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Is Israel Cursed?

Since Israel was declared a state in 1948, it has known nothing but violence and suffering. This nation has made numerous failed attempts at peace that only led to bloodshed. Why is this? Is Israel cursed? What would it take for this nation to achieve peace finally?

A Faith Failure

A Faith Failure

Faith is the driving engine of Christianity. Faith is what Christianity is all about. Faith is so important that the Scriptures tell us in Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore, a faith failure is a severe offense. It’s a sin.

So, what is a faith failure? A faith failure is when we fail to believe something we haven’t experienced or seen will occur even when God has promised it. As the Scriptures state in Hebrews 11:1 in part, “…the evidence of things not seen.” We haven’t seen God, but we are expected to have faith in Him and His promises.

Now, let’s look at this: some of the greatest miracles in the Scriptures resulted from faith. Likewise, some of the greatest disasters have occurred due to the lack of faith. Regarding the former, a woman was healed because of her faith: if she just touched the hem of the garment of Jesus, she would be healed, and when she did, Jesus turned to her and said, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” AND THE WOMAN WAS MADE WHOLE FROM THAT HOUR (Matt 9:22-23)!

But addressing the latter, the Israelites were camped in the Desert of Paran, just south of the Promised Land, and on the brink of entering, rebelled and refused to enter in because of their lack of faith in God’s promise. As a result, they had to wander in the desert for forty years. That whole generation died in the desert, except for Kaleb & Joshua, who maintained their faith.

A faith failure is a severe offense. It’s a sin—period—full stop! The larger the promise, the greater the consequence if there is a failure to seek that promise—in faith. Faith failures affect more than the offender. They can affect loved ones, co-workers, and friends. When a nation commits a faith failure, it affects millions of people. Prov 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” It is godliness that makes a nation great, but sin is a degradation to any people.

The examples mentioned were in the past; they’re history. However, this article looks at one occurring today.

Israel’s Dilemma

In 1948, when Israel was declared a state or nation, it was attacked immediately by the Arabs. After winning this war, the Jews recognized it as a miracle. Simply because Israel didn’t have an organized army at that time, and the fighting was done mainly by civilians with guns. A prophecy foretold that they would have a nation, which was miraculously fulfilled. It was the first time Israel was an independent nation in two-thousand years.

Other miracles would follow as problems continued between the Arabs and the Jews. In 1967, as tensions grew, it became apparent that the Arabs would soon attack the Jews as Egyptian troops poured into the Sinai.

However, the Jews decided to strike first. They decided to fly into Egypt and, in just three hours, demolished 300 grounded Egyptian combat jet fighters. They never left the ground.

Consequently, in just six days, the Jews captured East Jerusalem, the Suez Canal, all of the Sinai, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. This victory again was acknowledged as a miracle by God. The Jews had unabated faith.

Afterward, Israel prospered and became complacent with a false sense of security. In the latter part of 1973, the Jewish Israel’s military ignored intelligence reports that the Arabs were again planning to attack [Is this familiar?]. This attack ensued on October 6, on the somber Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Israel won the war in three weeks, with considerable aid from the U.S. Again, Israel had been miraculously saved by God.

However, after this miraculous event, a dramatic event occurred. In 1977, after Menachem Begin was elected prime minister, Jimmy Carter, the U.S. President, convinced him to return the Sinai to Egypt.

Israel gave up the land that God had given them back to the Arabs. This action was the beginning of the Israeli-Arab peace process and the end of MIRACULOUS SUPPORT FROM GOD.

This action was a slap in God’s face. When the Jews returned the Sinai to Egypt, it most likely included Mount Sinai. The very location where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses and where God gave birth to the nation of Israel.

The biblical name for the Jews is Judah. However, the modern descendants of the ancient Israelites include many nations, primarily the U.S. (biblical Manasseh) and Britain (biblical Ephraim). To be clear, biblical Judah is only a small part of Israel today. America and the British populaces are also Israel. The prophecies concerning end-time Israel are primarily focused on these three nations. But this morning’s focus is on Israel. (For more information, please see the article “The Rise and Fall of America” on this website.

Britain and the United States were influential in coercing Judah (Israel) to give the Sinai back to Egypt. This action was conducted despite their ancestry, as a part of ancient Israel when God’s law was given on Mount Sinai. The land was theirs also.

A prophecy says that these three nations, Israel, the U.S., and Britain—will be conquered together just before Christ returns. Hosea 5:5 states:

5. The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Therefore, Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them. NKJV

Therefore, the Jewish nation had to be established by God for this prophecy to be fulfilled. This caused a miracle by God to be accomplished.

The root of the problem, the reason these nations are in such turmoil today, stems from giving the Sinai back to Egypt. Why would you give back to the enemy what God has given you? This action has caused an injury or wound to be placed upon Israel. Their relationship with God was wounded.

Because of weakness and a lack of faith in God—a faith failure, the Jews created this wound! Because of the land they gave to the Palestinians, their territorial and strategic position was abated. This result only encouraged the Arabs in their relentless hatred for the Jews. Despite the Jews giving the land of Sinai back to Egypt, Egypt has become one of Israel’s most antagonistic neighbors. If peace was indeed the goal, it was an exercise in futility. The Jewish nation was established and maintained by godly miracles. But it still declined to trust God!

In 1993, there was a handshake between the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on the lawn of the White House. At that time, Israel surrendered this God-given land in the hope that the Arabs could be negotiated into giving up their desire to annihilate Israel.

Is Israel Cursed?

Additionally, The Jews have given back many other biblical sites to the Arabs. America and Britain have strongly admonished them to do so. They have given Bethlehem, Jericho, Gaza, and other West Bank areas back to the Palestinians. Even though those areas were won in a war in which the Arabs were trying to obliterate them. This land-for-peace process is unprecedented in history. This process was done at the urging of Britain and the U.S.

Ironically, these developments are titled the peace process when no considerable drop in aggression has occurred. So, where is the Peace? While the Palestinians have continually stated that they desire a peaceful collaboration with Israel publicly, at the same time, they are vowing to their citizens Israel’s destruction—a gross paradox. Hence their chant, “From the river to the sea.” The goal is to Annihilate the Israelites from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The destruction of Israel remains on the Arabs ‘to-do’ list.”

After yielding their God-given land to their enemy in search of peace, Israel finds itself perpetually fighting the same enemy. They were deceived by a peace pact—a piece of paper. They trusted in man instead of God.

The Scriptures clearly warn us against the trusting of man instead of God. Psalm 118:8-10 reads:

8. It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in man.

9. It is better to trust in the Lord Than to put confidence in princes.

10. All nations surrounded me, But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.

Is Israel Cursed?

This should have been Israel’s action plan: to trust the Lord. But instead, they trusted—in a peace pact.

So today, we witness, once again, Israel at war with the Arabs. Again, as Israel ignored intelligence indicating an attack that has led to the loss of life and hostages taken, they find themselves negotiating a cease-fire for the hostage’s return and a solution for peace.

Perhaps, and hopefully, the hostages will be returned to their loved ones. But peace in the Middle East will never happen. Peace for Israel will never happen until it repents and puts its trust in God again. Make no mistake: we are witnessing the evidence of a faith failure.

If only Israel would learn from their history. In Hosea 5:13-15 God speaks through his prophet. It reads:

When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.

14. For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.

15. I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

Obviously, Israel had a wound before. Judah and Israel were spiritually sick because they transgressed against God. This transgression was the wound. As a result, God sent enemies against them. When they realized how sick, distressed, and wounded they were, instead of turning to God in repentance, they turned to the King of Assyria for help. It was an exercise in futility because God was like a lion against them, and he would wait until they sought Him and repented of their sinful affliction. As it turned out, Assyria was the destruction of Israel and the weakening of Judah.

Apparently, the problem was that neither Israel nor Juda realized their situation wasn’t natural but spiritual, and neither was the solution. They needed to repair their relationship with God—not man.

This prophecy is headed for a second fulfillment. But that’s a discussion for another time. But it’s important to understand that Israel may still have not learned the lesson. We may see a repeat of this action. Because the United States and Britain are pressuring Israel for a two-state solution for peace, and they may listen to man again. But as mentioned earlier, peace will never happen until Israel repents and puts their trust in God again.

As the saying goes, history repeats itself, especially if lessons aren’t learned. Israel, in 1993, sought relief from its enemies by getting in bed with them. A place that makes one most vulnerable. They Had access to the Scriptures as we do, but this is what happens when the Word of God isn’t heeded.

Understand that our nation, the U.S., along with Britain, is Israel’s extension. We have our share of repenting to do. Our nation isn’t exactly in God’s favor either. After all, the U.S. and Britain have done and are still doing all they can to push this so-called peace process. But notice the chaos happening in these nations with more to come.

So, if you want to see the evidence of a faith failure, you need to go no further than your television, radio, or just pick up a newspaper.

However, Israel is God’s chosen nation and will prevail; the Lord says through His prophet Zechariah regarding Israel in Zechariah 14:11, “It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.” NIV Ultimately, Jerusalem will be occupied with God’s people and safe at last, never again to be cursed and destroyed. [cf. Jeremiah. 24:5]

But it must learn a hard lesson first. Israel has a history of making bad choices, from the time when it coveted a king to today, as they seek peace on their own.

According to the Palestinian Authority, over 15,000 people in Gaza have been killed. In Israel, 1500 were killed—raped and burned alive, with almost 200 hostages taken. This is in addition to the previous wars with the Arabs. All because of a faith failure.

So, Israel will have to repent and seek God. We know what 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

So, in closing, what are we to get from this? What does this have to do with us? What lessons can we glean from this evidence?

For starters, we must take the Word of God very seriously. Remember what 1 Corinthians 10:11 says, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The point is that the things in Scripture were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age. So, let us not make the mistake Israel has made over the ages and is still making. Take heed of the Word of God.

