Happy Father’s Day, Korach and Charleston

Greetings brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ!
I hope this email finds you living in the grace of our Lord and walking in His ways and that you are looking forward to a blessed Father’s Day.Father’s Day is time to honor our dads if they are still among us, but how do we define what it means to be a dad?
I put up the Bible Factor podcast a little early and give my opinion of what a biblical view might look like.
The scripture reading this week is called Korach (קורח | Korah) because that is the first Hebrew word of the reading found in Numbers 16:1-18:32. Other reading to get us though the bible this year include, 1 Samuel 11:14-12:22 and Luke 18:35-19:28.
The story of Korach’s rebellion is a story of rebellion against the Lord not Moses. Korach desired the office of the high priest because he desired the prestige and the respect that came with it.The Lord had commanded that only the sons of Aaron, Moses’ brother, could hold the office. Other sons of Levi, such as Korach, were to assist the priests but they were not to become priests themselves.
We often desire to be something different than what the Lord created us to be, and we certainly see the world encouraging people to become what they are not in direct rebellion to God.Consider several stories we have seen in recent days.
There is growing support for the so-called transgender movement, from Bruce Jenner to a young 18 year old have surgery to change from male to female (at least as far as the parts go). There was even an uproar over a woman in Washington state who ran the local NAACP chapter, claiming to be black but really white. She claimed to be “transracial”.
People are created equal before God and the law but we are not the same. The Lord gave us differences in gender, ethnic background, status and so on. These differences are neither good nor bad but of what make us who we are.Yet, there is often a desire to tell the Creator that He was mistaken in how we were created.
You see this in small ways like a shorter person wearing shoes to make them appear taller, a dark haired person dying their hair lighter and so on.Korach took this too far when he told Moses that he took too much power for himself by giving commandments and restrictions. Restrictions on who could be a priest was the great contention he had with Moses.
The Lord saw it differently. He saw Korach’s rebellion as questioning the Lord Himself and His authority over the children of Israel. The same is true of us. When we decide that we are something different than what God made us or that we don’t like the differences in others, we rebel against God.
We saw the worst example of this in Charleston, South Carolina. A young man twisted by his hatred of so-called races other than his own, took it upon himself to execute 9 Christians having a bible study simply because of their ethnicity.
He blames races other than whites for the problems of the world but we should understand that this man’s thinking is far from right. The problems of this world find their source in the embracing of sin and the rejection of the ways of God.
We may see pockets of sin, crime and immorality in a particular community but it not a problem of ethnicity, it is a family problem. With the breakdown of the family and fathers abandoning their roles to their children, generations are being taught that they are not responsible for their actions but to blame others.
Which brings us back to Korach.
Korach led his family into rebellion. He drew other Levites and several other tribes within Israel to reject the commands of God and demand his own way.
Dads this Father’s Day should consider the impact they have on their children for good or evil. From fathers involved in their kids lives to those who are absent, dads influence the type of people their children will become.
That is the challenge laid at our feet. What kind of influence are we having on the next generation? Is it for good or evil?

The Intense Fire of Man and Woman

golden-blue-fire-heartMarriage was created for the good of mankind. Many couples argue, fuss and fight because of a lack of commitment to each other. When we are not joined properly things don’t run as they should.

Growing up I would watch Saturday morning cartoons. Among them were the Schoolhouse Rock pseudo-commercials such as “I’m Just a Bill” and “Mother Necessity”.

One of those educational cartoons was “Conjunction Junction.” Within the lyrics of the song were grammatical lessons that taught kids how basic conjunctions were used.

Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up two boxcars and making ’em run right.

In constructing a sentence in English, you need the right conjunction to join words together and for them to run right. Well, it turns out the same is true in a marriage.

Jesus stated, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

Today, the beauty, majesty and holiness of marriage has been diminished and devalued to the point that most young adults will choose not to be married. They will live together with undefined commitments while still having children and sharing expenses.

They might argue that it is not a piece of paper that gives legitimacy to their relationship and therefore unnecessary.

