Monday, July 27, 2015

The Seed of Immortality and the Elixir of Life

spora = seed, sowing
I give you above the key Greek word found in 1 Peter 1:23 — spora, seed. This is central to the saving Gospel as Jesus preached it (Heb. 2:3: “salvation was first preached by the Lord Jesus”). Before defining the seed in the teaching of Jesus, we note that Christian sermons do not show constant interest in the staggering and stupendous words of Paul in 2 Timothy 1:10. Let me give you this below in several versions, for impact.

Presumably every believer in God would want to be sure he or she has obtained the immortality seed. This is the one and only key to living forever and ever, gaining immortality, obtaining indestructible life. Paul stated that immortality is found in the Gospel and that this immortality was brought to light in the Gospel preaching of Jesus! No Gospel of the Kingdom, no seed!

2 Timothy 1:10: “…through the appearance of our savior, Christ Jesus. He destroyed death and brought life and immortality into clear focus through the good news.” “But made [salvation] public only now through the appearing of our Deliverer, the Messiah Jesus, who abolished death and, through the Good News [Gospel], revealed life and immortality” (CJB).

 “This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (CSB).

Peter, who spent hours listening to Jesus as the Savior and teacher (Isaiah 53:11: Messiah’s “knowledge makes us right”), naturally also explained the secret of immortality to the public:

1 Peter 1:23: “You have been born again by means of the living word of God. His word lasts forever. You were not born again from a seed that will die. You were born from a seed that can’t die” (NIRV).

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (NIV).

“For your new birth was not from any perishable seed but from imperishable seed, the living and enduring Word of God” (NJB).

So where is the secret of immortality to be found? In the Gospel-words of Jesus and the words of all the apostles. Quite simply: go back to the precious Gospel words of Jesus in Luke 8, Mark 4 and Matthew 13 — the parable of the Sower. In Luke 8:11 we have this from Jesus: “The seed is the word of God.”

“The word of God is the word about the Kingdom” (Matthew. 13:19; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:43; 5:1).

By no means be deceived by the idea that “word of God” is a vague synonym for the Bible! It is not. The “word of God” as preached by Jesus is defined by him as “the word about the Kingdom” (Matthew 13:19), which is equivalent in Mark and Luke to “the word” and the “word of God.” It is this word/Gospel of the Kingdom as Jesus preached it (cp. also Acts 8:4, 5, 12, 14), which is the “seed of immortality”; the key to living forever, the means to indestructible life, which all of us desire!

Peter had heard Jesus preach this supreme saving truth everywhere, and he relayed it to us in 1 Peter 1:23- 25. Here we find the same key words (spora, seed, word, logos) and gospel: “preached to you as Gospel” (1 Peter 1:25). Peter understood from Jesus that being born again (“having been born again,” 1 Peter 1:23) depends on the intelligent reception of the seed message/Gospel of the Kingdom, which Jesus said was the whole point of his whole Christian mission (Luke 4:43).

In churches today we do not hear the phrase Gospel of the Kingdom! This should be cause for alarm, The saving Gospel has not been rooted in Jesus’ own words. (Hebrews 2:3 states that Jesus was the first and original preacher of the saving Gospel.) A subtle shift has taken place — away from Jesus. Tract after tract misleadingly convinces the public that the death and resurrection of Jesus was the entire Gospel.

But Paul said that Jesus’ death and resurrection were “among things of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3), which is obviously true. They are not the whole Gospel. Jesus preached the saving Gospel for 12 chapters in Matthew, introducing his death and resurrection only in Matthew 16:21: “he began to say…” This is a staggeringly interesting fact, little known.

A false distinction has been imagined in the mind of many. The truth is that “the Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24) is identical with the Gospel of the Kingdom (Acts 20:25). I must repeat this, if I may. The Gospel of the grace of God is precisely the same for Paul as heralding the Gospel of the Kingdom! Acts 20:24-25 puts this point beyond argument. There is absolutely no difference between the Gospel of the grace of God and the Gospel of the Kingdom! There is one saving Gospel given first to Jews and then to the whole world. We mortals all need to find and believe in that “seed” which is the vehicle of immortality, being the very seed of the immortal God (“God’s seed,” 1 John 3:9).

Is it not it fascinating that the word spora (seed) in 1 Peter 1:23 is found uniquely in the OT Greek in 2 Kings 19:29: “sowing, planting, reaping, eating fruit”? Jesus with his Gospel of the Kingdom was the ultimate sower, planter of immortality. His seed and sowing was the sowing of the germ of immortality. Sound interesting?

We do not have immortality; we have to gain it through seeking, finding and taking in the seed of immortality. Tell your friends about this Good News discovery in the Gospel teaching of Jesus about the Kingdom (Luke 4:43; Acts 8:12).
The Two-State Solution in End-Times Prophecy

Ever had the experience that something you have read “a thousand times” in the Bible all of a sudden leaps out at you? We all revel in those “light bulb” moments, those “Aha!” moments when the Spirit of God arrests and rivets our attention. I had one such moment lately. It concerns the centrally important prophetic words of Revelation 11:1-2: “I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, ‘Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshippers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months.’”

