America vs. The Welfare State

America vs. The Welfare State

by Peter Coker

America is currently witnessing the collapse of an ill-conceived government takeover of its healthcare network, which is said to be about one-sixth of the nation’s economy. The federal government, led by President Barak Obama and the Democratic Party strong-armed individual state governments to participate with the federal government in this partial takeover of the American economy. This vicious neo-fascist takeover, headed by anti-capitalist leaders in the Democratic Party, has been an ongoing project since, at least, the 1920’s. Early in the 20th century many western academics and journalists were fooled into believing communism and socialism were future roads to utopia. In America, the deceit and subversion for such statist political policies were admitted long ago;

“The American people would never vote for socialism, but under the name of ‘liberalism,’ the American people will adopt every fragment of the socialist program. One of the traditional methods of IMPOSING statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. Most people are a little reluctant to oppose anything that suggests medical care for people who possibly can’t afford it.” (Norman Thomas; American Socialist, 1927)

Americans may get fooled from time to time, but when it senses blatant coercion by corrupt government officials trying to force some aspect of Socialism down the throats of the people, they react like they just caught a whiff of smelling-salts. Much of America may tolerate some Keynesian-fascism, but when it gets too close to resembling ‘Socialism’ the warning bells go off like a fire alarm. Thus, when the deceptions of subversives like Barak Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Bill and Hillary Clinton, are exposed and come to light, the majority of Americans stand-up and take notice. This was manifested in the stunning and historic election of Donald Trump for president; a non-political candidate.

America and the rest of the Western-World is now witnessing the slow collapse of welfare-state economics whether they want to admit it or not. Not only has the modern welfare-state not achieved a reduced percentage of “the poor” overall, it has helped destroy the ‘spirit’ of individual recipients of statist-welfare. As a result, there is now widespread unrest and violence erupting throughout the western-world by disenfranchised special-interest groups reacting to these changes.

Although the welfare-state has been marketed as an enlightened modern concept that rises above old concepts of outdated Christian traditions, it is nothing of the sort. The welfare-state was formerly an aspect of ancient politico-magical orders, and in the Roman Empire it continued into the early Christian era. In fact, early Christian church ‘deacons’ were sometimes targets of persecution by the Roman government because they were seen as a threat to the welfare-policies of the Roman Empire. In the early church, the ‘office of deacon’ represented and established a ‘kingdom self-government’ that rivaled the Roman Empire and was seen as a threat to the Roman welfare-state.

Early on in the Apostolic Christian church, the care for the needy proved to be overwhelming for the Apostles to handle; so, the office of deacon was established to fulfill ‘Levitical duties’ as a help to the Apostles. Deacons were thus given Levitical duties as a ‘new order’ of Levites. The Levitical duties of Levites according to Numbers (18: 25-26) were care of the sanctuary, its music, health, education, and charity. All were under the (Hebraic) Levites care and control. In the early church, the diaconate (body of deacons) was a full-time, paid office. Early church deacons were called Levites and were meant to be local ministers of God’s grace and mercy as they fulfilled their duties.

Today’s welfare-state economics in the Western-World, with powerful centralized-governments has steadily encroached on the role of church deacons and their personal ministering duties to their local congregations and community’s. The extremely high anti-biblical taxation demanded by ever-expanding centralized fascist governments has effectively cut deeply into church treasuries for fulfilling the deacon’s ministerial duties. To fully restore the diaconate, local congregations will need to make a focused effort through their tithing and gifts to combat the encroachment by statist governments.

The ‘economic-democracy,’ or welfare-state economics of western democracies must also be scaled back to resemble more of a biblical free-market economy in order to produce long term economic growth. As Dr. Gary North has noted; “When Christianity adheres to the judicial specifics of the Bible, it produces free market capitalism…Free market capitalism produces long-term economic growth. Socialism and middle-way economic interventionism by the state produce poverty and bureaucracy. If your goal is to keep poor people poor, generation after generation, you should promote socialism.”

In certain Christian sects, the term “government” used to have a much broader meaning than it has today. First, government meant the ‘self-government’ of the individual. Second, it meant family government. Third, it meant church government. Fourth, the school or education was a government. Fifth, our vocation governs our work relationships. Sixth, are community relationships, groups, clubs, organizations, etc. Seventh, is the civil-government; just one among other spheres of government. In the Christian view, each of these aspects of government are under the authority of Jesus Christ; and each has its own limited sphere of authority.  So, when professing Christians defer to the state, or civil-government as ‘the government’ they have unwittingly conceded unlawful power and authority to an alien-lord. Such a mindset denies the all-encompassing Lordship of Jesus Christ and His total authority.

The Word of God teaches that Jesus Christ is our Priest, Prophet, Lord and King. Isaiah 9: 6 says; “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; And the government will be on His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward and even forever.”

