The Apple Of God's Eye

April 25, 2010

Are You Praying Lustfully?

Filed under: Prayer — melchia @ 6:55 pm
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True Christians must never prioritize objects ahead of God or it will kill them spiritually. God says: “You lust and have not: you kill and desire to have, and cannot obtain: you fight and war, yet you have not, because you ask not”(Jam. 4:2).

The expression “desire to have” actually means to covet something. Simply put, this type of prayer is nothing less than lusting for or receiving something. It is on the level of getting, rather than giving.

James 4:5 tells us, “Do you think that the scriptures says in vain, the spirit that dwells in us lusts to envy?” We have human nature that gets us to lust, but we either have God or this world – never both! Lust destroys the true Christian spiritually. It comes from the deceitful heart that is desperately wicked within each human being (Jer, 17:9).

Yes, God says to ask for what we desire, but these desires must not be selfish or harmful to us. If we simply ask for money, power or fame, then these can be injurious requests.

“You ask and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts” (verse 3).

It’s pretty evident that this type of selfish prayer will not be answered and needs examination. When we ask “amiss,” we ask in an evil way, or in a selfish, wrongly focused prayer.

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November 10, 2009

Defining God's Law For The Disobedient!

godwordistruth.wordpress.comMany today teach that God’s Law was nailed to the cross and is no longer in effect. They say we are now under the new covenant and the old covenant is gone. The Old Testament was for the Jews and the New Testament is for the Gentiles. They teach that we are at liberty from the law since we are now under grace. Scriptures such as Rom. 3:28 are used to show you “that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” and others such as Rom. 6:14 which states that “…ye are not under the law, but under grace.” So what about it? Is it true that the law was indeed nailed to the cross?

Why law?

In love God created man in His own image. God loves human beings and He wanted them to be happy—to have peace, and to enjoy life. In order to make such a happy state possible, God set in living motion the spiritual laws which form the very WAY to every physical, mental and spiritual well-being—to avoid sorrow, suffering, anguish, insecurity, boredom, emptiness, frustration, violence and death. These spiritual laws provide the way to happy, invigorating, vital, interesting and joyful living.

God’s proposition to ancient Israel was to make them the world’s most prosperous, most blessed and powerful nation—they were to have the supreme blessing of having the guidance, protection, help, of the all-wise, all-loving, all-powerful God, as their sole King and Ruler. Their government was to be a theocracy. God was the Lawmaker, not a congress, or parliament. He  would appoint leading men to execute His orders. And what was to come from the very voice of God for them to obey? A great law that already existed even as the laws of gravity and inertia—the laws of physics and chemistry—already existed. Only this was a spiritual law! God’s voice was to reveal that living, inexorable law in specific words, as a definite code.

“And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Eternal thy God …” and then the voice of God spoke to that mass of people the words of the Ten Commandments! (Exod. 19)

On that very first day of Pentecost (called festival of firstfruits, or festival of weeks, in the Old Testament), God gave His law—His way of life—to His people. This came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s nation on Earth.

Then, many centuries later, on the day of Pentecost, a.d. 31, God gave His Holy Spirit to His people—the love of God to fulfill that law. And that came at the founding, and setting up, of God’s Church on Earth!

And if you think this law was for “Jews only,” you couldn’t be more wrong! Have you not read, in Acts 7:38, that those Israelites “received the lively oracles to give unto us”—for us who, under the New Testament, are Christians?

Sin defined

By Bible definition, sin is the transgression of God’s law (I John 3:4) and without the law, there can be no sin (Rom. 4:15). Were the law really nailed to the cross, we would have no guidepost to tell us what sin actually is, and as we know, we can’t even enter into [eternal] life without keeping the commandments. This makes the “no law” arguement very difficult to defend.

John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Did you get that? Commandment keeping is associated directly with the law of God! Love is the way of giving, serving, sharing. That is why John 14:15  says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Imagine that. We cannot even pretend to love Jesus Christ if we don’t love His spiritual laws. Can it get any more real than that?

The love of God is eternal and so is the law of God. Perhaps that is why Mat 5:18 says, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”

Yet man seems to think nothing of casting it away, despite these plain words. Observe more closely, now, the Sabbath command.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). God said remember this day! So men have insisted on forgetting—or trying to change it to a different day!

Christ said, in the sermon on the mount: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law,” so professing Christians think He did come to destroy it!

Christ said, in the same sermon on the mount: “Swear not,” so professing Christians universally hold up their right hands and swear.

Christ said: “Love your enemies,” so professing Christians—pretending to follow Him—hate their enemies and go to war to kill them.

Christ said: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” so professing Christians say, “It’s impossible to keep God’s law, let alone to be perfect. Christ kept it in our stead, and then abolished it.”

Christ commands “Do!”—and His professed followers don’t!

Christ commands “Don’t!” and His professed followers do!

Perhaps it is time to stop following the crowd and to keep God’s word the way it was intended – spiritually, not carnally.

September 25, 2009

Russia, China And Europe: The Prophecied Clash To Come!

Much of the framework of all prophecy is found in two prophetic books—the books of Daniel and Revelation. But only in Revelation do we find events of various other prophecies correlated in order of time sequence” It actually details events leading to the return of Jesus Christ; events symbolized by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials. before I begin, I will visually lay out the story flow of the Book of Revelation:

Book Of Revelation Story Flow

7 Seals:

  1. False prophets
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence – these first 4 seals are the 4 horsemen of (Rev. 6:1-8)
  5. Tribulation – (Rev. 6:9-11)
  6. Heavenly Signs – (Rev. 6:12-14)
  7. 7 Trumpetsbeginning of the Day of the Lord
  • 1st trumpet – Injury to the earth – (Rev. 8:7)
  • 2nd trumpet – Injury to the sea – (Rev. 8:8-9)
  • 3rd trumpet – Injury to rivers – (Rev. 810-11)
  • 4th trumpet – Injury to heavenly lights – (Rev. 8:12)
  • 5th trumpet or 1st woe – attack of beast power – (Rev. 9:1-12)
  • 6th trumpet or 2nd woe – Asian counter strike – (Rev. 9:13-19)
  • 7th trumpet or third woeSeven Last Plaques
  1. Sores on those who accept the mark of the beast (Rev. 16:2)
  2. Sea turns to blood and all sea creatures die (Rev. 16:3)
  3. Rivers turn to blood (Rev. 16:4-7)
  4. Sun scorches humanity (Rev. 16:8-9)
  5. Beast’s seat of government afflicted (Rev. 16:10-11)
  6. Euphrates dries up, armies gather at Armageddon (Joel 3:9-17, Rev. 16:12-16)
  7. Great earthquake and hail (Rev. 16:17-21)

The  seven seals, seven trumpets and seven vials portray a progression of catastrophic plagues God will inflict on mankind. These three world shaking events summed up are:

  1. The Great Tribulation
  2. The heavenly signs in the sun and moon and stars (immediately following the Tribulation)
  3. The Day of the Lord

So let’s break these down in order.