Unfortunately, our nations won’t repent until they are in captivity. Still, God promises mercy and safety to any individual who truly repents.

Look at what Isaiah 9:16 reads: “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.”

Notice it says, “they that are led of them.” We do not have to continue to follow our leaders when they go against God’s will. We can repent and be saved.

Prov 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

In other words, Individuals who conceal their sins won’t prosper, but if they confess and turn from them—repent, they will receive mercy. This thought carries on to the very end.

Rev 3:10, 19 NIV reads:

10. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

19. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

Is Israel Cursed

Reliance on man will by no means give us security. Repenting our sins will give us security forever. Repenting and obeying God’s Commands will reserve us a place in the New Jerusalem. Therefore, if we need repentance, we’d better get to it.

We must also pray for our nation; for it to repent for its sins for choosing to follow the ways of man instead of seeking God an His will.

Lastly, when trouble arises, when enemies come against us, let us not seek man to solve them but seek our God the Father, and believe His promises. To not do so—is a faith failure.

There’s comfort in the Psalms regarding our enemies.

Psalm 143:7-8 reads:

7. Hear me speedily, O LORD: my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.

8. Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.

Psalm 25:2 reads:

O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. NKJV

These Scriptures encourage us and remind us to trust God to guide us and defeat our enemies, preventing us from committing—a faith failure.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Biblical Stewardship

According to the Bible, all Christians are to practice Biblical Stewardship. But what is stewardship? What does the Bible teach about it? This article will address that question.

What is Stewardship?

Stewardship is a practice performed by a steward. A steward is an individual who takes care of the property or possessions of another. This practice is called stewardship.

What is Biblical Stewardship?

When thinking about being a steward or stewardship, we often think of physical things such as property, money, and things of that nature. But there is another aspect of stewardship we don’t hear much about: we are to be stewards of one another.

After God created Adam, He said, “It is not good that the man should be alone… [Genesis 2:18]

So, God gave him a gift. He created the woman and blessed them both to be fruitful and multiply. Therefore, we are God’s creation—God’s property; life is a gift, and we are to care for ourselves and one another. Each individual we encounter is a gift, and we should treat them as such—that is, as much as possible.

Please observe what the Word of God says in Philippians 2:2-5: NKJV.

2. fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

3. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.

4. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

To repeat verse 3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

Biblical Stewardship

In other words, don’t be selfish, and don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than ourselves. This passage is about Biblical stewardship.

This is a command from the Scriptures—God’s Word. It covers a multitude of categories. But this article will only cover one.

One of the things that differentiates us from animals is the ability to communicate through speech. Speech is a beautiful gift. But like the other gifts God has bestowed upon us, the devil intervenes and turns it into something for ill—if we allow him to.

While this article is not about the tongue, it does address the topic of conversation. To a significant degree, our society and our culture have lost the art of conversation. Just as our culture has allowed our morality to go south, our fundamental upbringing and etiquette have gone with it.

To throw out a couple of questions for thought: when was the last time you were engaged in a conversation, and the person you were conversing with cut off your conversation and started talking before you finished your thought?

Here’s another one: when was the last time you were engaged in a conversation, and the person you were conversing with was speaking, and you cut them off before they finished their thought?

Now, all of us are guilty of this, which is wrong. Most were undoubtedly taught that when someone is speaking, you don’t interrupt but wait until the party has finished speaking. It was classified as rude. But it happens perpetually today amongst Christians as well as non-Christians.

There was a time when one interrupted another while speaking. The individual would say: excuse me, not to cut you off, or excuse me for cutting you off, or something to that effect. They acknowledged that they were doing something improper. But those days have gone with the Edsel, and we just butt in as a normal circumstance.

But it is time to understand when we engage in this behavior. When we cut off somebody’s speech, injecting our own, what we are demonstrating to that individual is what they are expressing doesn’t matter, that we don’t want to hear what that person is saying, and what we have to say is more important than what they are saying.

However, the Scripture says, “Do NOTHING out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” Understand that when we think what we have to say is more important than someone else, that is conceit; it’s arrogant and full of self-importance.

The Scripture mentions “selfish ambition.” This is a modern translation (New King James) of the Greek word. In the King James translation, the word is translated as strife; in the NIV translation, in Galatians 5:20, it is translated as selfish ambition and as one of the manifestations of the sinful nature. When we are so ambitious to say what we have to say that we disregard what someone else is saying, we operate in the work of the flesh. It’s evil.

Instead, we must consider others “better” than ourselves. What someone else has to say can be better than what we have to say, and we might learn something in the meantime. Listening is how we learn; we aren’t learning while talking. Listening is just as much of a gift as talking. After all, it is one of the basic five senses.

Sometimes, these interjections will take the conversation in another direction. There are occasions when an individual has been interrupted during a conversation and never finished their point because they were interrupted and the conversation took a turn in another direction. These interruptions can turn one off from listening; instead of listening, they only wait for a chance to make their point. This is an unholy conversation.

Not to make excuses, however; some engage in this because, on many occasions, if they don’t interrupt, they will never get to speak.

However, there’s also the other side of the coin. Some ensure not to get interrupted by not giving anyone else a chance to speak. The bottom line is that we unequivocally talk too much. Everybody is so busy talking instead of listening. We undeniably go on and on and on.

If we aren’t careful, we’ll talk ourselves in the middle of the Lake of Fire.

Jesus said in Matt 12:36, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”

Balance is the key to life, and we must listen as well as talk. We must be more willing to listen to what others have to say. Remember what verse 4 says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Listen to what others have to say.

Biblical Stewardship

I mentioned Galatians 5 earlier, and I want to point out that verse 22 also lists the fruit or manifestations of the Spirit, including “patience” and “self-control.” If we exercised these in our conversations, everybody would have a chance to speak and listen.

We must remember what a conversation is: a verbal exchange between two or more individuals on a particular subject—two or more individuals. A conversation is not a monologue where one person does all the talking and the other or others do all the listening.

Listen to what the Scripture says in James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:” Here we have the wise counsel of James that advises us to reverse this process of talking too much and listening too little.

Rudeness in conversations can lead to wrath. One person cuts off another, then that person cuts off the first person, voices start to rise, and the next thing you know, an argument has ensued.

So, let us be mindful of our conversations and be considerate of the ones we are conversing with. We should put a mental stopwatch on our conversations and consider how much we talk and how much we listen.

When people talk with you, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value? This goal can be accomplished only if they have been allowed to speak.

It is also important to examine at the end of a conversation: what did I gain from that conversation? Was it time well spent?

The Scripture says in 1 Cor 14:40, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” And this includes our conversations with one another.

Conclusion

God has given us each other. As good stewards, we must treat one another in all things, including our conversation, as the gift that God has given us, and as the Scripture says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Amen.

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

Why Are Israel And Palestine Fighting?

Why are Israel and Palestine fighting? This is a question that has been asked many times, but it is more relevant today than ever. There are ideological, political, religious, and spiritual-biblical answers. This article’s focus is on the Biblical perspective.

The true answer goes all the way back to Biblical times. This article will take us back to the beginning of this conflict for a thorough understanding of this event that has affected today’s world.

How it all Began

It all began in Genesis, the book of beginnings. God called Abram out of his country to a land He would direct him to and make him a great nation (Genesis 12:1-3).

Why are Israel and Palestine Fighting?

Abram obeyed God, and God made a covenant with him, making him a great nation and the father of many nations. But Abram expressed dismay because he didn’t have an heir. He wondered how he could be a nation when the heir of his estate was his head servant (Genesis 15:2-3). But God expressed to Abram that his servant would not be his heir. Rather, his heir would come through him (Genesis 15:4).

After the institution of the covenant, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, a father of many nations he would become(Genesis 17:5-6). God also changed Sarai’s name to Sarah, a mother of many nations who told him this son would be born through her. (Genesis 17:15-16). But in his heart, Abraham laughed at the idea that a child would be conceived between Himself and Sarah at their ages, his being a hundred years old and Sarah ninety (Genesis 17:17). Sarah also laughed at this thought (Genesis 18:9-14).

Abraham then inquired of God if his son Ishmael would be the heir. But God insisted that the son would come through Sarah, and his name would be Isaac, and it would be Isaac through whom the covenant would be established. However, He made provision for Ishmael that he would be blessed, fruitful, and multiply greatly (Genesis 17:18-21).

Before this, Sarah suggested to Abraham that he would take her maid, Hagar, as his wife (Genesis 16:1-3). Abraham submitted to her request, and Hagar conceived and produced a son, Ishmael (Genesis 16:15). As mentioned earlier, God made blessed provisions for Ishmael, and he became a great nation. Genesis 17:20 reads, “And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” NIV

Subsequently, Abraham resided with his two wives and his two sons, both of whom were blessed. However, trouble arose in the house of Abraham.

Genesis 21:1-3, and 8-14 reads,

1. And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken.

2. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

3. And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him — whom Sarah bore to him — Isaac. NKJV

The Lord fulfilled His promise just as He stated, and the promised child was born.

Genesis 21:8-14 reads:

8. And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

9. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

10. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.

11. And the thing was very grievous in Abraham’s sight because of his son.

12. And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

13. And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

14. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.

We see in verse 9 that Sarah observed Ishmael being the oldest in his late teens at this point, perhaps at play, bullying or mocking Isaac. In any event, Sarah saw Ishmael as a threat to Isaac’s inheritance. Because of what she observed, she forbade Ishmael to share Isaac’s inheritance and ordered Hagar and Ishmael out of the house.

