Study: Christians Under Threat Around the World

persecution_image250wtn

Christians are rapidly disappearing from the region of Jesus Christ’s birth – the modern Middle East – and are being persecuted in many other regions of the world where their religion is viewed as “Western” and foreign.

The new study, reported Sunday by the British Telegraph newspaper,warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group. It also claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most dangerous threat to the religion is militant Islam, the report by the think tank Civitas says, because oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

Converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East, the report says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

“A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers,” the study adds.

The study also estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” the author, Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford, tells the Telegraph.

He adds: “The blind spot displayed by governments and other influential players is causing them to squander a broader opportunity. Religious freedom is the canary in the mine for human rights generally.”

The report, entitled Christianophobia, highlights a fear among oppressive regimes that Christianity is a “Western creed” which can be used to undermine them.

A BloggingHounds Special: Happy Birthday Yeshua/Jesus!!! NOT Dec 25th

The Blogging Hounds are posting a special series of articles about the Birth of Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah. We personally do not celebrate Christmas because of it’s Pagan History and connections. We want to educate you about the truth of Jesus/Yeshua’s birth date. This article was written in October 2009

Bill.Manger mother and childToday, Yeshua/Jesus was born, on the first day of Succoth…2000 years ago. While the “world” (with the exception of  the Eastern Orthodox church, who celebrate it on Jan 7th) will celebrate His birthday on December 25th, it should have been properly celebrated on this past Friday night. Is this the correct viewpoint of the celebration, by the “world”…or, could it actually be Biblically connected to God’s Holy days in the Fall, as stated in the Bible? We will let the Bible clarify that answer. First, let’s see if there is any physical record of His birth. Are there any Temple records of Messiah’s birth?

There are no surviving records to show when Yeshua/Jesus was born or of His circumcision. Yeshua/Jesus was circumcised on the 8th day, blessed and dedicated in the Temple in Jerusalem, as shown in Luke 2:21-38.

 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”),and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvationWhich You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

The circumcision records were kept in the Temple in Jerusalem. These records were destroyed along with the Temple in Jerusalem in the year 7CE (common era) by the Roman troops led by General Titus. Let’s further search the Scriptures to see if we can further solve this mystery, and center on a certain individual…a Levite, by the name of Zacharias.

Zacharias
Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Luke 1:23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

God has given us a clue in these verses about Zacharias in that he belonged to the division of Abijah.

The 24 courses of Temple Priesthood
God gives to King David, in 1 Chron 24:1-31, instructions to divide the sons of Aaron, the high priest, into 24 groups, divisions, or courses. David sets up a schedule in which the Temple of the Lord would be staffed withy priests, all year round, in an orderly manner…just as God is orderly. (1Chronicles 28:11-13). 24 groups, divisions, or courses of priests, are established, lots are drawn to determine the order that each group would serve in the Temple. (1Chronicles 24:1-31)
Here is the order that follows:
1Chronicles 24:7….. 1. Jehoiarib….. 2. Jedaiah
1Chronicles 24:8….. 3. Harim….. 4. Searim
1Chronicles 24:9….. 5. Malchijah….. 6. Mijamin
1Chronicles 24:10…. 7. Hakkoz….. 8. Abijah
1Chronicles 24:11…. 9. Jeshua….. 10. Sheconiah
1Chronicles 24:12…. 11. Eliashib….. 12. Jakim
1Chronicles 24:13…. 13. Huppah….. 14. Jeshebeab
1Chronicles 24:14…. 15. Bilgah….. 16. Immer
1Chronicles 24:15…. 17. Hezir….. 18. Happizzez
1Chronicles 24:16…. 19. Pethahiah….. 20. Jehezkel
1Chronicles 24:17…. 21. Jachin….. 22. Gamul
1Chronicles 24:18…. 23. Delaiah….. 24. Maaziah

1Chronicles 24:19 “These had as their appointed duty in their service to come into the house of the Lord according to the procedure established for them by Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him”.

Now each one of these 24 courses of priests would begin their service in the Temple on the Sabbath; their tour of service being for one week. (1Chronicles 9:25 and 2Chronicles 23:8)
Three occasions, during the year, all the men of Israel, were required to travel to Jerusalem for the Festivals of the Lord. On these occasions, all the priests would be needed in the Temple to accomodate the crowds. The 3 Festivals being…Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.

Deut16:16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you”.

