“Oh You Cross-Worshippers, We’ll Kill You All”

Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2017

3072

Sweden recently decided to deport Aideen Strandsson, a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When Strandsson pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” (Image source: Facebook/Aideen Strandsson)

  • A popular Arabic-language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” — Morocco.
  • Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison, and called for a public lynching of Stephen.” — Pakistan.
  • Sweden decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden continues accepting Muslim refugees.
  • In the name of “fighting terrorism,” Bangladesh made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down.

    A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum, held in Moscow, detailed how over the past ten years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80% and warned that unless current trends are reversed, Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today there are only 100,000 — roughly a 93% percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”

    Other experts offered similarly dismal statistics. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, had predicted that by 2025, the percentage of Christians in the Middle East — which in 1910 was 13.6% — could go down to around 3%.

    Christians seeking to return to areas in Iraq and Syria liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS) continue to face discrimination from local Muslim and Kurdish communities. Andrew White, also known as the “vicar of Baghdad,” had said that, “the time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited.”

    Others, such as Former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), are more optimistic: “Now is the time. We have an administration that’s open to doing something,” he said, indicating the US Trump administration.

    Meanwhile, ISIS continued to harbor high hopes. In a video released by the terrorist organization in August, an extremist tore up a photo of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, while saying, “Remember this, you kuffar[infidels] — we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome, inshallah [Allah willing].” The narrator of the video also vowed that, “After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken. The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth.” When asked about this, the pope’s top aide said, “Pope Francis hasn’t changed a thing in his agenda, nor is he going to. Furthermore, he’ll continue to foment dialogue, creating bridges, defending peace. With Muslims and Christians.”

    August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    Muslim Slaughter of Christians

    Kenya: Islamic terrorists hacked four Christian men to death for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. On Friday, August 28, jihadis from the Somali-based group, Al Shabaab, rounded up three men (two in their forties, the other 17) and held them at one of the Christians’ homes. They ordered them to recite the shahada — that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” — and thereby renounce the Trinity and become Muslim. When the men refused, the Muslims hacked them to pieces with machetes. They then went and slaughtered the mentally handicapped older brother of one of the slain. According to the “severely traumatized” wife of one of the men, “Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph [her slain husband] as a church elder.”

    Nigeria: Gunmen massacred as many as 50 Christian worshippers inside ‎St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Amambra State during a Sunday morning service. Initial reports claimed that “the gunmen were hunting for a drug baron, traced him to his house but were told he had gone to church.” When they found he was not in the church, “out of anger, probably, they rained bullets on worshippers in the church.” However, not only does the attack closely follow the pattern of other jihadi terror attacks on churches in Nigeria, but at least one group, Act for Biafra, a Biafran independence organization, issued a statement referring to the attack as a “jihadist slaughter” of Christian churchgoers.

    Separately, during an attack on a Christian community in a Muslim majority region that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), Muslim terrorists slaughtered a Christian father and his son, and abducted three women and a baby. Aside from habitual attacks on Christians “in northern Nigeria, [which is Muslim majority] Christians who have already been displaced by Boko Haram extremists are being forced out of their refugee camps and denied access to vital aid,” according to human rights activists.

    Pakistan: Javid Masih, a Christian man who sold himself into slavery to a Muslim family for two years to buy his family a home, was regularly abused, kept from going to church, and finally murdered in August. When the two-year contract was nearly up and Javid told one of the family that he looked forward to getting married, he was told, “There is no way you will ever be free from us and leave this place.” When his term was up and he asked for his freedom, he was severely chided by the family’s sons: “You filthy Chura [“worthless thing”], how dare you ask for your freedom. Your life is ours. You will clean our excrement every day of your life from now on or you and your family will die.” Afterwards, “he was grabbed by the brothers, tied up, beaten and spat upon for a whole day. He had never told his family about this because he was both embarrassed and fearful of the repercussions on his family if they got involved. Other employees were made to see the brutal torture of Javed to instill a sense of fear amongst them.” He continued as a slave but his productivity dropped, and the Muslim family decided to do away with him. They poisoned him and then dumped him in front of his family’s home. When his widowed mother begged them to drive him to a hospital, they spat on her. He died; the police reported the death a “suicide.” Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

    “Despite anti-slavery laws in Pakistan bonded labour proliferates and is destroying the lives of many Christians. The Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1992 is not worth the paper it is written on and the Government’s clear apathy to enforce the law illustrates the low value placed on Christians and other minorities… There is a very small suicide rate in Pakistan of around 300 victims over two years—Pakistanis are hardy. It is inconceivable that Javed committed suicide when he expressed no such desire to anyone he knew and remained stoic for two years despite the pain inflicted on him.”

    Another Christian man, a prisoner who was offered but rejected Islam, was found dead “under mysterious circumstances in police custody,” according to a report. Indaryas Ghulam, 38, was among 42 Christians arrested for the lynching of two Muslims associated with a 2015 church attack that killed nearly 20 Christians and wounded 70. Indaryas had denied involvement in the lynching and was one of the prisoners promised “release in exchange of reneging Christ.”

    “He could have saved his life, but decided to bear witness to his faith onto death…. The prison administration attributed his death to poor health; he had tuberculosis. But his wife Shabana and daughter Shumir, who saw the body, said that he had burns and cuts everywhere, clear signs of torture and of the brutality to which he had been subjected. What is more, they add that although he was severely ill, he never received adequate medical care behind the bars.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom

    Iran: Approximately five hundred Muslim converts to Christianity have faced persecution in Iran, and fled to Turkey in search of asylum, notes an August report. One young convert who said he could not be who he wanted to be if he remained Muslim, added that he is now feeling “comfortable” as a Christian. Another said:

    “I changed my religion because I did not see anything in Islam. Whatever I saw was wrong. It is a fact that the government of Iran is an Islamic one, yet our youth are getting executed. In Iraq the same…. There is ISIS and [they] are killing people in the name of Islam, and there are vulnerable people who are being beheaded there. They have fled to Turkey, and we came to Turkey. That is why I did not see any good from Islam.”

    Open Doors USA, which monitors Christian persecution around the world, confirms that “Converts to Christianity from Islam make up the largest group of Christians and experience the most persecution.”

    Morocco: An August report reveals that earlier in 2017, a popular Arabic language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and, considering that virtually all Christians in Morocco are converts from Islam, ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” “Morocco is home to several thousand Christians who live across the nation, many of whom are new converts and forced to worship in secret churches,” the report adds. “Christians are regularly harassed by authorities, and societal pressure to renounce their faith is commonplace throughout the country.”

    Pakistan: Another Christian minor was beaten and charged with “blaspheming” against Islam. After a Muslim man, Muhammed Nawaz, accused Asif Stephen, 16, of stealing at a local bazaar, he beat the boy, then told the local imam, who, according to the report, “has a history of preaching hatred towards minority Christians,” that the youth had also burned a Koran. Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison and called for a public lynching of Stephen.”

    “As the mob overwhelmed local police, Stephen was removed from his cell and handed over to the mob, who consequently beat him until reinforcement officers stepped in to calm the situation. Police then moved Stephen to a higher security district jail where he plead guilty to blasphemy in what his family believed was a coerced confession.”

    Uganda: On August 7, Sophia Nakisaala, 35, a Muslim woman, embraced Christianity after her daughter was healed by a street preacher:

    “My child got healed instantly from high fever, which had caused several convulsions. The evangelist shared with me about Issa [Jesus], whom he said to be the healer and Savior. I then decided to accept Him as my Lord and Savior and then returned back home.”

    When she returned home and began telling Muhammad Lubaale, her husband, what had happened, “He got angry and slapped me. I kept quiet and did not respond to his interrogation about my new faith in Jesus.” Three days later, word of his daughter’s healing and confirmation that his wife had indeed embraced Christ reached Muhammad. “My husband arrived home on Aug. 10 and started beating me and injuring me with bruises on my head and right hand, using a stick,” Sophia explained. “Neighbors came to my rescue and housed me that very night.” The following morning, while her husband was away, she gathered her four children—aged 3, 5, 8 and 11—and went to an area pastor, who helped her find refuge.