This rivalry in Abraham’s household grieved him greatly, but God assured him in verse 13 that because Ishmael was his seed, he would bless him and make him “a nation.” God also reminded Abraham that Isaac was the more excellent blessed seed. The custom was for the firstborn to receive the highest privilege and blessing. But God’s will overruled that custom. Even though Ishmael was Abraham’s firstborn, Isaac was the blessed seed, the child of the covenant. It was through the line of Isaac that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, came through: the blessed seed of the free woman, not the bondwoman (Galatians 4:21-31). Jesus freed us from the curse, the bondage of the law.

So we see two nations on the horizon at this point: both blessed, but one more incredibly blessed than the other. Did this set up a sibling rivalry?

Two Nations

As we know, Isaac became a great nation by marrying Rebekah and having twins Jacob and Esau. Even though Esau was the oldest twin and had the firstborn’s birthright, Jacob unethically obtained it from Esau (Genesis 25:29-34). He also deceitfully obtained Isaac’s blessing (Genesis 27:1-40).

As time passed, Jacob had a divine encounter at Peniel, and his name was changed to Israel.” The name means he will rule with God or prince with God (Genesis 32:22-29). This name was symbolic and was later applied to his posterity.

Jacob had twelve sons who formed twelve tribes. These twelve tribes became known as “Israelites,” “children of Israel,” and “house of Israel,” recognizing them clearly as the descendants of Israel through his sons and grandsons. The descendants of the tribe of Judah are also known as Jews.

Because of King Solomon’s sins, God rebuked him, and, upon his death, split the kingdom of Israel into two kingdoms: the Northern Kingdom, which consisted of ten tribes, and the Southern Kingdom, which consisted of the two tribes Benjamin and Judah. Those living in Judah were called Jews. After the Babylonian Captivity, all descendants of Abraham are referred to as Jews.

Ishmael grew up in the desert and became an archer, what became known as an Arab. (Genesis 21:20). Ishmael was the patriarch of the Ishmaelites. This nomadic nation dwelled in northern Arabia.

He married and became the father of twelve sons (Genesis 25:12-16). This ascension fulfilled the prophetic statement from God to Abraham regarding Ishmel: “Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation (Genesis 17:20).

Of these twelve sons, or Princes, the Scripture says in Genesis 25:18, “His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt, as you go toward Asshur. And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers.”

These descendants were a hostile group. This hostility was handed down from their father, Ishmael. In Genesis 16:12, God also prophesied what Ishmael would become: “And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” This verse describes the rude, tempestuous, and aggressive character of the Arabs. However, despite the wild and lawless character of Ishmael’s successors, who would rouse a swarm of enemies against them, they would effectively endure all assaults and remain established in their land. After all, God promised their prosperity. However, this hostility remains unchanged to this day.

Arabs today avow ancestry from Ishmael. He has been quickly and easily suited to Islam as the father of the Arabs. Ishmael is renowned by Muslims as the predecessor of several prominent northern Arab tribes and the sire of Adnan, the ancestor of Muhammad.

The Conflict

There has been animosity between the children of Ishmael and the children of Isaac since the book of Genesis.

Initially, there were no Jewish people. Abram was a gentile living in what today is Iraq. It was an idolatrous nation. God called him out to go to a land where he would show him and give to him to become a great nation (Genesis 12:1-2).

This land turned out to be Canaan. When Abram and his family arrived in Canaan (Genesis 12:5), there was a severe famine in the land, and he continued to Egypt (Genesis 12:9-10). Of the relatives that were with Abram was his nephew Lot. When they left Egypt, they both had great substance and could not remain together, and it was determined that they should separate (Genesis 13:1-12). Abram remained in Canaan.

After the separation was completed, God made a promise to Abram. Genesis 13:14-17 reads:

14. And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are — northward, southward, eastward, and westward;

15. for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.

16. And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.

17. Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” NKJV

God promised Abraham and his seed this land some four thousand years ago.

God sealed this promise with a covenant. Genesis 15:18 reads:

18. On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates NKJV

This Scripture contains the God-given deed title given to Abram and his descendants: from the Nile River to the River Euphrates. This title deed was to roughly some three hundred thousand square miles. The Israelites were the indigenous people of this land. They were not colonialists, as they originally occupied the land for thousands of years!

Why are Israel and Palestine Fighting?
The Original Promised Land

It is important to note that Israel never occupied all of this land. The covenant expressed “from the river of Egypt” (the Nile River). However, the highest point was the Jordan River. Below is the most territory gained under King David.

Why are Israel and Palestine Fighting?

However, as time went on, the nation of Israel fell out of favor with God because of their apostasy. As God charged King Solomon in 1 Kings 9:6-7:

6. But if you or your sons at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them,

7. then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight. Israel will be a proverb and a byword among all peoples. NKJV

By 586 BC, both kingdoms of Judah and Israel were carried away to exile by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (1 Chronicles 6:14).

Prior to this, in the seventh century, the Islamic conquest of the Middle East took place, and the Arab people settled in substantial numbers. Except for a somewhat short period of Crusader control, Palestine, as it became known, continued under Muslim dominance for slightly under 12 centuries, with its population vastly Arab.

Where did the name Palestine derive from? In 135AD, The Roman Emperor Hadrian, to quash a Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire, dispersed the Jews from Jerusalem and then he renamed the entire region from Judea to Palestina, which is the Latin term for the Philistines because the Philistines were the perpetual adversaries of the Jews. Hadrian as a way to dishonor the Jewish people after the revolt. [from 135 AD to 1947 the land was called Palestine] The Arabs living in the land were called Palestinians. It’s also important to note that the Jews that remained in the land were also called Palestinians. For any Jew that was born prior to 1948, their birth certificate stated Palestine as their nationality.

After the Israelites were scattered about in exile in 586 BC, nations moved in and occupied the land, i.e., Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. The last empire to occupy the territory before the war was over was the Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire. Its official religion was Islam, and it controlled much of Southeast Europe, West Asia, and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. The empire also controlled parts of southeastern Central Europe from the early 16th to the early 18th century.

In 1516 AD, the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk armies (a military and political group that served Arab and Ottoman dynasties in the Muslim world.)

At the end of WW1, Britain defeated the Ottoman Empire along with the other powers defeated in the war (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria) and took over the territory. In recognition of the suffering of the Jews, in 1917, Britain issued the Balfour Declaration. It was a British Mandate that established a Jewish state or “national home.” Upon commencement of the mandate, the British began to advance the immigration of European Jews to Palestine. During the period between 1922 and 1935, the Jewish inhabitants rose from nine percent to nearly 27 percent of the total population.

This mandate was controversial for a number of reasons. One was, before its release, the British had promised the Arabs independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1915 Hussein-McMahon correspondence, which was a series of letters that were communicated during World War I where the Government of the United Kingdom agreed to identify Arab independence after the war in exchange for the Sharif of Mecca initiating the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire.

As can be imagined, this caused a great deal of hostility and animosity between the Arabs and the Jews, resulting in numerous conflicts and revolts. The boosted Jewish immigration under the mandate generated tensions and violence concerning the Palestinian Arabs and the European Jews.

Without a doubt, the Balfour Declaration generated the conditions for the Jews to regain the land that God deemed to them, even though it was an even smaller fraction of what they were originally promised.

According to the map above, the small dark blue section indicates the sliver of land in conflict that designates modern Israel.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to apportion Palestine into two sections, which would consist of an independent Jewish state and an independent Arab state. Jerusalem, which was declared as a capital by the Jews and Palestinian Arabs, was to be an international territory with a separate status.

While most Jewish leaders received the proposal, many Palestinian Arabs, including those who had been vigorously fighting British and Jewish interests in the region since the 1920s, strongly opposed it.

The Arab leaders contended that they represented most of the population and should be given more territory. Consequently, they began to form volunteer armies throughout Palestine.

In May of 1948, less than a year after the Partition Plan for Palestine was announced, Britain withdrew from Palestine, and Israel declared itself an independent state, implying a willingness to implement the Partition Plan.

However, immediately adjacent Arab armies moved against the Jews to prevent the establishment of Israel as a state. This rapid engagement resulted in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War that involved Israel and five Arab nations: Transjordan (now Jordan), Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon. By the end of the war in July 1949, Israel controlled more than two-thirds of the former British reign, while Jordan took control of the West Bank and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip.

This conflict opened yet another new chapter in the conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs, which at this point became a regional contest involving nation-states and a quagmire of diplomatic, political, and economic interests. It gave birth to the PLO, which was initially committed to the destruction of the State of Israel as a means of attaining its goal of Palestinian statehood and reinstating the land previously ordered under the British Mandate, and which the PLO considered to be occupied illegitimately by the State of Israel.

The conflict has given birth to other organizations of a terrorist nature (e.g., Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthis, etc.) bent on destroying Israel as a nation and a people.

This, all of the above, is why Israel and Palestine are fighting today. Keep in mind that this is an abbreviated version of the modern events concerning this conflict. Numerous events, such as scrimmages and wars, have led to the current situation.

Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Yes, when Jesus returns.

Conclusion

It is distinctly clear in Scripture that this conflict began some FOUR THOUSAND YEARS ago. It is also evident in Scripture that God intends for Israel to possess their land again. Jeremiah 30:1-5 reads:

1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

2. “Thus speaks the Lord God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.

3. For behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.'”

4. Now these are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah.

5. “For thus says the Lord: ‘We have heard a voice of trembling, Of terror, and not of peace.

The entire prophecy is contained in Jeremiah 30:1-24. However, these first five introductory verses effectively reflect the will of God. He scattered and led it into captivity, and He will bring Israel back from that captivity, and “they shall possess it.”

Therefore, Israel continues the fight to possess their land. Nations such as the United States and Britain are supporting Israel in this fight. But the time is coming when Israel will be fighting this battle alone. Jeremiah 30:14 NLT reads: “All your lovers—your allies—have left you and do not care about you anymore. I have wounded you cruelly, as though I were your enemy. For your sins are many, and your guilt is great.”

