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The Good Muslim

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  (45)  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. ( Matthew 5:44-45)

At the time of this writing (November 1, 2017), the news is all abuzz over the latest act of jihad by another Muslim terrorist. On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, Halloween, Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, drove his rented Home Depot truck onto a bike lane along Manhattan’s West Side Highway killing at least eight and injuring half a dozen others. Saipov, a recent Muslim import, hails from Uzbekistan and entered by way of the “green card lottery” in 2010. The odious piece of legislation that opened the door for Saipov sprang from the frothing cesspool of Demoncrat minds known as the “Diversity Visa Program” – it sounds nice. Demoncrat Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer pushed the legislation through in 1990, as if our nation is not “diverse” enough!

Several people interviewed reported that Saipov was a “nice guy.” No one that knew him suspected that he was capable of such a heinous act. They all thought he was one of the “good Muslims.” I found an interview of one of Saipov’s “Mosque-ovites” (one who worships at the same mosque) less than amusing. The FOX street reporter prompted the “Mosque-ovite” by asking, “How do ‘good Muslims’ respond to these acts of terror?” (or something to that effect). Of course, the “Mosque-ovite” denounced the act in the strongest terms even calling the culprit “an animal.” Apparently, “good Muslims” harbor no tolerance for Muslims who perform acts of terror. But, how do we know that they really believe what they proclaim? Where is the outcry from the Muslim community calling for these acts to stop!

Allow me to say at the onset that I do not believe all Muslims are out to wage war on the “infidels” and convert or kill us all. Surely many Muslims want to live in peace and have a “normal” life; but how can we distinguish “the good Muslim” from the one that seeks to convert infidels through force or otherwise eliminate the infidel from the earth? Good and “bad” Muslims are indistinguishable until one of them receives the inspiration to wage jihad and kill a bunch of innocent people. Then we know—that was one of the bad ones.

From what I have learned about the Muslim religion, “the good Muslim” – “good” by American standards – can be likened to the nominal Christian. The nominal Christian claims the name of Christ. They may or may not attend church services on a regular basis. They probably own a Bible, but rarely open it. If they carry their Bible to church, they will read what is put on the big screen, but they will not open their Bible to see if the preacher quoted the Scripture correctly. A nominal Christian might say, “the Bible says” and then quote some pious platitude that has no basis in Scripture. A nominal Christian believes that all people are basically good and that anyone can go to heaven as long as they exercise good moral behavior and follow the “golden rule.” They conduct themselves by the motto, “live and let live.”

Likewise, “good Muslims” acknowledge Allah as their god.[1] They go to the mosque every Friday and pray five times a day. They may own a Qur’an but not really read it. The Qu’ran is written in Arabic, although there are some parallel versions that have the English translation on one side. I would venture to say that a good majority of American Muslims can neither read nor speak Arabic, so that must rely on the teachings of their Imams. Good Muslims believe that Islam is a religion of peace and that “jihad” is an “inner struggle” to please Allah. While they may believe that infidels are going to hell, they are happy enough to let them go there. They share the same motto with nominal Christians: “Just live and let live.”

From an American perspective, “good Muslims” are just like us. Americans believe that Muslims share the same values, and that “good Muslims” just want to live their lives in peace. However, Americans view the world through a skewed westernized lens that, like it or not, originates from a biblical foundation. Ideas like “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44) are basic to the American psyche. “Thou shalt not murder” (Exodus 20:13) and “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12) are all principles taught in the Bible. Americans, whether they know the Bible or not, pretty much live by these principles; and because they do not know the source, they assume the rest of the world lives by these principles too. Consequently, Americans believe “good Muslims” live by the same principles.

The Bible instructs us to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate you, and to pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. It teaches that we should treat others as we would have them treat us. We are told not to murder or to lie (Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 14:5). We are instructed to care for the poor, the widows and the orphans. How does the Qur’an[2] compare with what the Bible teaches?

