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After Easter … - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 22nd April, 2014 @ 12:49:21 PM

It’s sundown, so Easter is over. I feel like I can come out from hiding now.

Some asked me “What about Good Friday?” So Easter Sunday at Millard Community Church I taught a Wednesday crucifixion, and explained the Lord’s body was in the tomb all of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and not all or part of three days , as the majority hold.

Besides, Wednesday 14th Nisan fits exactly (AD 30), and fulfills Matt 12:39-41 , the type being Jonah the prophet: the only sign given to the nation of Israel. All the essential elements of the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection of the Lord are fulfilled only if it took place on a Wednesday. As with most holidays, much of what we know is wrong.

At least it is right that Jesus arose on the first day of the week.

In that Jesus Christ arose during the Passover week, however, perhaps a more complete treatment of the Feast of the Lord that He did fulfill at the time – Passover – is in order. After all, after the big Easter celebration by Christians nominal and sincere is completed this year, Jews around the world are celebrating the remainder of the seven (or eight, outside Israel) days of passover until Tuesday April 22nd, at sundown.

Passover for Jews is a remembrance. Christians also have a Passover remembrance , although they remember different events. For Jews, the passover remembrance has to do with the Lord “passing over” them as they huddled in their homes in Egypt, protected by the blood of the slain lamb on their door posts and lintels.

Today, Jews all around the world remember that event as one marking freedom. Freedom from the tyranny that came upon them after they were received well and prospered in Egypt. Since that time, perhaps it is the only the United States of America that has received the Jews as the ancient Egyptians once did, prior to the Assyrian usurper coming in, the Pharaoh that “knew not Joseph.” When that fellow came, he feared the robust growth of Israel, and placed them in bondage.

And so, when it came time for the Abrahamic promise to be fulfilled, and the wickedness of the Amorite in the land became full , God freed His people from Egyptian bondage, and formed His nation through the blood of the lamb, and then incorporated them under Moses at the Red Sea, chartering them at Sinai.

So, rightfully, Jews find their Passover remembrance as a symbol of freedom.

It is what they overlook that is sad.

And I say sad advisedly, because, while I delight after the historical Scriptures concerning Israel and Moses , I also realize that this freed nation readily found its way into captivity under Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, then Persia, then Greece, and then Rome, when they had a chance to be free – truly free – with times of refreshing on the way from heaven , that they once again and then finally rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah from the House of David. They declared they had no king but Caesar , confirmed their rejection with the stoning of Stephen , and finally dispatched the word of God to the Gentiles  by rejecting the apostle Paul.

Every time Christians break a loaf and drink a cup together, this viewpoint, in one way or another, is remembered. While Jews look back inscrutably at a Passover festival, not realizing the true Lamb of God was slain, it being, as the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas said at the time, for one man to die for a nation.

Easter ended, and even now Passover. Those are annual events. Happy me. Happy you. Gone. But in a few days, I will gather with my fellow Christians in the same place, and we will remember how it is that Christ died for our sins, suffering an ignominious death in our place, that we may enjoy as we do the life of thoroughly forgiven people who have a sure hope in the future return of our Savior, this time as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

That is after Easter for me. Oh that it would would be the same after this Passover for my Jewish friends, that they would stop making the same mistake in rejecting the Messiah from generation to generation!

And that it would be the same for all those who I have met, who have not yet received Jesus Christ as their Savior!

Help With Genesis 1:1-2. - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 3rd April, 2014 @ 04:49:48 AM

2Peter 3 3-ff

Now Faith (Chart) - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 26th March, 2014 @ 04:06:27 AM

I have prepared this chart to help describe the perspective of the believer today. It is far, far from complete, but does show that today, as believers, we have faith looking both ways. We see that our faith becomes our hope, and that we can NOW look forward as well as backward.

We first looked backward effectively when we received Jesus Christ as Savior, and we look back again each time we remember the Lord Jesus in His appointed way, at His supper.