This prophecy initially refers to when the nations of Assyria and Egypt once supported Israel against her enemies but turned against her. However, many prophecies have a double application, and we see this unfolding today. Israel’s allies are increasingly applying pressure to stop the war. Nevertheless, a full read of this prophecy, verses 1-24, reveals that Israel will prevail despite her being left all alone.

The Take Away

There are several takeaways from this episode of Biblical history.

1. There are severe consequences when our faith in God, and His Word in particular, fails. Sarah’s lack of faith in God’s Word led her to take action on her own by presenting her maid to Abraham to bring forth the promised child—the result—a generation that has caused and continues to cause distress to Israel for thousands of years that began in Abraham’s household; a sibling rivalry between two brothers.

We must take heed to the Word of God and obey it, or there will be dire consequences, present and future.

2. God is merciful and will not hold His anger forever, though our sins may be significant. In Jeremiah 3:12, God says through His prophet, “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say: ‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever. NKJV

God asked Israel to return to Him and repent, and His anger would be no more. Israel has more repentance to do, and God will be responsive.

We also saw God’s mercy with Abraham and his first son Ishmael. Even though he wasn’t the promised child and was conceived out of the will of God, He blessed him anyway because of Abraham.

3. It is vitally important to observe that despite opinions, conventional wisdom, and political views, this is a spiritual situation. This conflict is a spiritual one. Satan fuels the vitriol and animosity against Israel. Antisemitism is satanism—a spiritual war—spiritual warfare personified.

The conflict is based on the promise. Satan knows that Israel is God’s nation and the people of God and that all nations of the earth are blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:3). Jesus the Savior came through Israel. Satan despises the people of God and will do anything to destroy them.

The terror group Hamas has a charter that states its aim is to destroy the Israelites from the face of the earth. This sentiment is the aim of all the terror groups for Israel and its allies.

Opening Paragraph – The Hamas Covenant (1988) “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

[Article 7 – The Hamas Covenant] “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees.”

However, like it or not, Israel is God’s chosen nation, and it will prevail. Zechariah 12:6 NIV reads, “On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.”

The nations that go against Israel will pay the consequence for disregarding the Word of God that says, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” [Genesis 12:3]

God’s eye is on the land and the people of Israel and all of those who are His. [Galatians 3:6-9]

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

What Does the Bible Say About Hell?

Is there a hell? Is there such a thing as everlasting punishment, or do we just cease to exist? What happens when we die? Are there any answers? What does the Bible say about hell? This article will explore these questions.

What is Hell?

Hell is defined as the place of punishment for the unrighteous. However, there are some who don’t believe that hell exists at all. Even the ones who believe there is a heaven. No one can deny that there is evil in the world. It is puzzling for one to believe there is a reward for righteousness and not a consequence for evil and unrighteousness. That is simply a denial of what the Bible teaches.

What Does the Bible Say About Hell?

While some do not believe that hell exists, Jesus indeed confirmed that it does. He referred to it eleven times. Let’s look at what Jesus is quoted as saying in Matthew 10:28:

28. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

What Does the Bible say About Hell?

The context of this passage is Jesus’ warning to His disciples against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. While they had knowledge of the Scriptures, they didn’t live as though they did. Jesus also warned that they might face persecution for their belief and faith in Him, which could include death. But He also told them not to fear individuals that could kill them or even death itself. While they may be able to kill the body, they cannot kill the soul.

He also told them who they must fear: the one who is able to kill the body and destroy the soul “in hell.” According to the New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, the Greek word translated as hell is geena (gheh’-en-nah), which was a valley of Jerusalem and was used figuratively as a name for the place, or the state of everlasting punishment.

For a bit of background on Gehenna, Gehenna is a derivative of the Hebrew Ge Hinnom or the “valley of Hinnom.” Hinnom was conceivably the name of an individual in ancient Israel. The valley of Hinnom is a steep, narrow gorge just beyond Jerusalem.

In the Old Testament, was the scene of the practice of child sacrifice under some of the godless kings of Israel (Jeremiah 7:31).

The point is, according to Scripture, specifically Jesus, hell does exist as a place of punishment.

Is Hell a Place of Eternal Punishment?

Having established that hell exists as a place of punishment for the unrighteous, for some, the question becomes whether hell is a place of eternal punishment by fire or if the punishment is simply eternal separation from God.

What does the bible say about Hell?

Again, Jesus sheds light on this matter in Matthew 25:41:

41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

The context of this Scripture (vss. 31-46) addresses judgment. Jesus separates the goats from the sheep. This is figurative or symbolic, with the goats representing the unrighteous and the sheep the righteous. He states that He will say to the goats, the unrighteous on His left, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

What does the Bible say about Hell
Everlasting Fire!!

He closes the thought in verse 46, saying, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

According to the New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, the Greek word translated as “everlasting” is NT:166 aionios (ahee-o’-nee-os); which means perpetual (also used of past time, or past and future as well). In addition to everlasting, it has also been translated into the English words eternal and forever in other Scripture.

Revelation 14:9-11

9. And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11. And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

This passage contains the message from the third angel of The Three Angels Messages. The unrighteous that worship the beast and receive his mark will be “tormented” “forever and ever” with no rest “day or night.” [For more information on the Three Angels Message, please see the article, The Three Angels Message, on this website.

They will be joining the devil, as Matthew 25:41 states, “into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

Upon examining these Scriptures, it is clear that hell is a place of everlasting punishment for Satan, the devil, his angels, and the unrighteous.

Some believe these Scriptures describe the effects of the demise of the unrighteous being eternal rather than the punishment itself. That can be a reasonable argument regarding the third angel’s message. However, the words of Jesus are acutely poignant, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal “ and Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

In the former of these two statements, Jesus makes a stark comparison between the demise of the unrighteous, which is everlasting punishment, and the demise of the righteous, which is eternal or everlasting life. In the second statement, Jesus refers to the everlasting fire prepared for the devil.

Additionally, in Jesus’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31), we have another comparison in the demise of these two states. The unrighteous rich man died and ended up in hell in torment. Luke 16:23 reads, “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.” NIV In this Scripture, according to New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, the Greek word translated as hell is haides (hah’-dace); from NT:86 which is the place (state) of departed souls: In other places in Scripture, it is translated as grave.

We also see in this passage that angels carried Lazarus, the beggar, into Abraham’s bosom. According to the Old Testament, Abraham’s bosom represents a place of blessed peace.

Although this is not the same hell as the Lake of Fire nor eternal life in Revelation, torment for the unrighteous and peace for the righteous begins in the grave—the first chapter in the demise of the Righteous and the Unrighteous.

The second chapter commences at the first and second resurrections. The first resurrection is for the righteous. Rev 20:4-5 reads:

  1. And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
  2. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

The first resurrection will involve the righteous, who will live with Christ during the millennium.

The rest of the dead, the unrighteous, will be involved in the second resurrection, known as the Great White Throne Judgement. Rev 20:11-15 reads:

  1. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
  2. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
  3. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
  4. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
  5. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The Greek word translated as hell in verse 13 is the same: haides, the place (state) of departed souls. The remaining dead will be resurrected and judged according to their works or deeds; they are judged and thrown into the Lake of Fire.

What does the Bible say about Hell?

Let’s look at the devil’s demise in Revelation 20:10:

10. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

What Does the Bible Say About Hell - Lake of Fire
THE LAKE OF FIRE

The Scripture says the devil will be “tormented day and night for ever and ever.” If the devil is going to be tormented forever and ever, and the unrighteous are going “into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” it stands to reason that both will be tormented forever. It’s axiomatic.

Why resurrect the unrighteous from the dead and then send them away again? They can simply remain dead. Since they are dead, they are already gone forever. To not exist is not actually punishment; it is only equivalent to eternal sleep. Of course, it’s better to be with the Lord in heaven, but we must be realistic regarding the demise of the unrighteous.

In the White Throne Judgment(Revelation 20:11-15), the unrighteous will be resurrected, judged, and cast into the “lake of fire” with the devil to be tormented—forever.

Conclusion

Hell does exist and is the destination of the unrighteous, a place of everlasting punishment. It is for those who refuse to accept the truth, grace, and favor of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Whether one believes hell is a place of eternal damnation according to the Scriptures or simply separation from God, the most crucial emphasis is to avoid it at all costs. The optimal objective is to remain in the will of God and to be with Him in heaven ultimately.

Amen

Questions and comments may be left below, including what you believe hell is and your concerns.

Blessings!

The 7th Spiritual Law of Success

There are seven spiritual laws of success. However, the 7th Spiritual Law of Success ties the other six laws together. This article will illuminate the 7th Spiritual Law of Success.

The Spiritual Laws of Success

Before addressing the 7th Spiritual Law of Success, quickly reviewing the first six might be handy. It is important to note that many have never engaged these six.

The 7th Spiritual Law of Success

1. Establish the correct goal – To establish the correct goal, one must first be able to define success. Once defined, make that the goal.

2. Preparation or education – One must acquire the know-how to achieve the goal. Once we have ascertained enough to choose a goal, the second step toward successfully achieving that goal is to discover the way—to secure the additional education, training, and experience to give us the know-how to achieve our goal.

3. Good Health – Obeying the laws of health is a sure way to obtain good health. Proper diet, adequate sleep, physical exercise, ample fresh air, cleanliness, suitable elimination, positive thinking, and righteous living all contribute to good health.

4. Drive – This law of success is highly dependent on the third: good health. Impassive efforts might carry an individual toward their goal. Still, it will certainly not get them far enough to achieve it. Drive is the engine that takes effort across the finish line. However, if their health is poor, it is challenging to employ the necessary drive. Without energy, drive, and persistent vigor, an individual should never anticipate becoming sincerely successful.