Infidels – anyone who does not adhere to Islam – are enemies according to the Qur’an (2:98; 4:101).[3] The Qur’an teaches that Allah does not love the infidels (3:32, 140), unlike the Bible that teaches that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and He is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, since Allah does not love infidels, they must be persecuted (4:104-105; 2:217). Unlike the Bible’s teaching that Christians are to witness for Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), the Qur’an teaches that Muslims should “not take the infidels for friends … whoever does this has nothing to do with Allah” (3:28: 4:144; 5:51; 60:1-2). That is pretty harsh! Is it any wonder that Muslims do not assimilate into the American culture? To be sure, Allah encourages emigration for the sake of jihad (2:218), which explains their invasion of Europe, Canada, the U.S., and others. Moreover, Allah encourages the killing of infidels (4:89), and if the Muslim dies in the process of jihad, they automatically gain entry into heaven (3:169; 4:95). Sadly, even this effort carries with it no guarantee: “O you who have believed [i.e. the Muslim], fear Allah and desire the way to him. And perform jihad for his sake, perhaps you may prosper: (5:35, emphasis mine).

More could be said concerning the contrast between the Bible and Qur’an, but from this brief review, Americans should hope that “good Muslims” do not take seriously the Qur’an. When they do take it seriously the contents of this satanic book and convert to “good Muslims” (according to the standards of the Qur’an), it only spells danger for us poor infidels. The problem is further exacerbated when one realizes that Muslims are not obligated to deal honestly with infidels (2:225; 3:28, 54; 9:3; 16:106; 40:28; 66:2). Unlike the Bible that exhorts truthfulness and honesty (Exodus 20:16; Psalm 101:7; Proverbs 12:22; Colossians 3:9-10; et al), the Qur’an encourages Muslims to lie[4] to infidels if it is to their advantage. The practice is known as taqiyya.[5] Knowing this, how can one discern one “good Muslim” from another? One cannot know if a Muslim is nominal, moderate, or a full-fledged jihadist, because their “holy” book discourages them from befriending an infidel unless it is for the dishonest purpose of gaining some advantage. Can the distrust of Muslims honestly be labeled “Islamophobia” when the Muslim “holy” book instructs “good Muslims” to lie to infidels? The Qur’an itself claims that Allah is the greatest liar of all (3:54; 4:142; 8:30). Compare that to the Bible’s teaching that God does not lie (Numbers 23:19). Additionally, the Bible identifies the “father of lies” as Satan (John 8:44).

What are we to do? Surely, there are Muslims that hold their religion in name only and they truly want to live in peace with their neighbors, but the tenets of that religion are incompatible with the American way of life. I desire that they would all convert to Christianity, but barring that, I would be happy if they would just renounce that satanic religion, embrace the law of this land, the United States Constitution, and assimilate into the American culture.

Notes:


[1]  “God Is Not Allah” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2013/09/29/god-is-not-allah/

[2]  A English/Arabic paperback copy of the Qur’an can be obtained at Amazon.com. I would recommend the one translated by Abdulla Yusuf, which is the copy I have. For my study, however, I use The Generous Qur’an: An accurate, Modern English Translation of the Qur’an, Islam’s Holiest Book, translated and annotated by Usama K. Dadok. It too is available from Amazon.com.

[3]  Citations from the Qur’an follow the format of Chapter:Verse, e.g. (2:98). The Qur’an does not have “books” like the Bible.

[4]  “Islam Permits Lying to Deceive Unbelievers and Bring World Domination!” – http://muslimfact.com/bm/terror-in-the-name-of-islam/islam-permits-lying-to-deceive-unbelievers-and-bri.shtml

[5]  “Deception, Lying and Taqiyya” – https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/taqiyya.aspx

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Stand For the Flag!

Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. (Romans 13:7)

I tire of all the airtime given to overpaid prima donnas who “take a knee” at the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in disrespect of the symbol of our nation – the American flag, Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes. That flag represents the nation – the republic – that affords these crybaby egotists the opportunity to earn outrageous salaries to play a game for fans that can ill afford the admission to attend the games in person. Granted, these players possess uncommon athletic talents that few of us will ever have, but the truth is that most of them have gotten a “free ride” to hone the “God-given” talents they display on the field of contest. That “privilege” comes from the fact that they were born (most of them) under the flag they now dishonor.

The flag they disrespect represents a republic, a nation of laws, which guarantees them the right to express their political views even in opposition to the very law that protects them. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America protects the right of every citizen to exercise his/her freedom of speech, the freedom to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. These impertinent showboats latch onto the First Amendment to justify their disrespect. If that is not bad enough, an abundance of left-wing ideologues sound off in their defense, like the local sports idiot for the Dallas-Fort Worth area.[1] No one denies these paid athletes the right to “peaceably assemble” and exercise their freedom of speech in protest to a perceived injustice, but their protest – their grievance – is misplaced. Rather than “petition the Government” for redress of their grievance – they show contempt for the very flag, and indirectly the majority of Americans that honor the flag, that has given them a platform from which to speak.

