Many people in my country and probably around the world say they have no time for religion. Religion they say is the root cause of many of the problems we face in today’s world. Nothing could be further from the truth. It isn’t religion which causes the suffering and the pain, the greed and the lust, the hatred and the deceit, it is mankind. Mankind is the real problem because mankind lives in sin, sin is a part of us like a bad rash that clings to our skin and nothing will remove it. God can remove it though and He did it through Jesus Christ yet still many refuse the idea so they remain in their sins and nothing changes but it can be different………….Open your hearts and see that God is good, that we are sinners and are in need of salvation or we are doomed….Christ died for our very souls but he rose from the dead and conquered death……
Let no one caught in sin remain Inside the lie of inward shame But fix our eyes upon the cross And run to him Who showed great love And bled for us Freely you’ve bled for us Christ is risen from the dead Trampling over death by death Come awake, come awake Come and rise up from the grave Christ is risen from the dead We are one with him again Come awake, come awake Come and rise up from the grave Beneath the weight of all our sin You bowed to none but heaven’s will No scheme of hell No scoffer’s crown No burden great Can hold you down In strength you reign Forever let your church proclaim O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? O church, come stand in the light The glory of God has defeated the night O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory? O church, come stand in the light Our God is not dead He’s alive! He’s alive!
Behind the Song
Matt Maher finds inspiration for songs in unusual places. One of his friends, a Ukrainian priest, told him about an amazing sermon from the fourth century, and Maher immediately resonated with its message.
“There was a priest named John Chrysostom,” Maher explains. “His nickname was ‘The Golden Tongue’ because he was such a great preacher. One year on Easter, he preached a homily with the message; ‘Christ is risen from the dead, trampling over death by death and redeeming us from the grave.’ ” Maher was so moved by both the original Chrysostom message and the passion of his Ukrainian friend as he told him about it, that he began to explore the concept within the context of a worship song for Easter.
“The whole song is about the cross—the death and the resurrection of Christ,” Maher adds. “Hell thought it had swallowed another victim; just another human being, but it swallowed God Incarnate. So God literally used death to destroy death and that’s something only God can do!”
The song ends by triumphantly proclaiming “He’s alive! He’s alive!” “It’s a refutation of modernism in a way,” Maher admits. “There’s this whole notion in these times that religion is obsolete or God is dead. He is not dead. He’s alive!”
Whenever we hear of the killing of innocent people in the name of one religion or another we blame that religion and label all religion as the cause of mankind’s problems. Well many people do but for those who reason things out, who don’t jump to conclusions, religion has nothing to do with it. People who kill in the name of their religion are following the wrong religion else their own evil interpretation of it. I claim to have no religion but a relationship with my Maker. My Maker is a loving God who in no way would advocate the evil practices of those who claim to follow the truth as they perceive it to be in their religion. My God is a God of love, peace, mercy, grace, faithfulness, righteousness and holiness. He is a God who wants no-one to perish but to come into a relationship with Him by accepting that they are sinners who need to be saved. It is the sins in the hearts of people that destroy them and keep them from really knowing God’s love. As a parent I always wanted the best for my children and I still do. God’s love for His children is just the same, He wants the best for His children too and we are all His children. There are those who reject His love, reject Him and choose to follow their own hearts and ways. No matter how much we try to reach them they will not listen. They have chosen to remain in the dark. God still loves them and still offers them the same way back to Him as others who have chosen to listen. God has prepared the way through His Son Jesus Christ. Without Jesus there is no way back to God.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.
Not through Mohammed, not through Buddha, not through Krishna, not through Nature, not through religion or your interpretation of it………..only through His Son Jesus Christ. God wants the best for you. Do you want the best for yourself? You know what you must do…………….Invite God into your life, ask Jesus to save you……………..and you shall be saved.
