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JOHN THE REVELATOR SAW THE NATURE OF THE ANTICHRIST (Five Dark Signs To Recognize His Nature)

THE MARK OF THE ANTICHRIST HAS MORE TO DO WITH HIS “NATURE” THAN THE TATTOO HE WILL DEMAND ON YOUR FOREHEAD OR RIGHT HAND! The Bible clearly identifies five aspects of the Antichrist that will deceive the world and cause an incredible multitude to be eternally damned. Many are concerned about his “MARK 666” but never give a thought to his nature. Notice how the Bible clearly warns us of this truth. As John watches he sees “… 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… 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.” (Revelation 14:9,11) In both verses, we are warned that men will follow him in worship and receive his mark. There is no question but that our world is experiencing a deluge of the nature of this future beast. This article has one goal of helping you identify his nature. When the Rapture occurs, the world left behind will have already been prepared for his “MARK”.

HIS NATURE IS THE PRELUDE TO HIS MARK OR TATTOO. We call his nature that is gripping our world, “THE SPIRIT OF THE ANTICHRIST”. The Scripture says, “… this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (I John 4:3) We must recognize the spirit of this beast that is preparing our world for his mark. There are millions that have so surrendered to the nature that it will make no difference when they take the mark. The mark cannot be received until the Man of Sin, the beast himself, is revealed, but the nature and his worship can be experienced already. Let’s try to identify his nature to the best of our understanding of truth.

1. The FIRST expression of his nature is to dilute the Bible so that truth becomes relative instead of authoritative. Almost the entire church world has bought into the new Bible versions that shatter the infallible source of His glorious truth. This is clearly Satan’s design. The devil does not want to destroy the Bible, that would cause a revolution; he wants to create a spirit of denial of numerous parts of the Scripture. The Antichrist does not need for you to reject the whole Bible, just a small part of it. You will be just as eternally lost by turning away from some Scripture that you call cultural, outdated, or some other adjective as if you rejected the whole. This nature of the beast is on a binge to get you questioning God’s absolute Truth.

2. SECOND, the beast nature is to destroy the beautiful sense of our sacred temple of the human body. The body or the temple of every living person is a sacred creation intended to be the temple of His Holy Spirit. “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (I Corinthians 3:17) The appearance, the dress, the morality, the language and the treatment of your body as a holy temple is a Biblical requirement; and you cannot serve God if you treat this truth lightly. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (I Corinthians 6:4-17) “Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (I Corinthians 6:13,19) The church world has rejected the beauty of a Godly life lived so tenderly that the temple/body is filled with His glory and power and looks like a light from His transforming grace. The world cannot see inside the temple, they can only see the outside reflection.

3. THIRD, the Antichrist nature is to deny all of the laws of God, and His commandments. The new religious philosophy says, “free as a breeze to do as you please.” It is from the enemy of truth, the beast. I call this “religious philosophy” because it surely is not “religious theology.” It’s the nature of the beast. The Bible says,“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (I John 2:3-4) Those words are utterly rejected by most of the church world because of the spirit of the Antichrist. This Antichrist spirit wants everyone free of any restrictions because restrictions are how we discern right from wrong, good from bad and darkness from light.

4. FOURTH, his nature is to promote Biblical knowledge without a Biblical experience. Our World is full of religious people that know a lot about the Bible but have no experience with the person of Jesus Christ. Religious colleges and universities are abounding. Religious books line the walls of religious bookstores and all types of communication methods are flooded with religious teachings. All of this is empty until the soul has a transforming experience of being born again – a radical change – and surrenders to a cross-bearing life with Jesus Christ. Satan and his beast love religion, but they are terrified by the Holy Spirit’s transformed relationship with the Lord of the church. Satan and his angels have never ceased to be religious. The Beast that gives life to the image has a nature of false religion. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” (Revelation 13:11) “Horns on a lamb” is the exact opposite of the Lamb of God.

5. The FIFTH nature of the new beast and his new religion is righteousness without Godliness. Righteousness is imputed; it is the work of grace; and no amount of good works can earn righteousness. The saving grace is His gift and we come to Him without trusting anything of ourselves. But, the new theology flooding the church is to deny the effect of that righteousness and to leave the religious man free of the radical change demanded by Scripture. Christ’s righteousness is not a head matter, it’s a heart matter; and it will totally alter your life. “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14) Our churches are full of religion but very few are living examples of Jesus Christ. This is the design of the Antichrist. Can you hear it in John’s description of the Beast: “Horns like a lamb but sounding like a dragon?”

The nature of the beast is to promote programs without power and emotions without the supernatural works of His Holy Spirit. The life of the church is the resurrection life of Jesus Christ and that life is supernatural. The church must be alive with His presence or it becomes a tool of the new religion that the coming beast loves. It’s amazing to watch how quickly the church begins to welcome the strange fire of psychology, psychiatry, and even false spirits of witchcraft. Every action of Satan is only slightly removed from its original beauty in the Creator. Hypnotism is a counterfeit of the gifts of discernment, the strange fires of the Charismatic world are only slightly removed from the pure gifts of the Holy Spirit. Satan is a deceiver and can imitate the real very cleverly. The Word of God must always be the basis of discernment.

Conclusion! We are living on the edge of His coming and deception is everywhere. A pure Bible and a faithful church to that Word is our guide and hope. Be a radical Christian and cling to truth with all your life. The coming of our Lord can be expected at any moment. John saw this dark Antichrist spirit and a wide-awake Christian can certainly see the “Lurking” presence now spreading his venom.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3249

The United States of Islam

“‘A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.’ These were the first words of Karl Marx’s ‘The Communist Manifesto’. More than a century later a different specter has appeared on the threshold of the Old World – the Specter of Caliphate.

A year ago Muhammad Badie—the General Guide of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood – stated: ‘improvement and change that the Muslim nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life’.

According to Badie, the ultimate purpose of Arabs is to restore the true face of the Muslim world, which is the State of the Caliphate with Sharia Laws – the sacred and the highest form of human civilization.

A veteran member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Ahmad Gad called ‘honorable Al-Azhar to rally the Islamic streams in order to unite the Muslim word and effort, restore the Caliphate… O Allah, guide us, open our hearts to faith, and restore this nation to its previous self—one united nation worshiping You and You alone’.

Dr. Kamal Al-Helbawy, former Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in the West named this future Caliphate—’the United States of Islam’. He implied that Arabs want to erase borders that were drawn up by imperialist nations and build global Islamic State.

