Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Lectionary and am I a Dog?

The Lectionary and being a Dog ....

The Gospel reading this week was from Matthew ....

Matthew 15: (10-20), 21-28

[Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles." Then the disciples approached and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?" He answered, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit." But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us." Then he said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile."]

Jesus left Gennesaret and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.

On first glance one might say that Jesus was rude, crass, calling the woman a dog .... let me assure you this is not what I believe as I heard in a sermon this Sunday. This would imply that Jesus did not love this woman, in effect breaking the 2nd commandment. This would then mean that He sinned, and could not be the perfect sacrifice for my sins.

By looking at the lesson being taught before the encounter with the woman, you can easily see that Jesus was talking and teaching about the power of our words, what comes from our mouth being evil or good, - as what comes from the mouth comes from the HEART - and if it is evil that is what defiles the person in God's view ... not their outward person and not their nationality.

So here as the woman is encountered, Jesus waits to see what comes from the mouth of the woman - her HEART - and it was not evil, it did not defile her, it was good and filled with faith.

As a side note:

Dog was a term that the Jews used commonly about Gentiles (as was this woman) .. as it was more likely that dog would recieve God's blessing than the pagan Gentile. Jesus was not degrading this woman, but using this term he was contrasting the Jewish view to his own view. AS you can see the woman did not argue, did not leave but instead used using Jesus's choice of words, she asked for a blessing from her heart.

Ironically many Jews would miss out or lose God's blessing and salvation because they rejected the Messiah; and many Gentiles would find salvation because they recognized and accepted him as this woman did.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Israeli tie to the Russian Georgia conflict

As the conflict between Russia and Georgia unfolded, it became clear that there was an "Israeli factor" in the conflict. This was evidenced by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) training of the Georgian military and much of the armament used by Georgia being purchased from Israel.

There was a large Jewish community in Georgia that was airlifted by Israel's national airline El Al out of the war-zone and into Israel - somewhat of a forced immigration to the Jewish state.

The Russian-Georgian conflict and its impact on both Europe and the Middle East is a precursor to a scenario found in Bible prophecy.

The world watched as the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took charge of the Russian military, which seemed to come alive in the Blitz they made into Georgia. There is no one who believes that this conflict just happened - but instead it was orchestrated by Russian leaders to reassert their nation as a major player on the world stage.

The conflict has caused ripples across Eastern Europe and the Middle East as one reporter put it, "This is Russia 'back to the future'." But don't forget the Israeli factor in this conflict. Bible prophecy reveals that Russia will lead a coalition of Arab and Islamic states against Israel at the very onset of the Tribuation period, (Ezekiel 38, Daniel 11). Ezekiel 39:2-6 states that this Russia-lead coalition will be wiped out by a heavenly invasion, leaving only 1/6 of the Islamic world intact. Until then, Russia and the Islamic nations will be major players on the world scene.

Pharisee / Blasphemer

“At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat,” Matthew 12:1. In this chapter of the Gospel of Matthew something occurs that is pivotal in Christ’s ministry. First of all we see Jesus and His disciples pick corn and eat it on the Sabbath day. One of the many Pharisaical laws was no one works on the Sabbath. Jesus listening to their ranting tries to explain about the Sabbath and how David and his men ate the shewbread from the temple and that the priests in the Temple profaned the Sabbath but were found blameless. He tells them that there is One with them who is greater than the Temple.

After picking the corn Jesus then went against the Law and healed a man with a withered hand, and then Matthew tells us that Jesus went out from them because the Pharisees were conspiring to kill Him. The multitude followed Him and He healed them all. The Greek word translated “healed” is therapeuō which is where we get our English word therapeutic. In the Greek it has different meanings, some of which are to heal, cure, restore to health. It can also mean to serve, or do service. Jesus served His followers by attending to their needs and restoring their health. Afterwards, Jesus healed a man who was deaf, dumb, and possessed with a demon. At this point the Pharisees had seen and heard enough; they were determined to destroy Jesus.

Throughout the Gospels we can read about how the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus for going against their man made traditional laws. Jesus gave these hard hearted and foolish individuals every opportunity to understand and to believe. He spoke to them plainly, so plainly that a child could understand what He was professing. Did they misunderstand Jesus or were they so completely consumed by their own perversions that they couldn’t see the truth? The sin of what the Pharisees did next must be considered satanic.

