Another Gospel Revisited

Another Gospel Revisited – By Grant Phillips – http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips205.html

The Mrs. and I have been occupied with interior work at the house for what seems like forever and I have been unable to get to our computer most of the time. Obviously, this has put me behind on the articles I write, but finally I am able to squeeze in some time.

I wrote an article last month titled “Another Gospel” of which most people followed my line of thought, but with no surprise, there were a few who zeroed in on one issue that was totally irrelevant.

The accusations were primarily that I supported Hank Hanegraaff, simply because I mentioned a book, one book, he wrote, and recommended it for reading since it pertained to my subject matter. I have written numerous articles, and those who have taken the time to read them should know I do not support everything Mr. Hanegraaff believes. I was even accused of speaking unfavorably of Billy Graham. I still haven’t figured out where that one came from.

Let me see if I can make this real simple for some of you. The subject matter of the article was about “another gospel by false prophets.” It had nothing to do with the Rapture, dispensations, replacement theology, or anything else. That was it; “another gospel by false prophets.” I even gave a few examples of my line of thought, as shown in the following paragraph from the article:

Some of the blasphemies these scoundrels spew from their venomous mouths strive to elevate themselves over God. For example they teach: Jesus is not God; We are gods; Jesus suffered in hell and battled Satan; God can do nothing without our permission; God lost His right to rule; We can speak into existence anything we want; God wants us to be rich; Jesus was rich; If we are sick or poor, it is because we lack faith; Our money to their ministry is “seed” faith; We can order Satan around; There are three gods; and on and on and on they go. This is just a sampling! It seems they each try to top their buddies by coming out with something even more ludicrous than what has been said beforehand by another of their kind.

Toward the end of the article I stated the following:

While writing this article, I came across a book on this very subject that I would recommend. It is called “Christianity in Crisis 21st Century” and it is written by Hank Hanegraaff. He goes into the specifics of what I have been warning about for a long time now and examines the false teachings of many of these false teachers with another gospel. In his book, many quotes from these false teachers are discussed.

I still recommend this book, not every book he wrote, but this one, for further reading for those who are interested. Does that mean that I agree with everything in the book? Of course not! You’re adults. Read the book. Check the information as best as you can. Compare what is said with God’s Word, the Bible, and let God guide your thoughts.

The “Dear Abby” column is in most all newspapers and is heavily slanted toward support of homosexuality and gay marriage, not to mention other atrocities. Does that mean you aren’t going to read another newspaper? Of course not! Does that mean you and I support all that we read in the newspaper? Of course not! Common sense people! Use it! I might recommend you read my hometown newspaper, but I certainly do not support much of what is written in it.

Mr. Hanegraaff and I do not agree on some issues, but I feel he is a Christian and understands how and why God saved him. I do not know the man, but he is my brother in Christ, I am not going to turn my back on him simply because we do not agree on some issues that are not of an eternal consequence, or just because a few people are so narrow minded.

This reminds me of all the attacks by Christians against one of their own when a book called The Harbinger was introduced. There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Jonathan Cahn is a Christian and my fellow brother in Christ, even though I’ve never met him either, and what he had to say was well worth reading.

Instead of attacking the veracity of those who are truly Christians, we need to stop turning a blind eye from those who are nothing but charlatans and leading people away from Jesus Christ instead of toward Him.

The subject matter of “another gospel” and the false prophets delivering a false gospel that is not Christ’s Gospel is of extreme importance. Millions of people today are being duped into believing much of this garbage that is being shoveled out. Why is that? It is so because most of those who call themselves Christians are ignorant of God’s Word. They’re generally fine people, but many are blind to what God actually says. They wouldn’t know the truth of God’s Word if it bit them on the nose. For those who are not Christians and believing this nonsense, their eternal state may be at stake.

Now if I may, I’ll throw in a little end time “stuff.” We are in the last days of the Church Age. Some of the greatest signs that the Church Age is nearly over are apostasy, false prophets, false teachings, greed and indifference from alleged church leaders, etc. These so-called leaders are everywhere. They are in the pulpits, on the stage, on the television, on the radio, on the Internet, and they love to write books.

I have personally heard much of what has been said by these false prophets (teachers) mentioned in Mr. Hanegraaff’s book, and he didn’t address them all. There are too many. He mentioned some that “maybe” I would not have been as critical, and others he mentioned that I would have been even more so.

The false teachings coming from these snakes can only come from one source. That source is an evil heart being guided by sin and nudged forward by Satan’s influence.