This is how another Egyptian Islamic Scholar Ibrahim Al-Khouli has formulated the concept of the Muslim Brotherhood: ‘Forget about Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. That’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about Jihad which is led by the Islamic scholars … I am talking about the Jihad of the entire nation. We must conduct jihad against the West, who are aggressors against the Land of Islam’.

One can talk about the democratization of the Arab world, the ‘Arab Spring’, and liberalization of the Arab society. However, this observation is only external – from another Time and another World – from the West of the XXI century. An internal perspective is completely different. It’s derived from depths of centuries, and it is reflected in the lexis of Badie and Gad, Al-Helbawy and Al-Khouli, Sheikh Yousef Qaradawi (‘Constantinople was conquered in 1453 by a 23-year-old Ottoman named Muhammad ibn Murad, whom we call Muhammad the Conqueror. Now what remains is to conquer Rome’) and Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein who said: ‘The Hour [of Resurrection] will not come until you fight the Jews…. Our war with the descendants of the apes and pigs (i.e.,Jews) is a war of religion and faith’.

Lastly, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani declared that no efforts will be spared to spread Wahhabi Islam across the world, encouraging Jihad while investing ‚Ǩ50 million in restoring Sharia in the French suburbs where hundreds of thousands of Muslim immigrants reside.

Al-Thani is considered a moderate pro-western ruler. A year ago this type of discourse would have been considered unthinkable. Nowadays these words are not only uttered, but are also validated by donations and financial support. Why one may ask? It is because al-Thani wants to be on the ‘right side of history’. The time has come. All the obstacles, such as corrupt authoritarian regimes, towards the cherished dream have been scattered like sand dunes with the draft of khamsin.

Just like the Jews are coveting to return to Jerusalem, the Christians are longing for the Second Coming of Christ and the kingdom of universal justice so the Arabs are yearning to restore Caliphate for centuries. Caliphate – a theocratic state – was the first and only authentic state in the Arab history, the embodiment of the Divine will.

Sharia Laws determine the internal structure of this state, Jihad—its foreign policy. Recently only starry-eyed professors, charmed by the Sufi spiritual practices, have been talking about Jihad as a self-improvement. Jihad, however, is not a spiritual improvement, it is the fulfillment of the Divine will, and whatever is not a part of the ‘The House of Islam’ (Dar al-Islam) is actually the ‘The House of War’ (Dar al-Harb).

There hasn’t been any dispute about the supremacy of Sharia Laws and the divine destiny of the Caliphate. Dividing Islam into ‘moderate’ and ‘radical’ one is the flight of imagination of Western intellectuals who confuse, primarily, themselves. Islam (like two other Abrahamic religions) is a fundamentalist one, i.e., literally interprets holly scripture.

Only in the XVII-XVIII centuries in Christianity (and later, influenced by the Enlightenment, in Judaism too) more liberal directions, treating the Bible in allegorical terms, have appeared. In general, the orthodoxy does not accept any abstraction. It is based on the concrete prophetic word. Creator is anthropomorphic in all three religions; He is not an impersonal substance of Deists and harmonious deity of Neo-Platonists. He establishes the laws and obliges obeying them. Sacred texts about the triumph of Islam ‘by the means of Jihad’ are not a good will, they are a call to action.

Muslim theologians’ standpoint has its own logic. Why would the Arabs adopt social systems alien to them and imposed on them less than a century ago – whether it is democracy, market economy or socialism? Moreover, they are familiar with the consequences of political experimentation in the recent past. Liberal democracy? What is the practical meaning of it? The absence of Divine Basis, Shape, Content? Desecration of God and His order? Refusal of values as the supreme value? Rejecting roots as a sacred principle? Desperate loneliness: ‘We are left alone, without excuse’?**. The triumph of ‘the substantial emptiness’?*** Sexual laxity and perversions as an example to follow?

In order to understand someone you need to see the world through one’s eyes. The liberal freedoms are a blessing for the West and a mockery of the will of the Creator for Muslims. The Islamists’ victory in last elections in Egypt wasn’t the result of brainwashing, but of a deep inner conviction.

The Arab world is ready for the State of Caliphate . It will resemble the theocracy in Saudi Arabia and Iran : the rough laws of ‘dhimmi’ for the non-Muslims (who will survive the slaughter), the submission of women, stoning for adultery, prohibition of usury and homosexuality.

Creating a Caliphate will, obviously, take time. Primarily, it’s necessary to neutralize the resistance of the military junta in Egypt , to eliminate the anarchy in Libya , to sweep away the regime in Syria , to crush the Hashemite monarchy and overthrow the rotten Palestinian leadership, suppress ethnic riots and stop the advancement of the Shiites in Iraq and Lebanon. Secondly, it is essential to affirm the principles of Sharia Laws in the minds of people, since these still exist in the collective consciousness as vague ideas. Finally, only then the scattered islands will be united into a single religious and cultural realm with the main goal—the beginning of Jihad.

Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis are not in a hurry. Sheikh Ahmad Gad said ‘There is no hope for reform without a return to divine rule, which the Creator chose for man…There is no other way but gradual action, preparing the souls and setting an example, so that faith will enter their hearts…’.

Unlike the European people, the Arabs can wait, but they also know how to mobilize their forces. ‘Be patient if you are an anvil. Be swift if you are a hammer’ – says Arabic wisdom. It took Prophet Muhammad two decades to create Islamic Caliphate in the Arabian Peninsula, and it took his followers less than a decade to conquer Persia , Egypt , and to corner the mighty Byzantine Empire.

‘There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come’ – Victor Hugo wrote.

If you want liberal democracy for Arabs, you will get State of the Caliphate in your own house. ‘A specter is haunting the Middle East … the specter of Caliphate‘…”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3221

Life After An EMP Attack: No Power, No Food, No Transportation, No Banking And No Internet

 

Most Americans do not know this, but a single EMP attack could potentially wipe out most of the electronics in the United States and instantly send this nation back to the 1800s.  If a nuclear bomb was exploded high enough in the atmosphere over the middle part of the country, the electromagnetic pulse would fry electronic devices from coast to coast.  The damage would be millions of times worse than 9/11.  Just imagine a world where nobody has power, most cars will not start, the Internet has been fried, the financial system is offline indefinitely, nobody can make any phone calls and virtually all commerce across the entire country is brought to a complete stop.  A nation that does not know how to live without technology would be almost entirely stripped of it at that point.  Yes, this could really happen.  An EMP attack is America’s “Achilles heel”, and everyone around the world knows it.  It is only a matter of time before someone uses an EMP weapon against us, and at this point we are pretty much completely unprepared.