Now Faith

Purim: Hidden Things Jews Should Know, But Don’t. - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 15th March, 2014 @ 06:06:13 PM

This year the Jewish celebration of Purim lands on my birthday. Purim is a time when the “Megillat Esther” – the scroll of Esther – is read aloud in the hearing of children, and others. It is a celebratory time among the Jewish people. Whenever the name of the villain Haman is named, children make “raspberry” sounds.

People who know me well know that I am instinctively iconoclastic. Many holidays celebrated in our society are merely iconic. Their basis is spurious at best, and intentionally misleading at their worst.

I’ll not delve into those holidays here, but this feast of Purim celebrated by the Jews is not only history-based, but, because it features the reading of a large portion of God’s Word, I’m actually glad to know that perhaps millions of Jewish children hear the entire book of Esther on that day. There’s enough in the “Megillat Esther” for Jews to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior (“Messiah”), if, by His grace, He opens the eyes of their hearts.

That’s the happy news.

Of course, the sad news for Israel is that God’s Word was taken away, and given to any individual – Jew or Gentile – who receives Jesus Christ, just as Abraham did when He visited him near the terebinth of Mamre. The sad news for Israel, being nationally set aside by God, has rather worked to my advantage, as His word came to such as me.

It is ironic how well the book of Esther cast a very long foreshadow across this greatest of tragedies that has befallen Israel – the loss of God’s word – said by the apostle Paul in Romans 9 to be the chief blessing Israel ever enjoyed. The resulting (partial, temporary) blindness is particularly evident in the teaching around Purim, which permeates Jewish culture everywhere.

Can’t find the missing clues.

It’s relatively common knowledge in Jewry today that the Book of Esther does not contain God’s name. For this reason, some have questioned whether or not it belongs in the Hebrew Canon. And yet, it is in the Massorah, the definitive Hebrew text. What is missing in Esther – or what they judge to be missing, rather – is that Sacred Name given to Moses when he asked God for to identify Himself for the nation of Israel.

It is known as “the Tetragrammaton,” the four letters YHVH (“yod hay vav hay”). While there is much that could be said about its language permutations (Adonai, Yahweh, Jehovah, Lord), it’s Hebrew pronunciation (or lack of one), and its prevalence in the Hebrew text is unquestionable. So, its absence in Esther is remarkable, indeed.

But is the Tetragrammaton really absent? No, it’s hidden, just as so many deep truths – even those found in Esther – are now hidden from the nation of Israel. The Sacred name is hidden in four acrostics in this book, as remarkably evinced in the Companion Bible, E.W. Bullinger’s remarkable life work. You will not find a better summary than that.

Astyages Gets A Bad Rap; Iran Hates God.

Esther is written at the time both Israel and Judah are in Syrian and subsequently respective Babylonian captivity. A time when God has hidden his face from Israel, turning them over to their own desires. It is the inauguration of the “times of the Gentiles,” which continue to this very day, and will continue until God once again takes up Israel nationally.

The Gentiles themselves had done nothing before God to inherit world dominion. Israel had merely failed and forfeited it. Gentiles became such with Israel’s election in Abraham. Before that Jews and Gentiles were together in a union of sinners in the days of Noah, failing miserably, thereby predicating the Deluge. So, to discipline His firstborn national son, He brought on the captivity first of Israel, and then Judah-Benjamin.

Esther (“Haddasseh”) is herself a captive in Persia. She is of the tribe of Benjamin. Her elderly cousin, Mordecai, finds himself in the Court of Astyages – the Ahasueris or King of Persia – at the time. Jewish tradition has Astyages all wrong here. Astyages is seen as a buffoon, and the antagonist of Israel. He is neither of these. He’s a Gentile king, who for some time (seven years) actually took Nebuchadnezzar’s place (as a brother-law regent) as world ruler, while God disciplined Nebuchadnezzar for his arrogance. Of course, Nebuchadnezzar did not have the law of Moses.

