Why Europe Supports the Anti-Israel Iranian Regime
(Standing Watch) 12 min. video
Proselytize: a four ... um ... eleven ... letter word (Sabbath Meditations)
Webster’s defines Proselytize as: “to recruit or convert especially to a new faith, institution, or cause.”
Most, correctly or incorrectly, think of proselytizing as actively seeking to win one over to one’s faith. Witnessing, in contrast, is viewed as sharing one’s faith only as the opportunity presents itself. Proselytizing is seen as aggressive. Witnessing is seen as more passive.
I think the concept of proselytizing has an unfairly bad reputation among some Christians, particularly so among some of us Sabbath Keepers. Proselytizing seems so, well, Protestant sounding. And if there is anything that can turn a Sabbath Keeper off fast, it’s whatever smacks as being overly Protestant. Proselytizing conjures up for many of us the image of someone standing on a milk crate in the middle of a park with a megaphone, belting out pleas to repent to anyone within earshot.
Another reason proselytizing is frowned on might be because scripture speaks of our coming to relationship with Jesus Christ as a ‘calling’. I Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that “we should walk worthy of God who called you into His Kingdom and glory.”
“Our church doesn't believe in proselytizing? If God is calling them, He will bring them to us” is a sentiment I’ve heard expressed more than once. Some reason that, if it is God who does the calling, our job is not to try to convert people to Christ, but rather to witness to them, warn them, sound the trumpet, if you will, at the end of this age that the Kingdom of God is at hand.
Also playing into this viewpoint is the concept held by some in our community, myself included, that this is not the only day of salvation. Unlike most in the Protestant community, who believe that souls who don’t accept Christ now are condemned to everlasting torment, we see in scripture clear teaching that those called out of this world now are among the ‘firstfruits’, a small subset of the larger harvest that is to occur subsequent to Christ’s return. The vast majority of mankind will not be called until then. This rationale is sometimes cited as further justification for not actively seeking to ‘win’ converts to Christ in this life, because all will ultimately have their opportunity, if not now, in the second resurrection.
Thinking of our role in such narrow terms makes for a convenient excuse for some to shut themselves off from the world, even going so far as to set up artificial barriers, obstacles, to keep outsiders from getting in without first being assured that God is, in fact, calling them into fellowship. “If God is really calling them to repentance and faith, they will come to us, no matter how difficult we make it for them to do so.”
Yet, if such an approach is biblical, what is to be made of Paul’s example here in 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Some key words jump out at me from this passage; words like ‘win’ and ‘save’. Paul sought to ‘win’ people to Christ, not just to warn or witness. Sounds pretty active, wouldn’t you agree?
He says that he became all things to all people. In other words, he adapted His message to the hearer. It wasn’t merely a general trumpet blast warning of impending events. It was a message tailored to have a specific, calculated impact on the hearer. He didn’t set up artificial barriers or make potential converts jump through hoops. He did everything he could to remove barriers to belief in the gospel. What was the desired outcome? “... that I might by all means save some.” It seems clear that Paul was actively, even aggressively, seeking converts to the faith. Dare I say it? Paul was being a little ‘seeker sensitive’. Hmm....no lightning striking yet.
Jesus said He would build His Church. Yes, He is doing the building. Yes, He is doing the calling. But here’s the rub. He’s doing it through you and me. We are His messengers. We are the conduits through which He is calling individuals out of this world and into relationship. It’s not a passive activity. It’s not our prerogative to determine whom He is calling now as His firstfruits and whom He will call later. We can’t be content to sit behind the walls of our churches and wait for those He is calling now to stumble upon us. We can’t make the path to our front door the end point of some giant maze or obstacle course.
In John 4:35 Jesus tells the disciples to look up, for the fields are white to harvest. Nothing is going to get harvested if the laborers aren’t out in the fields working. We, like Paul, do need to be out there working, seeking to find ways to win our neighbors, our loved ones, our friends, to Christ. We do need to strive to be all things to all people, meeting them, within the bounds of God’s law, where they are. Our churches do need to be active in their communities, opening their doors, finding new ways, creating new opportunities to expose, and potentially win, others to the hope of the gospel.
