Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Does Iraq's Persecution of Christians Fit Bible Prophecy

One of the biggest things that have been happening in the news lately is the takeover of ISIS in Iraq and the call for Christians to convert to Islam or be killed. This takeover of the country of Iraq has led to severe persecution of Christians in the country. Terrorist leadership in the country has called for Christians to convert to Islam, pay a tax for being non-Muslim, flee Iraq, or be murdered. The deadline for this decision for the Christians in Iraq was Saturday. Trapped Christians gathered in groups awaiting their fate and praying for help, but no one has heard much from them. More details and images can be found here, although be warned that some of the images are very graphic.

Events in Iraq hold significance for Bible prophecy students and teachers. The Antichrist's world capital will be in a rebuilt Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 18:1-24), which was geographically in modern day Iraq. It will be quickly and dramatically destroyed by God toward the end of the Tribulation because of the abominations that have taken place in Babylon throughout world history, especially during the time of the Tribulation when it will be rebuilt and worse than ever.  Babylon has always been a center for significant world events. When the Garden of Eden was on Earth, it was in that part of the world. We know the Garden of Eden was located somewhere in Iraq (ancient Babylon) when it was here on Earth. Genesis 2:10-14 said the river flowing out of Eden fed into the Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon, and Gihon. That would have put the Garden somewhere in that part of the world. The Tower of Babel was also in modern-day Iraq during the first experiment with humans creating a world government of sorts led by Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12; 11:1-9), a foreshadowing of the Antichrist.

Does the Bible specifically predict the current persecution of Christians in Iraq? No, not really. The only possible way the Bible could be applied to persecution happening in Iraq is from a slippery slope position where increased persecution now could get worse and lead to times of persecution during the Tribulation that will be worse than anything the world has ever seen (Matthew 24:9-10; John 16:1-4; Revelation 7:14; 13:4-7, 16-17; 18:24; 20:4). The persecution goes to those highest levels during the Tribulation, not before, because the true body of believers will be spared from that global persecution (1 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 3:10). That does not mean we will be spared from persecution of believers though. From the beginning of the Church Age on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 to the present, the true Church has known persecution. There is no reason why we should expect that to change as we get closer to the time of Christ’s return. The Lord Jesus told us to expect persecution when He said if they hated Him, they would hate us too (John 15:18-25). There is no reason to fear or live with a doom and gloom mindset though. Even if we are one day persecuted unto death, there is a special martyr’s crown called the Crown of Life promised to those who endure to the end (Revelation 2:10). There is also the promise of the Lord Jesus Himself who said that He would be with us to the end of the age (Revelation 28:20).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Democrat War on the Disabled

We have heard about the Republican “war on women,” the Republican “war on minorities,” the Republican “war on the poor,” and vast right-wing conspiracies, but have you heard about the Democrat war on the disabled? The latest shots have been fired in this war by the First Lady of the United States herself, Michelle Obama. America’s self-appointed food dictator has a food program called Smart Snacks in School that, among other things, make no allowance for snacks with over 200 calories in public schools.

So how does all this translate into a war on the disabled? Well, be assured I am not talking about the overweight. They are people with healthy appetites enjoying the “fruits”--or the meats--of American prosperity, but not all overweight people are disabled. (Many of them are not even overweight by choice of diet, but other factors such as genetic and medical conditions.) In order to read about the latest event in the Democrat war on the disabled, we go to Fox News Contributor Todd Starnes. He writes, “That’s really bad news for kids at South Carolina’s Socastee High School. They've just learned they will no longer be allowed to buy Chick-fil-A sandwiches at school...Hunger pains aside, there’s another consequence to the Chick-fil-A ban – all the profits funded field trips for the school’s special education students.”

So Michelle Obama has officially declared war on disabled children. What did these poor kids ever do to her? Furthermore, does the government really have any business in these children’s school buses? That’s what we hear about the supposed war on women when it comes to “birth control” options that cause abortions. “No bosses in my bedroom” and so forth. So why can’t we turn it around? The Democrats, more specifically Michelle Obama, supports something that harms the handicapped. How about this for a slogan: “No First Ladies in my Cafeteria.”

The kids and the school are not powerless though. If nothing else, they can get the story out there to make people aware of the events that have affected them. Furthermore, if they want to actively protest, maybe Chick Fil-A can fund their trip to a pro-marriage rally in some state where gay relationships are falsely declared to be is marriages. After all, who would really want to be seen as opposing a large group of disabled Americans exercising their First Amendment rights? If they need an adult spokesman, I would be more than happy to volunteer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

LeBron James Immigration Solution

An interesting title, do you not agree? So I was crawling to the bathroom one night this week (for non-Facebook friends who may be reading this, I was not drunk. I have a disability) when I had a great thought. What if LeBron James could lend a hand to ease the plight of all the illegals coming across the southern border of the United States recently? LeBron was offered a great deal of money to switch teams. Since he decided to ditch New Cuba (a.k.a. Miami) for Cleveland (a.k.a. No One Wins Here), why doesn't he take extra money and do something positive with it by donating it to a “worthy cause?” Liberals are always concerned with how the rest of the world sees America. This would show them that we care.