Partly due to the saturation of false teachers in our society with another gospel, which is a false gospel, we are most definitely in the Laodicean age of the church. If you haven’t read Revelation 3:14-22 lately, maybe you should. It is a very clear photograph of our current spiritual condition in this country.

[Jesus said,] “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” (Matthew 7:15-16)

Often these false prophets come across as God-fearing folks, but that isn’t the case. They always mix some truth in with their false teachings, and if you are not familiar with what the Bible actually says, you will likely become another one of their victims. They know what to say, and how to say it. They often use the righteous tone of voice that is normally accepted as being very Christ-like, but they are far from Christ. They take verses and even passages and twist them to their own perverted gospel. They are not of God! Beware of them!

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Paul is saying the same thing that Jesus said. The false prophets are devious in portraying themselves as belonging to Christ, but they do not. Satan also masquerades as a Christian, if I may put it plainly, but we all know, or should know, where he stands.

Paul told Timothy, his protégé, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, NKJV).

This is EXACTLY what has happened today. Another gospel sounds so much nicer to the ear than the gospel which says that we are condemned without true faith in Jesus Christ, that Jesus is the only way to God, that there is no other way, that God is in charge and He will have His way regardless. In other words, the true Word of God is found in His book He provided for us; i.e. the Bible, not from the mouths of arrogant apostates.

My dear friends, Jesus was not rich while on earth. His desire is not for us to be materially rich (even though some may be) but spiritually rich.

Our physical healing is not nearly as important as our spiritual healing. By His stripes we are healed … spiritually, if we will just repent and believe.

God is in absolute control of everything, and it is by His grace that we are saved.

Jesus did not suffer in hell. It was finished at the cross. He said so.

Jude wrote a very short book, but what a punch it packs. He said, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts” (Jude 17-19).

Many, many, many of the so-called spokesmen (and women) of today who say they speak for Jesus, are lying to you. They mock God, and if they do not repent and call upon Jesus to save their souls, they will spend eternity in hell. There may be even some who are Christians, but are out of God’s will. Their soul is secure, but they are inviting the Father to take them out to the woodshed, and they will have no reward in heaven.

Folks, just because these false teachers may look nice, wear nice clothes, have the “churchy” smile, provide beautiful music, pray, and maybe even produce a tear now and then, does not mean they are of God. Their father is Satan.

Jesus says of them, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not” (John 8:44-45).

The Pharisees, Sadducees, false prophets, scribes and hypocrites of yesterday are the false teachers of today. They will lead you away from God, not toward Him. Beware of another gospel.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel–not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:6-10, ESV).

Grant Phillips

Email grantphillips@windstream.net

What’s To Become Of Egypt?

What’s To Become Of Egypt? – by Jack Kelley – http://gracethrufaith.com/ikvot-hamashiach/whats-to-become-of-egypt/

Once again my inbox contains a number of questions about Egypt, just like it did when former Pres. Hosni Mubarak was ousted in Feb. 2011 and a year later when Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected President. During both those times articles appeared on various web sites trying to connect the events with the fulfillment of end times prophecy. But as Morsi’s abrupt removal after only 16 months in office clearly shows, we don’t know what the ultimate outcome of the current situation will be so we really don’t know what if any prophecy is being fulfilled. With that in mind, let’s take another look at the Bible to see if we can get the Lord’s perspective on our question, “What’s to become of Egypt?”

Like I said it’s still too early to see if the current unrest in Egypt will lead to the fulfillment of prophecy. Those who’ve read my study on the Psalm 83 scenario know that I don’t believe Egypt is one of the nations mentioned there. Neither does Egypt appear in the lineup of combatants in the Battle of Ezekiel 38 that will follow shortly afterward. Participation in one or both of these battles would be expected if Egypt had successfully established itself as a radical Islamic nation.

However, the situation is still volatile. As of this writing, the Egyptian military has taken direct control of the country again, making only vague promises where the future is concerned.

Several people have written to ask if the current events in Egypt could be a fulfillment of Isaiah 19:2-4. Let’s read it.

“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian-brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists. I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”

An initial reading shows some similarity to current events. But Egypt has had a long history of internal conflict, so it would be a mistake to think of the current unrest as being unique. Also, Isaiah said they would consult their idols, the spirits of the dead, the mediums and spiritists in an effort to figure out how to avoid defeat. This is a clue that the passage speaks of an event that’s in our distant past, although it was prophecy when Isaiah wrote it. In Isaiah’s time Egypt was a pagan nation as it had been for centuries. But today Egypt is 80-90% Muslim (mostly Sunni), with the remainder being Coptic Christians. Neither religion permits the kind of practices Isaiah spoke of.