A couple of days ago we saw the horrible events unfold by the siege of an ordinary cafe in Sydney, Australia, where members of staff together with customers were being held hostage by a man wielding a gun in the name of his religion. Two unfortunate captives lost their lives during the melee which ensued to bring about an end to the situation by the authorities. There was very little more that could be done than what was done to avert some casualties. Nonetheless many more lives might have been lost had action not been taken when it did. It is indeed a very sad world in which we live. Of course many will put the blame on religion in this and many other incidences like it but in fact religion per se has nothing to do with it, it is the deranged minds of those who carry out such atrocities. Some people are simply inherently evil in their dealings with others. Perhaps they cannot help themselves, perhaps they can but their behaviour is seldom an aberration from an otherwise normal one. A gun-wielding terrorist or madman is one thing but what about the behaviour of some of those who watched the events unfold? Some were seen to be taking ‘selfies’, pictures of themselves, with the action in the background! What is it with some people who feel the need to portray themselves as if part of an unfortunate situation? Have they no respect for anyone other than themselves? Personally I don’t understand why it is that some people like taking pictures of themselves all the time anyway. I am thinking they are either so self-centred or attempting to make themselves a somebody of importance. In whose eyes I wonder? The world is full of self-centred and selfish people. Maybe they should take note of the actions of one of the hostages in that siege who lost her own life by shielding her pregnant friend during the gunfire. There is no greater love than a man (or woman) lay down his (her) life for another. John 15:13 (paraphrased). If only there was real love in this world.
May I speak in the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.
“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
Those strange and solemn words are at the heart of this strange and solemn day. They are the words that you will hear in a more contemporary form when you come forward to receive the mark of ashes as a sign of penitence. In that moment, the dust will be physical, literal—the gritty symbol of real ashes smudged on fingers and faces—but the force of those words will connect them to our need for repentance, and our mortality. ”Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.”
But where do these strange and solemn words come from? If you look
back over the readings in your bulletin, you will not find them
there. The prophet Joel is not interested in ashes—in the outward signs
of repentance—as he calls the people of Israel to “rend [their]
hearts and not [their] garments.” Our Lord Jesus is not thinking of
smudged foreheads—indeed, he seems to challenge, if not expressly to
forbid, practices such as these—as he urges his disciples, ”When you
fast, put oil on your head and wash your face.”
No, to find the source of today’s reminder that ”Dust thou art, and
unto dust shalt thou return,” we must go back beyond our appointed
lessons—back beyond the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ; back beyond
the prophetic pronouncements of Joel. We must go back to the beginning,
to the Book of Genesis.
In Genesis, we are told of how God created the heavens and the
earth. We are told of how the Spirit of God moved mightily over the face
of the waters, and how, out of chaos and darkness, God brought order
and light. In Genesis, we are told of God’s great goodness in calling
forth the bounty and rich diversity of this earth: plants and
animals, fish and birds, the beasts of the earth and the cattle of the
fields and “every creeping thing that creepeth upon” the ground.
In Genesis, we are told of how God in his mercy and in his love made
human beings in his image—out of the dust of the earth and enlivened
with the breath of his Spirit. We are told of how he set them over the
good earth which he had made, to tend and keep it, in order that we
might rule and serve all creatures. In Genesis, we are told that God set
the first humans in a garden full of good fruit growing on abundant
And one more thing. We are told of one command that the Lord gave to
the first people—the dust creatures made in the image of God: ”Of every
tree in the garden, thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day
that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”
Of course, we know what happens nest. The serpent seduces. The people
eat. And God comes to walk through the Garden of Eden in the cool of
the day, only to find Adam and Eve hiding: ashamed of their
nakedness. The relationship of trust and intimacy that the first people
enjoyed with the Lord their God was broken.
And so it is, at last, that in the Third Chapter of the Book of
Genesis, we find the strange and solemn words for which we have been
searching: the dread words that we will hear again in just a few moments
this evening. The Lord pronounces judgment, first upon the
serpent, then upon the woman, and then at last on Adam, the first
man, whose name in Hebrew means ”earth.” God declares: ”In the sweat of
thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out
of it thou wast taken. For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
Here, beloved, is the source of this tonight’s strange
pronouncement. Here, then, is the meaning of this day’s solemn
declaration. The startling and unsettling truth proclaimed in the
imposition of ashes is that you and I stand in the line of Adam. Over
us is spoken the same condemnation, the same curse. ”Remember that you
are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
Now perhaps this is too much for you. Perhaps here you might raise an
objection. Perhaps, as modern Americans in Greenwich, Connecticut in
2014, you chafe against so simple an application of so ancient a
story. Talking serpents? First parents? A divine curse? Can you imagine a
more preposterous explanation of human origins?