The Great Tribulation (the first of three world shaking events)

The first four seals in Revelation 6:1-8 are:

  1. False religion
  2. War
  3. Famine
  4. Pestilence

These lead to the fifth seal, the Great Tribulation—the time of Satan’s wrath – described in Revelation 6:9-11 and other prophecies. The Tribulation  will last for 2½ years.

The Heavenly Signs (the second of three world shaking events)

In Revelation 6:12-14 it says:

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

The heavenly signs signify the sixth seal of Revelation 6:12-14.

The Day Of The Lord (the third of three world shaking events)

This is the Day of the Lord—the time of God’s wrath, when God punishes mankind for their rebellion against Him and His government with plagues. Here he is trying to bring all sinners (who survive the previous disasters) to repentance (verses 15-17).

The Day of the Lord lasts for one year, but it is NOT the last year of the 3½-year period we read of, and is NOT a part of the Great Tribulation. It is a combination of the Great Tribulation, the Heavenly Signs and the Day of the Lord which collectively make up the 3½‑year period called “a time, and times, and half a time” (Revelation 12:14).

The beginning of the day of the Lord is at the opening of the seventh and final seal:

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets” (Revelation 8:1-2).

These seven trumpet blasts occur after the seventh seal is opened during the Day of the Lord. They symbolize plagues sent from God as He intervenes in the affairs of mankind! This is the result of people refusing to listen to God and repent of their sins.

  • The first four trumpet blasts of Rev. 8 destroy the environment, making living conditions on Earth unbearable.
  • The fifth trumpet (also called the first woe) signifies world domination by a European beast power. Daniel 11:40 (speaking of the first woe) speaks of a clash (in this end time) between that European empire (the King of the North) and the King of the South, a radical Middle Eastern power (modern Iran).

Verses 40-41 speak of the Great Tribulation, when this European Beast Power will enter into the glorious land (called Israel today) and overthrow many nations. However, the spectacular military success of the beast power in the Middle East will be short lived:

“But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him …” (verse 44). If we see the modern nation of Israel as a reference point, we have to look north and east on a map, coming directly to Russia and China!

After destroying the radical Middle eastern power (King of the South), the beast power (King of the North), will be troubled by China and Russia in the east and north. This scripture is speaking of a massive clash between these two world superpowers, with the king of the north launching a preemptive strike against the Asian foe:

“Therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many.”

This attack (the first woe of Rev. 9:1-11) is described as the beginning of all-out war between these two superpowers to determine world rule. The biblical language used is symbolic, because the apostle John had to use terminology of his day to describe technology of the future.

For example, verses 3 and 7-10 state that locusts “came upon the Earth with power in their tails like a scorpion.” This could merely be describing modern military helicopters firing missiles during an all out, five month military attack on the inhabitants of the earth. All is spearheaded by the devil, as verse 11 actually explains the king over these soldiers is Abaddon or Apollyon, which are names of Satan.

The Second Woe

Continuing in Revelation 9:

  • The sixth trumpet of verses 12-13 (also called the second woe) sounds. Four angels are released specifically to amass an almost incomprehensibly large, 200-million-man army (verses 15-16).

Most Bible critics argue that it would be impossible to assemble an army this size. But the current population in China is over 1.3 billion. Russia has 142 million, India with 1.1 billion people has the fourth-largest army in the world. Japan, the nations of Southeast Asia, and the former Soviet republics could all be probable participants in this alliance. Adding up the populations, there will easily be a total approaching 3 billion people from which to make up an army of 200 million! It is hardly unrealistic to think these combined countries could not muster an army of 200 million men.

Joel 2:4 also speaks of this Asiatic force (there called God’s army) during what is titled an event in the Day of the Eternal. It is actually God who will inspire it to wreak havoc on the European beast power with a counterattack and obliterate it. The end result is the death of “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:15). Of course such a scenario has never transpired and it takes the awesome destructive power of modern super-weapons to achieve such carnage.

Babylon Falls

Jeremiah 50 also adds details to this story, now calling the political-religious system of the King of the North by the name of Babylon, though historically it was known as the “Holy” Roman Empire.

In verse 3, God says He will bring a nation out of the North which will make it desolate. Again, the massive Asiatic counterattack will overwhelm the beast power. This is the second woe.

And verse 9 states that it will be an assembly o many nations, which could only be Russia and China, along with various other nations which will join this power bloc. The devastating collapse of the Babylonian system, the beast power, is further described in Revelation 18:2-19.

These Russians and Chinese armies will be ruthless. To “slay the third part of men”, there can be no doubt that they will attack with nuclear weapons! In verse 15, God says this act is His vengeance, because the people of this beast power have sinned against him (Revelation 18:5-6). Revelation 18 and Jeremiah 50:29 show that Babylon is destroyed in the space of one hour!

Unbelievably, the last two verses of Revelation 9  reveal just how hard-headed and stubborn man can be, even after such severe correction, as those not killed continue on with their lives, unrepentant of their idol worship, their murders, fornication, thefts and so on (verses 20-21). Even after most of the Earth’s population has been personally afflicted by nuclear war and complete destruction, they still are not willing to turn to God and His law!

The Third Woe

Revelation 11:14-15 now speaks of the third woe. Two of the three woes are complete and after that, the kingdoms of this world are to become God’s Kingdom. Christ will return, and God’s government will again take over the Earth.

But even after all the destruction, verse 18 says the nations will be angry and wrathful toward Christ. Can you believe that? And now what’s left of the beast power and of Asia will actually gather to fight against Christ at the last trumpet. This battle is described in great detail throughout Revelation 15 and 16.

The final trumpet blast is divided into seven vials of God’s wrath—the last seven plagues (Revelation 15:1, 6), sent upon mankind because of their hard-headedness. In Revelation 16:12, God dries up the Euphrates River to prepare the way for these armies to gather near Jerusalem (in a place called Armageddon, verse 16). There they will turn their attention toward their one common enemy—the King of kings—Jesus Christ.

There is wonderfully good news in the midst of all these horrors. Both of these armies will gather at Armageddon to fight each other, but will end up fighting Christ at His Second Coming! The armies will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them (Revelation 17:12-14). The conclusion of that battle will mark the beginning of a new, peaceful age for the whole Earth!