I’m convinced this passage was fulfilled when God gave Egypt over to Nebuchadnezzar following his defeat of the Southern Kingdom in 586 BC. Ezekiel 29:17-20 tells us that God was doing this as a reward to Nebuchadnezzar for his 15 yearlong campaign to conquer Tyre. Even though the siege of Tyre was only partially successful, God said, “I have given him Egypt as a reward for his efforts because he and his army did it for me” (Ezekiel 29:20). I believe Nebuchadnezzar, who was known as “The Destroyer Of Nations”, was the fierce king Isaiah had in view as Egypt’s cruel master.

Back To The Future

We can tell from Scripture that eventually Egypt will become part of the End Times Roman Empire, also being called The Islamic Caliphate by some. According to Daniel 11:40-42 the King of the South, which in Daniel 11 always refers to Egypt, will make an unsuccessful play for leadership during the Great Tribulation by attacking the forces of the anti-Christ. Daniel 11:42 reveals that this will bring Egypt under the anti-Christ’s control. The timing is shortly before the anti-Christ moves his headquarters to Jerusalem (Daniel 11:45) for the final showdown in his quest to control the world.

Of all the nations who either are now or have been significant in the Middle East, only Israel, Egypt and Assyria are mentioned at the outset of the Millennium, and all three are held in high esteem by the Lord.

The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:25)

This means that sometime between their defeat by the anti-Christ and the 2nd Coming a significant number of Egyptians will become believers and will survive to populate their homeland during the Millennium. We’ll turn once again to Isaiah 19 for more insight.

In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them (Isaiah 19:16-17).

I’ve read the major translations of these two verses and none of them say that anything will actually happen to Egypt at this time. I’ve come to the conclusion that the Egyptian people will be persuaded that the Lord is about to execute some major judgment against them. It will be as if they can see Him raising His hand to smite them as He takes the battle field to defend His people against the nations of the world (Zechariah 14:3). This will so terrify them that there will be a massive national conversion to the Lord, reminiscent of Nineveh’s conversion after Jonah warned them of a coming judgment (Jonah 3). It will happen just in time to prevent their destruction in the final days of the Great Tribulation.

The Great Pyramid?

In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and witness to the LORD Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them. So the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledge the LORD. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and keep them. (Isaiah 19:19-21)

Only Egypt has a location that’s both on the border and in the heart of the country. That’s possible because in Hebrew, Egypt’s name is Mizraim, a plural word that means “two Egypts.” In ancient times they were two countries, Upper (southern) Egypt and Lower (northern) Egypt, but they were joined to become one.

The name of this location is Giza. It’s on the border between the two Egypts and in the heart of the combined Egypt. And there’s already a one-of-a-kind ancient monument there, called the Great Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid is thought to have been built in the 22nd Century BC on a 13-acre base made level to within less than 1 inch. 900 million cubic feet of granite blocks were used in its construction. To this day engineers can’t explain how the workers managed to fit those huge blocks together so carefully in building a monument nearly 500 feet high. Some of the larger ones weigh nearly 80 tons.

It originally had a face of polished white limestone consisting of 115,000 stones finished on all six sides to within .01 inch of being perfectly straight. Cut on a bevel, they fit together with seams of less than 1/50th of an inch. They were then cemented together and polished to a high sheen. It’s said that the pyramid shone as if made of light itself and could be seen from over a hundred miles away. Over time the face has been stolen and carried away.

Unlike the 80 or so other pyramids in Egypt, which are vastly inferior copies, the Great Pyramid was not built as a tomb but as a monument, one that has architectural and astronomical features experts would be hard pressed to duplicate today. There are those who believe it was built as a unique tribute to God by beings with supernatural abilities. It’s entirely possible that this amazing structure could again become an altar and a monument, restored by the Egyptian people as an expression of gratitude for the Lord’s mercy upon them.

The “savior and defender” who will rescue them from their oppressor (the anti-Christ) has to be a reference to the Messiah, through whom God will make Himself known to the Egyptians as we’ve seen above. We’re not given any more detail than that, but obviously this will have to happen prior to the 2nd Coming because afterwards it will be too late.

It’s Not Over Yet

Sometime during the Millennium Egypt will get into trouble with the Lord again, and this time they won’t repent in time to avoid His judgment. Isaiah 19:22 tells us that the Lord will strike Egypt, and when they return to Him he will heal the nation. I think this is described in Zechariah 14:16-19.

Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.

