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-Happy Thanksgiving 2017

by Dr. D ~ November 23rd, 2017

300px-Thanksgiving-Brownscombe

("The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth": Wikipedia)


Happy Thanksgiving 2017 to you and yours. Our traditional Thanksgiving message follows:

Thanksgiving is an uniquely American celebration that began nearly four centuries ago with a deeply religious people, the Pilgrims, giving thanks to God for preserving them though a very hard year and bringing them their first bountiful harvest which they gratefully shared with their indigenous neighbors.

It was our first President George Washington who proclaimed that our first official national day of public thanksgiving should be dedicated by observing and:

“…by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.

In recent years the ‘politically correct’/secular crowd has rewritten the history of the first Thanksgiving placing an emphasis upon the hand that the indigenous American Indians played in helping the original Pilgrim community to survive. In the process they have redirected the emphasis on thanks towards neighbors and friends and away from the providence of Almighty God.

While it is always good to be thankful for others who have enriched our own lives and certainly that has a good part to play in the celebration. Nevertheless the major emphasis of Thanksgiving should always be upon God as it was on that very first occasion.

For my family and I, we will be praising and thanking the Lord God Almighty for the bounties and the providence that he has bestowed upon us this year in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. May Our Heavenly Father bless your family today and continue to bless all of us and this nation during this holiday season and in the year to come.           *Top

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–Happy Reformation Day! Celebrating 500 Years

by Dr. D ~ October 31st, 2017

Wittenberg Door

       (Wittenberg Door: Wikipedia)

Happy Halloween –Happy Reformation Day!

I know. October 31st is known for witches, goblins, pumpkins, and trick or treat.

It is amazing to me how in the last 20 years or so Halloween has gone from a one night ‘celebration’ to become an entire ‘holiday’ season of it’s own with parties and decorations that span nearly an entire month. Plus it has become an excuse for every TV station to flood the air with the worst horror movies of all time.  Not a genre that I am particularly fond of.

However, this is also the anniversary of a real earth shaking -game changing- historical event that altered the face of Europe and forever changed the Christian Church. 500 years ago on this day- October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany starting The Reformation.

The enemy (Satan) likes to use this day for propagating his dark agenda but on this day 500 years ago a genuine move of God was initiated that still continues. The beginning of a revival right in the face of the enemy on his own day.

Let’s redeem this dark day and pray for God to continue to reform and revive his church.  Let’s also in remembrance of the original Reformation pray today for a new awakening to begin in America. May a new door of renewal and revival open in America that no man can shut.  In Jesus name, Amen           *Top

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-The Gospel of Thomas and the Historical Jesus

by Dr. D ~ September 30th, 2017

The Gospel of Thomas?

Much has been written about so-called ‘lost Christianities’ in the last decade or so. The Gospel of Thomas is always among the early books mentioned that supposedly demonstrate a possible variety of understanding and teaching in early Christianity.

First of all, there are a number of sayings contained within the ‘Gospel’ that are comparable to passages in the NT gospels and the collection of scholars that made up the Jesus Seminar actually named a few as authentic. However, there are many other sayings in Thomas which obviously contradict teaching in the canonical gospels. Plus there is no actual narrative or story to provide context.

Then there is the question of dating and authorship. Several of my old professors in seminary (Claremont) supported a first century dating. Nevertheless, most scholars opt for an early second century date. Then there is the question of authorship. Few entertain the idea that the doubting apostle had any kind of hand in it.

But the real question is this: Does it really have anything to tell us about the historical Jesus and his actual teaching?

Here’s an excellent article by Dr. Ben Witherington dealing with that question:

Doubting Thomas: The Relevance of the Gospel of Thomas for Historical Jesus Studies

 

The following is a quote from the conclusion of the article:

There were actual boundaries of belief and behavior even in the first century A.D., boundaries beyond which Jesus’ followers knew they should not go, and Thomas and the even later Gnostic documents clearly had long since crossed those boundaries in various ways. As it turns out the lost Christianities so often touted today were not so much lost as abandoned for good reasons. They were not suppressed because they offered an alternative, earlier, and more true version of Christian origins. They were tried and found wanting in the 2nd through fourth centuries because they betrayed the essentially Jewish monotheistic, eschatological character of Jesus and his movement.

