Let Us Remove Hence…

Are we living in the last days? Most Christians would say, yes, absolutely. So, since most believe we’re nearing the end of time when signs and wonders are expected to abound, in what time period would you assume the following would take place? A vision of chariots and armed squadrons in the heavens; a sword of fire hanging over Rome, the temple door that took 20 men to move it, opening by itself; and a great noise comprised of many voices saying, “Let us remove hence.” 21st century or the 1st century? Did you know that all of these amazing wonders occurred in AD 66?  

I just finished listening to G.A. Henty’s For the Temple, a fictional story based upon the historical record of Israel beginning just before the war broke out between the Jews and the Romans in the AD 60s. After 12 hours assimilating this amazing history, it’s fascinating how perfectly this period fit the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation. 

After years of not understanding how it was possible for the first three verses of the Revelation, “things that MUST take place shorty…for the time is near” (Rev 1:1;3), to have in fact taken place shortly, this serves as a poignant reminder of God’s timely fulfillment. Most Christians are either unaware of these things or have chosen to ignore them as though they never happened. 
I captured an audio snippet, added a few images and created the video below. The reason I chose this particular section was due to the last 30 seconds which are captivating.

The unusual signs and wonders reported by Josephus, Tacitus, Eusebius, Yosippon, and Hegesippus would be quite puzzling were it not for their connection to the events expected to close out the Olivet Discourse. Sadly, most Christians are not only unaware of these strange occurrences and their revelance to Bible prophecy, but they are also ignorant (as I was) of Palestine’s historical record between AD 60 and AD 70. 

If you’d like to know more about what these things might have meant, click on the following pdf’s. “Let us remove hence”: chart; quotes; notes; article; and more. And if you’d be interested in some lectures highlighting the historical context that surrounded the New Testament writings, I highly recommend the Ed Stevens’ podcasts. 
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Signs and Wonders! Normative for Today?

In a former blog post, “Has the Gospel Been Preached to All the World?”, a dear brother in Christ sent me the following comment/rebuke. Although I haven’t had enough time to fully develop my thoughts in a way I’m totally comfortable with, I thought his comments were worth a more timely response. This is what he wrote:
Wow, I have been having so much fun studying this material! I have believed much this way for a long time. But I have to tell you I am now very concerned because of your statements about healing. How can someone understand the Word so much and yet miss this? I get infuriated when I have leaders make statements about no healings, limbs growing out, blind eyes open, deaf ears healed. 
Have you been to one of the trips I have been on to Guatemala in the last 3 years where I have seen many blind eyes opened, deaf hear, bones set that were broken, kids speak that have never spoken and on and on. Above that, we have a stream of people who are healed on a regular basis just in our church.
Just because you have seen nothing in the area of healings, doesn’t mean that they aren’t happening all over the world today. By the way, I know of several people in Mexico that a friend has seen raised from the dead. You also don’t believe in prophetic ministry etc. That list makes me feel less confident in everything else you teach.
Sorry, but I have videos of my trips I have been on where people are being healed by the Lord on the video. Our last trip to Guatemala in November of 2013 there were 100’s of healings that we witnessed. We also have seen God heal (many times after family has been called in or given a heads up that their love one has days to live) cancers of all types. We have doctors say more times than we can remember, it’s a miracle, we don’t understand this etc.
Though I appreciated his comments, from my perspective, they turned a bit harsh. I think his statement, That list makes me feel less confident in everything else you teach lacks both balance and perspective. I’ve learned to NEVER throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. Even in disagreement, we press on toward the upward call, constantly attempting to renew our minds through the Word.  And although I admittedly have plenty of blind spots, am I alone? Obtuse though I may occasionally be, I am constantly attempting to do my very best to be objective, not allowing personal experience to unduly override Biblical exegesis. In our fervor to “believe all things”, is it possible to be lead astray into the weeds of the subjective?    
Let me say at the outset that I think this kind gentleman has made some invalid assumptions i.e. that I believe God CANNOT heal.  Any correction with chapter and verse is welcome, but I do not believe I’ve ever written, said or even implied, that God was/is unable to do anything. If someone is healed, to ascribe that wonderful gift of God’s grace to anyone or anything other than God, would be an utter travesty.  And the Bible specifically warns against such an attempt. 
My position at this moment regarding the sign gifts of the Spirit (and my views are always subject to change due to the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment), is that I do not believe these gifts as manifested in the first century, are of the same nature today. When’s the last time someone was healed by a garment’s shadow? When have you seen a 4-day old dead man walk out of his tomb?  To argue that today’s recipients of God’s healing mercy, prove that the charismata as manifested throughout the transition period (AD 30-70), is normative for today, is problematic at best.
We live in a nation of 350,000,000. There are Christian churches on every corner, many of which would characterize themselves as “charismatic”. Does anyone find as I do, it at least a little bit curious that almost all of the miraculous signs and wonders occur abroad? We have literally thousands of weekly healing services throughout this fruited plain, and yet we are hard-pressed to document a single limb grown out, a blind man receiving sight or a deaf person hearing. Why?  Why, if this ministry of the Holy Spirit is still in operation today as it was in Jesus’ day, do we not have thousands if not millions of clearly documented cases of miraculous healing? 
If the “sign gifts” manifested today are of the same magnitude, scope, and intensity as those regularly manifested by Peter or Paul, there would be no room for debate. The mere fact that we have disagreements regarding all things miraculous, proves something is amiss. If it was indeed so obvious that “many blind eyes opened, deaf hear, bones set that were broken, kids speak that have never spoken,” then there would be no question. So why are there so many skeptics?  Are all the doubters simply faith-challenged?  Are those who don’t believe the gifts are normative for today, as blind as this brother thinks we are? 
At this juncture, let me share some personal insights, lest anyone think I am completely ignorant of that which has been spoken of by this brother. I may not have been to Guatemala but I have been in and around the world of the charismata for quite a few years. Many years ago in our small Presbyterian church, in the blink of an eye, we went from “frozen chosen” Calvinists to card-carrying ambassadors of the Holy Spirit’s new wave of power. After being convinced by Terry Fullum, an Episcopal rector from Connecticut who wrote “Miracle at Darien”, of the Holy’s Spirit’s readiness to heal and prophesy through us on command, I began to eat and drink all things charismatic.
Multiple times I read John Wimber’s books, “Power Healing” and “Power Evangelism”. After scouring the pages, I regularly attempted to “do the stuff”, which was John’s endearing term for blessing others with the sign gifts. The word of wisdom, word of knowledge, prophecy, tongues, and healing were all in razor-sharp focus. We (the pastor and a fellow elder) attended and participated in Vineyards “Signs and Wonders Seminars”, after which we became integrally involved in Wimber’s ministry.  In the midst of our fervor I was taken aback when John died of a massive heart attack. At the time it seemed like the irony of all ironies. 
We were empowered, or so we fully believed, to do even greater works than the Apostles. Nothing would stop this new move of the Holy Spirit as we could now do all things through Christ! Millions upon millions were going to be healed and converted as this “Last days” movement swept across the globe.
We began regular healing services modeled after Fullam and Wimber. At a Presbyterian church, no less! Talk about making us black sheep among our cessationist friends within the PCA.  And during our regular Bible studies, in addition to the consistent practice of laying on hands for physical healing, we added the component of “inner healing”, which was a concept first brought to our attention by Francis and Judith McNutt. Healing of the memories, as they called it, was a supernatural counseling process facilitated by the pray-ers but accomplished by the Holy Spirit, where God would reach back into our most painful memories, even ones only embedded in the subconscious, and He would remove the crippling emotions associated with those paralyzing memories. 
I remember quite vividly attending a C. Peter Wagner healing conference in Orlando, for the express purpose of learning how to more effectively channel this new wave of the Holy Spirit’s power. It was an experience I will never forget. 
Over the ensuing weeks and months, if we prayed for one we prayed for thousands with the full faith that God was going to do miraculous works through our obedience. I had no doubt that we would eventually make our way to the local hospitals and clean them out!  Just as in Jesus’ day, the infirmed would be healed by the throngs. This new chapter in our lives was going to be nothing short of amazing! I had been blind to the Holy Spirit’s potential for far too many years.
But something happened on my way to the revival. Not only did a paltry few prayed-for souls show any signs of improvement, none with serious, obvious ailments (as were mentioned by the responder above) ever became well. Sure, occasionally people with sinus headaches and lower back pain said they received relief, but nothing like the limbless growing new limbs, paraplegics discarding their wheelchairs, or stage 4 cancer victims immediately and permanently being made well. Sure, there were times when people thought they were healed, but invariably the symptoms would reappear…hopes were dashed and faith was challenged.  
And I am saddened to report that this “movement” (for lack of a better term) had a seriously deleterious effect on my spiritual life. Something had to be wrong with me and/or my connection to God. Why wasn’t God moving as we had been told? Did God not love me or us?  Was He really there?  My expectations that had been at a fever pitch, were summarily throttled. Perhaps God was distant and not nearly as involved in the affairs of His followers as I’d presumed. Doubts abounded. 
These mountains of frustrations, coupled with the underpinnings of leftbehindology (which teaches basically that God wasn’t faithful to His first-century followers) and some very unfortunate personal events (my wife’s 6 miscarriages for starters), sent me to the front of the agnostic line. I went from elder/teacher, confident Christian (prior to engaging in this “move of the Spirit”) to a pathetic excuse of a skeptic. So deep and so long did I plunge spiritually, that I cringe at the mere contemplation. My relationship with Jesus went from vibrant and vital to pitiful and pathetic. 
And like I said, though I don’t attribute my spiritual decline to any one issue (things are always more complicated than that), I can unequivocally report that failed expectations of the charismata played a significant part in my plunge into skepticism.

As my heart grew dimmer and dimmer, I remember attending Bible studies where for years I didn’t contribute a word, much less pray. But because I didn’t want my spiritual struggles to weigh too heavily upon my impressionable teen children, I went through the motions participating in the usual church activities.