This could also be the time of fulfillment for Ezekiel 29:8-16 which records an outstanding judgment against Egypt consisting of a 40 year period of desolation. Biblical records don’t show the Lord ever executing this judgment, and it’s not likely to happen before the 2nd Coming. That leaves the Millennium as the most likely time of fulfillment. Zechariah 14:16-19 is clearly Millennial in its focus and Isaiah 19:22 appears to be as well.

But at the end of the 40 years, the Lord will gather the Egyptians and bring them back. The judgment will have cured them of their rebellion and they will never again attempt to think of themselves as better than other nations. After that they will enjoy peace with the Lord.

In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. The LORD Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:23-25)

In Summary

So it appears that after Egypt has been brought back into the fold of the Lord’s people on Earth, Egypt and Assyria will join Israel as God’s favored people. By the way, don’t confuse Assyria with modern day Syria. Assyria was much larger, encompassing nearly all of the Fertile Crescent from the Persian Gulf in the East around the Arabian Desert and down the Mediterranean coast to the Nile region in the West.

All this indicates that Egypt is in for a rough time over the next few years. Having come to the Lord in the final days of the Great Tribulation, Egypt will struggle and be disciplined at the outset of the Millennium, but will survive to be known as God’s people, alongside Assyria His handiwork, and Israel His inheritance. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Revival

Revival – Ron Graham – www.straitandnarrowministry.com

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. Many Christians are wondering if there will be a revival soon and should we be praying for one. What is to be expected from a revival? Will a revival change the outlook of today’s society? Revival will occur when folks realize they are steeped in sin and are humble before the Lord. Until that time there will be no real revival.

Today there is a different meaning when revival is talked about in Christian circles. Much of the idea behind a revival today has nothing to do with repentance or humbling ourselves before our Holy God and confessing our sins, but it has everything to do with adding numbers to the congregation. Simply adding warm bodies to the pews is not revival. The revival mindset these days among much of the hierarchy of Christendom is more in line with appealing to the flesh, but the Apostle Paul tells us something disturbing about the flesh “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:8. Appealing to the flesh to create an atmosphere of revival will never please God. If we aren’t pleasing God then we must be pleasing Satan.

Revival happens when people humble themselves and pray for their sins to be forgiven and determine that they will now, with a new mindset, embark on a new course for their lives, a course that fully involves Jesus the Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Only then will this world see revival. Will this acknowledgement of sin and turning to Jesus occur any time soon? Too many folks see God as nothing more than a being completely separated from His creation or worse yet they don’t see any reason whatsoever for God to exist. That really is the whole point. How do we see God? Many don’t want anything to do with God, and their lives demonstrate that fact. They don’t see sin as sin; therefore they see no need to humble themselves before God.

For a revival to come about there must not be any sweeping of sins under the carpet. We must believe all our sins were forgiven at the cross then we must confess to God leaving no sin unrevealed. Again, is it likely that we will ever see a revival such as the huge revivals of the past? We are living in the last days, and as we read and study our Bibles we see no indication that a huge revival is forthcoming. Actually we know that in these last days there will be apostasy within the Ekklesia and much weakening among the congregation of saints. The Bible, God’s inerrant word, is replete with history lessons in advance, called prophecy. By studying our Bible we can see what the future will hold for mankind. In the last days just prior to Christ’s return there is no mention of a revival.

Some folks like to say “Just because it’s not in the Bible doesn’t mean we can’t have a revival.” OK, but if there is to be a grand revival in the last days God would not have kept that knowledge from us, after all He is the beginning and the end. On the other hand, in the book of Revelation chapter 3 He does mention some very distinct characteristics which pertain to the last days true Christians. “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8. Jesus dictated 7 letters to John and they lay out the history of the Christian Ekklesia. This letter was written by Jesus to the Ekklesia in Philadelphia and is the sixth of seven letters. Jesus mentions a characteristic that doesn’t sound very appealing. “Little strength” doesn’t conjure up in our mind much in the way of a great revival. On the contrary, it sounds as though the true Christ followers will diminish substantially in the last days.

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Revelation 3:10. Another characteristic of the final days true Christians is that they have kept the Word, which is something that Jesus is very pleased about. So He will keep His true followers from going through the tribulation period known as the 70th week of Daniel. Will we see a great and massive revival prior to the Rapture of Christ’s Ekklesia? Not in respect to anything that would be pleasing to God. In fact in the seventh of the letters Christ wrote, the letter to the Laodiceans, we see that Jesus finds their works very distasteful “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:16.

