Faith Brings Salvation!

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What glorious truths are found in Romans 9-11!  It’s like a treasure hunt, and the golden nuggets are invaluable!  I hope you are enjoying this week’s study as we examine the Jewish roots of our Christian faith.  We’re headed into Romans 10 today, but if you missed the previous two posts, I recommend you back up and catch them so that you get the fullness of today’s lesson.

Paul opens Chapter 10 driving home the idea that righteousness and salvation are attained by faith alone, not by works.  Then, he cuts straight to the chase in verses 9-10:

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

That’s as plain and simple as it gets!  In fact, if you are following this study (or you simply stumbled upon this post) and you have tried to gain God’s acceptance through anything but simple faith, it is not a coincident that you are here!  He is speaking to you this very moment!  Our Lord longs for relationship with you and you can do nothing to earn it.  Salvation truly is simple: confess and believe!  (Click here for more guidance about how to be saved.)

Salvation is the same for everyone…Jews or Gentiles.  Paul goes on to explain that in verses 12-13 of Romans:

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

However, verses 14-21 allude to the difficulty of the Jewish people in understanding and trusting in faith alone.  To call upon God, they must believe.  To believe, they must they must hear.  To hear, there must be a preacher. Preachers must be sent.

Well, throughout history, God sent “preachers.”  They were called prophets in the Old Testament!  Men such as Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah and others foretold of Christ the Messiah who would come to the Jews.  The preachers came…and the Jewish people heard.  Yet, they did not simply believe by faith.  Instead, they tried to keep the law of Moses.

Verse 15 talks about the beautiful feet of those who bring good news (the Gospel).  The Gospel is all about faith and nothing more.  I want beautiful feet, how about you?  I want to share the good news with others (including Jews).  May we all yearn for beautiful feet!

Allow me to divert for a moment.  Sadly, there are very large Christian organizations (such as Christians United for Israel [John Hagee, who denies Jesus as Messiah] and International Fellowship of Christians and Jews [Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein]) who wholeheartedly love Israel and care for the Jewish people, but WILL NOT “preach the Gospel” to them.  (I’m not suggesting obnoxious “in your face” evangelism that is unnecessarily offensive, but about intentionally taking the opportunities God gives to share the love of Christ both in word and deed.)  How sad that the very key thing Paul teaches about regarding Jewish-Christian relations is not innocently overlooked, but intentionally set aside.  (You can find out about Jewish-related ministries and their sometimes veiled objectives here.)

Romans 10:19 compels us to be a nation (people group) willing to show the love of Messiah, in order to make the Jewish people jealous.  Let’s practice what God’s Word commands!

We’re headed for Romans 11 tomorrow, and it gets REALLY good at that point!  So, here’s your homework: go read that chapter, then join us here again tomorrow as we launch into that chapter!

UPDATE: Friends, I just watched a video that corresponds so closely with our study this week about Christian-Jewish relations.  Tune into an interview with Eitan Shishkoff, an American-born “hippie Jew,” who now lives and ministers in Israel.  He has incredible insight into Jewish-Christian relations.  Catch the interview at the 1:19:50 mark here:

Christ Revealed – Episode 9

(Christ Revealed is a 9-part documentary, with a single episode released each day.  This was Day 9, and I believe the video is available only until 6:00pm Pacific time today.)

God’s 3-Fold Call upon Abraham

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Welcome back to the virtual study table, fellow friends!  Are you enjoying the journey as much as I am?  We’re into really great stuff and I hope you are blessed by it!

Yesterday we discussed God’s calling Abraham from Ur, and how He made Abraham the father of both Jews and Gentiles!  (If you are saying, “Huh….?” Go back and read yesterday’s post!)  Today, we’ll talk about God’s 3-fold call upon Abraham.

The Birthing Call

First of all, God’s call upon Abraham was a birthing call, as God’s purpose and plan was birthed through the Abrahamic Covenant.  We have already talked about Genesis 12:3, but here it is in picture form:

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God’s intent was to bless Israel (Abraham and his descendants), in order that they would bless all the people on earth.  God destined them to be the vehicle of world redemption.

Salvation is a Jewish story…not a Christian one!  We have already talked about how God preached the gospel first to Abraham.  The gospel is not a New Testament thing!  In fact, as Christians, we need to take a step back and consider what still belongs to the Jews.  Paul lays it out in Romans 9.  After spending 3 verses describing his intense sorrow and unceasing grief for his unsaved countrymen (Jews), he lists the things that still belong to them:

  • Adoption as sons
  • Glory (shekinah glory that accompanied them in the wilderness)
  • Covenants (all of them, including the New Covenant, given to the Jews in Jeremiah 31!)
  • Law (meant to lead us to salvation)
  • Temple services (the means of communion and fellowship with God)
  • Promises
  • The Christ!