So, although my faith had grown weak, because I maintained an outward facade of spiritual health, other’s never fully grasped my seriously decrepit estate. Some of my closest friends knew that something was amiss, but they did not detect the extent of my skepticism. Back in 2003, a few months after burying my father, I wrote a paper, “Through the Eyes of a Skeptic” and had anyone read it they may have been convinced that I had completely departed from the faith. 
Bringing things forward slightly, less than a decade ago, my life took a 180. Far from being where I wanted to be (in terms of my walk with the Lord), I finally began trusting God in a way that I hadn’t previously, even before my time attempting to “do the stuff”.  It took one colossal eschatological paradigm shift to pluck me from the abyss of spiritual ambivalence into a renewed life of faith. Once I realized that God was indeed faithful to His first-century followers, I knew that there was hope for me. And as my heart softened, I spent exponentially more time in the Word…which of course had a very positive rippling effect. 
Some use eschatological debate like a political football. I, however, view eschatology pragmatically. To me, fulfilled eschatology represented God’s undying faithfulness as He vindicated the souls under the altar who were constantly asking, “How long, Oh Lord?” Most today still believe those crying dead believers in Revelation 6 are still waiting. And that grieves me no end. 
In fulfillment, I finally had the Biblical certainly to know why we were not able to perform the same kinds of signs and wonders as Peter, Paul, and Jesus.  Just as there were amazingly miraculous events that took place during the Exodus, there were similar kinds of manifestations during the Exodus between the cross and the parousia.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (NASB) Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I believe the perfect came in the form of the parousia of Christ (an extended visit), which lasted from 66-70 AD. Most see the parousia as a one-time moment in history. I see it as a prolonged presence or visitation. In an Ed Steven’s podcast, he excerpted an Arthur Melanson radio program where he shared his understanding of Hebrews 11:30-40. (well worth the listen)  As Ed rounded out the Melanson clip, he gave great Biblical support for the ceasing of prophecy, tongues, and knowledge after the perfect came. The Canon was completed before the fall of the temple in AD 70, and therefore I do not believe in continuing revelation, characterized as an ongoing gift of prophecy. 
I do, however, believe that God still speaks to His children.  And I further believe that there are special times when He may reveal certain future events that will help us with our daily walk. Does God still work through dreams?  I have no doubt. But to expect this to be the ordinary course seems less than prudent and inconsistent with Scriptural expectations. 

Quite a number of years ago, my wife received a warning from a woman of stature, that there would soon (within the next year) be a great famine in our land. So certain was she of her dream’s fulfillment, that her email was almost apoplectically startling. That food shortage never came. Could it still come?  Perhaps. Anything is possible. I can’t judge the woman’s heart nor can I know how the Holy Spirit is working in her life. However, when people like this dear woman are steeped in the apocalyptic expectations of our day, there should be no wonder why they dream such things! When people are told that the worse things get the closer Jesus is to coming back, they will most definitely develop a glass-half-empty outlook.

The point is that these kinds of supernatural expressions need to be metered by Scripture. That said, I highly I recommend the following lectures from R.C. Sproul, “Are Miracles for Today?” and “The Gifts of the Spirit”.  Whatever we experience needs to be put in a Biblical context. If we neglect to do that, I think we open ourselves up to serious error and in my case a disintegrating faith. 

I’ve run out of time to do all that I intended, but suffice it to say, if a healing is documented and proven authentic, it must be attributed to God’s mercy and grace. God can obviously use any means possible to bring about His will and as long as all power and glory are attributed to God, and those praying believers aren’t exalted in any manner, I’ll always give God the credit.  
We agree that God CAN do anything at any time. So perhaps both the cessationists and the charismatics should be diligent to avoid putting God in their own box. Those who insist that God is moving today as He was in the first-century, may be in danger of doing the very thing I have been accused of. Just because we witness or hear about something attributed as miraculous, does not mean that these things are normative for today. And that’s the key takeaway. 
It puzzles me that it apparently doesn’t bother the sign gift proponents even a little bit that the most amazing testimonies of the miraculous i.e. raising the dead, are predominantly witnessed in foreign countries such as Guatemala and Mexico. I have heard these kinds of claims for years. I remember hearing Benny Hinn tell of a dead man being raised to life right on the speaking platform. But, I’ve neither the time nor the inclination to deal with brother Hinn’s issues. I’ll save that for another time.

If in fact, God is doing wondrous things in other parts of the world one must wonder if there an anti-spiritual force-field over the U.S.? Christian illusionist Andre Kole presents some serious challenges to the authenticity of the charismatic movement. For the serious Bible student, I would consider the following DVD: The Signs And Wonders Movement: Exposed

In closing let me say unequivocally that I am not skeptical that God CAN do the miraculous. The question is, is He working in the same manner today, as He did through the Apostles? So, is the move of the Holy Spirit as manifested through tongues, prophecy, and healing, normative for today?  I have serious doubts that He is, but that doesn’t mean that I doubt the Lord capabilities for even a microsecond. Faith believing that God can heal is not the same faith that believes He must heal upon our command. Personally, I think it’s far more important to develop faith in God’s sovereignty than to have faith in a specific outcome. 
Posted in Charistmatic, Healing, Signs and Wonders | Leave a comment

The End of the Beginning!

In a recent church newsletter, the congregants were informed of a new series entitled, “The end: Understanding the Book of Revelation”.  In this upcoming set of sermons, the is “going to help make sense of this often confusing book of the Bible.” As one considers the first installment, “?The beginning of the end”, a few questions immediately flooded my slightly warped (some say very warped 🙂 gray matter.  

To what
 end is the pastor referring? The beginning of what end?  Though many would automatically presume it to be about the last days of planet earth and the end of human history, did you know that nowhere in John’s vision is such an end stipulated. 

Matter of fact, since most presume the book of Revelation to be a more comprehensive treatment of Olivet Discourse found in the synotpics (Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 13), it may come as a surprise to some (it shocked the heck out of me!) that the end of the world (kosmos) is not only never mentioned in the Gospels, but is not found in the entire Bible. Jesus frequently referred to the “end of the age” (Matt 13:49; Matt 24:3; Matt 28:20) but never the end of the world. And though that may seem like hairsplitting, it is anything but. Since the KJV (King James Version) wrongly translated “aion” as world, most Christians throughout the past hundreds of years, have mistakenly thought that the end of the kosmos was plainly in Jesus’ cross-hairs.  So, though the Revelation may in fact be about the “beginning of the end”, it’s extremely important to determine what end is actually in view. 

Based merely upon the sermon title, “The beginning of the end”, quite a few additional questions immediately spring to mind: 

  • Isn’t this an awfully long ending if ?”The beginning of the end?” began in the first century? (Acts 2:16-17; Heb 1:1-2) Both Peter and the author of Hebrews (I believe to be Paul) made it clear that the “Last Days” began in the 1st century. 
  • Doesn’t 2,000 years seem like an ?very long “last days”? 
  • Weren’t the last days, which were 
    first spoken of in Genesis 49, supposed to be at the tail end of the Old Covenant age which began at Sinai?,? 1,600 years before the last days began? If you’re like me, you might have to read that again to get the full impact.
  • If the first verse of John’s Revelation speaks of “things which MUST take place SHORTLY”, what in the world does “shortly” really mean if we’re still looking for these events to take place? 
Confused?  You should be. 🙂  And that’s probably why most people stay clear of this highly sign-ified book. 
So let’s get this straight. The ?Mosaic age ?in which ?the last days were supposed to modify, ?were? to last longer (2,000 years) than the entire Mosaic period (1,600? years)? Does that make any sense? That’d be like Babies R Us (which is selling off it’s inventory as we speak) having a “last days” liquidation sale,?last longer than the entire time the store had existed. LoL
Since the apple rarely falls far from the tree, it’s my educated guess that this pastor will present a somewhat typical version of premillennialism. Dallas Theological Seminary, the place where he received his degree, has been the hotbed for premillennial dispensational eschatology, which  was founded at approx the same time (1830s) as were the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Millerite… all of which share a common eschatological framework. Not the best of bedfellows. That alone should make one a bit nervous.
In this week’s sermon notes the first verse quoted, “…things which must take place shortly”, is listed under the subtitle: “The Revelation is an autobiography.” Though this verse and the other two verses quoted on page 1 (of the sermon notes) all contain imminent time references (Rev 1:3 “for the time is near; Rev 22:7 And behold, I am coming soon?…?“), I find it curiously telling that the pastor followed with the main bullet point exhortation, Why is a predictive approach to Revelation not the best? • The Bible warns against it… while quoting “but concerning the day and hour no one knows” 

Yes, the Bible clearly warns against “private interpretations”, but since John is told repeatedly in the first and last chapters in the Revelation of the “things that MUST take place shortly”, I’m not certain why it would be wrong to determine if these things did in fact take place shortly. Matter of fact, I think it’s imperative that we do that. 

When pastor warns against a predictive approach, is this not an indictment against the entire premillennial schema that he subscribes to? Just wander through your local Christian bookstore (after purchasing one of my wife’s wonderful books! 🙂 and notice how the plethora of apocalyptically-based novels and commentaries are warning us of our impending end. This is the drumbeat of this entire eschatological system that has dominated the evangelical community since the 60s.  
So when one references tsunami’s, earthquakes (one yesterday in Cuba), Middle East strife, school shootings and moral disintegration, as proof that we are nearing the end, aren’t we in a sense violating this edict against this predictive approach?  Though few go so far as the date setting of Harold Camping or Edgar Whisenant (88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988), the winds of impending doom are constantly swirling throughout the church. I sat in a north Florida Sunday School some time ago and as the class neared its end, the leader said something like, “Men, things may be bad now, but they will only get worse. Get ready!”  
As I have heard pastors and others allude to the fact that things are only going to get worse, I have to wonder what impact this is having on our resolve to win the world for Christ? Matter of fact, in a rather sordid sort of way, some go so far to revel in the disintegration of our culture as proof that Jesus is closer to returning. (Kirk Cameron addressed that very issue in Monumental – short clip below.) 

Although I would wholeheartedly concur that today’s prophetic speculators have brought undue scorn upon the Bible’s credibility, I don’t think this is what Jesus was warning His disciples about. Jesus had just spent His entire Olivet monologue with the express purpose of telling them what was about to take place and when it would happen. Was Jesus truly dodging the disciple’s question, “…when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Not at all. Jesus answered that question with great certainty in verse 34 “This generation will not pass away until ALL THESE THINGS be fulfilled”. So why when we read verse 36, do we assume that Jesus had no clue when He would return? Not knowing the day and the hour is one thing. Not knowing the millennia is quite another!
Matthew 24:36 (ESV) “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 
Was Jesus really telling his disciples that neither He nor anyone would ever have a remote clue when He was going to return? Is that really what this verse was supposed to convey? Jesus said He didn’t know the specific day or the specific hour, but He also emphatically stated that “all these things would come upon this generation” (Matt 23:36) and “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matt 24:34)??. 

C.S. Lewis thought verse 34 was so misleading that it was really embarrassing (World’s Last Night). So much so that it called it the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Most, instead of being embarrassed by it, do everything in their power to ignore it or alter it’s plain meaning. C.I. Scofield tried to do a little slight of hand, writing that “generation” (genea) actually meant “race” (genos). However, since that effort has been so summarily discredited, people choose other avenues like, “It’s the generation that sees the signs”.  It never ceases to amaze me, the excuses people try to come up with to make the Bible fit into their little box. The disciples asked one question, not three, and Jesus gave one definitive answer. At that point we have a choice. We can either attempt to change what Jesus actually said, or we can believe Him. 