The sad thing is that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars hunting down “terrorists” in caves on the other side of the globe and we have been told that because of “national security” it is necessary for our private areas to be touched before we are allowed to get on an airplane, but our government is doing essentially nothing to address what is perhaps our biggest security vulnerability.

What would you and your neighbors do if the power went out and it did not ever come back on?

What would you do if an EMP attack happened in the middle of the winter and you suddenly were not able to heat your home any longer?

What would you do if all the electronics in your car got fried and you simply could not drive anywhere?

What would you do if all the supermarkets in your area shut down because food could not be transported across the country anymore?

What would you do if you were suddenly unable to call your family and friends for help?

What would you do if you were suddenly unable to get the medicine that you needed?

What would you do if your debit cards and credit cards simply did not work any longer and you could not get any of your money out of the bank?

What would you do if all of these things happened all at once?

A single EMP attack would be the worst disaster that the United States has ever seen by far.

An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all the microchips in the United States.  In an instant, nearly all of our electronic devices would be rendered useless.

Yes, the federal government knows all about this.  The following excerpt is from an April 2008 report by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack….

“The consequences of lack of food, heat (or air conditioning), water, waste disposal, medical, police, fire fighting support, and effective civil authority would threaten society itself.”

Most of us have become completely and totally dependent on electricity and technology.  Without it, most of us would be in huge trouble.

The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal described the potential consequences of an EMP attack….

No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we had the knowledge and the infrastructure to live the way that they did back in the 1800s, but today that is simply not the case.

Dr. William Graham was Ronald Reagan’s science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.  Dr. Graham believes that in the event of a large scale EMP attack, the vast majority of Americans would either freeze, starve or die from disease.

According to Graham, in the aftermath of an EMP attack life in America “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people.”

Would you be able to survive?

All of those big bank accounts may never be able to be recovered after an EMP attack.  Your money might be instantly fried out of existence.

The following is what Graham believes would happen to the financial system in the event of an EMP attack….

“Most financial records are stored electronically. ATMs, which depend upon both power and telecommunications, would not be available; banks, which try to back up records but in general aren’t strongly aware of the EMP problem, would face the problem of unprotected storage and computer systems”

This is the danger of having a financial system that is so dependent on technology.  We may wake up one day and find that all the money is gone.

But if an EMP attack actually happened, the biggest concern for most of us would be trying to figure out how to survive.

The president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, is convinced that a single EMP attack could result in the deaths of the vast majority of the population of the United States….

“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity”

Are you starting to get a feel for the scope of the problem?

The sad thing is that so much could be done to protect this country from an EMP attack.

Right now, most vital U.S. military infrastructure has at least some protection from an EMP attack.

But the general population has been left completely and totally vulnerable.

It has been estimated that the entire power grid could potentially be protected for about 20 billion dollars.  Considering the fact that we have spent over 400 billion dollars in Afghanistan, I think that we could afford it.

We have spent our national security dollars very, very badly and someday it is going to come back to bite us in the rear end.

Right now, other nations around the world are working feverishly to develop EMP weapons.  The following is from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005….

Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.

But it is not just Russia and China that have been developing “Super-EMP” weapons.  According to Newsmax, it is believed that North Korea may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009….

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states

Remember, all it would take is one strategically placed EMP attack to wipe out this nation.

But an EMP weapon is not the only danger that can produce this type of effect.  The truth is that a really bad geomagnetic storm could also potentially produce almost as much damage.

This is something that everyone knows is one of our biggest vulnerabilities and it is something that we can make preparations for.

Yet the Bush administration and the Obama administration have just stood there and have done nothing.

Our idiocy is astounding.

General Eugene Habiger, the former head of U. S. Strategic Command, has said the following about the possibility of an EMP attack in the future….

“It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”

Remember, this is something that could cause millions times more damage than 9/11 did.

Instead of molesting old ladies at airports and chasing goat herders around the mountains of Afghanistan, perhaps we should be addressing our largest security vulnerabilities.

But that would require using some common sense.  Sadly, common sense seems to be in very short supply in Washington D.C. these days.

So if the government is not going to do anything about it, that means that it is up to you to prepare yourself and your family.  This world is becoming very unstable and disasters can strike at any time.

We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  The government response was a nightmare.  An EMP attack would be millions of times worse and the federal government probably would not even be able to get you and your family any assistance.

You would truly be on your own.

So are you ready?

This is yet another reason why the number of preppers in the United States is exploding.  A lot of people can see how the world is changing and they understand that the federal government is not going to come through for them when the chips are down.

An EMP attack could end life as we know it at any time.

It is a glaring security vulnerability and the entire world knows that it is there.

I hope that you are getting ready, because the government certainly is not.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3216

Chrislam Update

Rick Warren blames the messenger

Exclusive: Joel Richardson reacts to pastor’s response to criticism over Muslim partnership

Published: 13 hours ago

By Joel Richardson

Pastor Rick Warren has responded to those who have criticized his methods regarding outreach to Muslims, which includes joining together with Muslims for the purpose of interfaith social projects.

Warren’s response came in the form of an interview on Pastors.com, a site sponsored by Warren’s ministry. An editor’s note at the beginning of the article states that Warren is “often the target of unfair criticism and unfounded rumors.” Being among those who recently published my criticisms of Warren, I would like to touch on just a few portions of his response both to give Warren credit where he is due credit, and to request his accountability where he has been less than honest or forthright and where there has been found to be more than mere unfounded rumors.

The first question in the interview concerns whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Warren’s response here was solid:

“Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not three separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians … whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical … and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common. … Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. Colossians 2:9 – ‘For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’”

Warren should be acknowledged for making such a clear statement that will, no doubt, be viewed as divisive by Muslims as well as the ever-so-vocal and perpetually offended religious pluralists. Good job, Rick.

On the other hand, I still cling to the opinion that Warren should have issued a correction for his previous linguistic/theological gaffe when he rounded out his prayer at the Obama inauguration with the following: “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life – Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [spoken with a Spanish pronunciation], Jesus – who taught us to pray. …”

Of course, this is old news and many have debated the issue already, but the simple fact of the matter is that Warren’s use of “Isa” was a significant rookie mistake. This was not something a leader of Warren’s stature should be making at a such a high-level event. Again, for those who may have forgotten what all the hubbub was about, Isa not simply an Arabic way to say Jesus, but rather the Quranic and Islamic way. The proper and most common Christian manner to say Jesus in Arabic is Yasu.

