Sunday, September 8, 2013

USA Today news article: "Some see biblical visions of doom in Syria trouble"

USA Today remarks in an interesting article, that there is a run on prophecy books. People who see events unfolding in the Middle East with Syria, Iran, Israel, and Egypt are wanting to know more. This is good.

Joel C. Rosenberg was asked to speak at the Kansas House of Representatives chamber yesterday and he preached today on Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 in Topeka. He posted "A few pictures from the event inside the Kansas State Capitol discussing Syria & Damascus Countdown."

"So grateful for the questions people asked during the Q&A."
Some quotes I like from the USA Today article:

"The situation in Syria as it relates to scripture could be something that we're witnessing, but we should be cautious. What prophecy really is about is the faithfulness of God's word.'' (Pastor Gary Cristofaro of the First Assembly of God in Melbourne, FL)

Always, always remember that prophecy is a way to see God as sovereign. He declares the end from the beginning . When a prophecy is fulfilled we shout for joy because He is faithful to His word and He is showing Himself as King of events, people, heaven, earth, and the angels. In studying the end time prophecies, we become comforted because of this. We also become fervent in urgency to witness to the lost because we know time is short (either through death or end of days events).

"Interpreting events doesn't lead to an understanding of what's going on. I believe it actually clouds the understanding," said Tom Lombardo, a San Franscico-based author and researcher of end time beliefs.

Some people might not like me saying this and I may take heat for it, but I've stopped listening to Pastor JD Farag of Calvary Chapel Kaneohe. His weekly prophecy updates have been a blessing but I have noticed a sad trend. When I found his teachings several years ago he used to explain the prophecies from the bible. He'd take a passage and show from the bible what it meant. Slowly over time during his prophecy updates, he now focuses more on the news than on the bible. That balance has been tipped.

Last Sunday's message was noteworthy in a negative way, unfortunately. He said that due to events occurring in Syria and Egypt and the Middle East, he had read and read and read the news, it all became a blur and he had read it for hours. I thought, "he should be spending that much time on reading the bible, not the news." Then he said that he was putting off their regular study in Samuel so as to spend time bringing the flock up to speed. See? The congregation collects to worship God through the hearing of the word, not the news.

I think that Pastor JD is a tremendous pastor, sensitive, studious, mindful of Jesus and the Great Commission. I only mention this because we can get so wrapped up in the news that we forget the word. I have been guilty of this myself. But the more that I see events happening that seem to be hurrying us to the end, the more I back away from the news and stick with the bible. If God-ordained troubles are going to be unleashed on the world soon, and I personally believe that they are, then I want to be sure to be as strong as possible spiritually so as not to be deceived. Be mindful of the balance between the news and the word. Because, as the man said above, "Interpreting events doesn't lead to an understanding of what's going on. I believe it actually clouds the understanding," Only the bible brings clarity.

I liked this tip on how to maintain a balance from Pastor Gary Cristofaro of the First Assembly of God in Melbourne FL again,

"We try to find balance by immersing ourselves in prophecy rather than being affected by it."

Because when we immerse ourselves in prophecy of the bible we are immersing ourselves in the bible. Far from being an also-ran sphere of study, prophecy is mentioned in every New Testament book except Philemon. All the NT authors make reference in one way or another to prophecies, some new at that time, some reminding us of the prophecies of old. Either way, immersing yourself in prophecy is a good thing and hardly can be avoided if you read the bible at all!

Read the next quote: This is a good sign, actually.

Christian bookstores such as Family Christian Ministries in West Melbourne report that book sales of prophecy-themed works by charismatic minister Perry Stone, Pastor John Hagee and novelists such as Joel Rosenberg have increased in recent weeks since tension in Syria and Egypt escalated.

But just like anything, WHO you turn to for illumination is just as important as realizing prophetic implications of current events and praising God as a result. Perry Stone and John Hagee are not too solid as biblical scholars. Joel Rosenberg has been careful and he sticks with bible verses and not speculations.

People's instinct is always to turn to the bible for understanding when large events happen. In 2008 when Obama was elected, there was a collective shudder that ran throughout fundamentalist Christendom, and for good reason. Back then, there was a run on books and studies on the antichrist. People ran to the bible and to prophecy books. When the Japan quake happened in 2011 (magnitude 9.0 which rocked the earth off its axis) people again ran to the bible. On my blog, any essay dealing with God and earthquakes got enormous hits. People want to make sense of the world and intuitively understand that sometimes it's just the world but sometimes there is a spiritual overlay and anomalous events drive them to the bible. Earthquakes do that.

Now again two years later in 2013 with the Syria issue, people are feeling uncertain, hopeless, questioning, or just plain afraid. This is perfect time for us who have the answers to share them!! The Gospel is powerful to save and for the heart that wants answers, who are clamoring for understanding of prophecies, now is a ripe time to share and proclaim!

Maybe this is the last essay I'll ever write, if we are raptured in the next moments of time. Maybe we will still be here five years from now and we will look back on this heightened period of biblical portent with wistfulness that the Lord still hasn't come. I don't know. But I do believe the time is dwindling quickly. I believe equally that every day is a good day for salvation.

12 comments:

  1. Gotta' give a big AMEN to this one, Elizabeth!

    Oh, and I'd think you'd take more flack over Perry Stone & John Hagee than over Pastor J.D., yet I feel the same way about Stone & Hagee. I've even got a couple of their books on my shelves for the left behinders -- and yet, I wonder if I'm doing a disservice by leaving these books to be read.