So would you characterize Jesus’ statement “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have come to pass”, as having no idea? Sure, 40 years (a Biblical generation) is a heck of a long time, but it is still a clearly delineated time frame (from the cross in AD 30 to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70).  Jesus had already stated that He would return before his disciples finished going through the cities of Israel (Matt 10:23), while some in his larger flock were still alive (Matt 16:27-28), so adding “this generation” to the mix was really just a reaffirmation of what He had already told them.  
By the time we arrive at Matthew 24:34, ?Jesus had finished a rather lengthy explanation, detailing the events that would precede His return (at the end of the age) culminating in the temple’s utter obliteration (Matt 24:2-3).  
So to say that Jesus had no clue when He would return is, well, ludicrous. That may sound harsh, but Jesus made it abundantly clear that His disciples were to stay vigilant and should prepare for His return. That was the intent of the parables that followed Matthew 24. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus even gave the birth pains analogy, which made evident that although a mother wouldn’t know the exact day or the hour of her child’s birth, she would know that in approx 9 months she’s have a baby… so, once the birth pains arrive, she’d know that her baby’s birth was imminent. The point is that in both instances (Jesus’ coming and childbirth) there is a fixed, known time period, which was to end shortly after the birth pains began. 
That’s why Jesus prefaced His emphatic statement concerning “this generation” with the following:
Matthew 24:32-33 (NASB) “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door

?Does this sound as if the disciples were not to know the season of His return? 22 times in the first 44 verses in this Matthew’s 24th chapter, Jesus referred to “you” as He warned them (His beloved disciples) of the impending events that would lead to the end of the age and the razing of the temple. So what hermeneutical (science of interpretation) principle would license us to assume that the “you” in “when you see these things” is not specifically referencing the disciples, but instead is some sort of generic “you” representing those of us living in the 21st century? 

When I was first confronted with the interpretive principle, “reader relevance”, I was shocked to notice the number of times Jesus referred specifically to His disciples. From start to finish there is a contiguous reference to Jesus’ disciples. So to make this passage about us seems arrogant and myopic. 

  • Do YOU see all these things? (verse 2)
  • Truly I tell YOU (verse 2)
  • Watch out that no one deceives YOU (4)
  • YOU will hear of wars and rumors of wars (6)
  • but see to it that YOU are not alarmed (6)?
  • Then YOU will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death (9)
  • YOU will be hated by all nations because of me (9)
  • “So when YOU see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation (15)
  • Pray that YOUR flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath (20)
  •  At that time if anyone says to YOU, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. (23)
  • See, I have told YOU ahead of time. (25?)
  • So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. (26)
  • As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, YOU know that summer is near. (32)
  • Even so, when YOU see all these things (33)
  • YOU know that it is near, right at the door (33)
  • Truly I tell YOU, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened (34)
  • Therefore keep watch, because YOU do not know on what day your Lord will come (42)
  • So YOU also must be ready (44)
  • because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (44)
Watch Matthew 23-24 (below) to get the full impact of “audience relevance”. Skip to the 9:22 mark of Matthew 24.
Is there any question to whom Jesus was speaking and is there the slightest doubt that Jesus was preparing His disciples so they would remain vigilant? “YOU must also be ready,” Jesus exhorted. Why would Jesus exhort them to “be ready” if none of this pertained to them, but rather was targeting a distant generation 2,000 years future? I realize that, in their/our arrogance, every generation thinks they are the most important in all of history, but this is not only not the case, but it’s also bad logic. 
Now, notice how Jesus’ brother James used the same language as Jesus did 30 years earlier. 
James 5:8-9 (NKJV) You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at handDo not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
Jesus had said, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door(Matt 24:32-33)
Is this just coincidental language?  James stated that Jesus’ return was not only near, it was ?”right at the door”!!!  And the closer they came to the end of the age, the more we see this language of imminence intensify. The passages below were written in the early AD 60s just a few short years from the destruction of Jerusalem. 
In Hebrews 10:37, 1 John 2:18 and 1 Peter 4:7 we read, “for in a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay“; “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour; and The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.”
?Is there any doubt that these apostles were keeping track of the signs? Surely they neither knew the day nor the hour, but, given the anticipatory language above, it’s apparent that they knew the “last days” were coming to a close. John didn’t say he thought it might be the last hour, he said that he knew it was the last hour. 
According to the Apostle Paul, only those who were not paying attention to the unfolding events laid out in the Olivet were to be consumed by the wrath of God as He poured out His vengeance upon the Christ-killing generation. The thief would ONLY come as a thief in the night to those who were not vigilant. To the Christians who did not live in darkness, they would not be overtaken by the thief. They were sons of the day! 
1 Thessalonians 5:2-6 (NASB) For YOU yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But YOU, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake YOU like a thief; for YOU are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let US not sleep as others do, but let US be alert and sober. “But YOU are not in darkness that the day would overtake YOU as a thief, for YOU are all sons of light and sons of the day.” 
So, when anyone tries to argue that Christ’s return in judgment against that wicked and perverse generation, was shrouded in so much mystery that no one should have a clue when He would return, you will know that they are in error because the Bible proves differently. If one ignores the timing, because they don’t understand the nature of His coming, confusion will abound. And once we ignore the context of the timing, the Bible becomes an interpretive Mr. Potato Head. ?It can be manipulated to fit our paradigm. 
The first century Jews missed Jesus’ first coming. Why? Because they expected a warrior prince to deliver them from their political bondage while vanquishing their oppressors, not a suffering servant who came to set them free from sin and death. So they crucified Him.
Is it possible that 21st Christians have made the very same interpretive mistake by misunderstanding the nature of Christ’s return? Jesus had already warned his followers not to be misled. “So if anyone tells YOU, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.” But why? How could they be certain that at some point Jesus would not be found among them again?  For the same reason Peter attempted to resist Jesus’ arresting party.
John 18:36 (NASB) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” 
The Kingdom, Jesus told them, is not of this world. It’s spiritual in nature. The Kingdom was not coming with “signs to be observed”. 
Luke 17:20-21 (NASB) 20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!‘ or, ‘There it is!‘ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Just a few chapters later, Luke, writing to a predominantly Gentile audience, wrote:
Luke 21:20-22 (NASB) 20 “But when YOU see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.    
Is there any wonder why so many Christians have missed this when we’re so rooted in earthly/physical/temporal expectations?  If we miss the timing of His visitation (and I don’t know how much clearer Jesus and the the NT authors could have been), how will we understand the nature of that coming? Is there perhaps a reason why, after 2,000 years, Jesus has still not arrived in the manner expected, given the fact that, in the second to the last verse of the Bible, He said Behold, I am coming quickly? (Rev 22:20)  
I realize this brings discomfort to some (as it did me), but if we don’t begin to take God seriously when He said He was going to do something, aren’t we unwittingly entering into a state of disbelief simply because we want to hold on to what we’ve been told?
Let me add one more thought regarding this supposed second coming “mystery” and the exhortation to avoid prophetic speculation. It should be noted that Jesus said (while still in human form before His ascension) that His parousia (Greek word usually translated “coming”) would be in “this generation”. At that time, because of His human restrictions, only the Father knew the day and the hour of his return.  

However, would you not agree that once Jesus ascended to sit at the right hand of the Father (AD 30), that at that very moment He knew the day and the hour of His imminent visitation? Jesus’ glory was clearly restored to that His prior status before the foundation of the world. So to argue that, even after His ascension, He would never know the day or the hour of His return, is to assault the deity of Christ and the oneness of the trinity.

John 17:5 (NKJV) And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Jesus had already been glorified and was no longer encumbered by human constraints. So, when the Revelation was written (approx AD 62-64), I’m not certain how we can argue that Jesus was still unaware. Therefore, when we read the first 3 verses of the Revelation, what should our conclusion be? The King is telling us WHEN He will return. This is not a guess. “MUST soon take place” gives us no wiggle room. When the Creator of the universe says something must happen, do we have the nerve to question like the serpent did i.e. Hath God said?… 

Revelation 1:1-3 (NASB) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
The word Revelation is the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means the uncovering. Not the concealing! Many today seem to believe that the Revelation was never meant to be understood by actual recipients, but only properly understood by us. Wouldn’t then, the vision has been named the parakalýpt?, which means concealed? 
Luke 9:45 (NASB) But they did not understand this statement, and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this statement. 
Jesus, through the angel, told John of the impending events that were about to follow. So why is the sci-fi language about beasts, dragons and strange creatures with horns seemingly shrouded in mystery and intrigue?? To protect the recipients against their adversaries, both Roman and Jewish. This book was not a mystery to those steeped in the Old Testament. It only appears to us like a document concealed in secrecy because we have so little grasp of the Old Testament. 
Twice in the first 3 verses, and 5 times in our Bible’s last chapter, Jesus told them that His return was imminent. Personally, though I realize it’s not popular, I prefer to believe Jesus than the self-appointed experts who will not take God at His word. 
So is it true that no one was or is to have a clue when Jesus was to return? Clearly the Disciples didn’t know the day or the hour, but is it possible for us to know the exact time of His visitation? 
American Vision Founder, Gary DeMar, in the forward to Francis Gumerlock’s “The Day and the Hour: Christianity’s Perennial Fascination with Predicting the End of the World”, wrote:

“Trying to make the Bible say something that it does not is the point of Frank Gumerlock’s The Day and the Hour. Its historical documentation is overwhelming. We read how decade after decade of prophecy writers, over two millennia, assured their followers that their generation was the last generation. How could so many well-intentioned and seemingly well-informed Christians be so wrong on such an important topic? Is the Bible that unclear? Not at all. The Bible is not at fault. The fault lies with those who refuse to take it’s The result is that God ends up being a liar.

The Day and the Hour forces us to reevaluate the constant claim that today’s signs are certain indicators that Jesus is coming soon, that He is returning in our generation. Some might say, “Well, today is different. Conditions of the world are much worse than they were 500 years ago. There are more earthquakes, famines and wars. As you read The Day and the Hour, count how many times this same argument is used to support the claim that the end was near for Christians in long-past generations. 

The Day and the Hour is an ever-present reminder that if the history of date setting teaches us anything, it teaches that everyone who has ever made a prophetic claim has been wrong. In the final analysis, the Bible is the true standard, not the prophetic prognostications of prophetic speculators.”

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Peacemakers and the Land Promises…

“Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS for they shall become sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

This poignant exhortation, embedded in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, is often ignored in the larger context. People recognize their responsibility to seek peace with their “neighbor“, but when it comes to nations, Jesus’ mandate is summarily ignored. Why?  Why is there such a sense of detachment in terms of international foreign policy? Aren’t nations an extension of individuals? Why shouldn’t the United States be held to the same peacemaking standards?  Ron Paul was severely ridiculed for his anti-interventionist views, yet, in my opinion, he was merely attempting to apply Jesus’ peacemaking directive to nations.

As a perfect case in point, let me share a clip from a former presidential candidate and founder of CBN, Pat Robertson.

As you just heard, Robertson made it abundantly clear that any peace initiative involving land concessions (from Israel) to the Palestinians, will result in terrible suffering for people in the United States. He went on to sternly warn, “I think this is headed for disaster for the United States. God says, ‘They divided my land,’ there is something about dividing God’s land, He said this is ‘My land, I gave it to Abraham and his descendants and I don’t want it taken away from them and Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel.’