5. Resourcefulness – So far, we have quite a list of laws that, if followed, would guarantee one solid success. But not so fast! As crucial as these laws are, they are not enough to achieve the goal.

We perpetually confront unforeseen problems, perils, hindrances, or holdups as we live. While proceeding along on schedule, out of nowhere comes an unexpected

complication. Some abrupt occurrence arises, which seems to terminate the plan altogether or cause a substantial stall.

So, to meet these constantly arising problems, one must have resourcefulness!

Therefore, when obstacles and unforeseen circumstances arise to block one’s path, one must be resourceful enough to undertake the difficulty, thwart the hurdle, and remain on course.

6. Perseverance – Well, it is no wonder that perseverance would follow resourcefulness. Overcoming obstacles can become arduous, to say the least. In any event, one must have the resolve to carry on in spite of the obstacles. It takes a strong determination to accomplish a goal. The larger the goal, the larger the determination required to reach it. Perseverance is a necessary component of success. [For more information on these six laws, please click this link.]

7. Seek God – This law may be in last place, but it is not the least. In fact, it is the most vital of the laws. It is listed as last, given that it is the last that most will recognize and employ. However, it is first in terms of making real success possible.

Few will acknowledge that God is a chief factor in determining the success or failure of an individual’s life. Individuals will spend their lives paying no heed to divine direction until their backs are up against a wall and they have nowhere to turn.

Looking at this logically, if one were to acknowledge God initially, perhaps the wall would have never been an issue. God can part wisdom that would have prevented circumstances from reaching that point.

An individual may have acquired success using the first six laws, enjoyed a luxurious life, and suddenly fell on hard times, possibly losing all. Then suddenly, as a last resort, they recognize the God they’ve ignored all along. It is indeed better to recognize Him from the beginning instead of the end.

However, recognizing and trusting God is no longer the standard in our post-modern world of vanity, sophistication, and modern science. There is no place for God in our education systems.

Ironically, the crucial seventh law of success is staying in the guidance and continuous help of the Lord. Individuals who do not recognize and practice this law are doomed for failure when all is said and done.

Looking at the first law, choosing a goal is not choosing any goal but the right goal. This approach ensures that an individual makes a correct start initially. The proper goal sets the direction of one’s life’s journey. Success is the goal of that journey. Success is where you ultimately arrive—and true success comprises a happy and enjoyable voyage along the way.

Most goals are to reach material success, seek contentment in vanity, material acquisitions, status, etc., and seek people’s praises. The problem with those goals is true genuine happiness is not material, and money is not its supplier. In the end, it is vanity, as Solomon observed, is like striving after the wind! He said in Ecclesiastes 2:11, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.” NKJV

The 7th Spiritual Law of Success

An individual’s bank account may be hefty, but their life is empty. Material accomplishments initially provide the thrill of satisfaction, but that thrill doesn’t last and only fuels the desire for more. It is like being high on a drug; once it has finished its course, then comes the crash, and the addict needs more. Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:10, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.”

We, as humans, always desire to have more than we have. In Solomon’s observation, those who consume their time compulsively pursuing money never experience the happiness it assures. This way of life leads many to depression once they discover the truth concerning material wealth.

Additionally, it is crucial to understand that wealth entices thieves and slackers, causes sleepless nights and fear, and ultimately ends in loss because it must be left behind (Mark 10:23-25; Luke 12:16-21).

No matter how much one earns, one will never have enough if one tries to create happiness by amassing wealth. Money in and of itself is not wrong, but loving money leads to all sorts of sins. 1 Timothy 6:10 reads, “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” and 1 Timothy 6:9 NIV reads, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”

Money only solves one aspect of life: finances. This fact leaves all the other aspects dangling in the wind: emotional, physical, mental, etc.

Whatever the financial situation, one must not depend on money to make them happy. In its place, they must seek the will of the Lord for their lives.

Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:10-11:

10. I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.

11. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. NKJV

Man is a physical being but also a spiritual being. God “has put eternity in their hearts.” This eternity in the heart of man is a spiritual void. God has instilled in man an edgy yearning and a spiritual thirst, giving him eternal value. His physical body is sustained with physical things, such as food and water, and he is pleased with physical things, such as material things that he can touch and feel. However, they don’t feed the spiritual side of their souls, leaving a void, a spiritual hunger. Significant problems can occur when one attempts to fill this spiritual void with material things. A spiritual craving is never satisfied by material food! It is literally “grasping for the wind.” Only the eternal God can truly fill this void.

The 7th Spiritual Law of Success - 3

The Significance of the 7th Law

The 7th law is the wrap-around. It ties all of the laws together in one divine package.

The 7th Law casts success from a totally different perspective. It will cause one to modify their ultimate major goal (the first law). It changes everything. There will still be minor goals to provide for material needs, such as one’s profession or occupation, to achieve the major goal.

The major goal becomes spiritual instead of material, causing one to live the way of the Ten Commandments and every Word of God, the Bible. Without divine guidance, the wrong goal is always set.

It will also be a different way to fulfill the second goal (preparation and education). One will seek to learn the true values of life, the present one and the one hereafter, causing the Bible to be the leading textbook that reveals the mind of God.

In fulfilling the third law (good health), it will include divine knowledge such as the laws of health.

The fourth law (drive) will be fueled by motivation from God’s Word. The Bible has many Scriptures addressing diligence, thirty-seven in the King James Version. For example, Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Take Exodus 15:26, which reads:

…” If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”

By diligently obeying God and keeping His Commandments, one is assured of fulfilling the third law of good health.

Wisdom comes from God. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” NIV

Regarding the fifth law (resourcefulness), one needs God’s wisdom to resolve the perpetual problems and meet the frequent obstacles that plague life’s path. Individuals with a quality relationship with God can seek His counsel and advice and receive divine guidance. This relationship involves being submissive, obedient, diligent, and faithful.

Lastly, looking at law six (perseverance), one is advised to heed the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:13, “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” These words encourage us not to give up, to press on, and to reap the rewards.

Conclusion

These seven laws are the way not only to material success but to spiritual success as well. Overall, a life that is rewarding, rich, and interest-filled leads to abundant living and, in the end, to eternal life and glory in the Kingdom of God. True success cannot be achieved without obeying the 7th spiritual law of success.

It teaches us to choose the correct goal. It teaches one to study, to show oneself approved of by the Maker. It teaches and leads one to acquire knowledge with correct and true education in preparation for success. It teaches one to observe their health. It teaches persistence, drive, dedication, and tireless application. It teaches resourcefulness and offers one devout help in applying it—and it teaches enduring to the end!

The 7th spiritual law of success helps one to constantly look forward to the overall goal, an eternity in the Kingdom of God!

The Scripture that best makes this point is found in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” NIV

True success cannot be accomplished without the 7th spiritual law of success.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

How to Talk with God

Christianity is about having a relationship with God through Christ. How is your relationship with God? Do you talk with Him? This article sheds light on how to talk with God.

How to talk with God

The people of God have been given a special gift. That gift is prayer. Prayer is the means by which we communicate with God and how we talk with God. It is through prayer that we—make our requests known to God (Philippians 4:6), we bless the Lord (Ps. 103:1), Praise the Lord (Ps. 145:2), and give thanks to the Lord (Ps. 100:4).

Communication is vital for a meaningful relationship, and our relationship with God is no exception.

Prayer is also a weapon God has given us in the battle between good and evil.

The Power of Prayer

Jesus is our best example of the use of prayer. He believed in the power of prayer. Before Jesus began His ministry in choosing His disciples, He prayed. Before the day’s activities in the morning, He prayed. Before going to Jerusalem to be crucified, He prayed.

How to Talk with God

There is a passage of Scripture that illustrates the outline of Jesus’s prayer life. Mark 1:35

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

The three things to note in this text are:

1. Jesus prayed in the morning before daylight. This action was Jesus’ pattern. One thing that gives power and effectiveness to our prayers is to have a regular time to pray. It doesn’t have to be early before day, but a standard time set aside for prayer. Just as we have a regular time for other activities such as work, eating and sleeping, we must have a time for prayer. If our prayers are irregular in days and times, we won’t have a very significant prayer life resulting in an insignificant relationship with Christ.

Therefore, it is crucial that we establish a regular time for prayer. For most, it may be early in the morning, while for others, it may not be so much because we have various schedules. However, the point is a regular time for daily prayer. Prayer should be a lifestyle, not a life jacket.

2. The next thing to notice is that Jesus “departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Jesus had a solitary place to pray. It is vital to have a designated place to pray. A quiet place that will not be subject to distractions that hinder the communication between us and God.

3. Next, the Scripture says, “…and there prayed.” Jesus apparently prayed silently at this time. However, it is essential to note that there is something special about praying out loud.

In other passages, He prayed out loud. Matthew 26:39 reads;

39. And going forward a little he fell upon his face, praying and saying, My Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me; but not as I will, but as thou [wilt].

The Scripture mentions “praying and saying.”

Matthew 26:42 reads:

42. Again going away a second time he prayed saying, My Father, if this cannot pass [from me] unless I drink it, thy will be done.

Again, the Scripture mentions, “…prayed saying”

Matthew 26:44 reads:

44. And leaving them, he went away again and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Jesus’ prayers in Gethsemane were vocal ones.

Hebrews 5:7 makes this point clear.

7. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

How to Talk with God

Praying out loud shows a vital sincerity toward God. Jesus, as the Scripture reads, “…offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tearsto God. Jesus is our example of earnest surrender to God.

Although we can pray silently, if we want the most meaningful relationship with God, we need to have a time to pray, have a place to pray, and pray out loud to Him.

