The Way of Life (Didache: A New Translation and Messianic Jewish Commentary) by Toby Janicki
Torah Rediscovered: 4th Edition by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz
The Way of Life (Didache: A New Translation and Messianic Jewish Commentary) by Toby Janicki
If you have kept up with the flurry of books and papers on the nature of consciousness published in just the past decade alone, then you probably are under the impression that neuroscientists have made an overwhelmingly convincing case for brain activity as the source of consciousness and all else that is associated with this ("We are our brains"). And surely evolutionary psychologists have nailed down the most likely evolutionary influences and players that gave rise to key human mental and psychological traits. If you are tempted to say "Well, yes they have" to both, I want you to buy, beg or borrow a copy of "Aping Mankind" by Dr. Raymond Tallis and give it a thoughtful, careful read. By the time you finish perusing it, you will probably find your confidence badly shaken.
Mind you, Dr. Tallis's critical literary tour-de-force is informed by his own rich academic and professional background in medicine, clinical neuroscience and philosophy. And, he is an atheist (He thus came to his thesis without religious convictions or sentiments).
And, just in case there is someone reading this who suspects Dr. Tallis is a creationist or is in any way sympathetic to such pseudoscientific nonsense, he is most empathetically not.
"Aping Mankind" ably tackles (what Dr. Tallis terms) "Neuromania" and "Darwinitis" with hard-hitting reasoning and arguments based on secular science and empiricism, logic, and good sense. In addition, Dr. Tallis's book serves as a powerful reminder that in science nothing is forever settled or final; which is to say, even well-established principles, theories or laws can be overturned by sufficiently compelling contrary evidence.
Summer Cloud gives "Aping Mankind" 5 out of 5 stars.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
If you need of a spiritual lift, watch this wonderful Arabic language Christian music video (with English subtitles). And yes, the lead singer is an angelic beauty with an angelic voice!
Like many of you reading this blog I have been following eschatologists, prophecy teachers and perusing bible-based prophecy books for what seems like an eternity (1960s on in my case). Along the way I have noted and sometimes jotted down prophecies that were precise as opposed to nonspecific, meaning specific timeframes and events such as a major quake in southern California were predicted in “thus says the Lord” fashion. None panned out.
Now, as you might expect my interest in eschatology and prophecy has not escaped the notice of close friends, family and others in my orbit. This leads to my getting emails containing prophetic words in oral or written form penned or spoken by various (mostly) evangelical preachers and self-proclaimed prophets. I typically retain those prophecies that bear a specific timeframe and later compare the predicted catastrophe, upheaval or what-have-you with what actually unfolded (The misses outnumber the hits by an almost astronomical margin).
On occasion, I will have someone pass along an email “imminent warning prophetic word” more often than not given by a well-known evangelist or teacher whose prophetic track record is not just abysmal but a literally train (of accuracy) wreck. Last night (9-4-2017) I got one such email in which great credence was given to a prophecy Jim Bakker reportedly shared concerning the recent flooding in Houston (and this well before Hurricane Harvey hit). Here are a few of the salient sentences from this email concerning Bakker’s prophetic predictions:
That prophecy was right about the flood here. Jim Bakker remarked a prophecy after that was for California. He predicted an earthquake. Since he was correct about the flood in Houston, I hope you take him serious for earthquake preparedness. Those products Bakker cover everything to get one through disaster.
I have done some digital archeology field work (aka digging around search engine results) in an effort to try and locate this prophetic word (which must be specific and accurate – testable – to have any validity, BTW), but have yet to locate it. Perhaps a reader has seen it or will prove better at ferreting it out than I have been so far (If so, kindly email it to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
Whether Bakker managed to hit one nail on the head or not, I sent this cautionary reply to my well-intentioned Houston contact:
You might want to think twice about spending too much time listening to Jim Bakker as well as most of his purported prophet guests. IMO, he has spun more prophecy misses than just about anyone I know and his Morningside venue comes across as a revenue generating engine for his seemingly endless string of building projects (The very pattern that characterized his PTL empire). Here are but 2 posted videos that lay bare this man's “challenges” as a God-sent oracle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY_shD-fUGw – 1m18s – J.D. Hall sitting in the audience of a Jim Bakker show taping calls him out for false prophecies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvd7UlesWbk – 19m14s – Former Morningside (Bakker organization) staffer kept a list of Jim Bakker’s prophecies during a specific period and to say most were wrong or worse is an understatement.
In addition, many of his regular guests such as Rabbi Johnathan Cahn have made plenty of money hawking “End Times prophecy” books that are riddled with logical fallacies and other problems. I spoke of Cahn’s prophecy-based works in a September 2014 blog entry which includes links to an analytical expose of the intellectual and prophetic bankruptcy of his bestselling book "The Harbinger" http://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/prophecy-is-primarily-about-israel-the-jewish-people-not-america
Many dire prophecies concerning the Blood Moons and Shemitah showcased on the Jim Bakker Show and many other Christian media outlets also bombed out (Something many analytical thinkers including "yours truly" saw through from the get go).
As for prophecies of earthquakes and California, this is like saying there will be mudslide in China in the future. Seismologists at Caltech and USGS have been predicting quakes in northern and southern California for some time based on all kinds of data crunching and mathematical models. Anyone who is remotely in touch with past and current events knows quakes occur in this region and will continue to do so. What I have not seen among those who claim to have a word of prophecy on California is accuracy. They bat no better than those who those coins in the air (which means their pronouncements are next to worthless. And I have heard hundreds of them since the 1960s, some dire and "imminent"). Eventually there will be a major quake in northern or southern California, especially in light of the tectonic activity along the Pacific Rim. It doesn't take a prophetic gift to know this and those who claim such words of prophecy have yet to finger an exact timeframe and place that has held up (Indeed, they to a man/woman have missed the major ones since 1970. Now if I missed a genuinely spot on accurate one, send it and your source to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
And, as I mentioned long ago, I have had basic survival gear and a small stockpile of high energy, high calorie food bars since the mid-2000s (The later replenished after expiration dates pass of, course). Not because of any prophetic word, but because earthquakes happen here and history and the science alone is sufficient to buttress such data based predictions/expectations.
As for Houston, it amazes me that so many evangelists and so-called prophets do not acknowledge the very thing that made this scientifically predictable: global warming. Climate scientists were warning about more aggressive hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Pacific (including the Gulf of Mexico) long before any preacher or prophet began talking about with any specificity (The so-called prophets vague and imprecise impressions do not meet the biblical standard for prophecies which must be 100% accurate or else did not come from God. Period. Go read Deuteronomy 18:21-22). If there has been a timespan/date specific and wholly accurate prophecy concerning Houston and Hurricane Harvey, I have yet to see it but do not discount the possibility it exists. But overall, and especially when it comes to Jim Bakker and the parade of doomsday thinkers he routinely interviews in almost assembly line fashion (all of whom invariably help him sell survivalist products which appear to support a never-ending succession of building projects), I am appalled that believers are latching on to doom & gloom words of prophecy they and others dispense -- tens of thousands of them if you include prophecies given in other media venues -- all the while forgetting the biblical requirement of true prophecies (100% accuracy) -- and then promptly forgetting the scores of failed prophecies. What is even more odd but very biblical, is that the very people who hear these prophecies, see them fail and then forget this and go on to the next sure-to-fail prophecy - worry about "End Times deceptions and delusions" -- and are actually caught up in this very thing!
Yes, the “birth pangs” (biblically prophesied calamites both natural and human made) will come closer and closer together over time and God will likely tap genuine prophets to warn of specific events prior to their happening and move others to establish communities to weather this and continue the evangelization efforts and mitzvahs (good works) commanded by Messiah Yeshua. But whenever someone says they speak for God especially when it comes to prophecy, they must 100% accurate. If not, they did not hear from God but their own fears, subconscious convictions or mental projections, wishful (sometimes perverse or morbid) thinking, et cetera. What is truly sad is that these failed prophets ignore the many biblical warnings about the fate of those who speak in the Lord's name and then are shown to be wrong (It carries some heavy duty penalties and consequences, which surely means God did not and does not shrug off false prophetic words attributed to him in any way, shape or form).