In proclaiming the Great Commission Jesus said; “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 7: 14) about Jesus said; “…to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”   

As our Priest, Prophet, Lord and King, Jesus has authority and dominion over every aspect of our lives; over every sphere, spiritual and material. He rules over our individual lives, our family lives, our church lives, our vocations, our community’s, even our civil-governing. Everything is under His authority whether we recognize it or not. If believers do not recognize Christ’s government and authority in all areas of life, they become ‘faithless’ in those areas by giving authority and dominion over to other lords, or false-gods. As Scriptures clearly testify, when God’s people allow other lords or false-gods to have dominion over them, God will give them over to the entanglements and control of their enemies because of their faithlessness and disobedience.

Surveys and studies have shown that Christian tithing in America runs on average, about 3%. This is a far cry from the biblical-tithe of 10%. This decline reflects the faithlessness of much of Christianity. The church for the last several decades has surrendered much of its power and authority over to the state and its wasteful, corrupt bureaucracies; thus, putting more faith in anti-biblical statist government than in the kingdom of God. Many Christian individuals now give more money to the state than they give to their local churches. This shift in American attitudes about the civil-government’s role in the lives of its citizenry has weakened the positive influence of churches; causing communities to deteriorate, and allowing increased tyranny from the civil-government.            

Authority and power from our federal and state governments grew tremendously throughout the 20th century. In Europe, it has produced totalitarian-states where charity has almost entirely disappeared. In America, government expansion divides communities, causes turmoil between classes, and pits special interest groups against one another as they compete for special funding. Charity in America still remains comparatively high to the rest of the world, but as culture becomes more secularized, churches and local community organizations have declined in their cultural influence. A revival of local influence in community churches and a restoration of the proper biblical role for deacon leadership could go a long way in influencing congregations to stimulate positive changes for local churches and their communities.

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Article derived from information at www.chalcedon.edu and www.garynorth.com .

 

 

 

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The Advancing Kingdom of God

The Advancing Kingdom of God

By Peter Coker

Since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden, man has moved himself from the jurisdiction of God to a place of self-autonomy. In this mythical realm, mankind makes his own laws and rules apart from those of God’s divine order. Man, thus, sees himself as the ruler of his own destiny, the captain of his own future, and the definer of his own morality. Of course, this reality is based on his own imaginary perception with the help of that ingeniously crafty serpent spoken of in Genesis.

Mankind was originally created in communion with God, in paradise. God extended to man a delegated authority to have dominion over the whole earth and everything in it. But, man exploited that power and responsibility and revolted against his own creator. In much the same fashion, Satan, as a ‘spiritual being’ living in Heaven, led a war-revolt against God that also brought down one-third of the angels with him. Satan was the original anti-god revolutionary.

The rejection of God’s directives and moral order has brought about many counterfeit religious and moral orders throughout the history of mankind. Without the recognition of God’s divine sovereign authority, all humanistic moral orders eventually degrade into some form of totalitarianism.

In the ancient world, Egypt was the greatest, longest lasting empire-kingdom of all. Egypt was ruled by 31 family dynasties from 3100 B.C. to 250 B.C. Its three main eras of strength lasted from 2700 B.C. to 1100 B.C. Egypt was religiously polytheistic, believing in many gods, including the ruling Pharaoh, who was considered one of the most important gods. When Egypt enslaved and persecuted the Hebrews, God humbled and defeated Pharaoh and his army. After 1100 B.C., Egypt was dominated by Libya, Ethiopia, Persia, Greece, and the Roman Empire. Egypt was under Roman Empire rule from 30 B.C. to 642 A.D. when it was then conquered by Muslims.

In biblical history, the infamous model for a ‘collective society’ that unified against God, is in the Genesis account of The Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel symbolized the pride and rebellion of mankind; a counterfeit paradise, a humanist inspired Eden, a one-world-order made and created by man’s own will and determination, apart from and in spite of God. This was a unified rebellion, a deliberate act of self-glorification for mankind. But, God broke-up that rebellion and dispersed the people.

Babylon was another ancient city which was the capital of the Babylonian people. It was a city described in Jeremiah and Daniel as pagan and idolatrous. Its most glorious days were with king Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest king of Babylon. Like Babel, he also built a tower called a Ziggurat, a religious temple-tower to the patron god, Marduk, a false-god. But, Babylon’s glory days eventually passed and fell to Alexander the Great, in 331 B.C. Thus, God’s judgment ultimately fell on Babylon for their destruction of Jerusalem, just as the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah predicted. Babylon also represented mankind’s vain attempt at proving he could have unity, peace, and brotherhood, on his own terms, in his own created kingdom paradise — apart from the true and sovereign God.

In the New Testament, the ‘Babylon’ of Revelation was once thought to be Rome, or the Roman Empire (which later fell). But, a close examination of Revelation reveals it is referring to Jerusalem. Jerusalem had not only become idolatrous, but it also rejected its long-awaited messiah, Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation not only revealed specific problems Jesus had with certain first-century Christian churches, it also chronicled warnings to New Testament Churches to prepare for the soon coming tribulation and ultimate destruction of Jerusalem. This was Jesus coming judgment upon Jerusalem (Mystery Babylon) for rejecting Him and His authority. Just as Adam and Eve had rejected their Creator, and just as previous kings rejected God’s sovereign authority and rule – Jerusalem and the Jewish people also rejected their God and Savior.