Praying silently allows our minds to wander. However, praying out loud and formulating words stimulates the brain so that when our mind wanders, we can recognize it faster and refocus.

Another way of communicating with God through prayer is to use the Scriptures in prayer. Prayer is our talking to God, and the Scriptures are God speaking to us. One way is to use the Psalms; read a Scripture or a passage of Scripture, agree with it, and make it a part of your prayer.

A final way of communicating with God through prayer is to use the acronym ACTS.How to Talk with God

A. adoration

C. confession

T. thanksgiving

S. supplication

With a piece of paper:

Think of all the reasons to adore Jesus (e.g., I adore you Lord as my savior)

Confess whatever you know in your heart needs confessing of

Offer up Thanksgiving for the blessing that God has bestowed on you.

Mention the supplications and the requests you desire to make with humility.

After these are written down, kneel in your place of prayer and pray them to the Lord.

As mentioned earlier, prayer is the weapon God has given us in the battle between good and evil.

In Ephesians 6, Paul encourages the engaging of the armor of God. He closes that exposition in verse 18 by writing, “…praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” NKJV

Although prayer is not included as a weapon in the previous verses, prayer is the wrap-around in moving forward with our armor. As we take the sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, we must also pray “always” while being “watchful” for Satan’s attacks. Satan attacks when we don’t expect it; therefore, we must be on the alert to pray when the need arises. No Christian is off the hook from being Satan’s target. Therefore, all Christians require our prayer support. No Christian can stand alone in this battle.

Prayer is a gift to us, not possessed by any other creature on earth. Genesis 1:26 reads, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” God created man after His likeness in that we are, in addition to physical beings, we are spiritual ones. Unlike other created beings, we have the ability to communicate with God through our minds and mouths with prayer.

However, because of sin, the communication between God and man became greatly hindered. As time passed, communication was possible only through the intercession of a high priest. The barrier between man and God was broken with the birth, life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can talk with God uninhibited (Hebrews 4:16). Through His Holy Spirit, God communicates with us through our minds as well as His Word. As the Scripture reads, “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

Praying in the Spirit means that the Spirit helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26); the Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:27); the Spirit makes God accessible (Ephesians 2:18); the Spirit gives us confidence when we pray (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). He inspires and guides us when we pray. He helps us communicate with God and brings God’s response to us.

Prayer is the gift that keeps on giving. May we use this gift wisely and effectively, never taking it for granted.

Elements for Effective Prayer
Pray diligently!

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

10 Commandments in the New Testament

Some Christians believe the Old Testament no longer applies to today’s Christians, including the Ten Commandments. This article will address the 10 Commandments in the New Testament.

What are the Ten Commandments?

The Ten Commandments are the ten laws God gave Moses on Mount Sinai after he had led them from Egypt. These and other laws were for guidance for daily righteous living. However, the Ten Commandments form the core of the unique covenant between God and His people, the Israelites, so much so that God wrote them in stone with His finger (Exodus 31:18).

These Commandments are found in Exodus 20:1-17

1. And God spake all these words, saying,

2. I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

5. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

6. And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7. Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

11. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12. Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13. Thou shalt not kill.

14. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15. Thou shalt not steal.

16. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

10 Commandments in the New Testament

It is essential to understand that these Commandments were never meant to be a means by which the Israelites could earn salvation. God had already shown His favor when He delivered them from Egyptian bondage. This grace is something that He prefaced by reminding them at the commencement of providing the Commandments (vs. 2).

The Ten Commandments in the New Testament

In spite of what some believe regarding the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments are still applicable today. What needs to be recognized is that the Old Testament is the foundation. Without the Old Testament, there would be no New Testament. The New Testament Confirms the Old Testament. There are 343 Old Testament quotes in the New Testament and 2,309 allusions and parallels. The books most utilized are the Psalms (333 references, 79 quotes) and Isaiah (348 references, 66 quotes). The Book of Revelation contains no quotations but at least 620 allusions.

Jesus issued this confirmation in Matt. 5:17, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Jesus ushered in the New Covenant, the New Testament (Hebrews 8:1,6), therefore fulfilling the Law. He didn’t come to abolish the Law or the prophets but to fulfill the promises in those Scripture passages.

Jesus lived the Law and gave life to the Law. He was able to live the life described by the words and rules and set the standard for us to follow. The New Testament Law that Jesus ushered in was the Law of love. Love fulfills the Law.

This truth is confirmed in other New Testament Scripture. For example, Romans 13:8-10

8. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the Law.

9. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

10. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law. NKJV

Notice the Commandments mentioned in this passage; all contained under the description of love, “love is the fulfillment of the Law.Several Laws are quoted here, straight from the Commandments, to illustrate how they can be kept if an individual simply acts in love.

Love Fulfills the Law
Love Fulfills the Law!

Remember the response of Jesus when asked what the greatest Commandment is. His response was in Matthew 22:37-40:

37. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38. This is the first and great Commandment.

39. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the prophets.

Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 but also stated a second Command addressing dealing with fellow human beings. The same love and care we have for ourselves should also extend to others. Jesus also clarified that these two Commands to love God and others as ourselves keep all other Laws in the Old and New Testaments.

Lastly, our eternal destiny is based on the Commandments. This truth is evident in Luke 10:25-28, which reads:

  1. On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
  2. “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
  3. He answered: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
  4. “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live. NIV

This lawyer obviously knew the Law quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, Old Testament Scripture, which demands total devotion to God and love for one’s neighbor. These two Commands go hand in hand. An individual cannot maintain a good relationship with God without having good relationships with their neighbors (their fellow human beings).

But look at Jesus’ final response in verse 28, Do this and you will live. Jesus was referring to eternal life. By following these two Commandments, we fulfill the others and will inherit eternal life. While it is impossible to obey these on our own, it is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit.

It appears clear that the Old and New Testaments are equally crucial in knowing the will of the Lord. Without the Old Testament, there would be no New Testament. They are intertwined to give us the complete picture of what was, what is, and what shall be.

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

Contentment and the Bible

How many of us are genuinely contented? For many, contentment is elusive at best. No matter how much they have, they aren’t content. Is this wrong? What does the Bible say about contentment? This article explores contentment and the Bible.

What is Contentment?

Contentment and the BibleAccording to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, contentment is the quality or state of being contented. To be contented is to feel or show satisfaction with your possessions, status, situation, or life in general. To be content isn’t a bad thing!

What does the Bible say about Contentment?

There are some twenty-five verses in the Scriptures regarding contentment. We’ll look at a few of them.

1 Tim 6:6

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

This Scripture is in the context of false teachers who were motivated by money, and their ultimate goal was to enrich themselves, and operated under the misconception that godliness was a means to financial gain. But Paul countered that “godliness” combined with “contentment” was the means to gain. But not just gain, but “GREAT gain.” Godliness is great gain by itself when accompanied by contentment. Godliness does not come and go with the qualms of material wealth. Godliness, with contentment, is wealth unrelated to one’s bank account and assets. The false teachers had it in reverse.

In order to have contentment in Christ, there are four aspects concerning the possessions of our life:

(1) We must be grateful for what God has already allowed us to have.

(2) We must overlook what we do not have.

(3) We must refuse to covet what others may have.

(4) We must be thankful to God for all his gifts (4:3-4). Thanksgiving is the result of contentment.

If we fail to make these aspects a part of our psyche, our contentment will diminish.

As for gain, the benefits or profit that inspired the false teachers were neither lasting nor could result in contentment. Their earthly profits would be left behind, as verse 7 reads, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” What brings great gain are eternal values. We quit contributing to our eternal accounts when material treasures become our focus. Whatever gains we may experience in this life mean nothing if they cause us eternal bankruptcy (see Matt 6:19-24). As Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

The bottom line is we should place our focus on God and center our desires on him (“godliness,” Matt 6:33), and we should be content with what God is doing in our lives (Phil 4:11-13).

1 Timothy 6:6

Another prominent Scripture regarding contentment is Hebrews 13:5-6 which reads:

5. Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

The Greek word translated as conversation means lifestyle. Christians should live a lifestyle that doesn’t exercise covetousness—that does not covet. But they should live a lifestyle that is content with what they have. Having a passion for worldly materialistic things and greed is a great evil because they show dependence on money rather than on God. The remedy for greed is contentment.

Covetousness additionally demonstrates that an individual cares more about items they can see than spiritual assurances they cannot see in the present.

Our contentment should be in what God provides, not in what we can achieve ourselves. Money cannot save us from the punishment of God. Money itself cannot even yield contentment. Most individuals often discover that money, rather than deliver contentment, fails to live up to their expectations. This disappointment explains why there are so many miserable wealthy individuals. However, where money disappoints, God does not. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” Faith in this promise of God keeps us in check and reminds us that God has given us all we need (Phil. 4:19).

Contentment and the Bible

The bottom line is that money cannot guarantee security; only God can truly help us. While we are not guaranteed earthly possessions, we are assured that God is our helper. He looks after His people and gives them what they need. Every Christian can say with conviction that the Lord is my helper (Ps 118:7).

The Apostle Paul knew this better than anybody. For he wrote in his letter to the Phillippians

In Philp. 4:11-12

11. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

12. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Paul acknowledges in this passage that he had learned an essential secret to the Christian life: that he could be content with whatever he had despite his external circumstances. Paul had to learn this, as do we because contentment is not a natural human response. The Greek word translated content means “self-sufficient” and independent of others. Paul used this term to indicate his independence from everything but Christ since Christ was the sole source of Paul’s life, as he stated in verse 13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Paul affirmed that his capability was in Christ alone, who provided him with the strength to cope with all circumstances.

