"Acceptance" and "Think Before You Act!"
On August 11, 2007, Kalon Mitchell and Michael Link will give split sermons, titled, “Acceptance” and “Think Before You Act!”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
by Dave Harris
Are you blessed? Do you even consider yourself blessed? By what standard could you come to the conclusion that you are among those who could say, “I am blessed”?
We are coming up to that very special time of the year when, at the Feast of Tabernacles, little children are brought forward to be specially blessed through prayer to God and the laying on of hands by the ministry. This practice is based on the Biblical example established by Jesus Christ, and as we find recorded in Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16 and Luke 18:15-17.
In what way were those children “blessed” by the actions of Jesus Christ?
Jesus, by blessing the little children who were brought to Him, asked that God would help and watch over them. Implicit in His actions was the fact that God responded by having those children set apart for His unique care. Exactly how all that played out largely depended on the choices the children made throughout their lifetimes.
We can understand how blessings from God are given by considering Adam and Eve. God richly and abundantly blessed them with every physical need, and He offered them the opportunity to be even further blessed with His gift of eternal life. However, both Adam and Eve rejected God’s blessings through their disobedience to Him! By their own actions, they cut themselves off from the blessings of God.
Throughout the Word of God there are stories of individuals who received God’s blessings as well as of those who lost them. Obedience to God is the pivotal issue for having and keeping the blessings that God gives.
In our own time, we have witnessed people who have been tremendously blessed by God but who have rejected His blessings. How? They have rejected His calling, along with the priceless atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the unparalleled gift of God’s Holy Spirit–and they have turned back to this world and its ways. No longer are they set apart from this world to receive the continuing blessings of God!
As these Fall Holy Days approach, let’s make it a point to come before God to thank Him for all that He does for us. Thank Him for the richness of His blessings that are truly brim full and running over–blessings that we have now and blessings that we shall have through His immutable promises.
Let me ask one more time, Are YOU blessed?
Here is the answer, from Psalm 128:1: “Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways.”
This Week in the News
160,000 U.S. Road Bridges In Danger of Collapse
The Minneapolis disaster could have been avoided. And future disasters, which appear inevitable, might also be prevented if billions of dollars, which are being wasted, for instance in Iraq (see our reports in this issue), would be used to repair damaged bridges, tunnels, dams and dikes. Unfortunately, as press reports point out, such a drastic and immediate change in thinking is not to be expected from any political party or leader.
On August 3, 2007, Der Spiegel Online wrote:
“The Minneapolis bridge disaster is no isolated incident but a warning signal: More than 160,000 road bridges in the USA are considered to be in danger of collapse. Highways, tunnels, dams and dykes are in such miserable condition that engineers have long been ringing the alarm — so far in vain.
“On April 5, 1987 the Schoharie Creek Bridge in New York state collapsed. The 35-meter-wide highway bridge had only recently been examined. Nevertheless it suddenly gave way, caved in and fell crashing into the river. Five vehicles fell into the river 25 meters below, and ten people died.
“The tragic sequence of events bears grisly similarities to the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis Wednesday, more than 20 years later. The causes of the accident also seem identical after the preliminary investigation: Wear and tear, obsolescence, carelessness, sloppiness.
“It doesn’t surprise experts. ‘The crumbling state of our infrastructure poses a real threat to public safety and the nation’s economy,’ Bill Marcuson, the president of the American Society Of Civil Engineers (ASCE), wrote on his ASCE blog just a few days before the most recent disaster. ‘Financing the urgently needed repairs must become a priority for our nation’s leaders.’ In total, ASCE calculates, at least $1.6 trillion must be invested in order to avoid further disasters like the one that happened this week in Minneapolis.
“Take America’s bridges, for example… Repairing all of America’s bridges would take at least 20 years and would eat up some $10 billion — money which NO ONE WANTS TO SPEND.