But let us be very clear this Ash Wednesday. The story we have just
heard—and the curse at the heart of that story—is not meant to explain
the past. The truth of this tale cannot be confirmed by an
archaeological dig or a mitochondrial analysis. The story of Adam and
Eve is not a story about where we come from, explaining our background.
This is a story about where we are, and it explains where we are
headed. This is not a story about the past, but about the present and
the future. For the truth is that the fruits of Eden’s loss still fall,
heavy and rotten, all around us.
We see them falling in the Crimea, as the great powers of the
world once again find themselves drawn into the tired, terrible dance of
war. To be sure, this day we hope and pray that peace will yet
prevail. But we must also acknowledge that each time nations collide and
tyranny rises and blood is spilt, the fruits of Adam’s fall can be
seen, and the ancient curse can be heard again in our time: ”Dust thou
art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
We see those fruits falling in Mexico, where Joaquin “El Chapo”
Guzman now sits in federal custody. The arrest of perhaps the world’s
most powerful drug lord late last month has been major news, supplanted
only by the crisis in the Ukraine. Guzman rules over a multi-billion
dollar cartel. His actions and activities have brought misery and pain
to the streets and suburbs of America, even as he has brought violent
death to the towns and cities of Mexico. Yet we must not forget that his
enormous wealth is driven by the enormous American appetite for his
products—cocaine, methamphetamines, and heroine—and therefore, by
the enslaving power of addiction. Here, surely, around one life we see
the fatal fruit fall abundantly, and hear the curse spoken to so many of
the innocent and guilty alike: ”Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
And lest we forget the purpose of this season of Lent, if we would
see the truth of this day’s pronouncement—if we would see the fruit of
Adam’s fall—let us look within ourselves. You and I may not be as brash
as Vladimir Putin or as ruthless as “El Chapo” Guzman. But can you
outrun the terrible words we hear this night? For all our advancement
and enlightenment, for all our wealth and wisdom, for all our piety and
our spiritual practices, who among us can claim a perfectly clean
conscience, or the knowledge that we have not been disobedient?
We know what it is to exploit our fellow human beings in ways big and
small. We know what it is to eat gluttonously, to
drink intemperately, to look and act lustfully, to yearn enviously, to
react wrathfully, to amass greedily, and to stand pridefully. And what
is the price of all this? What is the cost of these actions? Is it not
the same penalty paid by Adam: the loss of a relationship of intimacy
and trust with the Lord our God, and with one another?
For all our sophistication and satisfaction, for all our charity and
our credentials, for all our goodness and our gratitude, who among
us can escape death? ”Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”
And yet let us make something very clear. Ash Wednesday is not, in
fact, a day to sit in our sin; to wallow in the warped, worn-out
weariness of our hearts; to fixate on death. Our worship this day does
not end with the imposition of ashes. Our story this day does
not conclude with the pronouncement of a curse.
For behold, Christian, the shape of the ashes that will soon
bedeck your brow! The dust with which you are marked today is no mere
smudge. Instead, the symbol of mortality applied to our foreheads this
night will be made in the form of a cross.
And that realization lifts us to the true and better meaning of
this strange and solemn day. For what that sign of a cross shows
forth is that we have not been left alone in our fallenness and our
mortality. What we remember this day is that the same God whose justice
drove Eve out of Eden has come down from heaven to be born a son of
Eve. The same God whose righteousness could not bear the disobedience of
our father Adam took on our flesh—our flesh of earth and dust—to become
for us a new Adam, a new creation: a new and better beginning for our
The sign we receive this Ash Wednesday reminds us, not only that we
are dust, but that God himself has come to share in our dusty, deathward
life. The purpose of this long season of Lent is not to fix our hearts
on our fallenness, but to prepare us for the announcement that on the
Cross of Calvary, Jesus our Lord has conquered Death and Sin
forever, and in the bright light of the Resurrection he calls us to
share in a new life that cannot end.
