And Jehovah answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, that he may run that readeth it.
(Habakkuk 2:2
[ASV])





_________




Eight Souls
In the age when men lived to be nearly a thousand years old, wickedness became so great that God only saved eight people.

Power Of Prayer
A look at prayer and and its great importance to a genuine Christian.

Prayer: Standing In The Gap



An Open Letter To Black Lives Matter:
How to avoid being ensnared in the ongoing Federal operation 'Ni∓∓er Catcher' and 'Black Snare', run out of the US intelligence community and certain sections of Law Enforcement. These operations do exist, though naturally not with those pejorative titles. They are not legal, nor are they officially recognized but key people in high positions run these operations that specifically target Black Americans and certain White Americans who seek justice, truth and use their rights to bring these things back to our once great nation. The impetus comes from the US Intelligence community - LE does the footwork. This is what they did to so many civil rights leaders back in the 60's and 70's. They have honed their skills for the technology of the 21st century.


An Open Letter To Senator Mikulski And The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence


_____



Last Updated
29 Jun

MARKSWATSON.COM
Watson's Web
Biblical Perspective For Our Times



For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he cometh in his own glory,
and the glory of the Father,
and of the holy angels.
(Luke 9:26 [ASV])


I have set Jehovah always before me:
Because he is at my right hand, I
 shall not be moved.
(Psalms 16:8 [ASV])
***



Mark can be reached
here.
 



29 June

Job Part IV



 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 
His substance also was seven thousand sheep,
and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen,
 and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household;
 so that this man was the greatest of all
 the children of the east.
(Job 1:2-3 - ASV)


Let's start off with a key observation before we start looking at this verse. In ancient east, it was conventional wisdom that it always went well with the righteous and bad for the wicked. The Book of Job runs totally 'counter narrative' to this prevailing view. Job, by virtue of his wealth and size of this family was viewed as a righteous man. His wealth was in those times was excellent evidence of his high ethics. As we move through the book, we will better understand just how hard set this view was and how this book of Job sets that view on its head.

The numbers of his sons is numerically correct. However, the numbers of this livestock many believe to be allegorical. The point to me is a moot one. The key here is that by eastern standards, Job was very wealthy. He was the 'Warren Buffet' of his age as far as wealth was concerned. He was well known and well respected. Job for a man of his day, had it all. As the last stanza of verse 3 states, he was 'the greatest of the all the children of the east'. Thus Job was known as a righteous man and in the eastern mind of those days, his wealth 'proved' it.

Camels as well were well known in the east and it is natural that a man of his wealth in this part of the world should have a considerable number of them.

 And his sons went and held a feast
in the house of each one upon his day;
and they sent and called for their three sisters
 to eat and to drink with them. And it was so,
when the days of their feasting were gone about,
that Job sent and sanctified them,
 and rose up early in the morning,
and offered burnt-offerings according
to the number of them all: for Job said,
It may be that my sons have sinned,
and renounced God in their hearts.
 Thus did Job continually. 

(Job 1:4-5 - ASV)

Even with a person of Job's moral standing he had his problems with children. The problem of the "rich man's kids" is not endemic only to the modern age. Children who grow up with money, wealth and position tend to often be more wayward and pleasure seeking and a more little haughty and cold as well. This certainly is not true of all of them as many wealthy parents are smart enough not to overindulge their offspring and teach them the virtues of work and ethical living. Job's children, it does not appear were these kinds of children. The passage here seems to indicate that these children of Job were party animals, they caroused from one house to the other.

We cannot be sure Job did not rebuke his kids, but there is no mention of it. Nor is there any mention of him cutting off their allowance or whatever method they had for doling out money to offspring. Yet clearly Job was not blind, he did do at least one of the two steps required to bring correction to his children, he brought the matter up before the Lord. I say these things not so much in criticism of Job but only to mark that many of the problems that wealthy parents have with their kids was clearly something Job had to struggle with too. So Job not just prayed for them, but offered sacrifice to the Lord in their behalf. He did this not just once but, "Thus did Job continually." He was concerned they may have
'renounced (cursed - KJV) God in their hearts'.

The fact that Job's children are mentioned in this manner is rather interesting as a prelude to the Heavenly council that is about to transpire in the following section.

Now it came to pass on the day
when the sons of God came to present themselves
before Jehovah, that Satan also came among them.
(Job 1:6 - ASV)

The sons of God present themselves to the Lord. The passage is interesting and I am going to spend a moment on it The phrase here is Benay Elohim or sons of God's. These are clearly angels or heavenly beings who are are summoned to the Lord for some kind of council See Kings 22:19, Heb 1:14, Job 38:7). Job 38:7 precludes this being any kind of man, because at the time referenced, man had not been created yet. The same phrase Benay Elohim is used. Satan (the adversary H7854) was among them. This passage is interesting and deserves considerable comment on the role of angels and the role of Satan before the advent of Christ; more comment than will be made today. But clearly he has some kind of office before the Lord and is subject to God and is assembled with the other Son's of God to perhaps render an account or report. Angels do make reports on what is going on down here to God - See Zech 1:11). This assembly here looks perhaps to be some kind of periodic report made to the Lord by these ministering spirits. If Satan's role here was to do this kind of reporting along with the other angels, his criticism of Job while certainly unfair, did fall within the purview of such an office. Moreover the Lord did directly ask him about Job (in an upcoming verse).

We have dealt with the issue of the Son's of God (Benay Elohim) in other places on this site on other occasions so we will not get into that here. What is key is that there is a divine council and God has called the Benay Elohim to attend and Satan is there among them.
What is also clear is that Satan has direct access to the Lord and his council. He was not prevented from entering in and moreover, he is addressed by the Lord with a specific question (in the next verse). There are no wild accusations leveled at Satan, no spitting of hate at Satan by the others and he is given access and it appears is given considerable respect. Why is this? There are many reasons for it - some pretty clear in scripture, others that have not been revealed to us. But we must remember that Satan/Lucifer/the Old Serpent/the Devil was an angel of considerable power, wisdom and beauty. God has a purpose for keeping him around and even letting him run around loose. Yes, God could have consigned him to the abyss on the day he led man into temptation. But he did not, rather he allowed and allows man to be tempted of him.
In this age where Satan is doing his level best to 'rehabilitate' his image in the world with TV shows, and a slew of satanic temples and even legal initiatives we must be careful about who he is, his enormous power and his ability to tempt, deceive and accuse us and that God allows this for his purposes. In short, while the devil is powerful, he is merely being used as tool for a far greater purposes that have only partially been revealed to us. In this particular episode as we shall see, he is used for both of the afore mentioned purposes - to accuse Job and to tempt/test him. God allows it.
We will continue our look at the book of Job next week, the Lord willing!!!

Brother Mark


25 June

Revival


Several weeks ago, a reader wanted me to take a look at the way God is moving elsewhere in the world. They commented that while there may not be much visible repentance here in the US, there sure looks to be moves of God in other parts of the world. Thanks to the reader who sent the link and for their insightful comments.

I am not so sure repentance is on the 'American agenda'. But it looks like revival may very well be a reality in other parts of the world. 

 if that nation, concerning which I have spoken,
turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil
that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant
I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning
a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if they do that
which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice,
 then I will repent of the good,
wherewith I said I would benefit them.
(Jeremiah 18:8-10 [ASV])


The Lord's reward is in his hand both for individual men and for nations.

Why won't there be revival here in the US? Some think it is possible, others think it is certain. I am not nearly as sure. Why not? I cannot answer that question authoritatively but let me leave you with these thoughts.

Like the ancient children of Israel, America is an idolatrous nation. No, we don't fall down before gods of stone with men with bulls heads or women with a fishes tail. No, we go crazy over brand names like Mercedes and Nike; we praise the gods of Hedge Funds, 401(k), Wall Street, Sports, secularism, science, witchcraft, drugs, etc. We have a whole new 21st century pantheon of gods and goddesses the nation worships at the feet of.

Until these gods are done away with, men will still seek happiness and salvation in them. Men must decide to put these gods away - this will be one of the first steps to any signs of repentance in this nation. Now understand. I am not anti-science. But I am against science when it sets itself against God and many in the profession have long sought to do just that. Many of those who fund science also have their anti-God agenda; it is part and parcel of the agenda of some fund it. To make money and to fundamentally change the nation's spiritual makeup. From the worship of God to the worship of man with a priesthood of scientists in a religion of humanism (a man rather than God centered ethos). Listen to leaders across the nation talk about 'science based' solutions and then turn around and attack the Church. There is an agenda its to replace the man in the black cassock with the man in the white smock who gets paid by a guy, who owns a company that is in turn, owned by a another guy who runs 20 hedge funds and has enough money to bankrupt whole nations.

But these things are all just symptoms of a major spiritual shift that has taken place in our world, particularly America and the west, which has with each succeeding decade, cast off Christianity and embraced whatever gave temporary pleasure, wealth, sexual gratification or power - the usual enticements that Satan lays out to those who serve him, knowingly accepted from his hand or not.

But revival? In far off places God, I have long suspected will move and do so powerfully at the hour of his (not our) choosing.

Another hindrance to revival here? In my opinion it's the Church or what calls itself the Church. There are many false pastors, false prophets and a whole 'Laodicean' feel about many of America's Churches. They may have the 'mechanics' of revival but not the spirit of it. People may be seeking God, but when they attend the local services they just are not getting real Godly spiritual teachings. So yes, I think many Churches are a serious hindrance to real, on fire, Holy Spirit outpouring kind of revival.

Revival? That is not going to happen until the Church takes off its blinders, cast away its idols and individual members learn to be truly humble, learn the value of quiet prayerful meditation on God's word and then living for and walking closer to Christ based upon the revealed word of God. New Christian rock banks are not going to bring it, a new powerful book written by a Christian celebrity is not going to do it, a new chain of Mega Churches is not going to do it. It's going to take a fundamental altering of the spiritual makeup of the ordinary Church member, towards living a humble, charitable, holy, peaceful and most importantly obedient and faith-filled lives in Christ. Revival will start in the hearts and souls of God's people before it spreads anywhere of consequence.

But let us pray that God moves overseas and gets more believers into the Kingdom!!


23 Jun

Job Part III

There was a man in the land of Uz,
whose name was Job; and that man was
perfect and upright, and one that feared God,
and turned away from evil.

(Job 1:1 - ASV)


As noted earlier, this book begins with a non-poetic narrative. It is merely setting the stage for the drama, the poetic drama which is to unfold. From the first part of this verse we learn two things. The name of the key person and the place where he lived.

