world governmental system?

USA was founded by God-fearing people and she was always about God’s plan and His purposes, until recently. However, God has not forsaken her; He is trying to warn her people and leadership about the pending judgement if she doesn’t repent and change her course. A must read on this topic is Jonathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger. A good summary is given in the September 2011 issue of Mishpochah and we will refer to it later while talking about God’s “sevenfold time template”.

So, what’s so bad with this One World Government, you might say? As after each of the great wars people gather together to create mechanisms that would make sure that such bad things (i.e. wars) would never repeat again, so as it happened after the WW I and WW II, would it not be the same after the WW III (and hence it’s a good thing)? People will gather together and analyze how it all started and will conclude that religion has been a cause of too many wars in the past so we need to put an end to all that religious strife. They would proclaim that all religions point to the one God so we are all in essence spiritual brothers and sisters. The problem is that the Antichrist will make use of this movement to establish his popularity (the Pope will give him his full support) and then he will turn people away from God.

Ultimately, the Antichrist will rise to rule the One World Government and will be so skillful in deceiving people that they will not recognize him as the devil in disguise but a great orator, statesman, peace maker and visionary! This same person will declare persecution of the Christians because he will (with the help of the head of the Roman Catholic Church – the Pope) establish the One World Religion and ultimately proclaim himself to be the Messiah, the Savior everybody expects would come at the end. As Irwin Baxter so skillfully presented this scenario, and gave a solid historical evidence for it in his “Understanding the EndTime” series, I will refer you to study his material and discover the facts for yourself.

The Bible clearly states that when Jesus Christ, the true Savior and Messiah (Y’shua HaMashiach), comes back for the second time he will descend from the clouds (and everybody will plainly see him doing so): “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven”” (Acts 1:9-11). “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:24-26).

Jesus will destroy the Antichrist and his armies (see Revelation 19) and put an end to the One World Government system establishing His own millennial kingdom on the earth (see Revelation 20).

So, When Will The End Time Come?

Mark 13 describes the occasion when Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the end times and when would it come. He basically said that there will be a long time before the end comes and that “of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 12:32). However, right before saying that he also told them: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Mark 13:28-29).

Therefore, it is possible to know when the end time is “at the doors” by looking for the signs of its nearness. Even so, most are saying that we cannot possibly know the exact time, but in Daniel 12:4 God instructs Daniel to “shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” In other words, the end time was so far in the future that people of that era could not interpret what that prophecy was all about (i.e. Daniel was instructed to “shut up the words, and seal the book”), but as the time progresses and gets closer to the end, knowledge of the Bible prophecy will increase, because this book would be “unsealed”.

Near the end people will get clues on how to interpret the Book of Daniel (e.g. which kingdoms are represented by the mentioned beasts) and the signs of the end time will become obvious to those that diligently seek understanding. In the same way we would know when summer is approaching (by looking for the signs in nature), similarly we can know when the end time is approaching by watching for the “things” Jesus mentioned.

So, what are the “things” mentioned in Mark 13? Jesus mentioned wars, rumors or wars, earthquakes, famines and troubles, but those happen constantly; there is nothing special about them. Nevertheless, in there He also said that “the gospel must first be preached to all the nations” (Mark 13:10), which did not happen until recently. Few centuries ago Christianity was mainly practiced by the European nations. It was only few decades ago, with the advent of the Christian satellite TV stations that gospel could be truly preached to all the nations around the globe (even to those where there is strong hostility towards Christianity).

But perhaps the best way to measure the effectiveness of preaching the gospel to all nations is to look at the history of Bible translations. “By 1800 there were 66 languages with some portion of Scripture, 40 with the whole Bible” (from Wycliffe Bible Translators). In 2013 complete Bible translations exist in 513 languages, whole New Testament (with other portions of the Scripture) is available in 1294 languages and incomplete Bible translations (with one or more books) are available in additional 1010 languages (source Wycliffe Global Alliance). According to the same source the written Word has reached about 92% of the world’s population (see the chart below ).

STAT_2013_Sripture-Access-Worldwideh

So, it seems that the gospel is preached to all nations, or we are very close to this goal. The other specific sign that Jesus mentioned is the “‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (Mark 13:14, Matthew 24:15). So, what is the ‘abomination of desolation’? As Irwin Baxter explains, Antichrist will set up an idol in the Temple and cause people to worship it and turn away from God the Father. So, for this to happen the Temple has to be built. At the moment Jews cannot even worship at the Temple Mount (due to Muslim rioters), let alone start building the Temple. So, for the Temple to be built, there must come to existence some sort of an agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians.

In Revelation 11:1-2 John is given instructions to “measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles.” According to Irwin Baxter this means that the future agreement between the Israel and the Palestinian Authority will place the Temple Mount under a sharing agreement (i.e. court, which is outside the temple, is given to the Gentiles).

And as soon as this agreement is made Jews will start building the third Temple and as soon as it would be finished they will start the animal sacrifices as in the old days. But the Antichrist (who will broker the peace agreement between the Jews and the Palestinians) will stop the sacrifices exactly 3.5 years after the signing of the agreement. In Daniel 9:27 we read: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

Here  ‘seven’ means seven years and ‘middle of the seven’ means 3.5 years from the signing of the agreement. So, Jesus said that after Antichrist will desecrate the Temple (by setting up the ‘abomination of desolation’ in it), the world will plunge into the Great Tribulation. This will last for the second half of the ‘seven’ (i.e. 3.5 years) and after this Jesus will come back (see Mark 13:24-26).

So, when will the end time come? The last seven years will start when an agreement brokering the Temple Mount sharing arrangement is signed. Jews are already ready to build the temple (see the Temple Institute website) but the problem is that Palestinians deny Israel’s right to exist. What could make Palestinian Authority (PA) change its stand on Israel? Could it be that when Hamas joins IS and takes actions to overthrow PA (in order to gain control over all Muslims in the Palestine) the PA will seek the protection of Israel and will sign the agreement?

Or, could it be that because Antichrist will “confirm a covenant with many” this indicates that there would be some kind of a UN-backed resolution giving Israel right to start building the Temple? A resolution that would be made possible in the aftermath of WW III? Whatever would be a cause for it, we are waiting for that ‘covenant’. But let’s see how other things are converging with this “trigger point”.

The Mystery of the Sevens

The Book of Revelation talks a lot about seven things: seven churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls, seven lampstands, seven spirits etc. etc. There are many sevens in that book! Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy is also about sevens, where each seven (i.e. a week) represents seven years, or a ‘week of years’.  So, to really understand God’s calendar we have to go back to the Jewish roots of Christianity. BTW, if you didn’t know Jesus (Y’shua) was a Jew and so were all his disciples and the first Christians. The gospel was proclaimed to the Jew first and then to the Gentiles (see Romans 1:16).

Seven is the number of completeness, as God created the world in 6 days and rested on the seventh (see Genesis 2:2). Hence, God commanded people to rest on the seventh day as well. But as Mark Biltz explained on Jim Bakker Show on September, 16th 2014 there are more ‘sevens’ in the Jewish calendar: there is a ‘week of weeks’ (i.e. 49 days) that is used to calculate the Feast of Weeks (from the Passover). There is a ‘week of months’ (i.e. 7 months) which points to the 7 month in the Jewish calendar containing the three fall feasts, one of which is the Feast of Trumpets.

There is also a ‘week of years’ (i.e. 7 years or ‘sevens’ in the Book of Daniel) which is also known as the ‘Shemitah Cycle’ where the seventh year is the Shemitah year where land is given a rest and all debts are cancelled. In the September 2011 issue of Mishpochah Jonathan Cahn says the following about this 7-year cycle: “Every seventh year, the Shemitah, or Sabbath Year, would cause the land to rest, when sowing and reaping, buying and selling, would come to a standstill. The Shemitah was unique in that it specifically affected the nation’s economic and financial realms — wiping out all accounts of credit and debt. For the nation that departs from God, the Shemitah becomes a sign of judgment.

“The year of Shemitah reaches its culmination on the last day of the Hebrew year. In September of 2008 came the greatest stock market point crash in American history. When did it happen? On the biblical day of the Shemitah — the very day when credit and debt, the accounts of the financial realm, are wiped away!

“Seven years earlier was the second largest crash in American history — it was the one caused by 9/11. When did that crash take place? On the day of the Shemitah! Thus the two greatest financial collapses in American history both happened on the exact same Hebrew day — the day of the Shemitah — the sign of a nation departed from God. And the night after each of America’s stock market crashes came the Feast of Trumpets, the sounding of the shofar — the other biblical sign of judgment.”

Suffice to say that we have just entered the Shemitah year again, which started on September, 25th 2014 and will finish on September, 13th 2015. By applying the logic from above, that Shemitah Cycle becomes a curse when nations move away from God, we can conclude that there is probably another stock market crash scheduled to happen around September 2015 (i.e. at the end of the current Shemitah year).

Apart from the ‘week of years’ there is also a ‘week of Shemitahs’ (i.e. 49 years) after which a Jubilee year (the 50th year) is celebrated. “‘Count off seven sabbath years—seven times seven years—so that the seven sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property and to your own clan. The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines. For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the fields” (Leviticus 25:8-12).

And finally, there is also a ‘week of millennia’ (i.e. 7000 years) where the first 6 millennia are man’s to reign on earth, while the seventh millennium is when God will reign on earth. From Adam to Abraham were about 2000 years, from Abraham to Jesus the Messiah were about 2000 years and from His first coming to His second coming will be about 2000 years. So, the 1000 years of Jesus’ reign on earth (see Revelation 20:4-6) is the fulfillment of the ‘week of millennia’.

So, looking at the mystery of the sevens (as described above) we can conclude that, if somebody would want to guess when something would happen on God’s calendar, the most probable answer would be that such event would definitely follow the Shemitah Cycle or the “sevenfold time template”. Because, to Daniel it was revealed that the “end time” will span a time period of seven years and to Israelites God commanded to observe the seven year cycle perpetually.

So, these two seven-year time periods have to be the same. Because God is consistent, any other way wouldn’t make much sense. As Mark Biltz proclaimed the other day (paraphrase): “If the end time doesn’t start in 2015 then we would have to wait another seven years before that would be possible!

OK, let us now look at the 50-year cycle of the Jubilee. As stated previously, in order for the Temple to be built the Jews will have to be given free access to the Temple Mount and for this we need some sort of a peace treaty between the Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

But let’s trace this line of thought back in time. In order for the Jews to build the Temple on the Temple Mount they need to have control over the Jerusalem, which they gained after the Six-Day War in June 1967. But to gain control over Jerusalem they have to have the right to be in the land of Israel, which they got with the Balfour Declaration in November 1917. I’m not sure how this looks to you but to me it smells like a Jubilee cycle. As Jubilee brings return to the family property and to one’s own clan, what if Israel’s return to the 1) ownership of the land, 2) ownership of the Jerusalem and 3) ownership of the Temple would follow the 50-year cycle? So, could we make a wild guess that the Temple would be opened sometime in 2017?

Another converging piece of the puzzle is a Tetrad, four blood moons appearing on Jewish feast days. Here is an excerpt from CBN News:In his latest book, Four Blood Moons: Something Is About to Change, Hagee lays out what he calls celestial signals. He describes how a series of blood moons in 2014 and 2015 will have great significance for Israel…

“Such moons appear several times in scripture. In the book of Joel, God says there will be “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire…the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord…

“In the past, the rare appearance of four blood moons on these feast days has coincided with major events for Israel and the Jewish people.

“In 1492, Spain expelled the Jews. Columbus also discovered America, which became a safe haven for the Jewish people.

“In each of these blood moons, you have something that begins in tragedy and ends in triumph,” Hagee explained.

“For instance, in 1948, Israel was reborn as a nation.

“After 2,000 years, God supernaturally brought them from 66 nations and a nation was born in a day,” Hagee noted. “That again was a supernatural something that happened following the tragedy of the Holocaust.”

“In 1967, Israel won the Six-Day War and recaptured Jerusalem.

“For the first time in 2,000 years, Jerusalem and the State of Israel were together again,” Hagee said.

So, clearly, something is about to happen in 2015—there are several converging pieces of the puzzle coming together. Ancient Jewish calendar cycles and Bible prophecy are aligning together. For example, if the current Tetrad is not the one referred to in the scripture then we would need to wait another 400 years for the next Tetrad, but that would mess up the ‘weeks of millennia’. Obviously, the prophecy “sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31) would still apply even if the end time doesn’t start in 2015 but instead in the next Shemitah Cycle, however I like to think that Scripture is precise.