The Yearly Cycle of Service in the Temple
The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar which begins in the Spring, during the month of Aviv-Nisan. The first course of priests would be of the family of Jehoiarib, who would serve for 7 days. The second week, would be the responsibility of the family of Jedaiah. In the third week, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread, all the priests would be present for service. The schedule resumes with the third course of priests from the family of Harim. By this plan, when the 24th course was completed, the cycle of courses would repeat. This schedule would cover 51 weeks, or 357 days, enough for the lunar Jewish calendar (about 354 days). In the period of one year, each group of priests, would serve in the Temple, twice under scheduled course, in addition to the 3 major feasts, for a total of about 5 weeks of duty.

The Conception of John the Baptist
We now come back to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist.
Luke 1:23 “And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying”, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

Beginning with the first month of the Hebrew Calendar, Aviv-Nisan, in the Spring (March-April), the schedule of the priests’ courses would result with Zacharias serving in the Temple during the tenth week of the year. This is because he was a member of the course of Abijah, the 8th course; both the Feasts of Unleavened Bread (15th thru 21st Aviv-Nisan) and Shavout-Pentecost, 6th Sivan, would have occurred before his scheduled duty. This places Zacharius’ administration in the Temple as beginning on the second Sabbath of the third month of Sivan (May-June).

Having completed his Temple service on the third Sabbath of Sivan, Zacharias returned home and soon conceived his son, John, with Elizabeth. John the Babptist was probably conceived shortly after the 3rd Sabbath of the month of Sivan (May-June).

The Conception of Yeshua/Jesus Christ
How is John the Baptist connected with the conception of Yeshua? The reason that the information about John is important, is because, according to the Gospel of Luke, Yeshua was conceived by the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit) in the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy.
Luke 1:24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” 26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. Note that verse 26 (above) refers to the 6th month of Elisabth’s pregnancy, not to Elul, the 6th month of the Hebrew calendar. This is made plain by the context of verse 24 and again in verse 36.
Luke 1:36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.

Mary stayed with her cousin, Elisabeth, for the last 3 months of her pregnancy, until the time that John was born.
Luke 1:56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. 57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son.
Working with information about John’s conception late in the 3rd month of Sivan, and advancing 6 months, we arrive late in the 9th month of Kislav (Nov-Dec) for the time frame of the conception of Yeshua. It is very interesting that the first day of the Jewish Fesival of Hannukkah, the Feast of Lights, is celebrated on the 25th of Kislav, and Yeshua is called “The Light of The World” (John 8:12, 9:5, 23:46).

It is very interesting that the first day of the Jewish Fesitval of Hannukkah, the Feast of Lights, is celebrated on the 25th of Kislev (December) and Yeshua/Jesus is called “the Light of the World” (John 8:12, 9:5, 12:46). It does not appear to be mere coincidence. In the Book of John, Hannukkah is called the Feast of Dedication (John 10:22). Hannukkah is an 8 day Festival celebrating the re-lighting of the Menorah in the re-dedicated Temple. According to the story of Hannukkah, the oil lamps stayed lit miraculously, for 8 days, on only one day’s supply of oil.

The Birth of John
Based on a conception date shortly after the third Sabbath of the Month of Sivan (May-June}, projecting forward an average term of about 10 lunar months (40 weeks), we arrive in the month of Aviv/Nisan (March-April). It would appear that John the Baptist may have been born in the middle of the month which would have coincided with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It is interesting to note that, even today, it is customary for the Jews to set out a special goblet of wine during the Passover Seder meal, in anticipation of the arrival of Elijah that week, which is based on the prophecy in Malachi. (Malachi 4:5) “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes”. Yeshua/Jesus identified John as “The Elijah” whom the Jews expected. Matthew 17:10 And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 11 He answered, “Elijah does come, and he will restore all things. 12 But I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of Man will certainly suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.The angel that appeared to Zacharrias in the Temple also indicated that John would be the expected Elijah (Elias). Luke 1:17 “and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” The Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the 15th day of the first month of Aviv/Nisan (March-April); this is the likely date for the birth of John the Baptist, the expected Elijah.

The Birth of Yeshua(Jesus)
Since Yeshua was conceived 6 months after John the Baptist, and we have established a likely date for John’s birth, we need only to move 6 months further down the Jewish Calendar to arrive at likely date for the birth of Yeshua. From the 15th day of the first month of Aviv/Nisan, we go to the 15th day of the 7th month of Tishri which corresponds to September-October. What do we find on this date? It is the Festival of Succot/Tabernacles. The 15th day of Tishri (September-October) begins the 3rd and last festival of the year to which all the men of Israel were together in Jerusalem for Temple services.Leviticus 23:34 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the Lord”. Immanuel Issiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel”. Immanuel means “God with us”. The Son of God had come to dwell with or tabernacle on earth with His people.