Ezekiel’s Prophecy

Ezekiel also tells us about yet another burst of rebellion to spring from northeast of Jerusalem, with the Millennium only just begun. As unbelievable as it sounds, the people of Asia will muster their forces for one final attempt to overthrow Christ’s rule!

Reading Ezekiel chapter 34, we find that, after the Day of the Lord, God will gather His sheep—those enslaved Israelites left alive after the Day of the Lord—and rescue them from captivity. This is when God will remove the spiritual blindness from their eyes and they will seek God’s ways. God’s Kingdom will be set up to finally establish lasting peace (Isaiah 11:11; Romans 11:25-26; Micah 4:2-3).

Dozens of prophecies refer to the end-time descendants of Israel being scattered around the world during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. But Ezekiel 36 pictures the remnant of Israel returning to the land God originally promised them, to one place.

Ezekiel 37:15 begins to speak of Israel and Judah as two sticks united together after Christ’s return. God will take them from among the heathen and make them one nation (verse 22), with a resurrected, spirit-born King David being king over Israel (verse 24).

Chapter 37 also  speaks of a prophecy referred to as the valley of dry bones. Much of it pictures a literal fleshly resurrection of those who had long since died, never knowing the truth. This resurrection occurs at the end of the thousand-year reign of Christ.

What happens to Gog and Magog (the Asiatic Nations)?

The Russians and Chinese are used to punish the beast power just before Christ returns, but as a result, they too become proud and haughty, therefore needing correction from God. He even tells these nations to prepare for a coming battle with Him (verse 7), after Christ’s return. God prophecies against Gog and Magog , stating that His anger is against them (Ezekiel 38:2-3).

How do we know this? Notice that verse 8 says Israel has been “brought back from the sword.” Here the people of Israel are dwelling peacefully (verse 11). It is the remnant of the Asiatic hordes of the battle of Armageddon (who were not killed) which descend upon the glorious land a short time after it has been occupied by the re-gathered Israelites. It will only be a land of villages at this point early on in the Millennium. Gog and Magog will see how God has blessed His people and will target the people of Israel as easy spoil in a blessed and undefended land!

Now think about this, because it really makes the mind reel. Even after Christ returns, there will not be peace immediately. There will still exist those who haven’t submitted to God’s law and government. They will learn the “hard way” that God’s system is fair and equitable and that they must submit to it to be blessed. Imagine, having to force people to be happy.

Yet that is exactly what the Bible says God does. Only one sixth of those who come to attack Israel will live through the battle, even though the y have been pre-warned (Ezekiel 39:7). The number of dead will be incalculable, and the people of Israel will be called upon to bury the fallen fighters. “And seven months shall the house of Israel be burying of them, that they may cleanse the land” (verse 12).

According to Ezekiel 38 and 39, this is the last great rebellion this Earth will experience for 1,000 years! Then, at the end of the Millennium when Satan is loosed for a little season, and there will be another—Revelation 20:7-9. Through both of these, God will not only defend and deliver His people, but He will prove that He fights and wins our battles for us.

God will make sure that His wrath is felt and witnessed throughout all the Earth (Ezekiel 38:18-20). He will have the nations of Gog and Magog destroy themselves (verse 21). Only through  blood, pain and suffering will God finally have all skeptics—those who do not accept Christ’s rule; those who do not know God, come to the understanding that He is the Eternal.

And here’s the rub. God wants us to choose life, not death! He does not like to see anyone suffer. Only those who stand with God now in complete obedience will not have to suffer in the future.

September 19, 2009

Jesus Christ: The Prince Of Peace Will Make War With Mankind!

"Big Ivan"- the world's largest nuclear bomb - http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba1Big.jpg

"Big Ivan"- the world's largest nuclear bomb - http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/TsarBomba1Big.jpg

Someday soon, war will be history. Your Bible makes that promise. Swords will be beaten into plowshares; nuclear bombs will be melted into playground equipment.

But guess what. That time of peace won’t be brought about through negotiations and treaties. It will come only after the King of kings returns and forces peace on mankind.

At this point in man’s history, there is no hope of peace. The nuclear club currently has nine states that have successfully detonated nuclear weapons. Five are considered to be “nuclear weapons states” (NWS), an internationally recognized status conferred by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). In order of acquisition of nuclear weapons these are: the United States, Russia (successor state to the Soviet Union), the United Kingdom, France, and China.

Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted nuclear tests, namely India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel is also widely believed to have nuclear weapons, though it has refused to confirm or deny this. [Calls for Olmert to resign after nuclear gaffe Israel and the Middle East | Guardian Unlimited“. Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1970616,00.html]

Now, according to Bloomberg, “Venezuela[n] President Hugo Chávez said the South American country plans to develop a nuclear energy program with Russia ….” Chávez discussed his nuclear ambitions with Vladimir Putin
during his visit to Russia last week.

But apparently there’s no reason to be worried about South America’s preeminent anti-American, terrorist-sponsoring nation acquiring nuclear technology: “We’re not going to make an atomic bomb,” Chávez said on state television last week. “We’re going to develop nuclear energy with peaceful purposes.” Well that’s a relief!

Then there are states alleged to have nuclear weapons programs or have been been accused by Israel or the United States of currently attempting to develop nuclear weapons technology.

  • Iran – A U.S. National Intelligence Estimate of December 3, 2007 judged with “high confidence” that Iran had an active nuclear weapons program. And the Associated Press from September 17, 2009 year says: Experts at the world’s top atomic watchdog are in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead, according to a secret report.

Iran makes no secret of the fact that it wants to be the preeminent power in the Middle East. Domestically, both conservatives and reformers support their country’s right to develop nuclear technology, and many Iranian military leaders see nukes as a necessary supplement to Iran’s less-advanced conventional forces, which have been hampered by U.S. sanctions.

Is Iran a warmongering nation? Listen to their rhetoric. Observe their actions, not just in terrorism and spreading fear and hatred the world over, but even within their own nation, in crushing dissent and trumping the rights of the populace. Of course they are a serious threat to world peace with such a devastatingly dangerous weapon.