There are of course revival meetings going on at various times and in various Christian congregations around the country. The ones I’ve attended have been both enjoyable and worthwhile, but these are not nationwide or worldwide revivals and they pale in comparison to any of the historical revivals of the past. Unfortunately there is a revival of sorts that is occurring and it is taking this nation (America as well as others) by storm. It’s the feel good, emphasis on the sensual, “never mind Jesus but let’s invite the devil in” kind of revival that God would have no part of. Therefore the Holy Spirit will not be in attendance except as an onlooker viewing the goings on in wonderment, and sadness as He sees Jesus Christ eliminated and Satan’s lies embraced. Jesus is not even welcome within the congregation, but He still asks the individual to invite Him in. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Let’s re-read the second part of the first referenced verse. “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15b. In these last days it seems revival will be personal.

I suppose there are plenty of brethren who don’t see that we are teetering on the brink of the last days. Many born again believers in Christ place no emphasis on or even believe there will be a Rapture of the Ekklesia, even though the God’s word is very clear on this point. They believe that at some future point in time, Christianity will become so powerful and pervasive that the whole world will embrace it. Supposedly this will usher in the utopian existence that is preached from many pulpits. Only then will Christ return. This is an idea known as Dominion Theology, or Kingdom Now.

The problem with the above scenario is that it is unquestionably unbiblical. The Rapture will occur prior to Daniel’s 70th week. Sometime after the Rapture occurs, Daniel’s 70th week will begin, the last half being what is known as the Great Tribulation…a time of judgment such as has never been seen upon this earth before. When Jesus Christ returns at the end of the 70th week of Daniel, He will set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth. That’s the utopia that is coming – only through Christ’s coming will we ever have a utopian existence.

A worldwide Christ-centered revival would be an awesome event to be sure. But according the Bible it isn’t going to occur, at least not before the Rapture of Christ’s Ekklesia. Afterward many will come to Christ through various means, including the witness of the 144,000 described in Revelation chapter 7. Perhaps revival is part of the scenario that will bring those multitudes to Christ during the Great Tribulation, but we don’t really want to be here to find out, do we?

Without a doubt we are now living in the last of the last days prior to Jesus return. In the big scheme of things, and with all things considered, there is very little time left as the events of the last days prophesied in the Bible are unfolding with crystal clarity before our eyes. Soon Christ’s Ekklesia will disappear. All born again believers in Christ will be caught up to be forever with the Lord. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. What a day of rejoicing that will be! Forever with Jesus.

So where does that leave all born again believers in Christ today? While many of us see the end coming at us like a runaway locomotive, there are many more that see no such end approaching. No matter what one believes about the Rapture, the question is this, what did Jesus tell us to do while we were awaiting His soon return? “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.

A great revival would be wonderful, but more than that we need committed Christians. That means born again believers in Christ who’ve committed themselves to not only following but fulfilling Christ’s great commission to go and preach the Gospel to every creature. If Christians would get off their collective pew warmers and begin to do as Jesus commanded we just might see many individuals come to know Christ. We have an army of believers who are perfectly able to revive those who are lost with a few well-placed words which just might jolt them into giving Jesus some real serious thought.

How about you? Are you waiting on that great revival that seems so elusive? Are you waiting for someone else to spark a revival, or are you the force behind presenting the Gospel message to the lost? Remember this, when it’s all said and done we will all report to Jesus and explain what we did with Him and His Gospel while we walked planet earth. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. My own personal opinion on that matter is there will be many Christians standing before Christ wishing they had done more for Him. How about you? Why not start that revival now.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed

This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham

96 County Road 5480

Salem, MO 65560

Hell is for Real, My Friend!

Hell is for Real, My Friend! – By Mike Taylor – http://www.churchofgod-usa.org/1/post/2013/07/hell-is-for-real-my-friend.html

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I got into a discussion with a friend of mine who seems to be confused about the doctrine of sinners and their destination of an ever burning hell. In talking with this person, I was aware that he didn’t believe a loving God would ever send any one to an eternal torment known to us as hell, or Gehenna. Is he right? Is a loving God unwilling to send anyone to a terrible place called in the bible in 53 different passages, hell or a place burning with fire and brimstone? Is the concept of a eternal hell a figment of some minister’s imagination or a denomination’s attempt to force people to the altar for fear of being cast into hellfire?

First, let me quote a minister that doesn’t believe in an eternal hell and that God is a God of Love,

“For centuries, many ministers have been preaching “hellfire and brimstone” sermons and promoting a religion of fear by teaching that the unsaved face an eternity of torture. The common teaching is that incorrigibly wicked people will be tormented forever in some fiery, macabre manner in a terrifying place called hell. This horrible fate usually conjures up in people’s minds visions of an ever-burning hellfire where sinners are continually roasted on spits, and a devil with horns and a tail runs around sticking his captives with a pitchfork.”