    Sweden: The Western nation most renowned for taking in — and suffering from — Muslim migrants, Sweden, decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden, which is reputed as “the world’s humanitarian conscience and a safe haven for refugees,” continues accepting Muslim refugees, some of whom have helped make it known as the “rape capital of Europe.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

    Egypt: Authorities closed down the 1,300-member Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in the Minya governorate. The closure came in response to local Muslim opposition groups who protested the existence of the church, which had served Christians from three separate villages. The Coptic Bishop of Minya, Anba Makarios, issued a public statement chiding officials for siding with the aggressors against the victims:

    “The security apparatus has prevented Copts from practicing their rites in Kedwan, Minya, claiming that it was because of objections of some opposing factions in the village, and that it was necessary to be considerate of their feelings. However, this means that there is no consideration for the feelings of the Copts and those who do not ask for anything but to pray, as if the decision belonged to the opposing factions and not to a great state such as Egypt, which should have authority and law.”

    The Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan is just one of at least 15 Christian churches that have been closed in Minya province alone. “We have more than 15 places [of worship] closed on the order of the security apparatus, despite the existence of formal requests that are imprisoned in [desk] drawers,” Makarios added in his statement. “Also, there are 70 villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers.”

    Separately in August, security officials prevented Christians from meeting and worshiping in a private home in the village of Forn, in Minya. They said the home lacked a permit for worship. In a letter entitled, “We were prevented from prayer like criminals,” frustrated Christians wrote to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi:

    “We were surprised to find police forces surrounding and entering the village to prevent the Egyptian Copts from prayer and were prevented from going out of our homes. We were attacked with inappropriate words … As if we are criminals or outlaws and wanted for justice, accused of performing religious rituals. And is performing religious rituals a crime?”

    Iraq: Christians returning to the Nineveh Plain continued to encounter the remains of the Islamic State’s handiwork, including graffiti all around and inside their desecrated churches, such as “There is no place for the Cross in Islamic lands” and “The Cross is under our foot.” The following German writing was found in one church:

    “Oh you Cross worshippers, we’ll kill you all. Germany is an Islamic land. You are weak and don’t belong here…. Oh you Cross worshippers, you have no place in Islamic lands. Either you leave or we’ll kill you.”

    “They’d [ISIS] used the statutes of Jesus and Mary for target practice,” said one man of another church. “The altar was also destroyed. Daesh [ISIS] knew that the West would be reluctant to bomb a church, so [it] stored food and ammunition here.” Much of the graffiti has since been removed and altars are being restored. “To see our Christian symbols again is almost as important as food for us,” commented one Christian man.

    Somaliland: After agreeing to the reopening of a Catholic Church, which had been closed for nearly 30 years, the government of the Muslim nation reversed its decision. Spokesmen cited public anger, fomented by Islamic religious leaders who claimed the church reopening was part of the government’s conspiratorial plan to Christianize Somaliland. Explaining their decision during a press conference, Religious Affairs Minister, Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed, said, “The Government of the Republic of Somaliland has decided to respect the wishes of its people and religious leaders and keep the church closed, as it has been for the past 30 years.” The Catholic church was one of many churches built 70 years ago when Somaliland was a British Protectorate.

    Sudan: The day after the Khartoum Parliament rejected the Ministry of Education’s call for Church Schools to operate on Sundays and follow only the Muslim week—a decision “viewed by Christians in Sudan and around the world as another means of harassment and discrimination against the minority group” — on August 2, the Sudanese government demolished yet another church in Omdurman, just west of Khartoum, from their list of 27 churches to be demolished.

    Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

    Iraq: More reports indicating that Christian suffering is hardly limited to ISISappeared in August. According to one, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou said “that the remaining Christian families in Iraq fear that a new ISIS could come to power. He accused Baghdad of failing to foster religious tolerance amid the years of sectarian war and said a lot of people have been brainwashed by the terror group.” He also pointed out that the education ministry should begin to acknowledge Iraq’s Christian heritage and roots instead of falsely claiming that it was always Islamic and that Christians are essentially foreigners and agents of the West.

    Pakistan: The Islamic nation’s senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the compulsory teaching of the Koran to all primary and secondary school students, including non-Muslim ones. In part, the bill is meant to help the state discharge article 31(2) of the Pakistani constitution, which states that the “State shall endeavour to make the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Islamiyat [all things Islamic] compulsory.” However, according to Nasir Saeed, the director of a Christian human rights organization, the bill “will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students… It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”

    Bangladesh: In the name of “fighting terrorism,” the Muslim nation made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down. The Foreign Donations Regulation Bill, which is meant to be a check on terrorist cells receiving funds outside of Bangladesh, has especially created economic problems for Christian NGOs “geared specifically for the Christian community” explained one missionary. Because a majority of Christian organizations in overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh are economically supported from outside sources, 200 were no longer able to secure external funding and to close permanently.

    Sudan: The Islamist government arrested seven church leaders for refusing to comply with a court order to turn over leadership of their congregation to a government appointment committee in an effort to dissolve the church. They were interrogated for several hours and then released on bail. “Police said that in arresting them they were implementing orders from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments to impose its committee as new SCOC leadership, presumably to sell off the church property in Sudan’s bid to rid the country of Christianity,” notes the report, adding that “the arrests were seen as part of a recent upsurge in harassment of Christians.”

    Separately, in order to help a wealthy Muslim businessman take over church property, police evicted two more pastors and their families from their homes and onto the streets. The pastors “were terrorized when police pounded on the doors shouting threats,” “They came and knocked on the door strongly, they said, ‘Should you not open, we will have to break it by force to get in,” Pastor Nalu, 47-year-old father of a one-year-old boy, said. “The situation is very difficult, and we are living on the street.”

    Nigeria: Fulani terrorists, some allied with the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, have been known to invade Christian farms and settlements and slaughter Christians. In August, when few such attacks were recorded, and (mostly Muslim) politicians portrayed the problem as settled, a Christian leader explained that, when not directly slaughtering Christians, Muslim Fulani herdsmen resort to “economic terrorism”: “As we gleefully wallow in the false sense of peace on the Plateau,” he said, “know it today that a deliberate economic terrorism and land-grabbing strategy is being launched on Christians of Riyom and Barkin Ladi on a daily basis with the sole aim of making them poor, weak and destitute in their own land.”

    About this Series

    While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. (Click to Source)

Inspiration And The Bible: No Breathing Room For Error

truth-bible

In the last few centuries, certain Bible scholars and champions of higher criticism have devoted significant time, energy, and resources in an attempt to redefine or completely remove a “thorn in their flesh”—the biblical doctrine of inspiration. Specifically, it is has been the plenary [full/complete] verbal inspiration of the Bible that has irked and agitated the unregenerate heart to no end.

However, despite the best efforts of many post-Enlightenment rationalists, there just isn’t any room to breathe a different kind of air than that of Spirit of God, what He has spoken, and still call it “Christian.” Besides, it’s a fool’s errand to try and cast off the restraints of the long-held doctrine of biblical inspiration (c.f. Ps. 2:3). For the wise, obedient, and Bible-believing child of God, the choice is clear: it’s all or nothing.

Throughout the history of Israel and the early years of the Church, there wasn’t any talk of “partial-inspiration,” nor did any copyist’s error cause the persevering believer to see the Scriptures as anything less than “the Word of God.” Inspiration was assumed, and obedience to every word was a non-negotiable. So what has changed?

Will Christianity eventually collapse under the alleged weight of evidence against the inerrancy of Scripture, or will the skeptics have to eat crow when the Bible is proven to be without error and truly “God-breathed” through and through?

To those who deny the full verbal inspiration of the Scriptures and are still waiting for a blissful future without the LORD of the God-breathed Bible, may every faithful Christian respond, “Don’t hold your breath!”
Inspiration Threatened, Inerrancy and Authority Under Siege

The Princeton theologian and stalwart defender of the faith, B.B. Warfield, stood his ground during the heyday of a liberal wave sweeping through American seminaries and other academic institutions in the early 1900s. In a compilation of his works entitled The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, Warfield illustrates [hilariously] the utter futility of any modern critic who seeks to evade and escape the overwhelming evidence for the historic doctrine of inspiration:

The effort to explain away the Bible’s witness to its plenary inspiration reminds one of a man standing safely in his laboratory and elaborately expounding—possibly by the aid of diagrams and mathematical formulae—how every stone in an avalanche has a defined pathway and may easily be dodged by one of some presence of mind. We may fancy such an elaborate trifler’s triumph as he would analyze the avalanche into its constituent stones, and demonstrate of stone after stone that its pathway is definite, limited, and may easily be avoided. But avalanches, unfortunately, do not come upon us, stone by stone, one at a time, courteously leaving us opportunity to withdraw from the pathway of each in turn: but all at once, in a roaring mass of destruction…” (pg. 119-20).