This is not nitpicking. The Isa of the Quran is not a real historical person, but rather an anti-Christ polemical creation. The mythical Isa of Islam is not the Son of God, is not one of three in a trinity, did not die on the cross and is returning to abolish Christianity and, by most accounts, to slaughter a substantial number of Jews, as well. For these reasons I still believe Warren should retract his usage of this word. I think that despite his relative refusal to apologize to his critics, he might find that a little bit of humility, rather than the Pharisee-pointing he seems to use quite easily, might go a long way.

Next, Warren denies that Saddleback Church has entered into any form of “partnership” with Muslims, calling this claim “flat out wrong” and even accusing Jim Hinch, reporter for the Orange County Register, of false reporting.

This is nonsense. Warren and other Saddleback pastors are on record expressing that they fully believe in partnering with people of other faiths to accomplish various social projects, including combating stereotypes, war, poverty and corruption. At the 2009 Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conference in 2009, Warren declared to an audience of Muslims:

“Now I was asked to speak to you about how Muslims and Christians can work closer together for the greater good, in our world. And I will tell you that I am not interested in interfaith dialogue, I am interested in interfaith projects. … And there are a lot of things that we could do together, but tonight I would quickly want to mention four things. Can we work on these things together? And I know we can. … Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them.”

Beyond this, Tom Holladay, a pastor at Saddleback, was quoted in the article as saying, “This is us serving our own community with Muslims here in Orange County. … We realize we don’t agree about everything and we’re very open about that. … You just recognize the differences and recognize the points where you can work together.”

While Warren may be irritated concerning the criticisms he has received on this issue, his protests are not genuine – and he has only himself to blame. In fact, in my opinion, Warren owes reporter Jim Hinch an apology.

The next issue concerns the notion that Saddleback church members involved in the “King’s Way” outreach project agreed not to evangelize or convert the Muslims with whom they are building friendships. Again, Warren calls this claim “flat out wrong” and blames Hinch for false reporting.

The problem, again, is that the statement did not come from Hinch, but from Jihad Turk, the Muslim spokesman with whom Warren’s church is working. It was Turk who said, “We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other. … We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.” If Warren would like to state that Turk is wrong, this is fine, but accusing the reporter of false reporting was completely out of order.

Extending his defense, Warren passionately declared:

[A]s both an Evangelical and as an evangelist, anyone who knows me and my 40-year track record of ministry knows that I would never agree to “not evangelizing” anyone! I am commanded by my Savior to share the Good News with all people everywhere, all the time, in every way possible! Anyone who’s heard me teach knows that my heart beats for bringing others to Jesus.

I certainly hope this is true. I am genuinely cheering for reports of former Muslims being baptized at Saddleback, renouncing Islam, Muhammad and the Quran, while confessing the Jesus of the Bible. I love Muslims and desire more than anything to see them come to faith. In fact, it is precisely because I love Muslims so much that I hate Islam so deeply. This is not always an easy line to walk. And I agree with Warren that many so-called Christians are far quicker to express hatred of Muslims than to love them.

Yet I also think is fair to be somewhat skeptical of Warren. I think it was entirely fair to ponder the comments made by Warren’s own neighbor and friend, Yasser Barakat. Barakat says that he lived next to Rick and was friends for over 12 years before he even realized that Rick was a famous Christian pastor. Ironically, according to Barakat, this was not discovered until he invited Warren to learn more about Islam. How ironic!

I believe this anecdote was sufficient to make us ask if Warren is truly as committed to winning his neighbors to Christ as he claims in public. Of course, I want to be fair, and my purpose here is not to judge Warren, but again, I will say that if after 12 years of living next to Warren, Barakat had not been invited over to Rick’s house to learn more about the Christian faith, then Warren was not loving his neighbor, nor fulfilling his role as an evangelist – unless, of course, Barakat explains that Warren had always been quite open about his faith after all and that Barakat had, like Turk and Holladay, and Warren, also misspoken.

In the end, I’m sure that Warren’s response will be sufficient to comfort his church members, but in the lack of any genuine acknowledgment of responsibility on his part or of other Saddleback pastors, and in the abundance of casting his critics as false reporters, pharisees, or false-Christians, I am concerned. My hope is that Warren will use the recent round of criticisms as an opportunity for some introspection and an adjustment of his approach and methods to a more biblical model, rather than hardening himself against those who have expressed some very legitimate concerns.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3213

LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

  LED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT

by David Wilkerson | March 6, 2012

[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]

The Lord has a people in these confusing times who are not confused. They are so given to Jesus—so in love with Him, so separated from the wickedness of this age—that they know the ways and workings of the Holy Spirit. They know what is pure and holy, and what is fleshly and foolish.

“For upon all the glory shall be a defence” (Isaiah 4:5). The original Hebrew here reads: “Over all shall be a covering of glory.” This means, in essence, “Over each of these remnant people will be a blanket, a canopy, a hiding place—the covering of the glory of God!”

Remember that a cloud of glory covered the tabernacle in the wilderness: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34).

In Isaiah 4, we are promised that in the last days the Lord will create a glory that covers His remnant church. The glory of God will fill every heart and cover every house and we will worship under the canopy of God’s glory—which is the manifest presence of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.

“His Son . . . being the brightness of his glory” (Hebrews 1:2-3). The glory cannot get any brighter than Christ manifesting Himself to you. The word manifest means “to lay hold of by the hand.” In other words, when Jesus’ presence fills a place, it is so real, so evident, that your spiritual hands can touch it, your spiritual eyes can see it. It is as real as the air you breathe.

I want to see a revival where the presence of Jesus is so powerful and glorious that the “fruit” (conversions) will be excellent (see Isaiah 4:2). I want to see a revival where people stream toward the front of the church, weeping, broken before the Lord and they will know that they have truly been covered by the glory of God.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3207

When Apostasy Runs Amok

Jan Markell gets it right in this article!

When Apostasy Runs Amok – By Jan Markell – www.olivetreeviews.org

In the early days of all things “purpose driven,” I didn’t say much. I was, admittedly, skeptical. I had a hunch churches might experience the promised growth thanks to the movement behind “purpose driven,” the seeker-sensitive movement; however, it might not be a healthy growth. But as the years moved on, I started hearing about wreckage. Calls and e-mails told me that beloved congregations were caving to all things unsound and even unscriptural. Members were told that the ends justified the means. In other words, numbers trumped everything.