Other Threats To World Peace

  • Syria – on September 6, 2007, Israel bombed an officially unidentified site in Syria which it later asserted was a nuclear reactor under construction (see Operation Orchard) [6 September 2007 Air strike at globalsecurity.org.] The alleged nuclear reactor was not yet operational and no nuclear material had been introduced into it. Press reports indicated the air strike followed a shipment delivery to Syria by a North Korean freighter, and that North Korea was suspected to be supplying a reactor to Syria for an alleged nuclear weapons program. The White House briefed Congress and the IAEA on April 24, 2008, saying that the U.S. Government was “convinced” that Syria had been building a “covert nuclear reactor” that was “not intended for peaceful purposes.”[Statement by the Press Secretary]. Syria is closely watching developments in Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. If Iran and North Korea use the threat of nukes to deter the United States, Syria (which suspects it’s in the superpower’s cross hairs) may decide that it has little choice but to follow suit. Syrian leaders are also keeping a close eye on nuclear developments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. If one or both nations go nuclear, Syria may decide to keep pace.
  • Myanmar – a report in the `Sydney Morning Herald‘ and Searchina, a Japanese newspaper, reported two Myanmarese defectors saying that the Myanmar junta was secretly building a nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction facility with North Korea’s help, with the aim of acquiring its first nuclear bomb in five years. According to the report, “The secret complex, much of it in caves tunnelled into a mountain at Naung Laing in northern Burma, runs parallel to a civilian reactor being built at another site by Russia that both the Russians and Burmese say will be put under international safeguards.”[Searchina, “Reasons for digging tunnels in Burma”, August 11, 2009]

In 2002, Myanmar had notified IAEA of its intention to pursue a civilian nuclear programme. Later, Russia announced that it would build a nuclear reactor in Myanmar. There have also been reports that two Pakistani scientists, from the AQ Khan stable, had been dispatched to Myanmar where they had settled down, to help Myanmar’s project. During an ASEAN meeting in Thailand last week, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton highlighted concerns of the North Korean link. “We know there are also growing concerns about military cooperation between North Korea and Burma which we take very seriously,” Clinton said.[http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/World/Rest-of-World/Myanmar-building-nuke-reactor-says-media-report/articleshow/4846971.cms]

The Next Nuclear States

Japan – it has twenty-three tons of weapons-usable plutonium and the ability to produce weapons-grade uranium without much trouble. Sometimes described as a “virtual” nuclear weapons state, Japan has one of the world’s largest and most advanced civilian nuclear programs. It could likely have nuclear weapons within a few months of deciding it wanted them. It is the only nation ever to have nuclear weapons used against it, Japan has long been staunchly anti-nuclear. But the country has also grown increasingly nervous about what it sees as deteriorating regional security. North Korea’s great leap may tip Japanese public opinion, and some politicians are calling for the country to debate openly whether it should have nukes. The country could withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty with three months’ notice by claiming its “supreme interests” are at risk.

Taiwan – as recently as the late 1980s, Taiwan was within a few years of becoming a nuclear-armed state. But the United States and others insisted it back down. Taiwan now has no uranium enrichment capability, and its sole facility for handling plutonium was torn apart. Its weapons-grade remnants likely include fewer than five pounds of plutonium and two tons of uranium. But its scientific know-how has probably survived. As the military balance between China and Taiwan tilts increasingly in the mainland’s favor, Taiwan could decide that it needs nukes to restore equilibrium fast. Like North Korea, Taiwan can argue that it faces an existential threat from a superpower.

Saudi Arabia -in 2003, members of the government stated that due to the worsening relations with the USA, Saudi Arabia was being forced to consider the development of nuclear weapons; however, so far they have denied that they are making any attempt to produce them.[Norris, Robert S. and Hans M. Kristensen. “Chinese nuclear forces, 2006,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 62:3 (May/June 2006): 60-63.]

In March 2006, the German magazine Cicero reported that Saudi Arabia had since 2003 received assistance from Pakistan to acquire nuclear missiles and warheads. Satellite photos allegedly reveal an underground city and nuclear silos with Ghauri rockets south of the capital Riyadh.[http://nuclearthreatinitiative.org/db/china/nfuorg.htm] Pakistan has denied aiding Saudi Arabia in any nuclear ambitions.[25]

Source: ForeignPolicy.com

Table of Global Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles, 1945-2002

End Year US SU UK FR CH Total
1945 6 6
1946 11 11
1947 32 32
1948 110 110
1949 235 1 236
1950 369 5 374
1951 640 25 665
1952 1,005 50 1,055
1953 1,436 120 1 1,557
1954 2,063 150 5 2,218
1955 3,057 200 10 3,267
1956 4,618 426 15 5,059
1957 6,444 660 20 7,124
1958 9,822 869 22 10,713
1959 15,468 1,060 25 16,553
1960 20,434 1,605 30 22,069
1961 24,111 2,471 50 26,632
1962 27,297 3,322 205 30,823
1963 29,249 4,238 280 33,767
1964 30,751 5,221 310 4 1 36,287
1965 31,642 6,129 310 32 5 38,118
1966 31,700 7,089 270 36 20 39,105
1967 30,893 8,339 270 36 25 39,563
1968 28,884 9,399 280 36 35 38,633
1969 26,910 10,538 308 36 50 37,841
1970 26,119 11,643 280 36 75 38,153
1971 26,365 13,092 220 45 100 39,822
1972 27,296 14,478 220 70 130 42,193
1973 28,335 15,915 275 116 150 44,791
1974 28,170 17,385 325 145 170 46,195
1975 27,052 19,055 350 188 185 46,830
1976 25,956 21,205 350 212 190 47,913
1977 25,099 23,044 350 228 200 48,920
1978 24,243 25,393 350 235 220 50,441
1979 24,107 27,935 350 235 235 52,862
1980 23,764 30,062 350 250 280 54,706
1981 23,031 32,049 350 275 330 56,035
1982 22,937 33,952 335 275 360 57,859
1983 23,154 35,804 320 280 380 59,938
1984 23,228 37,431 270 280 415 61,623
1985 23,135 39,197 300 360 425 63,416
1986 23,254 40,723 300 355 425 65,056
1987 23,490 38,859 300 420 415 63,484
1988 23,077 37,333 300 410 430 61,549
1989 22,174 35,805 300 410 435 59,124
1990 21,211 33,417 300 505 430 55,863
1991 18,306 28,595 300 540 435 48,176
1992 13,731 25,155 300 540 435 40,161
1993 11,536 21,101 300 525 435 33,897
1994 11,012 18,399 250 510 450 30,621
1995 10,953 14,978 300 500 400 27,131
1996 10,886 12,085 300 450 400 24,121
1997 10,829 11,264 260 450 400 23,203
1998 10,763 10,764 260 450 400 22,637
1999 10,698 10,451 185 450 400 22,184
2000 10,615 10,201 185 450 400 21,851
2001 10,491 9,126 200 350 400 20,567
2002 10,640 8,600 200 350 400 20,190

US = United States, SU = Soviet Union/Russia, UK = United Kingdom, FR = France and CH = China

Notes:

  • US warhead estimates exclude a small number of warheads awaiting dismantlement and are accurate to within a few hundred warheads.
  • SU/Russian warhead estimates exclude warheads awaiting dismantlement or in reserve status. The total number of intact warheads is estimated to be 18,000.
  • UK and French stockpile estimates are believed to be accurate to within a few tens of warheads.
  • Chinese warhead estimates are probably not accurate to better than 50 percent, due to the uncertainty in the number of tactical warheads.
  • In addition to the above, Israel, India and Pakistan have nuclear arsenals, and South Africa produced six gun-assembly type weapons in the 1980s, but dismantled them in the early-1990s. Estimates of the composition and evolution of the arsenals of Israel, India and Pakistan are extremely difficult to make. Israel may have a stockpile of some 100-200 nuclear weapons, India 30-35, and Pakistan between 24 and 48 nuclear weapons.