The land of Uz is located... well, we are not 100% certain. Scholars disagree. But most generally place it in the land of Idomea roughly located in Southern Israel and Jordan. That is the most prevalent theory of the location that I came across and seems to line up with other passages written much later in the scriptures (Jer 25:20 and Lam 4:21). But this 'consensus' does not preclude the Uz of Job's time as being in a very different place. Some place it far to the east of this near the southern end of the Euphrates.

In short, Jeremiah's Uz may not be the Uz of Job and some evidence within the book indicates that they may indeed be different. This is not conclusive, for simply put, the antiquity of the book does not make it  possible that the location of Uz in Patriarchal times to be completely ascertained with any degree of real certainty.

As we move through the book, I will explain why I am far less certain of the generally accepted location than others are.

The second part of the passage gives us Job's name. The Strong's entry for his name is H347.

Many scholars seem to concur that Job and his name may have been of Arabian origin.  We do not know with any degree of certainty what kind of position he held, weather he was some kind of tribal elder, a ruler or a wealthy merchant. Many have offered opinions but the book does not make it clear.

I don't want to digress into a lot of unedifying theological debate, but as we go through the book this little bit of background may help us to better understand the book, its history and enlighten us on certain settings within the passages within the book. So I thank you all for bearing with me on what seems a bit arcane debate.


The above verse notes that Job was perfect and upright. This is high praise for a son of man. Clearly in the very first passage the author is making setting the stage here as to the reason for both suffering and the book. Job was perfect and upright. In other words, all of the things that one would expect to win divine favor and avoid tribulation, chastisement, correction and woe were done by Job. He feared God and 'eschewed' evil. The word here simply means to put away, to depart from and to withdraw from evil. This is a powerful testimony to a man's life and the author wanted it right here, front and center in the very first verse of the book.

The word for perfect is H8535 to which the Cambridge Bible makes plain that this does not mean sinless perfection, but that certain sins that would ordinarily bring down the clear disapproval of God were not apparent in the life of Job. The Jewish Septuagint, which was translated for Jews in the diaspora expands this using many words to describe Job, like blameless and pious (Barnes).

As we will see this verse is key to the whole theme of the book.

In closing today's entry I want to stress that this is a long book and what I will do is go slow in some parts and move much more quickly in others. The book is 42 chapters long and even if I were to do one whole chapter in a week, it would take the bulk of the rest of the year to finish.

But the doctrine of suffering? Any Christian who thinks this is an unimportant topic for we believers in Christ... well, they have a lot of spiritual growing up to do. Looking around the troubles in this country and this world, that 'growing up' for some could come sooner, rather than later.


18 Jun

News Affecting The Church

There have been some events worthy of our godly attention. It is my hope that in your quiet time, you lift some of these issues up before the Lord.

As you all probably know, several Christians were hacked to death in yet another attack in Nigeria.
JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Women and children were among nine Christians shot or hacked to death in an attack on Wednesday (June 3) in north-central Nigeria, with seven others kidnapped, sources said.

While more than 30 corpses of slain Christians still lay in nearby villages from prior attacks, Muslim Fulani herdsmen invaded predominantly Christian Tudun Doka village, Kajuru County in Kaduna state, early in the morning, area residents said. - Morning Star News
These attacks continue unabated. Morning Star News also has a story about a 16 year old Christian boy who was reportedly stoned to death for his faith in India. These are perilous times for believers in many parts of the world.
The Indian Government has reportedly denied entry to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Also in India, Persecution.org is reporting that a Church in India was set on fire.
06/15/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On June 12, 2020, an independent church in the state of Tamil Nadu, southern India, was set on fire on Friday night by unknown aggressors. The fire brought down the entire roof, affected the building structure, furniture, speaker boxes, and amplifier, causing damages estimated around US $2,700. While the reason for the attack is not yet apparent, members of the church suspect radical Hindu nationalists, who have been egregious in that region in the last few years. - Persecution.org
Then there are the things going on in Russia. Yes, Russia. Here, this is more of the state sponsored version of persecution transpiring. Now I am not a Jehovah's Witness and frankly have some very serious issues with many of their doctrines. Yet this does not mean I in any way agree with the state persecuting them. But at the same time, what is happening to them in Russia is only a preview of what could very well follow for other non-Russian Orthodox religions. This from Forum18...
(Forum18) On 9 June, a court in Pskov in northern European Russia handed 61-year-old Gennady Shpakovsky the longest jail sentence given to a Jehovah's Witness after the 2017 Supreme Court ban on Jehovah's Witness activity - six and a half years' imprisonment in a general-regime labour camp ("correctional colony"). This is the second-longest jail term yet handed down on "extremism"-related charges for meeting with others to pray and study beliefs.

Shpakovsky, from Pskov, will have to serve the full term, should his appeal be unsuccessful, as he has spent no time in pre-trial detention (see below - on link).

After his release, Shpakovsky will also undergo another year of restrictions on freedom, his lawyer explained to Forum 18. These comprise an 11 pm to 6 am curfew and a ban on leaving his home town. He will also be barred from leading or participating in any religious activity for three-years (see below).

Prisoner of conscience Shpakovsky's six-and-a-half-year sentence is the second-longest sentence imposed for meeting with others to pray and study beliefs. Ilgar Vagif-ogly Aliyev, who met with other Muslims to study Islam and theologian Said Nursi's texts, was jailed in June 2018 in Izberbash for eight years. Aliyev, however, spent a year and three months in detention, meaning that he is due to be released after about six years and 1.5 months, in September 2024. - Forum18
This is a very interesting and detailed report and shows you just how high up these charges against the JW's come from. There is also another story from the same site on an incident in Crimea. Russia is clearly moving against religious movements it deems as extremist. As I have said before to you all here, this all appears to be a key part of the whole SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) agenda, led by China, of which Russia is a key member. What is a key part of that agenda? To tackle what they call the 'Three Evils' of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism. The man who was jailed for six and a half years for two jars of small donations, which were described as being used to finance a world theocratic state? That is extremism in Russia today, collecting a little chump change in jar.
In the UK, the government is reporting that there were a record number of abortions performed in 2019. The statistics can be found in a UK government report called "Abortion Statistics, England and Wales: 2019 Summary information from the abortion notification forms returned to the Chief Medical Officers of England and Wales. January to December 2019".

In North Korea, Kim Jong-un's sister has reportedly called Bible distributors 'scum'.
Here stateside, another Catholic diocese (Rockville Centre) is considering bankruptcy, according to news reports. The reason? Abuse lawsuits.
There is a reported Corona outbreak in Churches in West Virginia.
Finally there is the Supreme Court's decision to protect the rights of homosexuals and transgender people. Roberts and Gorsuch, shifted from the conservative stance to join the liberals. Basically, it makes it a crime to fire someone simply because they are gay or transsexual. Such discrimination is now a crime and firmly puts the issue of sexual identity and orientation on the books as being protected under Civil Rights law.
As a deeply conservative Christian as I am (but a firm political independent), I don't think gays should be fired from their jobs just because they are gay in a secular job. The courts have a duty to protect the rights of all of us, not just Christians. To deny them the basic right to work would relegate them to second class status and perhaps economic underdogs in our society. No, I cannot fault the court for this decision on a purely legal basis, but at the same time, it is going to open up a dozen can of worms across the nation, generating millions in legal fee's, which too often seems to be the result of the courts decisions. You can read more about this decision in this CRS report.
But on a spiritual level, what can I say? When a society gets to this kind of thing, protecting those things that God calls abomination, one can understand why our nation is in so much trouble today. The peace and prosperity that we once enjoyed from the hand of God seems to be slowly taken away. There are reports of lawyers who have been arrested for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktails during protests and reports mass resignations of cops across the nation. I am shocked at what is happening to the country. I really am. But we Americans have enjoyed the bounty from God, peace here at home, prosperity, freedom and far too many of us have spit in God's face and turned our backsides up at him in return. God see's these things and how we behave. Let me tell you something none of you save a precious few are going to want to hear. Are you ready? Here it is.

He is not going to forget it.

Son of man, when a land sinneth against me
by committing a trespass, and I stretch out my hand upon it,
and break the staff of the bread thereof,
and send famine upon it, and cut off from it man and beast;
 though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job,
were in it, they should deliver but their
own souls by their righteousness,
saith the Lord Jehovah.
(Eze 14:13-14 ASV)

We as a nation must get back to the Biblical basics or we are going to go into the devil's jungle. We as a nation must learn to honor and respect the God who has blessed us so because the same God who can bless, can also bring a curse and the fastest way I know to go there is to show him the kinds of disrespect that is showing up all over the country. I hear this disrespect when I tune in the local radio station. I listen to the talk radio and the activists and I am often shocked at the open contempt for God, pastors and the Church I hear from some quarters. It is shocking to me and saddening to see how far this nation has fallen from God.

But I have steeled myself, I think the country has just only begun to apostatize and rebel against the most high and the further we get from God and his ways, the more trouble this nation may very well face. As my mother used to say, 'God ain't gonna bless no mess' and America is slowly getting to the point where God simply cannot continue to bless us.

I am not blaming the government, I am not blaming the courts, I am not blaming the Democrats or the Republicans. The blame lies with an ever growing swath of the American people, particularly those who have taken from the Lord's hand and not returned his bounty with respect, honor and genuine thanksgiving to him, but rather did those things he hates.

What will follow? I just don't think this country will be governable much longer the more anti-God and reprobate her citizens become. I see major divides in this country and the conflicts are I think, no longer repairable without very serious political and perhaps even violent conflict. Anger and hate seem to be more and more substituted for reason and thought and the political left is no less hate-filled than the right, no less ignorant and no less intolerant of opposing views and as these riots have shown, no less violent. Violent resolution to civil conflict only ensures the bloodiest gets power, not the best and he who comes to power by blood, usually has to rule by it.

Americans just need to forgo the use of any kind of violence to settle the country's deep differences.

I just see a slow, inevitable breakdown of American governance and its ability to deal with major issues facing the country. Dealing with rioters, dealing responsibly with massive deficits, dealing effectively with the stench of political corruption. Sometimes because of the law, sometimes because of the interpretation of the law, sometimes because leaders who lack the courage to do their jobs, even in the face of serious public criticism. Sometimes because those that try wind up wearing cement shoes at the bottom of the river.

I just see the situation as being ripe for more instability.

And the Church? The entity that should be giving moral and spiritual guidance in these times? She has got major problems of her own and has yet in many places to get its own house in order.

Let us all pray for our leaders both secular and Church in the hopes that God sends in a spiritual and moral 'janitor' to clean out the mess we have made of both our country and much of what calls itself the Church.