And since Bakker clearly has issued failed prophecies -- and showcased so many others who did likewise -- I again would caution you to treat them with no undue skepticism and immediately stop giving credence to anyone whose prophetic statements amount to guesses and cold reading tactics. To do otherwise is to buy into false prophecies and the people who concoct them, which is the same as buying into deception and deceivers.
Stick with Daniel, Zechariah, Revelations and other prophetic books and use reason and discernment to evaluate interpretations of them but be especially cautious and critical when it comes to extrabiblical prophecies. And when a source of prophecy bombs, do not cut the “prophet” any slack. People who give inaccurate prophecies are deceived and are misleading others with their deception; something God warned would happen as history moved closer to Messiah's return. Such false prophets should be paid no heed by believers least they be pulled into fear that paralyzes and dead ends that divert them from doing what God commanded and expects (individually and corporately).
Let us move ever forward but with our eyes wide open!
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Some Hear Thunder... I Hear a Roar! Supernatural Encounters & Stories to Encourage Your Heart
If you are considering getting hitchified (married) or remarried, I am sure by now you have been on the receiving end of all kinds of advice (welcome or not) and have spent some time online researching ways to help insure you are ready for this big step (Click to read 13 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married) and have in-place what's needed to avoid a future marital meltdown and subsequent divorce.
One thing I hear from altar-bound couples is how compatible they are and how much in love they are. This is great, but what I want to know about is their relationship/bonding (attachment) style. Most couples I have dealt with have never heard of this or have, but know little about it. What I typically suggest is that couples read up on the subject starting with Attachment Styles – Why Knowing Yours Can Change Your Relationships, then take a free online, researcher developed attachment style (The long, not short version) at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other.
Obviously, I place great store in attachment style in marriage, something reflected in articles and blog entries I have penned going back many years including Is an attachment style problem complicating or undermining your life? and Problems relating well to God & your fellow man? Your attachment style may be a major contributor.
Hopefully you and your intended spouse both have secure attachment styles. But what if one or both of you do not? Judging from published studies and analytic articles on this area of human psychology, when an individual with an anxious attachment style marries someone with an dismissive-avoidant attachment style, there is almost certain to be big trouble in paradise. Marriage and family therapists consider the presence of more than one of these predictors (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) in a marriage an indication that it may not last. Many of these predictors characterize individuals with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, something which underscores all the more the need for couples to determine their individual attachment styles before tying the proverbial knot.
Not surprisingly, attachment style plays a role in infidelity too.
For Christians, there are other considerations surrounding marriage which are touched on in Preparing for Marriage and, for Roman Catholics especially, in this online Pre-Cana course: https://livingourfaithinlove.com/
For those readers with one or more marriages under their belt (especially followers of Yeshua), it is vital to determine whether you are morally free to remarry. If not, you may be entering into an adulterous union (This carries some heavy duty consequences - click). To help you sort this out, I strongly recommend that you view this 9m59s video: https://youtu.be/hOvxlcR_Yd0
For those readers who prefer written material over video, or who just want more detailed information, I highly recommend perusing these articles:
I would be remiss not to include this article in which the author limits "adulterous marriages" to a very narrow category of unions: https://biblicalgenderroles.com/is-there-such-a-thing-as-an-adulterous-marriage/
And yes, the issue of adulterous marriages is complex and not unexpectedly contentious one within the community of believers. Actually, the American church has over time pretty much lined up its teachings on divorce and marriage with that of the secular world.
It would be a mistake in my opinion for divorced folks to interpret this ecclesiastical laxness over divorce and remarriage -- as well as the contentiousness and theological in-fighting going on in some quarters over it -- as constituting a form of permission-by-default to press on with a remarriage. Since estrangement and (ultimately) separation from God is decreed for the sexually immoral, there is too much at stake to throw caution to the wind and enter into a 2nd, 3rd or nth marriage (Those already in such a state may not want to hear this, but their only remedy may be to adopt a brother-sister type relationship with their "significant other").
For those couples who are considering entering into a marriage without any major encumbrances (such as a prior marriage) but in which one or both partners has an attachment disorder, the question arises: Can an attachment disorder be altered or remediated? The answer is a qualified "yes". The methods used to effect such change differ somewhat between practitioners and treatment facilities, something reflected in these online sources: Adult Attachment Therapy and How to change your attachment style. From what I have been able to garner from various psychoanalysts who handle adult attachment disorders, therapy that produces lasting results takes years if not decades to transact.
It is, of course, both easy and natural to dismiss an attachment disorder and assume the heady biochemistry of infatuation/love and lust (love potion #9, if you will) will hold sway against all comers including relationship/bonding issues. From my own experience and observations, most people with an attachment disorder -- especially dismissive-avoidant types -- function fairly normally while under the influence of the aforementioned love potion. But as the "magic love phase" fades out over time, their old troublesome patterns of coping reemerge and soon their marriage becomes strained and then dysfunctional.
In the final analysis (as it were), make sure your pre-nuptial homework is thorough. You and your intended bride or groom should (at the very minimum) answer these 13 Questions Before Getting Married and also take the (long form) researcher developed attachment style inventory at http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl and share the outcome with each other. If one or both of you turns out to have an attachment disorder, do yourselves a big favor and learn all you can about it including treatment/remediation options.
For couples in which one or both have prior marriages, do not skip over or treat lightly the question of whether you are biblically/morally at liberty to remarry.
To sum it all up using my own country vernacular, better to drive your pickup down a dry narrow road than a wide, muddy one.
For the insatiably curious and others who want to know more about love, relationships, and attachment challenges, as well as how to live as God intended:
Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love (Paperback)
Treating Attachment Disorders: From Theory to Therapy (Paperback)
The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction Mohammadi K, Samavi A, Ghazavi Z. The Relationship Between Attachment Styles and Lifestyle With Marital Satisfaction. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. 2016;18(4):e23839. doi:10.5812/ircmj.23839.
Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (Completely Revised and Updated with a New Introduction) by biological anthropologist Dr. Helen Fisher. Click to access a list of Dr. Fisher’s books on Amazon.com
For You Shall be Holy as I am Holy by Rev. Bert M. Farias.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Note bene: I have no commercial or other interest in any clinical or other enterprise mentioned or linked to in this article.
Do we live in a messed up culture or what? Congress is often gridlocked (aka constipated) and Wall Street seems to have terminal IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome – alternating constipation & diarrhea). Many people are vociferously declaring things God declared good, evil and things he declared evil, good. Hypocrisy abounds -- one indisputable example being the legions of married people who pledged fidelity to their spouses and can be found looking for “afternoon delight” or its equivalent online (A human failing that finds ample expression in websites devoted to facilitating adulterous unions). People in general are now so jaded and fearful that just about anything from a sour look to a child's toy gun qualifies as a deadly threat. And the boxers in the ring – that’s you and me folks – are so punch-drunk we longer hear the bell, see the canvas… or even care. To hear the most vocal among us we are either one step from becoming the Fourth Reich or else on the slippery slope to some form of communalism or communism or some ism no one seems to favor or else believes signals the advent the "End Times". In light of this, I’m pretty sure if an extraterrestrial intelligence actually visited this veil of tears it would not conclude we are “Mostly Harmless” and would stick a quarantine beacon in high orbit to warn off other space farers.
So how did we wind up so utterly messed up? I’m sure you have your own pet theories and suspicions. Me? I think it is rooted in trying to obtain and then sustain that ethereal, seemingly fleeting state-of-being we identify as “being happy” (or “being content”). There is a restlessness underlying this quest, something rooted in biology and culture and a whole lot more, which compels us to believe that we’ll be happier with the “next whatever” or “more whatever” or even “less whatever” (You fill in the whatever – be it material or immaterial or a mix of both).