Just what is the egregious injustice that warrants such a shameful demonstration of ingratitude? It all started last year when the now unemployed, cop-hating quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand for the playing of the National Anthem in protest for all the hundreds of poor young black men unjustly slain by racist police (his perception). If the charge is factual, there is certainly reason to protest, not only by black Americans but also by all Americans. Any citizen – no matter what ethnicity – unlawfully executed by one sworn to uphold the law has been denied his/her constitutional “right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury” (the Sixth Amendment). Such an offense would warrant the free expression of speech in protest (not rioting), and to “petition the Government for redress” of the grievance. If such abuse of police authority is really taking place, every freedom-loving American should be up in arms. However, is this really what is taking place? Is there really an epidemic of local police[2] singling out young black men for execution? If this is true, there should be plenty of evidence to corroborate the claim.

The truth is that cops killed almost twice as many whites as blacks in 2015. More whites and Hispanics die from police homicides than blacks. A 7 to 1 ratio of “unarmed” black men shot by police are shot in the process of resisting arrest, usually in an attempt to disarm the officer or beat the officer with the officer’s own equipment. Black and Hispanic police officers are more likely to fire a gun at blacks than are white officers. (I wonder why?) Blacks are more likely to kill cops than to be killed by cops. (The preceding statistics were obtained from The Dailywire.)[3] It is also commonly known that more blacks (in epidemic proportions) are killed by other blacks than are killed by cops of any color.

The record indicates that the protest, by these unlearned[4] prima donnas and their equally ignorant sycophants, enjoys no basis in reality. Rather than publically disrespect the flag, they should turn that activism into action by edifying (building up) those who they consider downtrodden. However, maybe that would be too much in keeping with real American values!

The Bible teaches us that we must “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7).  As citizens, we must pay our taxes (“tribute” and “custom”). We should respect and obey (“fear”) those in authority like the police. The police are there to do a job, to keep law and order. Most of them have families, and many of them are members of our churches. The majority of them took the job to “serve and protect” their community. They do not deserve to be disrespected. When they are disrespected, they are within their authority – the authority we give them – to arrest us. Too many of those poor black men that get shot by police were never taught by their parents, teachers or anyone to respect and (above all) obey the police. They were not taught to “fear” those “to whom fear” is due.

Finally, we are to give “honor to whom honor” is due. Our flag and our National Anthem are due honor. Our flag led our founders to fields of battle to gain our freedom. The red in our flag represents the many gallons of blood that birthed our nation. Many men sacrificed their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to provide for us the freedoms we enjoy, even the freedom to legitimately protest perceived injustices. That flag led Union soldiers (mostly white men) into bloody battle in defense of the black man’s right to be free. Sadly, many blacks today shackle themselves to the racism of self-deprecation that deceives them into viewing themselves of less value than whites – a deception straight from the pit of hell. “So God created [all] man [kind] in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;” (Acts 17:26, emphasis mine). That “one blood” is all red, the color of the stripes on our flag.

Our flag has draped many a coffin of soldiers, police officers, and firefighters that have paid the ultimate price for our freedom and our protection. Our flag is worthy of honor and respect. Give honor to whom honor is due. Stand for the flag! Our flag represents our freedom of speech to protest any perceived injustice. For that, it should be honored. Stand for the flag!

P.S. If you feel the need to kneel, kneel at the cross of Jesus where His precious blood was shed for you.

Notes:


[1]  “Sportscaster Dale Hansen’s take on the #TakeAKnee protests is an absolute must-watch” – http://mashable.com/2017/09/26/dale-hansen-unplugged-anthem-protests/#NJalYem2Liqa

[2]  “Local police” are governed by local municipalities, not the federal government, which is just one more reason why this “protest” is misplaced.

[3]  “5 Statistics You Need To Know About Cops Killing Blacks” – http://www.dailywire.com/news/7264/5-statistics-you-need-know-about-cops-killing-aaron-bandler#

[4]  They are “unlearned” because even though a majority of them hold college degrees, many of them “earned” that degree through their participation in their field of athletics rather than their achievement in academics. They certainly failed to receive any training in civics.