Let me attempt to crystallize and unpack what I believe is Robertson’s serious theological error. He, along with the majority of evangelicals in our pulpits and pews today,  believes that Israel is above all. National Israel, it is argued, has been and always will be the apple of God’s eye. And if you doubt that for even a moment, consider the 1967 Israeli unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty. You will be shocked at the way this murderous act was swept under the carpet.

Christian leaders, in consort with their Jewish Zionist counterparts (contrary to popular understanding, plenty of Jews oppose Zionism), have brought great pressure upon the U.S. Government to apply standards not enjoyed by any other nation. And Robertson’s ominous rhetoric couldn’t make that clearer. We are admonished to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (which is good), but yet at the exclusion of their neighbors. Why not pray for the peace of Tehran, Bagdad, and Damascus as well?  Because, John Hagee forcefully and defiantly says, they are NOT God’s people!  Matter of fact, they are deemed THE enemies of God in the “last days”. They were born on the wrong side of the genetic tracks and don’t think for a moment they aren’t fully cognizant of it.

Is Robertson correct?  Are the countries that encourage Israel’s land-swapping for peace, destined for God’s retributive judgment?  Is peacemaking conditional?  Is the modern-day nation of Israel exempted from Jesus’ exhortation?

I have neither the time nor the inclination to deal with all the Biblical ramifications regarding this very common theological position, but suffice it to say, I believe it is both dangerous and errant. Having said that, before you stamp 666 on my forehead and throw me under the bus, please take a moment to understand my position. By even questioning U.S. foreign policy toward Israel or Israel’s foreign policy regarding its neighbors, almost always elicits the race card.  Let me make clear, I am NOT anti-Semitic in any way whatsoever. I have many Jewish friends, a former classmate Israeli citizen, and so I want only the best for them. And that’s the main thrust of this article. What I believe Christians have unwittingly bought into, is the view that places one race above all others. I realize they believe they have good Biblical standing to do that, but as I will attempt to show, that view is built on rather unstable soil. So, I find it ironic that, at its very core, Christian Zionism is enmeshed in bigotry of the worst kind. It exalts an entire race of people solely on the basis of race.

Many if not most Christians believe it is our duty to support Israel in everything they do. After all, they argue, God gave them the “promised land” FOREVER, right?  And there is no shortage of Old Testament verses that appear to make that case.

for all the land which you see, I will give it to you and to your descendants forever. Genesis 13:15 Others are Exodus 32:13, Joshua 14:19, 1 Chronicles 28:8, 2 Chronicles 20:7, Ezra 9:9.

Anyone even remotely familiar with the Middle East situation knows that peace in that region is a virtual impossibility without Israeli land concessions.  Therefore, if we take Robertson’s stance and faithfully apply the above passages, we are forever dooming the potential for Middle East peace.  The Dome of the Rock, Islam’s 3rd most holy site, has stood squarely in the heart of Jerusalem since 691 BC., and according to many, it will be destroyed with God’s blessing. Listen, I am no fan of Islam and believe it to be a very dangerous religion, but to insist that their holy site MUST be razed, proves my point.

In order to properly understand the above verses that seem to suggest Israel’s divine right to the holy land, I think it’s imperative to look at the Hebrew word Olam, which is most often translated, “forever”. Following is an excerpt from a debate regarding this very subject. Don K. Preston was challenging Dr. Ralph Olson’s contention which is the same as Robertson’s.

At this point you may be thinking as I initially did, how could anyone in their right mind contend that “forever” could mean anything other than “throughout eternity.”  Forever seems rather straightforward, right? In English it is, but let’s look at its Hebrew usage in context.

[Don K. Preston] “Mr. Olson reveals his ignorance of the Hebrew word “Olam”, which is translated as “forever”, when he demands that it must mean without end. However, I have already shown the following:

God would not abandon Israel, “UNTIL I have performed all I have promised” (Genesis 28:15f).

I have shown that God did say that He would, in Israel’s last days, DESTROY THEM (Isaiah 65:1f; Daniel 9:1f; Daniel 12:1f, Malachi 4:1f, etc.). Mr. Olson simply denies these texts.

Mr. Olson claims that because God said He chose Israel “forever” that this proves his view of Revelation. No, it doesn’t. Take a look at a few texts.

Exodus 29:9; 40:15– The Levitical priesthood was to be an eternal (olam) priesthood. Yet, in Christ, that priesthood has been changed– removed (Hebrews 7:11-12).

In the Mosaic Covenant, the offering of incense (Exodus 30:6f), the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:1f), the animal sacrifices (Leviticus 10:1f), the Sabbath (Exodus 31:1f), and virtually every aspect of the Mosaic Cultus was said to be everlasting.

But, the reader will remember that Mr. Olson has already told us that the Mosaic Covenant was temporary. MR. OLSON, THE TEMPORARY MOSAIC COVENANT WAS AN “ETERNAL” (OLAM) COVENANT. But, this is not all. Take a look at this:

In Deuteronomy 28:46 part of the temporary Mosaic Covenant, YHVH threatened Israel with curses for disobedience to that covenant. He said of those curses —“And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants FOREVER.” Mr. Olson, according to YHVH, the curses of the Mosaic Covenant would be upon Israel FOREVER!

In Jeremiah 17:4, Judah’s sin caused YHVH to say: “O My mountain in the field, I will give as plunder, your wealth, all your treasures, and your high places of sin within all your borders. And you, even yourself, Shall let go of your heritage which I gave you; And I will cause you to serve your enemies in the land which you do not know; FOR YOU HAVE KINDLED A FIRE IN MY ANGER WHICH SHALL BURN FOREVER.” Mr. Olson, God said that Judah’s sixth century sin would cause her to LOSE HER HERITAGE, because God’s anger would burn against her FOREVER! This is the curse of Deuteronomy 28, the curse that would remain on Israel FOREVER, for violation of the Mosaic Covenant, that you agree was temporary!

In Jeremiah 18:16, YHVH said that He was going to bring judgment on Judah, “To make their land desolate and a perpetual (OLAM) hissing.” Mr. Olson, is the land of Israel under this PERPETUAL CURSE?

In Jeremiah 23:39f, the Lord said of Jerusalem, “I will surely forget you and cast you out of my presence along with the city I gave to your fathers, and I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.’”


Mr. Olson can’t argue that this curse would be CONDITIONAL, for his definition of forever MEANS WITHOUT END! So, if the curses came on Israel, then the curses will never end!

In Jeremiah 25:9 YHVH said he was going to bring Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, and make that city “perpetual desolations!” According to Mr. Olson’s definition of everlasting, this means that Jerusalem could never be restored, since God said she would be A PERPETUAL DESOLATION FROM THE TIME OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR!

So, according to God:

The Mosaic Covenant, with its cultus, would stand FOREVER.

The Mosaic Covenant CURSES would be on Israel FOREVER, she would be a PERPETUAL SHAME.

Jerusalem would– from the time of Nebuchadnezzar, be a PERPETUAL DESOLATION!

The fact is that olam does not necessarily mean without end, as Mr. Olson claims. YHVH said that in Israel’s last days, WHEN HE HAD FULFILLED ALL OF HIS PROMISES TO THAT NATION, He would– and He did– cast them off as a distinctive covenant people, because all of the “better things” that Israel foreshadowed, had arrived!

At this point, it should be clear that the Hebrew word “Olam” most often means, “for as long as God intends”.  Please take the time to watch the following two videos that will put Israel’s land promises in perspective.

Once we divest ourselves of the errant notions that Israel is above reproach and that the land of Palestine is eternally theirs to do as they please, we can begin to become peacemakers. First, obtaining inner peace through the shed blood of Christ, and then peace among nations, as we turn swords into plowshares. So, please let’s dispense with the notion that the little piece of real estate bordering Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, is attached to some sort of divine decree. Two thousand years ago in Jesus’ exchange with the Samaritan woman at the well, He made clear that the days had come when God would no longer be interested in physical locations.

John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when NEITHER IN THIS MOUNTAIN NOR IN JERUSALEM will you worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 

Therefore, let’s us become ministers of reconciliation as we point people to the true and abiding temple, Jesus Christ. What would happen if we actually began to promote the Gospel without ethnic strings attached? What might happen if Muslims surrounding Israel, and those living within its borders began to realize that Jesus died for their sins?  And that they too can become the apple of God’s eye?

2 Corinthians 5:18  Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation,

We must, in my view, cease this bigoted view that one people group is superior to another. In the New Covenant, there is no distinction among races. The Gospel must be shared without prejudice as all Christians become peacemakers.

Galatians 3:28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11  a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Romans 10:12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

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Peak 8 Exercise Breakthrough – Dr. Mercola

The science surrounding Peak 8 (Sprint 8)

This is amazing!  

As you most likely know, I consider fitness to be one of the major hallmarks of optimal health. I passionately believe that for optimal mental and physical health, you need to exercise regularly. (this article can be found HERE)
Fitness, at any age, plays an important role in:
  • Promoting your optimal mental and emotional health
  • Helping you reach and maintain your ideal body weight
  • Helping to slow your rate of aging
  • Helping you enjoy more quality sleep at night
  • Increasing your overall energy levels
  • Help increase or maintain your flexibility
Research in the area of fitness is exploding as baby boomers and other health conscious individuals seek new, previously unexplored ways to maintain their youth and vigor. The relation of exercise to optimal health supported by research is indeed staggering.

What You Must Know About Exercise…

Exercise Demands Time
Many types of exercise demand
lots of time and motivation
There’s one caveat when it comes to exercise… Not every type will give you benefits.
Certain forms of exercise will demand more of your precious time – time that you may not have in your busy schedule and unfortunately, some provide very little benefit in return.
Some types will require extreme motivation on your part because you’ll have to wait longer to see and feel recognizable benefits.
And I know from my own experience and that of others, when exercise is considered a “burden” and requires a lot of time and motivation, it’s more likely to not get done.
Your good intentions invested in your ‘new’ exercise regimen can disappear in a flash.
Imagine if you could discover an exercise routine that…
  • You found enjoyable
  • Took only about sixty minutes a week of your time (and you really only worked ‘hard’ for 12 of those minutes), and
  • Provided you with benefits that you could feel almost immediately?
I know most people would respond with a resounding “Yes!”
That’s exactly what I intend to show you. Because I am so passionate about the importance of exercise, I’m making it my personal mission to show you that exercise…
…Can be enjoyable
…Doesn’t need to take hours of your time
…Can provide you with benefits that can make a profound difference in your health.