This quest for happiness or contentment is not satisfied when our fundamental need for food, warmth, shelter, safety and such are met. Give an individual cradle-to-grave security in the form of an education, a job and decent income, healthcare, a home and security in all these things and more, and he or she will in no way “have arrived” (Though I have no issue with a country providing such things. Given Yeshua's share & care MO, I suspect he would advocate for democratic socialism sans some elements that run contrary to the Torah). Would that happiness or contentment were that simple! No, the quest goes on….next or more or less, please.
In this country, those extraordinary souls who birthed this experiment in democracy were also on a quest for happiness. And while they differed somewhat in how they defined happiness and how to achieve it, they included “the pursuit of Happiness” as an unalienable right. Of course, they left achieving happiness including creating a roadmap to it to individual initiative and ingenuity. Although this sounds, well, so very democratic and is certainly far better than having an autocrat dictate what constitutes happiness and how to best achieve it, it did (shall we say) free some folks to pursue happiness in ways that undermine democratic institutions, not to mention what’s moral, fair or ethical.
Of course, what are churches, synagogues, mosques, Sunday schools, Hebrew schools, parochial schools and families for if not inculcate young people with the ethical and moral guidelines and civic virtues that, while perhaps not defining happiness, at least helps point people from seeking it in crime, cruelty, abusing others, intolerance, enslavement and a whole host of other demonstrated social and religious evils?
We have had these institutions around since “day one” and they have generally helped people establish and respect boundaries (e.g., don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet, don’t cheat, et cetera) and fulfill agreed on religious and civic obligations.
Unfortunately, while many secular and religious organizations and institutions have helped constrain human nature and direct it in positive, productive directions, there was always that nagging inner “pursuit of happiness” faculty and a dark refrain to ignore “the high road” and indulge self-serving, self-aggrandizing impulses and baser instincts. Did not God himself grant those early humans (hominins) he endowed with spirit tremendous freedom with only one boundary or rule? A rule which constituted a simple “this one thing don’t do” test of loyalty, fidelity and obedience? Presumably, there was no happiness to pursue at this point-in-time – people communed with God and knew unprecedented blessings – they had happiness -- and yet temptation got the upper hand and left these early people…well, unhappy (or at least in need of filling the spiritual void within created by their rebellion with diverse pursuits and things, both material and immaterial).
While you are busy trying to figure out how temptation wrecked and continues to wreck human-God and human-human relationships, and how to remedy this, ask yourself this question: Did the Founding Fathers & Mothers do us any favors by acknowledging the “pursuit of happiness” as an unalienable right?
They did, I suppose, but one is tempted to wish they had added some boundaries and obligations to that pursuit.
Now, long before there was an America – before my own American Indian forbearers existed on this continent – stories had been created and circulated that extolled specific beliefs, behavior and goals that helped people grow, survive, thrive, and ensure their “own posterity”. Many not unexpectedly reflected the human “pursuit of happiness (or contentment)” and added fairy tale type endings or outcomes. These inspired and encouraged people, yes, but there was a downside; with the advent of filmmaking in America some fairy tales (or “tall tales”) powerfully tapped and exploited the human pursuit of happiness/contentment in ways that dovetailed with American capitalist sentiments and convictions (“More”, “next”, please). During the formative years of my own generation, the Baby Boomers, we were endlessly spoon-fed movie and television fare in which all wrongs were righted (in 2 hours or less installments, no less), and countless princesses, a puppet turned human, a talking cricket and exceedingly cute fawn and most of her family, and enumerable other mythic characters beat the odds, triumphed over every evil, and wound up somehow living happily ever after. So what is wrong with this? Isn’t it natural to seek such mental escapes from “cold, hard reality”?
Maybe so, but what I saw was impressionable children filled with a beatific Hollywood vision of happiness…..harmony, good over evil, all that biz….only to have this (ahem) violently shaken by the latest TV special on how to survive a nuclear war or a report on how many American soldiers had died in Vietnam on that particular day (“Body bag counts”).
Yes, most of the Boomers I grew up with somehow managed to surmount the disparity between “movie and TV land happiness” and “real world happiness”. Sadly, though, I knew more than a few became disappointed, anxious or depressed neurotics who “pursued happiness” by jumping from one scheme, bed, marriage, bar or what-have-you to the next, in some oft unspoken (but discernible) belief that the happily-ever-after endings of so many TV shows, movies and books could yet be realized. Sadly, a very sad few found themselves wondering if happiness/contentment is something only those in the local cemetery found…. a miscalculation that resulted in their taking a permanent stage left.
How do we then overcome or surmount this messed up state-of-affairs? Do we expunge happy endings and amend fairy tales and tall tales and the movies and TV shows they inspire? Since the “pursuit of happiness” (or contentment) is rooted in human nature, I do not count it likely that we can long suppress or redirect its expression (And what would happen to the arts if we did?) I believe, though, that we should counterbalance “happily ever after” with a greater emphasis on civic virtues, courtesy, diplomacy, sharing/caring/empathy, honesty, loyalty/fidelity and like virtues (not to mention sacrifice, hard work, persistence, healthy ways of dealing with stress, thwarted desires/goals and set-backs, etc.)
And what of holiness? Obedience -- as in keeping God's commandments?
At least by more intentionally taking the ethical & moral high road we will (perhaps) be less inclined to expect film or TV show happy endings that seldom if ever come to pass, to seek self-destructive escapes or detours in a quest for this, or to fearfully overreact to differences of opinion, though if we hang on and do what’s right and virtuous we might just get pretty darn close to enjoying the happy ending God intended for his children.
© 2013, 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Supplemental reading: The intimate relationship God and early humans knew long ago was violated and ruptured long ago, yes, and accounts for some of the misguided, sinful, failed ways we have looked to for happiness/contentment. Thankfully, God provided a path to reconciliation which you are invited to explore in a blog entry of mine at https://biotheorist.wordpress.com/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-post-death-decomposition-body-farm-video/
"Yours truly" has been on Twitter since June 2009 and during that time I've made over 21,000 tweets (most re-Tweets) and received hundreds of DMs (Direct Messages). Most of these DMs have been some variation of "Thanks for following me and do check out my latest book, article, album, movie, sales catalog, award, or such." Few are truly genuine in the sense they are not an obvious marketing come on. Mind you, I do not fault people for promoting their products, creations, convictions, advocacy, pet cause or pet dog, cat, bird, bat or what-have-you. Heck, I've done this myself on more than one occasion. Naturally, I like most of you have wound up somewhat jaded and as-a-result tend to glance at DMs and quickly move on. But not so when it came to a DM I got from Kristeen Nicole Gillooly:
There is always someone to pray for, and today I would like to pray for you. Praying that in all the difficulties you face, you know and understand without a shadow of a doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ is your refuge, the Savior that will continue to save you in your darkest hour. May the peace of His love bring comfort as you cry out to Him.
Mind you, Miss Kristeen's DM came on the heels of my following her, something prompted by a Christian music video she made that I had come across on a Twitter feed and found uplifting.
What made her DM a stand out in my book was not her offer to pray for me -- or even her music video "Praying for You" which she provided a link to -- but what I discovered about her. If you go to Miss Kristeen's blog site at https://kristeennicolegillooly.wordpress.com/ and read her bio, you will (I wager) be touched and impressed by her journey to redemption, deliverance from stage fright, and especially the resilience, faith and hope she mustered in the face of many losses including her own health (to fibromyalgia which has saddled her with chronic, relentlessly strength and quality of life robbing pain).
Then there is this: Miss Kristeen wrote "Praying for You" just four days before her Mum changed worlds ("Passed on").
Of course, I appreciate Miss Kristeen's offer to pray for me. But the truth is that from where I sit she has a more pressing need for prayer, something that brings me the real thrust of this blog entry: If you are a believer who places great store in faith, then say a prayer or two or three for Miss Kristeen's healing. Perhaps once she is well she will go on to write a song of praise to God for his role in bringing about her recovery and also for those servants who interceded for her after hearing one of her videos, reading her life story on her Word Press blog site, or getting a DM from her as I did.