John1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”. The word for dwelt, in Hebrew, is Succah. The name of the Feast of Tabernacles, in Hebrew, is Sukkot…a festival of rejoicing and celebration. Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Why was there no room at the Inn? Bethlehem is only about 5 miles from Jerusalem and all the men of Israel had come to attend the Feast of Tabernacles, as was required by the Law of Moses. There was a Roman census and taxation taking place at the same time. Every room, for miles, around Jerusalem, would have been already taken by pilgrims; so, all that Mary and Joseph could find for shelter, was a stable. Also of note is the fact that the Feast of Tabernacles, is an 8 day feast (Leviticus 23:36&39). Why 8 days? Could God have ordained 8 days as a time span for an Infant born during this time to be circumcised and dedicated to God and circumcised on the 8th day after birth. Luke 2:21 “And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb”. So, the Infant, Yeshua(Jesus) would have been circumcised on the 8th and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles/Succot…a Sabbath day. The Jews today, consider this a seperate festival from Tabernacles and they call it Sheminiatzeret.
If you have followed the above reasoning, based on Scriptural evidence, a case can apparently be made that Yeshua(Jesus) was born on the 15th day of the month of Tishri-on our calendar of September-October…on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Tabernacles Future Fulfillment
It is also interesting to note that Tabernacles was a feast of ingathering of the harvest (Exodus 23:16 and 34:22). If Yeshua’s first coming was indeed on the 15th of Tishri (Sept-Oct), the first day of Tabernacles, then it is quite reasonable to presume that the harvest of this earth, the ingathering of believing Jews and Gentiles, at the 2nd Coming of Yeshua(Jesus) might also occur on this same date. The unknown factor would be the year that this would happen.

Mixing the Holy With Unholy…God or Man? CONCLUSION
In the final conclusion to the real date of Yeshua’s(Jesus’) birthday, what does God say about Holiness and mixing of the Holy with the unholy…and…Is it in perfect accord with what man says? Let these following verses show what God has to say about the Christmas business.

God’s Holiness
Leviticus 19:2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 11:44 “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 20:7 “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.” vs 26 “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”

Mixing Holy With the Unholy Leviticus 10:8 “And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations. 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean, 11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.” Leviticus 18:1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.” Lev. ch 18:24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you…” Leviticus 18:29 “For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.”
Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have done violence to my law and have profaned my holy things. They have made no distinction between the holy and the common, neither have they taught the difference between the unclean and the clean, and they have disregarded my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Ezekiel 44:21 “No priest shall drink wine when he enters the inner court. 22 They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the offspring of the house of Israel, or a widow who is the widow of a priest. 23 They shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the common, and show them how to distinguish between the unclean and the clean.”

GETTING BACK THE SHOUT OF VICTORY

GETTING BACK THE SHOUT OF VICTORY
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
the-Bible
King David committed adultery and then arranged for a faithful soldier to be
murdered so he could lay claim to his young wife. He brought shame on Israel
and on his heavenly Father’s name. He hid his horrible darkness for a whole
year and came to the brink of total ruin. Yet, even after all this, God called
David “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22). How could this be? The
secret is that just before David was about to fall, he humbled himself and
repented.

“I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin” (Psalm 38:18).
“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that
thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou
judgest” (Psalm 51:4).

“Create in me a clean heart, O God . . . and take not thy holy spirit from
me” (Psalm 51:10-11).

Are you troubled and grieved by your besetting sin? Do you feel you are on the
brink of falling under the heavy load of it all? If so, then you are on your
way to healing and deliverance. You see, when David repented, he was finally
able to glimpse the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I
will confess my trangressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of
my sin. . . . Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble;
thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:5, 7).

Dearly beloved, you can get back your joy. Simply confess and forsake your sin
and the Lord will pardon and deliver you. He is ready to kiss your neck, clothe
you in a robe of righteousness, and spread before you a great feast. Then you
will be able to testify with David:

“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy
shall compass him about. Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and
shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart” (Psalm 32:10-11).

Click to article

Why Christians Need to Know Their Hebraic Roots

YeshuaMount

Within the past number of days, after our family’s relocation back to the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, I was able to take Margaret and John to an annual fundraising banquet, for a two-year long prayer partner and younger friend (who is around John’s age), who oversees a Christian evangelistic ministry with an outreach to various cities in the United States. While there is no doubt that this young man has a call and anointing to preach the gospel to the places where he and his group are led, there were some very disconcerting statements which came forth during the evening presentation and appeal for funding, before the 500 or so Christian attendees, who sincerely desire the good news of salvation available in Jesus Christ to be proclaimed to one and all. In discovering that this sincere evangelist had substantial post-graduate degrees from two highly regarded seminaries, perhaps one of the most concerning aspects, among many, of his “new vision and detailed organizational plan” for evangelization, was the premise that it was “Scripturally and finally” time for the “Gentiles to provoke the Jews to jealousy” (cf. Romans 10:19, 11:11). So, as some of us sat there, grimacing over the cursory Scriptural reasons for his ministry, our collective thoughts could not help but ponder how desperately he, and those gathered in the auditorium, needed a more basic understanding of the Hebraic Roots of our faith, and theological and spiritual heritage in Judaism.