The Pharisees’ next words were a deliberate not accidental statement. They had witnessed over and over again the Lord’s power and had the evidence right at their fingertips as to who Jesus was, but still they said “…This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils,” Matthew 12:24.

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, went into an explanation about how a house divided against itself cannot stand in verse 25, but then in a rebuking manner Jesus states, “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast [them] out? therefore they shall be your judges”, Matthew 12:27. It appears as though they themselves were also casting out demons, apparently in the manner of today’s exorcisms. So by calling Jesus Beelzebub they had just condemned themselves, and this is what brought Jesus to His next point. “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men… ‘And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him…” Matthew 12: 31 – 32a.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Glasses ???

Judas was a preacher; nay, he was a foremost preacher, “he obtained part of this ministry,” said the Apostle Peter. He was not simply one of the seventy; he had been selected by the Lord himself as one of the twelve, an honorable member of the college of the apostles. Doubtless he had preached the gospel so that many had been gladdened by his voice, and miraculous powers had been vouchsafed to him, so that at his word the sick had been healed, deaf ears had been opened; and the blind had been made to see; nay, there is no doubt that he who could not keep the devil out of himself, had cast devils out of others. Yet how are you fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! He that was as a prophet in the midst of the people, and spake with the tongue of the learned, whose word and wonders proved that he had been with Jesus and had learned of him — he betrays his Master. Understand, my brethren, that no gifts can ensure grace, and that no position of honor or usefulness in the Church will necessarily prove our being true to our Lord and Master. Doubtless there are bishops in Hell, and crowds of those who once occupied the pulpit are now condemned for ever to bewail their hypocrisy. You that are Church-officers, do not conclude that because you enjoy the confidence of the Church, that therefore of an absolute certainty the grace of God is in you. Perhaps it is the most dangerous of all positions for a man to become well known and much respected by the religious world, and yet to be rotten at the core. To be where others can observe our faults is a healthy thing though painful; but to live with beloved friends who would not believe it possible for us to do wrong, and who if they saw us err would make excuses for us — this is to be where it is next to impossible for us ever to be aroused if our hearts be not right with God. To have a fair reputation and a false heart is to stand upon the brink of Hell.

From the Book Spurgeon Gold

Thursday, August 7, 2008

More Ethiopian Jews Arrive

The arrival of hundreds and thousands of Ethiopian Jews in Israel over the last 30 years has been at least the partial fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the Last Days.

The latest arrival of Ethiopian Jews at Ben Gurion Airport brought to an end the era of major movements of immigration by the Jews of Ethiopia. The two major airlifts, "Operation Moses" in the 1980's and the historic airlift in 1991,"Operation Solomon", brought starving Ethiopian Jews to their homeland of Israel. The events of "Operation Solomon" in May of 1991 when the Israeli government moved 15,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel from Addas Ababa in a 24 hour period using some 42 aircraft with 28 of them in the air at one time. One big jumbo jet that normally carries around 400 people took out all of the seats and put 1,087 Ethiopian Jews on the airplane for the flight to Israel. By the way, while that flight was in the air, there were seven babies born on the plane before it arrived in Israel.

The ancient Jewish prophet Ezekiel said the Lord would find Jews from around the world and bring them into Israel during the End Times, Ezekiel 34:11-14. Another Jewish prophet, Zephaniah said there would be Jews from the African nation of Ethiopia that would come to the land of their forefathers in the Last Days, Zephaniah 3:10.

The arrival of Ethiopian Jews in Israel is indeed evidence that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

Behold .... He Comes Quickly

I thought this was a good short video, of interest ...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Universalism ??

Because of the day in which we live, Christians need to make a stand for the Word of God more than ever. I feel just as Jeremiah who said ‘His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones’. Friends, there are a lot of liars and deceivers out there who are attempting to seduce and entice you into hell. It is my prayer that God will reveal to you His truth and that no one will be able to deceive you.

The devil is leading people away from the truth through the influence of celebrities with wishy-washy feel-good spiritualism. One example is Oprah Winfrey. Oprah, who is reported to have an audience of 15 to 20 million people, claims that she is a Christian. In 2002, Christianity Today declared she “has become one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America.” Oprah talks about Christ- consciousness rather than speaking about salvation through Christ. Likewise, she describes heaven not as an eternal destination but an inner realm of consciousness. She also dismisses the idea that there is “one way” to God, when she says, “There couldn’t possibly be just one way.” Oprah stated, “One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live.” She goes on to say, “there are many paths to what you call God.” Multiple false ideas by man are circulating in the world today. One of those false doctrines is Universalism, which is a religion that believes that all creatures and persons will be reconciled to God. They accept all religions as a pathway to God.