So it is that this evening (and only this evening in the whole cycle
of the Church year) we come forward twice. The first time, we come
forward to hear the dread reminder; to be told “Dust thou art”; to
acknowledge and bewail the fact that the seeds of Adam’s fall have taken
root in us and grown up and produced rank fruit in our souls.
But then, beloved, once we have been marked with the cross and have
made our confession, and heard words of absolution, we will be called
forward again. We will be called forward to hear, not a curse, but words
of blessing and holy union. We will be called forward to taste, not the
bitter fruit of fallenness, but a new and better fruit: the fruit of
the new Jerusalem, the fruit of Christ’s Body and Blood.
Tonight, Christ Jesus invites all those who have shared in his death
through baptism, and who repent of their sins, and who embark now on the
holy road of Lent, to draw near in faith, and to see the fulfillment of
words not from the first book–from Genesis–but from the last book–from
Revelation–and to taste at this altar the fruit of the Tree of Life.
“And the angel showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as
crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the lamb. In the
midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, there
was the Tree of Life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded
her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing
of the nations.
“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the
lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall
see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.”
Many of the people I know have no belief in God despite how many times they are witnessed to. A brick wall surrounds them, their eyes are open but they cannot see, their ever-open ears hear nothing, their lives are all they see. They are born, they live and then they die as if for no reason whatsoever. According to their hearts they are all here by accident, by chance, by some fluke of nature and are simply a product of a universe they know nothing about or where it came from. The universe with all it’s galaxies came from somewhere, it was created. In the same way we were created too. God declares He is the creator of all things and He did it all through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit. God spoke and it happened. God speaks today and things happen. Those who know God will know these things but for those who don’t, they remain in ignorance. God however loves all His creation and would have none of us perish or be outside of His love. Unfortunately many do not accept this and place themselves in great danger, not in this life but in the next. We are all sinners and as such deserve nothing from God but in His mercy we may obtain forgiveness and everlasting, yes EVERLASTING LIFE if we repent and accept the one He sent, Jesus, as our Saviour. Without Jesus we are doomed to eternal punishment, Throughout The Bible we are told about this message, this Gospel, this good news but it is up to us to respond. In the final page of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, God calls out to those who have yet to come to Him through Jesus. A final warning and a final invitation. Why? Because He loves you!
Epilogue: invitation and warning
12 ‘Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
14 ‘Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practise magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practises falsehood.
16 ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.’
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: if anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.
20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’
What does it take to get through to you? In a recent report there was a man in the UK being harassed in the street by Muslim men driving slowly alongside and telling him to leave the area as it was a Muslim area! They also shouted abuse accusing him of ‘looking gay’. I thought this country was ours, I thought this country was Christian but no, there is freedom for everyone to do as they please it seems, some to the good and some not. Do we want to live in a country that is run by Sharia law, becoming Islamic in the process? Be warned, it will happen if we do nothing about it. Click on the link to see what is happening in Europe…
When I was young my father would tell me certain things at the end of which he would add, ‘Just mark my words’. He wasn’t often wrong for many of the things he said came true. Wisdom is the reserve of those older and more experienced than ourselves but when young we often do not appreciate that fact. The younger generation think they know all the answers and it is only as they grow and gain experience in life do they begin to see things in a more informed way. Many though do not heed the words of the wise and become or remain uninformed on many of life’s issues. They grow old, steadfast and unswerving because of their refusal to listen and take note. On 1 December I posted an article and video about the advancement of radical Islam in the USA, here in the UK and probably in many other countries around the world too. An attitude of indifference mostly caused by the fact that many people today do not believe in God or follow a religion at all. For many years now I have followed closely the affairs of the world with respect to the prophecies written in The Bible. I am a firm believer in prophecy, I can see where this world is headed and how the events that happen are laying the foundation to troubled times ahead, events which will happen despite any human effort to alleviate the inevitability. Being forewarned is being forearmed and ready. As a Bible believing Christian I am only too aware of the danger humankind is going to be faced with in the years ahead. I may be fortunate to escape the coming wrath, I do not know, no-one does. Much of prophecy is centred around The Holy Land, modern-day Israel and those who have eyes to see and ears to