On our way home from the banquet, our somewhat befuddled discussion was punctuated with amazement tempered with sadness, as we know from years of study and examination that a great deal of modern, Western, Christian culture has helped to promote concepts of the Lord Jesus which are not only non-Biblical, but which allow for a great number of less-than-Scriptural practices and customs to abound in most Believers’ traditional activities. The Jewish Yeshua of Nazareth is a widely different person to many of today’s contemporary Christians. And, many contemporary concepts of Jesus—while not only casting aside imperative moral and ethical statues decreed in the Torah of Moses, to Christianity’s detriment—have also certainly not helped provoke the Jewish people to jealousy for faith in Him. Yet, at this fundraiser, it was declared quite profoundly that after the good news was proclaimed to fifty key cities in all of the fifty states of America—it would then be taken to Jerusalem, and “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:25) would be able to lead some kind of mass group of Jews to faith in Christ, before His return. While looking and sounding good on paper—there were many holes that Margaret, John, and I could easily spot, for a family which is several decades “ahead of the curve.”

But perhaps what was one of the most subtle and disturbing motivations for this apparent, “new and improved vision and mission” for this evangelical outreach—to me, at least—was this individual’s confession that he was basing his dramatic change in the emphasis of his ministry, because of two different and unique “confirming anointings” that he had received over the years. The first came eleven years ago when he was twenty-two as the owner of a “coffee” shop, when he told a patron that all he wanted to do was “preach the gospel,” which apparently sent the young woman into a forty-five minute prayer for him. Within a few minutes, another young man entering the shop was told the same thing, which also prompted him to join the young lady in prayer. Then after the two arose from prayer, they were led to take the soul-searching budding evangelist upstairs from the coffee shop, where she anointed him with oil, after which he claims to have had a two-and-a-half-hour session with the Lord, where he believed he was commissioned to preach the gospel full time. Having been raised in a Christian home, and having gone to a Christian college, this inspirational anointing set him along the way to eventually relocate and continue his religious education at two seminaries. Subsequently, as he has been led to minister, this heart-stirred evangelist has been used to present his understanding of the good news and has witnessed to many to understand the forgiveness of sin provided by the blood of Christ.

But then he shared what he termed, a confirming “second anointing,” which occurred in the past year, that has essentially been the catalyst used to launch his newly-announced direction for ministry. This time, after achieving a level of success evangelizing in Asheville, NC, he was on a follow-up trip, when he went into a local coffee shop (note the similarity from eleven years earlier), where he ran into a man who had been impressed by the success of his ministry’s recent outreach there. The older man turned to the young evangelist, and handed him a piece of paper with a “formula” for evangelism scribbled down on it. According to this admirer’s calculations, the way to reach a community for Jesus Christ is simply finding one percent of the square root of the communities’ population, and then using them to reach the lost.

Apparently, the young evangelist was impressed, because he knew from his studies about the remnant of Believers he was trying to reach, in order to use them in expanding his local outreaches. So, he pondered the calculation, and stated that since there were approximately 15,000 people in the Galilee area during Jesus’ time of ministry (an estimate at best), and one percent of the square root of that number was close to twelve, he thought the formula was from God. I was pretty disturbed that he did not follow the Biblical principle (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; Matthew 18:16, 20), that by the testimony of two or three witnesses, facts are confirmed. Instead, since the calculation seemed plausible, it was instrumental in having him leave a very successful, award-winning radio outreach ministry, and establish his new direction—with a “formula” for reaching forty-five cities for Jesus over the next twelve years, at the cost of only $15 million.

As you can imagine, with our ministry having spent the past ten years working through an immense selection of the issues and topics of importance—principally by circumstance and need, for non-Jewish Believers seeking to be enriched by the Hebraic Roots of their faith and entering into the Messianic movement—the evangelist’s appeal was a bit mind-boggling. We would never dream of asking any group of people for $15 million! Yet, there was a degree of positive encouragement detectable in what we saw, because we were exposed to a group of sincere Christians, who absolutely wanted to please the Lord, through whatever efforts they were asked to support. Perhaps in time, as our family has some useful moments of being able to share with persons such as this young evangelist, some of the further understanding they might receive through just reading some of our publications, will be used by the Lord to fine-tune some of his efforts. This is exciting for me to consider, as I know that all of my previous twenty-two years living in Dallas (1976-1998), and in 2011 interacting with and getting to know some of the key Christian influencers, will perhaps be used by the Lord to introduce them and their diverse ministries, to the Hebraic Roots of their faith, the validity of God’s Torah for all of His people, and the message of a greater restoration of Israel.