Looking for some music that inspires (draws one closer to God) and at the same time relaxes? Perhaps one of my favorites will work for you. Namely, Gregorian chants.....3 hours worth, no less! Go ahead, sit back and give it a whirl.....
And if you just happen to like J-pop (I came by my affection for it naturally, having lived and worked on the enchanted isle for many years), try this golden oldie from "Morning Musume" (English subtitles) on for size:
Or if you are in "Jolly Roger" mood, how about?
Intimacy has many forms and expressions, as you know -- familial, romantic, sexual, and many others. You've got intimacy down pat, right? Now go do a Google search using the word intimacy and read a few of the articles concerning human relational intimacy (But skip the porno sites that may have gotten into your search results). After doing this I suspect you have found yourself questioning whether your mastery of intimacy is as thorough and complete as you thought it to be.
Now take this little self-reflection exercise a step further (provided you are a believer): do a Google search using the phrase (in parentheses) "Intimacy with God". I did it just now and turned up 524,000 websites, blog entries and what-have-you. Now read through a few of the top ranked articles on this subject.
You probably read a lot about "surrender", "transparency", "obedience" and such (All consistent with what the Bible articulates about the God-human relationship).
What intrigues me is that many writers on the subject have a lot of "how to" steps based, in whole or part, on biblical examples and notions of what tends to draw us closer to the Almighty as well as those things that can throw a monkey wrench in the achievement of intimacy with God or complicate its development over time. Some of these writer-pontificators draw on personal experience. All this is fine and good and is generally valid at various levels and in various ways, I'm sure. And, I suspect, few (if any) believers are so instinctively and spiritually adept (gifted) at establishing and maintaining intimacy with God as to obviate the need for biblical and extrabiblical guidance or other input, such as “how to” guides and personal accounts (I invoked "I suspect" because it is hard to know for sure without surveying all believers).
In addition, I also suspect that many believers either think intimacy (at least the deepest, most profound expression of it) with God is something that he unilaterally ordains, decrees and facilitates, or is a matter of individual volition in the sense of approaching God and having faith he will respond to this and then help or enable us to wade into the waters of intimacy with him (starting with "toes first" and then progressing slowly over time as millimeter by millimeter of our being is submerged), or is a mix of both.
Some may argue that truly genuine intimacy with God is something attained and sustained only by extraordinarily pure (holy), obedient and selfless souls, which naturally tends to bring to mind certain believer saints, prophets, seers, mystics and such.
Maybe intimacy with God has a bell curve aspect to it: you know, some folks fall at extreme ends of the curve with most believers falling in the middle.
If this is how things pan out over all, I do not for one minute believe that someone on the zero intimacy end of the curve cannot progress to the middle, or that someone in the middle cannot advance several standard deviations forward.
Is there some shortcut or way to quantum leap from “lowliness to holiness” (To borrow a phrase from one of my favorite movies, “Leap of Faith”)? I (ahem) suspect not. I do not think God makes available “instant sanctification (holiness)” (Would that he did! This naturally holds special appeal to we Boomers as well as later generations, all of whom who grew up with instant everything and books galore – now digital -- to inspire and pop psych us from “zero to hero”).
It has to take hard work, otherwise why did Messiah Yeshua command us to “Take up your cross and follow me”? There isn’t anything about dragging a heavy wooden cross through life that suggests instant sanctification, is there?
However, what I have seen and experienced are those moments of intimacy with God that are so rapturous that one is sorely tempted to believe “I’ve got it, by George”. Of course, disappointment follows – mainly that it wasn’t sustained without let up, day in and day out – but also because there is the awesome realization that intimacy with God is very likely infinite in the sense it unfolds and deepens without there being any oceanic end point or completion (There is no destination, just the eternal process).
Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness by Dr. Michael L. Brown
Purity of Heart by Rev. Bert M. Farias
My review of Rev. Farias's book on Amazon.com:
Rev. Farias has done it again, by George!, August 2, 2017
Dr. Anthony G. Payne
This review is from: The Real Jesus (Paperback)
Rev. Farias has definitely done it again. By this, I mean the Reverend's book "The Real Jesus" like his many others distills down essential truths and insights using straightforward logic and prose. One of my favorite Fariasisms can be found on page 51: "Truth sounds like hate to those who hate the truth". Amen and amen. This book is a keeper and one I will be buying copies of for friends, associates, family and others.
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Ekklesia: Rediscovering God’s Instrument for Global Transformation by Dr. Ed Silvoso
Following Messiah and living the faith authentically is countercultural & radical. One way to do so is in community as a lay monk or nun (Married or single is OK)
We live in a time when a great many churches and evangelical organizations have taken the teachings, instructions and life example of the Yeshua HaMashiach ("Jesus the Messiah") and transformed it into an "Americanized" version that essentially enthrones self, minimizes or eliminates repentance, conversion, discipleship and sacrifice, requires little in the way of genuine spiritual empowerment and growth (while heavily promoting anything that inflates the ego and one's bank account), and which in-a-word calls good evil, and evil good.
Actually this "Americanization" of core Christian beliefs and practices has been going on for centuries (And was preceded by an egregious twisting of scriptures and beliefs by ecclesiastical movers and shakers dating back to the "Church Fathers"). However, based on what I saw and experienced growing up as a boy in the 1960s and 1970s (in Texas and Louisiana), this trend of pushing aside scriptural boundaries and by so doing compromising Christian beliefs and practices jumped from "sublight" to "warp" speed during those tumultuous decades. Of course, the resulting syncretic religiosocial mess, which was supposed to enlighten and liberate, instead enslaved and has relentlessly worked its dark magic ever since.
Thankfully, there's always been "awakenings" and "revivals" -- that is, calls for repentance and a return to genuinely Bible consistent living & conduct -- such as that of the Jesus (people) movement which surfaced in the 1970s and the New Monasticism movement which was essentially born in the 1980s. Naturally, these movements and the communities they spawned have focused on living, loving, sharing & sacrificing as Messiah did, which puts them at odds with the dominant American culture including most mainstream Christian denominations. In short, they are both countercultural and radically Christian.
Now this brings me to you. If you are a grafted-in (Romans 11:9) believer (evangelical, Charismatic/neopentecostal, Catholic, Protestant, nondenominational) who is drawn to living the faith as a monastic, then I would encourage you to consider becoming a lay monk or nun. You do not have to leave your job or residence to do this, though for those who are called to the monastic life in residence with likeminded others there will be such an option in the future. Email me for particulars (much is in-progress!) at FounderAbbot@gmail.com. I will get back to you as quickly as possible.
12 marks of the new monasticism
Did the Almighty send an emissary to the ancient Cahokian (American Indian) people?
"Prophecy: Native Americans Hold the Key to Spiritual Awakening" (Charisma News 5-9-2017)
Rev. Bert M Farias has written many books, which without exception "cores the apple" (i.e., boils down topical issues & concerns to core truths and insights). Most run under 100 pages. The Reverend's latest work is "The Real Jesus" (96 pages) which you can read about & order (for $10) here https://goo.gl/dMwUHY (Amazon).
Rev. Farias shares quotes from his literary handiwork on his ministry website at https://goo.gl/4G0yHK
Look for my own (admittedly minor) contribution to Rev. Farias's tome on page 8! (Text cut & pasted below)
“Sadly, I think many in the community of believers cling to an Americanized gospel which equates what is biblically true and reliable with being part and parcel of various right-wing political agendas. Actually, Christianity itself in the US and many other nations has been interpreted (and by virtue of this) rewritten to gel with sentiments and ideas that actually run contrary to what the Messiah taught and advocated (Torah-based Judaism), e.g., unbridled capitalism and the greed it is predicated on and the corruption it engenders and promotes. I dare say if Yeshua HaMashiach physically visited most American churches, He would not recognize what was being taught and advocated as being remotely like what He articulated and lived.” ~Dr. Anthony G. Payne~
On January 20th of this year (2017), messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn spoke before a gathering of members of the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Committee, the US government, various ambassadors, ministers and others in Washington, D.C. What Cahn went on to share has been characterized as a "prophetic word", which I tend to agree is the case in the sense he delivered a powerful, spirit-inspired summary of this nation's moral failures and missteps along with a heartfelt admonition to repent, which is to say turn our backs on these sins and failings and bring our future words & deeds into accord with God's law (A better translation of "law" in Hebrew is "instructions" according to some scholars).