Before I finish for today let me also recommend Dr. Chuck Missler Book of Revelation, An Expositional Commentary. It will take you on an in-depth journey through the whole Bible, because: “The Book of Revelation consists of 404 verses which contain over 800 allusions to the Old Testament alone! One reason the book appears so strange to the uninitiated is that most of us haven’t developed enough familiarity with the Old Testament.” (from khouse.org).

This commentary gives a very good explanation of Jesus’ letters to the seven churches and how that applies to you and me today. One thing is to understand the prophecy and expect something is going to happen, but more important is to prepare yourself and others for the event. In other words, get into the relationship with Jesus now, while faith is still required, because: “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Once He comes back and people will see Him with their physical eyes, at that time faith is not required to understand that Jesus is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (see Revelation 19:11-21) so salvation through faith cannot be offered. Salvation is offered now, while one still requires faith to overcome the world.

UPDATE 2014-10-09: Another thing that converges with the above is the 750-year prophecy from Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel: “When the Ottomans (Turks) – who were already a power to be reckoned with on the Bosporus in the time of Judah Ben Samuel – conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time…

“The Mamluks, who had been reigning in Jerusalem since 1250, were conquered in 1517 by the Ottoman Turks. They remained for eight jubilees (8 x 50 = 400 years), that is to say they were in Jerusalem for 400 years. Exactly 400 years later, in 1917, the Ottoman Turks were conquered by the British. The League of Nations conferred the Mandate for the Holy Land and Jerusalem to the British. Thus, from 1917, under international law, Jerusalem was no-man’s land.

“Then, when Israel captured Jerusalem in the Six Day War of 1967, exactly one jubilee (50 years) after 1917, Jerusalem reverted to Jewish-Israeli ownership once again. Thereby, according to the prophecies of Judah Ben Samuel, the Messianic End Times began” (from wnd.com).

Posted by: Nito | August 15, 2014

Beliving In Evolution Is Unscientific

1. The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy (i.e. “lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder”) of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems always evolve toward thermodynamic equilibrium, a state with maximum entropy (i.e. minimum order, maximum chaos).  Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_law_of_thermodynamics.

2. Universe is an isolated system (http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/11701/why-it-is-said-that-universe-is-an-isolated-system)

3. The theory of evolution requires entropy to decrease (i.e. for evolution to work order has to increase over time) , which is in contradiction with the second law of thermodynamics.

4. Evolution is therefore a false theory which doesn’t stand to scientific scrutiny.

What Does the Apocalypse Mean?

The “apocalypse” is a Greek word and it simply  means “revelation”, so what is the Book of Revelation revealing to us? As stated in its very first sentence this book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Revelation 1:1).

This simply means that as you will read the book you will learn about the events that will precede Jesus Christ’s return to the earth. The first time he came here was about 2000 years ago and he came in the role of the “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”  (see John 1:29). He was sent by God to die on the cross and to pay for your and mine salvation, healing and deliverance: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Okay, but why is then “apocalypse” deemed such a dreadful word, connected with death and destruction? Oxford dictionary defines it as “The complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.” If Jesus Christ is coming again, and he is so wonderful, why are we talking about the “end of the world”?

The Book of Revelation is clear in stating that Jesus is coming to establish his kingdom on earth and his faithful will rule with him for a thousand years (see Revelation 20:4) . This is the basis for the belief in the New Age and the 1000 years of peace and prosperity on earth. The “only” problem is that newagers forget that the earth’s ruler in this super prosperous period is Jesus, and he clearly stated that only those who he knows will be allowed to stay with him (see Matthew 25:31-46).

So, it’s not about the end of the world, but about the end of the human government on earth. Human government will be replaced by God’s government where Jesus Christ and his saints will rule the world as God’s representatives. Bible states that nations of the earth will continue to live in the millennium, but their dominion will be taken away as God will set up His kingdom on earth (see Daniel 7:12, where ‘beast’ is used as a synonym for a kingdom and his ruler).

But the Book of Revelation does talk about upheavals, cataclysms, wars and rumors of wars and the Great Tribulation such as has never been seen in the history of the mankind. First world war,  World War II, the Gulf War and the future World War III are all mentioned in the Book of Revelation. It’s no wonder the perception of the apocalypse (revelation) is so bad, because many will experience the final period of the Great Tribulation as being the end of their world.

How Does God Deal With Sin?

The Bible is also clear in stating that this final judgement is God’s wrath on unbelievers and represents His final attempt to persuade them to change for better. You might have seen my earlier post titled “Why God “Doesn’t” Punish Evil, … Until the Judgement Day“, which states that you cannot ask God to judge one person without Him judging you as well. Hence, God has reserved a day in the future (i.e. The Judgement Day) when He will judge everybody (living as well as the dead) fairly and squarely.

Here is how it works. God has only three options when dealing with sin:

1) Leave it to go unpunished indefinitely – in other words everybody does what they want and nobody is ever punished. In such a scenario there is no Bible as God is a neutral observer and is not interested in setting up the rules of the “game”. Another possibility is that there is a “bible” but it teaches the law of the jungle, where big fish eats a smaller one. Does this remind you of a materialistic view of the world? Soon enough all joyfulness is squeezed out of life and survival is the only thing that majority of the people think about. Man becomes wolf to his fellow man. I hope you will agree with me that leaving sin unpunished indefinitely is not a good option.

2) God could intervene constantly, as soon as bad things happen, in order to rectify and prevent any problems that may arise. In this scenario free choice does not exist and man is just a puppet in God’s hands. Man is not able to do anything which is contrary to God’s will as God will immediately change things. I’m not sure if it is even possible for a man to function as an independent being in such a world, as things might inexplicably change from one second to another. It might be sunny one second and then snow the next. Events in one’s life would make sense only to God as He would be the only one who has the complete picture and is able to see and interpret all of the “butterfly effects” which caused all of the changes. I hope you will agree that this is not a good option either.

3) God could withdraw Himself from the people that don’t want Him. This means that people who reject God (and are able to do so because of their free will) will end up in a place where God is not present. He will grant them the fulfilment of their “wish” to live without Him and will create an environment (i.e. hell) where such an existence is possible. So how does the place where God is not present look like? Living there means living in endless darkness (as God is light, see 1 John 1:5, and He is absent from that place) and it also means living in constant torment, fear and hate (because God is love, see 1 John 4:8, and He is not present there). Well, this is also not a good option, but it’s ultimately the fairest one – everybody gets what they want. But, there is a catch. Ultimately, death and hell will be destroyed in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14) and all those who are not found written in the Book of life will be also thrown in there (Revelation 20:15). This just means that because God is also Life (see John 1:4 and John 14:6) those who choose to be without God (i.e. Life) are basically choosing to die!

So, option three is what God is doing. But can you imagine Love and Light doing this without any warning? No, our Heavenly Father is not doing it without warning. The whole Bible talks about how He loves us and how He planned and executed our redemption and salvation by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross instead of us. This purchased everyone’s ticket to eternal life and whosoever wants it (i.e. to live eternally with God) just needs to grab his or hers ticket. But Bible also gives warnings to those that don’t want such a ticket.

God’s Love for Everyone, Even the Naughty Ones

God doesn’t want anyone to end up in the lake of fire where the existence stops. We think that God is slow to punish the evildoers, but the secret is that He loves everybody and wants them to change and choose to be with Him (and not end up in the lake of fire). “The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9,  AMP version).

Obviously, evildoers and ignorant folk have to repent and stop choosing death (i.e. living without God). Bible is therefore given to everybody to learn about who God is and what His plans are so they could choose wisely. The Book of Revelation is the ultimate warning about the final Judgement Day on which God will look into His books to see what people chose. Those without the ticket (purchased by Jesus’ blood on the cross) will be thrown into the lake of fire.

But because God gave us the outline of the plan in the Book of Revelation, where He detailed the sequence of the events that will happen in the “end time”, this is not just a warning but also a blessing for those who do not believe. Once they realize that the sequence of events in the world is tracking exactly according to God’s plan, they should figure out that God does exist and He is true to His Word. This should lead them to repentance and realization that Jesus died for them as well, so their ticket is also purchased and ready for pick up. There will be multitudes that will change their minds during the tribulation and will take this “exit clause” and join other saved believers in heaven (see Revelation 7:9-17).

As we track the events outlined in the Book of Revelation we will see how calamity and upheaval intensify as we approach the day of Jesus’ second coming. God’s wrath increases as people (who do not want Him) choose to stay defiant. They will blaspheme God and His name and will not repent of their deeds (see Revelation 16). They will even gather an army to battle against God (see Revelation 19:11-21) . How stupid is that!? Can anyone make war against Him who created the universe? This just shows you that there are some people in the positions of power and influence that do not think rationally. Once you figure out God is real and things are developing according to His plan, do not hesitate to choose Jesus and get your ticket.

Because evildoers and their ignorant followers will consistently choose to go up against God they will be ultimately granted to live without Him in hell and then ultimately to die if they aren’t found in the Book of life. But, as Peter said, God was delaying granting them that wish, because life without Him is not pleasant at all. The very purpose of pouring out torment on people is to give them a foretaste of where they are heading and what will they “enjoy” in the end.

It is actually God’s mercy to try to open their eyes to what they are actually choosing, as they can’t really figure it out themselves beforehand. Sadly, they assume, living their current lives in the freedom of choice, that things will be like that for the eternity. However, God in His goodness will elaborate, highlight and illustrate to them (through the upheavals and calamities scheduled for the end time) the utter ugliness of living without Love, Peace, Light, Presence and Protection (i.e. without Him).

The Coming World War III, Rapture and the Great Tribulation

The Bible is also clear that God’s church, comprised of individuals that love Him and are with Him, will be spared of this judgement as they do not require such an illustration and elaboration. They already chose God and His plan is to snatch them away before the tribulation begins. The word that describes this event is “rapture” and we’ll talk more about it later in one of the future posts.

It is also good to know that ultimately God’s plan is to destroy the devil and put an end to his messing up with people’s lives (see Revelation 20). Part of the plan is also to restore man to his original state of immortality and fellowship with God (see Revelation 21:3-4).

In the next post we will look into the structure of the Book of Revelation and events that are coming. World War III is on its way, for which the Bible says will kill one third of the mankind (more than 2 billion people!) and will start in the region of the river Euphrates (which flows through Turkey, Syria and Iraq).

As a way of warmup you could watch Irwin Baxter’s 14-part DVD series “Understanding The End Times“. At the time this post was originally published it was available on youtube, but since then it has been removed. The first video in the series describes the nations that will be present on earth at the time of Jesus’ second coming. The fourth video talks specifically about the the World War III. There is a little bit more information given about each of the DVDs here.

Posted by: Nito | January 19, 2014

Think Healthy Thoughts

Recently I’ve started reading the book called “The Edge Effect” written by Dr. Eric Braverman. Right from the start it intrigued me to find out that medical science has discovered and is studying the link between our thoughts and our health. Basically, the book talks about the link between the mind and the body, and this link is what we call the brain.

The electrical impulses that are sent from the body into the brain are processed through four biochemical neurotransmitters: dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA and serotonin. Based on the particular electrical input the brain will create a specific output composed of a combination of those four neurotransmitters and send it back into the body. Each body function is controlled by the specific order and precise amounts of these neurotransmitters, so different order and amount is required to control, for example,  liver as compared to what is required to control the heart or kidneys.

So, if we imagine these four neurotransmitters as elemental codes (letters), the brain is controlling the body by the means of a chemical language written with these four neurotransmitters. Similar principle of using a four-letter language is also found in DNA, where all of its operational knowledge is programmed into it by using four biological compounds that we label with letters G, A, T and C. Through its program written with these “letters” DNA knows how to do pretty much everything at the cellular level, from growing body parts to renewing them constantly throughout the life of a person. Similarly, four neurotransmitters could be viewed as part of the body-wide language that brain is using to do pretty much everything at the body level and control its function as a whole.

I wonder if we could take this principle of having four components to create an operational language as an universal principle. Like, a thought comes to mind that at the macroscopic level of the universe, God is again using a set of four “codes” to control how everything ties and works together—these four “codes” we call the fundamental forces: the force of gravity, electromagnetic force, strong nuclear force and weak nuclear force.