The Joining of Flesh and Spirit

Such a viewpoint marginalizes the very nature of the human experience. Contrary to the secular view taught in today’s schools, men and women were created in the image of God. They have not just a body but a soul and a mind.

Within this construction are what joins a man and a woman to become the one flesh talked about by Jesus. The conjunction is the Lord Himself.
The words of Genesis were originally Hebrew.  Hebrew is a picture based language that communicates ideas and concepts that are concrete and active instead of abstract like the Latin and Greek based thinking of English.

Modern thinking makes little allowance for absolutes and truths. But the Lord is truth and he speaks in easily understood and direct word pictures.
The Lord chose the Hebrew word for man, ish, spelled aleph, yod, shin. Woman is the word ishah, spelled aleph, shin, hey.

The Hebrew letter aleph looked like an ox head in the days of Moses. Similar to our english letter A turned upside down but with the cross bar extended into horns, it meant strength or first, it could also mean an ox strangely enough.

The Hebrew letter yod looked similar to a hand in the time Moses used it.

The letter shin looked something like the english letter W but stretched to look like a couple of teeth. It symbolized that which destroys or devourers.

You might have noticed that these Hebrew words share two letters in common, the aleph and the shin. The two letters that are different are the yod and the hey.

What I find incredible are the words that are formed. You see, aleph shin is the Hebrew word for fire, esh. Recall the aleph and the shin? Aleph meaning strong and the shin means devourer, together you have a strong devourer or fire.

While the yod and the hey is part of the Lord’s Divine name. The full name of God is the yod hey vav hey, the hand revealed the arm revealed, that is what Jesus did on the cross.

It is apparent that when the Lord is in the midst of a marriage that the fire that exists does not burn, just as the bush Moses saw was not consumed by the Holy fire of God’s presence.

However, when the Lord is removed you are left with an intense fire. Anytime a Hebrew word is used twice it is powerful, it is multiplied not added. The marriage in this case is then left with two profane and consuming fires and nothing to limit or direct it.

When Love Thy Neighbor Becomes Illegal

A 90 year old man has garnered international attention for feeding the homeless, even though it is against the law.

arnold_abbott_feeding homelessAcross the nation more than fifty cities are passing laws against feeding the homeless for one reason or another. In New York city, they outlawed food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content. Other cities such as Ft Lauderdale, Florida are outlawing food distributions because they want to discourage the homeless from settling in places that tourists might see them.

Arnold Abbott has been feeding the homeless of Ft. Lauderdale since 1991. He has now been cited twice by police for violating a new city ordinance that makes it illegal for him to feed the hungry in the way he has done for more than 20 years. The World War II vet awarded with two purple hearts has been honoring the memory of his wife with his service, a memory of serving those in need.

The ordinance, passed Oct. 22, “regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organized, clean and healthy manner” and “permits indoor food distribution to take place at houses of worship throughout the city.”

Regulations are passed in the name of making things safer and more orderly. However, the real intention is usually to limit activity that is undesirable.

The ordinance limits where outdoor feeding sites can be located, requires permits, and says the groups must provide portable toilets, hand-washing stations and maintain the food at precisely prescribed temperatures.

In 2002, Arnold Abbott successfully sued the city to block an earlier effort to shut down the food distribution his nonprofit group Love Thy Neighbor conducted at a beachfront city park.

Arnold being aressted
He was first cited for violating Ordinance C-14-42 on Nov. 2 at Stranahan Park. As he and other volunteers began dishing out plates of hot food, Abbott said, “A policeman pulled my arm and said, ‘Drop that plate right now.’ Like it was a gun.”

He was cited again Wednesday in South Beach Park, this time after police stood by and watched him for 45 minutes as he served up chicken stew and cheesy potatoes to about 100 homeless men and women.

This week’s scripture reading (Genesis 18:1-Genesis 22:24) includes the stories of Abraham being visited by three angels whom he fed and gave rest and the account of the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Lasha.