I don’t have any intention of standing on a soap box in some park anytime soon. But I pray to have a heart like Paul to win others to a relationship with Jesus Christ. I pray for the courage to get out of my comfort zone, to reach out to others, in my community, in my family, to neighbors on my block, meeting them where they are, so that maybe, just possibly, I might be used by God to save some.
The Whole Word (New Horizons)
a Christian, would you be comfortable with some preacher who tells you
that you don’t have any obligation to follow ‘the whole Word of God’?
(That, by the way, is not an expression found in the Scriptures.) Surely
we sincerely want to do what our spirit Father and our Saviour require
But stop and think what that means. Do we sacrifice an animal?
Must adult males be bearded and circumcized? Do we go to our ‘priest’
for clearance from an infectious disease? Should we worship only in
Jerusalem? May we buy a slave, or sell our daughters? What about
phylacteries or writing the commandments on the door-posts?
not. We live in a different era, and however necessary these regulations
were under the terms of the agreement (the ‘Old Covenant’) between
God and Israel - such are no longer applicable. Not wrong, but not
applicable. But why so?
Anyone who chose (or chooses) to live under
the terms of that former covenant ministered through Moses is, of
course, obliged to observe all its terms as recorded in the Scriptures.
Jesus made this clear to his hearers (Matthew 5:19-20).
But since the
first-century ministry of Jesus our world has been ‘turned upside
down’. Jesus himself sums up the change: ‘an hour is coming, and now is,
when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in
truth. For the Father also seeks such, the ones worshiping Him’ (John
4:23). Not just murder, for example, but hatred. Not just adultery, but
Template for Nationhood Following the Great Flood eight
centuries before his time, Moses was enlisted to work with a slave
people just emerging from an idolatrous captor nation - a world sinking
to the depraved behaviour of Noah’s day. Israel was chosen to become a
model nation, provided with the perfect legal system, the perfect
religion - and with the Creator as its Mentor and Protector.
man’s beginnings the original faith was preserved down the centuries in
the hearts and actions of faithful men and women. It was a matter of the
human spirit. While most of mankind strayed from the true path, there
always remained a faithful remnant who resisted the pressures to embrace
idolatry and its accompanying destructive debauchery.
that faith the nation of Israel was formed, the divine instructions
(Heb. torah) being enshrined as its Constitution. The spirit of the true
faith was protected by physical ordinances that constrained the
Israelites in the right way. By virtue of the fact that these required
effort - diligent observance was burdensome - its importance was etched
into the mind of each Israelite.
The rewards for obedience, however,
far surpassed the inconvenience of pilgrimages and sacrifices. God’s
side of the Covenant held Him to abundantly bless the nation through the
fruits of the land, through clement weather, through health, through
peaceful relationships with surrounding nations, through prosperity. As
long, that is, as Israel kept its side of the agreement!
A New Agreement
former agreement (the ‘Old Covenant’) was material, designed for a
nation, a physical people. Through a process of on-going corrective
measures the LORD kept the flame of truth burning. Blessings for
obedience, ‘cursings’ for neglect. But this was merely a step towards
the ultimate goal.
In process of time the next stage of God’s plan
inexorably unfolded with the life, death and resurrection of ‘God become
man’, Jesus the Messiah. Until he rose from the dead (confirming his
deity - Romans 1:4) the forgiveness of sin under the old agreement
looked forward to that moment. Now, by confession of our sin (to God)
and forsaking it, we enter a new relationship with God - by means of a
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the sacrifices
necessary under the old agreement. Through him our sin is purged. In him
was fulfilled the ritual elements - elements that had inner
significance - that guided and governed Israel. But now the covenant is
inward, in the minds of those who choose to commit to it. Not physical
but spiritual. You could be a full participant, even if incarcerated in a
lightless dungeon not knowing time or date!