So, I began to watch Pastor Warren more carefully. When he praised the freedom in Syria in 2006, I just shuddered. When he spoke to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and withheld the gospel, I reacted again. ISNA is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. When he told Alan Colmes to “give Jesus a try for 60 days,” I came close to writing him off.

When Rick began featuring occultic “New Agers” in his church sanctuary in January 2011, I further realized that “America’s Pastor” wasn’t as sound as he had been portrayed. Rick allowed a year-long effort at fitness to headquarter out of Saddleback Church and concluded the event by cheering that Saddleback members lost 250,000 pounds. Rick, some souls might have been lost during that time because Drs. Amen, Hymen and Oz represent the dark side of the world, not the light of Jesus. These men are secularists. At one time, Dr. Oz even had a link on his Web site that took you to a place where you could learn how to talk to the dead.

But Rick did it again coming out of the shoot into 2012 and I am being a bit outspoken about this. He’s leading an effort to heal divisions between Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques. He is proposing theological principles that include acknowledging Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

A Saddleback Church spokesman says this effort “is a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.” The root of this madness goes back to “A Christian Response to a Common Word Between Us and You” This was a joint effort between Muslims and Christians to deepen dialogue and relations at the Yale Center for Faith and Culture. Pastor Warren was one of the signers, along with hundreds of other Christian leaders. They also acknowledged that neither Muslim nor Christian would try to evangelize each other. Just like that, evangelism evaporates in the minds of major Christian leaders. We’ve got to all get along! Rodney King, you would be proud of us!

One of the statements of this “Common Word” effort was that religious peace would bring world peace. No, the return of Christ will bring world peace. Evangelical signers of this document should have known better.

I stand with Joseph Farah on this issue. He states, “If you compare the personality of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — the Christian and Hebrew God — with Allah, Islam’s god, the contrast could not be more stark. The Hebrew-Christian God is characterized by love. The Islamic god is characterized by war and vengeance. The Hebrew-Christian God provides a clear path to redemption and personal salvation in a fallen world — through repentance. The Islamic god provides only one certain path to personal salvation — martyrdom. The Hebrew-Christian God elevates the status of women. The Islamic god does the opposite.

“The Hebrew-Christian God encourages followers to be a light to the whole world. The Islamic god encourages jihad on the non-Islamic world and, ultimately and unambiguously, calls for the death of unconverted Christians and Jews.”

Farah concludes, “Into this breech, Warren seeks common theological ground. It would be easier to find common theological ground between Christians and atheists than Christians and Muslims.”

What becomes immediately apparent is that while making friends with Muslims is certainly an admirable goal, Warren has prioritized the three goals of making friends, building peace and working together on shared social service projects over and above the commandment of Jesus to baptize and make disciples of the whole world.

Author Joel Richardson says that rather than obeying the Great Commission and creating disciples of the Jesus of the Bible, Warren is “building a Tower of Babel that leads to nowhere.”

Richardson concludes, “I would agree in that when Christian groups join together with other groups that have such fundamentally divergent goals and doctrines, the danger is always compromise. Throughout the Old Testament, the commandment of God to the Israelites was to never enter into agreements, covenants or marriages with the surrounding peoples, lest the Israelites would find themselves led away to worship other gods. In such a postmodern culture, these concepts may sound amazingly intolerant, but the wisdom of the Lord’s prescription against treaties and partnerships is seen in Warren’s agreement not to evangelize his Muslim ‘friends’ and co-laborers for mutual social causes.”

The ultimate hope of Christianity is the Lord’s return. Islam awaits a Mahdi who would eradicate Christianity. Thus, I agree with Richardson’s conclusion: “If Warren was pursuing friendships for the purpose of evangelism, I would openly stand with him in this goal. But I think it is clear that Warren is pursuing an agenda far more in line with the spirit of the age than with the goals of the early Christian Church.”

Being a critic of Rick Warren costs one plenty! I have lost friends and other loved ones because I have not always been supportive of all things purpose-driven, or market-driven church growth. Do I think Rick loves God and is serving Him to the best of his ability? Yes. I just think “Peace Plans” and global initiatives don’t belong in the house of God. Cozying up to Mullahs and uttering words they want to hear produces nothing but a laughing Mullah. Such agendas morph into ideas and plans that are counterproductive to God’s ultimate call on the church.

What we can agree upon is that Pastor Rick Warren needs our prayers. While he vehemently denies that he is involved in the Chrislam movement, actions speak louder than words.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3198

Time to Wake Up

Read the attached commentaery from Greg Laurie of Harvest Chapel. The time for the church to wake up to the reality of the Lord’s return is now!

Time to Wake Up – Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

—Romans 13:11

Every now and then someone comes along and says they know the day of Christ’s return. But don’t ever believe that. The Bible says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32).

However, we can know the times and the seasons, the Bible says. But no one can know the exact day or time when Jesus Christ will come back for His people.

But here is the question we might be thinking about: Will He come soon? And will He come in our lifetime?

No one can say with absolute certainty. But there are signs that would say it is getting close. They are on the front pages of our newspapers, on our news websites, and on our favorite television and radio news programs. We will read headlines along the lines of, “Iran Threatens to Annihilate Israel,” “China Builds up Military,” “Another School Shooting Kills 23,” and “Thousands Feared Dead in Earthquake.” These are signs of the times, because they are things that Jesus said would happen in greater frequency prior to His return.

If I were to go outside and notice that it was dark and cloudy and could even see the rain falling in a nearby city, if I saw that a weather system was moving our direction, would you think of me as a genius if I said it may rain soon? Of course not. It is obvious that it will be raining soon. It doesn’t take an act of great intelligence to predict that.

In the same way, signs of the times are all around us, telling us the return of Christ is close. Knowing this should affect the way we live. So let’s wake up. Let’s be ready for His return.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3195

The Man of Lawlessness and the Burning of the Qur’an

Please read the article below. The Bible was written from an Eastern perspective and everything in regard to the time of the end revolves around Israel. Keep looking up!

The Man of Lawlessness and the Burning of the Qur’an

02/29/2012

 

By Jack Smith

Behind my desk is a newly framed picture that has special meaning to me. It is a picture of the Dome of the Rock, the Muslim religious shrine that memorializes Muhammad’s “night journey” and his heavenly rendezvous with Allah. Superimposed on the picture are the words, “…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.  And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth…” 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8.