Believers will focus on the sexual sins of these communities and neglect the larger lessons of the spirit of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Genesis 18, the Lord said that the outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah was indeed great. The outcry was for more than sexual sins. The bible gives many mentions of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and many legends surround them as well.

These cities were blessed with great wealth as found earlier in Genesis, however, they were said to have refused to give charity to the poor and needy and to neglect justice and kindness to strangers.

There are many amusing anecdotes that should be taken with a grain of salt but still shed some light on the overall atmosphere of these cities.

It is said that petty theft was commonplace. Say a person what to build a house and bought some bricks, everyone in town would help themselves to a brick saying, “it is only one brick”. If someone put out some garlic or onion to dry, everyone would take some saying, “I have only taken one.”

The people of Sodom were certainly guilty of sexual immorality of various types. It is said they blasphemed God routinely. There also seemed to be unjust and ungodly rulings in the courts which allowed for violence, adultery and murder.

But one story reminds me of what is happening in cities such as Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The people of Sodom and Gomorrah made it giving charity to the poor illegal. Once a maiden secretly gave some bread to a poor man, as the story goes, the matter became known. They tortured her to death with a cruel punishment. her cries rose to heaven and thus it is written, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great.”

How important is being hospitable and the showing of kindness to strangers? If any household did not receive the disciples of our Lord when He sent them out, He said, “Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgement than for that city.” Matthew 10:15

There is great danger in regulating the feeding of the poor. America should beware that we are creating a cold nation through laws and regulations that discourage the free exorcise of religion. That is why the founders put it in the constitution.

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2

Is America becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah? As sin and selfishness become greater so too is our risk of imitating those cities and receiving their due.

Second Blood Moon as ISIS Reigns, Israel Threatened and Ebola Rises

blood-moonAs the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot begins the second of a tetrad of blood moons (lunar eclipse) to fall on biblical appointed times will capture the imagination of millions of believers worldwide.

This is a rare occurrence has happened only four times in the past five hundred years, a tetrad of total solar eclipses corresponded to the Jewish Feasts, which historically has signaled the beginning of dramatic events that change the course of world history.

The last three tetrads that fell on Jewish feast days occurred at times when significant events were happening among the Jewish people:

1493-1494 — This tetrad followed the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492.
1949-1950 — This tetrad followed the re-establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
1967-1968 — The beginning of this tetrad occurred right before the beginning of the Six Day war in 1967.

The 1967 tetrad was predictive rather than responsive as in the previous tetrads. That certainly seems to be what we are seeing during this tetrad in 2014.

As 2014 began the world saw an increase in the number of earthquakes leading up to the April 15th blood moon. Many people made the mistake of assuming large one time event would occur immediately following the first blood moon, that was not the case. That also was not the pattern given by scripture.

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea . . . When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” —Luke 21: 25, 28 niv

Consider what we have seen since the first blood moon.

The rise of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL if you prefer) and the return of the Islamic caliphate. The return of the caliphate is of particular interest as it may fulfill the requirements of Revelation 13:3.

One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.

Abdülmecid II was the last recognized Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman dynasty. On March 3, 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, as part of his reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the Caliphate. It appeared to the world that Islam was on the decline to become a shadow of its former glory.

What once seamed to be a mortal head wound has marveled the whole earth.

I have wondered for some time now if rise of the Islamic State might coincide with the first horseman, but I’m probably wrong.

We have seen an increase in the attacks on Israel which of course there are many scriptures to cite. Then there is the rise of disease including ebola, and peace seemingly fleeting away.

One last thought. I believe a case can be made for the birth of Jesus happening on Sukkot. It is feast of the Lord that is observed for seven days, but there is a Sabbath that occurs on the eighth day. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day.

Would it not be interesting if the blood moons occur on the anniversary of the birth of Jesus and the death of Jesus. Just wondering.

In New Mexico the blood moon can be seen from 4:30-5:30 mountain time.