What the Latest Science Tells Us…

Around the age of 40, most people begin to lose about 8 percent of their muscle mass every ten years. And most chalk it up to “getting old”.
However, researchers have discovered that losing muscle mass as you age doesn’t need to happen. In fact, a recent study of 70- and 80-year-old competitive athletes found that they had almost as much thigh muscle mass as athletes in their 40s.
Losing muscle mass is not a ‘normal’ part of aging. Rather, it’s a by-product of inactivity.
When you avoid exercising your muscles for any significant period, your muscle fibers begin to break down or “atrophy”.
But here’s the good news – researchers have discovered that it is possible to repair and rebuild inactive muscle. And you can start doing it at any age, even if you haven’t worked out for a long time. Naturally, the sooner you start exercising, the less damage you’ll have to repair.
Research is showing us that a balanced approach to fitness is most beneficial for building muscle and optimal health. Ideally you want to meet all of these goals in your routine:
  • Build strength and flexibility
  • Create balance and stability
  • Promote cardiovascular fitness
  • Burn fat
Aerobic activities such as cycling or using an elliptical machine, along with core exercises and stretching can provide your body with the balanced routine it needs for optimal fitness.
If you’ve been working out for a while now and haven’t seen the results you desire, something may be missing.
And that “something” may be what traditional exercise can’t deliver. However, there’s a revolutionary “new” trend in fitness that can…

The Hottest New Trend in Fitness Today…

Many personal trainers claim it’s simply “the fastest way to get clients fit”.
This hot trend in fitness is indeed making news – and being endorsed by famous celebrities and popular magazines. Some are even touting it as a “way to lose weight in a hurry”.
And I’ve been doing it and promoting it for years…
It’s not cardio. Nor is it jogging or long distance running. And it’s not hour-long gym workouts or aerobic exercise classes.
Peak (Sprint) 8 Exercise
Peak Fitness can be done just about
anywhere, including at home
You see, scientists are discovering that it’s intensity, not duration of exercise that may be the missing piece of the puzzle in becoming fit and slimming down.
And this type of high-intensity exercise is especially beneficial for aging bodies.
Here’s what those who have discovered it love most: it takes a fraction of the time of aerobic or cardio exercise – a huge relief if you’re already feeling short on time.
What is this revolutionary fitness trend?
Peak Fitness.
Designed and developed by fitness guru and author Phil Campbell, Peak Fitness, or “Sprint 8” is a 20 minute workout session that includes eight 30 second intervals of intense anaerobic bursts, each followed by 90-seconds of decreased intensity and recovery.
During ‘peak exercises’, you raise your heart rate beyond your aerobic threshold and push it into your maximum intensity limit.
Appropriate and safe for even seniors, intervals improve fitness by building new capillaries and a
stronger heart and lungs.
Your muscles benefit too, because this type of exercise helps create more mitochondria, the tiny motors that power cells.

What Your Body Really Needs For Maximum Benefits from Exercise

Cardiovascular Benefits of Exercise
Traditional forms of exercise don’t
optimally benefit your body
– or your heart.
According to Phil Campbell, author of “Ready Set Go”, receiving maximum cardiovascular benefits requires working all of your muscle fibers and both metabolic processes.
You have three different types of muscle fibers – slow-twitch, fast-twitch, and super-fast-twitch.
And your heart has two different metabolic processes:
  1. The aerobic, which requires oxygen
  2. The anaerobic, which doesn’t require any oxygen
Traditional strength training, aerobic and cardio exercises work primarily the aerobic metabolic process. And they use mostly only slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Typically, traditional forms of exercise don’t engage the anaerobic process of your heart nor do they involve the very beneficial fast-twitch muscle fibers.
On the other hand, high-intensity interval training such as Peak Fitness works BOTH your aerobic and anaerobic processes AND employs the crucial faster-twitch fibers, giving you a very thorough heart muscle workout.
To quote Phil Campbell:
“Most exercise programs today are built based upon a very incomplete picture of the physiology of your body.For example, long slow cardio, “calories in, calories out,” would be a perfect way to look at the body if it were all slow-twitch fiber…

But the fast- and super-fast-twitch fibers are essentially 50 percent of your muscle fibers and they don’t get recruited until you add a velocity of movement.”

Groundbreaking Research Changes AHA Cardio Guidelines

The research is so compelling about the superior benefits of high-intensity anaerobic exercise that the American Heart Association andthe American College of Sports Medicine have redefined their exercise cardio guidelines.
Their new guidelines state that you have a choice – do moderate intensity cardio five days a week for 30 minutes, or do vigorous intensity cardio for 20 minutes, three days a week, which is exactly what Peak Fitness is.
With Peak Fitness, that’s a total of 90 minutes a week. And you only need to do this type of exercise 3 times a week instead of 5!
What’s more, a recent study actually discovered that marathon runners were more likely to damage their hearts. Researchers found diminished right ventricular heart function, the presence of heart muscle scar tissue, and elevated heart injury blood markers among athletes in the study.
As for Peak Fitness exercises, you don’t need or want to do them more than three times a week. Like running marathons, you actually do more harm than good when you overtax your body by exercising too much. Your body must have time to recover between workouts or your health can suffer.

My True Fitness Breakthrough Came 
When I Discovered Peak Fitness

After more than 40 years of long-distance running, I found myself mentally exhausted by this type of exercise – I had clearly hit a plateau.
I began to realize that the extensive cardiovascular aerobic-type training I was engaging in might be counterproductive. I learned that high-intensity, burst-type sprints might be a far better alternative to long-distance running.
Then, I met Phil Campbell… and I finally understood the connection to growth hormone and how to actually integrate the program. Phil taught his Sprint 8 program in an easily understandable way and provided an explanation of how to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
I was hooked. I’ve been doing a very similar type workout that I’ve named “Peak Fitness” ever since April of 2010. In that switch, I ditched my conventional cardio workout completely. The benefits I am now experiencing have convinced me I couldn’t have made a better decision.
I’ve been doing – and recommending, along with Phil Campbell – Peak Fitness exercises three times a week.
And after interviewing yet another high-intensity interval training expert and emergency room physician, Dr. Doug McGuff, I’ve learned to appreciate how important it is to listen to your body and allow sufficient recovery time between workouts.
As you age, you do need to adjust and discover through trial and error what works best for you. Your body can guide you onto a path that will provide you with the most efficient and effective benefits when you listen to it.

How Peak Fitness Can Become Your Personal Fountain of Youth
for Longevity, Fitness, and Weight Loss, Too

Peak (Sprint) 8 Workout
Peak Fitness workouts can help serve as your personal fountain of youth – at any age.
As you reach your 30s, you enter what’s called “somatopause,” when your levels of human growth hormone (HGH) begin to drop off rather dramatically.
You can start to pile on body fat – particularly unwanted “middle age spread”. You start to lose muscle mass and you may also feel more fatigued.
Not only do declining levels of HGH change how your body burns fat, they also play a critical role in your aging process where you can actually look and feel older.
It has been my experience that nearly everyone over 30 has dramatically low levels of this important hormone because they begin leading increasingly sedentary life styles.
“For a full two hours after your workout your metabolism stays higher and you continue to burn calories faster, as long as you avoid eating or drinking sugar.”
The important point to remember is… your super-fast muscle fibers help get you the benefits you desire. And the only way to engage your super-fast muscle fibers is by doing anaerobic or high-intensity exercise like Peak Fitness. Traditional cardio and aerobic exercises do not engage your super-fast fibers!

With Peak Fitness, Get Ready for a Younger- and Leaner-Looking You

Peak Fitness Anti-Aging Strategy
Peak Fitness makes a great
anti-aging strategy. What’s yours?
Boosting your metabolism and increasing fat loss is just the beginning.
Peak Fitness is also a potent “anti-aging” strategy. You can potentially look and feel younger!
Some of the latest studies have shown how exercise affects telomeres – those shoelace tip-like ends of your chromosomes.
When your telomeres get too short, cells stop dividing and you can experience muscle loss, cognitive decline, and less skin elasticity, among other changes.
In these studies, endurance athletes were shown to have longer telomeres than those who did not exercise. Even moderate activity was shown to benefit telomeres.
No matter your age, starting or adding Peak Fitness exercises into your current workout routine can potentially have an impact on your overall health.
Once you regularly participate in these 20-minute exercises three times a week, you may notice the following benefits as many others have as well:
  • Decrease in body fat
  • Improved muscle tone
  • Increase in energy
  • Improved athletic speed and performance
  • Ability to achieve your fitness goals much faster
That’s not all… Research repeatedly shows that maintaining your optimal weight and exercising regularly helps maintain healthy glucose and insulin levels. It does this through supporting your insulin receptor sensitivity.
When you normalize your insulin levels, you give your body its best chance for optimum health. And that applies to you even if you start your exercise program overweight or out-of-shape.

It’s Never Too Late to Start

Chances are, if you’re over 50 and you haven’t started a regular exercise program, you may be thinking it’s too late to start or to enjoy all the benefits that Peak Fitness can offer.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Peak (Sprint) 8 Beneficial to Elderly
Research shows that age isn’t a factor. Regular exercise, even when started late in life, offers health benefits.
If you’re elderly or severely out of shape, I advise you to find a workout buddy, a personal trainer or someone who is experienced to help guide you through your routine, and keep you accountable. You’ll have more fun and you’ll be more likely to stick with your program.
Start off slowly and gradually increase intensity as you grow stronger, avoiding activities that cause pain. Although it is important to use caution when you are starting out, you do need to exercise at a level that challenges your body.
And here’s an important point to mention… I find that many older individuals shy away from exercise out of fear of injury or discomfort. Please remember that exercise actually reduces your risk of injury and helps to ease everyday aches and pains.
As for adults adopting an exercise routine later in life, I like to use the example of my own mother. She didn’t start working out until she was 74 and today, at the age of 77, she has gained significant improvements in strength, flexibility, balance and mental clarity.
My mother is a perfect example of how one can benefit from exercise even when they start their program later in life. You can see videos of her progress and the exercise routine she uses today on our website – a true inspiration for even the most sedentary, older individual!
As with any new fitness program, if you have a history of heart disease or other health concerns, please get clearance from your health care professional before starting your Peak Fitness program.