Here is a link to Rabbi Cahn's full speech along with a salient except from same:
Jonathan Cahn's Last Words to Obama and Charge to President Trump
"But something happened to the city on the hill. As the people of ancient Israel, in the midst of their blessings, committed a fatal error, so too have we. We have turned away from God. We've ruled Him out of our culture, out of our government, out of our lives, and banned Him from our public squares.
"In His place we have brought in idols of carnality and gain, and gods of materialism and licentiousness. We have replaced the eternal standards of righteousness for a new morality of immorality. The nation that was brought forth to fill the world with the light of God, now fills the earth with pornography. And what we once knew to be sin, we now call good, and what we once knew to be right, we now call intolerant and dangerous. And those who held true to God and His Word, were now marginalized, mocked, and vilified. We have become a civilization inverted, at war against the foundation upon which it had been established, and against the God of its foundation.
"We have descended to the darkest of sins. Israel killed thousands of its children on the altars of Baal. But we have killed millions. We've offered up our unborn children on the altars of self-obsession. It was here in this city that their murder was legalized forty four years ago. And their blood cries out to Heaven against us."
Also check out Biblical prophecy is primarily about Israel & the Jewish people, not America! which includes a brief look at Rabbi Cahn's bestselling book "The Harbinger".
One of my favorite country singers, Reba McIntire, recently released an album of spiritual, inspirational songs titled "Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope". One of the songs ("Back to God") was posted on YouTube and has already racked up over 2 million views.
Miss Reba and I share a few "life overlaps": We are both 61 years of age, country bred and have ties to Oklahoma (She was born & reared there. My late maternal Choctaw grandfather and his family came to North Texas from southern Oklahoma by covered wagon in 1909). The comparisons end there though, as McIntire has the looks and golden voice of an angel, while I am often mistaken for Mr. McGoo's older brother.
One other thing: Sometimes a powerful sermon is woven into a song. Miss Reba's "Back to God" is certainly this and more. Whenever I listen to it -- which is fairly often I must confess -- I can almost see the psalmist King David and legions of angels singing along with her.
Depending on which way your political sympathies fell (and presumably your vote) in the recent Presidential election (2016), you are probably either screaming "bloody murder" or else ecstatically happy or somewhere in-between.
What intrigues me are the many clerics and Charismatic/neopentecostal prophets who are proclaiming that Donald Trump is a modern day Cyrus the Great, meaning he is God's anointed leader who will save American from its downward _____ (fill in the blank = moral, financial, economic, military, etc.) spiral.
Well, if President-Elect Trump is our modern day Cyrus, God is going to have to get busy and do a work on his heart and ways, as he did in Cyrus's. According to the Hebrew Scriptures the good Lord made Cyrus ethical and guided his ways so as to be "direct", i.e., consistent with God's own will including his ordained moral and ethical precepts and commands (Isaiah 45:1-13). I have yet to detect such in Trump. To the contrary, he still talks and walks like a psychopathic CEO whose behavior provides textbook examples of megalomania, malignant narcissism and paranoia.
However, as I am not a psychologist or mental health exert, I will leave the diagnostic work to those reading this who are.
Personally, I would love to believe that Trump will do more good than harm. But there is so much about his actions and words that remind me of historical accounts of how authoritarian and fascist politicians (in the 1920s and beyond) courted various factions in their countries including leading Christian religious leaders and denominations, then used them to nefarious ends all the while plotting their "transformation" or elimination.
Right now Dr. Pat Robertson and his cohosts on CBN's 700 Club send a portion of each show fawning over Trump's election victory while cherry picking through the news in ways that emphasize Mr. Trump's so-called virtues -- while conveniently glossing over or ignoring the many things he says and does that are alarming and depict a man who seems to epitomize the very lawlessness the Bible decries and denounces.
Now, while I in no way equate Mr. Trump's personality or actions with those of with another (oft invoked) political "messiah", Adolf Hitler, I find it an insightful study in contrasts to juxtapose Dr. Robertson & company's unbridled faith in Trump and what he is doing and will do for America, with CBN's own segment on how the patron saint of evil (Hitler) spoke in similar terms of what he would do for Germany (in the 1930s) and how adroitly he manipulated the news media of his day and Germany's Catholic and Protestant leaders to buy into this (with tragic results): http://www.cbn.com/tv/2305162768001?mobile=false (And this in ways that Trump eerily mirrors today)
If God does intervene and makes Trump's path ethical and "direct", then he could very well wind up doing more good than harm during his four year term as America's 45th President. But if Trump's path remains unchanged, I suspect Dr. Robertson and many others who share his political worldview will find themselves lamenting Trump's reign and depicting him not as a blessing to America, but as judgment...or worse...a curse on the land.
Food for thought from Summer Cloud
On August 19 2016 Rev. Bert M. Farias published a blog entry titled "Heaven is out home" which contained this concerning the awareness of denizens of God's realm of all that transpires on this one:
"Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us" (Heb. 12:1).
This huge crowd of men of faith or cloud of witnesses does not observe us from a mere natural standpoint. They are not concerned about our earthly status in the sense of our wealth, prestige, or reputation. They are not concerned about how many houses, lands, cars, or material possessions we own. They are mainly concerned about one thing: The condition of our spiritual lives, and the salvation of sinners and maturity of the saints.
For example, the late Kenneth E. Hagin had an Enoch-like experience he describes in his book, "Following God's Plan For Your Life", where he was taken up to heaven. There he saw his sister Oleta, who had died of cancer at just 45 years of age. Hagin was allowed to talk to her. She told him since her arrival in heaven that she had already seen several family members, while expressing concern for others on the earth who were presently away from God. She told Brother Hagin that he should talk to her eldest son about the Lord and that he would listen to him. These things are real friends. Heaven knows what goes on spiritually down here on the earth. What an incentive to run our race and fulfill God's plan for our lives! What an incentive to finish strong! What an incentive to be about our Father's business!"
What Rev. Farias was sharing falls in line in some ways with the Roman Catholic teachings concerning the "Communion of Saints" (which should not be confused with the forbidden conjuring up of spirits). As readers of this blog may know, I converted to Roman Catholicism in my early 20s (but was spirit baptized and entered the Charismatic movement well before this) and later gravitated into the messianic movement in a quest for the original body of beliefs and practices held by followers of Yeshua HaMashiach ("Jesus the Messiah").
I am intrigued by Rev. Farias's thoughts on the "Communion of Saints" but especially that of the late Rev. Kenneth Hagin. The reason Hagin's account is especially interesting to me lies in the fact I encountered the reality of the "cloud of witnesses" some thirty five years ago. Got your attention? Here is my personal account:
In the fall of 1980 I contracted a devastating pulmonary infection that eventually subsided but left me with lung scarring and reduced lung capacity. During this time I read how Saint Bernadette Soubirous (Lourdes) had died of pulmonary disease at a young age (I actually corresponded with Sister Noel who was serving in the convent at St. Gildard in Nevers, France, about Bernadette. Sister Noel's order - the Sisters of Charity of Nevers -- is part of Lourdes and as I learned she was a missionary in Japan when WWII broke out who wound up a prisoner of the Imperial Army. She was in Hiroshima when the bomb fell and survived this, contracted leukemia, and survived this too). Long story short: I knew better than to get into necromantic activities, so what I did was ask God to have St Bernadette (along with other saints in his presence) intercede for me. Almost immediately I had an interior vision of the diminutive French saint kneeling and praying -- facing an indescribably bright blue-white light which I knew was the Almighty (The first of a series of such visions that stretched across a handful of months*). I could hear Bernadette praying in a French sounding dialect which was instantaneously translated as she spoke. I then heard the Spirit tell me this saint would be one of those who intercede for me in perpetuity (that is, for the remainder of my earthly sojourn). Cutting to the chase: my pulmonary challenges reversed leaving few vestiges. In addition, I have had an awareness ever since of the intercessory activity of St. Bernadette (But have never, ever attempted to "conjure her up" in order to engage in dialog as this would constitute a form of necromancy. In my case, I make my petitions known to God who then involves the "communion of saints" including Bernadette).