The next morning, arising early for some time of prayer and writing, I was led to consider the theme of the previous night’s banquet as it regarded “provoking the Jews to jealousy.” I was directed to take a closer look at Romans chs. 3-8, in order to better understand what the disconnect was with modern Christianity—and to a certain extent, even many of those in the Messianic community of faith, with all of its internal challenges. Two questioning thoughts reverberated in my mind: (1) How is the “standard Christian” Jesus going to provoke the Jews to jealousy? (2) What about the manifestation of the children/sons and daughters of God, for which the Creation urgently longs (cf. Romans 8:29)?

For whatever reasons, the first Scripture passages I was led to consider were actually two Psalms of David. These basically state the same thing about human beings’ predisposition to believe that there is no God, but with the caveat that in His time, there will be a full restoration of Israel to Zion in the future:

“For the choir director. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all the workers of wickedness not know, who eat up my people as they eat bread, and do not call upon the Lord? There they are in great dread, for God is with the righteous generation. You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, but the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad” (Psalm 14:1-7).

“For the choir director; according to Mahalath. A Maskil of David. The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’ they are corrupt, and have committed abominable injustice; there is no one who does good. God has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men to see if there is anyone who understands, who seeks after God. Every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Have the workers of wickedness no knowledge, who eat up My people as though they ate bread and have not called upon God? There they were in great fear where no fear had been; For God scattered the bones of him who encamped against you; You put them to shame, because God had rejected them. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When God restores His captive people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad” (Psalm 53:1-6).

After spending some time contemplating the basic state of lost humanity, getting into Romans sent me on a search through the Scriptures for references to the sons/children of God. One illuminating and impactful place is found in the prophecy of Hosea, when he was addressing the Northern Kingdom of Israel prior to its judgment by the Assyrians. It is here that the noted compassion of God will be demonstrated toward those of both Israel and Judah, they will acknowledge the Messiah as their leader, and they will be gathered back to the Promised Land subsequent to the Messianic Age:

“The word of the Lord which came to Hosea the son of Beeri, during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry; for the land commits flagrant harlotry, forsaking the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the Lord said to him, ‘Name him Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the bloodshed of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.’ Then she conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lord said to him, ‘Name her Lo-ruhamah, for I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have compassion on the house of Judah and deliver them by the Lord their God, and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.’ When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived and gave birth to a son. And the Lord said, ‘Name him Lo-ammi, for you are not My people and I am not your God.’ Yet the number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered; and in the place where it is said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ It will be said to them, ‘You are the sons of the living God.’ And the sons of Judah and the sons of Israel will be gathered together, and they will appoint for themselves one leader, And they will go up from the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel”(Hosea 1:1-11).

Considering the sons/children of God further, the words of Yeshua found in His Sermon on the Mount blessed me, considering the fact that He equates those who make peace to be the children of God:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9, TNIV).

One of our ministry’s efforts is to surely be focused on bringing peace and unity to those willing to be true followers of the Messiah, no matter what their ethnic background or limited understanding of what the Father is doing with His people at this point in time may be. This means that love-centered wisdom is required, not only when to speak or who to speak with, but to be confident and assured that it is the Spirit of the Most High leading the conversation when delicate discussions about the nuances of theology arise. Learning to love all—no matter where they are on the theological spectrum, praying that they have the same Holy Spirit of God guiding and instructing them—is one key to help advance God’s Kingdom on Earth at this point in time. It is a great blessing to know that in seeking, and hopefully becoming “peacemakers” among many different people who serve our Heavenly Father—that one has the endorsement and blessing of Yeshua the Messiah, with the potential to be called a true child of God!

Further study on the sons/children of God, led me to Paul’s letters to the Galatians and Romans, where some of the most profound statements about the saints, who have salvation in Yeshua, is found. Here, we see that Believers are to become children of God via saving faith in the Messiah, no matter what their ethnic background, gender, or economic circumstances may be. In fact, through adoption as sons or daughters, one is to be regarded as Abraham’s “seed,” and a joint heir with the Messiah:

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Messiah Yeshua. For all of you who were baptized into Messiah have clothed yourselves with Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Messiah Yeshua. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (Galatians 3:26-4:9).

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Messiah, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:14-21).