Astyages only has the Jews in his Court – and Daniel in the Court of his brother-in-law – to guide him. Astyages is also subject to the law of the Persians and Medes. He cannot reverse his own orders. That is the law of the Medes and Persians. He’s subject to being fooled. He’s subject to bad advice. The fact is, he’s just like any world ruler who is ignorant of God’s Word, i.e. every world ruler.

This is why Christians, who today have the Word of God in Israel’s place while Israel suffers partial, temporarily blindness, are considered “the salt of the earth,” the world’s preservative. It was the failure of the Jews to take God’s word to the rest of the world that brought about their setting aside by God. And they were set aside well after the captivity evidenced in Esther.

But the Jews misunderstanding and lack of appreciation of Astyages – also known as the Darius (Maintainer) of the Medes – the Ahasueris of the Persians, leads them to further miss the full picture of the hidden Esther. Because not only is the name of God hidden in this book, but the amazing role of Esther herself is overlooked. Esther is known for preserving the lives of her people by the Jews, but she is not known as she should be for her childbearing.

God has promised throughout human history to bring the Savior of the world, the Messiah, through the agency of a woman. While it remains a controversy within Jewry “who is a Jew,” it is without controversy that anyone born of a Jewish mother is a Jew. Esther replaced Vashti as the wife of Astyages. As such, she becomes the mother of Cyrus: the future Artaxerxes (great king) of the Persians, and inheritor (and conqueror) of the Babylonian empire. Cyrus, called a Messiah in Isaiah’s prophecy made perhaps as long as 150 years before his birth.

So, despite the fact that Astyages gets duped by Haman, he also discovers a way to afford Israel self-defense, and therefore is truly an earthly preserver of God’s chosen people. For these reasons, largely historically unknown to the Jews, He deserves historical honor from them. He gets little.

However, today, I think the Jews may have greater respect for this Persian king that Iran does! Iranians today are rewriting their own history to despise the Jews despite the fact their greatest king of all time IS a Jew! The judgment coming on Iran at the hand of God Himself looms. This nation, once beloved enough by the God of Israel to make it the head nation in all the world, has since been an undercurrent of enmity against Him. It will take another article to trace the secret, seething enmity that Persia has launched against God and His people over the many years since Cyrus.

Suffice it say here, that although God love Persia above all the nations at one time, since the secret infiltration by them inside the courts of Alexander the Great, their conqueror, has infiltrated and infected the nations ever since, through their mystical secret society especially, and is traceable to the modern era through Adolf Hitler. Anyone who wants to know historical and future geopolitics must study the Scriptures.

Haman Not Really Comical.

The Jews have some fun with Purim as the holiday is a lot geared toward children with games and activities surrounding it. As the Scroll of Esther is read, and the name of the Jews’ enemy Haman pronounced, all the hearers blow raspberries at that time. It’s good fun.

However, portraying Haman as a comical figure, rather than the precursor of that Man of Sin that he is, does no lasting favor to those children, or for anyone of age, Haman is an especially grim figure. Haman was Hitler’s Hitler. He was Satan’s man, rising up to destroy the Jews. The fact that he is taken in his own devices, and works to the glory of his dreaded enemy Mordecai rather than his intended aim is instructional to the maximum, as this is EXACTLY what happened at Calvary, nearly 500 years after Haman, 2,000 years ago.

Acts 4 25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Now many people have a problem with the entire notion that God’s plan is so overarching that it encompasses evil. They fear they may attribute folly to God. Others, more high-minded on the subject, who acknowledge the fact of verse 28 above, choke on Romans 8:28 , which carefully does not attribute evil to God, as those high-minded ones sometimes do. I say high-minded because they pretend to be able to think and see as God does, when, in fact God can see more and differently.