With Israel’s ultimate rejection of their true messiah, the nation of Israel was indicted and cut-off from the kingdom of God. As Jesus proclaimed, “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.” (Matthew 21: 43). The Jewish Temple and the Jewish religious system were cut-off from the renewed kingdom of God and its new covenant. Jesus Christ became the new ‘temple’ and His church (His bride) become the chosen people of the kingdom. Israel was replaced by ‘the church’ as the apple of God’s eye.

Like Babylon, many great kingdoms have fallen throughout History; Egypt, Assyria, Rome, the Roman Empire, etc. Also, empire builders like Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Kahn, Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin. Some nations have declared an end to Christian influences and the promotion of the scientific-state, or the advance of some new humanistic utopia. It still goes on and rumors arise periodically about some new political or philosophical threat to Christianity – something that will eventually crush, overtake, and eradicate any semblance of God’s sovereign law-word in the world. But, like all previous pagan empires and anti-Christian revolutionaries, they will all be crushed under the feet of Christ. Today’s vain Leftist-Liberalism, like all variations of Renaissance and Enlightenment philosophical movements, will be crushed and trodden down as well. So too, will the worldwide threat of Islamic terrorism.  All anti-Christian movements may pretend to be the progressive unfolding of some new-world utopian order, yet, they all mimic a return to the pagan humanistic orders of the ancient world, wrapped and repackaged as if they were something new.

With Christ as the head and His church as His body, the movement of Christ’s kingdom through history moves onward in spite of its enemies. Jesus Christ is in the process of putting all His enemies under His feet until the last enemy, death, is conquered. This is the movement of history – and increasingly so since the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (“I will build My church; and the gates of Hades [hell] shall not overpower it.” [Matthew 16: 18].

Jesus’ new covenant church began in the first century with a few thousand followers. The Worldwide Christian population by the 1800’s was around 400 million. By 1910, (the early years of dispensational premillennialism) it had reached about 600 million. In 2010, it was 2.19 Billion people and is still growing. Evangelical Protestantism is growing 3 times that of the world’s population rate, and twice that of Islam (Pew Research). Research data also shows that about 1.6 million adult American Jews now identify as Christian (mostly Protestant). About 64,000 Argentine Jews also identify as Christian, and roughly 17% of Russian Jews identify as Christian.

Other studies in recent years also show that worldwide, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are converting to Christianity every year (World Christian Encyclopedia). In South Korea, the Christian population has grown from 2% in 1945, to about 30% today. China has also had significant increases in Christian conversions as well. These are just a few examples, many more can be cited.

Christianity’s growth has been by conversion. Islam, which is comparable in numbers to Christianity, has grown primarily by family-births, coercion and force; which, in the long-run cannot be sustained. Eventually, Islam’s numbers will begin to stagnate and reverse as Jesus’ gospel message of grace, mercy, and love overpowers its inferior faith system.

The bleak ‘end times’ outlook by many ‘dispensational-premillennial’ churches ignores the true gospel advances and progress around the world. Jesus Christ is still conquering the world and His kingdom continues to grow in spite of the fear-mongering in certain ‘Christian’ quarters. Jesus is not asleep at the wheel, nor will He allow His enemies to have dominion over His Bride, the Church.

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This article also posted at ipatriot.com http://ipatriot.com/advancing-kingdom-god/

 

 

 

 

 

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Reviving Gospel Hope for the 21st Century

Reviving Gospel Hope

By Peter Coker

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the English and American Puritan Postmillennialists developed a positive, hopeful outlook for the gospel of Jesus Christ and its future. Their vision of a world-conquering gospel looked forward to the worldwide spreading of the gospel and the ultimate conversion of the Jewish people just prior to the visible return of Jesus Christ. Their positive postmillennial views were rooted in Scriptures, such as; Ps. Chap. 67, 68: 1; Ps. Chap. 18; Mal. 1:11; Rom 10: 1, 11: 25-26; Rev. 12: 10-11.

“You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me head of nations; people who I had not known served me. As soon as they heard me they obeyed me; foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses. The Lord lives and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation – the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations and sing to your name.” (Psalm 18: 43-49)

This future hope was not only held by Puritans, it was held throughout the early reformation period by the various protestant sects. The early reformers taught about a new era of optimism, an era of growth, purity, unity for the church, the fullness of the Gentiles, and conversion of the Jews. The reformation period, though tumultuous, was also a time of future optimism, looking forward to greater more glorious days ahead for the church. A hope for greater unity of the church and for a decline of evil. In the 1500’s this hope was expressed in the writings of people like; Theodor Bibliander, Martin Bucer, Peter Martyr, David Paraeus, Theodore Beza, and many others. Early reformation theology held to a postmillennial perspective that believed the Scriptures taught that Christ would eventually subdue the whole world through His gospel. This future hope was not thought to be the salvation of every individual on earth, but a general worldwide acknowledgment of recognizing Christ’s authority.