Wow!  Those things, along with the Word of God (written by Jews), the prophets (Jews), the apostles (Jews) and the Messiah, all belong to the Jews!  Yes, we enjoy the benefits (as Christians), but those things do not belong to us!  In fact, John 4:22 says specifically that salvation is from the Jews!

Those things were all birthed in the Abrahamic Covenant!  So, as Christians, we must stand back and understand the right place in which to stand.  The Jewish people (and Israel) are not to become idols to us, but we also must acknowledge what is theirs without trying to turn everything into a “Christian” thing!  Enjoy the benefits, but don’t think they are yours!

That’s the birthing call.  Tomorrow we’ll consider the second of the 3-fold call of God upon Abraham.  It is the suffering call…and there are “golden nuggets” to be found, so be sure to check back tomorrow!

Shalom!

Rise of “Mystery Babylon”

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Welcome back, fellow sojourners!  We’re on a journey together to discover Why Israel Matters.  Though we have discussed specific reasons Israel matters, we’ve taken a side road this week to talk about what happens after the rapture occurs and God resumes His plan for His people.  We know the time period as the tribulation and today we’ll focus on the rise of the Antichrist, who will establish One World Government for a short time.  So, let’s get started!

Read the account of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation in Daniel 2.  We discover what Nebuchadnezzar’s dream means, and here is a diagram that illustrates it:

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A full discussion regarding this diagram is found here, but for today’s purposes, let’s reduce it to this: one kingdom after another defeated a previous one, though neither the restored kingdom of Rome nor the crushing rock have been prophetically fulfilled yet.

The Antichrist will arise out of the restored Roman Empire, which is the next to “rule,” according to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  Then a stone will crush him, and we know that stone to be Jesus.  (Matthew 21:42, Psalm 118:22, 1 Peter 2:6-8)

But take note.  Each kingdom conquered and arose in Babylon UNTIL Rome expanded all the way to what we know today as Europe.  Rome was not defeated in Babylon (as the previous kingdoms were), but in Europe.  “Mystery Babylon,” then, took up residence in Europe, and we see the signs of that today!

Image result for EU flagThe European Union flag is adorned with a crown of stars, given to the “queen of heaven.”  The prophet Jeremiah warned of this type of idol worship in Jeremiah 44:15-19.  To Catholics, the queen of heaven is Mary.

Image result for eu parliament building babelThe European Union Parliament building Strasbourg France was intentionally built to replicate the tower of Babel, a pagan attempt to “reach into the sky” to become like God.

Image result for woman riding beast in brusselsIn front of the EU Council Building in Brussels stands a statue of a woman riding a beast!  The exact description of the harlot in Revelation 17.

So, I wonder…were all these things done unknowingly or purposefully?  I’m not sure about the flag, but the buildings in Strasbourg and the statute Brussels were intentionally designed with Babel and the woman on a beast in mind!  Purposeful rebellion!

There is an educated group behind this push for One World Order.  Albert Einstein once said:

“The minority, the ruling class, has the schools and press, usually the church as well, under its thumb.  This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make it’s tool of them.”

Indeed, a group of very wealthy bankers and industrialists formulated a plan long ago to financially control Europe, and then the world.  Among them are the Rothschilds, Rockefellers, George Soros, Bill Gates and many other financially wealthy and socially powerful figures.  You will get a taste for their ambitions from these quotes:

Mayer Amschel Rothschild, during early formulation of the plan:
“Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.”

David Rockefeller, June 1991 at Bilderberg Meeting:
“It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those [early] years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The super national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

David Rockefeller, September 1994 at the US Business Conference:
“We are on the verge of a global transformation.  All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”

David Rockefeller, 2002 autobiography, Memoirs, page 405:
“Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as internationalists and of conspiring with other around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will.  If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

Wow!  From subtle, behind closed doors, out of the reach of the press, to blatantly “out there” with their agenda.  Here are some of the effects we see today:

  • Bill Gates – depopulation agenda
  • George Soros – financing illegal immigration to Europe, to wipe out borders and establish a globalist agenda
  • Major university presidents – advancing liberal agendas on campus

The One World Order agenda is everywhere!  We’re seeing the stage being set for tribulational days when the false prophet and Antichrist will arise!

Now…let me end with an interesting thought.  Why do the rich and famous hate President Trump?  Could it be because he was commonly on their guest lists to attend major functions where the globalist agenda was being perpetuated?  After all, he was “one of them” financially speaking.  Yet, though it seems he is not in agreement with their agenda, he knows their strategy and their ploys…because he himself was sought after to be “in that crowd.”