<Read the whole article>

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-Turkey and Russia Missile Agreement: Implications for an Ezekiel 38-39 Scenario

by Dr. D ~ August 31st, 2017

Jerusalem_(5)

Gog and Magog vs. Israel?

Turkey and Russia recently reached an agreement for the sale and installation of a Russian S-400 missile defense system. From a news update on August 25 in Debka File:

Turkey and Russia have reached agreement on the sale of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Ankara, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Friday. … Defending Turkey as a NATO country buying arms from Russia, Yildirim said his country was working with Russia and Iran in Syria…

Also from an earlier article in Business Insider:

Turkey reached an agreement with Russia to purchase the latter’s most sophisticated missile-defense system, the S-400, a senior Turkish military official told Bloomberg last week.

Under the $2.5 billion agreement Ankara would receive two batteries of the antiaircraft missile from Moscow within the coming year and then produce two more batteries in Turkey.

At the beginning of June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to deliver the missile system, and a Russian military-industry official said an agreement on technical details had been reached in mid-June.

<Read the whole article>

Response: I believe that this missile agreement has major implications for the alignment of the nations potentially participating in an Ezekiel 38-39 scenario: Gog and Magog vs. Israel. This development is important because Turkey and Russia are the modern equivalents of a number of the major nations allied against Israel in the prophecy. Now Turkey and Russia are increasingly becoming closer and with this agreement Turkey’s position in NATO and as a close ally of the United States is in question and on the decline.

Note that in the Debka news update that Turkey PM Yildirim said his country was ‘working with Russia and Iran in Syria’ –all 4 are major pieces in the scenario puzzle that have refused to come together until now. In the past Russia and turkey have fought against each other in at least 12 wars and were on opposite sides during the ‘Cold War’ with Turkey as a member of NATO. Also, Turkey and Iran have always been rivals in the past, both represent different major factions in Islam- Sunni (Turkey) and Shia (Iran), with each hoping to become the dominant power and headquarters for a new Islamic Caliphate.

Now Putin of Russia seems to be in the process of bringing these usual rivals all together in the war against ISIS in Syria. So the nations that are listed in the Ezekiel 38-39 attack against Israel are beginning to come together for the first time in history. -–>One thing for sure, Turkey, Iran, and Syria are all united against Israel. Also Russia nearly got involved in two Israeli wars in the past when their allies at the time were utterly defeated by the Jewish state. For the other countries listed in Ezekiel, Sudan and Libya are now radical Islamist nations that would be naturals to join in along with the radical Islamic ‘istan’ nations in the north.

One thing standing in the way of the Ezekiel scenario right now is ISIS. While the radical ISIS Islamists would gladly join in any war against Israel, their land wars in Syria and Iraq would need to be resolved one way or another before all of these nations could unite against Israel. The other major factor still blocking an Ezekiel scenario is the alliance of the USA with Israel. I had my concerns about this while Obama was President but not under Trump. Nevertheless we will keep watching and noting any further developments.

 

To understand more fully how recent developments in the Middle East within the last couple of years might be moving toward a possible Ezekiel scenario, read this from my last update:

For years, Bible teachers and preachers have been looking for Russia to lead a coalition of nations in an attack against Israel as foretold in Ezekiel 38-39.

I haven’t worried about that possibility since Turkey is the real key to that whole scenario since many of the ancient nations mentioned in the prophecy are now incorporated in modern Turkey. Also Turkey has had close ties with Israel for years, has been a close ally of the USA, and an integral part of NATO which traditionally opposed Russia and their allies.

Now I believe that Turkey is in play and that we might actually be witnessing the lining up of a possible Ezekiel 38-39 coalition. Lately, Turkey has been increasingly more radical and Islamist. Also, the Turkish leaders partially blame the USA for the recent so-called coup since the supposed coup leader lives in America and the Obama administration refuses to  extradite him.

Worse yet, the relations between Turkey and Israel have been on a downward spiral over the last couple of years following the Gaza Blockade and Turkey’s failed attempt to break it. Then last year the Turkish President called on all Muslims to attack Israel, capture Jerusalem, and establish a new caliphate.  Though this summer the two countries attempted to negotiate a reconciliation, the agreement was not an entirely satisfactory resolution from the Turkish viewpoint.