“May we never grow weary, but learn to overcome the whole world…” (John Calvin)

Postmillennialism was developed more through the Puritans, and adhered to by Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and other protestant sects as well. It was the most prevalent view throughout England, Scotland, and the (American) New England colonies. In fact, it was the optimism of postmillennial thought that helped inspire a ‘spirit of hope’ that led to the colonial settlements to the new-world (American colonies). It was, in part, this optimistic view of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which motivated the reformers to believe they were fulfilling God’s commands, to take the gospel to new frontiers, to develop a growing missionary calling, and expand the boundaries of the kingdom of God.

The view of postmillennial hope was carried on with other notable figures such as; Henry Finch, Richard Sibbes, William Strong, George Gillespie, Robert Baillie, John Owen, Thomas Manton, John Flavel, Moses Wall, Dickson Hutcheson, John Cotton and others. English reformer, John Cotton, came to the American New England colonies in 1642 where he published millennial studies of Revelation that expressed the reformation’s postmillennial hope via the fall of Antichrist (Roman Catholicism), the down fall of (Muslim) Turkey, and the widespread “rising of men from spiritual death to spiritual life.”  (In an era of Protestant and Roman Catholic conflict, Roman Catholicism was viewed by reformers as the Antichrist). For reformers like John Calvin, the future of the gospel was the eventual restoration of the world to spiritual life and a renewal of God’s Creation order.

[The late] Dr. Greg L. Bahnsen has shown that the postmillennial perspective was also expressed in; the Westminster Assembly, the Westminster Standards, in the ‘Directory for the Publick Worship of God,’ The Confession of Faith, and The Larger Catechism. According to Bahnsen, these all expressed; an age of blessing on the Church, the visible prosperity of the gospel through the rule of Christ, the future accomplishment of the great commission, the overthrow of the (Roman) Antichrist, the fullness of the Gentiles, and the conversion of the Jews. This view provided a future paradigm that reflected a history of growth for the Church and a future that would eventually define the kingdom of Christ as the prevailing belief system on earth as foretold in the Scriptures. (Ps. 2: 8, 22:7, 86:9; Dan. 2: 35, 7: 26-27, 44: 45; Zech. 14: 9).

The reformers optimistic attitude towards the gospel of Jesus Christ is far removed from today’s pessimistic, self-defeating faith of today’s dispensational-premillennial heresies. Instead of carrying the idea that Christ’s gospel eventually overcomes and overwhelms the world, today’s ‘dispensational’ Christianity has basically retreated from this view by holding to a ‘limited’ gospel. This pietistic retreat does not make a stronger, more spiritual Church, it reduces the Church to a basic fear of overcoming the outside world, by maintaining an inward private faith. It has thus become a Church that is afraid to confront the world’s values by hiding behind its own walls, or worse, by conforming to worldly values. Yes, it is still committed to converting individuals, but it no longer adheres to the full scope of the great commission; teaching all nations the ways of Christ, proclaiming God’s commands for righteous Christian living, and for bringing ‘justice’ under the government of Christ. (Is. 9: 6-7).

The 20th century brought us a dispensational retreatist-faith, much like the 18th century Church facing the Enlightenment era. The Church in that era also retreated into pietism for a time and turned inward to a large degree. This is once again, the same tactic embraced by much of today’s Church under the influence of dispensational-premillennialism. This inwardness is the same sort of pietism practiced by the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. Their pietism was in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. But, Jesus exposed this ‘limited’ holiness as man-centered and self-righteous; rather than serving the overall kingdom of God they were more concerned with appearing to be ‘spiritual.’ Just as almsgiving may be self-serving or for social-recognition, so too, a Church of ‘little faith’ becomes unhealthy and impotent in influencing its surrounding cultural environment. In like fashion, today’s pietistic ‘Phariseeism’ has refocused the New Testament ‘sign of tongues’ at Pentecost, into a self-aggrandizing ‘personal experience,’ instead of its original prophetic vision of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations and tongues.  Today’s unhealthy ‘dispensational’ attitude does not encourage the Church to challenge its surrounding cultural environment because it believes it is in the ‘last days,’ so why bother with reforming politics, economics, justice, the legal system, law enforcement, schools, etc. Overall, its pessimistic outlook continually grants victory to an antichristian world order.

The ‘postmillennial hope’ promotes a far more robust view of the future of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is, in the long run, a more complete gospel message that ultimately overcomes the world. It reflects a gospel that influences and builds up all areas of our lives and communities. Although Christianity may be stagnant today in much of the Western World, it is rapidly expanding in the southern hemispheres and many other parts of the world. May that motivate 21st century Christianity in the western world to recover and revive its ‘gospel hope’ and move forward again in reestablishing an everlasting gospel paradigm that reflects an all-encompassing robust faith.

“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” (Is. 9: 6-7)

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Article derived from the Journal of Christian Reconstruction Vol.III, No. 2, 1976-77; with a contributing chapter by Greg L. Bahnsen, titled; The Prima Facie Acceptability of Postmillennialism. See www.chalcedon.edu and www.garynorth.com.

Also, ‘Church History in Plain Language’ by Bruce L. Shelley.