I can’t say for sure that is true, but it certainly makes me wonder as I witness the vehement opposition to everything his administration puts forth.  May God grant him tremendous wisdom, and may the President seek to follow after sound, Godly counsel.

Tomorrow we will discuss what else we see in the world that aligns with “Mystery Babylon.”  You may be surprised (or even shocked) by some of it!

Hey, meanwhile…check back later today.  We’ll talk about what the US peace plan might entail…and there is an interesting tie to this lesson!  Check it out!

Why the Calm? Why the Storm?

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What faithful students you are!  Welcome back!

Today we’ll finish the summary of the live class I’m teaching at 11:00 am each Sunday morning at Calvary PHX in Phoenix AZ.  If you like what you’re reading and are in the Phoenix area, come join the live class.  We’re in Room 209 at the Central campus and there is a seat ready for you!

We are living in the calm before the storm.  Indeed, Israel is as calm and peaceful as she has ever been since rebirth in 1948.  (If you are wondering how I can say that when rockets fired from Gaza recently, see yesterday’s post.)  We know, also, that there is a huge storm on the horizon.  Ezekiel 38 describes that storm and we’ll spend some more time talking about it in the next live lesson.

So, why the calm…and why the storm?  Does God really have a purpose in all this?  Absolutely!

First, let’s talk about what happened in America.  Understand, though, that America is NOT God’s timepiece.  Israel is.  But something significant happened in America over the past few years.  From a spiritual perspective, many believe we were teetering on the brink of the abyss.  For years, our country has been spiraling out of control morally.  We have thrown God out of schools, government buildings and city parks.  Abortions are killing over 600,000 babies a year.  Religious freedom has been trampled while gay rights have sky rocketed to levels unimaginable.  Marriage has taken on new definitions and the dignity of aging adults has been striped away.

But someone (LOTS of someones!) took 2 Chronicles 7:14 to heart:

…[if] My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Christians began to pray and began to stand up for what is right…and miracles happened.  (If you prayed, you had a part in the miracles!)  One miracle (there were many) was the election of Donald Trump as President.  Many (including myself) were skeptical that a man with such a sordid background would actually stand for things such as the sanctity of life, religious freedom…and Israel.  Furthermore, he was not supposed to win!  Behind in all the polls and lambasted by the liberal media, it took a miracle of God (despite skepticism!) to put Donald Trump in the White House.  Praise God for that!

Our nation is far from perfect and still has the same issues it had before.  But I truly believe God heard the faithful, effective prayers of the righteous (James 5:16), He honored them, and He gave America a short reprieve.  American friends, this is our season!  Time is short and the reprieve won’t last forever.  We must NOT be complacent.

Now the whys.

Why the calm?

  1. God honored the prayers of the righteous!
  2. God is preparing the region for what comes next.  Ezekiel 38 says Israel MUST be living in safety, security and prosperity.  Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Turkey are all struggling economically.  That will bring about motivation for attack.
  3. God is establishing Jerusalem’s status.  Jerusalem is to be the heavy stone that others will try to lift, only to be injured.  Establishing Jerusalem as the capital, moving embassies there and destroying Iran’s presence on the Israeli border helps establish Jerusalem’s status!

Those things are happening right before our very eyes, and this is the calm before the storm!  Also, as a side note: talk among Jews in Israel is turning to “days of Messiah!”  They are looking for that someone who will bring lasting peace and allow them to rebuild the third temple!  Interesting!

Why the coming storm?

  1. To expose the intentions of man’s heart, and that of the nations.  Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that our hearts are desperately wicked, and 2 Timothy 3:1-5 provides a laundry list of wickedness that will characterize the last days.  Joel 3:2 warns the nations that God will judge them according to how they treat Israel!
  2. To glorify God and destroy Satan’s plans.  (Read Ezekiel 38.  That’s your homework for next week!)
  3. Set the stage for the hour of trial.  Though believers will be saved from it (Revelation 3:10 and many places in 1 Thessalonians), the Jews will face the hour of trial after God defeats the enemies of Ezekiel 38-39.  They will look for their Messiah, only to find he is the Antichrist.

Despite their own blindness, Israel is the flagship that leads the world to salvation.  So, why does Israel matter?  Because Israel is our insurance policy!  If God is not faithful to the Jewish people, why would we expect Him to be faithful to us?

As we close out this week, why not pray for the eyes of Jewish people to be open to see and recognize the One True Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Some are seeing…let’s pray for a larger harvest!

Thanks for following this week, and I look forward to sharing more in Week 2, as we get into Signs of the Times: Storm Clouds Rising.