The terms of the new
covenant are clear: ‘this shall be the covenant that I will make with
the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law
in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their
God, and they shall be my people’ (Jeremiah 31:33). God’s Law, His
instruction, note, is not abolished but ingrained in our minds to be
followed from the heart. Just as Jesus said (Matthew 5:17-18).
A Personal Covenant
new agreement between us and the Father mediated through Jesus requires
us to say, as did ancient Israel, ‘all that the LORD has spoken we will
do’. Upon our repentance the divine mind, God’s Spirit, is implanted in
us, motivating us to become more and more Christ-like, increasingly
complying with the will of our Father.
It is personal. We each ‘work
out [our] own salvation’. Like children we begin our spiritual journey
to Christian maturity as ‘babes in Christ’, initially knowing little but
being nourished by God’s Word (the Christian Scriptures), learning what
our Father desires of us individually - a process termed
‘sanctification of the Spirit’ (II Thessalonians 2:13).
To this end
we need to access the guidance of godly teachers, skilled in the Word of
God, taking care to ascertain that they are truly reflecting that Word.
we may be along the Christian pathway, each of us is fully a child of
God and joint-heir with our Saviour of ‘all things’ (Romans 8:17),
destined to serve with him throughout eternity. In this life we will
never know, much less apply, every nuance of God’s will for us, for our
life-span will never be long enough for us to know every thing of God’s
will for us.
We must, however, heed the message of Hebrews 5:12: ‘By
now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught
the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of
solid food’. Rather: ‘solid food is for the mature, who because of
practice have trained their faculties for the distinguishing of both
good and evil’ (v.14).
We must grow, for there’s a world to teach!
Disciples of Christ (Children of God)
Because we are in the Church of God, we are very different from the people in the world around us. We have a lot in common with the people Jesus preached to two thousand years ago, who had Moses’ teachings. When Jesus first came on the scene doing His public ministry – He came mostly to those of Jewish descent. They knew to keep the Sabbath Day; they made a distinction between clean and unclean foods; they knew to observe the feasts of the Lord; they tithed on their increase; they knew the importance of keeping the Ten Commandments; they knew that they were the Covenant people; and they anticipated the promise of the return of the Messiah to establish the Kingdom on the earth.
Jesus came among those people of Palestine and He began to build on that earlier foundation. Many followed Him and He instructed them. What He taught them was over and above what they already knew. They were called disciples of Christ. When Jesus came into their midst, they were not yet converted Christians.
Today, we too, keep the Sabbath Day; we make a distinction between clean and unclean foods; we observe the feasts of the Lord – the annual Holy Days; we tithe on our increase; we keep the Ten Commandments; we realize that we are Covenant people; and we eagerly look for the return of the Messiah to establish God’s Kingdom on the earth. We have been given all these things, but does that make us Christians? Why do some people believe that these things make us New Testament Christians? For many brethren in church groups, that list represents their depth of understanding and commitment. They remain as unprofitable servants, and are not yet friends of Jesus Christ. Notice how Jesus puts it:
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
There is so much more to being a converted Christian and a friend of Christ. As our Savior, Jesus makes it possible to have a growing relationship with the Father. That is what the New Covenant is all about – a covenant relationship with God. What is required of us? Our Christianity is so much more than the list mentioned above. Jesus does not keep us in the dark with regard to what He expects of His New Testament disciples.
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. No longer do I call you servants; for the servant knows not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:12-15)
What was it that Jesus taught that the people of His day had not heard until He began his ministry? It was volumes and volumes of how we are to spend all of our lives striving to become like Him. The apostle John finishes his writings with the comment – “I wasn’t able to get it all written down.”