Nevertheless, back to the topic, the brain sends instructions to organs and body parts as particular combinations of the mentioned four biochemical neurotransmitters. Every organ knows to which chemical instructions to react and how to react, and everything functions normally as long as clear instructions are sent out from the brain. The problem starts when signals coming into the brain are distorted (so brain gets the wrong message and sends the wrong output instructions) or when due to chemical imbalance in the brain it cannot create the proper output message (as it lacks all of the required building/coding material).

When the instructions sent by the brain are wrong, or due to the particular chemical deficiency the duration of the required chemical instruction is cut short, the receiving body part will start altering its normal function which will then have a knock-on effect on other body parts that depend on its proper function. In other words, small imbalances at the brain level are amplified into bigger health problems and due to the interdependency of body parts a problem in one part will create domino effect(s) in other body parts.

So, how is this linked to the mind I hear you ask? Brain sends chemical instructions but what does that have to do with thoughts? Well, apart from the electrical impulses sent from the body into the brain, thoughts (within the mind) are another source of input stimuli to the brain that would cause chemical instructions to be sent into the body.

For example, when you remember a stressful or frightening situation that happened sometimes in the past, your brain will send a chemical instruction which will cause adrenal glands to start releasing adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are hormones that together raise the heart rate, increase respiration, dilate the pupils, slow down digestion and allow muscles to contract. This will pretty much prepare your body to react to a stressful or dangerous situation, albeit there is none around, as you are just thinking about it.

So, your thoughts do create chemical reaction in your body. But, what surprised me the most is that in the 3rd chapter of the book, where the reader is given two quizzes to determine which of the four neurotransmitters are predominant in their body and which are deficient, they can find questions like:

– I will do anything to reach the goal. (true/false)
– I value religious philosophy. (true/false)
– I have high standards for myself and for others. (true/false)
– I foresee a better future. (true/false)
– I’m inspired to help other people. (true/false)
– I believe in participating in service for the community. (true/false)
– I don’t have particularly high morals or ethical values. (true/false)
– I do what I want, when I want to. (true/false)
– Savings are for suckers. (true/false)
etc.

Based on one’s answers to these ‘true or false’ questions a calculation is made about his or hers neurotransmitters. This means that your lifestyle, personality and character do determine the chemical composition of your body, which in term determines the functioning of its body parts. So, if you change your thoughts you would automatically change the amount of the four neurotransmitters. In other words, as you change your thoughts you would change the language that brain will use to talk to the body. Therefore, if you want to change your body and how it functions you “just” need to change your thoughts.

So, one conclusion that comes to mind is that the placebo effect (i.e. thinking positively) is pretty much a powerful thing because it does create chemical changes in the body.

Second and more important conclusion is that a believer is always better off then any atheist or agnostic. Even in the case that God does not exist (like I’ve hypothesized in the “Who has more fulfilling life: the Atheist or the Believer?” article), a believer IS still in far better position because of his positive thinking.

However, because God does exist, the benefits of having a working relationship with Him are multifold; and one of them is His ability to help you change your thoughts, clean your heart, discard old filthy desires (i.e. the “old man”) and put on pure thoughts (i.e. the “new man”) that will make your mind, brain and body function properly and consequently you will have a long and healthy life. Now, this sheds a new light on the Bible verses like these listed below:

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8).

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

Posted by: Nito | December 24, 2013

Are All Religions Created Equal?

In my previous article The Role of the Chosen People – Pat 3 I wrote about all major religions pointing to the same God. Even though I do believe that they talk about the same Almighty Father, nevertheless I do not think all of them are created equal, simply because they do not convey the same revelation about Him.

Basically, all religions except Christianity are performance-based, where you have to do something in order to please God or otherwise He won’t like you. Linked with this belief is that your salvation (i.e. a ticket to heaven) depends on your good deeds. In other words, a good person goes to heaven to be with God, while bad people go to hell.

Eastern religions also have the concept of karma, where you don’t just worry about the bad things you’ve done in this life, but you also have to be concerned with the bad stuff you’ve done in all your previous lives. So, karma is a sum of all your previous deeds (good and bad) and you are bound to come back to this material plane of existence until you work out all of your karma. So, even if you go to heaven after you die you will stay there only for a short while, as you have to come back to earth (i.e reincarnate) and work out the rest of your karma. In such a case your temporary stay in heaven cannot be called salvation, as you are not permanently saved from hell. The next time you would reincarnate you could mess it up so badly that you could end up in hell.

Obviously, yoga (which is a part of the eastern religious system) will teach you that there are some shortcuts, like mediation techniques, that will speed up resolution of your karma and thus help you reach perfection within your current life, or at least help resolve all of your “material” karma. In short, your “material” karma is causing your rebirth on this material plane and once you get rid of it, you will not return here, but will work your way up through the other two (higher) planes of existence (before you become perfect and unite with God). You will notice that the main point of the process is “you”. It is you who have to work and God is somebody on the side who does help, but after you put some effort into it.

What I want to say here on this page is that Jesus is the greatest possible shortcut there exists. The true and permanent salvation which is available to anyone for free. The only prerequisite is that you have to believe in Him: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).  “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

And this salvation is not performance-based. You do not have to do anything in order to earn it. If you simply “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).  Is there anything easier than this on the face of the Earth? Is there any other religion which promises the eternal salvation just because you’ve professed your faith in the Savior? No, there isn’t. We find this only in the Christian faith.

As a Christian I do not have to earn God’s love as He loves me already and He proved it by sending His son Jesus to die for my sins. I don’t have to spend years of penance, breathing in and out, performing redeeming activity to atone for my sins as Jesus’ blood paid for that already (I do have to mediate on God’s word and spread His kingdom on earth because it does not just benefit me but also everybody else). I do not have to reincarnate as a worn in the “next life”, because Jesus saved me from the reincarnation cycle and thus gave me the life eternal. I don’t have to kill anyone in order to please God, because He loves everybody and wants them changed (by their own free will) and not killed. I don’t need to wait for the Messiah to come, because He (Jesus) has come already and has paved the way for me.

If you want to receive this salvation simply say the following words and mean it:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Nito | December 21, 2013

An Unusual Day @ The Atheist Society (a short story)

It was a quiet lunch. “It’s too quiet,” thought Sam to himself, “usually, everybody is quite chirpy around the table… what has happened?” Sam was running late that day as there were few complications at the hospital. There was a case of broken ribs with punctured lungs as well as a guy with a gun wound. The summer has arrived and with the temperatures rising the violence in the city has risen as well.

He turned to Elizabeth sitting on his left. “What did I miss?” whispered Sam. “Oh, just the most unusual conversation that the Atheist Society has ever seen!” muttered Elizabeth, trying not to make too much noise, “it seems that Ted has switched sides.”

Their whispers broke the awkward silence. “I’m not your enemy!” ejaculated Ted looking at the far end of the table, “I’ve simply realized that it is far more profitable to believe than not!” Sam could not believe what he had just heard. Ted was one of the senior founders of the society and has contributed to significantly raising its public profile. Every detail of his past debates with the “enemy” was analyzed and discussed, as these gems of wisdom and wits were regarded as an essential read for any novice to the group.

“It’s a simple logic!” Ted continued, “We all have to die someday, and we’ll eventually find out for ourselves if God exists or not. Believers have nothing to loose. If the Creator does exists then they are on the safe side. He will save them from the judgement and we, who now think are smart and educated, would be very sorry and confused standing in front of His throne.

“On the other hand, if there is no afterlife, but everybody disappears into nothingness and all life simply stops, who will confront them and tell them they were foolish? Who will tell them they lived a stupid and uneducated life? And why would it matter, anyway? In such a case we’ll all loose awareness the minute we die and we won’t be able to enjoy our victory. We won’t be able to rub it in with ‘I told you so!'”

Ted’s last words started an avalanche of thoughts in Sam’s brain. Feelings that he had long forgotten started to well up inside his heart. He found himself in the middle of a lush green meadow sprinkled with colorful spring flowers. Everything was budding with life. The birds and bees were singing and cherry trees were in full blossom. He recognized the place; it was his grandpa’s farm in Springwood. And it was the day, thirty five years ago, that would change his life forever. Just few minutes later he would hear grandpa calling him to come into the house. He would run vigorously and expect to see mum and dad, who came to pick him up for the day. Staying at his grandpa’s farm was a usual routine, as mum and dad were running a family business which involved a lot of driving around. They would take him along sometimes but he much preferred staying at grandpa’s and playing with chooks and sneaking upon frogs that lived near the pond.

But that day something broke in his heart; suddenly, his whole world came crumbling down. He remembers grandpa’s sad look and teary eyes as he told him that mum and dad are in heaven with God and will not come back. That afternoon the gloom settled onto the farm. The storm came and darkness fell early. He remembers being terribly frightened throughout the night as the flashes of lightning and thundering noise made shadows in his room more scarier then ever. Usually he would crawl in between mum and dad, but their bed was now empty and cold. He could not understand how all-loving and good God could take his mum and dad. How terrible God was!

Thundering noise and flashes of lightning couldn’t well describe the atmosphere at the Atheist Society. Everybody was out of their chairs and yelling. The quiet of the few moments ago was replaced by a storm of accusations and a barrage of insults. The Atheist Society was thorn apart, irreparably split asunder. Two groups emerged. On the right side was Ted, joined by vice president John and some of the committee members. Others grouped on the left, around Alan, who was elected president a year ago.

Sam looked in Ted’s direction. His arguments were strong, but he stayed calm and composed. The tone of his voice brought back more memories. It was another spring day and another life-changing moment for Sam. The priest was standing in front of the crowd. It was his grandpa’s funeral. As he was commending grandpa’s good life Sam could remember years of growing up on the farm. The warmth of grandpa’s voice and the assurance of his presence helped him overcome the pain of loosing mum and dad. But still he wasn’t healed completely. When last year he sailed like a ship into the world ready to explore and conquer, that lingering anger bubbled up during his freshmen year in the college. And now God took his grandpa also. He will never forgive Him, how terrible God was!

In the years that followed Sam’s anger grew steadily. In his last college year he joined the Atheist Society, a group of free thinkers who loved to start public debates with Christians. Sometimes, the winner of those debates had to be decided with a wrestling match. Playing for the school’s football team made him tough, so he would usually win in such cases. In the similar way how Ted’s debates were talked about and discussed, Sam’s wrestling matches were also included, although as a lighter topic, when someone new was inaugurated into the Society. Sam was fond of his achievements and he loved this bunch of people, but today he was witnessing the end of an era; the end of the Atheist Society as he knew it.

“What if Ted is right,” Sam thought, “The only true position that a scientist could have is to be an agnostic. We don’t know yet if God exists or not; there is no definitive proof that He doesn’t. And yet there are reports of miracles, which in some cases defy existing medical knowledge.” Sam was thinking about a recent case where a woman was sent home into palliative care as doctors could not help her anymore. She had only few weeks to live, maybe a couple of months. And yet she came back a week later and all her cancer was gone. She was completely cured, no trace of the cancer, and she kept saying that Jesus healed her.

It was these cases that messed up with his brain, and now also Ted. As a doctor Sam knew the power of the placebo effect. He thought that most of the reported miracles are spontaneous remissions amplified by the power of person’s positive thinking. In some cases a particular change in person’s circumstances and their positive attitude produced a beneficial effect, however in it self those changes wouldn’t have any power to cancel the disease, which means that the main factor that actuated the healing was person’s belief. A classical example of the placebo effect.

But if person’s belief is so strong that it produces a placebo effect, it’s also possible that believers live a better life as they constantly produce placebo effects for themselves. As Ted said, they have nothing to loose. And if God really does exist, then it’s not just a placebo effect, it’s the Reality behind the positive thinking that produces the effect we call placebo.

“But I hate God. He took everybody I loved. What did I do to deserve that? Why did He take mum, dad and then grandpa?” Sam had an inner wrestling match. “It’s a mystery,” his grandpa used to say “we will fully understand only when we leave this place. God is in the business of training His children. People say that He is whispering to us all the time, and this is what we call intuition. If we choose not to listen to this inner voice of wisdom we make a wrong choice and that’s what gets us into trouble. But God is so skilfully able to turn every bad situation into a good outcome, that people wrongly assume that they actually needed to get into trouble in order to learn something. They wrongly assume that God is using strife, sickness and other calamities to teach us a lesson.

“Actually, He is not. That’s what devil would like us to think; he would like us to believe the lie that God is using evil to exact something good. The truth is quite the opposite, if we choose to heed that inner still voice of God we would never get into trouble and we would never get sick. God’s plan for us is perfect and no matter how many times we mess it up we can trust that God has not changed His mind, His plan for us still applies. God is Love and Love is not scheming evil in order to produce a good result. That’s one of the biggest lies that devil has managed to put into people’s heads.