Grace and peace to you all here in Christ Jesus.


Brother Mark

16 Jun

Job Part II

Today, we are going to do a little more on the introduction to Job before we begin the verse by verse. We got a bit into the issue of when Job was written. Today we are going to spend a bit of time on who and then deal with a couple of other minor topics

We do not know who wrote the book of Job anymore than we can be certain of when it was written. I will give you a list of candidates that scholars have debated as being the author.
Moses
Solomon
Isaiah
Ezra
An unknown Arabian writer
Elihu, one of Job's friends who only appears towards the books end.
Rather than get into a long debate about who wrote it and the arguments great scholars have used in the past to support their case, I will not go there today. I do not think such a long detailed debate would be edifying or worthy of the time it would take. What I will say is that the book itself appears to me to have been set down probably in Solomonic times. This is quite possible. Solomon wrote most of what we know as the Wisdom books of the Bible (Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Song Of Solomon and portions of the Psalms). It stands to reason that he may have set down or caused to be set down the story of Job. This may not have been done before as the story of Job may have been only carried on by oral tradition, coupled with references to him in ancient writings long since lost. My view is that the story of Job is almost certainly from the days of the Patriarchs, but was never properly or rather, authoritatively set down until much later. Moreover I think the following personal comment will be of interest as we approach this book.

This book uses two powerful literary devices. One is poetry the other is drama. Except the opening passages and the very end, the entire book is written in Hebrew poetry. Secondly the book reads like a play. Where each person takes his turn in first showing sympathy with Job and then later cutting him down with their words and were later seriously rebuked by the Lord for their ill considered accusations. One of his friends calls Job a wind bag, full of hot air!!

 How long wilt thou speak these things?
And how long shall the words of thy mouth
be like a mighty wind?

(Job 8:2 - ASV)
I point this out to make plain that this book is one of real person with real sufferings set down in a liberal poetic and dramatic style. I look at the book almost like I look at a Shakespearean work, whose dramatic and poetic style brought to life many historical figures with such beautiful language and poetic meter and rhyme, that hundreds of years later, his plays are still very much in fashion.
So as we read this book keep in mind the poetic license that the writer took when we read some of the passages.
But the book is well organized and set down and as some commentators have noted, there are no interruptions and no matter how cutting and sarcastic the remarks, everyone has a chance to finish his thoughts, in turn.

How should we look at Job? I look at the book of Job as a prophetic, historic and poetic book that liberally uses literary devices to make its point. The early Jews looked upon the book as being historical (as opposed to allegorical). The authorship of Job was hotly debated during the time of the reformation as well and in the age of higher criticism when it has come under considerable attack. I view it as wholly historical, with many allegorical and poetic devices that add to, rather than take away from the power of the main theme of the book - the problem of suffering. Why do we suffer? What explanation does a vain man have for it? What the book of Job tells us is that with human reasoning, there is no rhyme or reason for it - we can attribute it all to our sins, but that does not tell the whole story. With Job in the opening chapters, we get to the real reason of Job's suffering. It was to test him, try him and purify one who was already greatly beloved of God. The Lord was bragging on Job and Satan (the accuser of mankind) did what he always does - accused Job of only loving the good things that God had given him challenging the Lord to take it all away and Job would 'renounce thee to thy face' (Job 1:11).
Job's most miserable comforters did not know the real reason for it either, they could not have unless they had stood in the councils of the almighty. They had not. So they used human reasons to accuse Job of great sins. This is one lesson I think we can learn from Job. To not judge another. What seems to be, sometimes isn't and what we sometimes 'know' to be true is often nothing but self deception.
Let us take care on how we judge others, especially those who are suffering. Sometimes what they are going through may be justified by their behavior, other times we are not privy to the reason. But should God hear a sneer or a snicker at a man or woman of God who is beloved of him during the hour of their trial, that person may find his own life in the Lord's crosshairs as Job's miserable comforters nearly did.
We as Christians have a deeper revelation though than those of Job and his friends. We have a better understanding of the problem of suffering, particularly for we who fully serve Christ Jesus.

Next week, we will begin the verse by verse. Because Job is a long book it may take quite some time to complete.


11 Jun

Lot's going on brothers. Let's take a quick look at a couple of things with the Church. CSS's Russian Analytical Digest has a pdf on the Orthodox Church you all may find of interest in light of the issues it faces in the Russian-Ukraine standoff. Its called 'Russian Orthodoxy' (no. 252). It talks about the situation, but more on a religious-political level than a spiritual one. Still, it's worthy of note. There is a battle now being waged within Orthodoxy.

Here Stateside, an article appeared in Church Militant that discusses the state of affairs in Detroit's Archdiocese (Monumental Meltdown - 28 May). It talks about the slow decline of the Church and its resources. The WaPo has a piece on this written last month predicting that many Church's will not survive. I have seen many a story about Churches here in the US and how they are having some financial issues. So keep your eyes on the Church and how this crisis effects it. Many are going to be hurt and hurt badly in the pocketbook because of this. People who are not working can't give offerings. So look for some big issues to be coming to a Church near you.

However, I am of the personal opinion that the Church needs a financial wake up call. I often think that the way the Church operates in the West is not right. Huge buildings that cost thousands a month in rent or a mortgage to use once or twice a week. I just don't see that as a wise use of funds. I can remember years ago, there was an assembly of believers I hooked up with that did not have a Church building, they just tried to find owners of abandoned warehouses, unused facilities and whatnot and asked them if they could hold their services there. I got a powerful prophecy spoken over me at one of these meetings some 25 years ago. But something along these lines would be better than the enormous sums that are paid to real estate companies or banks for Church buildings, in my opinion. I am not saying this should be the case in all Churches only that in some cases, this may be a better alternative at least until something better turns up. Even in a serious crisis God can do a lot of good, if his people (and Pastors/Church Board's) listen to him.
So yes, I suspect that many smaller Churches are having very significant financial challenges right now, particularly if many of their parishioners can't pay rent or can just barely pay it. How are they going to pay their offerings? If this crisis goes on the way I suspect it might, Church funds in many places may fall from 10-50% for the foreseeable; lockdown or no lockdown.

The good news regarding this pandemic is that according to recent news stories online, people are more interested in learning about Christ and in some places, an increase in Church attendance has been noted.
Yet I do think for parishioners, if you have a pastor or Church that is really doing right by the Lord, you should not neglect your offerings. Always remember to put God's work FIRST.
My own view is simply this - I am not a big believer in tithes, though many preachers preach it. No, that is the old Law and we are not under it. But we should give as the Spirit leads and again, parishioners who are in a good Church (key) where the pastor is really preaching and living right (also key), even if you can't go to Church, you should give what God has led you to give in this crisis. God can supply your needs. The earth and the fullness thereof is God's, he can and will fill your needs. But we must make sure we are doing what God wants us to do, where he wants us to be and when this is so, if we keep faith with God, no matter what he will be there for us when the storms of life hit our rowboat of life. Get in your prayer closet and seek the Lord.

If I have any personal word to those of you out there during this pandemic and the economic uncertainty it brings it is this. Don't lose faith in God. Bring your troubles before him. Even if you have to be like the woman who kept on bugging the judge to bring her justice. He was not inclined to do anything, but she was wearing him out with her requests (Luke 18:5). So don't be shy, bring your problems up before God and if you truly put your trust in him, he will hear you. In his own way and in his own time.

But when he acts as he certainly will, never forget what he did for you. Mark it down and remember it for God loves to be thanked and appreciated for what he does for his people. God knows who you are and your needs. So if you have an issue, a sick relative, can't find work, your spouse can't find work, kids at locked down at home driving you nuts - the first thing you should do is not complain or worry; it's pray!

Finally today, let's talk about an issue not many are. That's hunger and Covid-19. Here in the US its not a big problem at least not yet. But in other parts of the world is is. VOA has a story called UN warns of Latin America Hunger Crisis Amid COVID-19 Pandemic. So don't kid yourself for many, this crisis has become as much about food as it is about sickness. Often international organizations do provide the best insight into such issues and the World Food Program has some stories on this. Even in Europe food has been an issue in some countries. Those who once had jobs, now have to rely on the largess of others to get food on the table. Many rely on the local food bank to get by.
In fact the UN Secretary General has forecast record hunger in this Post COVID-19 world. He noted that this is where the health crisis meets the economic crisis. In many places food prices are increasing and the FAO has some data on that. They are seeking 350 million dollars to fight COVID-19 related activities, according to news reports. Africa is well is having some serious issues. A search on - Africa, food shortages and Covid-19 - should give you some decent results.

FEWS also has a great report issued on on the 28th that delves into some forecasts for food insecure populations. It can be accessed here.
Then there are the war zones. Let's not talk about Yemen today, let's look at Afghanistan. The Special IG there has some info you all may find of interest.
Rising Food Prices in Key Urban Centers

• In a sign that food supplies may be running short (and/or that vendors are price-gouging), the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), in late March, recorded price spikes for key food commodities in certain heavily populated parts of Afghanistan. In eight major Afghan urban centers—including Kabul, Kandahar, and Jalalabad—prices for certain key items like wheat, wheat flour, and cooking oil increased substantially, according to the UN.

• By April 15, WFP data showed that the price of wheat flour had increased by 15–18% and the price of cooking oil by 17%. The WFP found that, simultaneously, the purchasing power of casual laborers and pastoralists had declined by 20% and 14%, respectively. Deterioration in Kabul, where the purchasing power of casual laborers fell by as much as 31%, was especially significant.

 • Given the UN’s assessment that 14.3 million Afghans were already experiencing some degree of food insecurity in March 2020, rising food prices and lower purchasing power among vulnerable Afghans are a major concern. - SIGAR Quarterly Report  (copyright info)
So this health crisis is turning into both an economic crisis and a food crisis.
And I heard as it were a voice in the midst
of the four living creatures saying,
A measure of wheat for a shilling, a
nd three measures of barley for a shilling;
and the oil and the wine hurt thou not. 
(Rev 6:6 ASV)
No, this I do not think is any kind of fulfillment yet, but I think what we are about to witness is going to be a preview of what could soon come to pass. I say this because this is the third horse. Famine follows the war and the kind of war that I suspect this prophecy envisions has not happened yet. But keep your eyes on the tension between east and west, the US and China. War (a hot, kinetic war) more and more seems a serious possibility. Remember that the fourth Horseman is death and he has a whole toolbox of ways to bring about his desired goal; the sword (weapons), Famine, and death itself as well as the animals of the field. This whole vision seems, at least to me to portend a kind of breakdown not just of ordinary daily living but of the whole natural order as animals usually have an inherent fear of man. But these days, animals probably can and one day will have that fear genetically removed and become much more aggressive. Did you know that Russia right now is dealing with a species of 'mutant' ticks that bring disease?