“There are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 21:25)
John was expressing the thought that the teachings of Jesus were comprehensive in nature, and that they covered the vast realm of everything we are to become. Everything written in the Bible is for the purpose of directing us to Christ and His Father. We strive to be like Him.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
It is necessary that we strive with all our might to put on every attribute of Christ. But, how do we put on the mind of Christ? How do we begin to think as He thought? How do we see things the way He perceives them? How do we render judgment as He judges? As Disciples of Christ we have so much to change and overcome in ourselves. And, that is after our initial repentance, faith and conversion. Obedience to God’s law is the evidence and substance of our faith.
“He has shown thee, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Baptism is our pledge of burying the old man of sin. Thankfully we have a token of God’s Holy Spirit given to us so that we do not have the same limitations and weaknesses that the men of the Old Testament did in living according to God’s will.
“Finding fault with them, [God] said, Behold, the days come, says the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” (Hebrew 8:8)
The men of the Old Testament knew what it was that God required of them, but without His Spirit they were unable to please God. We, however, have had our sins forgiven, and we have entered into the conditions and stipulations of the New Covenant. We are New Covenant Christians, and disciples of Christ. As such, our lives must improve demonstrably. We forgive one another and become Christ like; kind, and tenderhearted. Do we see this way of thinking exhibited across the board in the churches of God?
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Jesus said, “You are my disciples if you continue in my word.” (John 8:31)
The 1611 KJV Bible is NOT a Protestant Bible (First Century Christianity)
That title is pretty eye-catching, huh? While doing research for a slightly different project, I learned something that blew my mind. The 1611 King James Bible is the work of Anglican Christians not Protestants. The Geneva Bible was the Bible of the reformers and it is also the Bible that was used here when the New World was settled by Europeans fleeing religious persecution. The KJV was commissioned by King James of England to be the Bible of the Church of England, which continued to persecute Protestants throughout the 1600s.
The 1611 KJV translation was commissioned with 15 specific rules, one of which was that they were to remove the notes from the Geneva Bible that identified the Pope and the Catholic Church as the, shall we say, the unfavorable characters of the Book of Revelation. It was not a Protestant project, but rather one of an ecumenical nature, making nice with the church that was still very much killing dissenters at the time. This is remarkable because the few strident Protestants left in the west cling to the 1611 KJV like their lives depend on it. The whole “KJV-only” movement should really be the “Geneva Bible-only”. Somehow the Protestants lost their way much earlier than I had thought.
The fact that the “KJV-only” movement still lives is rather striking in light of the volumes of free reference materials available to us today. The concordances show pretty undeniably that the KJV has some issues. I suppose if a person believes the KJV is infallible, perhaps they wouldn’t ever use a concordance, though. The biggest error for me is in John 5:20-29. When you see the words “judgment” , “condemnation”, and “damnation” in the KJV in this portion, they are all translated from the exact same Greek word “krisis” G2920. An interesting thing to note here is that the Geneva Bible (and most modern translations) don’t use the word “damnation” at John 5:29 but use either “condemnation” or “judgment”, with “judgment” being the more accurate if one studies the other areas of the NT where the two resurrections are referenced.
How they decided to translate the same word into three different words within the span of 9 verses is not much of a mystery. The people who translated the KJV and Christians of that era in general believed in the concept of damnation and eternal hell. So, they decided to make sure that their doctrines were preserved by enshrining them in a little thing we call “eisegesis”, which means to interpret a belief into the scriptures rather than allowing the scriptures to simply say what they say. This, also, is provable because the KJV translators were commissioned specifically to do this. Check this out:
1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.
2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.
3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.
4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.
The four items above are the first four of the fifteen rules the KJV translators had to follow. This is absolutely amazing to me. When I read this for the first time, I was flabbergasted. They were commissioned to make a translation of the bible that had to reflect what everybody already believed. So why even make the thing?Here’s another link to a brief history of the 1611 KJV http://king-james-version-bible.com/history.html
The Pharisee Who Said Thank You (Morning Companion)
No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! (Job 12:22 NKJV)
Christians have a problem. We know. And we know that we know. And this knowing can get us into trouble. The Apostle Paul said that “knowledge puffs up” (I Cor.8:1), and certainly those with lots of knowledge can become arrogant about it.