“The reality is that God is always the good guy and devil is always the bad guy.” Just then Sam remembered how on that awful day his mum did not feel well as if she sensed something bad would happen. She tried to tell dad to cancel the trip, but he insisted on keeping a promise to a customer. “Oh, God! Is it  possible that You tried to warn her?”

“Where are you going?” asked Elizabeth seeing Sam rising up from his chair. “I’m done with this place,” he responded. Looking up he waved in Ted’s direction and made a sign of a phone call. Ted waved back and shouted “I’ll see you later at the usual place.” “Wait for me,” said Elizabeth grabbing Sam under his arm. They were already out of the door. It was much quieter outside in the hallway. As if some chains broke around him, Sam put his arm around Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Do you want to go out on a date tonight?” he smiled, finally mustering the courage to ask her out.

It was a warm spring day. The birds and bees were singing and everything was budding with life. Things were looking good.

Posted by: Nito | November 9, 2013

Edge Effects

Heron:

“Science studies phenomena and everything outside of time and space is unreachable to science. God, by definition is outside of time and space; God is the Noumenon which creates phenomena.”

“”In the absence of reliable evidence that there is anything outside time, space and matter/energy, it is only an imaginary assumption by ignorant humans that there is a god.””

What if scientists do have access and reliable evidence there is something outside common perception of space and time yet religion is having hard time to accept it for fears that religion might need major upgrade again. (Remember our Earth in the centre of the universe story).

Nito:

Religion:
– the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods (Oxford dictionary).

Faith:
– complete trust or confidence in someone or something (Oxford dictionary).

Religion and Faith are two different things. Religious people focus on the Power and what they could get from God, while faith-filled people focus on the Love and what they could give to God. Religious people say they love God, but they don’t show it; faithful people show their love for God, but they don’t say it.

So, what kind of an “upgrade” are you talking about, and what is the new scientific evidence and why would it create a problem for Faith and the Bible? In other words, Bible was not rewritten after science discovered that earth is round and circles around the sun.

Heron:

I believe we are trying to gain some knowledge from religion and faith here.
It was a good idea of yours to look into Oxford dictionary to avoid misunderstanding. Therefore, knowledge is “facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education ……. Philosophy true, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion”

The upgrade I am talking about is different interpretation of the Bible as you suggested in some part, for example, regarding different duration of God’s day and Earth’s day.
There is a real possibility that extensive reinterpretation of the Bible would render some or to many of the original text “invisible” and that is the problem for religion and faith based on Bible!
As for Earth not in the centre of the universe, church says it is compatible with the Bible. (perhaps some reinterpretation took place)

I do not think new science is needed for a start, existing well proven part would suffice for quality discussion, but funny, science might need some reinterpretation as well making the unpleasant problems for scientists also.

Finally, who is going to love us if we continue to search for knowledge causing problems in the process? Anyone to help with some diplomacy here?

Nito:

Basically, you are talking about upgrades to the theology, which is “the study of the nature of God and religious belief”. I agree that theology changes as people grow in knowledge and their relationship with God. However, Bible stays the same and it is also used for validating any new theology.

If I would want to describe the Bible with one scientific word, it would be the word “axiom“; “a statement or proposition which is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true”.

I’m not sure if diplomacy could apply here. Sincere investigation requires digging deep without discarding any evidence. There are increasing reports of miracles happening around the world, like this one.

The role of science in my mind is to stop being biased towards atheism and sincerely investigate the “God does exist” premise.

For example, if matter creates thoughts and emotions, which part of this lady’s body worked out her healing? What about thousands of other cases, or people being raised from the dead (which you can find reports of if you are diligent enough)? Dead matter stays dead, unless God resurrects it.

I say you need to take a side. You need to pursue truth no matter what will other people say. And truth will lead you to God.

Heron:

“The role of science in my mind is to stop being biased towards atheism and sincerely investigate the “God does exist” premise.”

I think I am ready to do that and I am looking for an open minded believer that is ready to sincerely investigate the “God does not exist” premise.

Are you ready ??

Nito:

Sure. Let’s open a new page for this discussion and continue to comment on that page (i.e. this one).

Father God, bless this discussion so that it is made profitable to all that choose to participate or read. Give us the eyes that see and ears that hear, in the name of Jesus.

People say if God exists He should fix things up, punish the bad people for doing evil things and reward good people for doing good things. When the same people can’t see God action this, they conclude that God does not exist. When you look at this simple and “strong” argument you might agree with them, but…

Imagine, if God wants to judge person A for being evil, He will have to (because He is fair and just) also look into which people and situations contributed to person A becoming a wrongdoer. If these people and situations did not happen in A’s life, he might have become a good and noble citizen instead of a criminal. Now imagine that persons B, C and D had a strong bad influence on A and person E failed to provide a positive influence at the opportune moment, when A was looking desperately for anyone to help him battle the surge of evil in his life.

God, being just, has to judge B, C, D and E as well. But, like in the case of person A, He has to look into who made a bad influence on these people as well. Do you see where this is going? Obviously, there is a whole pile of people that made bad influences on B, C, D and E; and you can also imagine that there will be even a bigger pile of bad influencers behind those baddies. Pretty soon everybody on the earth needs to be judged, and not just that, those that died without being properly punished have to be judged as well. Otherwise, God wound be mocked and the Bible tells us that He is not (Galatians 6:7).

So, to be fair and just, God has to do all this judgement (of the living and the dead) at the same time—on the Judgement Day. I mean, what’s the use of judging A and then letting B, C, D and E off the hook to tarry a little while longer in their own wrong ways. They would just continue to do damage and spread the wrong influence. When God judges He will judge everybody at the same time, in a single day. So, we should be able to agree that such Judgement Day is the only fair and just thing that God can do to “fix things up”.

Conclusion is that you cannot ask God to judge one person without Him judging you as well.

But who could possibly stay standing on their own on the Judgement Day? Who will be able to say I’m righteous and I fully complied with God’s standard every second of my life? The only way to escape punishment on that day is to either:

a) become perfect and blameless or

b) get someone else to pay for your sins.

If you can’t do ‘a’, the only viable option is ‘b’, which is to accept Lord Jesus as your Savior. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on the cross is the provision God made for everybody who believes in Jesus and trusts God to be made blameless and righteous (see John 1:29, Matthew 26:28, Romans 4:3-8).

Jesus is called the Savior because He will save you from God’s judgement. If you want to receive this grace for free, just say this simple prayer (and mean it!):

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

Posted by: Nito | August 12, 2013

I Love Love’s Presence

God is so lovable and lovely, because He is the love itself. God is love. “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8, NKJV). If you ever loved, if you’ve ever been in love, you had Him in your bosom. Think of it, God is love, and you craved for it, you were running after it and you handled it ever since you were a little babe.

You loved your toys. You loved your parents. You loved your family and then you loved other people. These were the portals through which the One was loving you and you were loving Him back. Even if these portals are long gone or are not radiating His love anymore, still you can turn to God directly as He is the source of all love. God is love and He still loves you. How could love not love? His only feeling for you, His child, is love. Love cannot hate, but only love.

If you crave for love you actually crave for God’s presence. Where God is, there present is love. Even if you don’t believe in God, but you crave for love, you are (not knowingly) craving for His presence. You are craving to be in a relationship with love, you want to float in it and you want to be carried away by it. Carried away into a place where no trouble exist and where only love reigns. Guess what, you are craving to become one with God.

Outrageous, isn’t it? That nobody talks about this—the simple truth that God is love. No loving act passes without His presence being exchanged. No love gets exchanged without Him being involved. So hidden and yet so obvious; you gotta marvel at His master plan. Loves to play hide and seek with us, but didn’t fail to make himself the very thing that everybody wants and craves for! From the blessed saint down to the sorrowful sinner, everybody wants Him.

And the good news is that He is available. Love actually is pursuing you. He is not watching idle while you are suffering. It was Love’s hand that guided you to this post. God wants to take care of you, He wants to be your Comforter. He is the love you are seeking and this Love is ready and waiting for your call. Do not be shy, you have nothing to loose, call upon God.

Call upon God and let Him set you free from all your troubles. They will flee in the presence of Love. As Love cannot hate, so hate cannot be where Love is. If you are ready to let God enter your life, just say this simple prayer and watch how Love is giving you peace, strength, direction and purpose:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

God bless you and keep you my friend.

In one of my previous posts (see Infographic: Habits – Rule Them or Be Ruled By Them) I wrote a little bit about habits from a “scientific” perspective, trying to focus on their automatism and what man must do himself to get rid of the such. However, what that article failed to highlight is that man does have an adversary (see Genesis 3:15) and we are fighting against objective forces of evil.

Saint Paul said to Ephesians: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).

So, sometimes, it’s not just habits that one must overcome, he or she is fighting against the objective evil that is manifesting through strongholds in one’s consciousness. These strongholds are the wrong philosophy and/or outlook on life, which are driving the wrong thinking and behavioral patterns, which in turn are instigating wrong actions, which then create wrong habits. To get rid of the wrong habits in such a case a person must first remove the stronghold(s) from their consciousness.

As man’s philosophy and his outlook on life are brought about by his education (in his home and outside of it) it is important that this education would equip him with the proper knowledge of the authority God gave him as well as the tools to recognize when his thinking is not aligned with God’s will. There is a quote (generally attributed to Jesuits) which goes like this “Give me the child till the age of seven and I will show you the man.”

I’m sure that Jesuits meant that good, faithful and courageous people can be “built” through the faculty of early Christian education, however,  if someone would like to manipulate the mankind, he could use the same principle of early education to build a society where people have evil philosophy and a weird outlook about every aspect of life.

Obviously, if you connect the dots, you would conclude that the evil principalities, powers and the devil himself are surely working on bringing about this evil education for the whole mankind and the way how they “sell” it to the unsuspecting people is by using the step by step approach. The change is always gradual and it takes decades to solidify.

For example, it started with the sexual revolution in the 60’s, which replaced chastity with lust. This brought about sexual “freedom”, but as a consequence eroded people’s perception of the sanctity of the marriage to the point of regarding it as a piece of paper. In such environment family as the basic unit of society is not able to function properly anymore, being split and thorn apart. Such unfortunate situation creates all sort of behavioral problems in children, which are the people that will form the future society. Add to this the latest devil’s trick of institutionalizing gay marriage, and you will get a legal platform to educate our children furthermore in the ways of Sodom and Gomorrah.

So, let’s talk about the principalities and powers that Saint Paul has mentioned to Ephesians. I believe these are what Benny Hinn calls, in his book “Angels and Demons,” the twelve demonic strongmen and the infographic below is in fact inspired by what is written in that book.

spirits

In general all of these demonic strongmen are overcome by the blood of Jesus, the word of your testimony (of what is God doing in your life and how His grace is helping you) and by knowing who you are (i.e. not just a child of God, but an heir to the Kingdom and co-creator in Christ, all of which was made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for you).

Then specifically, the spirit of fear is overcome by love, righteousness and strength. The spirit of heaviness is overcome by praise and joy. Peace and contentment overcome the spirit of jealousy and thanksgiving and worship overcome the spirit of pride. The spirit of infirmity and the deaf and dumb spirit are overcome by the blood of Jesus, and the rest are overcome by a choice you must make – to repent of the wrong thinking, to accept Jesus as your Savior and start a life-long relationship with God and to read who Bible says you are and what God would want you to do.

Posted by: Nito | January 2, 2013

The Role of the Chosen People – Part 3 (You and Me)

In Part 2 it was mentioned how God’s project called “the chosen people” is still running today, but with a “slightly” modified project team. One of the project’s initial goals—to root out polytheism from the face of the Earth—has been achieved, however in a different way to what was the original plan (see Part 2 for more details).

The other aim of the project was to create the holy nation. The role of the holy nation is to showcase the way how life should be lived and to be the proof (to the rest of the world) that God loves such a life and blesses it abundantly. In the factory called “the chosen people” the main product manufactured and “sold” is a ‘model life’, a template of a good, blessed and wondrous life, that everybody else on Earth would copy and follow.

So, in order to maintain the purity and holiness of His chosen people, God gave them the Commandments and the Law, which Jesus summarized with the following words: “’You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).  For the detailed review of the Commandments and the Law refer to the Book of Deuteronomy.