He captures the hubris of a post-Enlightenment rationalist beautifully and then drives the point home:

…these texts of ours [Holy Scripture], again, unfortunately do not come upon us in this artificial isolation; neither are they few in number. There are scores, hundreds, of them: and they come bursting upon us in one solid mass…Let us, however, but open our eyes to the variety and pervasiveness of the New Testament witness to its high estimate of Scripture, and we shall no longer wonder that modern scholarship finds itself compelled to allow that the Christian church has read her records correctly, and that the church-doctrine of inspiration is simply a transcript of the biblical doctrine; nor shall we any longer wonder that the church, receiving these Scriptures as her authoritative teacher of doctrine, adopted in the very beginnings of her life, the doctrine of plenary inspiration, and has held it with a tenacity that knows no wavering, until the present hour” (pg. 120, bracketed explanation and emphasis mine).

Every generation of the Church, from 1st-century conception right up to our present day, has had a counter-attack of some kind. For example, we discover the manifestations of unseen evil powers in our own realm through the writings of the apostles and subsequent generations of church leaders.

Thus, Warfield and others of his tribe were truly courageous during a time when the Church was being threatened from within by a monumental assault on the inspiration and authority of the Bible: a doctrine that Warfield called an “indispensable safeguard of a sure word of God” (Inspiration and Authority, pg. 124). The ramifications of this attack have been deep and severe, and we see in our own generation what a post-Christian society breeds after it has dispensed with “outdated doctrines” and redefined biblical terms in order to justify sin and rebellion.

All of this should come as no surprise to those well-versed in Scripture. We were warned about the wolves in sheep’s clothing, the cunning schemes of a depraved mind, and the empty philosophies that undermine the authority of Christ—the Word of God (Acts 20:29-31Eph. 4:14Col. 2:8).

Clearing the Air by Defining “Inspiration”

Paul passed on to Timothy a warning and then directed his focus to the “sacred writings,” which he had known and relied on since childhood. First, the warning:

Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13, HCSB).

Second, the exhortation to follow in the steps of tried-and-true, godly examples (such as his believing grandmother and mother – 2 Tim. 1:5), holding to what he was taught from the Bible [at that time, only the Old Testament]:

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:14-15, NASB).

Finally, an explanatory verse answering why the sacred writings are completely trustworthy and reliable:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16, ESV).

At last, here it is: 2 Timothy 3:16. We now arrive at our chief text from which we derive the theological term “inspiration.” Lest there be any confusion, or “breathing room,” for the skeptic to justify human error in the words of Scripture, we need to dig a little deeper into this term “inspiration” and see specifically how the Greek term theopneustos [lit. “God-breathed”] should be understood in this crucial text.

The English theological term “inspiration” is thoroughly entrenched in our circles and has its usefulness, so there is no sense in trying to upend it now. However, it is a bit of a misleading translation of the Greek word, because it lacks precision.

Now some folks may think this is quibbling, but if you are a careful student of the Word, then this will sharpen your understanding of what Paul is conveying by his use of the term theopneustos (c.f. 2 Tim. 2:15). Working backward from the English, we can trace the term “inspiration,” back to the Latin Vulgate translation of the Greek, and Jerome renders theopneustos as divinitus inspirata. 

Here’s a helpful word from Warfield again:

The Greek term has, however, nothing to say of inspiring or of inspiration: it speaks only of a ‘spiring’ or ‘spiration.’ What it says of Scripture is, not that it is ‘breathed into by God’ or is the product of the Divine ‘inbreathing’ into its human authors, but that it is breathed out by God, ‘God-breathed,’ the product of the creative breath of God. In a word, what is declared by this fundamental passage is simply that the Scriptures are a Divine product, without any indication of how God has operated in producing them” (Inspiration and Authority, pg. 133, emphasis mine).

So, technically speaking, if you are going to use the Latin-English vernacular, the theological term “inspiration” should really be a “spiration.” But since we don’t speak of “spirations” too often and might get a deer-in-the-headlights look at church if we say the Bible is “a spiration of God,” the transliteration “God-breathed” is more accurate and perfectly acceptable (hence, the explanation behind some of the English versions such as the ESV, NIV, YLT, etc.).

This narrowed definition should clear up the confusion for us modern English speakers, whose concept of inspiration is something akin to “a motivational burst of creative energy.” Were the prophets and apostles merely helped by God, a little here and a little there, to produce the Scriptures? Should we understand inspiration to be another version of “God helps the prophets who help themselves?” The biblical answer is an emphatic, “No!”

The original manuscripts of Scripture are God-breathed, flawless from their conception in the LORD’s mind to the finished product delivered through His chosen instruments. Once more, I give you a clarifying word from Warfield:

This term [inspiration] is not a Biblical term and its etymological implications are not perfectly accordant with the Biblical conception of the modes of the Divine operation in giving the Scriptures. The Biblical writers do not conceive of the Scriptures as a human product breathed into by the Divine Spirit, and thus heightened in its qualities or endowed with new qualities; but as a Divine product produced through the instrumentality of men” (Inspiration and Authority, pg. 153, bracketed explanation and emphasis mine).

Furthermore, a sister passage related to inspiration is 2 Peter 1:20-21. We get confirmation and clarification from Peter, a second apostle who agrees with Paul about the origin and final product of Scripture. Warfield continues:

The Scriptural conception of the relation of the Divine Spirit to the human authors in the production of Scripture is better expressed by the figure of ‘bearing’ [c.f. 2 Pet. 1:21] than by the figure of ‘inbreathing’; and when our Biblical writers speak of the action of the Spirit of God in this relation as a breathing [spiration], they represent it as a ‘breathing out’ of the Scriptures by the Spirit, and not a ‘breathing into’ the Scriptures by Him” (Inspiration and Authority, pg. 154, bracketed explanation and emphasis mine).

In other words, my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no breathing room for human error when it comes to the Scriptures. God was in total control of the process, and what we have received from the prophets and apostles is exactly what God intends for us to hear.

Consequently, a correct understanding of the biblical doctrine of inspiration naturally results in a Word of God that is thoroughly authoritative and “God-breathed;” every “jot and tittle” (Matt. 5:18, KJV) is therefore trustworthy and profitable for our growth and maturity in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Breathing Easier and Living with Corrupt Copies

No matter how well you explain and defend the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, there will always be those who stumble over the fact that we do not possess the original manuscripts, a.k.a. the autographa.

Norman Geisler and his team at the “Defending Inerrancy” website (here) have provided an excellent resource for the Church to understand what’s at stake when inerrancy is doubted. Also, under a section entitled “How to Answer Critics,” he includes a helpful illustration by way of biblical analogy for those who struggle with the fact that we have to wade through copies [which do contain minor corruptions] in order to arrive at the original text of Scripture:

The reason the original text cannot err is that it was breathed out by God, and God cannot err. The copies, while demonstrated to have been providentially preserved from substantial error, are not breathed out by God. Hence, there can be errors in the copies. To demonstrate, all human beings are imperfect copies of Adam, who was directly created by God. Nonetheless, as imperfect a copy as we may be, we are still 100 percent human. Adam was no more human than we are, yet there is a significant difference between Adam as he came fresh from the hand of the Creator, with absolutely no imperfections, and the imperfect copies of the original Adam that we are. We can no more conceive of God’s breathing out an imperfect original text than we can of His breathing the breath of life into an imperfect Adam. What comes directly from the hand (or mouth) of the Creator must be perfect, and only later copies of it can be imperfect. To claim errors in the original Adam or Bible is to allege that there are flaws in the very nature of God” (selected from Geisler’s, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, Introduction, Bible, pg. 499-512, emphasis mine).