Protestant and Catholic clerics, theologians and parishioners have rightly condemned necromancy among believers and others though some missed the fact that there is no sin in asking God to assign intercessors who "have his ear".
No matter what your personal position is on the "Communion of Saints", the overriding question is your relationship with God (Not mental assent but your becoming "one new man"). Not sure what is means or perhaps you think you have it worked out but are not sure? If so, grab a copy of "The Real Salvation" and once you have read and acted on this, buy/borrow and carefully, slowly read Dr. Robert D. Heidler's "The Messianic Church Arising".
* The visions varied as to when they occurred and how Bernadette was attired and what she said or carried in her hands. I manipulated every variable I could to see if I could alter or banish the visions, but could not. I kept a written record of these visions which is under lock and key in Dallas (A storage unit I maintain there).
How do you feel about "celebrity preachers"? Especially those clerics who bend over backwards to make truth "listener friendly, palatable and unlikely to offend"? Was this the MO of the Messiah? During his earthly ministry he went about upsetting these sorts of people whenever he crossed paths with them. He was never reticent about pointing out sin and hypocrisy, though whenever someone he was addressing was hit with conviction he invariably offered a way to be forgiven and then live in obedience to the Almighty's instructions (Torah). He definitely didn't feed them an excuse for their sins followed by a positive affirmation or mantra to repeat throughout the course of each new day.
Thankfully, many clerics, monks, nuns, religion writers and commentators, Bible scholars and teachers, and involved laypeople are now railing against "the cult of celebrity pastors" I would like to bring 2 especially dynamic and outspoken ones to your attention:
Pastor Duke Tabor who just posted "Warning: Don't Read This If You Admire Celebrity Pastors" which you can access at http://www.viralbeliever.com/grow/teachings/warning-dont-read-this-if-you-admire-celebrity-pastors/?utm_content=buffer4fb6e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
And Rev. Bert M. Farias who has written passionately about sin, repentance (teshuva), obedience, etc. and how many "superstar ministers" downplay, skirt or just flat out ignore these core Gospel teachings. One of the good Reverend's articles on the latter topic is titled "Beware of Superstar, Self-Appointed Church Personalities" which you can access at http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/the-flaming-herald/45699-beware-of-superstar-self-appointed-church-personalities .
is a analytic thought exploriment for you: Sit down and juxtapose current events (especially the darker side of the news) with the prophecies in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. I suspect that if you weren't concerned about where civilization is headed before this exercise, you likely will be afterwards.
If you happen to be a Baby Boomer you probably have watched a succession of popular books and films on eschatology themes ("End of Era" events and corresponding prophecies) such as those of Hal Lindsey (Author of the bestselling 1970 book, "The Late Great Planet Earth") come and go. A look back through these makes it very clear that nailing down the "End Times" is an iffy enterprise. However, today events are unfolding that line up with ancient prophecies in ways that are both starling and difficult to dismiss or gloss over.
And it isn't believers in the mainstream religions that are blogging and tweeting on "End Times" prophecy. The Web abounds with fearful speculation on the part of people who are more secular in their thinking than religious or spiritual.
Many people are turning to prophecy teachers for help in piecing together and understanding what is unfolding. They are not so much asking "Is this stuff true?" but, rather, are saying things like "The books of Daniel and Revelation (among others) are being fulfilled right before our eyes. But are we yet in the End Times?"
There is no lack of books and videos by prophecy experts who have tackled this question. One of most cogent recent books (which I recommend) is Sid Roth's book* "Sooner Than You Think: A Prophetic Guide to the End Times".
I have read Roth's book and probably one hundred other recent tomes on the subject, distilled down what I deem on target, and come up with the following tentative conclusions:
First off, I do, yes, believe we are on the cusp of what is so oft called "The End Times". However, with this said I do not believe we are not as close as some writers and believers think, although things could come together quickly to herald in the "final chapter".
We are, I believe, at a crossroads in history in which the timing of prophetic events rests with what people (especially believers) do or don't do. If for instance, believers intercede and begin behaving themselves and eschewing sin, then I believe the Almighty will give humankind more time before the seven year "Great Tribulation" kicks off. But if believers do not make teshuvah (i.e., repent& then do what is pure, right & holy) and get their ducks in a row in every respect, the Great Tribulation could commence in no time at all.
Here is what I am certain must happen that will signal we are entering the seven year Great Tribulation:
Before I get into the meat of the matter, let me share some thoughts on the very popular line of speculation that states a future Mahdi will be the Anti-Messiah, i.e., a phony messiah who gives lip service to keeping the rules governing Jewish conduct laid out in Torah but whose actions will encourage lawlessness. This is illogical as the prophesied Anti-Messiah is a false messiah, and the only way this man could qualify as messiah Jews will accept is to be Jewish. However, with this said it is possible the anticipated Mahdi could fulfill the prophesized role of "False Prophet".
Now for a rundown of "what's coming down the pike" including those specific events that precede and declare that "The Great Tribulation Lies Immediately Ahead":
(1) There will be a war in the Middle East in which Iran, Syria and other Arab countries will try to attack & conquer Israel. This is prophesied in Psalms 83. This invasion will fail. However, I believe that during the attack an Arab or other missile will veer off its prescribed path and strike and destroy the Dome of the Rock (The one major physical impediment to the rebuilding of the Temple). Damascus will also be utterly destroyed. As a result of Israel's victory, she will also acquire vast new territory and think herself safe. Walls will come down and a false sense of invulnerability will take hold.
(2) With the Dome of the Rock gone and the Islamic world paralyzed by widespread destruction, Israel will be commence building the Third Temple unopposed and, following its completion, resume animal sacrifices for sin (Check out The Temple Institute's website at https://www.templeinstitute.org/ and http://www.jewishroots.net/library/end-times/rebuilding_the_temple.html).
(3) During this period of time the world will be in economic and social chaos, most likely due to the Psalms 83 Arab-Israeli war and the destruction of many oil refineries and other industrial complexes across the region (Not to mention nuclear contamination unleashed by the military destruction of Iranian nuclear facilities and any others in existence in the area at the time). Things will get so bad that it will seem as though the 1930s in Germany have come roaring back (As in it will take a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread). Stocks and such will likely become worthless or nearly so. And, as you might expect, It is during this dire time -- when the world is desperate for leadership that will set things right -- that the Anti-Messiah will rise to power rapidly and forge a peace treaty that will formally end Arab-Israeli hostilities (A prophesied 7 year peace covenant)..
(4) At the mid-point of his reign, the Anti-Messiah will enter the Temple in Jerusalem and declare that he is not only the Jewish messiah, but divine or semi-divine to boot (A malignant narcissist whose self-serving evil will dwarf that of his "spiritual predecessor and twin", Adolf Hitler). This will result in the Jewish people (among others including genuine Christian believers) turning against the evil one's regime.
(5) Following the Anti-Messiah's sacrilegious announcement, the "Wrath of Satan" laid out in the book of Revelation will then begin. This includes almost 3.5 full years of persecution (Jews and believers) and the inauguration of a cashless economic system in which only those who embrace the Anti-Messiah as their source and take his "mark" (radio frequency identification biochip most likely) will have access to goods & services. The church will see the "Great Apostasy" unfold quickly, as many believers will be expecting to be spared the Great Tribulation and will be unable to deal with living in the midst of it (A great many will willingly receive the implant and even turn against believers who do not). Apparently, though, there will be "cities of refuge" in which genuine believers who have God's favor will be able to escape the reach of the Anti-Messiah.