The last Scripture to look at regarding contentment is found in Matt 6:33, which reads:

33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We, as Christians, must resolve the issue of priorities. We must be different from unbelievers whose primary concerns are comfort, security, money, fashion, etc. Followers of Christ seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The word “seek” is a present imperative. It is

a command to accomplish a perpetual obligation. To “seek the kingdom” means to submit to God’s sovereignty here and now and to work for the future arrival of His kingdom.

To “seek His righteousness” means to work at living as God requires, to indeed seek these “first” calls for total loyalty and commitment. It means to turn to God first for help, to fill our thoughts with his desires, to take his character for our pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything.

Contentment and the Bible - Matthew 6:33

The question to ask is, what is most important to us; what do we“seek first”? Is it people, objects, goals, money, pleasure? These and additional desires all compete for precedence. Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if we don’t actively choose to give him first place in every area of our lives. Once we get our priorities right, Jesus promised to add all “these things” to us. When we seek his kingdom first, God takes care of our needs.

Conclusion

How can we learn to be content? We must make every effort to live with less rather than desiring more, give away from our excess rather than hoarding more, and appreciate what we have rather than resent what we’re missing. We must see God’s love expressed in what he has provided and remember that money and possessions will all pass away (Mark 13:31).

We become content when we realize God’s adequacy for our needs. Christians who become materialistic by their actions are saying that God isn’t taking care of them the way they want. This insecurity can lead to the love of money, whether we are rich or poor. The only remedy is to trust God to meet all of our needs.

Godliness with contentment is great gain!

Amen

Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.

Blessings!

The Lion and the Bible

The lion in the Bible represents strength and power. How is this displayed in the Scriptures? This article expounds on the lion and the Bible.

The Lion and the Bible

We believe that the Scriptures are the Word of God, the inerrant, immutable, and infallible Word of God. On occasion, there is a Scripture that jumps off the page in a way that cannot be shaken.

One such Scripture that has jumped out lately is found in 1 Peter 5:8, which reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” We don’t have to look very far to see the application of this Scripture in force. However, far away, it is being enforced even more mightily that being in the Middle East. The devil is having a field day in the Middle East. Thousands have been killed and injured on both sides of the conflict; over two hundred Israelis have been taken as hostages, with it being unknown what their demises may be. Israelis have been raped, tortured, and burned alive, babies beheaded. Innocent citizens of Gaza are suffering from a lack of food, water, and medicine. All of this is at the hands of the terrorist group Hamas—an agent of Satan doing his bidding.

The Lion and the Bible

Israel is threatened on two fronts: Gaza and the northern border with Lebanon. Yes, the lion is walking and roaring in the Middle East, Israel in particular.

Israel suffered a surprise attack. With all of its sophisticated equipment and intelligence sources, they were attacked. Hamas had been stealthily planning this attack for two years, unbeknownst to Israel. How could this happen? How did the lion stay so quiet?

Another passage that jumps from its page is Matthew 24:6-8, which quotes Jesus as saying:

6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

The Lion and the Bible
There will be wars and rumors of wars

Now, the Scripture says, “wars and rumors of wars,”
and nation against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” So we have Israel against Palestine, more specifically Hamas, the terrorist group, Russia against Ukraine, China threatening Taiwan, and Afghanistan recently had four earthquakes in one week. Oh yes, the lion is roaring! Jesus said these are the “beginning of sorrows, “but the end is not yet.”

These words are to prepare us, the followers of Jesus, for a difficult passage of time before His return. A key phrase in this passage comforts us, which is: “see that ye be not troubled.” As political situations worsen, as wars ravage the world, let us, as Jesus’ disciples and followers, not be afraid that somehow God has lost control or that his promises will not come to fruition. Just as false messiahs and religious deceptions come and go, so do political and natural crises. Even when the world seems to be in chaos, God is in control. Such things must happen as part of God’s divine plan. However, the wars and rumors of wars do not signal the end (the end of the world). The nations at war and the earth’s turmoil, revealed in increased earthquakes and famines, would also not signal the end.

Responding to the Lion

While we must never trivialize suffering, all these troubles must not alarm us Christians. Because Jesus has warned us about them, we know that they must precede the arrival of God’s glorious kingdom.

Also, there is another passage that sheds wisdom we should behoove to follow, which is Ephesians 5:15-17, which reads:

15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Walk circumspectly refers to how we live. Our responsibility is to live as children of light (5:8) and to expose darkness. Therefore, we must be very careful how we live. Our lives must please God (5:10), and we must conduct ourselves in the presence of unbelievers so as to shine with Christ and draw others to him. This passage encourages us to live not as unwise but as wise. In other words, we must take our knowledge of Christ and apply it to our everyday lives and be especially aware of our conduct with unbelievers. Paul wrote to the Colossians (Col. 4:5 NIV), “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders.”

The Ephesians passage further instructs us to “redeem the time.”
In other words, make the most of every opportunity. We must carefully use our time, making use of opportunities for doing good. This advocates that we should not allow ourselves to be controlled by our circumstances; instead, we should use time as the valuable commodity or resource it is. We must use every opportunity to help draw people from darkness to light. Because the days are evil and unbelievers desperately need help as time is moving swiftly.

We must be wise to what the Lord’s will is and apply it.

Ephesians 5:15-17

Returning to the opening Scripture, 1 Peter 5:8, Peter warned Christians to be alert for Satan, especially in times of suffering and persecution, for he walks up and down the earth seeking whom he or his demons can attack and defeat. We see this in the opening passages of Job (Job 1:7). This is  spiritual warfare.

When we Christians feel alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other Christians, we can become so focused on our troubles that we forget to watch for danger. In those times, we are especially vulnerable to Satan’s attacks, which come in various forms, often at a person’s weakest spot — such as during temptation, fear, loneliness, worry, depression, and persecution. Therefore, Peter and Paul also urged the believers always to be alert for Satan’s tricks and attacks.

The lion roars mightily in the Middle East. But what we must be aware of is that just as the lion has seeked and roared in the Middle East, just as he sneak attacked Israel, he can do the same in the United States of America and any country in the world.

So we must be first “sober,” which means serious, clearheaded, and self-controlled. And we must be “vigilant,” which means watchful, alert, cautious, and aware. We must be sober and vigilant against what may befall us.

Bear in mind that lions attack sick, young, or straggling animals; they choose victims who are alone or not alert. Peter warns us to watch out for Satan when we are suffering or being persecuted. If you are feeling alone, weak, helpless, and cut off from other believers, or if you are so focused on your troubles that you forget to watch for danger, those are the times when you are especially vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. So, how do we mitigate our vulnerability?

One of the tools to help detect vulnerability is to heed the acronym HALT. We must not allow ourselves to get excessively:

H-hungry

A-angry

L-lonely

T- tired

When these conditions begin to increase—halt and take action to remedy them.

During times of suffering, seek other Christians for support. Keep your eyes on Christ, and then, as James says, “resist the devil, And he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

The last but not least, Scripture that jumps off the page these days is Eph. 6:13, which reads:

13. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Daily, we must put on, as the Scripture reads, “the whole armour of God.”
So, what is the whole armor of God? It consists of righteousness, the gospel, our faith, our salvation, and the sword, which is the Word of God.

Therefore, forget American Express! It’s the WHOLE armor of God we needdon’t leave home without it!

Another Lion

In closing, above all, the most important thing to remember is that there is another lion stronger than the devil. This lion will roar louder than the devil: the lion of Judah. Jesus is the lion of Judah. Prov 30:30 reads, “A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;”

The lion is the strongest of the animals and doesn’t turn away from anything. Jesus is the Lion that hasn’t turned away from anything. Jesus has overcome temptation, sin, pain and suffering, fear, death, and Satan, the devil himself.

For a quick background, Jacob had twelve sons who eventually headed the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah was the fourth of these sons by his wife, Leah. Judah was the most prominent and most substantial of the twelve tribes and the tribe from which Jesus, the Savior of the world, was born.Judah was the strongest of the twelve tribes and the tribe from which Jesus was born. When Jacob blessed his sons, he said to Judah, his fourth son in Genesis 49:8-10

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you.

9 You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness — who dares to rouse him?

10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs  and the obedience of the nations is his. NIV

“The Septer,” the kingship, the throne “will not depart from Judah.” Judah produced kings. This prophetic blessing was fulfilled with the birth of Christ. Jesus was a descendant of Judah, as was King David and King Solomon.

When Gabriel announced Christ’s birth to Mary, he said in Luke 1:31-33

31. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

32. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

33. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

In John’s prophetic vision of heaven, the perpetuity of Jesus’ kingdom is confirmed. In Rev 5:5, John wrote:

5. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” NIV

There is no end to Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus is the triumphant, conquering king descended from Judah’s lineage. He is indeed the lion of Judah!

Jesus made the one-time sacrifice that will destroy all enemies. Look at what it reads in Heb. 10:12-13

12. But this man, [Jesus] after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

13. From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

In the end, Jesus will destroy all his enemies, including Satan, the devil. Satan can roar, but not as loud as Jesus! Satan is mighty, but the Lord is almighty!

And when Jesus returns and roars, the devil’s roar will be a measly whimper.

So remember what Jesus said regarding His return in Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Therefore, we must never forget that we have hope, not in ourselves or our circumstances but in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We only need to be sober and vigilant, carrying the whole armor of God, living according to His will, and waiting for His return.

Therefore, in the meantime, let us heed the Scripture 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Amen

Questions, comments, concerns, and witnessing of the lion may be left below.

Blessings!

The Beatitudes of Revelation

The Beatitudes are well-known as part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. However, there are also beatitudes in the book of Revelation regarding the future. This article expounds on the Beatitudes of Revelation.

What are Beatitudes?

Beatitudes are sayings most notably of Jesus, specifically nine blessings in His famous Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew and four in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke. The beatitudes of Revelation contain even more blessings.