To love your neighbor as yourself is a difficult feat, especially when there are so many of them, “slow” ones, queued up in front of you at the petrol station, and in the shopping center car park, in the bank or at the doctor’s etc. It is so easier to love them when your neighbors are of the same skin color and nationality. And it is really easy when they have the same attitude towards life, are of the same age, same build, love same type of food, practice the same religion and so on and on and on. In other words, when your neighbor is you, you are really in love with him and her. That is, until he or she start to change and show that they are not so much like you…

Let’s pause and mediate a little bit on Jesus’ words and ask ourselves who our neighbors really are. If we are children of God (see 1 John 3:1) is it possible that our neighbors are His children also? What if they have different religious backgrounds and worship God differently to us? Could it be that they nevertheless worship the same Almighty?

World religions by percentage

As we examine the major religions of the world, we will find out that most of them teach that the Lord is all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient, and eternal. The exceptions are Buddhist scholars who argue that these attributes apply to the Creator-God, in whom Buddhists do not believe. They believe in God as the Impersonal Truth, pure Existence, pure Consciousness and pure Bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda). Hindus believe in such a God as well, but they do also acknowledge that this impersonal Spirit-God (Sat-Chit-Ananda) created the universe, and by the virtue of having done that, He automatically assumed the role of the Creator, Father-God.

Therefore, essentially, both Buddhists and Hindus believe in the same Creator-God, with the difference being only in the viewpoint. But, how does this compare with other monotheistic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam, where belief in the all-powerful, omnipresent, omniscient, and eternal God is also practiced?

Based on the premise that there could be no two (separate) omnipresent eternal beings, we should conclude that we all indeed believe in the same Almighty, because to have two (or more) separate omnipresent eternal beings is an oxymoron (i.e., impossible). They cannot be separate because they would mutually exclude some “living” space from each other and hence they wouldn’t be omnipresent. If they are separate and omnipresent at the same time, the only possibility for this situation to occur is if they would exist at different time intervals (and hence they wouldn’t be eternal).

Hence we are all brothers and sisters in spirit. Should we then quarrel and fight whose God is greater, or boast who has a greater faith? Surely not; let those who love their neighbors the most, boast the most. Shall those who love the most, stand on the hilltops and shout and advertise their great love? Impossible! for “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

Those who quarrel and fight, who hate and kill in the name of religion (and I’m specifically talking about the persecution of Christians in Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries and the persecution of Jews all over the world) are not God’s children, because “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8).

But. let us come back to the topic of the chosen people. In Part 2 it was described how God started with the single nation, made of Abraham’s descendants, and how the original plan was to place this nation into the middle of the polytheistic landscape in order to influence nations around it to embrace monotheism. Even though the early stages of this project experienced setbacks, eventually, a strong and influential Kingdom of Israel was established.

Hebrew nation has grown and transformed from a scared and unfaithful mob (see the golden calf incident in Exodus 32 and refusal to enter and fight for the Promised Land in Numbers 14) into an ancient powerhouse “controlling a number of weaker client states like Philistia, Moab, Edom, Ammon, with a number of Aramaean city-states (Aram-Zobah and Aram-Damascus) becoming vassal states; the imperial border stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Desert, from the Red Sea to the Euphrates River. According to the biblical account, the empire had a large land area” (from Wikipedia).

However, at the peak of  the ancient Israel’s power and influence, while God’s project had just started to yield desired fruits, king Solomon allowed his wives to build worship places for other gods. This was something that slapped God right over His face; something that He specifically told Israelites never to do (e.g. see Deuteronomy 30:17-20). The reason was that God established Hebrews as leaders and their purpose was to lead others out of the ridiculousness of polytheism, and not to become followers of what they see in their neighborhood. God sternly warned Hebrews not to adopt impure and evil ways, or otherwise they would suffer the same fate as the  former inhabitants of the land, and the land would “vomit them out” (see Leviticus 18:24-30). And when Israelites did just that (i.e. adopted polytheism and started behaving badly),  God had accused them of having done so even more wickedly then their non-believing neighbors (see Ezekiel 5:5-10).

So, after Solomon, the ancient Israel started to backslide and the empire was first divided peacefully into the northern (Israel) and southern (Judah) kingdoms, but soon the brothers (i.e. north and south) started to war against each other. After a while the northern Kingdom of Israel was so unfocused on God that God let it be destroyed and overrun by the Assyrians. Northern kingdom was wiped out and a big part of God’s project team was destroyed.

This was to be a wake up call for the remaining Hebrews in the Kingdom of Judah. The south saw rulers destroying worship places of other gods and then restoring them; God threatening them with foreign invaders and then miraculously removing the threat. But alas, as time went by, new generations of Hebrews forgot more and more about the One true God and went after other gods, according to their own imagination. Hebrews lost focus and forgot that their only purpose as a nation was to influence other nations to accept God, and not to abandon God by accepting customs and beliefs of others.

This required a serious review of the project. As every project requires a good leadership to succeed, so also the success of “the chosen people” project depended on the Hebrew leadership. This leadership consisted of the royal family (coming from the bloodline of David) and the Levite priesthood (that attended to God’s temple and performed other religious duties and had political responsibilities). But over the time this leadership got spoiled and perverted.

In Isaiah 5 God talks about the status of the project and likens it to a vineyard. He expresses His frustration with the lack of results: “What more could have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:4)?  The nation that was to lead a ‘model life’ (i.e. good grapes) led a corrupt and lustful life (i.e. wild grapes). Individuals turned to profiteering, spending days on leisure and drinking (see Isaiah 5:8-12), taking all the benefits of being “chosen” for granted and thinking it gives them right to do whatsoever they please; calling “evil good, and good evil,” proclaiming “darkness for light, and light for darkness,” making themselves righteous in their own eyes (see Isaiah 5:18-21).  Judicial system was corrupt (see Isaiah 5:22-23) and leadership nonexistent (see Isaiah 41:28 and Ezekiel 22:30). Virtually nobody followed the Law or practiced the life God wanted them to live (see Ezekiel 22:25-29).

Initially, the  setup of the project made certain that the good leadership was promoted appropriately. After Moses, the leaders were chosen by God and appointed by Him as judges over the people. He would chose the most suitable individual to be a judge and lead Hebrews during the particular time period. But then Hebrews looked into their neighborhood and saw how those nations were ruled by kings, hence they desired the same thing for themselves. This was another slap on God’s face, as He was their supreme leader and their only King. Even though He warned them of the disadvantages of maintaining the royal family, and changes they would need to accept as a nation, people didn’t want to listen so they were granted a king to rule over them (see 1 Samuel 8).

As mentioned above, everything was good while kings were leading the project in the right direction, but few hundred years down the track God-focus was lost and everybody was doing whatever they liked; pretty much anything could go by. Reminds me a bit of the current New Age movement—everybody makes their own rules and are justified by those same rules—there is no Higher Power to answer to and people are their own gods (refer again to the Isaiah 5:18-21).

So, God decided to bring in a new leader for the project, somebody that will not fail and will manage the project until it is finished. He announces this with the following words: “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench; He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law” (Isaiah 42:1-4).

But, this new leader will not behave as the leaders before him; he will do something unusual. He will make the ultimate sacrifice and give his own life for the forgiveness of the sins of all (see Isaiah 53:4-6). This pretty much means that if anything goes wrong with the project or the team members he would be the one to take the blame. So, by appointment of the default scapegoat, God made sure that there would be no legal obstacle that would be able to stop or derail the project in the future. By making the ultimate sacrifice (of the innocent blood) the new leader gained absolute authority over the whole of God’s creation and is able to make any necessary changes required for the success of the project on the Earth.

Also, it seemed that having a single nation as the project team did not guarantee  project’s stability and team’s dedication, motivation and focus. Hence, the teaching mechanisms that were designed to keep the whole of the Hebrew nation pure and holy were not longer needed. God had abandoned the collective approach, where the whole of the nation would be punished for the sin of the one, like it was done in the case of the defeat at Ai due to the sin of Achan (see Joshua 7). God adopted the individual approach, which means that the project team is comprised of worthy individuals added to the project one by one, as they express their interest. The switch to the individual approach was “advertised” to the Jews with the following words: “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (see Ezekiel 18:19-20).

This opened up a possibility to have members of other nations, living outside of the Hebrew territory, as part of the virtual project team as mentioned in the Part 2. We see this in the story of Daniel and how God used him as the instrument to convert Darius, the king of Persia, and cause him to decree “that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel”  (see Daniel 6:25-28). In the story of Esther we see how God placed Mordecai, a Jew, to be the second in charge in the whole of the Persian Empire, essentially repeating the same feat He has done before with Joseph in Egypt (see Esther 10). Perhaps the first honored non-Jew member of the virtual project team was king Cyrus of Persia, of whom we find this prophecy in Isaiah:  “Who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid.”’ (Isaiah 44:28)

So, when Jesus came some 2000 years ago and passed the requirements test for the new leader (see Revelation 5) the new phase of the project started.  He came to the Jews, but he charged his disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel (good news) to all the people, to kings of the nations and everybody that wanted to listen. He said, ” All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).

As people listened and believed in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, they were added to the project as per God’s plan.  He had decided to virtualize the project team and extend the recruitment base long ago when He said,  “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me” (Jeremiah 33:22). This means that the leadership of the project (kings  and priests) are recruited from around the globe and that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are all made “kings and priests to His God and Father” (see Revelation 1:6).

So, let us conclude this article and the tree-part series with the following. If you are not yet part of the project called “the chosen people”, but would love to join in, you will need to make an appointment with Jesus Christ who is the project manager appointed by God our Father.And you can do this with these simple words:

Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins. Come into my heart, I make you my Lord and Savior.

The rules of the project are very simple and straightforward. Perhaps the best description of the project etiquette is given by the apostle John with the following words:

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

“No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:7-16).

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Nito | June 4, 2012

Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

I’ve been using MiAffirmations for a while now. It’s a great little tool that helps me focus on the positive (even when changes around me are seemingly out of control) and I also use it to remind myself about God’s will for me. I often find that few minutes of listening to affirmations and scripture (that I’ve recorded in it) makes me happier and puts me in a more peaceful/meditative state.

From miaffirmations.com:

MiAffirmations  lets you use the power of affirmations to improve your outlook on life. It helps you override negative thought patterns and reprogram self-talk (a stream of unspoken thoughts that circulate through person’s head all of the time).

Record the affirmations you want to hear, choose the background music and let the application mix it and play it back to you, while you engage in your daily activities. Help yourself by reprogramming your thinking. Stay focused on a positive outcome rather than a negative situation. Use affirmations to reach your full potential.

Affirmations are simple yet powerful way to override negative thought patterns and reprogram one’s self-talk. There is an estimate that an average individual’s self-talk contains about 50,000 thoughts per day, and these thoughts could be either positive or negative.

If majority of self-talk is positive then such an individual is an optimist, otherwise he or she is a pessimist. Research has shown that positive thinking (positive self-talk) is linked with :

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
    (source: Mayo Clinic)
Posted by: Nito | May 23, 2012

Gay People Are God’s Children Also

I was looking for some worship music when I noticed the following comment

My whole being sings to You Lord Jesus for healing me of homosexuality. I was deep and for long. Misery followed misery and coming out only deepened it. But You were faithful and you pulled me out, as You promised in Your Word. Thank you Jesus for giving me the new life!

If you are gay and unhappy, know with certainty that you can choose. Do not believe the rubbish that you were born that way. Jesus will change your desires and feelings. TRUST HIM 100%.

My testimony: ilivestraight site

beneath the following YouTube clip:

 

I’ve looked at ilivestraight.com and I think that Sinisa (an ex-gay who maintains the site and has made the above comment) gives us a good insight into the world of homosexuality and also some practical steps on how to get rid of the same. After all, homosexuality is not an in-born trait, but a condition that can be overcome and cured. It is a condition (and I agree with Sinisa that it has a spiritual root) which can be healed by the grace of God, as we see in his case as well as in the cases of others that commented on his site.

These days we are witnessing efforts of gay and lesbian community to proclaim homosexuality a human right, and their efforts to change the definition of marriage to be “between two people” (and not “between a man and a woman”). However, as we see from examples such as Sinisa, this condition can be cured, so it is not about human rights, but about the choices humans do. It’s people’s private business what they do in their own bedrooms, but the rest of mankind should not be forced to applaud and celebrate as normal every silly choice people make.

If we take a step back and look at homosexuality from the scientific perspective, from the point of evolution and propagation of the species, we will see that gay and lesbian couples cannot naturally conceive children. This means that in the process of natural selection (i.e. evolution) their genes will be removed from the human gene pool and their genetic material will disappear from the face of the Earth. In other words, if they continue down that road, Nature will discard them as “misfits”.