There was once a Pharisee who went into the temple to pray. Jesus tells us that this man gave a very special prayer of thanks. He said, “God, I thank you.” That’s a noble way to start a prayer. But notice what he thanked God for: “that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11).
Here was a man who on the outside appeared to be everything God expected him to be. He didn’t cheat people. He didn’t sleep around. He fasted. He tithed. He did all the right stuff. He might have been a pillar in his community, but Jesus strongly intimated that the man’s prayers weren’t heard, for he “prayed with himself” (v.11) rather than to God. And although he seemed to be such a righteous fellow, I would bet that you would hate to have him for a neighbor, for he “despised others” (v.9). Very few, it seemed, could come up to a level of righteousness that was worthy of his friendship.
The Pharisee didn’t know it, but he succumbed to the curse of being too religious. He, as Paul warned the Corinthians, fell into the arrogance trap. He knew. He knew that he knew. And his knowledge puffed up his bullet-proof head to the point that he became obnoxious.
I fear that Christianity in America is developing the reputation of that Pharisee. We should be a voice crying in the wilderness, but too many are a shrill scream in the hallways. If we put forth the finger in accusation, we should also put away our own wickedness and care for the needy around us (Isa. 58:9-10).
From time to time one religious leader or another will call Christians to a National Day of Prayer. Yet morals still decline, politics is still corrupt, the dollar still degrades, and culture is still warped. Could it be that our prayers were like those of the Pharisee? “Thank you, God, that we are your people. Thank you that we aren’t like those politicians. Give us a leader who is worthy of us.” Were we praying within ourselves and not to God?
Our sin is as the sin of Sodom. There was more to their depravity than their sexual proclivities. Look at what Ezekiel said: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” (Ezek.16:49-50 NIV)
She was arrogant. She was overfed. She was unconcerned. She did not help the poor and needy. She was haughty. Just like that Pharisee.
It is interesting that the church at Laodicea had the same litany of accusations against it: “I am rich and increased with goods. I am in need of nothing. I am comfortably lukewarm.” Yet they were truly poor, blind, and naked (Rev.3:15-18).
There was another man praying when that Pharisee was in the temple. He was a publican, a despised member of the political establishment. Some considered him scum because of his chosen profession. Jesus tells us that he “stood afar off, and would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)
Guess which man went home justified.
Perhaps, instead of a National Day of Prayer, we would have been better served with a National Day of Repentance. “Oh God, be merciful to us, who are sinners. We humbly beseech you to heal our land. Change our hearts and make us instruments of your peace.”
Islamic Deception (OzWitness)
Have you ever wondered why the so called ‘religion of peace’ is associated with such horrific violence and barbarism? That is, despite our politicians continuously telling us that those black garbed Islamic terrorists known as ISIS or ISIL, are not connected in any way to the Islamic ‘holy’ book the Koran?
Some of our leaders, like David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, even claim to have read the book, so why have they not seen this verse – Surah 14:22. The message of this verse is plain in its context, which is about the future Judgement Day for all men, when, says the Koran, Satan will address all Muslims: “Satan will say …God gave you a true promise. I too made promises [in the Koran] but they were false ones. I had no power over you except to call you, and you responded to my call, so do not blame me, blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I reject the way you associated me with God before. For wrong doers there must be a Grievous Penalty.” – The Koran, Surah 14:22.
Yes, there is a Judgement Day coming to all people and only then will Muslims understand and accept that they have been deceived by the Koran, which Satan, not the archangel Gabriel, gave to Mohammed in that cave in which he was meditating.
The reference here in this verse to a ‘grievous penalty’ is to the Lake of Fire, the penalty set aside for Satan.
Revelation 20:10–‘And the devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, ... and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’
If Muslims were to actually read the Bible, which the Koran clearly admits is the word of God, they would understand that Satan has the whole world deceived, including almost all of Christianity.
Revelation 12:9 – ‘and the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels [fallen angels or demons] were cast out with him.’