Source: www.nrdc.org

“Not since the early days of the Cold War have proliferation experts and the general public been so attuned to the threat of nuclear weapons–and with good reason. There are more than 28,000 nuclear devices in existence today, more and more countries are acquiring the means to produce them, and there is mounting evidence that al Qaeda has every intention of using a nuclear weapon if only it can get its hands on one.

Once al Qaeda or another group possesses a weapon, deterring or preventing an attack will be all but impossible. Luck, as much as money and hard work, has helped prevent such an attack to date. A second, more complex danger stems from the proliferation of nuclear capabilities to governments. In the long term, the wider state acquisition of nuclear weapons dramatically increases the odds that one might be used, intentionally or not. This concern applies not only to so-called rogue regimes, but to key U.S. allies as well. Given the global insecurity of much weapons material, state proliferation also contributes to the risk of a nightmarish nuclear terrorism scenario.” [ForeighAffairs.com]

It is obvious we have a series of developments which not only show these weapons not going away, there are going to be a lot more of them. The world will  democratize nuclear weapons as too many states go nuclear and all hopes of eliminating them will finish, despite the naive efforts of US President Barack Obama. That is what human nature is all about. The Bible says if Jesus Christ would not return, all life on earth would perish – largely due to nuclear detonation.

Thankfully, once Christ returns, neither America nor Afghanistan nor any other nation will have to wage another war, neither will there be any more threat of war. As the sun begins to set on the Feast of Trumpets this year (September 19, 2009), it is worthwhile to remember that this day commemorates the return of Jesus Christ to prevent man from obliterating all life on earth. God speed that day.

June 12, 2009

Is God Fair?

dreamnepal.blogspot.com

dreamnepal.blogspot.com

Look at the world today! War, famine, pestilence! Poverty, inequality, hunger, want! Sickness, disease, suffering, death! Crime, graft, dishonesty, corruption! Insanity, degeneration, decay! Unhappiness, fear, wretchedness and woe!

How, so many are asking, can a supreme, all-powerful God of love permit such human woe? Why is He permitting civilization itself to crumble?

Is God Fair?

Listen! Some men are saying, “God isn’t fair!”—or “Is there a God, after all?” But what do you suppose men would say if God took away their right to think and do as they please? For God could never stop this awful carnage without forcing men to act according to His will—denying them a free will of their own!

It is men’s ways, so contrary to God’s ways, that have brought on this unhappy state. And they have brought on all the world’s sorrows and anguish in spite of the pleadings of God. He says, “Your ways are not my ways” (Isa. 55:8).

God’s ways, had they been followed, would have led inevitably to peace, happiness, prosperity and joy. God always has revealed to men His ways. Always He has pleaded with the human family. Suppose God had taken the only alternative.

Suppose He had forced men, against their wills, to have lived according to His laws?

Can’t you almost hear the defiant, rebellious, stiff-necked human race indignantly screaming at the Almighty: “You can’t cram your religion down my throat!” For it is a matter of religion. Can’t we see that had God followed that course, more than ever men would have shouted, “God isn’t fair!”

For six thousand years men have lived in defiance of God’s laws. Had God denied them this right to be wrong, men would have accused God of injustice, demanding freedom to follow their own ways.

God’s plan has for its purpose the creating of perfect CHARACTER in beings that are separate entities from God, yet members of the very family of God. Character cannot be created automatically by fiat—it must be developed through experience!

Nor could character be instilled without free moral agency. To achieve this great purpose—that of producing the supreme pinnacle of all God’s creation, sons of God having perfect character—man has to be convinced, of his own free will, that God’s laws are just, and that His ways are the only right ways for man! Man must turn to them, voluntarily! This lesson could be learned only by EXPERIENCE!

In the beginning, Satan appeared to contest the wisdom of God’s law. This law is, simply, love for God and love for neighbor, as defined in the ten broad principles of the Ten Commandments. A fundamental, spiritual, eternal law. The philosophy Christ taught is that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But Satan argued for the GETTING way. Competition, he argued, is the life-blood of activity. Self-desire provides incentive to endeavor. Vanity spurs to action. And so, in Satan’s philosophy, self-desire, competition, strife, provide the root-principle for accomplishment. The way of getting is the way of progress and advancement.

Had not God permitted this selfish way to be tried, tested, and demonstrated, God’s creatures could argue throughout eternity that they had been denied the better way.

The Devil’s Week

And so God turned over to Satan the first six days of one week, consisting of seven one-thousand-year days, in which to demonstrate the falsity of this way—the way of greed.

During the first six days of this week of seven thousand years Satan was permitted to retain dominion over all the earth. “Six days,” God said, “thou shalt labour, and do all thy work”—his work of deception and hate—”but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.” Six thousand-year days have been permitted Satan for his labor of deception. Even then his dominion has been limited to the power of influence and suggestion. Never has God permitted even Satan arbitrarily to force men against their wills.

And so for nearly six thousand years men have been left free to accept the self-seeking competitive philosophy of Satan, or to follow the golden rule of God. And for six thousand years Satan has labored. And mankind has fallen for his delusion!

Satan’s philosophy is the philosophy of the world today. On it our present civilization has been built. A civilization men love and cherish, and for which they patriotically sacrifice their lives! A civilization developed on desire for self-gain, competition, strife! In it success is determined by how much a man has been able to get, not on how well he has served.

God has never left men in ignorance of the true way of life. Always He has made known the true values—the way of His spiritual law of love! Continually God has pleaded, with patience and in love. He pleaded through Noah in the days before the Flood. He set up a nation of His own on earth that pledged to follow His laws, dedicated voluntarily to God’s ways of life. But ancient Israel turned from God’s ways, and persecuted and killed God’s prophets!