“America’s road tunnels are not in any better condition — even the brand new ones… The situation is much worse with the approximately 83,000 dams and dykes in the US. The catastrophe of Hurricane Katrina, which two years ago brought down the inadequate dyke system around New Orleans and caused over 1,800 deaths, revealed problems which are not limited to storm-prone Louisiana. According to the ASCE, the number of ‘unsafe’ dams and dykes has increased by a third to over 3,500 country-wide since 1998. Worryingly, ‘the number of dams identified as unsafe is increasing at a faster rate than those being repaired,’ according to the ASCE.”
The Superstitious Belief in Reincarnation
The following reads like a fairy tale. But sadly, many millions of people believe in the unbiblical concept of reincarnation–so much so that even atheist leaders try to capitalize on it.
Times on Line wrote on August 4:
“Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders… ‘The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,’ according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1. The 14-part regulation… is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing…
“China already insists that only the Government can approve the appointments of Tibet’s two most important monks, the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama. The Dalai Lama’s announcement in May 1995 that a search inside Tibet… had identified the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, who died in 1989, enraged Beijing… Several sets of rules on seeking out ‘soul boys’ were promulgated in 1995… All Tibetans believe in reincarnation, but only the holiest or most outstanding individuals are believed to be recognisable — a tulku, or apparent body… The search for a reincarnation is a mystical process involving clues left by the deceased and visions among leading monks on where to look.”
Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain
The Associated Press reported on August 4:
“Britain imposed a voluntary ban on exports of livestock and livestock products [because of an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease]… The ministry said the ban applied to animals with cloven hooves such as cows, sheep and pigs. It covers live animals, carcasses, meat and milk and is effective immediately… ‘Our first priority has been to act quickly and decisively,’ said [Prime Minister Gordon] Brown, who cut short a summer holiday to deal with the crisis, which prompted a European Union ban [on] livestock imports from Britain… Japan said earlier that it had banned British pork imports. Beef imports from Britain have been banned in Japan since the outbreak of mad cow disease in the 1990s.”
These outbreaks of diseases, affecting livestock, must have a devastating effect on the British economy.
Iraq’s Ongoing Collapse
The following report reveals the utter failure of the United States to try to create a better, safer and more prosperous Iraq for the Iraqi people.
AFP wrote on August 7:
“As Iraqis queue miserably for food and water, or swelter in homes and hospitals without electricity, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s coalition government is collapsing around him. The latest boycott — by four ministers from a non-sectarian party — brought to 17 the number of members of the Shiite-led coalition to have walked out, tendered their resignations or withdrawn from cabinet meetings… But Maliki further alienated himself from his Sunni political opponents — whose inclusion in government the Americans see as crucial to ending Iraq’s civil conflicts — by accusing them of being insincere and irresponsible… Since the US-led invasion of March 2003, Iraq has plunged into an abyss of overlapping civil conflicts that have divided its rival religious and ethnic communities, and left tens of thousands of civilians dead…
“But in the unbearable heat of Iraq, where temperatures frequently reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer, many ordinary people are more frustrated with the lack of basic services than political squabbling. Last week, a report by Stuart Bowen, the US chief inspector of Iraqi reconstruction, painted a DAMNING PICTURE OF GOVERNMENT FAILURE, and described the effects of corruption as being akin to a ‘second insurgency’. Baghdad residents say they are sleeping on hard floors or roofs, suffering interminably without fans or air-conditioning, being forced to buy bottled water or drink contaminated water from purification plants without power.
“One of the lucky ones with a job in a country where unemployment stands at well over 50 percent, Yasser Ghazi said he still can’t afford to operate a generator to fill the gaps between the paltry few hours of electricity a day. ‘My sister is pregnant. I sent her with my mother, an old woman, to Syria to give birth because there’s no electricity or clean water. There’s not even a good hospital,’ said Ghazi…”
Weapons Given to Iraq Are Missing
The following report sounds incredible, but it appears to be grim reality in a world which lives and dies by the sword.
The Washington Post wrote on August 6:
“The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.
“The author of the report from the Government Accountability Office says U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops.
“The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005
“… the inability of the United States to track weapons with tools such as serial numbers makes it nearly impossible for the U.S. military to know whether it is battling an enemy equipped by American taxpayers.”