It was in my study of 2 Thessalonians 2 that God revealed the first “piece” of the “Islamic Paradigm” puzzle, that is, Islam is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy of an antichrist empire that will rise up in the last days to wage “holy war” against the world (Revelation 13:1-10). The spiritual meaning behind the Dome of the Rock was the first revelation of that Paradigm (see “Introduction, p XI, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist). The Dome of the Rock is not an Islamic worship center, i.e., a mosque. The Dome of the Rock is an octagonal, domed structure that “stands over” a massive rock (“Rock”) located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. There is nothing else located within the Dome of the Rock other than the Rock itself, and the marble, columned structure that foreshadows and encloses it.

When I began my personal study of Islam in the Fall of 2001, one of the first books I purchased on Muslim Holy War (and, in fact, the only book I found on the specific topic) was entitled, “Jihad,” by Paul Fregosi, Prometheus Books, 1998. The opening Introduction (page 19) states:

The Jihad, the Islamic so-called Holy War, has been a fact of life in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Near and Middle East for more than 1300 years, but this is the first history of the Muslim wars of Europe ever published. Hundreds of books, however, have appeared on its Christian counterpart, the Crusades, …. The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history. It has, in fact, been largely ignored. … In the New South Wales State Library, where I did part of my research while in Australia, there were 108 entries listed in their catalogue cards for the Crusades, but only two for the Jihad! The Jihad has been largely bypassed by Western historians, and this book is an attempt to right the situation, …   (Emphasis in italics, mine).

Jihad was published in 1998, three years before 9/11. Fregosi states, “this is the first history of the Muslim wars ever to be published… The Jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history.”  Why? Why have the Muslim holy wars not been reported in the same way that the Crusades have been reported? Why so meticulously report on the Crusades and use them as “fodder”  to malign Christianity, and report virtually nothing on Muslim holy war? Why have the pens of historians, both American, European, and Muslim omitted the murderous actions of the mujahideen of Islam for almost 1400 years?

In fact, it is embarrassing for me to admit it, but when I first began my study of Islam after 9/11, I was somehow either unaware of it, or had forgotten, that the Middle East at the time of the Quranic revelation to Muhammad (610 A.D.) was predominantly Christian. The land that Christ once walked, the lands that the Apostle Paul planted churches, the entire Middle East, north Africa, Iran, Iraq, and Turkey, were predominantly Christian. Certainly, not a “unified” Christianity, but Christian all the same. In fact, the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 were all located in modern day Turkey.  Then, jihad occurred.  And, Christianity was “killed off.”  Here is how historian, Phillip Jenkins describes it in his book, “The Lost History of Christianity” (p. 30):

Given that the destruction of Christianity has not been much studied, we can make certain general observations, stressing above all the role of states. Though churches may lose political influence under Christian states or in predominantly Christian societies, though they might be secularized, they do not vanish. … In most of these cases, churches collapsed or vanished because they were unable to cope with the pressures placed upon them by hostile regimes, mainly Muslim. While religions might sicken and fade, they do not die of their own accord:  they must be killed.  (Emphasis in italics, mine)

Christianity was “killed” in the Middle East.  By Islam. After 9/11, there was a mantra that frequently appeared in public: “We will not forget.”  We may not have forgotten 9/11, but we have forgotten the Christianity that once predominated the Middle East. How have we forgotten?  I propose that the reason is because the prince of darkness, satan, has “restrained” the world’s understanding; he has covered it up much like the spirit of the antichrist has veiled the minds of humanity to the only Begotten God, Jesus the Christ (2 John 2:18, 21-22). The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4, 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

This is precisely the meaning of 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;” only “he who now restrains” will do so until he is “taken out of the way.” The one who “restrains” is the spirit of antichrist (satan and his “minions”). He “restrains” so that humanity will not know the identity of the instrument through whom he will practice his “mystery of lawlessness.”  The spirit of antichrist will continue to “restrain,” according to 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “until he is taken out of the way.” That occurred on September 11, 2001; when the world watched in unbelief as  the lives of thousands of innocent were taken.  On that day, President Bush referred to the perpetrators as “faceless cowards.” Not sure if I agree with that description. The “face” of the perpetrator was revealed that day: when the Islamists cried out in their last moments, “Allahu Akbar!” “Allahu Akbar!” “Allah is Great!” “Allah is Great!,” the face of the enemy was revealed, and, the mask that so completely covered his face was lifted ever so slightly — for the world was first made aware of the mystery of lawlessness that has so disguised itself in Islam for hundreds of years. The “restrainer,” having now been moved out of the way, will not only reveal the identity of satan’s instrument, but also use the very nature of the enemy, destruction, muck like a “fingerprint” left behind at a crime scene. The true nature of Islam will continue to be revealed to humanity – but only to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; Revelation 13:4), until the return of the Lamb of God.

Afghanistan has filled our news lately.

Why do I mention this event in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2?  Because it is evidence of exactly what I am stating. The mystery of lawlessness is not being restrained anymore. Evil is having its way — the holy book of Islam was burned, and people are killed! The evidence of the removal of restraint is not only in the killings, but in our expectation that death will soon occur and claim another victim in honor of Allah.  We know this happens when Islam, its Allah, or its ”prophet” is blasphemed.  This is why the apologies came so quickly from every place in the non-Muslim West — to try and pacify the lust of death by prostrating ourselves in subjection, and immediate pleas of apology. Perhaps, if we hold those accountable for such despicable acts, we can satisfy the lust of lawlessness.  We know that when Muslims get “lawless,” people die. People get killed.

Here is a post I received on my blog in response to the article — What Does the Qur’an Say About its Burning?  Blogger “Blickmancin James” wrote:

it is 2012, everyone knows by now that burning a koran would lead to violent protest… its like someone ‘accidentally’ drawing a cartoon of muhammad.  innocent people in places like nigeria would be killed over this (after friday prayers)

My point? Yes, we all know — after all, its 2012, not 9/11/2001.  It has taken us over ten years, but for the one who has “eyes to see and ears to hear,” the violence of the “mystery of lawlessness” is shouting loudly.

One last point.  Did you realize that of the over thirty who have died in retaliation for the Qur’an burning, only 4 (at least from what I read) were non-Muslims? How do you explain the 26 Muslim deaths at the hands of other Muslims? Afghanistan is Sunni Islam. The Taliban is also Sunni Muslim.  This is not sectarian violence where Sunnis kill Shi’ites and vice versa.  This is death for the sake of death.  It is not death to Americans, but death to anyone, because the objective is not justice, but death for death’s sake.  Why so?  Because the hand behind it all is satan. Pure evil.  Evil that is only satisfied by evil; and the more it is satisfied, the more it will lust for more. It is this evil that is the root of satan’s masquerade behind Islam.