God sent His only begotten Son to point men back to the true paths. And Him, too, men rejected and killed.

During these six thousand years since Adam, men continually have spurned God’s love, rejected His law, turned a deaf ear to His prophets and His true ministers. They have built a world after the false philosophy of Satan, replete with its pagan customs, traditions and beliefs. Today people are hopelessly engulfed in these false ways, but, being deceived, realize it not at all!

Satan is revealed as the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). The original inspired Greek should properly be translated, “the god of this age.” And this worldly civilization worships its God. The appalling fact unrealized by the world is that Satan, not the Eternal, is its god! The Creator God “is not the author of confusion,” we read in I Corinthians 14:33. Its real author is Satan, the world’s god! And so he has his many denominations and sects, all striving in a babylon of confusion!

The Devil’s Work

Today the people of organized religion refuse to hear the law of the Lord (Isa. 30:8-11). They demand that their ministers preach the soft and smooth things—the deceits! They have turned away from the truth, and are accepting and believing fables (II Tim. 4:2-4).

Yes, Satan has organized religion. He himself appears, not as a devil with horns and a tail, bearing a pitchfork, but “is transformed into an angel of light” (II Cor. 11:14). His ministers are transformed as the ministers of righteousness, appearing AS the apostles of Christ! (Verses 13, 15.) But they are preaching “another Jesus” (verse 4), in the power of “another spirit,” and deceiving men with “another gospel” than the true gospel of the Kingdom which Christ brought and Paul and all the apostles preached! (Gal. 1:6-7.)

Satan’s congregations go in for much form. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof: from such turn away,” plainly warns God’s Word! (II Tim. 3:5.) The present worldly order—its competitive principle, its customs and traditions, its political systems—are upheld by false churches within every land! Truly, all nations are deceived! (Rev. 12:9; 17:2; 18:3.)

Jesus Christ appeared 1900 years ago as a messenger bearing a message from God. He brought to an unhappy world steeped in false ways the “good news of the KINGDOM OF GOD.” A Kingdom now, soon, to replace these crumbling governments on earth!

That Kingdom today is near at hand—even at the doors! (Luke 21:31.)

Thank God, we are near the end of the six working days allotted to Satan’s dominion. God’s thousand-year Sabbath day is just about to dawn!

There is a saying that it is darkest just before the dawn. Now we see on every hand the final fruitage of men’s ways. Written in unerasable blood, in human misery, anguish and despair is the six-thousand-year record of experience!

Even now men will not heed this horrible lesson—not until they are forced to see it!

But, as Satan’s sixth “working day” closes, God is about to step in and supernaturally interfere!

The coming seventh millennium—typified by the Feast of Tabernacles—shall see Satan restrained. Christ will return to rule the earth with all the power of God. God’s new order for the next thousand years will restore peace, happiness, and joy.

Then men may look back over this present world, and compare! Never will God force a single human being, against his own will, into salvation and eternal life.

But, with the seven-thousand-year record of experience set plainly before seeing eyes, do you think anyone will want to return to these ways we seem now to love? Not many, you may be sure of that! Yet some, even then, will rebel.

Finally the world shall acknowledge, of its own free volition, that God’s ways are right. Christ, says the scripture, “learned obedience by the things which he suffered” (Heb. 5:8-9.) Even He who never did wrong! “And being made perfect”—through experience—”he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

Some day we shall look upon God’s plan with breathtaking admiration and awe! The suffering of this present time shall have faded completely from mind. The lessons of experience we shall have with us for eternity! Finally humanity shall accept God’s ways of life, knowing that they are right ways. The happiness and joy we shall then experience cannot be conceived by our minds today! Through all eternity we shall worship and praise the Eternal God for His wisdom, His mercy, His love!

Do you think anyone, then, will look back and say, “God isn’t fair”?

Source: Plain Truth, January 1978

February 24, 2009

What Does The Bible Say About The Thousand Year Reign?

God’s 1,000-year millennial rule will be ushered in by the second coming of Jesus Christ. As to the exact date of this event, Christ said that no man knows the day or the hour (Matt. 24:36). But He did give us very clear and definite prophetic events to watch for as signs or warnings of His imminent return. Christ predicted religious deceptions, wars, famines, diseases, and earthquakes on a global scale immediately preceding His return (Matt. 24:3-35).

The present turmoil, escalating wars and strife now occurring on this earth will eventually develop into a total global conflict of such a magnitude that unless God were to intervene, no human flesh would be saved alive (Matt. 24:21-22). At the very climax of the events described in the 24th chapter of Matthew (also Luke 21; Mark 13), Jesus Christ will return as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). This time He is coming in power as divine God (Matt. 24:30) to establish a world super-government and rule all nations “with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:5; 19:15).

As Christ is returning to this earth, the dead in Christ — including all the prophets of old (Luke 13:28) — will be resurrected from their graves as immortal spirit beings (I Thes. 4:14-16). Those then living who have the Spirit of God shall be instantaneously changed from mortal to immortal (I Cor. 15:50-54) and, together with those resurrected, shall rise to meet the descending glorified Christ (I Thes. 4:17) in the air.

Christ Himself will return to this earth where His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4-5) in the same manner that He left (Acts 1:11). Those changed, converted saints, made immortal at the resurrection, will then assist Jesus Christ in ruling literal physical nations made up of human beings — nations of mortals left alive at Christ’s return — for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4; 3:21; Dan. 7:22, 27).

February 23, 2009

Between The Testaments, Part 3

From: The Good News Of Tomorrow’s World

September 1971

By Ernest Martin and Harry Eisenberg

In the last installment, we saw how a majority of people were weaned away from their observance of God’s laws by the pressures of the Hellenistic culture. Under the rule of the Egyptian Ptolemies, they became interested in the education and culture of the surrounding nations. Later, under the domination of a cruel Seleucid Syrian king, the Jews revolted against Syria. The revolt was successful, and Hellenism, as a culture of which the Syrians were great exponents, was now discredited.

The priests (those descended from Aaron), many of whom had been leading Hellenists, were looked upon with distrust by many. Now laymen were beginning to make their voices heard in religious disputes. This was the rise of the Pharisees. It was a layman’s party, though some priests also belonged to it.

The Sadducees

No one questioned the right of the priests to officiate in the Temple. But the priests pointed to Deuteronomy 17:8-13 as giving them, and not the lay teachers, the authority to teach and to decide questions pertaining to religion. They and their supporters organized themselves into the party of the Sadducees (name taken from Zadok, the High Priest in Solomon’s day).