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Liberty

And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:10)

Liberty. Dictionary.com defines “liberty” as freedom from arbitrary or despotic government control, external or foreign rule, or from control, interference, obligation, restriction or hampering conditions. It is the power of right doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

The Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Online Edition – published nearer the time of our nation’s founding – defines it more precisely, and its definition includes our leading verse. The 1828 Webster’s says that “liberty” is freedom from restraint and applicable to the body, or to the will, or mind. It is the power of acting as one thinks fit, without any restraint or control, except from the laws of nature. It goes on to say that this liberty is abridged by the establishment of government. This governmental abridgment is necessary and expedient for the safety and interest of the society, state or nation. However, a restraint of natural liberty not necessary or expedient for the public, is tyranny or oppression. “Civil liberty” is an exemption from the arbitrary will of others, which exemption is secured by established laws, which restrain every man from injuring or controlling another. Hence the restraints of law are essential to civil liberty. The liberty of one depends not so much on the removal of all restraint from him, as on the due restraint upon the liberty of others. “Religious liberty” is the free right of adopting and enjoying opinions on religious subjects, and of worshiping the Supreme Being according to the dictates of conscience, without external control. More follows, but for now this will suffice.

It is worth noting that the modern definition makes no mention of “natural law” or the “laws of nature.” Nor does it mention the “Supreme Being” and the “free right” to religious liberty. It is easy to see why using the modern definition to interpret our founding documents dampens the meaning to words like freedom, liberty and the laws of nature and nature’s God.

In the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, the Founders appealed to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” They affirmed that “these truths” are “self-evident that all Men are created equal … they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

From where did such a notion arise? Arguably, such ideas were adopted from enlightened philosophers of the time, who borrowed from the ancient Greek philosophers. However, it goes beyond that. These laws ultimately come from “Nature’s God.” The “Creator” created “all men” equal, and He “endowed” them with inherent rights that cannot be taken away – they are “unalienable.”[1]

God does as He pleases. “For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 12:25, emphasis mine). God is Creator. “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18, emphasis mine). God created man in His image (Genesis 1:27). God first gave man the “breath of life (Genesis 2:7), and “endowed” him with the attribute of autonomy that He Himself possesses. Hence, “liberty,” i.e., “freedom,” is a God-like attribute inherent to man that cannot be taken away. Therefore, those who would deprive another of “Life” (even unborn life) violate the “Law of Nature” and are called murderers, and likewise, those that would deprive another of “Liberty” (autonomy) violate the “Law of Nature’s God,” and are called tyrants.

The pursuit of happiness is a gift that comes from God. “For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee” (Psalm 128:2, emphasis mine). From the beginning, work has been both a curse and a blessing. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19, emphasis mine). The Preacher says, “I know that there is no good in [the sons of men], but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, emphasis mine). Because man bears the image of the Creator, he too creates, from his mind through his hands, that which brings him joy and happiness. “But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17, emphasis mine). Indeed, God views in dishonor those who will not work; the Bible calls such “sluggards.” “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Proverbs 13:4, emphasis mine). “The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing” (Proverbs 20:4, emphasis mine). Paul reminded the Thessalonians, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, emphasis mine).

Work is the means by which we “pursue happiness,” and by which we obtain private property. It is a gift of God. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, are the Laws of Nature that are derived from Nature’s God. They belong to all men[2] equally. The fact that ancient and modern philosophers tout these “laws” (as if conceived by their own intellect), is that they, whether they give assent to God or not, carry within themselves the image of God. We can thank God that these noble and lofty ideals found sanctuary in the founding documents of our nation. Liberty comes from God alone. “… happy is that people, whose God is the LORD (Psalm 144:15), and “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Notes:


[1]  This is why the Muslim religion that adheres to Sharia Law is incompatible with American Law, i.e., the Constitution of the United States of America.

[2]  By “men,” I mean mankind or humankind, male and female. I reject the political correctness that has invaded the English language whereby we must overly complicate the language by such as, he/she, his/hers, men/women, etc.

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What’s Wrong!

dying-uncle-sam

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:3)

            Recently, shortly after the New Year’s celebrations ended, I was listening to my favorite cable news channel, and I heard one of the news anchors, a lady as I recall, lament, “What’s wrong with our country!”  The outcry was in response to the shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport in Florida.