The mystery of lawlessness and the man of lawlessness, the antichrist spirit of satan, will become more and more bold. This boldness will escalate until the end of the tribulation period. Then, the “… Lord will slay [the man of lawlessness] with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3189

Why is Bible prophecy important?

Read the attached article from Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries on why Bible prophecy is so important to usas believes! Keep looking up!

 

Why is Bible prophecy important?
By Dr. David R. Reagan
Founder & Director, Lamb & Lion Ministries
Although prophecy constitutes almost one-third of the Bible, its importance is constantly downplayed by those who dismiss it as having no practical significance or by those who object to it on the grounds that it is a “fad” that takes people’s eyes off Jesus.

A good example of what I’m talking about can be found in the immensely popular best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.1 He mocks Bible prophecy when he writes, “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.” He then goes on to characterize prophecy as a “distraction” and says that anyone who lets himself get involved in distractions like studying prophecy “is not fit for the kingdom of God.”

Such cavalier dismissals of Bible prophecy fly in the face of scriptures like Revelation 19:10 which says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Thus, if prophecy is properly taught, there is no reason for it to divert anyone’s attention away from Jesus. In fact, it should serve to emphasize the centrality of Jesus.

Is prophecy practical? Consider that all the New Testament writers testify to the fact that living with the anticipation of the Lord’s return will motivate holy living. What could be more practical than that? Here are some examples:

The Apostle Paul: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” — Romans 13:12-14.

The Apostle Peter: “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God… so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” — 1 Peter 4:7-11.

The Apostle John: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” — 1 John 3:2-3.

Prophecy does not have to be either faddish, other-worldly, or impractical if taught properly. Nor does it have to be a playground for fanatics. It can and should be green pastures for disciples.

There are many reasons why all believers should be interested in studying Bible prophecy. Some of the more important ones are listed below:

1) The Quantity
One-fourth to one-third of the Bible is prophetic in nature. In the Old Testament, this includes the Psalms, the Major and Minor Prophets, and many passages in the historical books. In the New Testament, entire books like 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Revelation are devoted to prophecy, as are major passages like Matthew 24 and 1 Peter 3. To ignore Bible prophecy is to ignore a significant portion of God’s Word, and we are told in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” — and that certainly includes Bible prophecy.

2) The Uniqueness
No other book in the world contains fulfilled prophecies. This includes the sayings of Buddha and Confucius, the Koran, the Hindu Vedras, and the Book of Mormon. And it certainly includes the ridiculous nonsensical quatrains of Nostradamus.2 In contrast, the Bible contains hundreds of specific prophecies that have already been fulfilled — prophecies about towns, cities, nations, empires, and political leaders, as well as prophecies about the Messiah. Consider, for example, the prophecy in the book of Isaiah that a man named Cyrus would be the one who would release the children of Israel from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 44:28). And that is exactly what happened 142 years later (Ezra 1:1-3).

3) Validator of Scripture
Fulfilled prophecy is one of the best evidences I know of that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. As I stated above, the Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled secular prophecies pertaining to cities, nations, empires, and individuals. Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13:17-20). Jeremiah predicted the Babylonian captivity of the Jews would last 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Daniel outlined in advance the precise order of four great Gentile empires (Daniel 2 and 7). The destruction of both Judah and Israel was foretold by Moses (Deuteronomy 28 and 29). In the New Testament, Jesus predicted the complete destruction of Jerusalem 40 years before it actually occurred (Luke 21:6).

4) Validator of Jesus
The prophetic scriptures validate Jesus as who He said He was — namely, God in the flesh. The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus, but some of these are repetitive. There are actually 109 separate and distinct prophecies concerning the First Coming, and all of them were literally fulfilled.3 Every aspect of the life of Jesus was prophesied — the place of His birth, the nature of His birth, the quality of His ministry, the purpose of His life, and the agony of His death. Consider, for example, the prophecy in Psalm 22:16 that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. That prophecy was written by David about a thousand years before the birth of Jesus. It was written 700 years before the invention of crucifixion as a form of execution. The literal fulfillment of so many prophecies in the life of one individual transcends any mere coincidence and serves to validate that Jesus was who He said He was — the divine Son of God.

5) Revealer of the Future
Prophecy serves to tell us some things that God wants us to know about the future (Deuteronomy 29:29 and Amos 3:7). God does not want us to know everything about the future, but there are some things we must know if we are to have a dynamic hope. Thus, prophecy assures us that Jesus is coming back, that He will resurrect us, and that He will take us to live forever with Him and God the Father. In this regard, Peter likens prophecy to “a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). Paul makes the same point in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2. He begins by observing that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” But in the next verse Paul says those things have been revealed to us by God through His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

6) Tool of Evangelism
Prophecy can be used as a very effective tool of evangelism, as illustrated in the story of Philip and the Eunuch (Acts 8:26ff). Philip used Isaiah’s great suffering lamb passage (Isaiah 53) to teach that Jesus is the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world. Matthew and Peter both used fulfilled prophecy in the life of Jesus as one of their basic evangelistic tools. In fact, Peter referred to prophecy constantly in his first gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39). He preached that Jesus had been crucified and resurrected in fulfillment of Hebrew prophecies. Later, Peter referred to fulfilled prophecy as one of the greatest evidences that Jesus was truly the Son of God (2 Peter 1:16-19).

7) Tool of Moral Teaching
People often overlook the fact that the Hebrew prophets were forthtellers as well as foretellers. In fact, the prophets spent most of their time using God’s Word to spotlight societal problems. They called their listeners to repentance, true worship, social justice, and personal holiness. One of the great recurring themes of the prophets is that “obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22 and Hosea 6:6). That statement means that in God’s eyes, obedience to His commands is more important than outward religious practices such as offering sacrifices. Prophecy is thus a great repository of moral teaching, and those moral principles are still relevant today. (See Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8; and Isaiah 58:3-9.)

8) Generator of Spiritual Growth
Prophetic knowledge encourages patient waiting (James 5:7-8); provokes earnest watching (Matthew 24:36,42); inspires dedicated work (2 Timothy 4:7-8); and enhances our hope (Titus 2:11-14). The result is holy living. Paul exhorts us to “behave properly as in the day,” because the time is at hand when the Lord will return (Romans 13:12-13). Likewise, Peter calls us to gird up our minds and be sober and holy as we look forward to the revelation of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13-15).