God does not call evil good, but is able to make all things – good and evil – work together for the good of those who love Him, and are called to His purpose. While it was the case that the evil design of Haman was to destroy the Jews (especially the seed of Judah, of course, from whom Messiah came), it was God’s design to take Haman in his own design. Just as the cross of Christ was designed by His enemies to consign Jesus Christ to an ignominious and forgettable death, God used their evil designs to bring glory to Himself by showing Jesus to be the Son of God with power by His resurrection out from the dead, and Who since has become the most revered and famous Man in the history of the world.

When Jesus was here, He was rejected by His own. In the words of the same prophet that predicted Cyrus (a Jew, remember), called a Messiah because of his preserving of the Jewish nation in captivity, the fulfillment of Messiah was predicted to be rejected this way. The Jewish birth of Cyrus is not well-known, or even declared in Jewry. At least I have not heard it touted. In the same way, the miraculous birth of the True Messiah is also not historically acknowledged among Jews, despite the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Before we were first called Christians at Antioch, the entire Christian church was Jewish.

The great prophecy concerning Jesus the Messiah in Isaiah’s 53rd chapter is yet a thorn in the side of Jews. Allegedly, that chapter of Scripture is rabbinically forbidden to Jewish men under 40, and, of course, Christians are willing to deliver this chapter for consideration, as well as the great prophecy of Daniel Chapter 9, just as we offer the Megillat Esther for consideration. The Scriptures arrest the minds of men.

So, just as Jesus the Messiah was despised and rejected by His own (and the rest of world, do not forget), so will the Coming Haman be joyfully accepted and received. “I am come in my Father’s name,” Jesus said, “And ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” It’s hard to take the fact God’s people, scattered throughout the world as they are, set aside by God as they are, will accept as their Messiah on like Haman, instead of the One Who laid down His life at Calvary, that died for the whole world to purchase His chosen nation, but that is exactly will happen.

So, Purim comes today with a bitter-sweet ambivalence for me, and for all of Jewry. While it is a time to rejoice in remembrance God’s preserving power and mercy, way back in the day when he commissioned the Persian Empire to preserve his people in the days of Haman, it is also an ominous reminder that there is yet a day coming, when Israel will accept the greatest enemy of mankind, the Man of Sin. There’s plenty of Haman wannabee’s in every generation, and it seems in every place. But there is one coming who the nation will receive.

Today is the day, for the Jew first and also the Gentile, to seek the Lord when he may be found.

Oh, Those Young Earthers! - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 5th March, 2014 @ 01:04:12 AM

Watching Ken Ham of the “Creation Science” bunch parlay with Bill Nye, the “science guy” who went Dancing With the Stars was sort of like watching the post-Osborne Cornhuskers. Always a bit disappointing. The good guys are never good enough.

OK, a debate between these two is a powderpuff version of anybody’s football. Yet I found myself hoping that Ken Ham would say something pretty good. It did not happen. It was a sorry display by someone who claims to read his Bible. Ham may read it, but what he actually studies is science. It’s almost as if he is fighting to gain respect in the world’s science community. Who really cares about that?

The thing that bothers me the most about these Creation Science people is that they seem entirely unaware of the spiritual war that is all around us, and which only we believers can fight.

I told the Mayor of Omaha that I am going about spiritual warfare when I try to sort out lawlessness in municipal government. I don’t say she is the one to do it. It is for born-again Christians to war in the heavens, wrestling the power behind the power, and every single Christian should know that, especially adult Christians.

And this brings me to what bothers me the most about these Young-Earthers. The Bible does not teach a 6,000 year old earth. It teaches a 6,000 year history of man.

That a period of time passed between the first and second verses of Genesis is the only reasonable way to begin the Scriptures. If Ken Ham can’t get the first two verses of the Bible right, then I suppose he probably SHOULD be wrestling Bill Nye. Because he’s never going to see any serious spiritual combat from the enemy. Ham and his ilk are providing the enemy cover against those of us who will expose the enemy from the start as the murderer that he is.