It is hard to convince some folks that God is not only a God of love, but also the God of judgment. He is a God of justice, a God of consuming fire, and a God who will not allow sin into His presence. Are we talking about the same God?. Do you mean the same God that told the Israelites when they entered Canaan to not spare man, woman, or child from the sword, but to slay them all? Do you mean that God? If it’s the same God of the Bible, what did He say about it?

When Jesus spoke of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus being separated by a huge gulf and the rich man being in torment, was He just telling a story? Was He stretching the truth, just to make a point? Let’s look at the passage. This is Jesus speaking. Luke chapter 16:

16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

16:21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

16:22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

16:24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

Since our Lord was sinless and only told what is true, it would make sense that He would not tell a falsehood, just to make a point. Jesus spoke of things spiritual that were being played out in the natural realm. Do we think that He was just joking and He didn’t mean it as He spoke it, and exactly as we take it?

Some denomination and well-meaning Christians believe that hell is a synonym of the grave. They go to great lengths to prove that Hades, the grave, and hell are all the same thing. Then why does so many Old Testament and New Testament writers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit make so much about the wages of sin and the eternal destruction of the soul in hell? Let’s take a journey to look at some of the scriptures that point to the fallacy of not believing that the penalty for not having Jesus Christ cover your sins with His own shed blood is an eternal home in hell’s unquenchable fire.

King David spoke of it in Psalms 9:16 The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Proverbs 23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

If you punish your child, you will not save him from the grave. We all will die, but what is spoken of here is delivering yourself from something beyond the grave. We call is Hell!

Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

5:15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled: Isaiah spoke of a place where man will be brought down and will be humbled. We all die, so it’s not speaking of only the grave, but something beyond the grave.

Isaiah when he spoke of the final destination of Lucifer because of his sin against God, he wrote these words:

14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

14:16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

14:17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

Understand that hell and the Lake of Fire was designed for Lucifer and his demon angels that fell because of rebellion. It was never designed for mankind that was made in the image of God. Satan had to attempt to thwart God’s judgment on himself. If he could get man to fall, then it possibly could thwart God’s perfect creation and maybe judgment on Lucifer himself. But God knew that to redeem what had been stolen by Satan, a perfect sacrifice had to be slain, and Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world. So God sent His only Son into the world to redeem mankind, as the kinsman redeemer. But it would cost Him His life, because sinful man is worthy of death. So Jesus paid the penalty for all who believe on His name and follow His example.

Satan wants you to disbelieve in a place called hell. Satan wants to deceive you, and blind you to this Biblical truth. Satan knows it is his final destination and he will not go down without taking anyone and everyone he can, with him. He has tried for many thousands of years to thwart the judgment of God and make Him somehow, a liar and to make void his sentencing to a devil’s hell.

Jesus spoke of it further in Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be indanger of hell fire.

If you search your concordance for the word hell, verses before this one in your bible, does give you a feeling that hell in some scriptures, not all, depicts the grave and some point to beyond the grave, but this is where the Lord of Creation identifies what hell means. There is no fire in the grave, but of a place beyond the grave where the wicked and the sinner may end up. Hence it spoke of it plainly in Lazarus and the rich man Through the gospels, and I won’t quote each and everyone of them for the sake of brevity, Jesus makes an analogy of removing the sinful and offending part from you so that you will not be cast into hell. If it be the grave, then all parts of the departed end in the grave. Jesus speaks of something more.

Then there is the time when Jesus in His righteous anger railed against the Jewish authorities for the iniquity in dealing with the people: In Matthew again,

23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.

23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

How much more plain can Jesus be? Did He not give enough clues to the final destination of all who are not redeemed by His own shed blood?

The kicker for me is found in Revelation chapter 14, that speaks of the reward of those who take the mark of the beast.

14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Now tell me reader, if this hell fire is a parable, and hell is only the grave and there is not eternal torment for the sinner and the wicked, then why is the smoke of the torment rising before the Lamb and His holy angels, forever, and ever, and ever…sounds like eternity to me and proof that there is a final fiery judgment on sinful mankind!!

When I pointed this simple fact found in your bible out to my friend, he had not an explanation. No quick comeback and no answer to the Words of our Lord, written by John the Apostle. I fear for people who don’t believe the simple words of your bible. One denomination actually believes that “all will be saved after the Great White Throne judgment.”. This scenario believes that all will stand before the Ancient of Days, and be judged, but sentence will not be carried out until they have a “full chance” at believing in the name of Jesus Christ and finding forgiveness. Now I can’t speak for God, as God is sovereign, all powerful and all merciful. All that have not had a chance at hearing, God can do what He wills with them, but to all who have heard the gospel and think they have a “second chance” at redemption play the Russian roulette of the fool.