The priests as a whole were wealthy. This and their previous support of Hellenism caused the people to mistrust them by and large. Josephus tells us, “The Sadducees are able to persuade none but the rich, and have not the populace obsequious to them, but the Pharisees have the multitude on their side” (“Antiquities of the Jews”, XIII, x, 6).

Lay Teachers Justify the People’s Errors

And yet the main reason for the popularity of the Pharisees and the rejection of the Sadducees was neither the tainted past nor the wealth of the priests. It was in the teachings of the Pharisees themselves. During the period of religious anarchy under Hellenistic rule, the continuity of official teachers of the law had been broken. Hellenism had made its inroads.

Consequently, when the Maccabean War came to an end, and some teachers did think of returning to God’s Law, it was found that “many new customs and practices for which there were no precedents in the traditions of the fathers, and not the slightest indication in the Book of the Law, were observed by the people and considered by them as a part of their religious laws and practices” (Lauterbach, “Rabbinic Essays”, Hebrew Union College Press, Cincinnati, p. 195).

In short, the people had adopted many customs and ideas which were in truth clearly pagan. The best example of these is the belief in the immortality of the soul already mentioned. “The difficulty was to find a sanction in the Torah (the Law) for the new customs and practices which had established themselves in the community …” (Herford, “Talmud and Apocrypha”, Soncino Press, London, 1933, p. 66). The teachers should have shown the people they were sinning (Isa. 58:1). Instead they chose to justify them. This should not seem strange. It was done in Jeremiah’s day (Jer. 23:21-22) and in Isaiah’s (Isa. 30:10).

Pagan Customs Called Jewish!

And yet the Scripture plainly states: “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jer. 10:2). Consequently, the teachers taught that the new customs the people had adopted were not really pagan — they were actually Jewish!

They reasoned this: “It is hardly possible that foreign customs and non-Jewish laws should have met with such universal acceptance. The total absence of objection on the part of the people to such customs vouched for their Jewish origin, in the opinion of the teachers” (Lauterbach, p. 211). These teachers told the people that it simply was not possible for them, being Jews, to have inherited any heathen custom or practice. They furthermore taught that since the customs were “Jewish,” then they must have been taught by Moses himself. (This is no different from today, when churchgoers by the millions assume that the original apostles observed Sunday, Easter, Christmas and the like.)

“Accordingly, the teachers themselves came to believe that such generally recognized laws and practices must have been old traditional laws and practices adopted by the fathers and transmitted to the following generations in addition to the Written Law. Such a belief would naturally free the teachers from the necessity of finding scriptural proof for all the new practices” (ibid.).

In other words they claimed that these customs, since they were not WRITTEN in the Old Testament, must have been handed down ORALLY from Moses — by word of mouth. Actually, these traditional laws — these oral laws — were not from Moses nor any of the prophets. There is not a single reference in the Scripture that Moses gave the Israelites any oral or traditional laws that were to be transmitted to posterity along with the written Word. The Bible states just the opposite. It plainly says that Moses wrote the whole Law in a book. Notice. “And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were FINISHED …” (Deut. 31:24). There is no such thing as an “oral law of Moses.”

Oral Law Gains Acceptance

The theory of the “oral law” was accepted only gradually — a matter of a few years, rather than months. “The theory of an authoritative traditional law (which might be taught independently of the Scriptures) was altogether too new to be unhesitatingly accepted … the theory was too startling and novel to be unconditionally accepted” (Lauterbach, p. 211 ).

The greater opposition to the so-called “oral law” came from the priests who, as a whole, declared that the Scripture was the only necessary code of laws to obey. “This apparently simple solution offered by the priestly group in the Sanhedrin did not find favour with the lay members of that body” (ibid., p. 209). And, with the passage of time, the lay teachers ultimately came to constitute the majority of representatives in the Sanhedrin. These Pharisaic lay teachers succeeded in convincing the people that they were right and that the priests were wrong.

Some of the people’s fears concerning the priestly Sadducees were apparently valid, however. Many of the priests did become worldly minded and they found worldly politics far more interesting than religion. The Sadducees eventually adopted the belief that there was no resurrection and that angels did not exist (Act 23:8). This was probably a result of the influence of the Greek Epicurean philosophy. It taught that there was no future life of any kind and that man should therefore seek as many physical pleasures in this life as possible, since that was all there was.

New Laws of the Pharisees

Many of the Pharisees came to believe what they were doing was God’s will. “It is certain that they (the Pharisees) regarded themselves as the successors of the prophets, and not merely in fact but by right” (Herford, p. 71). Based on this claimed authority, they adopted a method of teaching what they believed to be laws of God, without any initial reference to Scripture for authority. “Finding no convincing proof for such laws in the Bible, they taught them independently of scriptural proof, i.e., in the MISHNAH-form” (Lauterbach, p. 229).

MISHNAH-form was the name given for laying down laws to be observed, apart from Scripture. This is not to say MISHNAH-form avoided Scripture altogether. But it was only AFTER a law had already been accepted that the Scriptures might be checked for corroboration. Sometimes “affirmation” of a new law was forced from Scriptures totally unrelated to the particular subject. The word MISHNAH is related to the Hebrew root meaning “second” and “study.” MISHNAH-form was the SECOND form that the Pharisees adopted for “STUDY” as opposed to the original form of properly expounding the Scriptures, which was called MIDRASH-form. This older, original form was known as “teaching after the manner of Moses” (“Talmud”, Temurah 156, “Yebamoth” 72b).

MIDRASH-form is based on deducing laws, teachings, legends, etc., from the Scripture. As time went on it too became perverted. “Whenever there was the remotest possibility of doing so, they would seek by means of new hermeneutical rules (rules pertaining to Biblical interpretation) to find in the words of the Torah support for these traditional laws” (Lauterbach, p. 212).

Thus the Pharisees were able to “find” the traditions they were now approving of by twisted interpretations of Scripture. In doing this they still claimed to be using the MIDRASH-form. Ezra is said to have taught in MIDRASH-form when he, and his helpers “read in the book in the law of God distinctly and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8).

There was, however, one major point which Ezra was aware of, but which the Pharisees missed. It is this: God, in the Bible, never contradicts Himself. Malachi, a contemporary of Ezra was inspired to write: “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3: 6). But many of the traditional laws the Pharisees approved of did contradict Scripture. What’s more, many of them even contradicted one another. With the introduction of the new MISHNAH-form, Scripture came to be less relied on than before. New laws, which were not even necessarily traditional, could be enacted.