Taking these various passages, and the thoughts provoked by simply one evening’s encounter with a group of sincere Believers—and a number of additional interactions with many of my “Christian” and “Messianic” friends—reminds me that there continues to be much work and hard labor to be conducted. There is not enough peace among those who claim to be followers of the Messiah. If, as a ministry, Outreach Israel and TNN Online can encourage Believers to keep their eyes fixed on Yeshua, walking in and being led by the Holy Spirit, as the manifestation of the children of God becomes apparent through the unity desired by the Holy One—then in His time, a definite provocation of the Jewish people to jealousy will take place. The author of Hebrews explained much of this goal, with the reminder that a great cloud of witnesses is surrounding the saints, and God will discipline His children whom He loves:

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives’ [Proverbs 3:11-12]. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:1-14).

Because the unification desired by the Holy One is not evident on a greater scale, right now, among those who claim to be His—it just might be time for some (heavy) discipline to be issued from Him, especially in light of the lack of peace between many of the different factions which constitute the Judeo-Christian religious world. Only time will tell when and how God will mete out such discipline. But hopefully as it comes, His sons and daughters, His children—who should be found in the Messianic community of faith because of a more complete understanding of His Word and how He wants us to live—will be prepared to strengthen and encourage those enduring the discipline.

We believe that today’s Christians should not only know more about their Hebraic Roots and walk accordingly, but those within the contemporary Messianic movement should be demonstrating a much better example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22)—and certainly more wisdom and discernment—as the Lord sovereignly moves on the hearts of many of our evangelical Christian brothers and sisters. This will be certainly needed if the prophecies about the nations coming to Zion to be taught God’s Torah (Micah 4:1-3; Isaiah 2:2-4) occur simultaneously with a massive salvation of the Jewish people (Romans 11:12). Needless to say, God has a lot of work to do. He is fervently searching for vessels exhibiting the peaceful fruit of righteousness, to carry forth His message to the nations, and then to the Jewish people.

May we be among those so called! May we complete His mission as the sons and daughters He wants to use, for the weeks, months, and years ahead. May we eagerly advance His Kingdom, until the restoration of all things…

Click to article

The Christmas Challenge

christmas_wisemenstar

No matter who you are or what religious ideology you hold to, the Winter holiday season involving Christmas will be a challenge. It is first a challenge to non-Believers as they are continually presented with the message of the birth of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) into a world that is lost in sin. Secondly, the Christmas holiday is a challenging time for many Christians who seek to remember the birth of our Savior, but at the same time all too often indulge themselves in overly frivolous gift-giving. And thirdly, the Christmas season is a challenge to Messianic Believers, as we choose not to celebrate this holiday.

The Reformation certainly did a great deal of work eliminating many non-Biblical Roman Catholic traditions and theologies from the faith. Today, Protestants believe in salvation by grace through faith and in the priesthood of all Believers, rejecting the claim that the pope is the “vicar of Christ” on Earth. Many evangelical Christians recognize that if something is primarily Catholic it should be tested against the inspired Word of God to see if it is truly Biblical. The Bible does not tell us to pray to saints or confess sin to a priest to be forgiven. Scripture does not teach transubstantiation. Furthermore, Scripture does not tell us that Mary, the mother of our Lord Yeshua, is the so-called “Mother of God,” for our Creator has always been and ever will be (cf. Micah 5:2-3).

Many Protestants pride themselves on being Sola Scriptura—Scripture Only. However, it is an unfortunate reality that many Protestants today still adhere, unknowingly, to some non-Biblical Catholic tradition. There are various practices and traditions among Christians today that can neither be found in Scripture, nor find their origins in Scripture, but rather on customs established long since the death of the Apostles and early Believers.

All too often, it has been our unfortunate observation that many in the Messianic community strongly and vehemently criticize our Christian brothers and sisters during the Winter holidays. Statements along the lines of “Christmas is a pagan holiday!” are all too commonplace. This turns many away from hearing the origins about a holiday that cannot be specifically found in the Bible, but is seemingly good. Many Christians believe that when you denounce Christmas, you are denying the Biblical reality of the virgin birth of our Lord and Savior. Certainly, Luke ch. 2 is a part of our Holy Scriptures, and the miracle of the birth of Yeshua is a sacred Biblical event. In an effort to stress balance, grace, and understanding during the Winter season among both Christians and Messianic Believers, we offer our analysis of “the Christmas challenge.”

Click to article

Ted Nugent: ‘Criminal Monsters’ Will Not Be Deterred By Gun Free Zone Laws

guncontrol

As pressure mounts for lawmakers to tighten gun laws in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre, conservative rocker and Second Amendment advocate Ted Nugent tells Newsmax that “evil criminal monsters will never be deterred by the insanity of gun free zone laws.”