Geisler is spot-on here and and his reasoning jives with Warfield’s exposition of the narrowed, biblical definition of inspiration. The apostles Paul and Peter, physical descendants of Israel and inheritors of a Bible that consisted of extant copies (Rom. 3:2), had no issue grasping the concept of a fully God-breathed, authoritative Bible, and neither should we.

An immediate and direct creation of God is always produced without impurity or error, and the words of Scripture are no exception. Also, God’s direct creation is described as being brought forth by means of His mouth or breath, which is a concept evident from the beginning (Gen. 1:32:7) and seen throughout the rest of the Bible (c.f. Job 33:4Matt. 4:4Jn. 20:22). Thus, Paul’s defense in 2 Tim. 3:16 is as legitimate for us today as it was for Timothy back then—all Scripture, or every book in the accepted and received canon of the Bible, is breathed-out by God and completely reliable.

So, dear friends, hopefully this little study has “inspired” you to revisit the biblical doctrine of inspiration and strengthened your faith in the inerrant, infallible Scriptures. The Holy Bible is given to us by the “spiration” of God [i.e. its a God-breathed product] without error or the possibility of “expiration.” Hallelujah!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever” (Isa. 40:8, ESV).

Amen! (Click to Source)

 

 

Billy Graham’s Prayer for the New Year

prayer2

This prayer from Billy Graham, written for The Saturday Evening Post in 2008, is just as relevant this year.

Our Father and our God, as we stand at the beginning of this new year we confess our need of Your presence and Your guidance as we face the future.

We each have our hopes and expectations for the year that is ahead of us—but You alone know what it holds for us, and only You can give us the strength and the wisdom we will need to meet its challenges. So help us to humbly put our hands into Your hand, and to trust You and to seek Your will for our lives during this coming year.

In the midst of life’s uncertainties in the days ahead, assure us of the certainty of Your unchanging love.

In the midst of life’s inevitable disappointments and heartaches, help us to turn to You for the stability and comfort we will need.

In the midst of life’s temptations and the pull of our stubborn self-will, help us not to lose our way but to have the courage to do what is right in Your sight, regardless of the cost.

And in the midst of our daily preoccupations and pursuits, open our eyes to the sorrows and injustices of our hurting world, and help us to respond with compassion and sacrifice to those who are friendless and in need. May our constant prayer be that of the ancient Psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end” (Psalm 119:33).

We pray for our nation and its leaders during these difficult times, and for all those who are seeking to bring peace and justice to our dangerous and troubled world. We pray especially for Your protection on all those who serve in our armed forces, and we thank You for their commitment to defend our freedoms, even at the cost of their own lives. Be with their families also, and assure them of Your love and concern for them.

Bring our divided nation together, and give us a greater vision of what You would have us to be. Your Word reminds us that “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

As we look back over this past year we thank You for Your goodness to us—far beyond what we have deserved. May we never presume on Your past goodness or forget all Your mercies to us, but may they instead lead us to repentance, and to a new commitment to make You the foundation and center of our lives this year.

And so, our Father, we thank You for the promise and hope of this new year, and we look forward to it with expectancy and faith. This I ask in the name of our Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection has given us hope both for this world and the world to come. (Click to Source)

Amen

© 2008 Saturday Evening Post Society. Reprinted with permission.

Is the United Nations Fulfilling Ancient Biblical Prophecy?

jerusalem-1987869__480-1

On Dec. 21, 2017, the U.N. united as one to stand against one city on the planet: Jerusalem. Twenty-five centuries earlier, the prophet Zechariah wrote these words from the Lord, “I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle” (Zech. 14:2a) Did the U.N. just move us one step closer to fulfilling this ancient prophecy?

Before answering this question, let’s look at the events on the ground.

First, the U.N. once again distinguished itself for hypocrisy by targeting Israel for its criticism—specifically, America’s support of Israel—while remaining silent on so many issues of world importance.

What has the U.N. been doing during the horrific war in Syria? Where has the U.N. been during the attempted genocide of Christians in the Middle East? Decades earlier, what did the U.N. have to say about Tiananmen Square in China or Saddam Hussein’s chemical warfare against the Kurds? Yet when America recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the U.N. is an uproar.

As I noted previously, groups like UNWatch.org have documented the U.N’.s consistent policy of singling out Israel for rebuke and condemnation while virtually ignoring atrocities committed on a mass scale by other nations, including Israel’s neighbors.

To give one case in point, during the UN General Assembly’s 61st session (2006-2007), “the time spent by ambassadors on enacting the 22nd anti-Israel resolution of the year was time not spent on passing a single resolution on Sudan’s genocide in Darfur.”

So, while Sudanese Christians were being slaughtered en masse by Muslim soldiers and gangs, the U.N. General Assembly spent its time enacting 22 anti-Israel resolutions.

In 2015, as noted by Israeli journalist Noga Gur-Arieh, “At the closing of the 59th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women … only one political resolution was passed; one that accuses Israel of mistreating Palestinian women, in all aspects of life.”

A similar resolution was passed in 2016 by the same U.N. Commission.

So, of all the nations on earth, only Israel was singled out for its alleged mistreatment of women.

That’s why Abba Eban, Israel’s legendary diplomat, once remarked, “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”

Second, in anticipation of the U.N. vote, the United States handled things exactly as it should have: with a strong word of rebuke and warning.

After all, different international leaders did not simply call President Trump and say, “We strongly differ with your recognition of Jerusalem.” Instead, in the most public forum available, 128 nations stood together to condemn America for doing was what right and righteous, declaring our decision “null and void.”

Nikki Haley’s words to the UN before the vote said it all: “To its shame, the United Nations has long been a hostile place for the state of Israel. Both the current and the previous Secretary-Generals have objected to the U.N.’s disproportionate focus on Israel. It’s a wrong that undermines the credibility of this institution, and that in turn is harmful for the entire world.”

Good for you, Mrs. Haley. Call the U.N. on the carpet.

Then, after articulating all the good our country does around the world, along with its support for the U.N., she rebuked the U.N. for disrespecting America, saying, “The United States will remember this day in which it was singled out for attack in the General Assembly for the very act of exercising our right as a sovereign nation. We will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution to the United Nations, and so many countries come calling on us, as they so often do, to pay even more and to use our influence for their benefit.”

And finally: “America will put our embassy in Jerusalem. That is what the American people want us to do and it is the right thing to do. This vote will make a difference in how Americans look at the U.N. And this vote will be remembered.”

Here, here, Ambassador Haley!

Third, the seven nations that stood with Israel and America today are a most unusual group, consisting of Guatemala, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Togo and Palau. Honestly, now, how many of us heard of some of these countries before? And how many of us could locate some of them on the map?

Whether it was out of economic dependence on the USA, a connection to Israel, or something else, these nations should be remembered for good in the days to come. They did what was courageous and correct.

As for the countries that abstained (35 in all), two (the Czech Republic and the Philippines) already stated they are considering relocating their embassies; a number of African nations have developed solid ties with Israel; some might have considered their need for American dollars and others might have remembered Israel’s kindness to them (such as Mexico, which was greatly aided by Israel after their disastrous earthquake in September, although Mexico did use its floor time to speak critically).

Already, “U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley invited representatives of countries who didn’t vote in favor of the United Nations General Assembly’s Jerusalem resolution to a reception as ‘thank you for your friendship to the United States.'”

Donald Trump has always appreciated loyalty.

But what of the matter of ancient prophecy? Is there a connection between the U.N.’s vote and the Bible?

I would say yes, for at least three reasons: 1) The vote confirms international hostility towards a Jewish Jerusalem. 2) The vote reminds us that the biblical authors were inspired when predicting that an end-time coalition of nations would come against a Jewish Jerusalem. 3) The vote tells us that, just as Scripture indicates, the city of Jerusalem alone is the whole world’s business (see Zech. 12:3).

Of course, this does not set a time frame for a united attack on a Jewish Jerusalem, and we don’t know if “all nations” (in the words of Zechariah) means every nation on earth or simply a worldwide coalition. But, after watching the last 2,500 years of history, coupled with the U.N.’s anti-Jerusalem vote this week, it’s hard to read the Bible and think that the writers just guessed things right. What are the chances of that? (Click to Source)

On Christmas…

Then came Hanukkah;[c] it was winter in Jerusalem. 23 Yeshua was walking in the Temple around Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 Then the Judean leaders surrounded Him, saying, “How long will You hold us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us outright!”