            These days many echo the same lament as our nation morphs from a nation of laws to a nation of lawlessness. One could point to our outgoing President dragging our country into the gutter, but, in truth, the decline began more than half a century ago. However, except for those living in ignorant bliss, it is obvious to the observant that the degeneration has markedly accelerated over the past eight years. My good friend and author, DiAne Gates, details the decline in her recent blog post: “A SYMPHONY OF DECEPTION.”

            What’s wrong with our country! Lawmakers carelessly vomit out laws aimed at curbing the anarchy of the lawless while, wittingly or unwittingly, denying the God-given freedoms of honest, law-abiding citizens. In the meantime, the “moral majority” celebrates victory for their part in replacing one narcissist with another in hopes of turning the nation around. I voted for Donald Trump, and I thank God that he won the presidential election rather than Hillary Clinton; but I am under no delusion that he is the salve to heal our wounds.

            Our nation is sick. That is obvious to anyone having a sense of awareness, and no one has the solution. Anyone familiar with troubleshooting techniques knows that before finding a solution to a problem, one must clearly understand the cause of the problem. What is wrong with our country? The cause and the solution are simple, but the implementation is hard.

            Both the cause and the solution are contained in the verse above. The promise given to Abram (Abraham) is generally understood to apply to the nation of Israel. That is indisputable (except by those with a perverted understanding of Scripture). After Abram arrived in the land of Canaan, God expanded on His promise. “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him” (Genesis 12:7, emphasis mine). God amplified His promise after Abram and Lot separated. “For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever” (Genesis 13:15, emphasis mine). If God’s Word is true, then the promise is irrevocable. The modern nation of Israel occupies only a fraction of the land given to them through Abraham by God. It matters not what the United Nations or the United States say about it, and it belongs to them forever! There you have the source of the problem to the Middle East.

            So, what has that to do with America? Perhaps you missed it. Note that the promise was directed to Abraham’s “seed.” That “seed” certainly applies to Israel, but “the seed” is much more than that. The Apostle Paul made the case that the “seed” applies to Christ more so than it does to Israel. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16, emphasis mine). Paul bases his argument on Hebrew grammar, which records the “seed” as singular, not “seeds” as plural. The promise made was to Christ, i.e., Messiah, who would come as a descendant of Abraham.

            You still wonder what that has to do with America and the solution to America’s problem. The answer is in our leading verse. “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3, emphasis mine). Look first at the last half of the verse: “in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” That is the promise of Messiah, our Savior. Through His death, burial and resurrection, Jesus made the way for all nations to be blessed, if they will accept and submit to Him. He is that Seed of Abraham. Contained in the first half of the verse is the cause and solution to our national problem. God said, “I will bless them that bless Thee, and curse him that curseth Thee.” The emphasis serves to highlight the object of the blessing or curse.

            In its infancy, our nation blessed and honored our God, our Savior. At its founding, God took center stage and our lawmakers unashamedly proclaimed that we are a Christian nation. Oh! How God blessed our beginnings! Why? Because our nation blessed Him. Can the same be said today? Not hardly! Today we, as a nation, curse Christ and cast Him out of every area of public life. Then we wonder, what’s wrong with our country? As a nation, we have called what is good evil, and what is evil, we call good. The solution is equally simple. Stop cursing God, and start blessing Him again. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I do know this, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

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If My People

solomons-temple

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Fear hangs like a dark, menacing storm cloud over our nation. Insecurity saps the courage of our people to venture into the unknown. Anger and hostility ignite flames of anarchy in our streets and everyone yearns for a savior. Our nation is deeply troubled. Anyone with any sense of awareness can see it. Many feel helpless to stem the tide, while many others tenaciously cling to the hope that the downward spiral can be arrested and reversed through a spiritual awakening and revival. The latter frequently quote, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis mine).

The passage quoted intends for “God’s people” to collectively storm the gates of heaven petitioning God on behalf of our wicked and sinful nation. The petition is conditional and incumbent upon “God’s people,” not the general populous, but who are God’s people and where are they?