Democratic-Led Congress Approves New U.S. Wiretapping Law
This next story sounds equally unbelievable. It, too, is grim reality, showing the extreme influence and power of political pressure on all politicians, irrespective of party affiliation.
The New York Times wrote on August 6:
“President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants… For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the N.S.A.’s target is the person in London…
“The legislation to change the surveillance act was rushed through both the House and Senate in the last days before the August recess began… In fact, pressure from the telecommunications companies on the Bush administration has apparently played a major hidden role in the political battle over the surveillance issue over the past few months… Those companies were facing major lawsuits for having secretly cooperated with the warrantless wiretapping program, and now wanted greater legal protections before cooperating further.”
Joint Military Exercise of China and Russia
The Times wrote on August 6:
“Russian and Chinese troops are joining forces this week in the first military exercises by an international organisation that is regarded in some quarters as a potential rival to Nato… Scores of Russian and Chinese aircraft begin joint exercises tomorrow before a week of military manoeuvres from Thursday that will include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. At least 6,500 troops are involved in what is described as an antiterror exercise…
“MPs on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee expressed fears last year that the West could be on a collision course in the struggle for energy resources with ‘an authoritarian bloc opposed to democracy’ that was based on an alliance between China and Russia. A newly assertive Russia, flush with oil and gas revenues, is moving rapidly to increase its military capability amid tensions with the West over missile defence and Nato expansion. Almost £100 billion has been set aside for rearmament over the next eight years.”
As the Bible foretells, Russia and China, as well as other Far Eastern countries, WILL become a military threat to the West, especially continental Europe.
The New European Superstate
The Daily Mail wrote on August 6:
“… the idea that we [Great Britain] should give up the power to make our own foreign policy in favour of an EU foreign ministry, with its own diplomatic service, is not even half of what this new [European] treaty proposes. Ploughing through its 145 dense pages, what we see emerging is nothing less than the grand design whereby Europe is to be given a new form of supranational government, with far more powers over the lives of the EU’s 480 million citizens than will remain with any national government.
“Nothing reveals this more vividly than the extraordinary new status to be given at the centre of this new government to a body known as the European Council. It is this body that has already agreed [on] the exact wording of the new treaty, and which has, in effect, ordered that it should be rammed through in less than three months without a word being changed. This in itself is wholly without precedent. All the previous treaties which built up the powers of the EU resulted from months of negotiation between national governments. But on this treaty, governments are given no choice. They are obliged simply to accept what they were told to accept by the European Council in June.
“… What is this mysterious body, the European Council? It has, in fact, been taking shape and waxing in importance for more than 30 years. Its meetings are normally described by the media as ‘summits’… Under the new treaty… the Council’s role is to act as the Cabinet of the new ‘government of Europe’. For a start, presiding over its meetings will be a new permanent President of Europe, serving for up to five years (who may also be president of the European Commission). Alongside him, acting as the Union’s foreign minister, will be… the official who will in effect be foreign secretary for all the EU’s 27 members, including Britain.
“But there is another highly significant change in the role of the European Council, which can only be grasped by looking at the treaty’s small print. Until now, when prime ministers attended a meeting of the Council, they spoke on behalf of their own country. However, when the Council becomes a ‘Union institution’, its members will no longer be allowed to do this. Like the members of all other Union institutions, their first loyalty must now be to the Union… And as the new treaty makes clear, the Union will now have the power to decide policy on almost every conceivable issue, from foreign and defence policy to how national economies should be run… The EU will be allowed [to]take new powers over anything it wants, in accordance with those new all-embracing ‘objectives of the Union’… What all this amounts to is that the EU finally wishes to set itself up as the supreme government of Britain and 26 other countries, with virtually UNLIMITED POWERS over every aspect of our lives. This is nothing less than an astonishing coup d’etat.”
A European Superstate is in the making… and no human being will be able to stop it! For more information, read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”
Travelers from US Face EU Crackdown
More controversies are developing between the USA and the EU.