So let us keep our eyes open spiritually brothers and not slumber as is the habit of some. Let us keep our lamps burning and be good stewards of whatever God has given to us. Let us not be as the one who had one talent and went and hid it. The Lord was sore displeased with that one.


Brother Mark

***

A Charity that may interest some of you....



9 Jun

Job Part I

Well, I was not sure which book to do next. I got a strong urge to do Job. I have always loved that book. Anyone who has suffered under the Lord's hand will eventually come to Job and come to understand him. When I was studying in College (many long years ago!), I had a teacher who was truly an expert on Job and I believe he wrote a commentary on it. He was one of the most scholarly men I knew, I don't know how many degree's he had, but he knew an awful lot. if I remember correctly, Job was one of his favorite books too. My old professor died late last year.

FYI, this series was written beginning in early 2018 but has been and will be mildly updated/reworked for the public site.

Greatly beloved - let us always keep those words in mind as we go through the book of Job. While he was going through his ordeal, he was still greatly beloved of God. God had a plan and a purpose for what he was doing that he never revealed to Job. The first couple of sections of this study are going to bore many of you, but I ask you take a minute and just kind of familiarize yourself with this and some of the links to older commentaries. This is because as we go through the book, we need to understand the times speakers are 'at' spiritually, in terms of the times they lived in and the customs they used and their very early concept of God's personality.

I want to spend some time with this book and understanding when it was written and some other background will be helpful as we spend this year and next going verse by verse in this most wonderful, yet tragic and still yet most interesting an insightful book.
Why did I choose Job? The question of suffering is one that has been with man for the longest. Why do we suffer? Why do the saints suffer? Why is there so much suffering in the world today? We can offer simplistic explanations, as we will see Job's friends did. But in the drama that unfolds, the real reason for Job''s calamities were hidden from all. They all had an opinion, but all were wrong, save Job who did not know but clung to his faith in God in the face of this most ruthless trial invented by the devil himself. God allowed it for reasons that will be revealed to us, but were not to Job nor his friends.
In these most troubled of times, we - particularly in the west, need to better acquaint ourselves with the whole idea of suffering. Remember who will be set loose for 42 months in the very last days and the fate of those who refuse to serve the devil's system in those days. Right now, this may all seem academic, but that could all change and change sooner and faster than many of us think. Many will fall away when things get tough. That was a sore temptation that Job faced. He was angry, hurt and at times got a little too high on his 'self-righteousness' horse, but he never forsook the Lord or turned on him.
The more perplexing problems with the book of Job are two fold. First is the authorship and second is the dating. Frankly we know almost nothing of either. Many see the book as being written in the times of the Patriarchs. Others see it written either during or after the times of Moses. There are strong arguments for each of these. Job does appear to be familiar with the Law or at least customs that became part of the law, and his use of the name Jehovah (1:21) which was given to Moses lends considerable credence that it was indeed written during or after the time of Moses. But then again, while the scriptures do not say it, it is not wholly improbable that he revealed his name to Job at an earlier date, not recorded in Scripture.
What is interesting is that within the book, Job uses the Mosaic revealed name for God, but his friends tend to use other names. This has made many believe this was written in the days of the Patriarch's. This and the fact that Job lived to be 140 years old. This type of longevity was common only in the days of the Patriarchs (see Gen 25:7; Gen 35:28) and even longer before the flood.
Once again we cannot be certain of the dating. If there were more historical references, the name of a king or the reference to a battle, we would know better when this was written. But the book is devoid of that. The only things we really have to go by are the listing of some of the customs.
Some scholars mark the books authorship as late as the times of the prophets before the exile, but to me this seems unlikely, though the book may not have been set down to parchment for many centuries after the events described. Again, we have little to go on. But most scholars seem to agree that it was during the time of the Patriarchs though when exactly during that age there is room for considerable doubt.
Yet I would be remiss in not mentioning something of import here. The story of Job was well known throughout the near east and not just with the Hebrews. While doing a little reading when writing this, I came across this most interesting 'note' that is found in Adam Clarke's Bible commentary. I want to stress one thing here. In the days of the Patriarchs, there was no Mosaic law and God had not revealed himself to the degree he did from the time of Moses onwards.
Ancient records from that time that are not necessarily from Israel and should not be looked upon in a negative light. Times were very different than today, which is why when we get to the verse by verse, we will better understand something of the tribal societal makeup of those days. 

One should not miss Adam Clarke's comments on the authorship of Job, for those of you interested.

In closing, I make no claims to being a scholar, or authority, or prophet and or pastor nor do I wish to be known as one. I am just a blogger who serves the Lord, Jesus Christ with the gifts he has commanded me to use.

This is going to be a long study and at times may seem a little boring, but hang in there, some of you may be facing your hour of 'Jobian' trail before you know it, as our troubled times just seem to be getting crazier and crazier.

I pray that if it happens, you face it with the same grit, faith and determination that Job did and get the special blessings for having done so!

Keep faith with God and he will keep faith with you!!

Grace and peace to all who server the Lord in Spirit and in Truth; Faith and Love.

Brother Mark


4 Jun

Hasn't Happened Yet: Repentance

Today, let's talk about repentance. Most of you remember I wrote a piece back in April called Covid-19 Thoughts, where I touched on this issue in relation to the Pandemic. I believed then and even more so now that if there was (is) no repentance, even worse things could very well follow for the nation. That post is still on this page, towards the bottom.

I have not seen anything remotely like repentance out there in the nation, have you? While listening to the radio yesterday and hearing many of those from the political left 'whine' about how horrible it is being Black in America, I never once heard any sense of responsibility for Black America's state placed on anyone who was Black. It was always the police, the government, Trump, 'the system' but never many of the self-created social problems that exist in Black communities that can only be solved by Black Americans. Start with out of wedlock births and the YBM who grow up without the steady guiding hand of a father. Don't think there is a connection between that and many Black cities crime rates?

I am not going to go on a rant today about Black America because this whole spirit of 'whine' and 'entitlement' is prevalent in all segments of the country. Everyone wants to blame someone else for their situation, when as often as not, the best place to start to solve many of these problems starts with a four letter word - 'self'.

Now, I am not for one moment going to say that Black Americans don't have a right to be most angry about the way some cops treat us. It's a long running scandal and if Trump bears any responsibility for it at all, it goes back to some of the things he did when he first took office and AG Sessions was running the DOJ. During the Obama administration there were some Bipartisan efforts to really bring in Police reform. One solution was Consent Decree's set up with many of the nations Police Departments. But Sessions ordered the DOJ to review Consent Decree's. You can find the actual Memo here. A cursory search on Sessions and Consent Decree will yield up many news stories on this, including why the decree's were needed in the first place. So let it not be said that I am not acutely aware of this very serious problem. If police reform has been slow, the President bears some of the blame.

But in America there has been no deeper self analysis of our individual or collective behavior. No thought about God and what he thinks about our society, which is swimming in rivers of porn, sodomy, adultery, hate, violence, fraud, bribery, drugs and corruption of every sort. The nation has not embarked on a rigid or even cursory self examination. It has continued on the way it has with most people hoping things go back to the way they were before the pandemic and now, these riots.

You see, I see America as a sick man walking. Like a man who has cancer and does not know it and only has a few years to live, this is how I see the country. Since there is no immediate pain, the subject does not realize he is dying. So I see this country. We have been dying of a spiritual cancer for some time and now the symptoms are getting bad enough where a 'medical' professional needs to be sought. This however is not a medical condition, but a spiritual and moral one. America just does not really understand how decadent she has become and how fast she is sliding in the wrong direction.

Other nations see it, but we don't. We have exchanged the word freedom with freedom from personal responsibility; freedom from doing right over doing wrong; freedom has turned into license and license to licentiousness. This is what freedom has turned into and we have made a mess of one of the greatest political experiments ever to be embarked upon.

That experiment was that a free people can freely elect leaders who will govern us and protect our rights, persons and property. It was a novel idea back in the day and until about I would say the late 20th century, it worked fairly well. But as the people became more reprobate, so the system has lost the basis for its continued existence. Namely, that the people who choose who governed them had to have a basic sense of right and wrong, a respect for God and understand their part in the social, political and economic system.

President Lincoln who confronted the greatest threat so far to that system said it well.
"...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." - President Lincoln, Gettysburg Address
As then so now, the threat to that form of government is not coming so much from abroad, but from within. Witness these riots and with each situation then and now, race relations plays a key role.

I think that what we are witnessing is the inevitable result of a people who are more concerned about rights than responsibility, particularly, personal responsibility both to their fellow man but more importantly to God. It is no coincidence that Lincoln mentioned God in his address.

When a nation forgets God, they are on a fast track to self and later divine destruction and that is the path this nation is on. We don't see it or ourselves as being decadent, but it is safe to say that neither did Sodom nor Gomorrah. They were down right indignant when Lot tried to correct that attempted gang rape of his house guests. Who was he to judge them? 'Bring our your guests so that we can have some fun!' That was the cry of the wicked and while America has not slipped that far yet, she is rapidly moving in that direction.

Look at the violence in our cities. Look at what is going on right now, from coast to coast. Most major cities have seen at least some level of disturbance. I read today where several cops were shot in last nights protests.


I just have long suspected that this great American democratic experiment is on its way to failure, not because it can't work, but because it can't work with the kinds of people who now reside in the country. This new generation of people and even many of my own age group, there just seems to be something fundamentally wrong with them, their moral compass and their ability to process information. Education, brainwashing, media, propaganda... take your pick of causes. I think it boils down to this. The nation and its people at first started to stray from God, and that straying now has turned into a rapid sprint away from him and his ways. As the new Left began to take over America's schools back in the 60's the whole face of education changed and with that came other changes as well in society as the early-age social conditioning began to take effect when the people got older. Education became more of a tool for social indoctrination than for education. It's why I think we have so many politically correct half-wits in the country today, Hypersensitive wimps who are 'offended' by anything that they don't agree with and then start taking anti-depressants and often try and turn their thin-skin into a political cause or some new medical condition. My view is that some of this emerging generation of emotional basket cases should not even be allowed to walk the streets alone at night without adult supervision, let alone walk into a polling booth and vote.

I am always struck by the parallels that exist between the US and Rome and the social, economic and political paths that sent Rome downwards and what is now sending the US whirling down the same socioeconomic loo.