Article also posted at ipatriot: http://ipatriot.com/reviving-gospel-hope/

 

 

 

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Tribulation, Justice, and Victory

Tribulation, Justice, and Victory

By Peter Coker

In my previous article ‘End Times, Last Days, Worldwide Tribulation,’ (or, Are We Facing the End-Times…Again) I noted that within the theory of dispensational eschatology, the ‘nation of Israel’ is the foundational key to God’s timeline in history and the return of Jesus Christ. Yet, their timeline, timeframes, and past predictions have imploded since 1988. Their popular theory is not only a pessimistic outlook for the gospel of Jesus Christ, it ignores a more active and effective outlook about Christ’s death, resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit working through the church from generation to generation. In my second ‘end times’ article, ‘Another Friendly Challenge to Pop-Eschatology,’ I noted a couple of interpretation tricks (or fallacies) used by dispensationalists. With this article, I would like to explore the Biblical outlook, or worldview, from the view of a victorious gospel kingdom.

For historians and philosophers, the history of the world has revealed different ‘eras’ of human thought. For example, Auguste Comte in The Positive Philosophy described what he called “the law of three stages.” Comte had a completely materialistic mindset that denied God as mythological; his worldview therefore was humanistic. Comte labeled the law of three stages as: The Theological (or fictitious); the Metaphysical (or abstract); and the Scientific (or positive). The labels – fictitious, abstract, and positive — reveal Comte’s obvious anti-theistic humanistic worldview.

Contrary to this philosophical view is the view postulated by Rev. Rousas John Rushdoony — from a Biblical worldview. Rushdoony notes that the development of human thought from a Judeo-Christian Biblical perspective is divided quite differently from Comte’s humanistic view. As Rushdoony described it, the first stage of human thought reflected is, a ‘politico-magical’ worldview. According to Rushdoony, this perspective, apart from the Hebrews, governed all of ‘antiquity.’ Furthermore, it also governed the Roman Empire in the Christian era and the non-Christian world thereafter.

The second stage of human thought, according to Rushdoony, has been the Religious or Christian one. The religious stage was first realized, in part, by the Hebrews before Christ. It was then more fully realized with the coming of Jesus Christ, which dramatically began to transform human thought. Although the Roman Empire tried very savagely to eliminate the spread of Christianity, it ultimately failed. The result was the spread of Christianity as it moved out to change the world via the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christian worldview has continued to spread, having a profound effect on developing western civilization and moving away from the humanistic ‘politico-magical’ worldview. Christianity’s struggles throughout its history have been against this ancient worldview in various forms and manifestations. Much of today’s supposed enlightened views come from an ancient pagan-thought paradigm. As G.K. Chesterton has observed; “A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.”

Jesus, in His parables, left a very different paradigm than the one expressed by dispensational ‘end-times,’ last days’ prophecy theorists of today. Jesus parables of The Sower (Matthew 13: 3-8; Mark 4: 4-8; Luke 8: 5-8), The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13: 31-32; Mark 4: 3-32; Luke 13: 18-19), The Parable of the Leaven (Matthew 13: 33; Luke 13: 20-21), and The Parable of the Tares (Matthew 13: 36-43), all depict the nature, development, and impact of God’s growing kingdom on earth. The worldview of the victorious Christ in these parables appears to be a continuously growing gospel kingdom that surpasses and outgrows the ungodly! This is truly a ‘victorious gospel,’ that eventually spreads throughout the world and sustains it as well. Far from describing a failing church that cannot overcome ‘the world’ (…be of good cheer, I have overcome the world!) Jesus described a Spirit-empowered Church that overcomes evil, and presses on to fulfill the great commission.

The first century church faced the great tribulation and the last days just prior to the judgment on Jerusalem and the destruction of the Jewish Temple. 1 John 2: 18 warned fellow believers; “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. In 2 John 2: 7, John said; “For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” Regarding the first century ‘great tribulation’ and destruction of the Jewish Temple, Jesus said, “…there will be a great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24: 21). The first century church faced the greatest tribulation in history and nothing like it will be repeated again. They faced it and they overcame it, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Believers in Jesus Christ are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome evil as well as their own sinful behaviors. The believer’s victory over the world is also expressed in 1 John 5: 4; “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – your faith.” And, just as the prophet Isaiah (42: 1-4) prophesied; Jesus would come and declare justice to the Gentiles and send forth ‘justice to victory.’

In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus indicates a kingdom that grows to be greater than all previous ‘earthly’ kingdoms. The kingdom that Jesus describes is one that grows not only in size, but also in stature, disposition, knowledge, strength, and faith. A kingdom that sustains the lives of believers and unbelievers alike. This kingdom is a co-mingled culture (wheat and tares) which grows together until Christ returns at His final return to earth. Until then, the ungodly, either knowingly or unknowingly live and thrive on the strength, growth, and security of a growing gospel culture.

Jesus said, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let Him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3: 21)

“And they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12: 11)

“And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16: 20)

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12: 21)

May the Church, God’s people, press on from victory to victory — continue to grow God’s kingdom – and teach all nations!

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View also at ipatriot.com, http://ipatriot.com/tribulation-justice-victory/

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Communion: Killing Hostility

Killing Hostility

By Peter Coker

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22: 20).