hear must surely be well aware of what is happening there. The worst is yet to come though. Ever since the nation of Israel was reformed in 1948 there has been unrest in the area and it was just the same thousands of years ago. The greatest threat to Israel today is the advancement of Islam but Islam is a conquering faith as well as a religion. The sole aim of Islam is to take the world by force, not by love or persuasion for those outside Islam are considered infidels and deserve death unless they convert. What kind of god promotes this attitude? To that end the proponents of Islam emigrate to foreign lands and begin to live there slowly growing in number and when there are enough of them begin to make their voices heard. Soon they have infiltrated local authorities and governments to become upstanding members of society who fight for the rights and privileges of their Muslim brethren. Many towns in the UK are overflowing with Muslims, so much so that many other ethnic groups leave to live somewhere else. Eventually our Muslim friends become the majority in our land and then our own rights will come under threat. Further down-line the country becomes an Islamic state with all it entails. I heard on the news a couple of days ago that proposals have been submitted to the East London authorities to erect a huge mosque in the area. Now this country once had no mosques but now they are numerous. Some church buildings have been taken over and used as mosques because the local people seemingly were not interested in going to church. Need I say more? This new mosque, if built, would be four times larger than St Paul’s Cathedral. That fact alone should speak volumes. I would hate to be the one to say, ‘I told you so’ but as my old dad used to say ‘Just mark my words’.
Prof: That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Prof: So who created evil?
(Student does not answer.)
Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don’t they?
Student: Yes, sir.
Prof: So, who created them?
(Student has no answer.)
Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son…Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.
Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No, sir.
Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn’t exist.
What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.
Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.
Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Student: No sir. There isn’t.
(The lecture thereafter becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)
Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, super heat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat..
But we don’t have anything called cold. We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it .
(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)
Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn’t darkness?
Student : You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light…..But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?
Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?
Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it.
Now tell me, Professor.Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize where the argument is going.)
Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher? (The class is in uproar.)
Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor’s brain?
(The class breaks out into laughter.)
Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s brain, felt it, touched or smelt it? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir. With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?
(The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Prof: I guess you’ll have to take them on faith, son.
Student: That is it sir… The link between man & God is FAITH . That is all that keeps things moving & alive.
I believe you have enjoyed the conversation…and if so…you’ll probably want your friends/colleagues to enjoy the same…won’t you?….this is a true story, and the student was none other than ……. APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India
Probably all my readers will be aware by now that I am a Christian but I do not fill this site with religious content, that is reserved for my other site at Minkyweasels Musings but from time to time I do post here on religious themes. I am fascinated with Bible prophecy, well I am fascinated with all of God‘s Word of course and I am always delving into Scripture. I know I have read the entire Bible from cover to cover at least 28 times and learn something new each time I read. I am currently reading through the Bible yet again. A large proportion of the Bible is dedicated to prophecy, probably one-third so it is a subject that should be taken very seriously, especially as much of what is prophesied has actually happened. As a Christian believer I know that all prophecy will be fulfilled, God’s will be done. The reason all prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled is that some of it is reserved for the future and what God has already planned will happen. Many of the prophets in the Old Testament foretold of future events which were fulfilled but some of those future events refer to things even in our own future. When John was being held captive on the island of Patmos in the Mediterranean Sea he saw a vision from God and was inspired to write down all he saw. This resulted in the entire prophetic Book of Revelation,
Revelation 1 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
The time is near. This is making reference to the ‘end times’ as prophesied in the Book of Daniel and elsewhere in Scripture, a time in the future, their future. We are living two thousand years after John’s prophetic vision and much speculation has been given as to whether the ‘end times’ refer to the present day or a few years hence from now. Descriptions of those end times seem close to what is now going on in the world and indeed can only be referring to modern times when we analyse what is written.