The Financial Times wrote on August 7:
“US business travellers and tourists flying to the European Union are facing the threat of the same laborious registration requirements that Washington has demanded of Europeans in the latest US security crackdown. In its first reaction to the new US visa law, the European Commission said it was ‘considering’ a so-called electronic traveller authorisation scheme – similar to the American plan – that would require foreigners heading to the EU to give notice of their travel plans before departure. The threat has been conveyed to senior US officials and lawmakers, with one letter sent last month stressing that a European system would ‘of course operate on a reciprocal basis’… the idea had received ‘new impetus’ by the adoption of a US counter-terrorism bill last week that requires travellers to give US authorities at least 48 hours’ notice of their plans to visit the country.
“George W. Bush, US president, signed the law last Friday in spite of [sharp criticism from and] repeated appeals by the Commission and European business groups to reconsider the measures. The law will tighten scrutiny of travellers from the 26 developed countries whose citizens do not at present require visas to enter the US, including Britain, France, German and most other western European countries… “
Floods Across South Asia Affect Millions
AFP wrote on August 6:
“Many of the millions of people forced from their homes by floods across South Asia were desperate for food and drinking water on Monday as aid workers and army battled to reach them. The flooding, described as the heaviest to hit the region in decades, has affected 31 million people and killed more than 1,600 others in India, Bangladesh and Nepal since monsoon rains began pouring down in June.
“India’s northern Bihar state has been hit hardest by the disaster, and some of the growing number of people marooned by the swirling waters have resorted to fighting for emergency food supplies. The state’s disaster management chief, Manoj Srivastava, put the total number of flood-affected at 11.5 million… ‘This has been an unprecedented flood,’ Srivastava said. ‘The data shows in Bihar in several districts the rainfall has been 250 to 300 percent higher than the average for the last 30 years.'”
Numerous Scriptures in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel address the house of Israel with dire warnings. Do any of those prophecies apply to us today?
The astounding truth is, YES! There are a multitude of prophetic statements throughout the Word of God that very specifically speak of our day–the generation living just before the promised return of Jesus Christ! However, many who claim to be ministers, teachers or students of the Bible dismiss much of the Old Testament as irrelevant and outdated–especially when it comes to prophetic sections.
Isaiah prophesied before the FIRST national captivity of the ten tribes who bore the name, House of Israel. These ten tribes were led into captivity around 722-721 B.C. 2 Kings 17 provides details about how God removed these rebellious tribes from the land of Israel by the hand of the king of Assyria. However, Isaiah prophesied about this captivity years earlier, at the time of King Uzziah. There is a generally accepted date identified by the death of King Uzziah [Azariah] of 740 B.C., and we find that Isaiah mentions this event in association with his calling as a prophet (Compare Isaiah 6:1). Furthermore, Isaiah begins his book: “The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jothan, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah” (Isaiah 1:1). These kings reigned in Judah from approximately 792 to 686 B.C.
Although Isaiah evidently lived in Judah, he, nonetheless, also prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel–the ten tribes of the House of Israel. His prophecies went far beyond his lifetime. They transcended the ancient captivity of either the House of Israel or the House of Judah! The remarkable Messianic prophecies from the Book of Isaiah served as a basis for what Jesus read concerning Himself in His hometown of Nazareth. Luke 4:16-20 recounts this occurrence, and in verse 21, Jesus is quoted: “‘… Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'”
Another account in John 12:37-40 quotes some of Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus, and in verse 41, John states: “These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.” We should note that these events were over 600 years following the lifetime of Isaiah. So we see by these examples that Isaiah’s prophetic work was intended for times far ahead of his own life.
But did it all stop with Christ’s first appearance when He came in the flesh to die for mankind? Do the prophecies in Isaiah apply in our time?
One poignant example is found in Isaiah 2:2-4:
“Now it shall come to pass in the LATTER DAYS that the mountain of the LORD’S house Shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, And rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The time and events spoken of in this marvelous prophecy have not come to pass–there is yet a future fulfillment to occur!