    Interesting that people want answers, and yet they still turn to man & man's opinions ~ rather than turning to the Bible itself! So people rush to the Christian bookstores to buy books -- man's opinion. Not all are bad, but not all are good either.

    And yes, I, too am guilty of spending time at prophecy sites instead of as much time in the Word. The news though? Oh my ~ indeed, often I just flat have to take a news FAST!! I have a low tolerance for it & get overwhelmed easily with the steady stream of end days news!
    Maranatha!
    Reva

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  2. What you mentioned happened to Pastor JD happened to me also in a big way. The Holy Spirit really convicted me because I was also more focused on keeping up with news and I'm now more engaged in world news debates than studying the gospel and preaching about Christ's salvation. With that growing weakness, ive also been distracted and entangled by more and more personal issues that God wants to set me free from.

    I have to even admit the further i drifted from Christ, I woyld experience more desensitization to the imminency of the rapture. It's just another way of disobeying Colossians 3:1-2 by focusing more on things of the world.There's SO MUCH happening that its can definitely happen if you let it. It's about Christ, all of it points to Him and Lord please forgive us when we forget!

    I will pray for Pastor Farag that God will open His eyes and I have a feeling he will listen and even comment about it to his flock and viewers.

    I really do appreciate how you either focus on only the word and the gospel in your posts or if news related, you strongly tie it into prophecy and the gospel. It's the way it should be. You're an amazing servant of The LORD and a role model to me in my Christian walk. It's amazing to see what God can do through someone who surrenders to Him. God bless :)

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  3. I concur with this great post. I too, saw the same concerns about pastor J.D., which is too bad. I love studying end times, but more and more it is difficult to find sites/authors, etc that haven't jumped the rails. Thanks for your blog.
    ~Jennifer

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  4. Hello, I've been enjoying your articles for sometime and I really enjoy it. I've been wondering about your opinion on stigmata. When I first heard of it and how most Roman Catholic people got it, I thought how devout and close to God they were. But now of course I know a little of what their about, but I feel I've only scratched the surface. How do you think these things happen?

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      According to the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, stigmata are "supposed to be the spontaneous appearance of the crucifixion wounds of Jesus on a person’s body."

      Further, CARM goes on to say, "Since the stigmata happen within the Roman Catholic context most of all (I've not heard of it occurring with non-Roman Catholics), and since Roman Catholicism is an apostate religion, it is doubtful that the stigmata are legitimate occurrences from God." read more at link-
      http://carm.org/stigmata

      stigmata are bunk. Here is GotQuestions very short essay on stigmata, which says the same thing. Bunk
      http://www.gotquestions.org/stigmata.html

      Any Roman Catholic who follows the teachings of Rome are not saved and will got to hell. The RCC teaches aberrant things, false doctrine, and a different gospel. the bible is clear that those who adhere to these things will not inherit the kingdom.

      How do these things happen, you ask? GotQuestions says that people have been caught doing it to themselves on purpose to fake the stigmata. CARM says that they could appear due to self-induced psychological fervor or trauma. In most cases when they appear, they aren't even in the correct anatomical place where Jesus was actually crucified: which was the wrists. Their (fake) stigmata occurs in the palms. So...bunk

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  5. Dear Elizabeth,
    I hope you would have already let Pastor JD knows through a email or other way personally to him his mistakes, before publishing a post like this on public.I wish and hope you did that.We all make mistakes, we need to give chances to others to correct themselves, before making it as a big issue on a popular blog like yours.Easily any one can get too much excited, when things are happening so fast, and willing to leave this place. I hope you understand his pain too when if suppose he happened to read your blog. I love your blog and a long time silent reader.I`m not against your comment on Pastor JD. But I wish it could have been handled in a nice way. I request please do not post this comment.Thanks.

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    1. Hi Anonymus,

      I published your comment because it's anonymous and it offers a good chance to clear up the misunderstanding of Matthew 18. First, I did not contact Pastor JD to let him know I believe him to be "a tremendous pastor, sensitive, studious, mindful of Jesus and the Great Commission." Nor did I contact him to let him know I believe that last week's prophecy update focused too much on the news and not enough on the prophecy from the bible.

      My comment is my opinion on a sermon, not addressing a sin made to me in private.

      The myth of Matthew 18 is that we must contact everyone every time we disagree with something they said or did. This is not so. Public teachers are always subject to public critique. Since the Calvary Chapel prophecy updates are published on facebook, on youtube and on their website, the intent obviously is to be public.

      Matthew 18 is to be used when a person sins against us within the local church setting. Both the links below explain the difference.

      Pastor Mike Abendroth explains "The Myth of Matthew 18 in this 90 second video
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNmQTc6vdUc

      If you can't see videos, then here is DA Carson writing about it here in an essay called "Editorial On Abusing Matthew 18". In both Carson's and Abendroth's pieces, scripture is used to explain the stance
      http://thegospelcoalition.org/themelios/article/editorial_on_abusing_matthew_18

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  6. ....but still, I think it would be good to bring it to JD s attention. He's probably not aware of the slippery path he's going down. If you do it in love you'd be doing him a favor. I know I'd want to be warned

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    1. There are many who ignore the truth when it is presented. They are false teachers. I have personal experience in dealing with that. But, As Jude instructs.

      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jude&version=KJV

      Verse 22:And of some have compassion, making a difference.

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  7. Thank you Elizabeth for keeping the focus of the blog on the Word rather than on the world. I always leave feeling edified.

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    1. thank YOU gearedup2go, comments like yours mean the world to me

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