25 Yeshua answered them, “I told you, but you don’t believe! The works I do in My Father’s name testify concerning Me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not My sheep. 27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life! They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. And no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again the Judean leaders picked up stones to stone Him. 32 Yeshua answered them, “I’ve shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone Me?”

33 The Judean leaders answered, “We aren’t stoning you for a good work, but for blasphemy. Though You are a man, You make Yourself God!”

34 Yeshua answered them, “Isn’t it written in your Writings,[d] ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him, the One the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You speak blasphemy,’ because I said, ‘I am Ben-Elohim’?

37 “If I don’t do the works of My Father, don’t believe Me! 38 But if I do, even if you don’t trust Me, trust the deeds. Then you may come to know and continue to understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.” 39 Therefore they tried to capture Him again, but He escaped from their hand.

40 Again He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first started immersing, and He stayed there. 41 Many people came to Him and were saying, “John performed no sign, but all John said about this man was true.” 42 And many trusted in Him there.

(John 10:22-40)

  1. John 10:22 Lit. Rededication.
  2. John 10:34 Lit. Law, here applied to the Torah, Prophets, and Writings; quote is from Ps. 82:6.
Tree of Life Version (TLV) Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

slide_29

On Christmas…

My family has been involved in the Messianic movement for 22 years, now, since 1995. Like many people within the Messianic movement, I find myself not looking to the month of December with great enthusiasm.

Huge controversies can and do erupt during the month of December, regarding how Messianic people are to approach the Christian holiday of Christmas, on December 25. Many Messianic Jews simply do not see Christmas as something Jewish, they do not see it as something for them, but if Christians observe it, they are not going to oppose them. Many Messianic people, particularly intermarried couples, often keep both Chanukah and Christmas. Many other Messianic people, oppose Christmas, although for different reasons and with different levels of opposition. Some of this may simply come from December 25 not being a specified holiday in the Bible, or established by the Apostles. Others see Christmas on December 25 as a clear result of syncretism practiced by Christians of the Second-Fourth Centuries, where pagan holidays were reinterpreted and “Christianized” with Biblical themes. Many see Christmas on December 25 as outright paganism, Christmas trees directly prohibited in Scripture (i.e., Jeremiah 10:2-5), and most Christians serving the Kingdom of Darkness. And, a few others, noting some early opposition to Christmas by a number of the Protestant Reformers, see Christmas on December 25 as a symbol of corrupt Roman popery. Those who hold to all of these positions, are likely to be found at your local Messianic congregation during the month of December.

When I attended Asbury Theological Seminary (2005-2008) and took Church History I, the subject of Christmas on December 25 did come up in various classes. One of the textbooks we were assigned, had this to say:

“The earliest feast day in connection with the birth of Jesus was January 6, Epiphany, the day of his manifestation. This was originally the celebration of the birth itself. Later, particularly in some areas of the Latin West, December 25 began to take its place. This latter date was actually a pagan festival which, after the time of Constantine, was preempted by the celebration of Christmas”

Justo L. González, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1 (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1984), 96.

As you can imagine, some of my fellow students were a bit shocked when they saw–in our assigned textbook, no less–that Christmas on December 25 had some less-than-Biblical origins. I remember once of my professors adding to this that the Christmas tree was adapted from Teutonic and Nordic religion, with obviously no connection to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem–and then only added that Easter eggs likewise had no connection to the resurrection, but instead ancient fertility rites. “So, why do Christians participate in this?”, was the blunt response. The answer was: “The Christian Church has reinterpreted and redeemed these once pagan holidays and festivities.” What this actually was, was a seminary instructor saying that it was acceptable for Believers to practice syncretism, that is, take pagan religious customs, reinvent them, and superimpose Biblical themes onto them. This is precisely what Ancient Israel was told not to do, before entering into the Promised Land:

“When you enter the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations” (Deuteronomy 18:9, NJPS).

Yet unlike much of today’s evangelicalism, which will equivocate on the value of Christmas on December 25–a number of prominent comic voices recognize the syncretism in Christmas, and have no problem using it in their various routines!

At the 2002 White House Correspondents Dinner, Drew Carey made note of how Christmas, Easter, and most especially Halloween–were all holidays with origins outside of the Bible:

Last year, the College Humor sketch, “Adam Ruins Everything,” came out with a piece on “The Drunken, Pagan History of Christmas”:

Many of us who once observed Christmas, did not participate in frivolity, drunkenness, and hedonism. Many of us observed Christmas in a pious and holy manner, going to church, focusing on the birth of the Messiah, singing hymns, and fellowshipping with family and close friends. This is actually what makes giving up Christmas difficult for many people in today’s Messianic movement. Their attachment to Christmas, is not so much with the Christmas tree; their attachment to Christmas is with memories of being with those they cared about, some of whom are no longer living.

All of us should be mature enough as adults to recognize that during the month of December, due to all of the nativity scenes and different Christmas carols, that more people are going to be presented with hearing about Jesus and some form of the gospel, than at any other time during the year. In spite of many of the questionable practices and origins surrounding Christmas, God has brought people to Himself during this time of year. Yet Messianic people should also be wise enough to recognize that the Savior declared today during the month of December, is broadly not the Messiah of Israel, who is returning to reign over Planet Earth from Jerusalem—but is instead a universal Christ of tolerance (for human sin). While many sincere Christian people have honored God in ignorance on December 25, Christmas on December 25 is not a God-honoring activity.

I do not encourage any of you to be odious to Christian people during this month, creating unnecessary scenes. Wishing “Happy Holidays” when being told “Merry Christmas,” is entirely legitimate. (Click to Source)

 

Scientists Trace Humanity Back to Single ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’, Strengthening Creation Story

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth.

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

 Yahweh-God created mankind on the Sixth day of Creation six thousand years ago, not hundreds of thousands of years ago!

Following the recent trend of congruence between science and Bible in different fields, fresh genetic research suggests that all females are descended from a single female and all males from a single male – corresponding with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve.

For many years the multiregional hypothesis, suggesting multiple origins for humanity, was predominant in genetic research. But new studies suggest that all of humanity has a common origin.

“The Torah has always claimed one common ancestor to all humanity as well as creation ex-nilo,” Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman told Breaking Israel News in response to the finding. “Recent discoveries in these fields seem to confirm these truths.”

The theory was first developed in 1987, when leading science journal Nature published a study investigating humanity’s origins. The study researched mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mother to both daughter and son. Because mitochondrial DNA is only passed on by the mother and never the father, it reveals maternal lineage.

Knowing this, the researchers were able to determine that every human being alive today can trace their ancestry back to a single woman now referred to as “Mitochondrial Eve.”  The original research placed Eve somewhere in East Africa between 140,000 and 200,000 years ago. More recent research suggests she may have lived less than 100,000 years ago.

The study was quickly attacked by other researchers, but subsequent studies confirmed the original findings and the theory is now generally accepted in the scientific community.

Professor Karl Skorecki, an expert on DNA and the discoverer of the “Cohen Gene”, which identifies members of the Jewish priestly caste through genetic testing, explained to Breaking Israel News  how the findings harmonize with the Biblical account.

“Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all contemporary humans sampled today indicates that all of the different variations in the sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) trace back, or converge to an original sequence in a given woman,” he explained.

“That woman, Mitochondrial Eve, transmitted her mtDNA sequence to her offspring, and over generations slight variations in sequence occurred and accumulated, leading to the diversity of existent sequences in men and women populating the earth today.”

Professor Skorecki said that while the findings confirm a single mother to all humanity, they do not suggest she was the only woman of her time. But this, he pointed out, is harmonious with the Bible, which identifies other human populations at the time of Eve.

Ancestral Adam was found in 1995, when a separate study on male ancestry examined the Y-chromosome, passed directly from father to son. Science published the results of a study in which a segment of the Y-chromosome from 38 men from different ethnic groups were analyzed for variation.

Their conclusion was that every man alive today actually descended from a single man whom scientists now refer to as “Y-Chromosomal Adam.”