In an exclusive interview, Nugent insists that so-called gun free zones only empower potential killers such as Adam Lanza, who took the lives of 20 first graders on Friday when he opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Indisputable statistics show clearly that gun free zones around the globe are always where the most innocent human lives are slaughtered,” insists Nugent, who is on the board of the National Rifle Association.

“The document genocide in Rwanda, Sudan, Germany, Norway, Scotland, England, Canada, North and South Korea and elsewhere prove them wrong again and concludes that people everywhere forced into unarmed helplessness will always be victims of violent crime.”

Nugent, who is a Newsmax contributor, said that two million Americans defend themselves with privately owned firearms every year and he pointed to another school incident where the principal halted a similar disaster by retrieving his handgun from a vehicle.

“Unarmed and helpless is unarmed and helpless,” Nugent insisted. “That so much of our society is entrenched in the irresponsible mindset that unarmed and helpless is an okay condition is inviting such multiple shooting tragedies.”

Nugent said that he dreams of a society where “political correctness and the sheep like behavior that goes with it are discarded” and he drew comparisons to the 9/11 attacks, which called attention to the need for greater air travel security.

“Surely there must be teachers somewhere, like professional pilots after 9-11, that would be willing to be armed, trained and prepared to protect innocent children in their care,” he said.

Nugent added that most mass shootings occur in jurisdictions with “extreme restrictions” on firearms.

“But most telling, again, is the fact that they have all occurred in gun free zones or where for many reasons, no one was armed or prepared to stop the evil doer,” Nugent said.

Holiday message: Atheists dub Jesus a ‘myth’ on Times Square billboard

athests

Just as midtown Manhattan comes alive with Christmas cheer, festive window displays and Salvation Army bell ringers trying to channel holiday generosity to the needy, an atheist group has a message for the masses teeming into Times Square: Jesus is a myth.

With a picture of Santa Claus above another image of Jesus Christ, the sign, sponsored by New Jersey-based American Atheists, urges passersby to “Keep the Merry!” and “Dump the Myth!” Attacks on Christianity from the group have become routine, and in the bustling heart of America’s busiest city, most folks don’t even waste a shrug on the sign. But some took notice, and did not approve.

“It’s a damn shame. It’s an insult,” said Anthony White, 41, a of Jersey City, N.J. said. “Why did they have to put that up?”

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, had an answer, though not one likely to please the faithful.

“Most Christians are really atheists who feel trapped in their family’s religion,” Silverman told FoxNews.com. “They need not be Christian to enjoy the holiday season.”

Silverman said a private donor paid more than $25,000 to have the billboard posted above a nightclub in the crossroads of the world for one month, ending Jan. 10, 2013.

“We chose Times Square because it is a place where people go to shop and be festive, which has nothing to do with religion,” Silverman said.

Lamar Outdoor, the advertising giant that leased the space to Silverman’s group, said it wasn’t the company’s place to censor the message.

“We felt as long as it’s not misleading that it’s their First Amendment right,” Lamar spokesman Hal Kilshaw said. “We think it’s their right to have their message heard,” he said, adding that they have not received any complaints over the Times Square billboard yet.

The ad is the latest in holiday-themed billboards put up by the group every year. In 2011, American Atheists posted a variety of ads as part of a “Myth” campaign in three states with images of Santa, Jesus, Greek god Poseidon, and the Devil with the phrase, “37 million Americans know MYTHS when they see one.”

The Catholic League has battled it out with Silverman’s group in the past, even posting opposing signs on each end of the Lincoln Tunnel in 2010. But Catholic League spokesman Bill Donohue said Silverman went too far this year.

“This year it’s different,” he said. “This is vile. When you depict Jesus on the cross with a crown of thorns, this is exploitative. We as Christians never harass, intimidate or insult atheists. But they can’t seem to say, ‘We simply disagree with you.’ They have to insult us.”

TAKING SIN LIGHTLY

TAKING SIN LIGHTLY
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
temple
The prophet Ezekiel gives us a vivid illustration of what happens to a people
who take their sin lightly. In this account, the seventy elders of Judah came
to Ezekiel to receive a word from the Lord. These men were all in the service
of the temple, and as they gathered with the prophet to worship, Ezekiel was
given an amazing vision:

“As I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me . . . the hand
of the Lord God fell there upon me. Then I beheld, and lo a likeness as the
appearance of fire: from the appearance of his loins even downward, fire . . .
as the appearance of brightness, as the colour of amber. And he put forth the
form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me
up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to
Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 8:1-3).

The Holy Spirit fell on this gathering, and God’s holy fire filled the place
with light: “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel was there” (verse 4).
Whenever God’s fiery presence appears in a meeting, sin is always exposed.
Suddenly, the prophet saw that these men’s minds were filled with “. . . every
form of creeping things, and abominable beasts” (verse 10). He is describing
demonic strongholds, evil beings. And they had infiltrated God’s house through
the ministry!