Paul makes a point in Hebrews that we should take seriously this side of eternityl

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

You who are reading this, I don’t mean to scare you to the altar because you fear an ever burning fire called Hell !! But I wish to convey the harsh reality that all who are not found with their name written in the Book of Life at the Great White Throne judgment will receive their just reward, and it’s all because of their own will, not Gods. I propose Holy Spirit conviction come upon you, and you make a plea for changing your life and repenting of your former life and living for God for the rest of it. Don’t come to the Lord for the wrong reason. Fear is the beginning of wisdom, but a true repentant and humble heart is what God desires.

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

But Jesus stands in the gap. He has paid he ultimate price for your sins, His life and shed all of His blood to wash you perfectly clean and make you acceptable before God the Father in Heaven.

In the closing verses of the final book of our bible, Jesus makes this final plea:

22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Jesus makes an open invitation to all who will come and sit at His feet and believe in the only Begotten Son of the Father, Jesus the Christ (Messiah). He wishes for all to be joined unto Him and live forever, but He will not usurp your own will. He will not force you. He said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open unto me, I will come unto him and sup with him, and he with Me. “Revelation 3:20. He desires that all come to repentance and to accept His free offer of grace. All you have to do, is believe in the One whom God has sent. Then become a new creature in Jesus Christ and follow the Lord in baptism as a first sign of obedience. Then live unto obedience the things He wrote in His Word.

II Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

3:11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

The Lord is coming soon, as a thief in the night…meaning suddenly and without warning. He wishes you to be with Him and not suffer what is coming. Chances are you will be counted with the sinner, as salvation will be hard to obtain, and be easily lost because of tribulation and the demonic forces working overtime for the destruction of your soul. Don’t give Satan a chance to take you with him. Make that decision for Jesus Christ right now, while there is still time. But time is growing short. Because my friend, Hell if for real!!

This is Pastor Mike Taylor wishing you well and God’s love in your life. If there is anything I can counsel you on from our bible, then drop me a line to realteam1999@sbcglobal.net . If you need prayer, or just a listening ear, I’m here waiting to assist you. God bless you, till we meet at Jesus feet.

Mid-East Update

Mid-East Update – by Jack Kelley – http://gracethrufaith.com/ikvot-hamashiach/mid-east-update/

Recently several events in the Middle East have taken place that should be putting students of prophecy on high alert.

In Syria, the opposition is fragmenting as newly arrived Taliban fighters from Afghanistan have joined with alQaeda in what looks like an attempt to hijack the Free Syrian Army’s rebellion against the Assad government. In the short term this means the Syrian opposition is focused more on the infighting among its own factions than on defeating the government forces. The Taliban and alQaeda alliance seems to be gaining the upper hand, which means any hope for a “moderate Muslim” government to replace Assad is quickly evaporating.

A report that Israel is considering going it alone in an effort to put a halt to Iran’s nuclear arms development is also in the news. According to high ranking officials, Israel is concerned that because of North Korean help Iran is about to cross Prime Minister Natanyahu’s famous red line, and could be only months away from having a “nuclear device”. According to them that means a warhead or bomb is less than a year away. These officials are saying that something must be done before the end of 2013 to stop Iran. It has been reported that a majority of Israel’s security cabinet is now prepared to vote for war with or without help from others.

Accordingly, Israeli officials have begun preparing the world to expect some kind of action against Iran later this year. PM Netanyahu pledged on national television that he will not wait until it’s too late to act.

Also, upon learning that Russia had agreed to supply Syria with advanced anti-ship and anti-air missile systems, PM Netanyahu met with Russian Pres. Putin on May 14 in an unsuccessful attempt to stop the transaction. Netanyahu reportedly told Putin that Israel would destroy these systems if they arrived in Syria. Putin responded that if they did Russia would retaliate.

A few days earlier, Israel had secretly destroyed a shipment of Iranian arms meant for Hezbollah in an air strike near Damascus. Upon learning from Washington that Israel was responsible, Syrian, Iranian, and Hezbollah officials said another such attack would bring an immediate reprisal.

Then on July 5 air strikes against an arms depot in Latakia, a port city in Syria, destroyed another big cache of arms, supplied mostly by Russia. Of the three arsenals destroyed, one contained components of the very weapons systems Netanyahu and Putin had discussed in May. Another held advanced weapons the Russians knew were intended for use by Hezbollah.

As with the previous raid, neither Syrian nor Russian radar detected the attacking aircraft so it was not known from whence they came. But once again, the US disclosed to the media that the attack had been carried out by Israel.