Before I respond to that question, I need to restate what have emphasized in the past concerning this particular verse in Second Chronicles that is so often quoted. Regarding the United States of America, the verse is taken out of context and misapplied. The Second Chronicles begins with Solomon’s ascension to the throne of Israel and the building of the first temple in Jerusalem. At the completion of Temple, the priests placed the Ark of the Covenant in its place in the Holy of Holies (2 Chronicles 5:1-12) and “the glory of God” in the form of a cloud that filled the temple in such a way that the priests could not minister in the place (vv. 13-14). As the dedication service continued, Solomon prayed and asked God to “Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive” (2 Chronicles 6:21, emphasis mine). Solomon’s plea for God’s forgiveness goes beyond individual sins and extends to the sins of nation collectively.

And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance … If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee. (2 Chronicles 6:24-27, 38-39, emphasis mine)

Notice that Solomon’s request specifies God’s people (Israel), the Temple (this house), Jerusalem (the city), and the nation (their land). “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3, emphasis mine).

Obviously, God approved of the Temple and the offerings presented there. The dedication of the Temple took place in the midst of the Fall Feasts. Scripture tells us that it was “in the seventh month” (2 Chronicles 5:3). The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Ha Shanna) was celebrated on the first day of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:24). Then on the tenth day of the month, they observed the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur – Leviticus 23:27). That was followed by the Feast of Tabernacles (Succoth) fifteen days later (Leviticus 23:34), which was celebrated for seven days. Solomon dedicated the Temple on the eighth day (2 Chronicles 7:9), and the celebration lasted through the Day of Atonement for seven days. The dedication ended in time to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, which lasted an additional seven days (1 Kings 8:65-66). “And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” (2 Chronicles 7:10).

It is in this context that God responds.

And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.  (2 Chronicles 7:12-16, emphasis mine)

As specific as Solomon’s prayer was, so was God’s response. Note that God is responding to Solomon’s prayer: “I have heard thy prayer.” Solomon’s prayer request focused on the Temple, Jerusalem, and the “nation” of Israel as noted above. In response, God says that He has “chosen this place to myself.” His people which are called by His name is the nation of Israel collectively. If they sin, which they did and which resulted in expatriation for the northern  kingdom and Babylonian captivity for Judah, and they humble themselves, repent and seek God, then He will heal their land. Note also that the prayer must either originate in that place or be directed toward that place. We see this exact scenario when Daniel recognizes that the 70-year captivity had been met (Daniel 9:1-19).

Christians these days have adopted 2 Chronicles 7:14 as their own and applied it to what is currently going on in the United States of America. They rightly claim we are “God’s people.” You will not arouse an argument from me on that point. The New Testament repeatedly teaches that we are the children of God. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). However, the claim ends right there. Where is God’s Temple right now? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, emphasis mine). What borders mark the land of God’s people? Americans claim the United States. Are there no Christians in Australia, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, etc.? What of all the Christians being martyred in the Middle East and Africa, are thy not God’s people, and do they not have the right to intercede on behalf of their land?  God’s “grafted in” people have no land here on earth. “For our conversation [i.e. citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

It seems somewhat hypocritical that many Christians today want to reject the Old Testament Law claiming that we are “under grace” – those things no longer apply – and yet will take this verse, completely out of context and force it apply to 21st Century America. Sorry, folks, it will not work. There is still a nation of Israel with whom God is dealing. To date, the majority of Israelis are secular. Many are agnostics or atheists. There exists a small minority of “completed Jews” in the land, but with laws against proselytizing, their numbers remain small. Israel exists to show God’s faithfulness to His promises, and in the end, those who survive the Great Tribulation that is coming, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10), and they will be saved.

So, what can the Christian get out of 2 Chronicles 7:14? Taken in context, we can rest in the assurance that God does hear the prayers of His people, and He does answer according to His will.

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When the Sky Really Is Falling: Repent, And Be The Church

Source: When the Sky Really Is Falling: Repent, And Be The Church

Re-blogged from Prophecy News Watch

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My musings:

I appreciate Rod Dreher’s (I believe) optimism, but consider Jeremiah 15:4. After Manasseh, king of Judah, followed Amon who was equally wicked. Then came Josiah who brought in “revival,” That lasted about 30 years. Subsequent kings reversed direction, but note that God had already judged the nation from the time of Manasseh, even though he repented in the end (2 Chronicles 33:11-13). Josiah’s revival did not deter God from following through with His plans to punish Judah.

Compare that with the recent history of our nation. During WWII, there was revival, but not long after, the nation started going downhill. Then we had Reagan and there seemed to be a “new revival,” but after him, things started going south again.