How to Get Started With Your Peak Fitness Program

I hope by now you understand how important fitness is achieving and maintaining optimal health. And I truly hope you’re ready to get started if you haven’t already…
Where do you start?
You don’t need a gym membership to do Peak Fitness exercises. Nor do you need special equipment. You just need to discover what works best for you.
You have choices…
  • Dr. McGuff teaches how you can reap great benefits with high-intensity super-slow weight training, which you can read more about on our website.
  • You can run, but… unless you’re a seasoned athlete, I advise against using outdoor sprinting for your Peak Fitness workout, as I’ve known several people who have injured themselves their first time out.
  • You can use exercise equipment like an elliptical machine or exercise bike. I have found that individuals who use these pieces of equipment typically experience faster and more reliable results. Plus, bikes and ellipticals can make Peak Fitness workouts easy to do and more entertaining.
Phil Campbell has recently partnered with the premiere equipment company Vision Fitness that manufactures quality exercise bikes and ellipticals.
If you are looking to invest in a new exercise bike or elliptical for your exercise routine, I highly recommend you check these out…

How a Semi-Recumbent Bike May Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals Faster…

Exercise bikes have long been a staple ingredient of indoor exercise programs.
However, not everyone enjoys or feels comfortable with the upright position and rock-hard saddle seat typically found on traditional stationary bikes. As the first wave of baby boomers begin turning 60, the booming interest in fitness and comfort has inspired a whole new generation of exercise bikes.
Vision Fitness Home Model R2250
Vision Fitness Home Model R2250
The semi-recumbent bike combines the best features of an upright bike and a recumbent bike.
Easier to mount and straddle than an upright bike, a semi-recumbent bike offers step-through access and low comfortable handlebars.
A larger – and sometimes reclining – soft bucket seat allows you to sit “in” the seat rather than “on” the seat of an upright bike.
The angle of the seat and its lumbar support “takes your back out of exercise”.
A high quality semi-recumbent bike can offer you many potential benefits:
  • Help increase or maintain flexibility
  • Promote optimal circulation throughout your entire body
  • Help maintain strength and endurance in your leg muscles
  • Help burn calories and promote your ideal body weight
  • Help support cardiovascular fitness
  • Slim and tighten your legs, thighs, and butt
Unlike its traditional upright cousin, a semi-recumbent workout involves your “glutes” or the gluteal muscles of your butt for a sleeker, slimmer look – an added benefit that many exercisers appreciate!

Pedal to Peak Fitness with Award-Winning Semi-Recumbent Bikes

Vision Fitness, a U.S. company with a long, successful history, has won over 30 Best Buy awards for their high quality, precision-crafted fitness bikes, elliptical trainers, and treadmills.
Together with Phil Campbell’s endorsement, there’s now even less reason to look elsewhere for a value-packed, well-constructed piece of equipment to help you meet your fitness goals.
They are perhaps best known for their smooth, quiet, and comfortable exercise bikes.
 Vision Fitness Commercial Model R70
Vision Fitness Commercial Model R70
With generous home and commercial use warranties, you can enjoy years of a smooth, friction-free ride with their patented Quiet-Glide™ technology and overall maintenance-free performance.
In fact, these bikes are so quiet you can read a book or watch your favorite television show.
And until you’ve sat in the semi-recumbent bike’s body-contoured foam seat – their patented Comfort Arc™ seat (found on the home use model) – you have no idea how comfortable an exercise bike can be.
Indeed, a far cry from the rigid saddle seats found on upright bikes!
Most importantly, Vision Fitness bikes are built to withstand the long-term stress of regular and vigorous workouts, unlike many lighter weight bikes on the market
I have used mine regularly for the last two years and it is just as good as the day I got it. No annoying squeaks, groans or other signs of imperfect engineering.
Speaking of Peak Fitness… in just a minute you’ll find out how you can get Phil Campbell’s SPRINT 8 program right at your fingertips – at no extra charge!
In cooperation with Vision Fitness, we are offering two models of their exceptional fitness bikes – the R2250 for Home Use and the R70 Commercial Model.
You can find out more about Vision Fitness’ semi-recumbent bikes here.

Are You Ready to Step Up to a TOTAL Body Workout? 
An Elliptical Trainer May Be Your Perfect Choice

Quickly sprinting to the #1 spot in popularity, elliptical trainers are fast becoming exercisers’ top choice in fitness products, even overtaking the treadmill.
Why? Elliptical trainers, with their moving support bars…
  • Offer a lower impact workout than treadmills with less pounding and stress on your ankles, knees and hip joints
  • Pack a lot of fitness equipment into a comparatively small footprint
  • Provide an efficient total body and cardio workout, including your upper body and all major muscle groups
  • Provide an indoor weight-bearing exercise
  • Easy to use with a natural motion stride that simulates walking or jogging
They can offer you all the health benefits of a semi-recumbent bike and more. If a total body workout – including leg, arm, and core muscles – appeals to you, consider stepping up to a quality elliptical trainer.

Vision Fitness Suspension Elliptical Trainers… 
The Most Natural Elliptical Footpath on the Market?

Natural Foot Path
Vision Fitness did serious analysis with users at every incline angle and pedaling direction to make sure that the footplate on their elliptical trainer would properly adjust when the user changed their stride.
Through their research, “Perfect Stride” was developed.
Thanks to this patented PerfectStride™ technology, Vision Fitness Suspension Elliptical Trainers provide a smooth, ideal stride motion with an ergonomic elliptical foot path.
The shape of the ellipse, as you can see in the illustration, creates a smooth and easy transition from the top of the ellipse, where the muscles are relatively inactive, to the bottom of the ellipse, where the muscles are activated to propel the user through the cycle.
S7200HRT Suspension Elliptical
S7200HRT Suspension Elliptical
This improved motion emphasizing your gluteus, hamstring, and quad muscles gives you a more effective workout than traditional elliptical trainers.
Plus, PerfectStride™ ensures proper posture and proper alignment between the knee and hip joints.
And the unique suspension design provides an exceptionally smooth feel, utmost comfort, and unmatched accessibility.
It only makes sense… if you’re going to put in the time and effort to give your body a great workout; you certainly want to receive maximum benefits.
Together with Vision Fitness, we are offering two models of their precision-made Suspension Elliptical Trainers – the S7200HRT for Home Use and the S70 Commercial Model.
You can find out more about these two models here.

Now… Phil Campbell’s SPRINT 8 Program Can Be Right 
At Your Fingertips – and At NO Extra Cost!

Vision Fitness has teamed up with the renowned author of “Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness,” Phil Campbell, to develop an anaerobic SPRINT 8 program found exclusively on Vision Fitness® cardio products.
Now tried and true results are at your fingertips… Just step on, press a button, and Phil’s program guides you through your 20-minute SPRINT 8 Workout. There’s no guessing when to start, when to speed up, or when to slow down for your recovery cycles. A high-intensity workout has never been easier!
This feature is only available on Vision Fitness’ quality equipment. And that one feature alone, in my opinion, makes these bikes and ellipticals unmatched in the marketplace. Plus, you’ll receive this invaluable built-in feature on all four pieces of equipment at NO extra cost!
Here are some of SPRINT 8 highlights that you’re sure to enjoy:
  • Each workout takes only 20 minutes
  • The perfect workout for all ages, sizes and fitness levels
  • Helps melt away body fat and tone muscle
  • Boosts energy
  • Improves speed and performance
Because these bikes and ellipticals meet my exacting standards and because I want to do everything possible to help you get started, we’re excited to bring these exceptionally quality pieces directly to you.
To find out more about our home and commercial Semi-recumbent exercise bikes, go here.
To find out more about our home and commercial Suspension Elliptical Trainers, go here.

Please… Stop Making Excuses. The Time is NOW to 
Get Your Body – and Your Life – in Shape!

Whichever way you choose to do your Peak Fitness workout, the most important message I can leave you with is… please start. Your life may depend on it.
I can confidently assure you that exercise will make a major difference in your energy levels, self-esteem and perhaps your entire outlook on life. It’s really that powerful.
If you’re over 40, it’s essential that you either start or step up your exercise program. This is the time of life when your physical strength, stamina, balance, and flexibility start to decline, and exercise can help turn that around.
Remember the 3 promises I made to you earlier? Showing you an exercise program that…

Love Our Enemies? You have got to be kidding!

Are we truly the peacemakers Christ has called us to be?  Are we taking to heart the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount? Do we love our enemies or would we prefer to bomb them into the stone-age?  Are we praying for those who persecute us or would we rather take retribution into our own hands? Do we turn the other cheek and return evil with good? Do we first check for the log in our own eye before pointing out the speck in other’s? You may answer affirmatively to all these commands, but I, on the other hand, find them contrary to my innermost being. What is Jesus’ way? And is it the way Christians have been taught to respond?

Daoud Nassar

I find there’s a huge disconnect in the way we live personally and the way we expect our government to act. If our neighbor threatens us, do we immediately decide to blow up their home?  Yet, collectively, I believe we have adopted a rather unchristian retributive mindset. Why doesn’t our individual call translate to the larger context?

Listen to one man’s story of how he is living the Gospel of Christ.  He talks about “the Jesus way,” which translates into loving his enemies as he shares the love of Jesus. He is truly a minister of reconciliation.  My prayer is that this short film will touch you as it did me.

On Facebook and throughout the internet, I hear vehement opposition from Christians regarding President Obama’s decision to pull our troops from Iraq. Why?  Quite simple. Iran.  Iran, we are told is a a direct threat to Israel. Is that true? Consider myth #6 from 6 Myths you probably believe about America’s Enemies.  I don’t condone this writer’s use of occasional crass comments, and I certainly don’t consider him an expert on world affairs, but he makes some compelling arguments that are worthy of consideration. Nonetheless, doesn’t all this saber rattling toward Iran sound familiar? Isn’t that the way it’s been done time after time, country after country?

I sincerely don’t want these geopolitical arguments to usurp the attention I think this video deserves. I merely brought up because of the the way we have been conditioned to view the world. Anything either America or Israel does is right, fair and noble. Both nations are deemed models of altruistic virtuosity. But is that really the case?  How much do you really know of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict other than the fact you’ve probably been told that Palestinians are a bunch of dirty, suicide-bombing antagonists?

Surely, this is a very complex issue that find plenty of fault on both sides, but what you may not know is how the Christians within Palestine are and have been treated.

Many may be unaware that there are, and have been, Christians living in Palestine for generations. Daoud Nassar (the subject of the above video) is an Arab Palestinian Christian who lives on a small farm outside of Bethlehem. Each summer he hosts a creative arts camp for refugee children and teaches them to strive for peace in this region. Matt Carter interviews Daoud about his land, the difficulties he and his family are facing, and how his faith has characterized his life in tumultuous times.

For more information on Daoud and his organization please visit: www.tentofnations.org
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Is Mormonism just another Christian denomination?

Watch this very short video for one man’s answer.

Now let’s consider what Mormonism believes about Christianity?

Lately, Mormonism has been the subject of considerable news and internet chatter primarily due to Mitt Romney’s run for the presidency. So the question that is on the minds of many: Is Mitt Romney a member of a cult, or is Mormonism simply just another Christian denomination? In that light, instead of answering this question through the lens of various Christian leaders and apologists, I thought it would be instructive and enlightening to turn the tables a bit and consider what leading Mormon founders and prophets had to say about Christianity. At this point let me be clear. This blog article will not concern itself with the debate whether a Mormon is fit to serve in this nation’s highest office. That’s for another time.
Now, it is important to note that the below quotes do not come from merely nominal members of the Mormon church, but in fact issue from a founder and other “inspired” Mormon church prophets who speak directly and unequivocally for the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

As you are about to learn if you are not already aware, not only have some Mormon leaders made it clear that they do not consider Mormonism “Christian”, these leaders have insisted that no one can be saved apart from Joseph Smith. Also, some are on record as stating that even Islam is better than Christianity. All I can say is, brace yourself!