A frequently over-looked aspect of Communion, the Lord’s Supper, is the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles. In Christ, the hostility between Jew and Gentile has been broken down. Prior to the sacrifice of Christ, Gentiles were strangers to the covenants God possessed with the Jews. But now in Christ Jesus, Gentiles are brought to the promise, by Christ’s shed blood (wine). Christ, who made both Jew and Gentile, has broken down the wall of hostility through the sacrifice of His own body (bread).

The ancient Jewish people became God’s chosen people; the people through whom God chose to make salvation available to all people. Therefore, the Scriptures inform us, God divided all mankind into two main groups, Jew and Gentile. Greeks and all other non-Israelites were considered ‘Gentiles’ by God.

After the coming of God’s law, the separation between Jews and Gentiles began to grow and became increasingly broadened over the years. By the time of Jesus Christ’s visitation, it had grown into a full-blown complete hostility. By his suffering and death, Jesus abolished this enmity, thus bringing peace to Jews and Gentiles, reconciling them to God. This was to reconcile them to each other as well as to God; as explained in the Book of Ephesians:

14“For He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of the commandments and ordinances, that He might create in Himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were far-off (Gentiles) and peace to those who were near (Jews). 18For through Him we both have access in one spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In Him, you are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Holy Spirit.” (Eph. 2: 14-22)

Christ, in His suffering and death, broke down the dividing wall of separation between Jew and Gentile. This partition-wall represented the ceremonial-law, the commandments contained in ordinances (not the moral law). Jesus death removed these particular laws and reconciled Jews and Gentiles; thus, making one new man in Christ. This was supernaturally signified at the time of Christ’s death by the Temple’s torn veil, the partition in the Temple which separated the Court of the Gentiles from the place of the Jews:

51“And behold, the veil of the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27: 51-53)

Christ’s blood-sacrifice is also referred to as the Atonement, which means to reconcile, or the bringing together of two who are opposed. This reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles was also reaffirmed with Peter’s vision of the ‘sheet’ descending from heaven full of all kinds of four-footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. Peter later learned this vision was a call for him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles. When Peter preached to some Gentiles in Caesarea, the Holy Spirit was poured out on them, and they began to speak in tongues and glorify God. Peter and those with him realized that God had granted ‘repentance to life’ to the Gentiles.

The uniting of Jews and Gentiles as fellow-heirs is what is also revealed to Paul by the Spirit as The Mystery of Christ, which had not been understood in previous generations. The Mystery of Christ was revealed, so that, through ‘the Church,’ the diversely united wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Eph. 3: 10). There is therefore, in Christ, communion between God and all His people, Jew and Gentile alike. The church, God’s people, are a united ‘living temple’ where the Spirit of God moves and has His being. In light of what the Apostle Paul reveals in The Mystery of Christ, he exhorts all believers to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility, gentleness, and patience…in love.

Believers are commanded by Jesus to re-enact the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him and His sacrifice. In communion, believers partake of ‘the cup’ (communion wine) in part to examine one’s self, to reflect and self-judge. The alcohol content in the communion wine signifies to the believer, the power of the blood of Christ, and the church’s unity in one Holy Spirit. The spirit of unity, is to be reflected by believers in ‘the same mind and judgment’ — by the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

As the Apostle Paul confirmed; “The cup of blessing, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being many are one bread and one body: for we are all partakers of that one body, for we partake of that one bread.” (1Cor. 10: 16-17) And again Paul says; “For in ‘one Spirit’ we were all baptized into ‘one body’ –Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and all were made to drink of ‘one Spirit’ (I Cor. 12: 13).

Communion, for believers, is also a call for the unified fellowship of all believers, and to maintain that unity by adhering to a unified ministry that honors, reflects, and glorifies the unified ministry of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Through Christ, all believers have been reconciled together as one body, and made to drink of one Spirit. Let us therefore be transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18b)

“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Cor. 11: 26)

*****

 

 

 

 

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Liberals, Conservatives, and Charity

Exposed! Liberals and Charity

By Peter Coker

Well, the unhinged Democratic Party is at it again. They’re puttin’-on a show that would make carnival barkers blush! (no offense to carnival barkers) With a whole host of side-show freaks, the Democrats spew out a plethora of deviant Marxist inspired propaganda drawn from the lips of those earthbound angels who were kicked out of heaven. Their rhetoric shows a sacred allegiance with ‘statism’ and an unwavering faith in the almighty, all-powerful secularized state; their ‘autonomous’ temple of worship. Like Satan demanding that Jesus ‘turn stones into bread,’ Democrats demand that Republicans to turn healthcare into a government redistribution program (that punishes lower and middle-class citizens with healthcare premiums that rival their mortgage payments) in order to provide for those who previously remained uninsured.

As if government hadn’t already screwed up the healthcare system to begin with, they now want to be even more involved in order to monkey-around (no offense to monkeys) with something they know nothing about – a system that is sure to fail! How many times must we watch government fail with things they have no business running. Their misguided altruistic ‘war on poverty’ after 50-years cost taxpayers upwards of $22-Trillion dollars, while poverty rates ultimately remained about the same.

But, of course, they keep on screaming that they are the compassionate ones, the ones who really care about their fellow man, the environment, the poor, the disenfranchised, blah, blah, blah. Well, let’s look at some facts regarding this self-righteous rhetoric coming from Democrats.