(6) Towards the end of the 3.5 year Great Tribulation period, perhaps about 45 days before the final curtain goes down, God's Wrath will be loosed on the inhabitants of this planet. As believers will not be subject to this, they will be transported to Heaven (Parousia or Rapture). They and all the saints in Glory will return with Messiah at the end of this period of God's Wrath to restore & inaugurate the Almighty's reign over men.
So, bottom-line -- once people see the Psalm 83 war, the construction of the Third Temple, the stage, and the enactment of a 7 year peace treaty between Israel and her Arab neighbors (and possibly others), the Great Tribulation will be at-hand. I am hoping and praying this will not happen for many decades yet. However, if believers (and it is they and not unbelievers who stay God's anger with sin) continue to "play church", chase women, drink heavily, and pretty much do whatever the world offers in the way of pleasure & narcissistic self-indulgence, the Great Tribulation could be realized within a few year's time.
The good news is that many, many ministers, priests and others - men and women who have been given the gift of prophecy by the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit), - are saying a Great Awakening (like those in past history such as the one spearheaded by John Wesley) is coming to America and to other lands as well. Many of these spiritual turnaround periods lasted for decades. If this one does, then the Great Tribulation will (I posit) come to pass in the 2060s.
* Readers interested in hearing what Sid Roth has to share from his book and other sources, should click this link (Video)
Robert Van Kampen’s “The Sign” (1992) and his “The Rapture Question Answered: Plain and Simple” (1997)
2015-2070: Red moons, ancient prophecies, and more
Church Is Facing a Dietrich Bonheoffer Moment
Biblical prophecy is primarily about Israel & the Jewish people, not America!
A world gone mad and what lies ahead
YOUR “GET SPIRITUALLY EMPOWERED CRASH COURSE”:
But let me add this caveat: A lot of Christian theology and beliefs (including portions of the books above) draw on the very flawed letters (epistles) of Paul (Saul of Tarsus). It is therefore important that you also acquire the knowledge and insight to identify what is edifying and true from what is not. These two free, online resources will help you mightily in this regard:
Jesus’ Words Only (Second Edition 2007) (Free online in its entirety) by Douglas J. Del Tondo, Esq.
ARE YOU IN AN ADULTEROUS MARRIAGE?
If you are in a 2nd (or..etc.) marriage you need to dig into these websites:
© 2015 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
As a boy I grew up in the shadow of books filled with "End Times" scenarios in which America figures prominently. This puzzled me then -- as it does now -- as the focus of Biblical prophecy is Israel and the Jewish people and not the US (Which seems either altogether absent or else alluded to as one of the "End Times" players who prove a thorn in the side of the false messiah's plans to invade Israel with his armies and force on the Jewish state that which it categorically rejects, i.e., acknowledgement of his being the Almighty or his equivalent or some such abomination.
Lately many prominent Christian writers and preachers are waving works on "The Blood Moons" as well as Jonathan Cahn's "The Harbinger" about as powerful indications that the "End Times" are upon us Maybe they are, but not because of what is laid out in the various books and DVDs on "the Blood Moons" or Cahn's "The Harbinger" (or any spin-offs of these). These critical looks at both ably dismember and lay bare the falsity of their premises:
A critical biblical analysis of "The Harbinger": http://www.biblicalintegrity.org/2012/04/26/harbinger-fact-fiction/
12+ minute video exposing the deep flaws in prophetic interpretations that pivot on "The Blood Moons" (Tetrad of 2014-2015): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--kA2-5z2zI
Is America and the world in general in the grips of natural and human-made events that could signal the "march to Armageddon"? Some are now arguing prophecies in the books of Daniel, Ezekiel and Revelations will be fulfilled twixt between now and 2024, while others argue for fulfillment further down the road.
It is, of course, tempting to think current horrific events and the spread of evil regimes in many parts of the world forebodes only the worst lies ahead. This seems logical but does not necessarily mean the proverbial end is at-hand. Sadly, many people here in the US seem blissfully unaware of or else have forgotten how much worse things were in just about every respect in the US and Europe and elsewhere during the Great Depression and what followed. During this period drought effected 46 of the 48 states, the "Dust Bowl" raged across the Great Plains burying farms and hope under tons of dirt, a quarter to one third of workers were unemployed, banks and Wall Street were for a time poorly or inadequately regulated with predictable consequences, there was no system to insure a retirement income or pension for aging people (Social Security became law thanks to the passing of progressive legislation spearheaded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his administration), and so forth.
This and the spread of fascism across Europe and Asia (followed by the diplomatic and then swift military victories of Nazi Germany & Imperial Japan) led many American preachers to conclude that they had to be living in the "End Times". Here in America, Louisiana's Huey "Kingfish" Long stated that that fascism would come to America as antifascism (Some contend he said, "It will come as Americanism"); aviation hero Col. Charles Lindbergh visited Nazi Germany and then made speeches back home in which he characterized Hitler's vast military machine as pretty much "invincible"; Roman Catholic priest Father Charles Coughlin promoted fascist thinking and antisemitism on the radio and had a substantial following and many sympathizers; and many American college and university academics were pro-Nazi.
My mother, who grew up on her parent's (my grandparent's) farm outside Lubbock, Texas in the 1930s, drove home just how long a shadow Nazi Germany cast in America in the 1930s: As a little girl she saw American and Nazi flags hung outside more than a few homes (German descended Americans mostly, as she recalled). Also, the board of directors of one of the biggest banks in this West Texas town were so impressed with the "good" Hitler had done in Germany that they commissioned the creation of a huge marble eagle & swastika sculpture, which was then hauled up the side of the bank building and affixed to it. As this building was the tallest one in Lubbock at the time, just about everyone who came within miles of it saw this celebration of Nazism on display (The sculpture & flags all disappeared by the outbreak of WWII on September 1, 1939).
She recalled, too, that as Hitler's armies rolled across Europe many local ministers began preaching that they were surely in the "End Times". Many felt there little doubt but that Hitler was the prophesied Antichrist (Anti-messiah) and Nazi propagandist and idolater, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels, the "False Prophet".
Of course, the "End Times" in this instance came to the various fascist regimes and the economic & natural calamities that preceded and enabled their rise to power.
This is not to say that we are not in or headed towards the prophesied climax of history and all that follows (As depicted in ancient prophecies in the Tanakh and in the book of Revelations). But, what I hope to impart is a cautionary note concerning forgetting that Israel and the Jewish people are the focus of these prophecies and not America. Also, those tempted to believe things are vastly worse for Americans now than anytime in the recent past need to go back and spend some time getting intimately acquainted with the history of the 20th century, especially the late 1920s through the mid-1940s. One good place to start IMO is Ken Burn's new series "The Roosevelts" (PBS). I especially recommend watching episode #5: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-roosevelts/watch-videos/
Towards the end of the July 27, 2014 edition of "Face the Nation", host Bob Schieffer had this to say:
SCHIEFFER: Trying to understand the news of this terrible summer, it's hard to come away with any feeling, but that we are in the midst of a world gone mad (Emphasis mine).
On one side of the world, an ego-driven Russian leader seems to yearn for the time of the czars, when rulers started wars on a whim or a perceived insult, and, if people died, so be it.
In the Middle East, the Palestinian people find themselves in the grip of a terrorist group that has embarked on a strategy to get its own children killed in order to build sympathy for its cause, a strategy that might actually be working, at least in some quarters.
Last week, I found a quote of many years ago by Golda Meir, one of Israel's early leaders, which might have been said yesterday. "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children," she said, "but we can never forgive them for forcing us to kill their children."
In a world gone mad, what is to be learned? (Emphasis mine) Perhaps we should start by remembering what historian Will Durant once said. "Barbarism, like the jungle, does not die out, but only retreats behind the barriers that civilization has thrown up against it, and waits there always to reclaim that to which civilization has temporarily laid claim."