No wonder than whatever they do, hiding it or coming out, a feeling that they are doing something wrong is not leaving them. No amount of laws that guarantee their equal rights, or acceptance from their family and friends (as Sinisa described) will give them a lasting relief or peace. Only the decision to get rid of homosexuality and the decision to change their lifestyle will lead them to lasting happiness.

If you are a believer, and are suffering from the condition called homosexuality, you will find strength in God. He loves you, but He doesn’t love your lifestyle. You will find Him always willing to help you change for better. He doesn’t profit in your punishment (because you followed wrong ways) but would like instead to set you on the right path, bless you and prosper you always (see Ezekiel 18:23).

If you are a non-believer, no amount of religious talk will persuade you to change. Think then about the above-mentioned natural selection and the disappearance of your genetic material from the book of life. Even when all your family and friends are for you, Nature is against you. However, if you make a decision to change your life and get rid of homosexuality, God will help you, as you also are His precious child.

Even though God’s attempt to establish monotheism in ancient Egypt didn’t succeed (as described in part 1), this wasn’t crucial for the success of the overall project, which was to remove all polytheistic religions from the face of the Earth. God still achieved this, even though it took much longer time than He probably envisaged at first; and with a different outcome to what was originally planned. We can find many references in the Old Testament where God refers to his chosen people as ‘stiffnecked’, ‘stiffhearted’ and ‘rebellious’, clearly showing His disappointment with their commitment to the project and the pace of its implementation.

However, what God set out to achieve through Abraham and his descendants He did achieve. If you look at the religious landscape of the world today, you will notice that Abrahamic religions (namely JudaismChristianity and Islam, even though Islam cannot claim God’s promises that He gave to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) cover the most of it (see the image below). The rest of the world practices Dharmic or Eastern religions (where major religions are Hinduism and Buddhism), and these are also essentially  monotheistic. In regards to Hinduism, all great Hindu religious leaders have repeatedly stressed that God is one and his forms are many (see details here), while Buddhism doesn’t focus on the Creator-God but on the impersonal aspect of God as Spirit (the Universal Substance), which is the source of everything.

Distribution of Abrahamic (pink) and Dharmic (orange/yellow) religions (source: Wikipedia)

Nevertheless, the religious landscape today would be probably very different, if the project called “the chosen people” have succeeded in the fullness of its original scope. God had promised Abraham to give him the land from the river of Egypt to the river of Euphrates, hence it is interesting to note that every great empire that rose in the ancient near East did include this area in its borders.

If Hebrews did execute their part of the covenant it’s questionable if any of these ancient empires would have developed in such an extent as they did. The height of Israel occurred before Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. If everything went according to God’s plan Israel wouldn’t decline after Solomon, but keep on prospering and influencing other nations to abandon paganism and embrace One True God.

Solomon inherited a great empire from his father David: “Under King David, Israel grew from Kingdom to Empire, and its sphere of influence – militarily and politically – in the Middle East expanded greatly, controlling a number of weaker client states like Philistia, Moab, Edom, Ammon, with a number of Aramaean city-states (Aram-Zobah and Aram-Damascus) becoming vassal states; the imperial border stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Desert, from the Red Sea to the Euphrates River. According to the biblical account, the empire had a large land area” (from Wikipedia).

So if this empire continued to thrive, it’s doubtful that Neo-Assyrian Empire and Neo-Babylonian Empire would develop in the extent they had, and we could also hypothesize about the kind of influence the Kingdom of Israel would have on ancient Persia (i.e. Achaemenid Empire) , Greece (considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western culture) and Rome. The history of the western civilization as we know it would be probably very different!

The question is now what has made God to apparently abandon this project? The Kingdom of Israel is long gone; the cultures and empires it was to influence and transform came and did flourish for a while, but are now also gone. Is it possible that God’s project called “the chosen people” has failed? Could it be that any of His projects would fail? Obviously, by definition, Almighty cannot fail in any of His endeavors; God is faithful and doesn’t do things halfheartedly. Whatever He decides to do will be done, so if something doesn’t look like a finished project, it’s because He moved on to an alternative execution plan.

As noted at the beginning of this article, the aim of the project was to remove all polytheistic religions from the face of the Earth, and this was achieved. But the removal of polytheism from the position of the official religion in countries around the world was achieved through the spread of Christianity and Islam, and not through the spread of Judaism, as it was meant to happen. The overall project goals were achieved, but with different actors and executors to what was originally planned.

On a side note, the last century saw the rise of Neopaganism (i.e. polytheistic) movements in Christian countries, as people became disinterested with the traditional, institutionalised Christianity. But our hope is that those are going to fade away with the revival and awakening of the supernatural faith that is in the core of the original evangelical Christianity.

So, what has made God to alter the way how “the chosen people” project was executed? If we look into the project log (i.e. the Old Testament) we will see how God dealt with various setbacks and issues. Right from the start Hebrews complained about everything. They wanted to go back to Egypt, even if that meant going back to slavery, because they knew their place in Egypt and they knew what to expect. Life in Egypt was hard and backbreaking but there was certainty about it. Plunging into an unknown with God, wandering through strange lands and facing a prospect to fight for their survival, did not appeal to Hebrews.

We know that God knew His people and that He deliberately led them via a longer route into the Promised Land, to avoid early war and confrontation with the Philistines, as He said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt” (see Exodus 13:17). So He knew very well how Hebrews felt, but He was hoping that they would have a change of heart. However, even after seeing so many miraculous things God did and was doing for them, the whole affair was simply a too strange experience for many of the Hebrews.

Like a bird that is used to its cage and refuses to leave, if offered freedom after many years, Hebrews refused to be free and go out into the world to build their own future as masters (and not as slaves). The incident of the golden calf (see Exodus 32) shows how quickly they wanted to forget about God and go back into the security and protection of the old life. Seeing them courting with the polytheistic practices, they’ve seen from their former Egyptian neighbours, made God think about restarting the whole project (see Exodus 32:7-10).

Restarting the project meant getting rid of the old project team (i.e. people), hitting a pause button and taking some time to groom the new project team. This pattern is important to remember as God used it a few times during the project. Another pattern that God used was subjecting Hebrews to foreign rule whenever they would stray away from the project and disregard its guidelines. In other words, whenever Hebrews forgot the purpose of the project and why are they in it, God needed to remind them about the same. I’m not sure if Hebrews ever actually fully understood (i.e. every single individual) what the project was about.

I reckon they fully understood that they are the chosen people, and they knew all the benefits that come with partaking in this important project, but I can’t shake the feeling that they didn’t actually grasp what are their obligations and what are their responsibilities being in the project team. And with all due respect, I think they still don’t get it even today. But don’t get me wrong. I don’t think God had abandoned the Jews. After the destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD, a popular opinion was that God had abandoned the Jews. On the contrary, they are just blinded until faith spreads to the rest of the world (see Romans 11:25). A lot of the end time events revolve around the restoration of Israel as a people living in their own land. So, God is very much using them as a prophetic time clock, which the world can use to know when the end would happen.

Because the aim of the project was to create a nation of holy and righteous people, that would influence other nations to convert to monotheism (not by force but by example), God applied the above-described teaching mechanisms on the whole of the Hebrew collective in order to achieve the project goals. He needed the whole nation to be holy and righteous (and not just a few individuals) in order to exert that strong influence onto the rest of the world. He needed them to live holy lives, to lead exemplary lives, to showcase uplifting and influential lives, and that was the product they were making. In the factory called “the chosen people” they were supposed to create a ‘model life’, a picture of a good and holy life that everybody else on Earth would copy and follow. Being part of the chosen people is a great privilege, but also a great responsibility.

So, to achieve this goal, God initially designed the rules of “the chosen people” project to exact the desired changes on the whole of the Hebrew collective—they were primarily targeting the collective and then the individuals. The whole collective was to change into a holy nation, and the whole collective (i.e. every individual) was required to transform their lives and live model lives.

When we read the Old Testament (i.e. the project log) we’ll see that this failed and that God eventually changed the approach and switched to focusing on individuals (see Ezekiel 18:19-20). This essentially means that God abandoned the idea to groom the holy nation by using a single nation (i.e. Hebrews), but will instead create the holy nation  by grooming individuals instead (and adding them into the holy nation one by one as they accomplish the required transformation of their lives).  A modern term for such dispersed project team is a virtual team.

So the project called “the chosen people” is still running and is still in execution. God is still building the holy nation, but He is in the business of building the “virtual holy nation”. In Ezekiel 17:23 God is talking about the current stage of the project, the stage we are in. He said: “On the mountain height of Israel I will plant it; and it will bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort; in the shadow of its branches they will dwell.

The expression “birds of every sort” represents different nations and races that will become (and are now) part of the project.  At that point in time He was fed up with Hebrews and decided to again restart the project, discard of the most of the project team and then start from scratch with the individual approach. He was preparing the stage and the world for the Messiah (i.e. Jesus) He was about to send.

But let’s leave that story to part 3 (as I’m writing this for a long time already). In part 3 we might look more into mistakes that Hebrews made (that lead to the change of the project approach), but the main point will be to see how the individual approach yielded better results (i.e. the rise of Christianity) and how it quickly brought benefits (i.e. God essentially repeated in Persia the same thing He did in Egypt).

Posted by: Nito | February 27, 2012

Faith (a short story)

A wise man came into a certain village and everybody came to listen to what he had to say. Everybody, except one man who was bedridden due to illness. His house was close to the village square, where the event was held, however he couldn’t hear the speech. He could sense it was a good one, because long periods of silence were often broken by laughter and cheers.

The day had passed and by late afternoon people dispersed. Quite a few wore a happy grin on their faces and as they strolled through the streets they’ve greeted each other affectionately. There was an ecstatic charge in the air, some joyous electricity flowing through people’s hearts. True Believer was among those, and as he was contemplating the words he heard earlier, he remembered his sick friend and decided to pay him a visit and give him some encouragement.

“You know Mate,” he was addressing the sick man, “the saint said something today that I thought I must share with you. He told us how he had a tough and ‘incurable’ illness, however, God completely healed him after many years spent in prayer and hope. As I understood, the way he looks at life now is: ‘I do not expect God to do things the way I want Him to do them, but I do expect God to remove all of the obstacles in my path and resolve all of my problems.’ I just thought you would have liked to hear that testimony,” concluded True Believer with a loving smile.

Mate felt his heavy burden a little lighter as he watched True Believer leaving his room. Little bit of that joyous electricity came into his heart too. Soon his flatmates Luke Warm and Newt Agey came back from the meeting. Newt was also strongly affected by the words they’ve heard earlier that day; “Maan,” beamed Newt, “this is soo cool, I expect all obstacles removed from my path and I expect the Universe to resolve all of my problems!”

In contrast to the playful Newt, Luke was thoughtful. His finances were not on the positive side lately. He had a trouble repaying the loan he took three years ago, and yesterday he had a bad argument with his creditors. After a brief pause Luke sighted and said “I do not expect God to do things the way I want Him to do them, and now if you excuse me, I don’t feel hungry so I’ll just go to my room.” Mate heard their parting footsteps followed by the sound of the opening fridge door. Newt was preparing his dinner and whistling a happy tune.

“I do not expect God to do things the way I want Him to do them, but I do expect God to remove all of the obstacles in my path and resolve all of my problems. That is the stand I will take,” thought Mate to himself as he was watching the twinkle of the first evening stars. There was something new about him tonight—peace has settled upon his face.

The smell of the roses filled the air. The evening chatter of the birds was slowly fading away, as was the red afterglow of the day, letting the deep blue of the night take over the sky. The stars seemed to shimmer brighter tonight. “Are you dancing in the presence of the Lord?” thought Mate marveling at the vast expanse of space filled with all sorts of luminaries and whirling objects.

He loved astronomy, and before the paralysis he was a teacher in the local primary school. “Everything in the universe has its place, pulsing with mathematical precision and in harmony with everything else—like a clockwork, revealing Your passion for perfection,” prayed Mate, “God, surely You can fix my problem. Surely you can heal and restore my life!”

The purity of the moment was abruptly interrupted by the stern voices of two men walking by. “That guy is a lunatic! There is no such thing as God. Even the kids in the kindergarten know this. Such people should not be allowed to come and speak at public places. What a ball of rubbish!” It was Atheist and Agnostic returning home after they had a dinner at Luigi’s. Atheist was clearly agitated with the speech he had heard earlier that day. They lived in the neighborhood and kept to themselves. Mate didn’t like them, as he often heard Atheist yelling at kids  on the street if they were too loudly engrossed in their play.