First of all, it is Religious people who are far more charitable than secularists, regardless of their politics. Yes, religious people donate more money than non-religious people — even to secular causes.

The relationship between faith and charity is also connected to American politics; Religious people are far more charitable than secularists; and religious people are disproportionately politically conservative. This goes against the conventional wisdom that has been constantly repeated by democrats for many decades. But, the data, facts, and evidence shows; Conservatives are not only charitable, they are far more charitable and compassionate than their Liberal counterparts, who are always claiming to be the most caring, giving, and charitable.

Although secular liberals have the highest average income in America, they are generally poor givers and less likely to give than the general population. They are even less likely to give to secular charities than religious conservatives. This certainly does not fit the liberal-democrat’s self-serving benevolent narrative!

Studies show liberal families in America earned an average of 6 percent more per year than conservative families. In spite of the liberal family’s advantage in earnings, conservative families still gave more than liberal families within every single income class, from poor to middle class to rich.

It is religious people overall, both republican and democrat who are the most charitable in every measurable non-religious way: including; secular donations, informal giving, and even acts of kindness and honesty. Religious people are far more likely to donate blood than secularists; to give food or money to a homeless person, to return change mistakenly given them by a cashier, and express empathy for less fortunate people. Religious liberals are nearly as charitable as religious conservatives, there is just a slight difference — but, religious liberals’ make-up a much smaller percentage of the Democratic Party than religious conservatives’ make-up of the Republican Party.

People living in conservative states (red states) volunteer much more than people in liberal states (blue states), even for secular causes. Studies prove a very different reality from the usual rhetoric we hear from Democrat politicians, political activists, and implied by various media sources. The media seems to go out of its way to show us a different reality from what the facts actually show. The media show is basically, a Democratic Party show.

Liberal secularists are just as influential in molding the Democratic Party’s platform as Christian conservatives are for the Republican Party. This is especially true of the Democrats party-faithful, the delegates to the Democratic National Convention who selects the party’s presidential nominee. Democratic Party activists were more than twice as likely as the general population to reject traditional religious practices, freedoms, and liberties.

Not surprisingly, rich liberals who favor forced income redistribution give less frequently than poor people who do not favor income leveling. Young self-described liberals under 30 are one of the least generous demographic groups in American culture, yet these are the ones demanding free education, social justice, and other typical liberal policies. On a positive note; studies also reveal that religious-Democrats are three-and-one-half times more likely to change party than are secular Republicans.

Poor conservatives are found to be less likely than poor liberals to request welfare assistance. Further, a poor working conservative making the same wages as a poor liberal receiving welfare assistance, is much more likely to be charitable overall. The ‘charitable’ working poor are disproportionately politically conservative, but the relatively uncharitable nonworking poor are much more liberal.

Economists confirm that government intervention into economic life tends to have a negative impact on charity. A careful study of data evidence indicates it is not poverty per se that makes people uncharitable – but rather the government’s conventional policies for eradicating it.

An environment of government policies that allow for voluntary charity to thrive in America stimulates prosperity, happiness, health, and good citizenship. [Contrarily] Secularism, forced income redistribution, expanding welfare programs, and family-breakdown are all phenomena implicated in depressing the levels of capitalization, charity, volunteering, and informal acts of kindness and generosity.

If the stingy, secular driven Democratic Party ever decides to step-up to the plate and become as charitable as Republicans, things will begin to change dramatically in America; from alleviating public displays of hate and revenge — to changing combative attitudes — to a more cooperative spirit among its citizenry.

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Source: Who Really Cares: America’s Charity Divide; Who Gives, Who Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, by Arthur C. Brooks.

This is also posted at: http://ipatriot.com/exposed-liberals-charity/

 

 

 

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Are We Facing the ‘End-Times’ — Again?

End-Times, Last Days, Worldwide Tribulation!

By Peter Coker

 Well, the wild-eyed end-times prophecy pundits and their blind devotees are at again! Those who believe that Satan eventually defeats the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ in history, are again all-wound-up, stirring-up a new wave of self-defeatist eschatology. (To get more people in the pews? — To sell more books?)

Part of their falsely derived narrative in “dispensational eschatology,” is that in the ‘last days’ or ‘end-times,’ Satan eventually outsmarts and defeats; God’s Gospel of Jesus Christ — the Holy Spirit — and God’s Spirit-empowered people. Apparently, in the complex twisted prophetic outlook of dispensationalism; God’s plan of salvation — Jesus Christ’s conquering death on the cross — and Christ Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to empower believers — is insufficient to the wiles, cleverness, and power of Satan and his hell-bound band of fallen-angels.

When the end-times Church, is about to be faced with entering an all-encompassing Satan-inspired ‘tribulation period’ — Christ, in a last-minute intervention, suddenly snatches believers off the face of the earth in a “secret rapture.” Later, after a seven-year period of ‘hell-on-earth,’ called “The Tribulation,” Jesus Christ returns again (the Second Coming) to rescue a ‘remnant band of defeated believers’ – who, have come to believe the Gospel after the secret-rapture incident, and realizing the true identity of the Anti-Christ.