I could discuss a great deal of exegesis right here about those two verses. Such as the heavens are a plural word, and we know there are three of them. We also know that something occurred to make the earth appear as it did, overflowing with darkness of waters on the face of the abyss. Waste. Wild. Darkness. These are the emblems of evil. Of catastrophe. Of blindness. Isaiah teaches us the earth was not created that way. Not a tohu (“in vain”), but became a tohu (wasted place).

But I won’t. Instead I’ll start from the New Testament, where the object of the ancient type finds it fulfillment. And with this I’ll tell you why I am pretty upset with the Young-Earthers and in the worldly agenda and industry that they are pushing so hard, of course, on young Christian men who might otherwise learn the Scriptures.

2nd corinthian 4:6  “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Very clearly, as above, the Apostle Paul equates Gen 1:3 to be a type of the new birth experienced by every Christian upon receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. Now, in order for this verse to be true, Gen 1:1-1:2 must be a condition emblematic of man’s fallen condition in need of the new birth.

Frankly, you almost have to be trying to make such a mistake as the Young-Earthers do.

And yet, persistently, consistently they make this mistake. Ask them when Lucifer fell, and they have the craziest answers. “The fourth day.” “Sometime after the sixth day.” “The Scriptures are silent on this matter.” As if they hold all of the Scriptures, have examined each and every, and have come up with positively nothing.

So having found nothing, you take them at their word, and present a few things. “Why do you suppose God didn’t call the second day good? ” Answer? “He called everything ‘very good’ on the sixth day.” But He specifically didn’t on the second day. Don’t you suppose the reason He didn’t call it good because he placed Lucifer in that firmament?

So, we have no public heroes. We don’t need them. God looks for men who WANT His word. To them He gives it freely, abundantly. He gives all Scripture and fully equips his man.

The man of God with the Word of God is unstoppable, fully equipped for spiritual war, and has more wisdom than any of his teachers.

Including his science and dance teachers.

Calvinist vs. Arminian: A Great Debate, or Failure to Notice? - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 24th February, 2014 @ 11:19:23 PM

The major argument between Calvinists and Arminians is a failure to rightly understand the {two justifications of Abraham as pointed out in James 2:21-24.

This so-called “great debate” is attributable to a few oversights in the passage itself. So let me make a few observations:

  1. The question in verse 21 is a rhetorical one with the answer “yes” implied. Therefore, the statement is definite that Abraham was justified by works WHEN he offered Isaac his son on the altar. This event occurred approximately 60 years after Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 15:6.
  2. This advancement in Abraham’s life is said to be a matter of works working with his faith to make it MATURE (v. 22).
  3. The Scripture therefore was fulfilled, because Abraham was “called the friend of God.”
  4. So you see that a man is justified by works, and not only faith.
  5. There is a justification by works that follows a justification by faith.

#1. The main subject here is, “When.” So few seem to even see this. Abraham was justified by works about 60 years or so after he was justified by faith. For many of us that’s a lifetime. It’s late in his life.

Abraham looks and sees the place (of the skull? I think so.) from far off.

When we look at the account of this sacrifice of Isaac, we see the outline of Gods testing of the faith of His children.  Abraham has forward-looking (mature, “now”) faith. He sets forth according to the Word of God (therefore by faith).

He promises those who stay behind that he and the lad, 33-year-old Isaac, will return . It is the case that Abraham – and more particularly Isaac – are going the way of the cross, Isaac bearing the wood for his own sacrifice. He assures Isaac that God will provide a lamb.

By faith, Abraham receives Isaac from the dead.

#2. Abraham’s faith was made mature by this work. He had to look forward according to his hope, even forward beyond the grave. He was embracing a far-off promise. We are told he looked for a city that had foundations. Mature faith is forward-working faith. Beginning faith looks backward, to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Beginning faith is justifying faith. Mature faith is justifies its holder by works. Later. For us, this is the faith tested by fire at the judgment seat of Christ, before which we shall all stand

#3. Abraham’s 2nd justification resulted in an accolade. AND, the Scriptures say, Abraham was called the friend of God! Not all was fulfilled about Abraham at Gen 15:6. Not all is fulfilled about you or I, brother, until the great and ominous judgment seat of Christ! Will we be justified by works, having them tested, and then receive an accolade from God? Will He say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant?”|Mat 25:21}

After all, we are His friends, IF AND ONLY IF we do what He commands.