Agnostic tried to calm his partner: “Maybe you are right, perhaps God really doesn’t exist. There are too many wars, problems and diseases in the world. If God would exist, He would surely put an end to all that suffering.” Mate heard them walking away. Atheist was his usual grumbling self. The calmness of the night was restored after they’ve left. The song of the night creatures restarted and was coming out from the bushes and the nearby creek.

“Lord, I do not understand Your ways, but you do understand what I need,” Mate was whispering, “I do not expect You to do things the way I want them, but I know that You are removing this sickness and all of the other obstacles from my life. You are my caring and loving Father and I trust You!”

Warmth came over Mate’s body as he was praying. The incredible peace filled his heart as he felt the heat moving into his legs. A short moment after Mate was sitting on the bed leaning on his arms. It was a strange feeling  to see them both stretched. Strength was returning to his left side. Tears of gratitude flowed down his cheeks as he stood for the first time after so many years, “Thank you God! Now I know You are real.”

Helix Nebula

Helix Nebula (source: Wikipedia)
Posted by: Nito | January 21, 2012

Seven ways God communicates with us

There are 7 ways God communicates with us:

1. He could actually speak to you, and you would hear His words either audibly or as thoughts arising in your mind. However, verify, double check and validate it is His voice that you hear; He will not mind you doing so.

2. When you feel bliss, joy, love, peace or any other all-embracing feeling—that’s God silently speaking to you that He is near, closer than you think.

3. When He fulfills your prayer, He is telling you that you have His attention and that He cares for you.

4. Listen to other people, because God could send you messages through them. He does speak through those He loves.

5. Watch other people’s lives and review their experiences, as through those God will tell you how He wants you to behave.

6. He will speak to you through the Holy Scripture, which is the Bible.

7. Marvel at the clockwork of the universe, nature and man and how perfectly fine-tuned all is. The harmony of it all is His hint to you that He can fix any problem or issue you are facing (you just have to ask).

Posted by: Nito | January 7, 2012

The Role of the Chosen People – Part 1 (In Egypt)

The Old Testament is a story about God’s special project. By choosing a particular man with good qualities (i.e. Abraham) and grooming his descendants (i.e. Hebrews) into a chosen nation, God aimed to address a particular need on the Earth. He wanted to create a nation (i.e. Israel) of righteous and holy people (see Leviticus 11:45) that would serve as an example to all other nations on the planet.

He had never before done such a thing (see Exodus 34:10-16 and Deuteronomy 4:32-35) and this was so important that He was ready to clean up a particular portion of the Earth (i.e. the “Promised Land”) to make a perfect stage for this new project. The Promised Land was strategically located at the Mediterranean Sea, the birthplace of the western civilization, and “was right in the heart of the ancient world and on the borders of three gigantic land masses, Asia, Africa and Europe. Every great kingdom around them, from the north, south, east and west, along with their conquering monarchs would be confronted with Israel and learn about their people, their laws and the holy Oracles of the One whose kingdom will never pass away” (see “Israel – The Center of the World“).

So, what was this project about? The Exodus from Egypt and the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel in the middle of polytheistic landscape indicated God’s intention to completely root out all polytheistic religions.  Bible tells us that 430 years have passed between the time God made a covenant with Abram (i.e. Abraham) until He took Hebrews out of Egypt (i.e. when Exodus happened). Before the Exodus, Hebrews lived in Egypt  for about half of that time (see the detailed discussion here).

If we take that Exodus happened during the reign of Ramesses II, this would mean that Hebrews probably came into Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep II or Thutmose IV (see the list of Pharaohs). However, even before their journey into the land of Egypt, Hebrews technically lived in Egypt (i.e. Egyptian Empire), as the land of Canaan was included into the empire during  successful military campaigns of various pharaohs of  the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Eighteenth Dynasty produced a number of Egypt’s most famous pharaohs, including Tutankhamun and his father Akhenaten. Also, during the reign of the Eighteen Dynasty, right at the time when Akhenaten’s father, pharaoh Amenhotep III, ruled over the Egyptian Empire, its power and wealth peaked. His reign was a period of unprecedented prosperity and artistic splendor (see Wikipedia entry for Amenhotep III).

So, the question arises why did Amenhotep III’s  successor, his son Amenhotep IV changed his name to Akhenaten in the fifth year of his reign and also switched to monotheism, diverting from the traditional polytheistic beliefs of the Egyptian people?

Placed in the context that Egyptians credited all of their prosperity and  military achievements to their gods, it becomes immediately obvious that Akhenaten’s move was a drastic and huge step into the unknown for the majority of  the Egyptian people (except for the Hebrews who settled in there few decades earlier). Is it possible that God influenced him through Joseph (who was possibly still alive at the time Akhenaten became a pharaoh), and according to some, was his maternal grandfather Yuya? Could that be a reason why Akhenaten introduced monotheism as the official religion of Egypt?

We know that Akhenaten (i.e. Amenhotep IV) initially “permitted worship of Egypt’s traditional deities to continue but near the Temple of Karnak (Amun-Ra’s great cult center), he erected several massive buildings including temples to the Aten…The relationship between Amenhotep IV and the priests of Amun-Re gradually deteriorated. In Year 5 of his reign, Amenhotep IV took decisive steps to establish the Aten as the exclusive, monotheistic god of Egypt: the pharaoh ‘disbanded the priesthoods of all the other gods…and diverted the income from these [other] cults to support the Aten’. To emphasize his complete allegiance to the Aten, the king officially changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten or ‘Living Spirit of Aten'” (from Wikipedia).

Well, one could speculate that disgruntled priesthood, who lost their statuses and income, immediately started the behind-the-scene work to remove Akhenaten from the throne and get back into power. Was Akhenaten murdered, or forced to resign or simply died of a natural cause is yet to be proven, but one thing is for sure, after he was gone, things started to go back into “normality”.  When his son Tutankhaten became a pharaoh, in the third year of his reign, he changed his name to Tutankhamun, ended the worship of Aten and restored the god Amun to supremacy. This does indicate that the old  priesthood order was reinstated and given back their previous status and priviledges.

But the old priesthood didn’t want it to end there; they wanted all memory of their ordeal erased and also to make sure that such a thing would never happen again. So, here is the speculation: they made sure that after Akhenaten died (and I’m not convinced that his death was “unaided”) all members of the royal family were to be removed from the power, as they were too intertwined with Hebrews who “sponsored” this idea of monotheism. The exception was Tutankhamun, who was a kid, and was “useful” as long as he could be manipulated by his advisers (two of which later became pharaohs themselves). It is interesting to note that, after Tutankhamun died, his widow “wrote to the Hittite king Suppiluliuma I, asking if she could marry one of his sons, saying that she was very afraid, but would not take one of her own people as husband. However, the son was killed before reaching his new wife” (see Wikipedia).

As her marriage with a foreigner was not to happen, she probably didn’t have much of a choice but to marry Ay, one of her former husband’s advisers. Ay became a pharaoh, but was removed from power by Horemheb, who was also  Tutankhamun’s adviser and was originally named as his successor. It is interesting to note that Ay might have been son of Yuya, mentioned above as potentially the same person as the biblical Joseph. So, if this is true, he probably didn’t fit into the second part of the polytheistic priesthood’s plot – in order to make sure that return to monotheism would never happen again, they needed Hebrews downgraded and enslaved and history rewritten. Rewriting history was needed to remove all trace of the influential power Joseph (and probably some of his descendants) had. So, Ay consented and aided in restoration of the polytheism, but he probably didn’t want to go as far as enslaving his own relatives or removing his ancestors’ names from the historical records.

However, with the ascension of Horemheb to the throne, priests got what they wanted as he tried to “eliminate all references to the monotheistic experiment, a process that included expunging the name of his immediate predecessors, especially Ay, from the historical record” (from Wikipedia).  “Much of the art and building infrastructure created during Akhenaten’s reign was defaced or destroyed in the period following his death, particularly during the reigns of Horemheb and the early Nineteenth Dynasty kings. Stone building blocks from Akhenaten’s construction projects were later used as foundation stones for subsequent rulers’ temples and tombs” (from Wikipedia).

With the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family destroyed and history rewritten, Horemheb enslaved the Hebrews in a bid to completely remove them from the political life and places of influence. He was probably the pharaoh that Bible talks about in Exodus 1:8-11 saying: “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land.

The reason why Egyptologists can’t find any reference of Hebrews ever living in Egypt is thus revealed: the history was rewritten by Horemheb (and his successors) and any record of Hebrews even remotely being connected with Egypt was completely removed by Ramesses II, after God had dealt with him and Egypt so terribly (as described in Exodus). This was so humiliating for the Egyptians that they simply had to (being already used to the idea of correcting the historical records) remove all traces of such memory from their collective consciousness.

In part 2 we will look into the timing of the project called “the chosen people” and what did God also want to accomplish with it (apart from converting Egypt to monotheism).

Posted by: Nito | December 3, 2011

Is God Bloodthirsty?

When you read the Bible, the Old Testament may come across as brutish and full of violence. Some of the events described in there would be termed as genocide from today’s perspective. In the Law that God gave to Israelis, capital punishment was used for things which are not even deemed a criminal offense these days (i.e. in the western democracies) . A good example is an act of adultery (see Leviticus 20:10).

Nevertheless, God is not bloodthirsty. From the example of Jesus Christ, who perfectly reflected Father’s character and nature (see John 17:25-26 and John 14:9), we understand that God loves us and cares for us His children. Also, the events from the Old Testament must be placed into the perspective that God wanted to remove all polytheistic religions from the Earth. For this purpose He needed to create a holy nation that will influence others to accept faith and show them how to live good and blessed lives (for more details refer to the series of posts named The Role of the Chosen People).

For such a project to succeed God needed to place Hebrews in the middle of the polytheistic landscape, so that they would be able to exact the required influence on the surrounding nations. The Promised Land was obviously already populated, but the people in it lived immoral and corrupt lives. Therefore, God had decided to remove them from the land (to make room for the Hebrews) but He also sternly warned Hebrews not to adopt the same lifestyle with the following words: “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:24-25).

By giving Hebrews the Ten Commandments and the Law, which excluded and forbid the practices that defiled the people before them, God had designed a set of strict rules for the Hebrews to live by. By adhering to this divine moral code and ethics they would set a good example for everybody else to copy and follow.

But let us now look at this question (i.e. is God bloodthirsty?) from a different perspective. Why does God want us to be holy (i.e. we are supposed to copy and follow the life He has designed for the chosen people)? Why would God devise such strict rules for living as He commanded Hebrews to live by?

Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-28) and it also tells us that God is love (see 1 John 4:8). This doesn’t just means that God loves us, but that He is the ‘force’ of love; He is the love itself. From this perspective, what Jesus did 2000 years ago makes perfect sense—he (who perfectly reflected Father’s character and nature) made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his own life for the forgiveness of the sins of all (see Isaiah 53:4-6). He paid the ultimate price (see 1 Corinthians 6:20) so that we could figure out that God is not bloodthirsty, but cares for us and wants us to live happy and free.

But how does happy and free life connect with strict rules for living? To understand this you will have to become aware of what sin does to love—it overshadows it and makes it hidden. Sin disconnects us from God and blocks the flow of His power and grace; it blocks the flow of love. As God is love itself, sin removes us from the source of love, so that we cannot feel It anymore.  People that are disconnected from God (i.e. love) become miserable, whither away and eventually die.

So, it’s not that God is bloodthirsty and has raised the bar too high for us. Not at all! On the contrary, God being the loving Father, doesn’t want us to live in sin because such life sucks. He gave us Jesus so that our sin could be quickly removed (when we accept this offer and start believing that Jesus died for us too) so that we could stand before God washed and clean and enjoy connectedness with love, power, joy and all goodness.

Think also about the following: God is love and we are His children—does this make us little ‘beings of love’? Or, if we make an analogy with a magnetic field and magnetic field lines, are we little ‘love field lines’ that show the direction of the the ‘field of love’, the God Himself? Because God doesn’t want anything to distort His field of love, block its passage or “hurt” little rays of love (i.e. us), He wants to get rid of all evil and He hates all sin. It’s for our own good.

Posted by: Nito | November 13, 2011

Infographic: Habits – Rule Them or Be Ruled By Them

The common goal of humanity is to live happily ever after, surrounded by loved ones, enjoying good health and prosperity all of the time. Everybody seeks these, sometimes in the darkest of places, but in the final analysis few will be completely satisfied, because their search if focused outwards. The great paradox of life is that we are seeking on the outside what is already hidden within us.