The question now is how and when Russia, Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah will make good on their threats to immediately respond to these Israeli attacks.

Why Did You Do That?

You might ask why the US would let the world know it was the Israelis who pulled off these two daring strikes. Well, it looks like this was Pres. Obama’s way of telling Israel not to try going it alone against Iran, and especially not to “cozy up” to any other Middle Eastern countries in the process.

This was a reference to Saudi Arabia. It turns out that the King of Saudi Arabia and former Egyptian Pres. Mubarak are close friends. When the Obama administration was instrumental in Mubarak’s ouster in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood a year ago, it upset the Saudi King and he determined to get even for the shabby way in which his friend was being treated. His chance came when the Egyptian Army decided to throw the Brotherhood out of office last month. He sent a high ranking subordinate to help the Egyptian Army plan and execute the overthrow.

When Obama officials saw they couldn’t dissuade the Egyptian Army from acting, they threatened to “review” the $1.2 billion in annual aid that was the army’s primary source of income. The Saudi King immediately offered to cover any shortfall, and in a single day transferred $8 billion in cash into the army’s account. When you add gasoline credits and cash contributions from other Arab countries the total assistance came to $12 billion. The Egyptians were thus emboldened to ask the US whether they really wanted to jeopardize losing Egypt as an ally by making such a threat. So much for Obama’s power play.

The Brotherhood, of which Hamas is part, has begun to retaliate against the Egyptian army, using the Sinai desert as its battleground. This presents a threat to Israel because whenever Muslim forces are at odds, one side or the other will usually attack Israel. So in a move that’s surprising to say the least, Israel has been helping the Egyptian army with intelligence and drone support and has given permission for the Egyptians to move tanks and soldiers into the Sinai. In return the Egyptian army has cut off the Sinai supply routes and for the first time in recent memory most of the hundreds of smuggling tunnels that connect the Sinai with Gaza have been blocked.

The Obama administration is afraid that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and some other Arab states are setting up an independent block of Sunni Muslims to oppose the Shiites. They are concerned that Israel will turn to this block for help in taking out their common enemy, Shiite Iran. Tipping off the Russians is Obama’s way of telling Israel, “If you want to go your own way, we can go our own way too, and you won’t like outcome.”

War In The Sinai

As you read this, the Egyptian Army has begun a campaign to clear the Sinai of Bedouin and Palestinian fighters who have joined with the Brotherhood in their attempt to regain control of Egypt. Israeli forces along the Egyptian and Gaza borders are on high alert and their drones and satellites are scouring the area from above to provide Egypt with real time battlefield intelligence.

Having had its bluff on the aid issue successfully called, the US has stationed two amphibious helicopter carriers nearby with 2,600 US Marines aboard to make sure Suez Canal traffic isn’t disrupted, and is also supplying the Egyptian Army with satellite intelligence on troop movements in the Sinai. Egypt has vowed not to end this campaign until the Sinai has been cleared of the Brotherhood and its allies.

Looking Ahead

Let’s summarize what we could be looking at in the second half of 2013. Israeli leaders are concerned that there are few if any real alternatives to attacking Iran, who with North Korea’s assistance, is about to cross the red line. They’re are running out of hope that war with Iran later this year can be avoided.

Iran and Syria have made no secret of their willingness to arm Hezbollah with the latest weaponry. Now Russia has been discovered doing the same thing. Israel’s preventive attacks against these efforts has brought promises of swift retaliation from everyone involved. This would most likely be done through Hezbollah with Russia, Iran and Syria coordinating an attack on Israel’s northern border by Hezbollah forces.

It’s hard to believe that Russia will let Israel’s destruction of its weaponry go unanswered, especially after Putin promised to retaliate. Iran could see this as a chance to pre-empt Israel’s clear intention to destroy their nuclear program by attacking first. And it’s obvious that Hezbollah has been looking for the go ahead to open a northern front against Israel. Syria will also benefit from this, because it will distract the rebel forces from their goal of bringing down the government. Islamic “freedom fighters” in Syria will not miss the chance to strike a blow against Israel.

In the south, Israel’s cooperation with the Egyptian Army against the Brotherhood and its allies could easily provide the rationale for an attack on Israel’s southern border by the several Islamist groups in Gaza. Having the Israelis working with the Egyptian Army against the Brotherhood and its allies presents an intolerable situation that will have to be addressed

The bottom line is this may just be too good an opportunity for Israel’s enemies to pass up. If there’s any such thing as a perfect storm in Middle East warfare, The one that’s brewing now could be it. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.