Yet we are His children, having been born again by faith in the Great Substitute, our Lord Jesus Christ. And that is true, my brother, no matter what you do, before or after you receive Him.

#4. So, there you can see it. If the Calvinists and Arminians would see this, they would realize their “Great Debate” is based on things that differ. Things that require a more detailed look. But they won’t look because they love their argument. What a shame.

#5. There are two justifications, and Abraham experienced both of them. So, you see, a man is [also] justified by works, and not by faith only. It’s the “when,” and the viewpoint, that distinguishes them.

Now, brethren, carry on with your argument. Arminian, keep making-believe your eternal life is in jeopardy, because you can’t distinguish these justifications. And Calvinist, keep playing “fruit inspector” and telling brethren who don’t meet your standard “not really saved.” “Eighteen inches from salvation: head to heart.”

Keep on your phony argument, and let the rest of us go on to maturity, if God permits.

Hypocrites and Sinners. - Comments (0)

Printer Friendly Category: Articles,Doctrine
Author: John Malone
Date: 13th January, 2014 @ 09:21:04 PM

The word “hypocrite” is being thrown about way too often.

It’s a good Bible word. It is a pure word.

That means it is, in its Greek form, one of those “words of the earth,” that God has selected, and refined like silver seven times in a furnace, sanctifying (setting it apart) for His use in the Holy Scriptures.

The Lord used the word when He walked here.  He reserved it for particular sorts of persons: the Pharisees, Scribes, and the like. These were persons with an agenda. Insincere. Conniving. Jealous. Hateful. Ceaselessly plotting against the Lord Himself. As they do against His servants. As the Lord said: Woe to them.

The word itself is the compound Greek word hypokrites meaning under judgment, or under discernment. This gives us important keys to he meaning of the word. It can be rendered “play actor” because in the ancient theatre, play actors held masks over their faces to portray their inward characteristics. The sophisticated cinema of today masks those masks, and requires the player to project those cunning characteristics of the hypocrite in various ways.

The wearing of a mask, or play-acting is the important characteristic of the hypocrite. In any society you can see such people, but it is rare indeed that someone would point them out publicly. They put on a show, oftentimes to make you think they are friendly, but equally often to disguise not only who they are, but their bad intentions. Like the Sadducees, they may give themselves off as knowledgeable Bible guys, when, as the Lord said, they are ignorant. In any case, as false prophets , they show themselves as pious, when inwardly they are ravening wolves.

So, a hypocrite is no ordinary sinner. The hypocrite is an intentional, inward, purveyor of ill-will and hatred, driven as he is by envy, greed, and other corrupt motives. He’s not failing when he sins, he’s succeeding.

No, an ordinary sinner, such as all of us, yields to his weakness. He is overcome by the fatal flaws of every man. He cannot do what he should do, and he cannot fail to do what he shouldn’t.

A sinner is no hypocrite when he fails to do what he thinks he should. He is no hypocrite when he does what he should not. He is a normal sinner.

Today, you will discover people calling normal sinners, “hypocrites.” They would disqualify the righteous man, who speaks God’s word, and portrays him accurately, because that righteous man sins just as they do.

The Lord never judges men in this way, and will not. He desires his children to reason with Him about sin and see it the way he does.

He socialized with sinners, sat and ate with them, made himself available to them. He still does. You will not find the Lord Jesus among the hypocrites. They hated Him. They stirred up other sinners to have Him killed. They succeeded at His death.

But a normal sinner is not a hypocrite when he says what is right and what is wrong, even when he doesn’t or does do the right or wrong.

Instead, he’s just a sinner, warts and all, and no hypocrite.

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