Just as Isaiah warned of captivity for the houses of Israel and Judah in the past, and those events occurred, so he speaks of a future captivity for the modern houses of Israel and Judah. Note this sobering prophecy given in Isaiah 11:11-12: “It shall come to pass IN THAT DAY That the LORD shall set His hand AGAIN THE SECOND TIME To recover the remnant of His people who are left… He will set up a banner for the nations, And will assemble the outcasts of Israel, And gather together the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.”
The Biblical term “In that Day” ALWAYS refers to a time just prior to the return of Jesus Christ (even though it can include a time subsequent to the return of Christ). For proof, read our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.” Just as in the former times, so now, in our generation, the words of warning that God has inspired are rejected by nations that should know better! Please consider what God has so powerfully recorded for our day through Isaiah:
“Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, THAT IT MAY BE FOR TIME TO COME, FOREVER AND EVER: That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; Who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ And to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us'” (Isaiah 30:8-11).
By contrast, the prophet Ezekiel began to see visions from God when he was among the Jews taken captive by the Babylonians. That Jewish captivity occurred many years after the captivity of the House of Israel: “On the fifth day of the month which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the LORD came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the River Chebar…” (Ezekiel 1:2-3).
The date described in these opening verses of the book of Ezekiel is approximately 593 B.C. The temple and the city of Jerusalem were destroyed in 586 B.C. This destruction occurred following several years of plundering wars fought in the land of Judah.
With this background, take note of the remarkable commission given by God to Ezekiel: “And He said to me: ‘Son of man, I am sending you TO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day'” (Ezekiel 2:3); Also, “Then He said to me: ‘Son of man, GO TO THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL and speak with My words to them'” (Ezekiel 3:4).
As we have already established, the House of Israel had been taken captive by the Assyrians more than 120 years earlier! In effect, the House of Israel at that time had ceased to exist as an identifiable nation that Ezekiel could then contact with this message from God. Moreover, Ezekiel was himself a captive of the Babylonians, incapable of going to the House of Israel.
Chapter 33 of Ezekiel adds even more instructions from God: “‘So you, son of man: I have made you a WATCHMAN FOR THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me'” (Verse 7; Compare Ezekiel 3:17).
To some extent, Ezekiel’s message was heard among his fellow captive Jews, but throughout his writings, the people of Judah, Israel and the nations are being warned! This warning includes the message that God will again punish the modern Houses of Israel and Judah and that they will again suffer national destruction and horrible captivity! This is for an impending future time, and that time is closing upon the modern nations of Israel (especially Ephraim and Manasseh–descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob, or “Israel”. The descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh have been identified today as the modern nations of the British Empire and the United States of America). Ezekiel’s message is also addressed to the modern nation or House of Judah, which man calls Israel today. (Please read our free booklet, titled “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America,” for a much more detailed account of what is prophesied to happen to these nations.)
Another momentous prophecy awaits fulfillment, and we find it recorded in Ezekiel 39:22-23:
“‘So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward. The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into CAPTIVITY for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword.'”
And, in Ezekiel 37, we see a prophecy that has never found fulfillment concerning the Houses of Israel and Judah once again becoming one nation–with one king:
“‘Then say to them, “Thus says the LORD GOD: ‘Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them ONE NATION in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and ONE KING shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again'”‘” (Verses 21-22); Verse 24 adds: “‘”‘David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.”‘”‘
Biblical prophecy points to these future events with absolute certainty! Many prophecies are finding fulfillment in our day–prophecies that herald the looming end of this age and the emergence of the glorious Kingdom of God.
As we consider these prophecies–both watching and preparing for the times we now live in as well as future events, let’s pay close attention to what God IS REVEALING.
In Isaiah’s time, the people who heard his message said: “‘…Tomorrow will be as today. And much more abundant'” (Isaiah 56:12); When Ezekiel prophesied, here is how his message was viewed: “‘”…The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off”” (Ezekiel 12:27).
Here is how Peter sums it up: “knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
For the scoffers, the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel and all of God’s prophets will have little impact! But will they have impact for us?
Lead Writer: Dave Harris
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