Then there are the recent trips that Russia’s Putin has made to Turkey trying to bring them into their sphere of influence along with Iran and all of the former Soviet ‘istan’ republics. It is the moves that Putin has recently made along with the declining relationships between Turkey and the USA along with Israel which has caused me to write this update.

Is the Ezekiel 38-39 scenario now in place? No, but the trends listed above are going in that direction. Keep your eye on Turkey, that country remains the modern key to the whole thing.

Also see my original article listing all of the potential participating nations:  -Is ‘Gog and Magog’ Beginning to Line Up?

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-Is ‘Freedom of Religion’ Merely Code For Hate and Anti-LGBT Rights?

by Dr. D ~ July 15th, 2017

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Is ‘Freedom of Religion’ merely code for hate and anti-LGBT rights? Are organizations which support religious liberties really ‘hate groups’? Are folks who want to live according to traditional Biblical beliefs nothing more than bigots and haters?

No! Certainly not.

This week I saw more articles than I can number that agreed with the ABC News assessment of the ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) as nothing more than an anti-LGBT ‘Hate group.’ What did the ADF do to deserve that designation? It defended freedom of religion and in particular Christians who want to continue to live according to Biblical teaching. Which is supposedly guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution.

This is not the first time that I saw the main stream media down playing religious liberty as a legal excuse for hate and actually code for opposing LGBT civil rights. A couple of years ago when the state of Indiana passed the ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’ it was assailed on the left as nothing more than a legal excuse for discrimination against LGBT folks. Ditto for every state law protecting the freedom of religion passed since then.

Recently Senator Sanders supported a ‘religious test’ which would ban Christians from serving in the government if they continue to support Biblical teaching over LGBT rights. He reasoned that the First Amendment would continue to allow Christians to believe what they want but that didn’t mean that the government had to continue to employ or tolerate haters in the public square.

Point is, this is becoming a prevailing theme and notion on the left that religious freedom is merely a legal excuse for keeping LGBT folks down and actually code for hate, bigotry, and discrimination. Therefore, every attempt by religious folks to upgrade laws protecting religious liberty is being vigorously opposed by progressives. Except when it comes to Muslims who continue to get a pass since they also need protection from right wing hate and islamophobia.

Meanwhile, Christian business owners are being forced to provide services which are in opposition to their closely held religious beliefs. Christian schools and organizations are being told by government authorities that they must accommodate transgender folks regardless. Christian chaplains and military personnel are being fired or censored for having Bibles on their desks or scriptural passages on display or for praying ‘in Jesus name.’  Christian students are being discriminated against on college campuses; their groups being banned, and some are being dropped from graduate programs because of their faith. Cities are banning home Bible study groups, arresting home fellowship pastors, and zoning property so that churches cannot be built.

Now the very groups (Like ADF) that are legally supporting Christians in the midst of all of this discrimination are being called ‘hate groups’ and freedom of religion itself, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment, is being characterized as a legal excuse for bigotry? Then there are many others like former president Obama which are pushing for the First Amendment to be reinterpreted as ‘freedom of worship’ only within the four walls of an official church or place of worship. What Senator Sanders recently said seems to support that view.

If Hillary Clinton was elected then the drum beat would have continued to another level entirely and I believe that conservative Christians would have been phased out of government service except those who are elected by the people, and the ‘freedom of worship’ interpretation of the First Amendment would have been confirmed by the courts due to the appointment of radical judges that would have made it so.

What ever you may think about President Trump, the appointment of conservative federal judges may save the freedom of religion in America as it has been traditionally understood. The battle is raging and the end is not yet in sight but we do now have a reprieve and a window of opportunity.

It is imperative for the millions of believing Christians to come out of the shadows and make their support for religious freedom and liberty known. The MSM and leftist narrative that denigrates our religious freedoms and liberties need to be rejected along with the purveyors of such notions. There is a cultural war raging in America and many Christians do not seem to realize that their Biblical beliefs and liberties are in the process of being outlawed, many times by unelected bureaucrats and judges.

It is time to stand up and support groups like the ADF which are holding back the tides of our spiritual enemy from ensnaring our land and destroying our liberties. We still have the vote, we can still pray, and we should be on our knees praying for our leaders and nation daily. Our greatest hope right now is for revival and a new awakening. Prayer still changes things.                 *Top

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