Positively, the specific command is to measure the Temple, its altar and its worshippers. Negatively, the command is also precise — the outer court is not to be included in the measuring for “it has been given to the Gentiles” and will be trodden down. Then the famous words of Zechariah 12:3, LXX (Septuagint, Greek OT) are remembered as fulfilling this end-time prophecy — words also quoted by Jesus concerning the last days of this evil age (Luke 21:24): the area outside the Temple and its altar will be trampled by the Gentile nations for 42 months. God has promised to make Jerusalem “a trodden stone” by all the Gentile peoples of the earth and she will be “utterly mocked” (Zechariah 12:3, LXX). You must read the LXX here. It is a grim picture for Israel.

Why did this suddenly grab my attention? Well, this sounds like a “two state solution,” the very thing the governments of the world are pressuring for right now! Jewish and Gentile jurisdiction on the Temple mount together! We know the Islamic mosque on the Dome of the Rock stands where the second temple of Solomon stood before the Romans burned it. So how can there be a third Jewish temple to be “measured” with its “altar” and “worshippers” there on the Holy Mount? How can they exist in peace side by side with the Gentile peoples in the “outer” precincts?

I seem to recall reading the prophets foretelling that the Man of Sin (the Anti-Christ, Daniel’s “little horn,” the “Beast,” “the lawless one,” “the Assyrian” are just some of his designations, Isaiah 11:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:8) will have a penchant for brokering a covenant of peace in the Middle East. He will be able to “solve” what the world’s leaders so far have not been able to solve in all their machinations — an initial peaceful solution for two nation-states, Israel and Palestine.

This event, the covenant of peace, will cause the world to “wonder after, be amazed at the Beast,” to adore his political and religious genius and to cry, “Peace! Peace! At last.” Jesus warned that this will be an undeniable sign that the Great Tribulation will be about to be launched upon the inhabitants of the world (Matthew 24:15, 21).

I am not being sensational to report what is common knowledge, namely that the Jews have for some time been making serious preparations to rebuild their third Temple. Many of the great stones are pre-fabricated — already cut! And the Temple furniture, such as the golden candlestick, the brass (bronze) lathe, the table of the presence, and even the ark, is ready. (These facts can be verified by a simple Google search.) But with the Temple site being so venerated by Muslims it will probably never be surrendered to Israel for them to build their new temple without the danger of world war erupting. The Mosque on the Rock is Islam’s third holiest of sites.

Enter the current push by the United Nations for “a two state solution.” How long and hard has this solution been worked on by the world’s nations! How many Camp David's have we had?

Just in the last few weeks the papacy has declared its official support for a Palestinian state to stand alongside Israel. Indeed, as I write this very day, the Senate in the United States has just legislated that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel! Yes, you read this right. Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel! And the recent United Nations vote for official Palestinian state recognition fell short by just one vote, yes, one vote! It was with the proviso that Israel come to this “solution” herself “voluntarily” (!) — otherwise it will be legislated upon her.

No one has any exact dates until the final 7 years begin when a treaty is made with the one who turns out to be an evil person.1 It seems to me the Muslim mosque on the Dome of the Rock may stand alongside a rebuilt Jewish Temple, and the world will rejoice that peace has come at last, and they will revel initially in their two-state man-made solution. The antichrist in a rebuilt temple was seen to be truth by many early pre-millennialists (believers in the future 1000-year reign of Christ on earth), and lost only when a theory of “days=years” submerged it.

Thus the reason Revelation 11:1-2 screams out to get our undivided attention. It says there will be a “two state solution” — one jurisdiction for the Jews and one jurisdiction for the Gentiles. For the Jews this will lead to an imposition, a trampling, an utter mocking of God’s holy mount and city, a desecration and defiance of their God-bequeathed heritage.

But it is clear God will eventually punish those who “divide” His land (Joel 3:2). The proposed two-state solution is an attempt to “divide” the holy land. Zechariah goes on to prophesy that God will in the end strike this Gentile trampling and mocking with a judgment causing “madness” and “astonishment” (Zechariah 12:4).

Alas for Jerusalem! Just as the prophet predicted, Zion has become “as trembling door posts” to the people round about her and is like “a trodden stone” of the Gentile nations who “utterly mock” her (Zechariah 12:2-3, LXX). It has become fashionable to squeeze Israel more and more. Friends and allies are increasingly cool towards her. Israel is at a rapid pace becoming more and more isolated and hemmed.

Alas for Israel! Such a tiny, tiny nation 260 miles long and about 70 miles wide, with Arab (Palestinian) enclaves pocketed throughout and surrounded by a billion Muslims whose aim it is to wipe her out of existence.
Yet as the prophets foretold long ago, God will, after refining them through severe discipline (Zechariah 13:9), eventually draw His ancient covenant people back to an acceptance of and faith in the Messiah. As I write there is a large influx of Jews streaming back (but still in unbelief!) to Israel from France, indeed all of Europe, the Ukraine and Russia. When Hitler ruled in Germany Europe’s population was approximately 3% Jewish. Today it is less than 0.2%!