We are made in the image of the Lord (Genesis 1:26-28), so instead of looking to receive happiness, love, prosperity and fulfillment from the outside world we should shine them forth and release them from our inner being (as all of this is already included in an image of the Lord). To understand our full potential as God’s children, we just have to look at the example of Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), who is pure image of the Father and has perfectly reflected His character and nature (see John 17:25-26 and John 14:9).

Did Jesus complain about the comforts of life? Was he following the latest fashion trends of the time, buying new clothes and shoes every season? Or, was he upgrading his iPhone as new models became available? What kind of house did he own etc. etc.? These are the things we crave; these are the things we think will bring us satisfaction and fulfillment. Yet, Jesus said: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:19-20).

So, Jesus didn’t have much of the “necessities of life”, but he had Father’s love, protection and resources. Having that he had all, because Father is all in all (Ephesians 4:6), the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8). Would you be scared of anything if you would know that the same Father loves you too? Or, would you be worried about a particular need of yours if you know that you just have to ask God and He will provide whatever you ask for?

If God created us in His image, surely He cares for us and loves us, but somehow we lost an awareness of this fact. We somehow fell out of this relationship, or we were never aware that we could have it, because nobody told us.  This is the thing we are searching for, sometimes in the darkest of places, not having a clue that what we are searching for is God’s love and all goodness that comes when we realize who is our Parent, and how rich He is.

There is no boundary to His love and resources, otherwise He wouldn’t be infinite. With Father everything comes in boundless quantities, everything is limitless – His love and kindness, His riches and His help and protection. Would you like to be in relationship with such a Father? To stand unshaken amidst any circumstance and trial, knowing that Father is with you? Or to express yourself in unlimited and unconditional terms? This state of consciousness comes through the oneness with Christ and the Father.

Jesus prayed for us to be one with him (i.e. Christ) and the Father (John 17:20-23) and so to be perfect and to realize our true nature. The only thing that is required from us, to receive this grace, is our willingness to receive it (and be transformed in the process). The promise of God is that whosoever will pursue Him will be elevated to the status of His son (John 1:12).

This would be an easy feat in the world without temptation. But God created temptation (Isaiah 45:7) so that only those with a sincere and strong desire for Him, and only those that will forsake everything else to be with God, will actually find Him. Our decisions and actions can only lead us in two possible directions: towards God (good actions) or away from God (wrong or evil actions).

It is really easy to determine if one’s actions are good or evil. By definition, good actions are only those that bring you closer to God. As discussed above, God wants all of His children to live in happiness, love, prosperity and fulfillment, so (as God is all-encompassing) good actions will bring into effect all of these benefits to you but also to everybody else around you. Any lesser outcome means that the action is not good enough or is even of the opposite (evil) effect.

However, it is hard to execute good actions, because they require sacrifice and willingness to endure transformation of our lower nature into the higher nature of God’s image within us; they correct our lesser ways and make us forget our smallness  as we grow and change into a true child of the Almighty.

If we want to become God’s sons and daughters then we have to accept His discipline and correction (Hebrews 12:6-10). These are hard and grievous to endure at first, but bring the everlasting fruit of knowing God as one’s Father and having the confidence that His helping and loving hand is always close (Hebrews 12:11). Hence,  the right way forward is to “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Click on the image to enlarge it.

action seeds

So, this brings us to the infographic shown above. When God looks at us, He sees not only what we are aware of (indicated with the black ellipse of “wakeful consciousness”) but also the hidden things and seeds rooted within our subconscious mind. These behavioral patterns define how we react to various situations in life. They could be hidden and ready to invade our awareness as soon as the opportune moment would arise (i.e. they are “not yet in operation”) or are actively directing and supporting our reactions to everyday situations (i.e. “in operation”).

The basis of these behavioral patterns are habits, formed sometime in the past, by repetitive performances of particular actions, sudden experiences or by prolonged and sometimes lifelong situations. Actions and reactions are like seeds that man sows into his life and his brain is like a fertile ground where these seeds germinate and grow into various plants (i.e. behavioral patterns).

Habits could be very useful, as they support automatic execution of actions. For example, once you learn how to use eating utensils this becomes a habit (as the knowledge becomes “grooved” into the brain) and does not require a special mental effort. Otherwise, if no habit would be able to form, you would need to re-learn how to use eating utensils with each new day.

However, Bible warns us that whatsoever actions man performs and permits to operate in his life the associated consequences (of those actions) he will enjoy:  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:7-9).

Habits are like shortcuts that brain saves for later use, together with the description of the situations (i.e. triggers) that will “fire” them off. Whenever the trigger situation will occur, the related habit will automatically execute the saved behavioral pattern, which could be a physical movement of the muscles, emotional movement of the heart, particular thought patterns in the mind or even chemical and electrical reactions at the cellular level of the body.

In its own right, the mechanism of habits is neutral, but depending on which behavioral pattern is saved, we talk about good and bad habits. Habits can be of different strength, which is just a measure of how much is person’s will able to control their automatic “firing”. Weak habits are relatively easily suppressed by person’s other decisions, while very strong habits easily override person’s will. To get rid of a very strong habit the person will have to exert very strong will and continuously perform the opposite actions (i.e. opposite to those actions that established the original habit) that will first “delete” the original habit and then save the new behavioral pattern as the new habit.

Habits could also form groups or chains, where firing of one habit will trigger another one and that one will trigger another one and so forth. Sometimes, these make man a helpless puppet driven by automatic responses of his saved habits. God doesn’t want us to be so bound and helpless. He will make sure (if you ask Him and are willing to change) that you are given the “opportunity” (i.e. thrown into a training regime) where you will have to use strong will to oppose evil tendencies (i.e. demonic behavioral patterns) and establish good behavior (i.e. angelic behavioral patterns).

Human beings normally have “mixed consciousness”, meaning that there are some good and there are some bad habits that rule their lives. When they give their life into God’s hands and apply the spirit of His law to all situations they come across, they will gradually exchange all of their bad habits for the good ones and by His grace, God will also remove bad patterns they are not yet aware of (i.e. from their subconsciousness). Thus they will become saints where their good actions are supported by the “wired frame” of their angelic behavioral patterns.

If they refuse to be corrected by God then (because God gave all of His children free will) He cannot do much for them, but wait until they turn back to Him. Because devilish behavior will bring evil results and establish demonic behavioral patterns, these people will loose even the little goodness they once had. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matthew 13:12).

Nevertheless, even evildoers are God’s children and they cannot be 100% bad, because God’s image is their basis too. Once they become disillusioned with evil, and decide they had enough of darkness, they will start climbing the steps of virtue (i.e. start exerting their will to do good and establish good behavioral patterns) and God will be able to come into their lives and restore them as His children.

Posted by: Nito | September 9, 2011

Love or Fear God?

Q: Should we love or fear God?

A: Yes.

Q: What do you mean ‘yes’? Should we love or should we fear God?

A: Yes. Those who hate God are in a dreadful fear of  His punishment, but those who  love Him have a tender fear that their love is not good enough. They are constantly trying to improve themselves and improve their loving. But the good thing is that God is perfect beloved, patient and forgiving, always helpful, showering blessings and healing on those who seek Him.

Posted by: Nito | July 13, 2011

Religion can be scientific

Science prides itself for using an objective, scientific, method. Scientific method stands for a range of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. Such techniques must be based on gathering observable, empirical and measurable evidence. The core of the scientific method is that whatever is postulated as a hypothesis must be verifiable by a prescribed experiment(s), with steps that are repeatable. This is to remove all biased interpretations and build objective understanding of the Nature (phenomena).

By definition, God is the spiritual noumenon, inaccessible to measurements and experiments that are designed to study phenomena. God said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways… For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8,9).

And yet, He also said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). This “be still” defines the prerequisite for the scientific method to be also applicable in the field of religion. If you are still, you will surely succeed in the “experiment” to know and prove God for yourself. To be still means to calm the mind, so after it ceases to play with the myriads of human thoughts, it could start to clearly receive input from God. To still the mind also means to “disconnect” it from the senses, which are providing constant input, so that mind is constantly busy, producing emotional reaction to the stimuli and it doesn’t have time to process more subtle divine input.

Mind is essentially a receiving instrument—it’s not a factory of thoughts as we think. We don’t own our thoughts, we just tune-in to the particular strata of thoughts, so that particular kinds of thoughts (available in that strata) are received by our minds. 1 Chronicles 21:1 says, “And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.” Now, think of this. Did Satan openly appear to David to suggest he do this trespass in the eyes of the Lord? No, Satan spoke to David’s mind, placing an idea that was seemingly very good. David started thinking, “If I would know how many people I have for war, I could better plan my campaigns.” David liked the idea so much that even when he was told it would displease God he didn’t listen. In the end he did number the people and God did punish the whole nation.

So, the moral of the story is that some thoughts come from God, some from the devil and some are simply coming from your own flesh (i.e. fleshly desires—see James 1:13-15). Depending on the state of their mind each individual would entertain a different mixture of thoughts. This mixture would form the “tainted glass” through which they would see the world.

But, if you would want to research, objectively measure, analyse and discuss the state of the mind and the experience of God which a particular saint had, you would have to put your mind into the same state as he or she had. You cannot reasonably expect to achieve proper and valid results from the thought experiment called “Replicating St. Frances’ relationship with God”, unless you would put yourself into the same state of mind as St. Francis had.

It’s true that you would be able to guess and gain some insight into St. Frances’ relationship with God by reading stories about him and what he said, but this would not be a replica of his experience, but some sort of translation of his world into yours, where you would “see” his experiences through the “tainted glass” of your own state of mind. Similarly, when science looks at the religion and religious belief it comes with its own tainted glass of materialism, which doesn’t allow for the formation of an objective view about the research subject.

And here we come to the point were it becomes clear why it’s so difficult for science to objectively study religion. It’s very difficult to use the scientific method to set up an environment where somebody’s spiritual experiences, or better said, where somebody’s state of the mind is correctly replicated. This can be done only if the researcher has the same mind as the study subject, so the researcher is able to tune-in to the same strata of thoughts as the person under study is connected to.

As one could imagine, this is not easily achieved. Experiments in the domain of consciousness require the appropriate preparation time, where the environment (i.e., one’s mind) is placed into the required initial state for the experiment to be repeatable. Therefore, religious experiences cannot be dismissed as unscientific and unrepeatable, as some scientists would like to conclude (after trying to execute religious experiments without properly setting up the initial conditions). The emphasis must be rather placed on the proper investigation and description of the target state of the mind that is required for the successful execution of the experiment.

Obviously, depending on the distance (i.e., difference) between the required target state of the mind, and that of the researcher, the preparation time will differ, but the method is always the same—by “stilling” of the mind. Proper Bible terminology for stilling of the mind is “renewing of the mind”, or changing one’s mind. So, you see, in order to adequately study religion, science would have to change its mind about God and become believing. Hence, when you see somebody talking about religion without having his or hers mind renewed, just discard their arguments as unsubstantial, because they do not posses the right environment (mind) to base their conclusions upon.

Some time ago I’ve discussed with my friend a necessity to believe in God… Essentially, we were discussing if the belief in God is needed for one to be happy. It all boils down to one thing – how many sources of happiness one has available in his or hers life.

We analyzed two hypothetical people, one who does not believe (i.e. an atheist or agnostic) and the other who does. We did set some input parameters for the comparison, and agreed that these two people are pretty much similar in everything else, but in this belief. They have the same age, the same type of job, same earnings, marriage status, family situation, and are going through the same life experiences; but they totally differ in their attitude towards God.

The first person, an atheist, lives his life relying on his own powers and on those who are willing to help him (friends and family). The believer has those sources of help as well, but also one extra source – God.

It is fair to assume, that overall (as life goes by), the atheist would struggle to come to terms with some events in his life and might not draw any inspiration from the negativity that happens to him or his loved ones, while the believer could see in those a need to solely rely on God and a chance to witness a miraculous.

Even, if we assume that God does not exist and that the believer was wrong (in his belief, but not in his attitude), when both of these people die (at the same time) who do you think had a better life? Who experienced less stress? Who had more options and could draw more inspiration from more places? Who experienced greater peace and had potential to experience more happiness?

On the contrary, if the believer was right, who would be better off in the afterlife? The one who was working on his relationship with God or the other one who was ignoring God?

I reckon that the believer is by far in a better position in all scenarios…

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