“The last fifty years of science, especially in the fields of cosmology and quantum physics, have brought Torah and science together as never before,” Rabbi Trugman noted. “Perhaps now the same will occur within anthropology and Torah.”

“Although the Torah is not a science, history, anthropology, philosophy, or cosmology book in the common sense, it is actually all of these and much more,” he added.

The first studies concluded that “Eve” lived much later than “Adam” – some 140,000 years later. But recent studies indicate that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam may indeed have lived around the same time.

End-times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston took the comparison even further than confirming the Biblical account, explaining how he sees the confluence between the scientific view of Eve and the Biblical account as a signal of redemption.

“During the exile there was great Hester Panim – a hiding of God’s face. As a result the Bible became relegated to the back of man’s consciousness,” he said. “At the same time, science at first seemed to diverge from religion.

“But since the Torah is the basic fabric of reality it cannot be hidden forever. As the redemption moves forward and the Jews return home, the Bible is coming back to the forefront of man’s consciousness. Along with this we see a growing harmony between science and the Bible. We have even gotten the point where science is now borrowing concepts from the Bible – such as with Mitochondrial Eve.” (Click to Source)

New Ager-Turned-Christian Steven Bancarz Exposes Connection Between Psychedelic Drugs and Witchcraft

img

A former New Ager who became a born again believer in Jesus is explaining the link between the use of psychoactive substances and the occult.

In a video released on his YouTube channel Sunday, Steven Bancarz, who shared his remarkable testimony with The Christian Post last year, unpacked the spiritual darkness tied to the use of psychedelic drugs.

“Psychedelic drugs are a class of substances that interact with the seratonin receptors in the brain, causing an alternation in perception and sometimes resulting in visionary or hallucinatory experiences,” he explained, the most common of which are LSD, DMT, mescaline, and Psilocybin mushrooms.

These substances have been used for thousands of years among practitioners of pagan religions of all kinds, Bancarz noted. He made the video in response to the many questions he received about this after dispensing his New Age beliefs, and said he has some personal experience with mushrooms.

The use of psychedelics has profound spiritual implications, he stated. And although the phrase “psychedelic drugs” never appears in text, Scripture forbids it. And these same biblical prohibitions apply to other drugs like marijuana, meth, and cocaine, he said.

The use of psychedelics thwart the meaning of life, Bancarz said, which for the Christian is “fellowship with God through Jesus.” Whatever the appeal of using these drugs like “expanded perspectives,” “contact with the spirit world,” or fulfilling human curiosity, “the end of human life is to be restored to relationship with the Father, through faith in Jesus.”

“Biblically speaking, the shifting of our consciousness with drugs is not something God calls us to do. It does not bring us closer to Him,” Bancarz said.

He noted that several passages of the New Testament forbid drug use, which is contained in their condemnation of “sorcery,” such as in Galatians 5:19-21 where it is listed alongside sexual immorality, jealousy, and fits of anger — sins the apostle Paul calls “works of the flesh” that inhibit people from inheriting the Kingdom of God.

“The Greek word used here is pharmakeia,” Bancarz said, “which is where we derive the word pharmacy from.”

While “sorcery” refers to magic in its witchcraft sense, it also includes magic with drugs, like substances and medicines used for spiritual, recreational, religious ceremonial, and other non-medicinal purposes. The Book of Enoch, while not a canonical book of the Bible and should not be considered God-breathed like the rest of Scripture even though part of it is quoted in Jude 14-15, affirms this definition, Bancarz added.

The Book of Enoch also describes how fallen angels taught humans how to utilize plants and cut roots to tap into their psychedelic compounds and to elicit metaphysical experiences and cast spells.

“If transpersonal mystical experiences coming alongside the use of drugs cannot be called pharmakeia, I don’t know what can. This is literally what the word means.”

Elsewhere in Scripture, such as in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “drunkenness” is condemned, and Bancarz maintained that drug use falls under this category. The word used in that passage is “methe,” which primarily refers to intoxication through alcohol but includes any kind of intoxicant. Whatever the substance, anything that impairs someone’s physical and mental faculties is grievous to God.

Moreover, Scripture also exhorts Christians to be sober, he continued.

1 Thessalonians 5:6, 2 Timothy 4:5, and 1 Peter 1:13, and several other instances all emphasize the importance on being sober-minded, being temperate in our thinking.

“And we can’t be sober in our minds and in our thinking if we are intoxicated under chemically induced states of consciousness,” Bancarz said.

The use of psychedelics is also a pagan practice, and to employ them is to disobey God’s call to be separate and distinct from the world, a holy nation, a pure people for himself, he stressed.

“[God] wants us to look different, think different, and act different,” Bancarz explained, “and historically speaking, the only cultures that used these [psychoactive] substances were pagan.”

In light of all this evidence, “we need to turn away from our sin, put away the use of these substances, put our faith in Jesus for our salvation, and follow the straight and narrow path that leads to everlasting life,” he concluded.

Bancarz’s website, Reasons for Jesus, is an apologetics resource hub that helps Christians understand the deception of occultic spirituality and the demonic realm. (Click to Site)

Is Russia preparing to ATTACK US troops in Syria? Moscow warns it will target areas held by US Special Forces if the Kremlin’s soldiers are fired on ‘again’ by anti-Assad forces

 

  • Russian troops are fighting with the Syrian army to recapture city of Deir Ezzor 
  • Syrian Democratic Forces and US special forces have also moved on the city
  • Moscow says its troops have come under fire twice from American positions
  • Russia said its soldiers are prepared to return fire if they are threatened

Russia has said its troops are prepared to fire on US positions in Syria if they come under attack by American-backed soldiers ‘again’.

The Kremlin accused US forces of ‘twice’ firing on positions being occupied by the army of Bashar al-Assad, which is fighting alongside Russian special forces to recapture the city of Deir Ezzor from ISIS.

Moscow said the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are being supported by US troops on the ground, opened fire with artillery and mortars, though did not say when.

If this happens again, ‘those areas will be immediately suppressed with all military means’, Russian commander Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.

Russian commanders in Syria have warned they will fire on positions occupied by the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are being supported by the US, if they are threatened (pictured, a Russia sniper in Syria)

 Russian commanders in Syria have warned they will fire on positions occupied by the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are being supported by the US, if they are threatened (pictured, a Russia sniper in Syria)

Moscow said the SDF has 'twice' fired on positions held by the Syrian Arab Army, which it is supporting, as they fight to recapture the city of Deir Ezzor from ISIS

Moscow said the SDF has ‘twice’ fired on positions held by the Syrian Arab Army, which it is supporting, as they fight to recapture the city of Deir Ezzor from ISIS

The SDF has taken up positions on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River, while the Syrian Arab Army has been fighting its way along the western shore

 The SDF has taken up positions on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River, while the Syrian Arab Army has been fighting its way along the western shore

He added: ‘A representative of the U.S. military command was told in no uncertain terms that any attempts to open fire from areas where SDF fighters are located would be quickly shut down.’

Russia said SDF forces, which are mostly comprised of Kurdish People’s Liberation Army battalions, had split away from fighting around ISIS’s de-facto capital in Raqqa to join the battle in Deir Ezzor.

The Syrian Arab Army, controlled by Assad, is currently fighting along the western shore of the Euphrates river and has pushed into the main city.

Meanwhile the SDF has taken up positions on the opposite bank and are fighting towards the outlying town of Hussainiyah.

Tensions in the region have been rising as the two armies push toward each-other, bringing two world superpowers ever closer to direct conflict.

Both President Trump and President Putin have insisted that their only goal in Syria is to eliminate ISIS, but that has not stopped the pair butting heads.

The most serious incident took place earlier this year when Trump launched 60 cruise missiles at Shayrat Airbase, which is controlled by Assad and had Russian troops stationed there at the time.

The move was retaliation for a gas attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun which the UN has said was perpetrated by the Assad regime.

Earlier this week the Russian Defence Ministry  accused U.S. spies of initiating a jihadi offensive against government-held parts of north-west Syria.