There sat the seventy elders, calm and placid, appearing as worshipers seeking
guidance from the Lord. In truth, however, they were covering hidden sin. They
had been going through the outward worship procedures of the temple ministry,
when in reality they all belonged to a secret society of sun worshipers. They
employed prostitutes in the temple and as part of the worship ritual, these
supposedly godly elders took part in fornication.

Worst of all, these men were not convicted of their horrible idolatry. They had
convinced themselves that God winked at their idolatry. David was heavily
burdened by his sin but these seventy elders felt no arrows of conviction, no
loss of physical strength, no emotional pain. Instead, they were deceived by
what Moses called a “false peace.”

“And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless
himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the
imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst” (Deuteronomy 29:19).

In other words: “A deceived person is like a drunkard; he has lost all ability
to discern. He can’t even distinguish between thirst and drunkenness.”

Click to article

THE BURDEN OF HIDDEN SIN

THE BURDEN OF HIDDEN SIN
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
Yom Yeshua Messiahs Birth
The burden of hidden sin King David carried for an entire year cost him dearly.
It broke his health, plagued his mind and wounded his spirit. It created havoc
in his home, disillusionment in God’s people, mockery among the godless.
Finally, he cried out, “I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before
me” (Psalm 38:17). The Hebrew word for halt here means “fall.” He was saying, “I
am about to fall from this heavy load of sorrow.”

Some Christians might look at David in his time of turmoil and think, “What a
tragedy Satan was able to bring upon David. How could this once-tender psalmist
come to the brink of a fall? God must have been terribly angry with him.”

No! It was not the devil who made David’s sin so heavy, it was God. In His
great mercy, God allowed this man to sink to the depths, because He wanted him
to see the magnitude of his sin. He made David’s unconfessed sin so heavy, he
could no longer bear it and he was driven to repentance.

The truth is, only a righteous man like David could be so powerfully affected
by his sin. You see, his conscience was still tender and he felt the sharp
pains of every arrow of conviction God thrust into his heart. That’s why David
could say, “My sorrow is continually before me.”

That is the secret of this whole story: David had a godly sorrow, a deep and
precious fear of God. He could admit, “I see the Lord’s disciplining hand in
this, pressing me down to my knees, and I acknowledge that my sin deserves His
wrath.”

The writer of Lamentations says, “I am the man that hath seen affliction by the
rod of his wrath. He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into
light. . . . He hath broken my bones. He hath builded against me. . . . He hath
set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old. He hath hedged me about,
that I cannot get out: he hath made my chain heavy. . . . He hath enclosed my
ways with hewn stone” (Lamentations 3:1-9).

The writer’s point is clear: When we live with hidden sin, God Himself makes
our chains so heavy, chaotic and terrifying, we are driven to open confession
and deep repentance.

Click to article

THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS

THE CHURCH AT EPHESUS
by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 – April 27, 2011]
churches2a
The Christians at Ephesus walked closely with the Lord. As I read through
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, I am amazed at the gospel these people heard
and lived. In fact, Paul compliments them at length. He addresses them as, “The
faithful in Christ Jesus . . . blessed . . . with all spiritual blessings in
heavenly places in Christ . . . chosen . . . before the foundation of the world
. . . predestinated . . . unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:1-5).

What a description of a blessed, holy people! Jesus also compliments the
Ephesian Christians in the book of Revelation: “I know thy works, and thy
labour, and thy patience” (Revelation 2:2). In other words: “I know all the
good things going on in your lives. You patiently labor for Me without
complaining and you will do anything for others. You’re diligent in your good
works and that is very commendable.”

Jesus points out something else in the hearts of these Ephesians, something He
notes is deeply wrong. He says, “I see all your works—your hatred for sin,
your love for truth, your righteous courage. And yet somehow in all your
labors, you’ve allowed your first love to wither. Your affection for Me is
dying.”

“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first
love” (verse 4). Beloved, I have read and reread this verse and have concluded
that its seriousness cannot be overlooked. The word somewhat here—indicating
something that might be taken lightly—does not appear in the original Greek
text. Instead, the original phrase is translated, literally, “I have something
against you!”

I would like to think I am an Ephesian-type Christian, a faithful laborer. I
want to believe that my suffering is for Jesus’ sake, that my good works
glorify Him, that I practice righteous living, that I am seated with Him in
heavenly places. But when I read of Jesus walking among such well-taught
believers as the Ephesians and telling them, “I have something against you,”
it grips my soul. I have to ask my Lord, “Jesus, do You have something against
me? Have I also lost my affection for You?”

Click to article