The Pharisees found the MISHNAH-form to be an important weapon in their conflict with the Sadducees. Laws that were accepted after being handed down in the MISHNAH-form tended to enhance the authority of the Pharisees, since it was SOLELY on their authority that the law was accepted. The very first individual of whom we have any record who began to teach new commandments in the MISHNAH-form, apart from the scriptural basis, was Jose ben Joezer of Zareda.

Jose laid down three new commandments. The first concerned the eating of a certain locust; the second, the blood of slaughtered animals; and the third, the touching of a dead body. In doing this he became known as “Jose the Permitter” (“Talmud”, Abodah Zarah 37b). “Furthermore, Jose is called ‘the Permitter,’ evidently because in all three decisions he permits things that were formerly considered forbidden” (Lauterbach, p. 219).

These new laws of Jose were not customs the people had inherited from Hellenism. “It is therefore evident that these Halakot (rules) … were not older traditional laws transmitted by Jose as a mere witness, but Jose’s own teachings. He was the one who ‘permitted’ and he deserved the name (the Permitter)” (ibid., p. 218). These commandments of themselves were not earth-shaking violations, but they did set a precedent! Eventually others began to set down all sorts of new laws. These are what Jesus called “the commandments of men” (Mark 77).

The Prosbul of Hillel

Many others ultimately followed in the steps of Jose. If the majority of Pharisees agreed on a new decision, it was accepted as the Word of God — even if Scripture taught just the opposite. Of the myriad of new laws laid down, perhaps the best example and the best known is the Prosbul of Hillel. Hillel the Old headed a Pharisaic school in the days of Herod. He was noted for his gentleness and was greatly beloved among the people, but his decisions, nonetheless, were not always in keeping with the Word of God.

For example, “All private loans are automatically remitted at the end of the Sabbatical Year (Deut. 15:2) and hence it became difficult to obtain loans immediately before the onset of that year. In order to avoid hardship and encourage lending, Hillel instituted the “Prosbul” (Greek: “for the court”), which is a declaration made before a court of law by the creditor, and signed by witnesses, stating that all debts due him are given over to the court for collection. Since the remission of loans during the seventh year applies only to individuals but not to public loans, the effect of the Prosbul is to render the individual’s loan public, and it is therefore not remitted” (Werblowsky and Wigoder, “The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion”, art. “Prosbul,” p. 312).

Hillel’s motive was apparently quite practical. And yet the Bible clearly states: “Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD (Eternal) against thee, and it be sin unto thee” (Deut. 15:9).

Rather, God says: “Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when you givest unto him: because that for this thing the Eternal thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto” (verse 10). It was because of rules like the Prosbul that Christ told the Pharisees, “Thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (Matt. 15:6).

Hillel saw that the poor were unable to obtain needed loans and was trying to remedy the situation, but he was not doing it God’s way! God says: “Trust in the Eternal with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). There were many such instances where the Pharisees enacted many new laws, based solely on their own human reasoning in an attempt to make what they thought would be a better way of life. Yet God tells us: “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).

Cause and Effect

The Pharisees’ error was a classic one. Seeing wrong situations, but relying solely on themselves, they attempted to treat the EFFECT rather than the CAUSE. Notice the case of Hillel’s Prosbul. God plainly tells us that the CAUSE of the problem was in the HEARTS of the people (Deut. 15:9). Today too many see the problems besetting mankind. Governments have their solutions and the revolutionary activists have theirs. But all attempt to treat ONLY THE EFFECTS of the problems. None gets at THE REAL CAUSE — which is to be found for the most part in carnal human nature with its greed and pride.

Today, God is treating the cause of man’s ills in some individuals. He is presently changing the hearts of a few. “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them an heart of flesh” (Ezek. 11.19). God’s Law as revealed throughout all of Scripture is indicative of God’s CHARACTER. It is a giving, serving, sharing, concern for the other person as well as the self, and can be summed up by the word LOVE — love first of all toward God and then towards fellowman.

God’s Law shows us exactly how He would live if He were a human being. And this is precisely what Jesus did when He emptied Himself of His divinity and took on human flesh — He never once broke a single law of God. The rise of Pharisaism in the period between the Testaments represented an attempt on the part of these people to keep the Law. But they lacked a clear understanding of their own human nature as revealed in the Scriptures. Notice God’s deeply felt near-lament in Deuteronomy 5:29: “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever”!

But “such an heart” was not in them at that time. They had only the human nature that we all naturally possess — the heart that is “… deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9.) Joshua told his generation, “… Ye cannot serve the Lord nor is it in ours.

But man was not left without hope. There was a promise of better things to come. “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live” (Deut. 30:6).

The Pharisees as well as the other sects of the period wanted to serve God and keep His commandments. They had, as the Apostle Paul (who well knew) put it, “… a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:2). Not aware of the necessity for a change in their own human nature, they found it necessary to change God’s Law. Not that this was done outwardly, but rather by forced interpretations, rationalizations, attempted codifications of laws that are all-encompassing, and new laws that were not admitted always to be new.

By changing the Law, they made it of “none effect.” That is, it did not have the effect that God’s laws should have on those who keep them. Inasmuch as the Pharisees did keep SOME of the laws correctly SOME of the time, it did have SOME good effects. But the overall results that come by living in total harmony with the laws the Creator set in motion simply were lacking. Pharisaic society did not abound with the love of God. You could never convince the Sadducees (with whom they often disputed) that it was otherwise. Nor could you convince the Romans. Nor could you convince the unlearned Jews of that day, whom many of the Pharisees thumbed their noses at with the epithet “am-ha-aretz” (“people of the land” — the term is used in a derogatory sense throughout the Pharisaic writings).

Pharisaic society was filled with strife. When Alexander Jannaeus, one of the Maccabean kings, ruled, the Pharisees were virtually at WAR with him and there was much bloodshed. The Talmud itself is a record of the Pharisees striving among themselves, one with another in religious DEBATES, each one trying to convince the others of the correctness of HIS particular idea, rather than all working harmoniously to seek GOD’S will.

Today, professing Christianity is treading down the same well-worn path the Pharisees mistakingly took. Where is the sect that has not attempted to read its own ideas into the Bible which it professes to obey? And where is the denomination that is truly bearing the fruits of God’s Spirit — love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance? Indeed which one even knows what true love is?

Don’t YOU follow the crowd. DON’T be led down the garden path into religious deception by any who would warp, distort and twist the scripture to their own destruction. As you peruse the pages of your Bible, we encourage you to search the scriptures daily WHETHER THESE THINGS BE SO (Acts 17:11). But by the same token we also ask that you apply the same criterion to all who claim to represent God! Remember, “… if they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20).

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