Let us look at the ones contained in the Sermon on the Mount. Matt 5:3-12

3. Blessed are the poor in Spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

These declarations show how we, as Christians, are to live for God. In other words, these statements represent what should be-our-attitude
(beatitude) as we live for God.

The Greek word used at the beginning of each beatitude is the word μακάριος (makarios), which means “blessed,” “happy,” or “prosperous. “Initially, this word did not have religious implications, but more accurately, it was used to denote any privileged individual as measured by material security and prosperity.

The Beatitudes of Revelation

The Beatitudes of Revelation

The beatitudes of Revelation are not as famous as those in the Sermon on the Mount or The Sermon on the Plain, but they are just as important. There are seven of them. The first is contained in Rev 1:3, which reads,

3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

This verse closes John’s salutation. A special blessing is promised to those who read, hear, and keep the things written in Revelation. As it reads, “The time is at hand.” Now is the time for the completion of those things that are written. This beatitude is the first of seven blessings throughout the Book of Revelation. Just as there are nine blessings in the sermon Jesus gave in Matthew 5, these blessings are in effect from the time of John the Revelator until the end of time. We are living in a time when the study of Revelation is essential. Studying the beatitudes of Revelation gives us hope and encouragement for the future.

Revelation 1:3

The next blessing or beatitude is contained in Rev 14:13, which reads:

13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

There is a special blessing for those who die in the Lord, as the scripture reads, “From henceforth,” or as the NKJV says, “From now on.” The timing of this blessing is evident. The prophetic era of this section of Scripture is recognized as ” the hour of God’s judgment”
(Revelation 14:7, the third angel’s message). It is known that the hour of God’s judgment began on October 22nd, 1844, when Jesus entered the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. For more details on the year 1844, please read the article, What is 1844 About, on this website.

It is during the hour of God’s judgment that the third angel’s
message is proclaimed. Numerous religious Saints have rested in the virtues of Jesus and have died in the Lord from the beginning of time. However, the blessing described in this verse is for those who die in the Lord. “from now on, or from 1844 until the return of Jesus.

It is not just any righteous individual who dies after 1844 that this blessing is pronounced. This blessing is given explicitly to those who have endeavored in the heart of the third angel’s message from 1844 until Jesus’ second coming. Those individuals who have declared the Third Angel’s message since 1844 have the assurance that their works will follow them even after they have passed on and are laid in the grave. As the Scripture reads, “…that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

Revelation 14:13

The next beatitude in Revelation is found in Rev 16:15.

15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” NKJV

Here, we have Jesus Himself commenting regarding the character of His return. He says, “I am coming as a thief.” The arrival of Jesus is described as a thief in several passages of Scripture, such as Matt. 24:42-44, I Thess. 5:2-4, 2 Pet. 3:10, Rev. 3:3. Just as a thief arrives unexpectedly, Jesus will also arrive unexpectedly. He arrives twice as a thief: first at the close of probation and next, the second coming. The Scriptures give us ample time to avoid our being taken by surprise.

Revelation 16:15

Next, we have the beatitude, “Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” This is the third of seven “blessed” or beatitudes in Revelation.

Jesus not only warns of how swiftly His Second Coming will be but encourages His people to watch for His arrival (cf. Matt. 24:42, 25:13). Those who do will be blessed. There is a particular blessing for those who watch and keep their garments.

So, how do we watch in order to avoid being surprised by Jesus’ second coming? When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:40-41), He told them to “watch and pray.” In order to watch and be ready, one must make a concerted effort to live righteously and maintain an effective prayer life.

While we do need to heed the signs of the Second Coming, we must additionally have a connection to God through prayer. Jesus said in Mark 13:33, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.” We keep our garments clean by watching, praying, and living righteously. Those who fail to repent of worldly living will find themselves naked and ashamed. Even those who have professed Christ but have not watched, prayed, and kept their garments of Christ’s righteousness by Faith will find that their nakedness has become apparent when Christ returns.

The next blessing or beatitude is contained in Rev 19:9, which reads: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”
This is the fourth blessing in Revelation. This announced blessing is the culmination of rejoicing over Babylon’s destruction. The call to rejoice on this occasion is found in Rev. 18:20. For more details on Babylon, please see the article Revelation 18:4 on this website.

The early verses (vss. 1-7) continue the rejoicing of Babylon’s demise. Verse 7 introduces the marriage of the Lamb. This is symbolic language. The Lamb is Jesus, and the bride is the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:9-27). After Babylon, the false church, is destroyed, the marriage supper of the Lamb will take place.

Revelation 19 9

In this fourth blessing, the angel describes the special blessing of those who are called to “the marriage supper of the lamb.” In order to be invited to this marriage supper, we must have our clean garments, which is the righteousness of Christ by Faith. God has invited us to be at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The condition for being accepted as a guest at the wedding is to have the wedding garment (Matt. 22:1-14). There are many who believe that they have this garment already. Yet Christ says that we do not know that we are spiritually naked (Rev. 3:17). Christ sends a warning, in the previous beatitude (Rev. 16:15), to watch and keep our garments because the shame of the nakedness will become apparent during the last seven plagues. And it will prevent us from being sealed at the table of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

The angel affirmed that those invited to the wedding feast would be “blessed”
because they had accepted the invitation. They merely reacted to the invitation! From the angel, through John, to the written page, the invitation goes out to us. We must convey to others that there is still time to respond.

The next blessing or beatitude is contained in Rev 20:6, which reads, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

The righteous resurrected in the first resurrection are said to be “blessed and holy.” In the second Beatitude (Rev. 14:6), those blessed are part of the special resurrection for those who died in the faith of the Third Angel’s message, which began to be proclaimed in 1844. The first resurrection is much broader and encompasses all of the righteous who have died. Those who are part of the first resurrection are blessed. They will live and reign with Christ during the Millennium
and have eternal life. They will never die again. The Saints who are part of the first resurrection are also called holy. 1 Peter 1:15-16 describes what it means to be holy, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”

The word “conversation” means conduct And represents all aspects of our lives. We are to be holy as God is holy. Those who have been transferred by the power of God into holy men and women throughout the ages rest in their graves. However, they will be resurrected at the Second Coming. They have died in faith, but they will have a part in the first resurrection. They are “blessed and holy.”

Revelation 20:6

 

The next blessing or beatitude is in Rev 22:7, which reads, Behold, I come quickly: Here, we have the announcement of the manner of Jesus’ return. This promise is given in the last chapter of the book. The prophecies of the book must be fulfilled before Jesus returns. The assurance of his rapid return is dependent upon all of the prophecies of the first 21 chapters meeting their completion. The Three Angels’ messages of the Judgment Hour, which began in 1844, must do their work in producing the 144,000
of the last days. When God has generated His special people for the last days, He can justly say, “Behold, I come quickly.” We are now living in the time of the proclamation of the three angels’ messages and the development of the 144,000. This promise of the soon return of Jesus is more eminent and inevitable than it has ever been. This saying of Christ is faithful and true. He surely is coming soon.

The Scripture closes with “blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” Here, we have the 6th of the 7th beatitude in the Book of Revelation. Indeed, there is a blessing for the ones who adhere to what is written in this book.

This promised blessing is very similar to the first blessing or beatitude of Revelation 1:3. The context of the blessing in this verse is related to the soon return of Jesus because He is coming quickly. Those who will be ready for the second coming are those individuals who study the prophetic messages in the books of Revelation and Daniel. Only those who study diligently and are prepared for the Second Coming will be ready. The messages that lead to being ready for the Second Coming are found in the prophecies of the Book of Revelation and in harmony with the Book of Daniel. The beatitudes of Revelation are most applicable today.

Revelation 22:7

The next and last blessing or beatitude is found in Rev 22:14, which reads, Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” When Jesus says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments,” He is referring to all of the righteous who enter the new Jerusalem. All in the Kingdom of God are obedient to the light to the degree it was given to them. As the Christian Church fell into the great apostasy, the Sabbath was discarded for worship on the Pagan day of Sunday. God judges all of these individuals relevant to the light and opportunity for the knowledge they had.

However, those living at the world’s end will have full light. God raised the Second Advent movement to shed the light on all Ten Commandments. The faithfulness of those alive at the end of the world to all Ten Commandments represents what all the other righteous would have done if they had been given the same light and opportunities.

At the end of the world, God can decisively say that it is indeed possible to keep all Ten Commandments; that He has a people who have fully kept them. They demonstrate what all other righteous would have done if they’d been given the same opportunity. Those who do His commandments are a revelation of Him. This faithfulness is possible because Christ has finished His work as our High Priest, writing His law into our hearts and minds. Indeed, there is a blessing in allowing God to write His law into our hearts and minds so that He can be said of us. Blessed are they that do His commandments.

Revelation 22:14

Next, we see in this verse that obedience is not optional. While it does not give us merit in our standing before God, it is the evidence that we have given our hearts to God. Obedience is like a passport required to partake of the Tree of Life and enter through the gates of the New Jerusalem. It is evidence that we have given consent to Christ to be the Lord of our lives so that he can live out his life within us.

The law is holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12). Jesus is Holy (Acts 3:14), just (Acts 7:52), and good (Luke 18:19). Those who do His Commandments, partake of the Tree of Life, and enter into the New Jerusalem are holy, just, and good by the grace and power of God. God ensures that there will be no further challenges to the authority and righteousness of his love. Those who keep the law by God’s grace are a demonstration that Lucifer’s charges against the law of God are false.

Having the “Right to the Tree of Life” will be a blessing, ensuring immortality and entering through the city’s gates.

The beatitudes of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, reveal the blessings that lie ahead for those who have the faith of Jesus Christ and obey all of the Commandments of God.

Amen

Any questions, comments, or concerns may be left below.

Blessings!