Nationally, we started turning our back on God by banning prayer and Bible reading in public schools in the 60’s. Then we legalized the murder of unborn babies in the 70’s. Finally, sodomy was “accepted” and then legalized at the turn of the new century. Knowing how God has dealt with “His people” in the past, can we really expect Him to overlook our national sin?

I agree that we Christians, as “His people,” need to repent and renew our commitment to Christ our Lord, but I don’t think that will have any effect on the course of our nation. While this may sound pessimistic, I am not. I am hopeful that our Lord’s return is very near. Good news for us, but bad news for those who will be left behind. Hopefully, we can leave behind clear enough testimony that those “who have ears to hear” will recognize what has happened and take advantage of their second chance.

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When God Won’t Hear

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Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings. (Micah 3:4)

I get weary by the overwhelming onslaught of depressing news that assails me from all directions. It assaults me from the radio, TV, social media, internet, emails and even from normal conversations with friends. Let us face it, the world is a mess and nothing seems to make it better; it just seems to keep getting worse. Perhaps that is why we see so many people with their faces buried in their personal communications devices (PCDs) playing Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, or the latest craze, Pokémon GO, or whatever – anything to escape the “real” world – but the news refuses to go away.

Without detailing every account, anyone not fixated on their smart phones knows that the whole world is in serious trouble – economies are failing, ISIS grows like a cancer, rogue nations threaten the peace with nuclear arms, etc. The United States once served as a stabilizing force in the world, but America has her own problems now. Since Barack Obama became President, America’s economy has faltered, her military strength has declined, her influence for good in the world has diminished, and the heart of her people has weakened. President Obama mocks Christians for clinging to their guns and Bibles while he praises the virtues of Islam. He criticizes police use of lethal force against blacks without knowing all of the facts, and excuses the perpetrators as victims of racism. Obama lashes out at Christians who denounce the sin of homosexuality and celebrates the “bravery” of those that “come out of the closet.” When the Supreme Court legalized same-sex “marriage,” Obama gave assent and showed approval by bathing the White House in the rainbow colors of “gay pride.”

Recently a man, claiming allegiance to ISIS, entered a gay bar in Florida and slaughtered several people in the name of Allah and Obama refused to acknowledge him as an Islamic terrorist. Just two weeks ago, another man, Micah Johnson, targeted white police officers assigned to protect peaceful protestors of the Black Lives Matter movement. Five police officers were murdered in cold blood and several others were wounded. In honoring the fallen officers, President Obama began his speech in praise of the heroic officers who ran toward the danger and did all they could to protect the marchers, but his speech quickly degenerated into his typical race-baiting rhetoric. When our leader has no concept of unity, it is no wonder that our country is so fractured. However, the problem is greater than just one man’s inability to lead. The problem began some sixty years ago when the nation slowly chipped away at our Christian foundation and ousted God from the public square. “In God We Trust” are just words on our currency. Our beloved country is very, very sick.

Christians are encouraged to pray for our nation and to pray for our leaders. Albeit out of context, 2 Chronicles 7:14 frequently serves as a call for Christians pray for the nation. God promises, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (emphasis mine). God’s promise was made to the united nation of Israel, but Christians have (erroneously, I think) claimed it as their own forgetting that “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “conversation” in the King James Bible (KJV) is politeuma, from which we get our word “politic,” means “a community” or “citizenship.” Not that we should be “so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good,” but the United States of America is not where our primary allegiance should be. As the Apostle Paul asserts, “our citizenship is in heaven,” not the United States of America. Ours is the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of Barack.

Like the United States of America, Israel, first the northern kingdom and then Judah, rejected God and turned to false gods – not every individual, but the nation as a whole. Even so, there are many faithful Christians in America who “have not bowed unto Baal” (1 Kings 19:18), but there exists only a remnant. I am certain that the faithful in Israel prayed for their nation, but that was not enough to dissuade God from punishing the entire nation – including the faithful ones.

Micah prophesied in Judah. By this time, Israel, the northern kingdom, no longer existed as a nation, having succumbed to the Assyrian Empire. From the time the ten northern tribes broke with Judah, the nation fell into idolatry. Now Judah followed suit. Micah voices the words of God who charges Judah’s leaders, for lack of judgment (Micah 3:1).  God points out that they “hate good and love evil” and they abuse the people with unjust taxes. The graphic words paint the picture: “who pluck off their skin from off them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron” (Micah 3:2-3). There comes a point when, “Then shall they cry unto the LORD, but he will not hear them: he will even hide his face from them at that time, as they have behaved themselves ill in their doings” (Micah 3:4, emphasis mine).