No, what this nation needs is a strong dose of reality. Spiritual reality that only God can give. That wickedness, licentiousness and ignorance has its own reward and that we may be well on the way to reaping it. If COVID-19 did not get the nation's attention, these riots might. If that does not work, there may be much more trouble from other directions to come.

You see, I think the Lord is slowly removing his hand of protection from the country. Not because he hates us but because he is insisting that the nation needs to change direction and repent. Will we? I rather think not, at least not yet. Most people don't see anything wrong with how they live, the dope they take, the adultery they commit, the frauds they engage in, the lies they tell. They see everyone else doing it and that is often their justification. It's the herd morality and its going to send the nation stampeding over a spiritual cliff.

So no, I don't see any signs of repentance yet, but God may very will begin to turn up the 'heat' so to speak so that people begin to or perhaps are forced to make some spiritual choices.

God bless all who serve the Lord, in Spirit and in Truth

Brother Mark

2 Jun

Know Your Enemy III

I have hesitated to post this on the public site. But am going to with some important caveat's. This is not for baby Christians. It's not for new believers who may stumble over some of this. I pray no one stumbles over this. This is for mature believers who understand the spiritual nature of our battle and know want to get a deeper understanding of the enemies we face in the spiritual world.

Also know this - I am not trying to convince anyone of anything along these lines. I post this because I know it can and will be of considerable value and help to many believers who may not be aware of these things. If you have problems with this, get into your prayer closet and seek the Lord about it. He who listens to and obey's the Lord will do well. But the times I see coming soon makes a better understanding of these things than is currently being taught in modern western Churches, I think - imperative.

Last section, we talked quoted from the Book of Jude who spoke about a certain class of fallen spirits. Now I am going to quote from Enoch to show you why Jude is saying things that are not witnessed to with much clarity in other parts of the Bible. Jude is clearly very familiar with the book of Enoch as he quotes from it. So let's take a look at it, you may take or leave what is said here, but I think frankly, it is not wise for any mature Christian to completely ignore this.
Here Enoch has gone to make intercession on behalf of these fallen spirits because of their insistence. They were very afraid when they had heard the Judgment of God upon them for leaving heaven and mating with women (see Gen 6). In short, they were scared out of their wits when they heard the sentence from God. Azazel was the chief of the angels who left heaven to come down and mate with women. He was 'the instigator'.
And Enoch went and said: ‘Azâzêl, thou shalt have no peace: a severe sentence has gone forth against thee to put thee in bonds: And thou shalt not have toleration nor request granted to thee, because of the unrighteousness which thou hast taught, and because of all the works of godlessness and unrighteousness and sin which thou hast shown to men.’ Then I went and spoke to them all together, and they were all afraid, and fear and trembling seized them. And they besought me to draw up a petition for them that they might find forgiveness, and to read their petition in the presence of the Lord of heaven. For from thenceforward they could not speak (with Him) nor lift up their eyes to heaven for shame of their sins for which they had been condemned. - Enoch 13
What was the result of his intercession?
And He answered and said to me, and I heard His voice: ‘Fear not, Enoch, thou righteous man and scribe of righteousness: approach hither and hear my voice. And go, say to the Watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: “You should intercede” for men, and not men for you: Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and defiled yourselves with the daughters of men and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, and begotten giants (as your) sons? And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die and perish.

Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you; for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling. And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. - Enoch 15

(A complete copy of this work can be found at the Internet Archive 1912 version or at Sacred Texts,1917 version)
Those of you who quote the passage that says that these things cannot be because the Bible says that Angels are not given to marriage are correct. They are not given into marriage. These however were rebels, and this passage explains this clearly and why the Lord forbade marriage to them. If we attain the resurrection of the dead we will be like the angels and will not be given to marriage.

For in the resurrection they neither marry,
nor are given in marriage,
but are as angels in heaven.

(Mat 22:30 ASV)

From this passage we can perhaps understand why there are demons (evil spirits) who are NOT bound up in chains as Jude describes and in fact, are not even fallen angels, but are the spiritual remains of those offspring whom the fallen ones had. This also, I believe explains why they can and want to possess humans, they once had bodies but do no longer.

I think it also explains why Christ had mercy on the host of unclean spirits who went into the heard of swine. They were born through no fault of their own and yet there is no plan of salvation for them. They know they are going into torment, but not yet.

Let us all remember one key aspect of God's character that we in this age of Grace often forget.

For he saith to Moses,
I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
 and I will have compassion
on whom I have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth,
nor of him that runneth,
 but of God that hath mercy.
(Rom 9:15-16 ASV)


Enoch goes on to more completely describe what happened to the Son's of God that came down here to mate with the daughters of men. They are now in chains and bound.

Then said the Most High, the Holy and Great One spake, and sent Uriel to the son of Lamech, and said to him: ‘Go to Noah and tell him in my name “Hide thyself!” and reveal to him the end that is approaching: that the whole earth will be destroyed, and a deluge is about to come upon the whole earth, and will destroy all that is on it. And now instruct him that he may escape and his seed may be preserved for all the generations of the world.’ And again the Lord said to Raphael: ‘Bind Azâzêl hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dûdâêl, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness, and let him abide there for ever, and cover his face that he may not see light. And on the day of the great judgement he shall be cast into the fire.

And heal the earth which the angels have corrupted, and proclaim the healing of the earth, that they may heal the plague, and that all the children of men may not perish through all the secret things that the Watchers have disclosed and have taught their sons. And the whole earth has been corrupted through the works that were taught by Azâzêl: to him ascribe all sin.’ And to Gabriel said the Lord: ‘Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates, and against the children of fornication: and destroy [the children of fornication and] the children of the Watchers from amongst men [and cause them to go forth]: send them one against the other that they may destroy each other in battle... - Enoch 10


And I looked and turned to another part of the earth, and saw there a deep valley with burning fire. And they brought the kings and the mighty, and began to cast them into this deep valley. And there mine eyes saw how they made these their instruments, iron chains of immeasurable weight. And I asked the angel of peace who went with me, saying: ‘For whom are these chains being prepared?’ And he said unto me: ‘These are being prepared for the hosts of Azâzêl, so that they may take them and cast them into the abyss of complete condemnation, and they shall cover their jaws with rough stones as the Lord of Spirits commanded.  - Enoch 54

What happened back in the Days of Noah is of paramount importance to we who live in these last days. Christ made that clear for it shall be just like in the days of Noah when Christ returns. They were eating and drinking and giving in marriage... right up to the day Judgment fell. Preachers will be preaching, prophets will warn, the people will ignore and things will go on like before, but one day God says enough. Just like then, in the last days a whole host of fallen angels will be right down here on earth (see Rev 12:9ff)

Could these evil spirits (as described in Enoch) one day possess a host of genetically enhanced human bodies now being designed by men? I don't know, but I think the question needs to be asked.

God will send out his call to his people just like he did with Noah to warn us to prepare for the end of this age.

We will continue out look at Know your Enemy soon, God willing.

In closing, I ask all of you to NOT STUMBLE at this section, particularly me quoting from a book outside of the Western Cannon. I think the historical record within the book of Enoch is fairly sound, but the book itself may contain some doubtful passages and later additions that caused it to not be accepted by the Western Church as scripture. I don't accept it as such, though the Ethiopian Orthodox Church does. But I do think it contains some very important aspects to the times that were and the times that will be that we should at the very least, be familiar with and keep in the back of our minds. In fact, if you read the opening passages of the book, you will find it that it is directed at and written specifically for a remote generation that was to come.


FYI, the Ethiopian Church have a very interesting view of it. It can be found on the Wikipedia site.

The blessings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be upon all who love and serve him.

Brother Mark


29 May

Going Into Labor

Let's talk about jobs today.

Gotta Job? I mean... still gotta job? Be thankful, very very thankful. Why? Because The good news is that many people who are not working right now as a result of this pandemic will indeed return to work and begin be able to pay their bills. The bad news is that many will not. Estimates for long term unemployed are all over the place. Given that over 30 million people have filed for unemployment benefits these past couple of months, we can safely assume that there will be millions of Americans who will, within the next couple of months realize that they no longer have a job, or if they are lucky, will return to work as a part time or casual worker. Over the past several weeks, over 30 40 million Americans have filed for unemployment. That number is not a typo. In six weeks we have witnessed one of the greatest employment disasters the nation has ever witnessed. And it is not over yet, though many are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It's still not clear if that light is the sunrise or a freight train heading right at us.


       Source: BLS

The following is from the CBO.
The Labor Market
The pandemic and associated social distancing measures have led to a collapse in consumer many businesses to reduce or cease operations and to lay off or furlough their employees. Between the third week of March and the first week of May, more than 30 million unemployment insurance claims were filed. The unemployment rate surged from 3.5 percent in February to 14.7 percent in April. That change reflects the net effect of a decline of more than 25 million in the number of people employed and a reduction of more than 8 mil- lion in the size of the labor force.

The effects of the pandemic and economic shocks have not been uniform across industries, regions, or businesses of varying sizes. During March and April, more than 20 million nonfarm payroll jobs were lost; those losses were concentrated in industries that rely on a high degree of in-person interactions, such as leisure and hospitality, retail trade, and education and health services. The leisure and hospitality sector was hit particularly hard, losing 8 million of its 17 million jobs in March and April (see Figure 1). In addition, many local economies that rely heavily on the tourism and hospitality industries have sustained great employment losses. More broadly, the impact of the pandemic has varied greatly across regions, and some states have been hit harder than others. Across all industries and all regions, though, businesses that are small and young are expected to suffer a greater share of job losses than are larger and more mature businesses, because smaller and newer businesses are less likely to have the financial resources to withstand the shocks. - Source CBO
This gives us a snapshot of how bad things are. I should add how bad things are going to be because for those millions of Americans who are not going to go back to work, the pain has not hit yet. Sure they can't go to work, but many now are getting enhanced unemployment benefits and they got a decent stimulus check and it does not seem unlikely that they will get another within another 60 days or so, if the GOP and Democrats can get another bailout package together.

But the pain has not set in yet. No, we have not yet begun to feel it. Right now millions of Americans are depending on the governments largess to pay their bills. But that may very well change in the weeks ahead at least for some and the degree with which this happens will be dependent on policy makers.