Back in a minute.
Click this link to access this particular segment of FTN as well as a transcript of it.
"In a world gone mad...."
When you consider the "bitter fruit" of global warming such as droughts in diverse places (poised to become a "super drought" in California according to some scientists), along with earthquakes all along the Pacific Rim, the outbreak and spread of Ebola in Africa, the march back to the Dark Ages in the Middle East (The "Islamic State" or "Caliphate") complete with horrific public executions including beheadings, crucifixions, burial of people alive, stonings, and such, and all the unrest, turmoil, intolerance and injustice manifest across the globe, it is tempting to call Bob Schieffer's comment a gross understatement.
Naturally, speculation abounds as to what all this represents in terms of what lies ahead. Pastors, prophecy teachers and such on TBN and CBN are pretty much convinced we are in the "End Times" and things will get far worse, culminating in a litany of horrors reflected in the pages of the biblical books of Daniel and Revelations (among others) before God steps in and presses the reset button.
We humans have brains wired to detect patterns and the confluence of events unfolding right now make it difficult to deny that one way or the other life is truly imitating art (Which is to say events are lining up with ancient prophecies). Many will pooh pooh this, although to my way of thinking this is akin to a farmer sitting on his porch denying that the supercell sweeping his fields portents destruction.
Is it possible to determine exactly what's next on the "prophetic hit parade"? Not exactly beyond saying current downward and troubling trends will continue to worsen and pick up speed. But as I like to analyze and speculate -- and freely admit I get things wrong and have to revise and in some instances toss pet hypotheses on the "discard heap" - I will at least share some things I feel will take place albeit I have no idea of exactly when:
The Islamic State will ultimately be contained albeit with great loss of life.
A major regional war will be fought in the Middle East possibly as part of containing ISIS and other terrorist forces (Best guess - sometime during 2015-2016)
Enemies of Israel, both terrorist groups and nations, will attempt to conquer her. These forces will ultimately be defeated at a tremendous loss of life especially among their ranks. As part of the fighting the Dome of the Rock will be destroyed, possibly by an accidental missile strike on the site by anti-Israeli forces. Israel's geographical boundaries will expand greatly.
The "great war" depicted above will trigger global economic upheaval which will require radical measures to remediate.
Israel will construct the Third Temple.
Economic, natural and other disasters will intensify unrest and chaos throughout most if not all of the world. Many will begin to long for a "strong arm" government that will cut corners and restore order and contain crime, terrorism and military adventurism.
Like Germany in the 1920s-1930s, a charismatic leader and his idolatrous propagandist, a false prophet (Messiah? Some contend the leader will be the false messiah and not the false prophet), will rise to prominence and attain great influence within and outside Israel (Historic parallel: Hitler and his Minister of Propaganda & Public Enlightenment, Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels). Although ostensibly a peacemaker, the latter day Fuhrer will not show his true colors until he enters the Third Temple in Jerusalem and commits sacrilege. Ancient prophecies indicate that this evil man will be literally inhabited by HaSatan at this point and, with his false prophet (false messiah?), will use faith (false religion), technology and economics to control the peoples and nations that fall under his shadow (No access to ATMs, bank accounts, the Internet, etc. without being part of his essentially dictatorial system). Naturally, both men's lawlessness (subversion of & opposition to Torah) will come to light quickly resulting in their being widely opposed by the Jewish people, genuine Godfearers and others.
Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute discusses the coming of this false prophet in a 12m:25s video teaching segment at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6MXcdBI5cU&feature=youtu.be. Here is what is posted immediately below this video clip:
Published on Aug 20, 2014
Who is that false prophet that Torah warns us against? How can he perform wonders if he is false, and if he is false why does he appear? Why does G-d empower him to perform wonders, if not to ensnare Israel? There are many false prophets today in the business of making false promises promising peace and prosperity if only Israel will turn her back on G-d's Torah. We have been warned!
One variant on what I've outlined above -- which focuses on Islam and its role in "end times" events is Joel Richardson's e-book Will Islam Be Our Future? A Study of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology at http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/JR/Future/index.htm ( Richardson's e-book is free & online in its entirety).
Others hold to a different spin on Islam's role in future events and foresee the anti-Messiah coming out of the West: http://www.prophecyinthenews.com/an-islamic-antichrist/
The "final Fuehrer" and his propagandist will institute draconian measures to contain and eradicate dissent and eliminate those who refuse to be a part of their fiendish political-economic-false religious system.
At any rate, the true messiah will be revealed to Israel and the world and be instrumental in ending the reign of terror unleashed by the charismatic leader and his idolatrous propagandist. Judgment and the messianic age will begin.
Will the "end time" prophecies all be fulfilled in a short period of time - say between 2015 and 2024 (as some prophecy teachers have proclaimed) -- or will they unfold over a greater span of time? This is difficult if not impossible to say for sure. A lot depends on what people do -- or don't do. But whether all will unfold "right around the corner" or over a period of forty or fifty or more years, it would be wise for all of us to move away from compromised values and other forms of disobedience (sin) and conform to what the Almighty has laid out in scriptures.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Having trouble making sense of the Book of Revelations? Then head on over to
For Christians who subscribe to a pretribulation rapture: Shove aside those "Left Behind" movies & books and grab a copy of Robert Van Kampen's The RAPTURE QUESTION Answered: Plain & Simple
Evil on the march.
Believe as we do or be marked and ostracized,
or even killed.
Men who confuse rape & murder & mayhem...
with divine approval.
Devoid of truth they are,
veins filled with venomous blood,
knowing history but having learned nothing from it.
Men who make victims and blame them,
and dare to call this wise, holy or true.
Men who callously abuse others and call this righteous,
but know nothing of righteousness.
Men who cast stones at so-called sinners,
while ignoring far greater sins in their own lives.
Men who look to inherit Heaven.
and make hell their abode.
Evil on the march....
Doomed to be consumed by the very the darkness they've unleashed.
© July 2014 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.
Isaiah 56:3-8 from "The Jewish Study Bible" (JPS Tanakh Translation)
3 Let not the foreigner say, who has attached himself to the Lord, "The Lord will keep me apart from His people"; And let not the eunuch say, "I am a withered tress"
4 For thus said the Lord, "As for the eunuchs who kept my sabbaths, who have chosen what I desire, and hold fast to My covenant --
5 I will give them, in My House,
And within My walls,
A monument and a name
Better than sons or daughters.
I will give them an everlasting name which shall not perish.
6. As for the foreigners,
Who attach themselves to the Lord,
To minister to Him,
And to love the name of the Lord,
To be His servants --
All who keep the Sabbath and do not profrain it,
And who hold fast to My covenant --
7 I will bring them to My sacred mount
And let them rejoice in My house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings & sacrifices
Shall be welcome in My altar;
For My House shall be called
A house of prayer for all peoples".
8 Thus declared the Lord God, who gathers the dispersed of Israel:
"I will gather still more to those already gathered"
More about Summer Cloud
Summer Cloud is an American Indian (Tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) who, though reared in the Southern Baptist faith, realized early on that many of the so-called sacred dogmas, creeds and beliefs he had been taught were at serious variance with the findings of historical researchers, Biblical scholars, Biblical archeologists, physical anthropologists, geologists and more. As you might expect, a boy who openly argued for modifying or throwing out beliefs and claims that had been invalidated was not especially popular among his conservative Protestant peers much less the leaders of the Southern Baptist church he attended. In time his critical thinking mindset propelled him on a quest for an expression of faith that both incorporated and reflected the findings of science and scholarship. In 1980 he became a Roman Catholic (Charismatic) and in 2015 he became a lay monk in the transdemoninational Knights of Prayer Monastic Order (Full monk in 2017) as well as a monk in several other religious communities & monastic organizations which are part of the New Monasticism movement. In 2017 he took the name "Brother Anthony of the Resurrection".