9) Understanding of Current Events
The Bible contains detailed prophecies about the end times we are living in, and there is just no way to fully understand much of what is happening today apart from those prophecies. Three characteristics of our day and time immediately come to mind: the intensifying decay of society, the growing apostasy in the Church, and the escalating crisis in the Middle East. All three of these situations are prophesied in detail in the Bible. We are told that society will become as violent and immoral as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39); that the Church will be assaulted with “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1); and that all the nations of the world will come against Israel over the issue of who will control Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3).

10) Signifier of the Season
One of the most exciting reasons for studying Bible prophecy is that it provides very definite signs that we are to watch for which will signify the season of the Lord’s return. It is true that we cannot know the date of the Lord’s return, but the Bible makes it clear that we can know the season if we are aware of the signs that we are to look for.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3180

Chrislam Update: Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims by saying Christians & Muslims worship same god

1 John 2:20-23  “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[e] 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

 

Rick Warren builds bridge to Muslims

Through years of outreach, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren is part of an effort named King’s Way that’s attempting bring evangelical Christians and Muslims together.

By JIM HINCH / FOR THE REGISTER

The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America’s most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

The effort, informally dubbed King’s Way, caps years of outreach between Warren and Muslims. Warren has broken Ramadan fasts at a Mission Viejo mosque, met Muslim leaders abroad and addressed 8,000 Muslims at a national convention in Washington D.C.

Saddleback worshippers have invited Muslims to Christmas dinner and played interfaith soccer at a picnic in Irvine attended by more than 300 people. (The game pitted pastors and imams against teens from both faiths. The teens won.)

The effort by a prominent Christian leader to bridge what polls show is a deep rift between Muslims and evangelical Christians culminated in December at a dinner at Saddleback attended by 300 Muslims and members of Saddleback’s congregation.

At the dinner, Abraham Meulenberg, a Saddleback pastor in charge of interfaith outreach, and Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs at a mosque in Los Angeles, introduced King’s Way as “a path to end the 1,400 years of misunderstanding between Muslims and Christians.”

The men presented a document they co-authored outlining points of agreement between Islam and Christianity. The document affirms that Christians and Muslims believe in “one God” and share two central commandments: “love of God” and “love of neighbor.” The document also commits both faiths to three goals: Making friends with one another, building peace and working on shared social service projects. The document quotes side-by-side verses from the Bible and the Koran to illustrate its claims.

“We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other,” said Turk. “We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.”

Saddleback representatives declined to make Warren available for comment. Tom Holladay, associate senior pastor at Saddleback, said the outreach to Muslims is part of Saddleback’s PEACE Plan, a wide-ranging effort to solve major world problems by mobilizing governments, businesses and faith communities.

“This is us serving our own community with Muslims here in Orange County,” said Holladay. “We realize we don’t agree about everything and we’re very open about that. … You just recognize the differences and recognize the points where you can work together.”

Warren has faced criticism from some evangelicals for his outreach to Muslims. Late last year, he issued a statement flatly denying rumors that he promulgates what critics term “Chrislam,” a merging of Islam and Christianity.

The “rumor is 100 percent false,” Warren wrote at Pastors.com, a website he founded that provides practical advice to church leaders. “My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority.”

Polls show that evangelicals are 30 percent more likely than other Christians to hold a negative view of Islam, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. Polls also show that evangelicals overwhelmingly favor converting Muslims to Christianity and are more likely to believe that Islam encourages violence.

Warren has repeatedly encouraged evangelicals to set aside such views, arguing that Christians are obliged to treat everyone with love and respect, regardless of faith.

“I don’t know if you have noticed this, but God likes variety,” Warren told an audience of 8,000 Muslims at a Washington, D.C. convention in 2009, according to a transcript published by the religion news website beliefnet. “People of all beliefs (can) be, and discuss, and, yes, even disagree, without demeaning or debasing each other.”

Warren’s outreach to Muslims stems directly from his church’s location in multiethnic Orange County, home to 170,000 Muslims. For 12 years Warren has lived next door to Yasser Barakat, a Muslim from Syria who worships at a Mission Viejo mosque four miles down the road from Saddleback. The Trabuco Canyon neighbors were friends for years before Barakat realized he lived next door to a world-famous Christian pastor.

When Barakat discovered who Warren was, he invited his neighbor to learn more about Islam. “I was talking to him over the fence,” Barakat said. “I said, ‘Rick, why don’t you go to Syria with me? He said, ‘Sure, let’s talk about it. Let’s do it.’ ”

Warren traveled with Barakat to Syria in 2006, and Warren and his wife, Kay, began attending Iftar meals at the Mission Viejo mosque. Iftar is the evening meal Muslims eat after fasting all day during the holy month of Ramadan. Invitations followed to address Muslim conferences in Long Beach, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere.

“We understand that to some people in the religious community these events may be difficult to swallow,” said Yassir Fazaga, imam at the Mission Viejo mosque. “But I believe that we have to begin somewhere and just begin to reach out and be accessible to people when they ask about who we are.”

Gwynne Guibord, an ordained Episcopal priest and co-founder of a Los Angeles outreach group that fosters relationships between churches and mosques nationwide, said Saddleback’s effort is unprecedented. “I’m not aware of any other evangelical church reaching out to the Muslim community,” she said.

Guibord said that when she and Jihad Turk co-founded the Christian-Muslim Consultative Group in 2006, they sent invitations to mosques, the Catholic archdiocese and a variety of mainline Protestant denominations throughout Southern California, but not to evangelical churches.

“I think that many evangelicals feel a mandate to convert people to Christianity,” Guibord said. Because the Consultative Group was founded to respond to increasing antagonism between the two faiths, “we would not have made headway” if one side was trying to convert the other, she said. Now, she said, it might be possible to include evangelicals in her group’s work.

Turk said the relationship between Saddleback and Muslims, though still in its infancy, has already produced results. “People (at the December dinner) were talking about the bonds they’ve formed and they were crying,” he said. Both sides realized they shared misconceptions about each other’s faith.

“We did a quiz at the Christmas dinner,” Turk said, “asking basic questions about Islam or Christianity with the scriptures, the Koran or the Bible. And both sides were missing it…. It’s an education for everyone.”

Barakat said he continues to know Warren as a man who literally loves his neighbor. Barakat said his children could always count on Warren to buy the candy or magazine subscriptions they sold door-to-door for school fundraisers. The Warrens have hosted Barakat’s family at a Christmas dinner, he said.

“He calls me his Muslim brother,” Barakat said. “It all started with a friendship.”

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