The First of the Fall Feasts, Rosh Hashanah Festival of Trumpets

shofar-blower-talitThe month of Tishrei has more holy days than any other month, including a ten day period known as the Days of Awe. Too many Christian are unaware of the significance of this time and the implications for their lives. This year as the civil new year begins, it is also the beginning of the Shmita year. Are you prepared for what the Lord will do soon?

Yom Teruah- A Day of Trumpets and Shouting, Rosh Hashanah- The Head of the Year and The Crowning of the King

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
-1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

The first day of the fall festivals is a one day feast that lasts two days and is called by different names. It is known as Yom Teruah (the day of trumpets or shouting) and Rosh Hashanah( the head of the year). Yom Teruah is the only moed (feast, appointed time) of the Lord scheduled on a new moon. The other feasts are tied to the full moon, which is the middle of a Hebrew month.

This is were it gets interesting. The start of Yom Teruah had to be determined by trained observers of the moon and declared by the Sanhedrin. This task became all the more difficult after Israel and Judah were taken captive by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. Communication took time, so there could be a delay in beginning the observance of the day of trumpets. Soon, this day became known as the day they didn’t know the day or the hour it would begin. That is why to this day, Yom Teruah is observed by the Jews over a two day period.

The Last Trumpet

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Yom Teruah gets it name from the sounding of the shofar, a trumpet made of a ram’s horn. This shofar if blown using three different soundings alternating until it has been sounded 99 times. Believe it or not, there is a final long sounding of the shofar known as the last trumpet. This has been the way to observe this holy day for thousands of years.

Happy New Year, It’s Time to Crown the King

Yom Teruah is also known as Rosh Hashanah (the Head of the Year). It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in God’s world. It was also the day that the kings of Israel were crowned king. It is believed that on this day in the future is when Jesus will officially be crowned King of the Universe. This is a good day to recommit ourselves to our Lord’s rule.

The sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance, for Rosh Hashanah is also the anniversary of man’s first sin and his repentance thereof, and serves as the first of the “Ten Days of Repentance” which culminate in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. It is taught that during these days the books are opened and the Lord sits either in judgement or mercy as all of creation passes before Him. This is a good time to examine ourselves.

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. – 1 Corinthians 11:31-32

These “Feasts of the Lord” are a time when the Lord comes to meet us on His time table. He established these days from the foundation of the world. These are days that are prophetic sure, but they are days when we should question our relationship with Him too. Are we ready for His return some day in the future, are we living for Him even now. Just as the ten virgins of the Lord’s parable needed to have their lamps ready, we too must be ready now.

The book of Revelation contrasts a church in celebration as the King come forth to open the scrolls. It also reveals a rebellious people who will not head the warnings of God. To Whom do we belong? Will we choose life or death? We should choose life.

God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists

Gods-not-deadThe Bible teaches that atheists are not really atheists. That is, those who profess to be atheists do ultimately believe in God in their heart-of-hearts. The Bible teaches that everyone knows God, because God has revealed Himself to all (Romans 1:19). In fact, the Bible tells us that God’s existence is so obvious that anyone who suppresses this truth is “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). The atheist denies with his lips what he knows in his heart. But if they know God, then why do atheists claim that they do not believe in God?

The answer may be found in Romans 1:18. God is angry at unbelievers for their wickedness. And an all-powerful, all-knowing God who is angry at you is a terrifying prospect. So even though many atheists might claim that they are neutral, objective observers, and that their disbelief in God is purely rational, in reality, they are strongly motivated to reject the biblical God who is rightly angry with them. So they suppress that truth in unrighteousness. They convince themselves that they do not believe in God. The atheist is intellectually schizophrenic—believing in God, but believing that he does not believe in God.

Therefore, we do not really need to give the atheist any more specific evidences for God’s existence. He already knows in his heart-of-hearts that God exists, but he doesn’t want to believe it. Our goal is to expose the atheist’s suppressed knowledge of God. With gentleness and respect, we can show the atheist that he already knows about God, but is suppressing what he knows to be true.