Daniel 12 (NIVUK)
The end times
12 ‘At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people – everyone whose name is found written in the book – will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. 4 But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.’
‘Many will go here and there to increase knowledge’. Think about the Internet. The Book of Daniel was written almost 2600 years ago. In Matthew’s Gospel, written a little less than 2000 years ago a better description, the words spoken directly by Jesus is given…
New International Version – UK (NIVUK)
The destruction of the temple and signs of the end times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.’
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. ‘Tell us,’ they said, ‘when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’
4 Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth-pains.
9 ‘Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15 ‘So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation,” spoken of through the prophet Daniel – let the reader understand – 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.21 For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.
22 ‘If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.23 At that time if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Messiah!” or, “There he is!” do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you in advance.
26 ‘So if anyone tells you, “There he is, out in the desert,” do not go out; or, “Here he is, in the inner rooms,” do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 ‘Immediately after the distress of those days
‘“the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”
30 ‘Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 ‘Now learn this lesson from the fig-tree: as soon as its twigs become tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The day and hour unknown
36 ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand-mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45 ‘Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.47 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, “My master is staying away a long time,” 49 and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 50 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of.51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
I have highlighted some of the passage just to point out some key things but all of what is written and spoken by Jesus will come about. There will be no excuse for not taking heed to the words of prophecy for they are a warning to unbelievers to repent and turn to God. Imagine being in a building that is on fire and refusing to use the emergency exit because you think there is a better route. Well there isn’t, there is only one way out and that is through Jesus who is holding open the door for you waiting for you to walk through it! Below is a short video worth watching. Several videos automatically follow this one, should you wish to watch them leave it running. May God open your eyes and your heart to His truth.
Well we are in that time of year once again, the run-up to Christmas. It starts tentatively in September and by the time we get into December it is an all out war, a battle of advertising, promotions, incentives, ideas and all to encourage a mad spending spree. For what? I smile at it all these days because I now look upon the whole affair as an outsider, one who got off the silly ride a couple of years ago and refuses to take part in it all. Let’s get one thing straight at the outset though, I am a Christian, I am a believer in God and in the salvation wrought through Jesus Christ but I realised that the celebration of the man-made festival we call Christmas is not really what God desires of us and there is no precedent for it in Scripture. There is nothing wrong in enjoying and celebrating with family and friends just for the sake of it but to infer that it has anything to do with Christ is wrong especially if those celebrations do not really honour God. In truth Christmas is merely an excuse to overdo things, get drunk, eat too much and just have a hedonistic time. Most people these days do not believe in God or in salvation through Jesus Christ or at best they give lip service to Him. If there were any real sincerity it might be different but even so it isn’t what God wishes. Getting back to the secular side of things and the annual goings on I am glad I no longer a part of it. I see no point in spending money on presents just to receive presents in return. I see no point in drinking more alcohol and partying just because everyone else does it. I see no point in spending vast amounts of money on the traditional fayre of Christmas food just for one day knowing that it isn’t going to be eaten in just one day or probably even one week! Christmas is a time to tell children lies instead of telling them the truth that is in Jesus. No it is a time to tell them about a fictional character who has flying reindeer and who is able to climb down the millions of chimneys dotted about the planet all in one night! How he quite manages that, especially considering his girth, never seems to matter. How is a child supposed to trust you if you start their lives by telling them lies? Christmas is a time for unbelievers to make a mockery of the birth of Christ by filling the time with sinful ways. Christmas, if it ever was truly supposed to be a celebration for Christians has long since been hijacked but in fact it was originally celebrated in an effort to turn pagans and others to God. Well it failed miserably! Christmas is now a time for unbelievers! The same old roundabout revolves with the same old excuses by those riding on it. When Jesus returns as he says he will there will be no reason to celebrate Christmas but will all those unbelievers recognise that fact? Will they see the truth and realise their error? Time will tell but it will be too late for some.