One very popular part of the bailout was the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). It has been widely used by businesses. But Republicans are eyeing it very carefully. Then there are the enhanced unemployment benefits. They maintain that with these benefits, many people see no advantage in returning to work. Such people can remain on their respective couch's with the remote control firmly in their grasp and still collect a paycheck. They note that in some cases with these benefits, people are making more on the dole than they were working. The idea is that the longer people sit around doing nothing and getting paid for it, the longer any recovery will take. Democrats want to extend these benefits. Given the dire employment situation, their calls are not without merit. But the GOP's observations bear considerable merit as well.

The key here I think is to make decisions along these lines without too much emotion. Fiscal sense and the goal of protecting the long term health of businesses that provide jobs should be top priority, not letting our hearts bleed and with tears in our eyes and thus lead Americans, businesses and later the nation into bankruptcy on a river of tears. Care is very important, but so are economic and fiscal realities. Better to take a couple of cuts and bruises now than fall of a 1000 foot fiscal cliff later. You'll be dealing with far more than cuts and bruises.

The PPP however is probably one of the best idea's, not because I am in favor of bailouts (I am not) but because businesses, small and medium sized can't reopen. The Governors of many states have made it illegal for them to open, so this is all through no fault of their own. They need help and should get it. For now this program is directed just towards certain businesses related expenses and if done properly, is no longer a categorized as a loan, but a grant. They are looking at making some changes including consideration of allowing for the money to be used for other things and still be considered a grant. My view is that for many bushiness these loans are essential, particularly if these lockdowns continue through June. Many businesses would simply go out of business were it not for this program. But the view of many is that this is best kind of answer, get the employers what they need to keep their shops open and people working. Don't let hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized businesses go bankrupt and have to close, leaving those dreaded 'For Lease' signs on abandoned office buildings across America and even more Americans heading to the local homeless shelter.

So What's Gonna Happen?

I don't know. But do want to throw out some thoughts to you all because what's gonna happen is probably gonna do so within the next 90-120 days, barring significant continuing government help/bailouts/loans and grants.

These programs will probably keep the worst from happening, at least right away, But that does not mean that we won't see serious problems ahead. Rather than cite facts figures and links, I will just give you a 'stream of consciousness' today.

Right now people can stay in their homes because in many places evictions are no longer possible or legal. That is going to change. Real Estate owners, banks and others with political power are going to put the pressure on to get those who are not paying rent or their mortgages out so that they can get someone in who can. No, this is not going to happen overnight, but the reality is that real estate investors are in business to make money and they too have expenses, often quite significant. Granted as long as 'enhanced' unemployment benefits are in the mix, this is not going to be a major crisis as millions of Americans can take that check and pay their rent. Such bailouts are and are going to be wildly popular and remember, this is an election year. The party that proposes these hand outs, even bigger ones are going to be considered more electable that those who do not, to an economically illiterate voting population. One look at the fiscal situation in many of the nation's State capitols, local and of course Federal government shows you that people vote for the continuance of such fiscal ignorance and illiteracy. The fiscal retard is voted Treasurer and bailouts, borrowing and spending the policy. Change it and the voters will send you back to your day job.

But what will it mean when several million Americans suddenly get eviction notices? Well, it's going to happen and already is in some places. Keep in mind that under the CARES act, those properties that are mortgaged using federally backed loans have severe restrictions on foreclosure, even if it's a rental property (and the owner bought it using such a loan). If the owner of the property got his loan from a Federally backed program, he can't evict you. That is at least as I understand it. But that is set to run out here in several weeks. What then? That's the question. And it boils down to either people get back to work and make arrangements with their lender or landlord; keep getting more bailouts and hope the gravy train never ends or the third alternative.

Living On The Street

Yes, I see a homelessness crisis beginning to emerge in the nation once the bailouts and the effects thereof end. Being an election year, politicians may try their best to keep some of these programs in place at least through the election. But that is no guarantee. The effect of the loss of millions of jobs, permanently and the loss or reduction of public largess will be devastating, whenever it comes. I certainly hope I am wrong about this and this level of homelessness does not transpire. The best case will be to make sure that as many small and medium sized businesses can remain viable and can keep their employee's. That is the only real long term and viable solution whereas others seem to be pushing for longer term or a permanent government dole, perhaps hoping this will turn into some new impetus for guaranteed basic income all based on even more government indebtedness.

So I look for an increase in homelessness. This will be reflected and generated probably more by State level and perhaps local policy than Federal. How long will the state enforce lockdowns? What cumbersome, business-killing regulations will be instituted before a business can re-open? Contact tracing (giving name and address and time of visit wherever you go, adding significantly to the agenda of the surveillance state). Allowing restaurants to open and only 50% capacity? Restricting various aspects of sales? New taxes?

As a new regulatory environment develops, so will businesses have to comply. What can be certain is that whatever comes, it will be more restrictive and more difficult to run a small business in this new post COVID-19 business environment. Government leaders are great ones for encumbering businesses with all manner of legal and administrative minutiae that they don't realize can wreck havoc on the little guy. But when 'King Regulator' gets on the throne, he doesn't care, he just wants more control, more hassle and more trouble for businesses, strangling them and often putting them out of business, as he sits on his throne made of forms, regulations, edicts and cumbersome legal requirements.

The King will play up to those who don't know or don't care about businesses as the King explains how these new regulations will help. What they don't say is they are really helping millions out of their homes and jobs and onto the street.... all thanks to King Regulator. So depending on how these new post pandemic regulations are put into effect, we will see how this goes. In a nearby county, my favorite chain of used bookstore is open, while it is not open in my county. But in the nearby county, you have to register at the door. It's little things like this that is going to be the kiss of death for many businesses. They won't tell you who will get this registration information. They may say it's going to the CDC, and not tell you that the military and the intelligence community and God knows who else and despite whatever they tell Congress, be assured, they will use it for much more than contact tracing.

People will find out or just be suspicious of the whole contact tracing agenda and like me, many just won't go to the local business. It's little things like that that is going to kill small businesses, not intentionally, but in reality. People don't want to be tracked, logged and traced and have some health bureaucrat show up at their door 'wanting to help' because they went over to the local barber shop last Thursday. Particularly when it is not clear what they will do with the data, don't know how long it will be kept and what they actually plan on doing with people who have come in contact with another who is infected.

They are not doing much now, but what about in 6 months? Will they keep you from working? Will they put in in some kind of forced quarantine? Today, no they are not doing that, but a year from now, who knows what government bureaucrats will do, particularly if some new new friend of King Regulator gets into the White House. Consider what was attempted recently with the proposal of putting people into detention without trial. Never underestimate the governments ability to make matters worse while selling it to the masses as a good idea.

So as businesses decline and close up, so I look for homelessness to become a problem, but it will probably be more regional in nature and then based more upon State and local policy makers and the nature of economic activity in each state/region. Farm states may do better than manufacturing ones; States that rely more on the service sector vs. those that deal more in high tech, etc. But chronic homelessness in many places may become a far greater problem than it is today.

Yet today, there are many who are living on the edge. I read this AM a story out of the Texas Tribune called "Living in hotels, students lose ground ...". If you have a moment, check it out. It also talks about how important things like School Lunches are for many kids. Many people who have fallen through the economic cracks and can't rent because they don't have great credit. What happens? They wind up living in hotels. Then there is the problem of student safety. Yes, eviction hurts a lot more than the worker, the kids are deeply effected too. Similar stories on evictions and possible future evictions can be found around the web at many Major News network local affiliate sites. I think the key to understand is this. Once legal moratoriums are up, the eviction notices will be nailed to several million front doors across America, the courts will be flooded and then the real problems begin for many.

So yes, homelessness and that precarious place in between (hotels, living with parents, relatives and sleeping on the sofa, etc).... the number of those kinds of people will grow I think very significantly over the next 12 months. I think states and localities should quietly and realistically start to make plans for just such an eventuality because prepare for it or not, it looks like it is coming. That and the almost certain rise in crime.

The other real problem is one that many are not talking about it, is the fiscal situation of State and local governments. They are getting hit hard with a reduction in sales and other business related tax revenues. The (projected) shortfalls are significant, but not quite disastrous. I will give you two examples. One is for my home state of Maryland and the other is the most populous state, California.

What will happen? Who knows. In my state the governor just vetoed a whole slew of new taxes and new spending, citing his concerns over COVID-19 as a major reason. Maryland is a very liberal state, but we have a down to earth, moderate GOP governor who I think has done a decent job of putting the brakes on some the loopier idea's coming out of the legislature.

But as revenues fall for State and local governments, so will fiscal problems come more to the forefront. They will be left basically with three choices. One is to cut spending, something that is absolutely anathema to hard line liberals. Another is to raise taxes, anathema to hard line conservatives. The final option will be to borrow more money. Getting that money may not be as easy as it sounds. Lenders are going to want to make sure they get paid. Sure, they can probably get the money by selling municipal bonds, but the risk is going to be written into the interest rate. Risk? Yes, even with state and local governments the possibility of them declaring bankruptcy is not out of the question, certainly not in a post COVID-19 environment.

Legislators who are sadly more interested in politics than basic accounting can easily drive a state into the bankruptcy courts. The scary thing is that lenders may one day start to require hard assets as collateral and thus securing their loans making sure that they are first in line during bankruptcy proceedings. Still default risk is low because the reality is that State governments have taxing authority. We will have to see if the Fed steps in and provides some kind of monetary/lending facility for State's or if the market will be able to do it. But given the political environment in the nation, I don't see much real change - when the question of cutting spending or raising taxes are at issue, borrowing more seems to be the usual solution.

This will probably be the way out for many states, but bonds are just that, a loan, they have to be paid back and that means some source of revenue. Also keep in mind that many states are already wallowing in debt.

In closing this can be a fiscal disaster for the nation. It need not be, and if aid is carefully, judiciously and evenly applied in those sectors that really need (as opposed to just wanting) it. This crisis may not be nearly as bad is it has every potential of becoming. Can leaders get real about finances and put petty political bickering aside, not just at the Federal level, but also at the state and local level? Can they learn and more importantly, apply some basic accounting and use that as a guideline for fiscal policy instead of a obsessing about getting a new transgender section in school textbooks into the classroom or some new tax-break for the 1%?

Let us all pray for our leaders at the state, local and Federal level. They are all facing some very significant issues that will deeply effect us all in the coming years.

I know many Americans just loath President Trump. I am not one of them, I never liked him much before he was President but even despite many of this 'un-Presidential' things he has done and Tweeted, and at times his demeanor, I have developed a healthy, if a bit admittedly grudging, respect for him. I left partisanship by the wayside back in my early 30's and look at Presidents by their ability to push their vision, get things done and do what they think best for the country both domestically and internationally within the confines of the office, which is not nearly as powerful as many might think. I don't think any President, Democrat or Republican could have done better in light of this crisis and the whole range of unknowns they were dealing with from the beginning. Yes, the response was slow at first, but in some ways, it worked to the country's advantage. If the US had started lockdowns in January, we would have 60 million newly unemployed right now instead of 'just' 40 million.