Let’s break down the numbers: I do not know much much LeBron was offered by the Heat, but the Cleveland Cavaliers are paying LeBron $42.22 million for two years. The estimated number of illegals that have come into the United States since April is approximately 300,000 (or around 292,000 two weeks ago to be exact). Now if you divide $42.22 million among 300,000 people, that comes to around $140.73. That is not a lot of money, certainly not enough to get a good apartment. It seems like the idea won’t work, but wait a minute. What if they all gathered in groups of four to save money? If I have noticed anything about illegal immigrants, it is that they usually live in groups much larger than four. Four ought to feel extra roomy. Four is also the maximum number allowed in typical two-bedroom apartments (not that the folks I am talking about are interested in following rules or they wouldn't be here to start with, but hey I can dream). That would bring the total per group of four to $562.93. That is enough for the first month’s rent on an apartment. That should be all they would need help with since the commonplace thinking is that all these people are here to take jobs “Americans don't want anyway.”

Everybody wins. LeBron’s public image improves even more, landlords across America benefit, and hundreds of thousands get to experience the American dream of sneaking into our country to make a better life for themselves only to be disappointed once they figure out conditions here will slowly become like they are in the places they left. Wow, I feel like such a problem-solver now. Wheels for Congress 2016!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Christian Foundations vs. Sharia Law

A Left Wing Network of Activists known as “Left Action” recently posted something on their Facebook page that reads: “Anyone else find it interesting that the folks screaming loudest about the non-existent threat of Sharia Law in America are defending the right of Hobby Lobby to ignore the law based on their religious beliefs?” There are four problems with the “logic” behind this question..

The threat of a minority number of people imposing Sharia Law in the United States is anything but non-existent. This is especially true in certain parts of the country. The Florida Senate voted 24-14 in favor of a bill prohibiting the “Application of Foreign Law in Courts.” 14 state Senators or about 37% of those voting in the Florida Senate voted against the legislation stating that only American laws should be applied in American cases if you are wondering what the big deal is since they voted for the bill. That means about 37% of Florida State Senators voting against that legislation would be okay with Sharia Law being used in American courts in at least some capacity. This is not an isolated incident. A report released by the Center for Security Policy documents 50 cases of Sharia Law mixed with American courts. To say that there is no threat of Sharia Law being imposed in America is to ignore the facts.

The second problem with the statement posted by the liberal group is the comparison between Sharia Law and the practice of religious freedom in the United States. American law, at least in theory before the era of activist judges and the most lawless administration in American history, has its roots in the people as echoed in the U.S. Constitution.. Sharia Law’s basis is Islam, a religion that had no impact on the foundations of this country. Sharia Law seeks to establish an Islamic theocracy everywhere it is practiced. The Quran tells Muslims to kill all of those who turn away from Islam. By contrast, American law--although based on Christian principles and originally instituted by mostly devout Christians--is not theocratic in nature. No one will be put to death under the law in the United States for not being a Christian. The Christian foundations of America and the Christian identity of the founders actually does more to protect freedom for all religions rather than opposing it. Freedom to follow God or to reject Him in favor of another god--even self--is a cornerstone of Christianity and thus the United States since Christianity had so much to do what molding our country’s beginnings. This freedom is not present in true Islam or Sharia Law. For more information on the incompatibility of the U.S. Constitution with Sharia Law, I encourage you to read “Sharia: The Threat to America” with special attention to chapter 6: “The Anti-Constitutional Character of Sharia.”

The implication of the Facebook post inspiring this blog is that Hobby Lobby and other businesses do not have a right to oppose a law based because they have religious objections. The truth, as the Supreme Court majority agreed with, is that they do have a right to oppose the contraceptive mandate because of religious objections. Business owners enjoy the same liberties that all other people have. You don’t have to check your religious freedom at the door just because you are a business owner. Likewise, the government does not have right to force a business owners or anyone else to participate in the willful murder of a child in its mother’s womb. (Side note: Hobby Lobby still covers 16 out of 20 FDA-approved contraceptives).

Since religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution (and a right to contraception is not by the way), Hobby Lobby was not “ignoring the law” by refusing to provide four contraceptives that literally destroys lives after conception. If anyone was violating the law, it was the people that wrote and passed this law because the mandate itself violates religious freedom. The federal government has been violating the law a lot longer than Hobby Lobby has been falsely accused of violating the law.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?

Suicide is a sin because it is self-murder. Nowhere does the Bible say it is the unpardonable sin though. To say that suicide is the unpardonable sin is unbiblical. Samson committed suicide. "Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, 'O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!' And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life" (Judges 11:28-30 NKJV). Samson is listed among the heroes of the faith despite this act at the end of his life that killed both his enemies and himself. "And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:32-34a NKJV). Samson would not be included among the righteous if his final act of suicide condemned him.
There is the only place where we see a reference to someone not being able to be forgiven. The religious leaders of Jesus' day were attributing the miraculous works He was performing through the power of the Holy Spirit to an evil motive. Jesus said the only sin that could never be forgiven is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the result of continual rejection of the Holy Spirit's efforts to convert you. "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matthew 12:31-32 NKJV).
Those who have turned from their sins and trusted in Jesus alone for forgiveness are not condemned. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1 NKJV). All sins are removed once and for all when we come to Christ in humility and repentance. "All who sincerely trust in Him are made right with God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes" (Romans 10:4 NKJV). A person who commits suicide and is a genuine follower of Christ has committed a horrible sin by killing themselves. They will probably lose eternal rewards because of the suicide. The issue with suicide is not one of eternal destination however. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6 NKJV). That is the only determination of eternal destination. God says that nothing can separate one who belongs to Jesus from His love. The Apostle Paul wrote, "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39 NKJV). Only people who are not true Christians--those who have not genuinely repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus for salvation--will be separated from God and all good things that come from Him for eternity in Hell. "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him" (John 3:36 NKJV).