Mormon leaders who have condemned Christians:

“This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth…” ~ Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165
“What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world” ~ Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.270

“…all the priests who adhere to the sectarian religions of the day with all their followers, without one exception, receive their portion with the devil and his angels.” ~ Prophet Joseph Smith, The Elders Journal, Joseph Smith Jr., editor, vol.1, no.4, p.60

“Both Catholics and Protestants are nothing less than the ‘whore of Babylon’ whom the Lord denounces by the mouth of John the Revelator as having corrupted all the earth by their fornications and wickedness. Any person who shall be so corrupt as to receive a holy ordinance of the Gospel from the ministers of any of these apostate churches will be sent down to hell with them, unless they repent” ~ Apostle Orson Pratt proclaimed, The Seer, p. 255
“The Christian world, so-called, are heathens as to the knowledge of the salvation of God” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:171
“After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon” ~ George Q. Cannon said, Gospel Truth, p.324
“When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was grovelling in darkness.” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 5:73
“With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 8:199

“Brother Taylor has just said that the religions of the day were hatched in hell. The eggs were laid in hell, hatched on its borders, and then kicked on to the earth.” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 6:176

“Christians—those poor, miserable priests brother Brigham was speaking about—some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth, and at the same time preaching righteousness to the children of men. The poor devils, they could not get up here and preach an oral discourse, to save themselves from hell; they are preaching their fathers’ sermons —preaching sermons that were written a hundred years before they were born. …You may get a Methodist priest to pour water on you, or sprinkle it on you, and baptize you face foremost, or lay you down the other way, and whatever mode you please, and you will be damned with your priest.” ~ Apostle Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Discourses, 5:89
“The Gospel of modern Christendom shuts up the Lord, and stops all communication with Him. I want nothing to do with such a Gospel, I would rather prefer the Gospel of the dark ages, so-called”– Prophet Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.196

“Christianity…is a perfect pack of nonsense…the devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p.167);

“Where shall we look for the true order or authority of God? It cannot be found in any nation of Christendom.” ~ Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses, 10:127
“What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.” ~ Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225
“What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing… Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God.”– John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 13:225
“Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness. For hundreds of years the world was wrapped in a veil of spiritual darkness, until there was not one fundamental truth belonging to the place of salvation …Joseph Smith declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the ‘Christian’ churches were in error, teaching for commandments the doctrines of men.” ~ Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 3, p.282
“…the Book of Mormon remains secure, unchanged and unchangeable, …But with the Bible it was not and is not so….it was once in the sole and exclusive care and custody of an abominable organization (Christianity), founded by the devil himself, likened prophetically unto a great whore, whose great aim and purpose was to destroy the souls of men in the name of religion. In these hands it ceased to be the book it once was.”– Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, The Joseph Smith Translation, pp. 12, 13
“Must we, under the broad folds of the American Constitution, be compelled to bow down to the narrow contracted notions of Apostate Christianity? Must we shut up our consciences in a nut shell, and be compelled to submit to the bigoted notions, and whims, and customs of the dark ages of popery, transferred to us through the superstitious of our fathers? Must we be slaves to custom and render homage to the soul-destroying, sickening influences of modern Christianity? No!” ~ Official Church Publication “The Seer,” Vol.1, No.7, p.111

“And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this (Mormon) church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth…” ~ Supposedly Jesus Christ Himself, Doctrine and Covenants 1:30

Salvation not Through Jesus Christ, but Joseph Smith?

[There is] “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith. If Joseph Smith was verily a prophet, and if he told the truth…no man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” ~ Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, p.190

 “No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are… [Joseph Smith] reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in heaven. Many will exclaim—”Oh, that is very disagreeable! It is preposterous! We cannot bear the thought!” But it is true.” ~ Prophet Birgham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.289-91
“He that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fullness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is anti-christ” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.312
“If we get our salvation, we shall have to pass by him [Joseph Smith]; if we enter our glory, it will be through the authority he has received. We cannot get around him [Joseph Smith]” ~ Apostle George Q. Cannon, as quoted in 1988 Melchizedek Priesthood Study Guide, p. 142
“I tell you, Joseph holds the keys, and none of us can get into the celestial kingdom without passing by him. We have not got rid of him, but he stands there as the sentinel, holding the keys of the kingdom of God; and there are many of them beside him. I tell you, if we get past those who have mingled with us, and know us best, and have a right to know us best, probably we can pass all other sentinels as far as it is necessary, or as far as we may desire. But I tell you, the pinch will be with those that have mingled with us, stood next to us, weighed our spirits, tried us, and proven us: there will be a pinch, in my view, to get past them. The others, perhaps, will say, If brother Joseph is satisfied with you, you may pass. If it is all right with him, it is all right with me. Then if Joseph shall say to a man, or if brother Brigham say to a man, I forgive you your sins, “Whosoever sins ye remit they are remitted unto them;” if you who have suffered and felt the weight of transgression—if you have generosity enough to forgive the sinner, I will forgive him: you cannot have more generosity than I have. I have given you power to forgive sins, and when the Lord gives a gift, he does not take it back again.” ~ Apostle Orson Hyde, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p.154-155
“It is to be feared that in course of a century, some gifted man like Paul, some splendid orator, who will be able by his eloquence to attract crowds of the thousands who are ever ready to hear, and be carried away by, the sounding brass and tinkling cymbal of sparkling oratory, may command a hearing, may succeed in breathing a new life into this modern Mahometanism, and make the name of the martyred Joseph ring as loud, and stir the souls of men as much, as the mighty name of Christ itself. Sharon, Palmyra, Manchester, Kirtland, Far West, Adam-ondi-Ahman, Ramus. Nauvoo, and the Carthage Jail, may become holy and venerable names, places of classic interest, in another age; like Jerusalem, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, and Mount Calvary to the Christian, and Mecca and Medina to the Turk.” ~ Prophet Brigham Young, History of the Church, Vol. 7, p.40-41

Islam Better than Christianity? 

Orson Pratt

“The Greek and Roman Churches, which have been called Christian, and which take the name of Christians as a cloak, have worshipped innumerable idols. On this account, on the simple subject of the Deity and His worship, if nothing more, I should rather incline, of the two, after all my early traditions, education, and prejudices, to the side of Mahomet, for on this point he is on the side of truth, and the Christian world on the side of idolatry and heathenism.” ~ Apostle Parley P. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.38

“Though Mahometan institutions are corrupt enough, and need reforming by the Gospel, I am inclined to think, upon the whole, leaving out the corruptions of men in high places among them, that they have better morals and better institutions than many Christian nations; and in many localities there have been high standards of morals. So far as that one point is concerned, of worshipping the one true God under the name of Mahometanism, together with many moral precepts, and in war only acting on the defensive, I think they have exceeded in righteousness and truthfulness of religion, the idolatrous and corrupt church that has borne the name of Christianity.” ~ Apostle Parley P. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.41
“..instead of saying that Mahometanism prevailed against Christianity, and that Christianity was in danger of being done away by its prevalence, we would rather say, that where Mahometanism prevailed, it taught and established one truth at least, viz., the true and living God, and so far as this went, it did preserve people from worshipping idols. And had the crescent waved on the tower of London, or on the church of St. Paul, instead of the cross, and had the Mahometan religion been enforced instead of the Roman religion that was enforced for a series of generations, and had tradition riveted what the sword enforced, then that nation and the surrounding nations would have been worshippers of one true God instead of idols; they would have recognized it in theory at least, whether they would have worshipped Him in spirit and in truth or not. But now [Christians] do not recognize Him in theory, for they acknowledge as their god an imaginary being without body, parts, or passions.” ~ Apostle Parley P. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.39

“Now, if we take Mahometanism during those dark ages, and the corruptions that are so universally prevalent over the earth, and the idolatrous systems of religion, falsely called Christianity, and weigh them in a balance; with all my education in favor of Christian nations and Christian powers, and Christian institutions, so called, with all my prejudices of early youth, and habits of thought and reading, my rational faculties would compel me to admit that the Mahometan history and Mahometan doctrine was a standard raised against the most corrupt and abominable idolatry that over perverted our earth, found in the creeds and worship of Christians, falsely so named.” ~ Apostle Parley P. Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p.40

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The Jesus Tomb Unmasked

If the bones of Jesus Christ have been discovered, Christianity ceases to exist. Come on this journey to discover if the claims made by the Discovery Channel documentary are true.

This film does a devastating critique of Discovery Channel’s “The Lost Tomb of Jesus” (produced by Avatar director James Cameron). The same scholars who were interviewed in this documentary are interviewed here. Many of them express their dismay over how they were taken out of context to make it appear that they think the supposed lost tomb of Jesus was authentic.

What explanation can be given for the empty tomb of Jesus of Nazareth? The New Testament records the first-century event: The disciples of Jesus reported that he was risen from the dead, while Roman soldiers were paid to claim his followers secretly removed him from the tomb.

After 2,000 years, the latest challenge to the historical resurrection of Jesus comes in the form of a bone box discovered in Jerusalem. The recent documentary The Lost Tomb of Jesus has popularized the hypothesis that Jesus’ followers stole his body from the tomb by suggesting that the bone box inscribed with “Jesus son of Joseph” may contain the remains of Jesus of Nazareth.

As a new twist to the ancient debate, this challenge demands a response. Join us as we take a hard look at the evidence and answer the questions concerning the reliability of the resurrection. Have the bones of Jesus of Nazareth really been found? Is the resurrection history or myth? Find out here in this episode of Expedition Bible.


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There’s still time to change your mind…

Ya gotta love it! 🙂

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Princess Brides Cast Reunites after 25 Years!

This has got to rank as one of my all-time favorites. Charming, witty and just plain good clean fun. How can anyone not like this movie? And it’s even that much more heartening knowing how much the cast enjoyed it and each other.

Most of the cast of The Princess Bride reunited on Good Morning America for the talk show’s “Totally Awesome ’80s Week.” “When the movie came out, it wasn’t a huge, huge hit. They couldn’t quite figure out how to market it,” Chris Sarandon, who played Prince Humperdinck, said. “They didn’t really know what they had.” When the film first opened in 1987, it grossed $206,243 in limited release during its opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo.
Cary Elwes, who played Westley, “I think when I die, they’ll say on my gravestone, ‘As you wish.’ I think every woman wants to hear that.” Wallace Shawn, who portrayed Vizzini, recalled people approaching him and wanting him to say, “Inconceivable.” Director Rob Reiner’s first choice for Vizzini was Danny DeVito.

The “MLT” line that Miracle Max says in the film, one of the most quoted, was ad-libbed on-set, Billy Crystal confirmed.


When asked about the final kiss at the end of the movie, Robin Wright, who played Buttercup, joked to Elwes, “Who are you?” The cast members also reminisced about Andre the Giant, who passed away in 1993.