Both Russia and the US say their sole goal in Syria is the eradication of ISIS, but this has not stopped the two superpowers from butting heads

 Both Russia and the US say their sole goal in Syria is the eradication of ISIS, but this has not stopped the two superpowers from butting heads

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, commander of Russian forces in Syria, said any further aggression by the SDF will be 'immediately suppressed with all military means'

Major-General Igor Konashenkov, commander of Russian forces in Syria, said any further aggression by the SDF will be ‘immediately suppressed with all military means’

The Syrian Arab Army (pictured) is loyal to Bashar al-Assad, while the SDF is mostly comprised of Kurdish People's Liberation Army battalions

 The Syrian Arab Army (pictured) is loyal to Bashar al-Assad, while the SDF is mostly comprised of Kurdish People’s Liberation Army battalions

The ministry said 29 Russian military policemen had been surrounded by jihadis as a result and that Russia had been forced to break them out.

‘According to our information, U.S. intelligence services initiated the offensive to halt the successful advance of government troops to the east of Deir Ezzor,’ said Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi.

The Syrian army, backed by Russian war planes, has captured about 100 km (160 miles) of the west bank of the Euphrates this month, reaching the Raqqa provincial border on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Syrian troops also crossed to the eastern side of the river on Monday where the SDF has been advancing.

The convergence of the rival offensives has increased tensions in Deir al-Zor.

The U.S.-backed militia said on Saturday they had come under attack from Russian jets and Syrian government forces, something Moscow denied.

On Monday, the SDF warned against any further Syrian army advances on the eastern riverbank, and Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that the waters of the Euphrates had risen as soon as the Syrian army began crossing it, suggesting this could only have happened if upstream dams held by the U.S.-backed opposition had been opened.  (Click to Site)

 

 

Preparing for the Aftermath–What would it really be like to have no running water, electricity, sewer, newspaper or Internet? No supermarket or fire department close at hand?

2-16

It’s two years after an EMP attack and you have safely tucked away in your retreat somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  Your storage foods have mostly been used and your high-tech electronics is useless. The really bad stuff is mostly past.  Now it’s trying to stay fed and alive and pray that civilization as you know it is coming back.  You’re going to have to work your environment to live. Ever wonder what life might be like?  What would it really be like to have no running water, electricity, sewer, newspaper or Internet?  No supermarket or fire department close at hand?

I have a good imagination but I decided to talk to someone who would know first hand what it was like: my mother.  She grew up on a homestead in the middle of Montana during the 1920s and 1930s.  It was a two-room Cottonwood cabin with the nearest neighbor three miles away.  She was oldest at 9, so she was in charge of her brother and sister.  This was her reality; I feel there are lessons here for the rest of us.

There was a Majestic stove that used wood and coal.  The first person up at four thirty A.M., usually her father, would start the fire for breakfast.  It was a comforting start to the day but your feet would get cold when you got out of bed.

A crosscut saw and axe were used to cut wood for the stove and after that experience, you got pretty stingy with the firewood because you know what it takes to replace it.  The old-timers say that it warms you when you cut it when you split it, and again when you burn it.  The homes that were typical on homesteads and ranches of the era were smaller with lower ceilings than modern houses just so they could be heated easier.  The saw and axe were not tools to try hurrying with.  You set a steady pace and maintained it.  A man in a hurry with an axe may lose some toes or worse.  One side effect of the saw and axe use is that you are continuously hungry and will consume a huge amount of food.
Lights in the cabin were old-fashioned kerosene lamps.  It was the kid’s job to trim the wicks, clean the chimneys and refill the reservoirs.

The privy was downhill from the house next to the corral and there was no toilet paper.  Old newspaper, catalogs or magazines were used and in the summer a pan of barely warm water was there for hygiene.  During a dark night, blizzard, or brownout from a dust storm, you followed the corral poles-no flashlights.

There were two springs close to the house that ran clear, clean, and cold water.  The one right next to it was a “soft” water spring.  It was great for washing clothes and felt smooth, almost slick, on your skin.  If you drank from it, it would clean you out just as effectively as it cleaned clothes.  Not all clean water is equal.

The second spring was a half mile from the cabin and it was cold, clear, and tasted wonderful.  The spring itself was deep – an eight-foot corral pole never hit bottom- and flowed through the year.  It was from here that the kids would fill two barrels on a heavy duty sled with water for the house and the animals.  They would lead the old white horse that was hitched to the sledge back to the buildings and distribute the water for people and animals.  In the summer, they made two trips in the morning and maybe a third in the evening.  In the winter, one trip in the morning and one in the evening.  They did this alone.

Breakfast was a big meal because they’re going to be working hard.  Usually, there would be homemade sausage, eggs, and either cornmeal mush or oatmeal.  More food was prepared than what was going to be eaten right then.  The extra food was left on the table under a dish towel and eaten as wanted during the day.  When evening meal was cooked, any leftovers were reheated.  The oatmeal or the mush was sliced and fried for supper.  It was served with butter, syrup, honey or molasses.

Preparedness Hacks: Don’t buy solar panels before seeing THIS

The ’20k solar panel system’ is coming to an end. Wall street confirms all shareholders are selling hard after this weird cheap solution popped on the radar. And they have every reason to…

Over 18,000 Patriots are using the system in their homes… (and that’s just in the last three months). They get unlimited energy for less than 80 cents a day…
Without paying one nickel more to their electricity provider! If you’re skeptical…Just watch this short video… and you’ll be able to cut your power bills to almost ZERO in just 45 minutes!

The homemade sausage was from a quarter or half a hog.  The grinder was a small kitchen grinder that clamped on the edge of a table and everybody took turns cranking.  When all the hog had been ground, the sausage mix was added and kneaded in by hand.  Then it was immediately fried into patties.  The patties were placed, layer by layer, into a stone crock and covered with the rendered sausage grease.   The patties were reheated as needed.  The grease was used for gravies as well as re-cooking the patties.  Occasionally a fresh slice of bread would be slathered with a layer of sausage grease and a large slice of fresh onion would top it off for a quick sandwich.  Nothing was wasted.
Some of their protein came from dried fish or beef.  Usually, this had to be soaked to remove the excess salt or lye.  Then it was boiled.  Leftovers would go into hash, fish patties, or potato cakes.

Beans?  There was almost always a pot of beans on the stove in the winter time.
Chickens and a couple of milk cows provided needed food to balance the larder.  They could not have supported a growing family without these two resources.
The kitchen garden ran mostly to root crops.  Onion, turnip, rutabaga, potato, and radishes grew under chicken wire.  Rhubarb was canned for use as a winter tonic to stave off scurvy.  Lettuce, corn, and other above ground crops suffered from deer, rats, and gumbo clay soil. Surprisingly, cabbage did well.  The winter squash didn’t do much, only 2 or 3 gourds.  Grasshoppers were controlled by the chickens and turkeys.  There was endless hoeing.

Washing clothes required heating water on the stove, pouring it into three galvanized wash tubs-one for the homemade lye soap and scrub board, the other two for rinsing.  Clothes were rinsed and wrung out by hand, then hung on a wire to dry in the air.  Your hands became red and raw, your arms and shoulders sore beyond belief by the end of the wash.  Wet clothing, especially wool, is heavy and the gray scum from the soap was hard to get out of the clothes.

Personal baths were in a galvanized wash tub screened by a sheet.  In the winter it was difficult to haul, heat and handle the water so baths weren’t done often.  Most people would do sponge baths.

Everybody worked including the kids.  There were always more chores to be done that time in the day.  It wasn’t just this one family; it was the neighbors as well.  You were judged first and foremost by your work ethic and then your honesty.  This was critical because if you were found wanting in either department, the extra jobs that might pay cash money, a quarter of beef, hog or mutton would not be available.  Further, the cooperation with your neighbors was the only assurance that if you needed help, you would get help.  Nobody in the community could get by strictly on their own.  A few tried.  When they left, nobody missed them.
You didn’t have to like someone to cooperate and work with him or her.

Several times a year people would get together for organized activities: barn raising, butcher bee, harvest, roofing, dance, or picnics.  There were lots of picnics, usually in a creek bottom with cottonwoods for shade or sometimes at the church.  Always, the women would have tables groaning with food, full coffee pots and, if they were lucky, maybe some lemonade. (Lemons were expensive and scarce)  After the work (even for picnics, there was usually a project to be done first) came the socializing.  Many times people would bring bedding and sleep out overnight, returning home the next day.