Prime Minister Netanyahu was asked about Israel’s “homeland security.” He said that the President of the USA is rightly concerned to secure the borders and protect the homeland against terrorists. “Every day the President may well ask, ‘Is the United States safe?’ But when I wake up in the morning I ask my wife concerning Israel, ‘Are we still here?’”

The United Nations has struggled for decades to solve “the Palestinian problem.” The UN is now within a whisker of legislating that Israel accept “the two-state solution,” or it will be forced upon them by the governments of the world!

Current events in the Middle East are crying out for the predicted false “covenant of peace.” As we know, the prophets also tell us that mid-way through this “solution” the Antichrist will double-cross Israel and “break” his covenant with them (Daniel 9:27). It is at this point that those who are in Judea in those days must not enter their houses and gather their goods, but flee hastily for their very survival. At this point there will be a fearful holocaust launched against the Jews, in one final Satanic burst of pure hatred, designed to wipe out those who will then cry out for their Messiah to come and save them in the Name of the LORD (Matthew 23:39). Yes, Satan hates the prophecy of Jesus’ Second Coming, his Parousia and is not going to stop short (again) of an attempt at total annihilation of every Jew to stop their Messianic invitation! (Zechariah 13:8-9; 14:1-2).

The other amazing current development is that the national alliances the prophets speak of at the end times are now clearly forming — specifically, Iran and Russia to the north and the Sunni Arabs and Egypt to the south. The troubles come from “the north” (Daniel 11:31). When the predicted Antichrist is plainly on the scene, we should lift up our heads, for our redemption draws near (Luke 21:28), and we are going to see our King Jesus. The call to his disciples is to prepare and get ready to inherit his Kingdom and to rule this world with him (Revelation 2:26-27; Daniel 7:18, 22, 27, RSV; 1 Corinthians. 6:2; Revelation 20:4).

Just before his crucifixion Jesus told his disciples he was leaving them. In order to inform and to comfort them Jesus explained why he forewarned them: “Now I have told you before it comes to pass, so that when it does take place you may believe” (John 14:29; Mark 13:23). When we see prophecies unfolding before our very eyes it increases our faith in “the spirit of prophecy which is the spirit of Jesus” (Revelation 19:10). These teachings are not optional extras for believers in Jesus, but the very heart of his mind and spirit. Paul taught them to his congregations nearly 2000 years ago (2 Thessalonians 2:5).

Watching the promised props fall into place on the world’s stage fills me with increased faith in the prophetic word of Jesus as we approach the end of this “evil age.” King Jesus will enter center stage of history and rule as this world’s only rightful king and lord Messiah! (Luke 2:11: “lord Messiah”; Psalm 110:1: “lord,” adoni). The stone that is supernaturally cut out will in God’s time fall and crush the colossus of Daniel’s vision (Daniel 2:44), and “the times of the Gentiles” will have been fulfilled.

God announced long ago that Jerusalem would be “a trodden stone” and that all the Gentile nations would trample upon her and “utterly mock” Zion (Zechariah 12:3, LXX). Watch “the two-state solution” unfold before your very eyes. Measure the Temple and its altar and those who worship there! But leave out (probably “throw down” of Daniel 8:11) the outer precincts for the unbelieving Gentile nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on, trodden on, but for a limited time, just as Zechariah and Jesus who read him (Luke 21:24; Revelation 11:2-3) have prophesied!

Written by: Greg Deuble

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What is the meaning of Lent?

Lent has been handed down to the Christendom from the Babylonian Mystery Religion originating with Nimrod and Semiramis through the Roman Catholic Church to most all the churches in Christendom. It is not biblical, not ordained of God. It's origin is pagan and there is no reason for any follower of God's anointed one Jesus to keep Lent.
The only sacrifices we are called upon to make are the following:

Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

1 Peter 2:5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus the anointed One - Christ.

Hebrews 13:15 By him [God's anointed one, Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name [Yehovah].

We as followers of the lord Jesus God's anointed One are not called upon to give up food, or anything as a sacrifice during the period known to Christendom as Lent. We can not do anything to gain salvation, that has been given to us as a free gift because Jesus offered himself up as a sacrificial sin offering on our behalf and that offering was acceptable to God as we see in the resurrection of our lord and savior. Nothing in my hand I bring, only to his cross I cling.
God looks upon the one who approaches Him our of a deep and abiding respect, with a humble and contrite heart that is willing to serve Him and His beloved son Jesus.

The only thing we have to give up is self, taking Jesus side against our own carnal human nature and putting on the new man, taking part in praising his God and our God, his Father and our Father as new creations in him. In the anointed One we have everything. Taking a position in him against self is what we can do given that God has given us His spirit to enable us to do so.
Bruce Lyon Elder: Restoration Fellowship Assembly