Fred Savage and Mandy Patinkin were not present. (from The Hollywood Reporter)

(A bit longer version but with a 30 second ad preceding)

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Dispensationalism Exposed

“In the sermon (below), Archbishop Scott McLaughlin exposes the origins and outcomes of the popular idea of the “Rapture” of the Church, rebuking Harold Camping’s predictions of the “Rapture” in May and the End-of-the-World in October. The entire “Dispensational” system of biblical interpretation is exposed as a fraud and a false system of belief that denies Christ, the Church, and the Gospel. Preached at Christ Anglican Church, Lexington, NC, on Rogation Sunday, May 29, AD 2011″

Let me ask you a question. If at the very core, Dispensationalism is fatally flawed (and I believe this can be proven), then how can its eschatology be on solid ground? Many people reject the more hardcore teachings of dispensationalism e.g. distinct earthly and heavenly paths to God, yet they don’t realize that, since the foundations of this system are decrepit, the eschatological outgrowths must be one in the same. 
However, I find people picking and choosing facets of dispensationalism much like a Chinese menu. The column A, column B approach is not valid because of the way dispensationalism is constructed. People don’t realize that the rapture was a necessary fabrication to rid the world of the Church so that God could properly (they say) focus on the apple of His eye, Israel. It is a system that simply cannot be tweaked, though many mistakingly think it’s possible. It should be viewed as an elaborate jigsaw puzzle, where if one piece does not fit, the entire puzzle should be scrapped.
Any theology that exalts a physical nation i.e. the modern day secular nation of Israel, and makes it the focal point of history, is unwittingly doing severe injustice to the centrality of Jesus Christ as THE ONLY epicenter with which we must honor and revere. Any system that causes us to take our eyes off of Christ, must be rejected.

C.I. Scofield

If you consider yourself a dispensationalist, I truly mean no offense. I’m not suggesting that you aren’t a Christian nor am I challenging your faith in Christ or your sincerity. However, I believe this doctrine is dangerous and at its core is an offense to the Gospel. Please examine your view against the backdrop of Scripture.


These past 40 years (though it began much further back) mark a mentality of retreat that has caused the Church to lose focus and has cost us the culture. The difficult times in which we live are, in my view, the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. So a man thinks in his heart, so he shall become. If you expect defeat and are sold on escapism, then we should not be surprised by the results. If we want to take back the culture for Christ, we MUST shed “Leftbhindology.” We will not work contrary to our eschatological expectations for very long. Why bother polishing brass on this fast sinking ship?  That mentality has cost us a great deal.

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The Land Promises to Israel – Fulfilled or Unfulfilled?

Are today’s inhabitants of Israel, God’s chosen people? Is the land given to Israel by the U.N. in 1948, the eternal land of Abraham’s descendants?  In other words, is the land of Palestine, Israel’s by divine decree?  Does the modern day nation of Israel have a prominent place in God’s “last days” eschatological plan? Join Don K. Preston as he attempts to deal with these very pertinent issues? You may be rather surprised by the answers.

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Global Voice of Non-Violence

As I contemplated notifying you of the following event, a very strange and rather unsettling thought hit me. Peace and non-violence are most often associated with hippies and leftist wimps and rarely the overriding themes employed by Christians. It’s not only acceptable but it’s downright lauded that we squash the commies and destroy all those who oppose us. No, I don’t want to come across too cynically, but I do believe we need to change the way we engage others who don’t share our views.At any rate, please consider attending the online September 21st “Global Voices of Non-Violence” teleconference, which seeks peace in the Middle East. Some of you have seen the documentary “Little Town of Bethlehem” which will be featured during this teleconference. For those who haven’t, I highly recommend it. It’s the wonderful story of reconciliation between Christians, Arabs and Jews as they join the forces of peace.

Matthew 5:9 (NASB) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Isaiah 9:6 (NASB) For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19 (NASB) Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
I realize that earthly peace is not the ultimate answer, since man’s problem is spiritual enmity and separation from God. However, in my view, earthly peace should be a byproduct of our eternal peace, which is born of faith in Jesus Christ through reconciliation with God.
At this time, sadly, the majority of Christ’s earthly body (the Church) does not appear to be spreading a message of non-violence.  Why?  Because they believe (as did I not too many years ago) that future violence and massive death tolls will be the result of the inevitable and imminent plan of God, culminating in the final battle of Armageddon
Therefore, this peaceful effort will forever spin it’s wheels unless and until the widely held eschatological presuppositions of our day are challenged. And I believe this eschatological paradigm must be defeated because I do not find it particularly Scriptural. Matter of fact, I think it is an unwitting assault on the Gospel and the integrity of God’s Word. 
Until the tail end of 2005, I lacked the historical context necessary to more fully understand Scripture at this very crucial point.  I don’t mean that to sound arrogant, but I do count it a great blessing to have providentially stumbled upon a view that I believe more majestically affords Scripture it’s most inspired status. 
So, it should not go without saying that, if this imminent horrific Battle of Armageddon (where 2/3 of the Jews are to die) has been ordained by God, then the efforts of organizations like Global Voices of Non-Violence will fall upon deaf ears in the wake of God’s sovereign plan. But what happens if this view of Scripture is wrong?  
In that light, let me share a brief history to help flesh out the historical context of this great battle, most presume to be in our future.
In AD 66, Cestius Gallus marched into Judea and surrounded Jerusalem in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the Great Jewish Revolt. (I have hyper-linked these resources for your further study. Also, please consider “audience relevance”… to whom is the “you” with which Jesus is referring?  Us?  No, it’s His disciples 1,980 years ago)
Luke 21:20 (NASB) “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.”
Gallus succeeded in conquering Beit She’arim “the new city” also called Bezetha, in the Jezreel Valley, seat of the Great Sanhedrin (Jewish supreme religious court) at the time, but was unable to take The Temple Mount. During his withdrawal to the coast, his army was ambushed near Beth Horon, and only succeeded in making good his escape to Antioch by sacrificing the greater part of his army and a large amount of war materiel.
It has well been documented that after this unexplained pullback, Christians who had been watchful of the signs (Matthew 24), fled Jerusalem in mass to the city of Pella.  (notice the location of Pella on the map) They were specifically warned NOT to seek safe haven in the heavily fortified city of Jerusalem (which one would have presumed to be safest place), but instead to flee to the mountains. And that’s exactly what they did!
Luke 21:21-22 (NASB) “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled
Soon after his return, Gallus died (before the spring of 67), and was succeeded in the governorship by Licinius Mucianus. Emperor Nero appointed General Vespasian, to crush the rebellion. In the spring of AD 67, General Titus, the son of soon to be Emperor Vespasian (after Nero committed suicide), amassed a multi-national armed force of 60,000 (the 15th legion) on the plain of Megido. The siege against Jerusalem, prophesied by Jesus less than a generation earlier, culminated in the utter destruction of the Temple in the fall of AD 70 (exactly 3.5 years as had been predicted in the Revelation), as not one stone was left upon another.
Matthew 24:2 (NASB) And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
So, contrary to popular belief, and consistent with the beliefs of many prior to the mid 1800s, I believe this great battle is not in our future. Hopefully you can see why this matters so much. If this event is in our past (the first verse of the Revelation reads, “things which MUST soon take place”), then that will change our entire outlook on the victorious nature of the Gospel. We must, in my view, become ministers of reconciliation both spiritually and physically. 
Join us for the Global Voices of Nonviolence LIVE launch event on Beliefnet.com.

When: Wednesday, September 21, 7:00 p.m. EDT
Where:  Washington D.C., streamed LIVE on Beliefnet.com from the campus of The Catholic University of America
What: The online premiere of the award-winning film Little Town of Bethlehem followed by a live panel discussion

Learn more about Global Voices of Nonviolence
If you can’t attend the event, the film and a recording of the panel discussion will be available on Beliefnet.com through Oct. 2.
Little Town of Bethlehem has been screened in nine countries at hundreds of colleges, universities, places of worship, and other venues. Help us keep the dialogue alive. Thank you!

“Little Town of Bethlehem draws us to the “other,” the “neighbor” whom we have been called to love. Real people, claiming the moral high ground, give this movie its credibility and lasting relevance.”

Robert Seiple
Author, Speaker
Former World Vision U.S. President

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Seffner Armwood Football ranked #1 nationally

Wow, this is pretty impressive. I realize it’s a mythical ranking since there’s no way to adequately evaluate the talent of high schools that have so little cross pollination, but for Armwood (Seffner, FL) to have achieved this grand status, is pretty dadgum amazing. Now, let’s hope they remain hungry and humble and aren’t overcome by their own pride.

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Things may not be quite as they appear…

Following is an interview with Yonatan Sapira, a former Captain in the Israeli Air Force. I am truly invigorated by this man’s conviction and his willingness to subject himself to scorn as he follows his heart. And contrary to the way he has been characterized, it’s rather obvious that a deep love of his country and his Jewish heritage has motivated his quest for peace through non-violence. Yonatan appeared in a recent documentary, “Little Town of Bethlehem“, with two fellow activists, one Christian and one Muslim, all three hailing from the same city of Bethlehem. Their common goal?  Peace!

Yonatan is living proof that as a Jew he can love Israel and his people but yet strongly disagree with some of his government’s actions and policies. In my view, as one coming from the “religious right” perspective, we have been cornered by a false dilemma: Either love Israel and ALL of its policies or accept the terrorists and their despicable acts against the innocent. As a Christian I simply cannot justify terrorism whether state-sponsored or sanctioned by a militant group like Hamas. The cycle of violence must stop. 

Yonatan Sapira in his Israeli Air Force flight suit

That being said, if we don’t seek to understand what might motivate a person to strap explosives to their body with the intent to inflict maximum damage on innocents, I don’t think we are being intellectually honest. Which is worse, a terrorist act that kills 9 innocent children or an Israeli Air Force rocket assault on the home of an alleged terrorist also killing 9 innocent children? Oh, but some may say, “The government has the right to self-defense and in so doing if children die, that’s unfortunate collateral damage.”  Really? What if the terrorist is also reacting to the tyrannical aggression of the Israeli government and feels totally justified to act on behalf of those who are oppressed? 

By caging a million and a half people like animals (Gaza) and separating them from vital resources, is causing severe reactions. And by Israeli’s settling on land that is not their own is also soliciting acts of aggression. How would you or I react if our neighbor illegally began to annex our property and expanded his home onto our land?

So simply because I can’t possibly condone the Palestinians firing missiles into Israel, does not mean that I shouldn’t seek to understand the underlying motivations of the combatants. Perhaps their cause is just though their methods of retribution are abhorrent? 

Is the U.S. supporting the Israeli government’s policies that are helping foment or at least perpetuate this kind of violence?
Please listen carefully to Yonatan’s plea. He is not a terrorist sympathizer, but neither does he side with the dehumanizing policies set forth by his own government. Lastly, please pray that Yonatan will come to know the true Prince of Peace. 
Posted in Dispensationalism, Israel, Zionism | Leave a comment