A half dozen families would get together for a butcher bee in the cold days of late fall.  Cows were slaughtered first, then pigs, mutton, and finally chickens.  Blood from some of the animals was collected in milk pails, kept warm on a stove to halt coagulation and salt added.  Then it was canned for later use in blood dumplings, sausage or pudding.  The hides were salted for later tanning; the feathers from the fowl were held for cleaning and used in pillows or mattresses.  The skinned quarters of the animals would be dipped into cold salt brine and hung to finish cooling out so they could be taken home safely for processing.  Nothing went to waste.

The most feared occurrence in the area was fire.  If it got started, it wasn’t going out until it burned itself out.  People could and did lose everything.
The most used weapon was the .22 single shot Winchester with .22 shorts.  It was used to take the heads off pheasant, quail, rabbit, and ducks.  If you held low, the low-powered round didn’t tear up the meat.  The shooters, usually the kids, quickly learned sight picture and trigger control although they never heard those terms.  If you took five rounds of ammunition, you better bring back the ammunition or a critter for the pot for each round expended. It was also a lot quieter and less expensive [in those days] than the .22 Long Rifle cartridges.

If you are trying to maintain a low profile, the odor of freshly baked bread can be detected in excess of three miles on a calm day.  Especially by kids.
Twice a year the cabin was emptied of everything.  The walls, floors, and ceilings were scrubbed with lye soap and a bristle brush.  All the belongings were also cleaned before they came back into the house.  This was pest control and it was needed until DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. A potent pesticide that is now banned in many countries) became available.  Bedbugs, lice, ticks and other creepy crawlies were a fact of life and were controlled by brute force.  Failure to do so left you in misery and maybe ill.

Foods were stored in bug-proof containers.  The most popular were fifteen-pound metal coffee cans with tight lids.  These were for day to day use in the kitchen.  (I still have one. It’s a family heirloom.)  The next were barrels to hold the bulk foods like flour, sugar, cornmeal, and rice.  Everything was sealed or the vermin would get to it.  There was always at least one, preferably two, months of food on hand.  If the fall cash allowed, they would stock up for the entire winter before the first snowfall.

The closest thing to a cooler was a metal box on the kitchen floor.  It had a very tight lid and was used to store milk, eggs, and butter for a day or two. Butter was heavily salted on the outside to keep it from going rancid or melting.  Buttermilk, cottage cheese, and regular cheese were made from raw milk after collecting for a day or two.  The box was relatively cool in the summer and did not freeze in the winter.

Mice and rats love humanity because we keep our environment warm and tend to be sloppy with the food they like.  Snakes love rats and mice so they were always around.  If the kids were going to play outside, they would police the area with a hoe and a shovel.  After killing and disposing of the rattlesnakes- there was always at least one-then they could play for a while in reasonable safety.

The mice and rats were controlled by traps, rocks from slingshots, cats, and coyotes.  The cats had a hard and usually short life because of the coyotes.  The Coyotes were barely controlled and seemed to be able to smell firearms at a distance.  There were people who hunted the never-ending numbers for the bounty.

After chores were done, kid’s active imagination was used in their play.  They didn’t have a lot of toys.  There were a couple of dolls for the girls, a pocket knife and some marbles for the boy, and a whole lot of empty to fill.  Their father’s beef calves were pretty gentle by the time they were sold at market – the kids rode them regularly.  (Not a much fat on those calves but a lot of muscle.)  They would look for arrowheads, lizards, and wildflowers.  Chokecherry, buffalo berry, gooseberry, and currants were picked for jelly and syrups.  Sometimes the kids made chokecherry wine.

On a hot summer day in the afternoon, the shade on the east side of the house was treasured and the east wind, if it came, even more so.
Adults hated hailstorms because of the destruction, kids loved them because they could collect the hail and make ice cream.
Childbirth was usually handled at a neighbor’s house with a midwife if you were lucky.  If you got sick you were treated with ginger tea, honey, chicken soup or sulfur and molasses.  Castor oil was used regularly as well.  Wounds were cleaned with soap and disinfected with whiskey.  Mustard based poultices were often used for a variety of ills.  Turpentine, mustard, and lard were one that was applied to the chest for pneumonia or a hacking cough.

Contact with the outside world was an occasional trip to town for supplies using a wagon and team.  A battery operated radio was used very sparingly in the evenings.  A rechargeable car battery was used for power.  The school was a six-mile walk one way and you brought your own lunch.  One school teacher regularly put potatoes on the stove to bake and shared them with the kids.  She was very well thought of by the kids and the parents.

These people were used to a limited amount of social interaction.  They were used to no television, radio, or outside entertainment. They were used to having only three or four books.  A fiddler or guitar player for a picnic or a dance was a wonderful thing to be enjoyed.  The church was a social occasion as well as religious.
The church ladies and their butter and egg money allowed most rural churches to be built and to prosper.  The men were required to do the heavy work but the ladies made it come together.  The civilizing of the west sprang from these roots.  Some of those ladies had spines of steel.  They needed it.

That’s a partial story of the homestead years.  People were very independent, stubborn and strong but still needed the community and access to the technology of the outside world for salt, sugar, flour, spices, chicken feed, cloth, kerosene for the lights and of course, coffee. There are many more things I could list.  Could they have found an alternative if something was unavailable?  Maybe.  How would you get salt or nitrates in Montana without importing?  Does anyone know how to make kerosene?  Coffee would be valued like gold.  Roasted grain or chicory just didn’t cut it.

I don’t want to discourage people trying to prepare but rather to point out that generalized and practical knowledge along with a cooperative community is still needed for long-term survival. Whatever shortcomings you may have, if you are part of a community, it is much more likely to be covered.  The described community in this article was at least twenty to thirty miles across and included many farms and ranches as well as the town.  Who your neighbors are, what type of people they are, and your relationship to them is one of the more important things to consider.

Were there fights, disagreements, and other unpleasantness?  Absolutely.  Some of it was handled by neighbors, a minister or the sheriff.  Some bad feelings lasted a lifetime.  There were some people that were really bad by any standard and they were either the sheriff’s problem or they got sorted out by one of their prospective victims.
These homesteaders had a rough life but they felt they had a great life and their way of life was shared by everyone they knew.  They never went hungry, had great daylong picnics with the neighbors, and knew everyone personally within twenty miles.  Every bit of pleasure or joy was treasured like a jewel since it was usually found in a sea of hard work.  They worked hard, played hard and loved well.  In our cushy life, we have much more “things” and “conveniences” than they ever did, but we lack the connection they had with their environment and community.

The biggest concern for our future: What happens if an event such as a solar flare, EMP, or a plague takes our society further back than the early 1900s by wiping out our technology base.  Consider the relatively bucolic scene just described and then add in some true post-apocalyptic hard cases.  Some of the science fiction stories suddenly get much more realistic and scary.  A comment out of a Star Trek scene comes to mind “In the fight between good and evil, good must be very, very good.”
Consider what kind of supplies might not be available at any cost just because there is no longer a manufacturing base or because there is no supply chain.  In the 1900s they had the railroads as a lifeline from the industrial east.

How long would it take us to rebuild the tools for recovery to the early 1900 levels?

One of the greatest advantages we have is access to a huge amount of information about our world, how things work and everything in our lives. We need to be smart enough to learn/understand as much as possible and store references for all the rest.  Some of us don’t sleep well at night as we are well aware of how fragile our society and technological infrastructure is.  Trying to live the homesteader’s life would be very painful for most of us in the aftermath.  I would prefer not to.  I hope and pray it doesn’t ever come to that.

Living without power, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers, it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. Keep in mind that the key to a successful homestead does not only lie on being able to grow your own food but on other skills as well. LEARNING THESE SKILLS WILL take time, patience and perseverance, and not all of these skills are applicable to certain situations. Hopefully, though, you managed to pick up some great ideas that will inspire you and get you started! Just like our forefathers used to do,  The Lost Ways Book teaches you how you can survive in the worst-case scenario with the minimum resources available.It comes as a STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE ACCOMPANIED BY PICTURES AND TEACHES YOU HOW TO USE BASIC INGREDIENTS TO MAKE SUPER-FOOD FOR YOUR LOVED ONES.

pemican

(Click to Site)