So whatever your leanings politically, please pray for him, Speaker Pelosi, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Schumer, your respective governors and state officials as well as and the Supreme and other important Courts whom I think may be forced to make some very important decisions in the months ahead relating to a whole range of issues dealing with the fallout from the Virus. State level Supreme Courts as well. Evictions? Vaccines? Contact Tracing? Bankruptcy reorganizations/ liquidations? Insurance Claims (Acts of God)...? These are all things that are at various levels of the legal system, are going to have to be dealt with.


***
This piece is just personal commentary, not financial or legal advice. Please seek professional advice for your financial, legal and investment decisions!


27 May

Know Your Enemy II

In the last section of this series we did a kind of introduction and looked at a few of the anomalies (to us) on the different kinds of spirits who rebelled against God. Now I know many of you, I am going to lose you as I do this study, but as time passes and strange and weird things begin to transpire in our world, you will remember what I have written here and things will be much clearer for you. Right now we see these things through a glass darkly.

Moreover, you will have a much better understanding of the spiritual foes many of you will have to directly and personally face as the evil one and his host are cast down upon the earth. If you are in Christ and you are here as the final 42 month system arises and is enthroned be assured, you will be facing these beings on one level or another.

Ignorance of your enemy could become a costly affair.


 But this kind doesn’t go out
 except by prayer and fasting.
   (Matthew 17:21 [WEB])

New levels, new devils. This was a saying one old woman of God used to use describing what happens to Christians when they rise in the Lord or become of great use to him. The higher up you go in the Lord and in his service, the more demonic resistance a person will face. Brothers and sisters, when you serve the Lord in spirit and in truth the devil is going to attack you, guaranteed. But there are different levels of spirits and spirits of different orders. There are the top angels with great power who rebelled (the 'Generals'), there are the mid-level fallen spirits (The Captains and Sergeants) the lower level spirits (the Private's) and then there are what I will call the 'contractors'. These are people (humans) who serve these spirits, knowing they are serving evil. For much of this series, I will express things in military terms because it, I think is the best way to describe a hostile army arrayed against us. Like military contractors, they work for a 'fee', but are not true parts of the army.

Judas' contractor fee was 30 pieces of silver.
Others fee's include political power, wealth, sex, fame etc. These things are what the host of rebels against God give in return for something. Yes, Satan even made his 'contracting' offer to our Lord.


 and he said unto him, All these things
will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down
and worship me.
(Matthew 4:9 ASV)

The devil knows how to tempt and he does have the resources to keep his part of any satanic bargain, for he is the prince of this world. But Satan himself is not going to be the key part of subject matter today.
Some of these spirits have enormous power and we cannot cast them out but with prayer and fasting. With such spiritual darkness, there has to be a struggle, a fight, a battle to free a soul or institution of such demonic influence and/or possession.

Now we have talked about the different ranks or orders within the kingdom of God. We know there are different orders of angels, There are the Cherubim (see Ezekiel Chapters 10), the Seraphim (Isaiah Chapter 6) and of course the Arch angels. I am fairly certain there are other orders as well. We have seen angels as watchmen who have no name for their order but are the spirits who go out and apparently report back what they have seen (Zechariah Chapter 6). There are all manner of living spirits and angels in heaven and the book of Revelation gives us a small glimpse of this. There are certainly other orders of such spirits but we have no real information on them.
The Rebellion

But I think we all should get a good understanding of the rebellion against God and why it is important that we understand these things.

We all know satan rebelled and did so long ago. He appears in the garden when man was first made in the form of the serpent. It seems clear that his fall was before the creation of man (for man was just created when he appears). I don't want to get too much into the creation debate because it causes many to scratch their heads, but I have long held (using scripture) that the earth was destroyed before man was made and became formless and void. It was not created that way, but became that way. This is something I covered in this piece many years ago. I am not going to re-hash the issue. But what I will say is that from my considerable studies I believe that - long ago, before mankind came onto the scene, there was a massive rebellion against God. Satan led it. This rebellion really messed up the earth. So much so that it became formless and void. We don't know what inhabited the earth back then, but we can look at things like dinosaurs and other strange creatures that are now long extinct and know that they did exist long ago. Even now, Scientists believe that some kind of cataclysm destroyed the dinosaurs in ages past.

I bring this all up so that we humans and Christians cease to think of our lives, the earth and even our existence as being the center of the universe. This was the belief of Churchmen in the middle ages. They taught that the earth was the center of the solar system and fought those who taught otherwise as being heretics. Today, I see many of the same errors, like believing that anyone who does not subscribe to a 6000 year old earth is a 'heretic'. But understanding that this rebellion against God is more ancient than the creation of mankind gives us pause to consider and be humble. We humans are just not that important except that God loves us and has mercy on us. The Bible did not teach that the sun revolved around the earth anymore than it teaches a 6000 year old earth.

We humans are a very, very new and frankly somewhat insignificant 'cosmic arrival' and the sooner we all realize that, the more we can better understand the depths of God's love and mercy towards us...

...and not take it for granted!

I say these things so that we fully understand that when dealing with these fallen angels, at least most of them, we are dealing with a very, very ancient evil. These fallen spirits have seen men come and go. They were around when David was King, Columbus sailed to America; the Ming dynasty ruled China, Henry VIII was beheading his wives and Hitler murdered the Jews. They are very, very familiar with our ways and what makes us tick. So don't for one instant think you can outsmart these spirits. We humans were made a little lower than the angels (Psa 8:5, Heb 2:7) and thus can safely assume that they are considerably more intelligent than we are.
But another class of spirits needs to be discussed here. That is evil spirits or demons. Is that not just another name for fallen angels? Well, perhaps, but from my studies and spiritual experience, I don't think so.

Now I pray God I cause no one to stumble in what follows so please get into your prayer closets before you fire off a nastygram to me. Read the passages and pray if you are confused or it assaults what you already thought about the subject.  But live a little longer, I strongly suspect that the things that will be coming upon the world will change the minds of any skeptic who really wants to understand these things and win in the spiritual battles that lie ahead.
***

As Jude makes clear in his book, he talks about a class of angels who left their first estate and are now in everlasting chains reserved for Judgment.

And angels that kept not their own principality,
but left their proper habitation, he hath kept
in everlasting bonds under darkness
unto the judgment of the great day.
(Jude 1:6 ASV)

This passage is important again because we see that this class of spirits are in chains. But Satan and those other spirits we saw in Revelation are still out and about roaming around. So who is this class of spirits who are in chains? There are two very strong hints. First is they kept not their first estate. Second, Jude tells us where to look and it is not where most would, but it is right there in the book.

 And to these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam,
prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands
of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all,
and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of
ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought,
and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners
 have spoken against him.
(Jude 1:14-15 ASV)


This prophecy has Apostolic/Biblical approval. It was spoken by Enoch and quoted from by Jude and its right there in your New Testament. This is where we have to look for some of these answers.

We Will Continue this section of our study, next week.... God willing!!


21 May

Where Will You Stand?

Then he cried in mine ears with a loud voice, saying,
Cause ye them that have charge over the city to draw near,
every man with his destroying weapon in his hand.
And behold, six men came from the way of
the upper gate, which lieth toward the north,
every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand;
and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen,
 with a writer's inkhorn by his side. And they went in,
and stood beside the brazen altar. And the glory of
the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub,
whereupon it was, to the threshold of the house:
and he called to the man clothed in linen,
who had the writer's inkhorn by his side.
 And Jehovah said unto him, Go through
the midst of the city, through the midst
 of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon
the foreheads of the men that sigh
and that cry over all the abominations
that are done in the midst thereof.
(Eze 9:1-4 ASV)


Today, we are going to take a break from the news and deal with some prophetic issues. There is a lot going on these days, but we can hit some of the highlights later in the week (for insiders). I see lots of trouble ahead for the world on the economic and perhaps later on the political and social front.

But let us get to the passage above from the book of Ezekiel.
In the previous chapter (Ezek 8) we see Ezekiel describing a powerful visitation of the Lord. He was sitting in his home with the elders of Israel about him and the hand of God fell upon him. He carried him away by his hair above the earth. The purpose was to show him something.
He went to Jerusalem and the whole purpose of this divine interruption was to show Ezekiel the sins and abominations of Israel. Now consider. He was in his house talking to the elders of Israel who came to his home. The message deeply effects them as they were the pillars of the nation. Here the abominations are noted. There were several. First was some kind of idol, an image of jealousy (8:3). We don't know exactly what this image was but some think (K&D) it may have been Baal or Asherah. The passages in Ezekiel chapter 8 show a pattern of idolatry and religious abomination taking place both inside and outside of the Temple. The Lord was most displeased at this. In fact, he was utterly furious about it. But before God acts, he will send in his prophets to warn and this was Ezekiel's job. How angry was the Lord over these things?
Then he said unto me, Hast thou seen this,
O son of man? Is it a light thing to the
house of Judah that they commit the abominations
which they commit here? for they have filled
the land with violence, and have turned again
to provoke me to anger: and, lo,
they put the branch to their nose.
Therefore will I also deal in wrath;
mine eye shall not spare,
neither will I have pity;

and though they cry
in mine ears with a loud voice,

yet will I not hear them.
(Eze 8:17-18 ASV)

This is how angry he was. He gives the reasons and the consequences in the two above passages.

So in chapter nine, we begin to see how the Lord will deal with this. This is a spiritual vision and clearly what Ezekiel is seeing what will transpire in the spiritual realm that will be translated into the natural.

The first part is God first marks those who are his and who honor and regard the Lord enough to be deeply troubled by the sins and abominations of the people, elders and priests.

Ezekiel hears a cry, a command go forth. It was to the overseers of the city. Not the temporal ones, this is clearly directed at powerful spiritual beings. The words used are (H6486, H5892). The idea here is that God has set certain angels to stand watch over the city. These are 'watchmen' or guardians of the city. Their job was to stand watch. But given two interesting indications, they may have had other jobs as well, like recording. Note that the word H6486 can also mean account, reckoning or numbers. Also note that one of these angels had some kind of writing device (inkhorn) by his side (9:2). He may have had a special task from the others as some kind of recorder. Some commentators believe he was the captain or leader of the others. The others are the ones noted by the destroying weapons they posses.