Are there many pathways to God? God, through His infinite mercy, has given us the Bible, which is a road map to heaven. 2 Timothy 3:16 states “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” 2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

So what does the Word of God say about this New Age Idea that Oprah Winfrey is ‘preaching’? John 14:16 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. The majority of non-believers and many people who claim to be ‘Christians’ say that fundamental Christianity is ‘intolerant’ and ‘narrow-minded’ because we say that Jesus is the only way to heaven. If you were about to drink poison, and I say, ‘Don’t drink that because it will kill you’. Is that ‘intolerant’? If a building was on fire and there was only one exit and I point you to that one way of escape, is that being ‘narrow-minded’? No it is not. The truth is the truth. Two plus two equals four. It has always equaled four. It will equal four in the future. God is truth. Romans 3:4 says ‘ let God be true, but every man a liar.’ If being ‘intolerant’ and ‘narrow-minded’ means that I refuse to accept a lie, then call me intolerant and narrow-minded. I refuse to accept a lie and I choose to believe Jesus Christ.

In John 17:17, Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”. We are told that the Bible-the Word of God is truth. Therefore, to live as a sanctified Christian, we are to study and adhere to the Word of God, which is truth. God calls us to be wise to the works of Satan. Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Why do some people, such as Oprah Winfrey tag themselves with the name ‘Christian’? It is because they accept the ‘love’ part of the gospel. They like the part that says ‘God so loved the world’; however, they refuse the Word, which says “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

By Faith Noles

Proof of Jeremiah

From here

(IsraelNN.com) Archaeologists have unearthed proof of another Biblical story at Jerusalem's ancient City of David, this time corroborating the Book of Jeremiah.

A completely intact seal impression, or "bula", bearing the name Gedaliahu ben Pashur was uncovered. The bula is actually a stamped engraving made of mortar.

Gedaliahu ben Pashur's bula was found a bare few meters away from the site where a second such seal, this one belonging to Yuchal ben Shlemiyahu was found three years ago, at the entrance to the City of David.

In the Book of Jeremiah (38:1-4), both men are mentioned as ministers to King Tzidkiyahu, who reigned from 597-586 BCE. The two, along with another pair, demanded the death penalty for the prophet Jeremiah in response to his plea for the king to surrender the city to the oncoming hordes of the Babylonian conqueror Nebuchadnezzer.

According to Professor Eilat Mazar of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, who led the dig, the ancient Hebrew letters "are very clearly preserved." The seal impression was found in clay, she said.

The verses read as follows:

Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashur, Yuchal son of Shelemiah and Pashur son of Malchiah heard the things that Jeremiah was speaking to the people saying:

"Thus said Hashem: Whoever remains in this city will die by the sword, by the famine or by the pestilence, whereas whoever goes out [in surrender] to the Chaldeans will live; he will have his life as a booty, and he will live.

"Thus said Hashem: This city will surely be delivered into the hand of the army of the king of Babylonia, and he will capture it."

And the[se] officers said to the king, "Let this man be put to death now, because he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking to them such things. For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but rather [their] detriment."

“How absolutely fantastic and special this find is, can only be realized when you hold in your hand this magnificent one-centimeter piece of clay and know that it survived 2,600 years in the debris of the destruction, and came to us complete and in perfect condition,” said Mazar.

Mazar's team of archaeologists focused its efforts on the layer of artifacts from the First Temple period located just outside the walls of the Old City, near Dung Gate.

The seal impression that was found three years ago was uncovered inside a stone structure that Mazar said she believed was the Palace of David. Gedaliahu's seal impression was unearthed at the foot of the external wall of the same structure, under a tower that appeared to have been built in the days of Nechemia in the fifth century BCE.

Mazar has been excavating the site since 2005. She is a senior fellow at the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based research and educational institute, and heads its Institute of Archaeology. The Ir David (City of David) Foundation was the principal sponsor of the excavation, together with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Hebrew University, and the Shalem Center.