This contrived scenario sounds very exciting, but does it make any sense, Biblically? Does this really sound like a Christ-conquering gospel message? Didn’t the Christian era begin with Jesus Christ’s death, conquering Satan on the cross? So, Christ conquers Satan on the cross but then a couple of thousand years (or so) later, Satan defeats the Holy-Spirit Gospel-Empowered Church, with some chump the Devil empowers called the Antichrist? Did Christ really set-up and empower His Church (His Bride) to be defeated by Satan? Was this actually God’s supernatural plan from the beginning of the world?

It sounds a bit pitiful for believers to go-forth, spread the gospel and teach all nations; just to prepare for ultimate defeat? If that is the future outcome of the Church, why should believers bother teaching nations the ways of God? There seems to be some conflicting messages here in how we perceive the work and power of Christ: what He expects to accomplish through His new covenant Church; and how God’s “will” is going to be accomplished for the future of mankind.

This ill-conceived error-ridden Dispensational view of eschatology captured the minds of certain Christians just prior to the 20th century, and began to take hold with the publication of the Scofield Bible early in the 20th century (1909 & 1917). By the 1960s and 70s the dispensational view had become the most popular view of eschatology in America, especially with the publication of Hal Lindsey’s, The Late Great Planet Earth (1970-1).

The dispensational ‘futurist’ view in eschatology has a somewhat nefarious history. It was initially created by Catholic Jesuits during the counter-reformation period. For Two hundred thirty years, it was not taught outside of the Catholic church.

In early Victorian England, it was not likely that a protestant would even bother to read a prophecy book written by a Catholic Jesuit. The ‘Jesuit Order,’ in particular, was held in wide contempt at that time in Europe. In 1773 ‘the Order’ had been disbanded by the Pope himself for its treachery. The term ‘Jesuit’ became synonymous with terms like deceit, chicanery, infiltration and intrigue.

The Jesuits managed to get a foothold for their counter-interpretation in England by having a Jesuit named Lacunza publish an interpretation of The Book of Revelation under the name of a Jewish rabbi, Ben-Ezra. After that, Edward Irving, and then, John Nelson Darby initially got the Jesuit teaching brought into Protestantism.

Dispensational futurism was popularized through a network of Jesuits and Rabbi’s, using C.I. Scofield, as a front. Scofield credits Dr. Fenton John Anthony Hort and Bishop Brook Foss Westcott on the second page of the introduction of his Bible for their influence. A little historical research indicates these men (Hort and Westcott) were not only Jesuit plants within the Church of England but also members of various occult and séance movements of the day. This was the protestant beginnings of dispensational eschatology.

More recently, in the last several decades, many Christians have viewed certain world-wide events as the prophetic ‘end-times’ scenario and the anticipated return of Jesus Christ. Historically, nearly every generation of believers since the time of the apostles believed they were at the cusp of the’ last days.’ In recent times, many popular Bible expositors have identified the last-days ‘one-world government’ as: The United Nations, the European Union, and even the North American union between America, Canada, and Mexico. As we see alliances formed and reformed on different continents we will likely hear more re-adjusted prophecies predicted.

In dispensational pop-eschatology, the nation of Israel is the foundational key for God’s timeline and the return of Jesus Christ. As a result, many prophecy pundits have stated that the ‘generation’ which sees the return and rebirth of the nation of Israel, would be the same generation to experience the ‘rapture’ of the church, just prior to the ‘Great Tribulation.’ (Some others believe the rapture occurs mid-way in the Tribulation and some believe at the end).

However, there is a problem with the whole dispensational view. A ‘generation’ in Biblical terms is said to be either 25 years, or some say 40 years. Israel became a nation in 1948. So, the Rapture/Tribulation should have happened in 1973 or 1988 respectively. But, 1988 came and went and prophetic Bible predictions went out the window. In order to try and save face, dispensational prophecy pundits then postulated that the year 1967 was the true birth of the nation of Israel, as it acquired more land in the 1967 six-day war. If that newly adjusted time frame was correct, that means the Rapture/Tribulation prophecy prediction should have materialized around 1993 or 2007.

That was ‘ten’ years ago and there seems to be no sign of a ‘Great Tribulation,’ or an ‘Anti-Christ’ world leader. Yes, we have many troubles around the world, but we have always had troubles throughout Christianity’s history. Many, far worse than what we experience today.

Although the Dispensational version of eschatology has been theologically debunked many times over, it remains the most prominent and popular view of biblical eschatology in the minds of most Americans. America, however, was born under the Puritan ‘Postmillennial’ view of eschatology and in recent years, that view is beginning to get another serious look. The Postmillennial view reflects a ‘victorious Gospel of Christ.’ As some believers are beginning to recognize; the errors, false predictions, incorrect projections, and the ultimate ‘implosion’ of Premillennial Dispensational eschatology, is happening before their eyes. They are therefore rethinking their presuppositions and what they previously thought, or were taught about Biblical eschatology.

*****

This is also posted at: http://ipatriot.com/end-times-last-days-worldwide-tribulation/

 

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