Protection

So in this passage, we see that before the Lord unleashes his judgement and fury, he moves to protect those who honor him and recoil at the wickedness of the nation. God looks out for his own and will not suffer the punishments that the ungodly have so diligently earned to fall on his people. No, he is going to mark those who serve him. It will be the same in the last days. God will seal a select group of believers from what is to come.


And I saw another angel ascend
from the sunrising,

 having the seal of the living God:
and he cried with a great voice
to the four angels to whom it was given
to hurt the earth and the sea, saying,
Hurt not the earth, neither the sea,
nor the trees, till we shall have sealed
the servants of our God on their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them that were sealed,
 a hundred and forty and four thousand,
sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:
(Rev 7:2-4 ASV)

A seal is a little different from a mark we saw in Ezekiel, in that it is often used by a person in high office, an ambassador or some person in a very important business or fiduciary position. So here we look to be dealing with a very special group of God's servants who will be set apart in the times of this judgement. Also see Rev 9:4ff on this. In those passages you can see just how important that seal will be in the last days.

So we see an important parallel. The Lord got tired of the idolatry and the violence and the wickedness and the evil and finally one day, he had had enough. He lays out to his prophet what he is going to do and even how he is going to do it. This appears to be the purpose of the vision.

God is not going to hear the cries of suffering his judgment is going to cause. He is going to 'plug up his ears' from hearing. Old and young, no one is going to escape God's fury and he is indeed furious. 

God is not playing games with the sins and abominations of our times either. We as Christians must remain true to God and have a healthy respect for God and his power and his love of the right and his hatred for the wrong.

When God begins to recall and and recompense our nation and world for its sins, will you be one whom he has set his mark, his seal upon and who shall receive divine protection from his fury? Or will you run into the arms of the devil and receive his mark in your right hand or forehead after you worship the beast and his image (Rev 14:9-12)? For you insiders, I think we all should know where each of us stands.
May God grant all who read this that you shall stand in the evil day and resist the beast, his system, his mark even if it costs us our lives!

And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb,
and because of the word of their testimony;
 and they loved not their life even unto death.
(Rev 12:11 ASV)

In closing, this harsher side of God's character is rarely talked about in today's Christianity, but we would all be wise to go back and find out more about it and how it applies to the events of the end times!!

In Christ,

Brother Mark


19 May

Is There No God In Israel?


And he said unto him, Thus saith Jehovah,
 Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers
to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron,
is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word?
therefore thou shalt not come down from the bed
whither thou art gone up,
but shalt surely die.
(2Ki 1:16 ASV)
In the above passage, Elijah rebukes king Ahaziah. It was a stern rebuke. You see, the king had fallen down though a lattice and as a result was laying in bed ill. So what the King did was sent messengers to Ekron (in Philistia) to inquire of the gods of the Philistines, specifically the god known as Baal-zebub. This was probably some kind of fly or insect like idol for which it was shaped after. It may bear some relation to the god myiagros. It has been referred to as the Lord of the flies. It is this god that Christ referred to in the gospels and was accused of being in league with when he cast out devils (see Mar 3:23ff). I must remark here that this is one of the most terrifying passages in the NT for it was because of this deeply offensive remark about the Lord and his work that he sternly warned the scribes that the kind of spiritual sin they had just committed was moving into the realm of the unpardonable.

It was this kings inquiry to this foreign god that made the Lord quite angry. Angry enough that the Lord directed his trusted prophet Elijah to get involved. The messengers the king sent were (by divine direction) intercepted by Elijah who asked of these messengers as in the above passage 'is there no God in Israel?....'. The Lord was most displeased with the King over his decision to place his trust in these foreign gods, which, were really nothing more than devils masquerading as gods. But being deceiving spirits, they know how to fool people into worshiping them as well as the idols they can deceive men into making.

The king was sick and wanted to be healed. But he went to the wrong source. Instead of seeking the Lord, he sought the gods of the enemies of Israel and its God.

Elijah was one prophet who was known by the king and he finally arrived at the Kings side, but only after the drama of calling down fire from heaven and consuming the soldiers who were sent to take him. Only when the Lord said it was safe, did Elijah go with the third set of men sent for him.

God protected his prophet from whatever scheme the king had in mind for him. Why? So that he could deliver his message.

Is there not a God in Israel to inquire this word? So since he had sent messengers to the gods of the Philistines, the Lord pronounced a hard word against the King. His illness was terminal and he would not leave his bed.

Israel had subdued Moab in Davidic times but as the kings of Israel were getting worse and worse, so God's protecting hand was slowly being removed. They were having problems now with Moab and we all know of the whole house of Ahab and their sins.

But here we must note that the sin of idolatry is a particularly serious crime. Rather than going to God, the king went to idols... and was punished for it. The Preachers Homelitical makes some very interesting points here noting that all idolatry is a sin to God. He will not let it 'pass'. This was one such incident where God dealt with this sin speedily. We should never forget that various forms of idolatry in the last days are one key reason so many judgements fall upon the sons of men.

And the rest of mankind,
who were not killed with these plagues,
repented not of the works of their hands,
that they should not worship demons,
and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass,
and of stone, and of wood; which can neither see,
nor hear, nor walk: and they repented not of their murders,
nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication,
nor of their thefts.
(Rev 9:20-21 ASV)

One of the big sins of the last days are the worship of idols. All manner of idols. An idol is anything we worship, adore, seek guidance and salvation from instead of God. It is something that we adore and or place our faith in, in the place of God.

Given this definition, idolatry is a key component of our times. I think one of the biggest idols of our times is what is often false called science. Now, I am not against legitimate science and discovery, so let it not be said I am some kind of Luddite. Anything but. Yet at the same time as I watch the reaction the world has to the coronavirus, I see mankind seeking answers from one what I see as being one of the most corrupt establishments and one with a considerable about of innocent blood on its hands. That being the so called scientific establishment. It's a trillion dollar industry in the US and arguably the largest segment of the economy. There is big money in 'pharmukia' (G5331) and in essence that is what we are dealing with. The gods of pharmukia, or medicine and sorcery. Sorcery probably being more applicable to the hallucinogenic drugs people take. Yet take note of something the scriptures say about it. It says that by pharmukia all nations are deceived (Rev 18:23). Before you put your trust in science to solve this whole crisis go and do a search on 'business with disease' you'll find something interesting.

While the world and America is now 'sick' and on lockdown what we have done is inquire of god of 'science-zebub' who history has shown often mean mankind no good. Yet foolishly, the King ran to those gods to inquire of them. I see the same things today.

From all we can determine by reading well researched documents online, is that there appears to be some pretty serious hanky-panky going on with this whole virus thing and how it was created, who and why. We don't know all the facts. But something about this stinks, and the malodorous scent is not only coming from Wuhan.

We don't have all the facts and are not likely to get them and officials who push too hard to find out may find themselves in some physical danger. My point is an important one in that those whom the US and the world is now seeking 'salvation' from with regards to this virus may have had a significant hand in creating it. They certainly stand to make a lot of money if they come up with a high priced treatment/vaccine. Also keep in mind this is an election year - and I don't think it is a total coincidence - that party, Presidential, Senate and Congressional campaigns will be looking for big money for their political war chests and guess who has that money? You guessed it - the gods of 'science-zebub' or Big Pharma who already spend copiously on the Hill and elsewhere, go to Opensecrets and see for yourself. I just cannot help but wonder if some of the men advising the President have been pushed on Trump by elements in his own party who are being told that either those folks stay and run the President's response or the campaign money dries up.

I want to make this clear as well. There have always been some dark elements in the medical establishment and any good researcher will find all manner of excellent, well researched and historically accurate information on many of these major drug companies and their pedigree.

Moreover I just don't think any cure coming out of these companies will be very effective or they could very well wind up having considerable side effects. Yes, it is much too early to tell, but the whole approval mechanisms we have in place have not always worked as well as they should for many rea$on$.

Also keep in mind that a vaccine program of global inoculations could provide certain Malthusians exactly what they have been praying to their 'science gods' for and have not necessarily been shy about telling us about either.

Salvation from such things will not come from the gods of drugs. Note the passage of scripture as to who has ultimate power over the plagues of the last days. It's God. He is looking for repentance. I don't see any out there in the US, do you?

We have seen many major tragedies in our world, the oceans are dying, just like our Bibles predicted, plagues are happening more and more and fires have been noted world wide that burns up many of the world's trees. Just remember that things do not get better, they get worse and one day all life in the sea is going to die (Rev 16:3).
Also keep in mind that some of these plagues are indeed man made (as with some in Africa). Did not our Lord pronounce a judgement o those who are destroying the earth (Rev 11:18)? The problem is the devils ministers in governments will always try and hide it or even lie about it. And yes, it certainly looks like some very evil men do spread diseases in order to sell the vaccine to governments, health organizations and others at considerable mark up. So mark what I say, there does appear to be some dark elements who pay the salaries of the 'high priests' of science whom the world has total faith in.

What if we had a 'special vaccine' that the people will ignorantly stick their arm out for that no one will tell them is genetically targeted to kill x% of a certain racial group through some degenerative disease within the next 10 years as they embark on the same plan Hitler had back in his day - removing those whom the Aryan elite do not think should be alive? It's a science known as eugenics. Has the Negro and or Jewish 'removal' genetic-viral code for a new vaccine been concocted? I don't know.

I want to say this as well. The disinformation we are hearing; the takedowns and censorship on many subjects, including vaccines. Some of this, one way or another being run out of the deep state. When you see an epidemic of censorship at certain big name sites and yes, medical censorship, be suspicious.... very, very suspicious. Some of these entities may very well be in bed with drug/vaccine makers and may hope to make a mint off the drugs that they can push onto us all at considerable markup and profit.

We must all be on the alert for as powerful forces, often malevolent move to get more and more control over us all.

Let us be wide awake, alert and never allow ourselves to expect science, politicians, civil action leaders, the courts or anyone to be our salvation. Only God can provide real salvation to us individually and to anyone who seeks it generally.

But like the sick king Ahaziah, they are seeking guidance from Baal-zebub and not the Lord of hosts. God may one day send our leaders that 'Elijah' to come and warn them of the folly of their misplaced faith and the consequences of it.

Again, I don't want to belittle real science and those who make real cures. This is not my intention at all. Rather, it is to take a closer look at who that guy is with that syringe and who is filling his pockets and how they are doing it. While you are at it, get a second, third and fourth opinion about what's really in that syringe before you inject it into all of us. Why?

Pause and consider this. This does not look like any kind of chain of trust I would put any faith in.

May all of you be blessed in Christ Jesus.

Amen!

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