Isaiah brought a similar charge to the nation as a whole, not only the leaders, but also those who willingly followed.  “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isaiah 1:3). Sad! Dumb animals recognize their source of provision better than “intelligent” people do. “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward” (Isaiah 1:4). Can we not say the same of America? As the passage continues, God laments that the more He punishes the nation, the more rebellious they become. God assesses their condition as sick of head and weak of heart. Out of rote, they bring insincere offerings to God, but their hearts belong to other gods. So, God says, “when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15, emphasis mine). God is infinitely patient, but He does set limits. When those limits are breached, His response is predictably sure. I say “predictably” because He gives an abundance of warning for those who are willing to listen.

Well, that seems just and deserved for those who rebel and reject God; but what about the faithful remnant who cry out for their nation? Just before the conquest and expatriation of Judah to Babylon, Jeremiah pleaded for his nation, but three times God charged him to stop. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16, emphasis mine). Then again, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14, emphasis mine). Finally, “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11, emphasis mine). Jeremiah certainly qualifies as one of God’s people. There comes a time when God will not hear the pleas even when they come from His people.

For Judah, God kept His 2 Chronicles 7:14 promise and returned them to the land, but only after they had served their full time in Babylonian captivity. Even today, we see God’s promise fulfilled as Jews from all over the world continue to migrate back to their land. However, America is not Israel, and this promise does not have universal application.  I realize that many disagree with that statement, but I suggest that such sentiment stems from deep-seated patriotism and love of country. I understand that. I too am a patriot. I willingly and gladly gave 12 years of my life in the service to this nation. These words I write tear at my heart as I see the inevitable demise of the country I love. Yet, our directive calls for us to hold the things of this earth loosely and cling to that yet unrealized country.  Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21, emphasis mine). Is your treasure in America or in heaven above?

Praying for our nation is a noble thought, but I believe our country is too far-gone for that now. I believe God is saying, at least to me, “Pray thou not for this people.” What about Paul’s exhortation to pray for our leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2)? Consider where Paul had been – imprisoned in Rome – and where Timothy was – pastoring the church at Ephesus. Rome hardly qualified as a bastion of republican democracy. In Paul’s exhortation, he does not call for prayer for the preservation of the empire. He says to pray for “the leaders” – individuals. Why? In order “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:2).  In his letter to the church at Rome, Paul says that God appoints leaders. “For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1, emphasis mine). The Roman rulers under which Paul and Timothy lived were despicable despots to whom they were to submit in order “to lead a quiet and peaceable life” regardless of who was in charge.

Christianity flourishes in China under an oppressive communist regime. Should Christians in China pray that their form of government continue? My point is that no matter what form of earthly government we live under, we owe a higher allegiance to the Kingdom of God. We should pray for our leaders that they might come to a saving knowledge of Christ through whom they will gain godly wisdom to rule. Even so, salvation is a personal matter between God and each individual. On that same note, rather than praying for the survival of our nation, we should not only pray, but labor for the salvation of individuals. For our nation to return to its foundation, the hearts of individuals must change. A wholesale repentance of a majority of individuals must take place before God will hear the pleas of His people for their nation.

Remember Abraham’s intercessory prayer for Sodom and Gomorrah? (Genesis 18:23-33) If there are 50 righteous, if there are 40 righteous, if there are 30, 20, 10, will you destroy the city? In the end, there were not even 10 righteous, and God destroyed the cities. Depending on what poll one reads, the number of “genuine” born-again, Evangelical Christians in the US hovers around 20% and declining. Should God spare the nation for 20 righteous? Did God spare Israel for the 7000 that did not bowed unto Baal? (1 Kings 19:18).

When a nation exceeds the limits of God’s patience, God stops His ears to the intercessory petitions of His people for the nation. Indeed, He says, “Pray thou not for this people.” Has America reached that limit? I think it has. We see a rise in depravity, perversion, and unrestrained violence, not to mention natural disasters. This is why the best response we can offer to a Hillary Clinton presidency is Donald Trump. It is sad to watch, but take heart Christians. We have a heavenly citizenship, and we pledge our allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Our duty is to work for and expand His Kingdom until He returns. I pray that is soon!

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