March 10, 2019
Lay Leader NSUMC
Below is a link to a presentation given about 10 years ago by Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. It concerns a subject matter that all disciples of Christ should be keenly aware of: The Restoration of the Nation of Israel.
The Restoration of Israel is no small or incidental matter. It is a fulfillment of ancient prophecies, and it is a pivotal event in God's plan and dealings with humankind. What has transpired in the restoration of Israel is unprecedented in human history, and it is THE singular most dramatic signpost of the end to this age and the return of Christ.
Within the study of Eschatology (the biblical study of "End Times") there is wide and confusing misunderstandings of the what, when and wherefore of the many prophecies concerning the "End of the Age and Christ's Return". In contrast, it should be understood that nearly all of the events written in the Old Testament (the Torah and the prophets) about Christ's first appearing were unrecognized until after the fact of their happening. In other words, it wasn't until after Christ was born, fulfilled his mission, and physically left this planet that his disciples even began to realize what and just how much prophecy Jesus fulfilled. It's just a fact: prophecy is best, and sometimes only, understood after its fulfillment -- not before!
Today there is no small number of people with their books, TV shows and tours to explain and tell in detail just how the "End Times" will play out -- who will be who, what will be what and just how the end of the age will manifest itself. Rest assured, by far most, if not all, that is being touted today about the end of this age and Jesus' return for his church is simple obfuscation of what will really happen. True, we can know in part, but only in part. In no way can we know in detail the fulfillment of prophecy BEFORE it happens. Prophecy can only be realized in detail during or after its happening. Which speaks to the matter at hand, the restoration of a long dead nation -- Israel!
In Matthew 24 Jesus tells his rather bewildered and clueless disciples what would befall Israel within a generation of his telling. Jesus told them the temple would be utterly destroyed with not one stone standing upon another -- and so it was, within 40 years. (BTW, it is becoming ever more evident that what is today called the Western Wall (or Wailing Wall) of the ancient temple in Jerusalem, is in fact, not the foundation of the temple, but the foundation of a Roman fort named, Antonia, that was adjacent to the temple, with the temple actually being located 600 feet south of the remaining fort foundation. (See here for one explanation of that assertion). So, it may appear the temple was in fact left without one stone upon another.) Jesus also warned his disciples that at the same time of the temple being destroyed, Israel would experience a Great Tribulation the likes of which had never been experienced nor would ever be repeated. Moreover, during this Great Tribulation the nation of Israel would be scattered thoughout the world to suffer wandering homelessness, isolation and persecutions. Jesus said all this with a hopeful declaration: unless that time of exile was shortened, all the people (the Jews) would perish. This great persecution of Israel, this Great Tribulation, continued for nearly 1,877 years during which the people of Israel, the Jews, wandered the planet without a home, nation or government of their own. In that time they were persecuted wherever they tried to settle, driven out of one nation after another. An entire people was forced into ghettos, their land and/or possessions confiscated at will and they murdered without defense. Then finally, in the mid-Twentieth Century, after the murder of 6 million Jews in a mere 10 years, but before they were completely exterminated, the Great Tribulation ended. In November 1947 their homeland was returned to them, and they returned to that land, to the land of their origin -- Israel. They were returned to the very land God said He would one day return them to.
As mentioned above, attempting to predict or reveal prophecy before it is fulfilled is tricky business, usually resulting in getting it wrong, terribly wrong mostly (just ask Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye). However, looking back on prophecy after the fact of the predicted event can result in some very interesting and useful knowledge. So, once again, Jonathan Cahn in the video linked below speaks to the matter of Israel's return to its homeland after the fact. It's a fascinating story. I hope the story will speak to every viewer as it spoke to me.
And finally, and this is rather important to note, Jesus also said to his disciples in Matthew 24 that immediately after the Tribulation he would send out his angels to gather in the elect from the four winds. Undoubtedly, the Great Tribulation Jesus predicted in Matthew 24 came (70 A.D) and apparently ended in 1947 with the return of Israel to its homeland; yet, no physical gathering of the elect has occurred to date. The question now is, what does "immediately" equate to when compared to nearly 2,000 years? Yes, that is a question yet to be answered, but I think the time of that answer is not far off -- not far off, indeed. So, go ahead. Click on the link below. Witness first hand how prophesy works in the perfect plan of God!
"Be Thou My Vision"
(feat. Keith Goodrich, violin)
We have recently come across some interesting history of the North Salem United Methodist Church. To check out some milestone dates and a list of past and present pastors...
Yep! That's right!. Every Saturday afternoon (the 7th day of the week) a Sabbath worship service is conducted in the Hope House of the Pleasant Street United Methodist Church located at 6 Pleasant Street right here in Salem.
This Sabbath worship service is open to all wishing to commemorate God's own Holy Day. And, to remember His Fourth Commandment that, like the other nine, was etched in stone as an "eternal" remembrance. So, let us so “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."
(Ex. 20:8 NIV)
Please consider joining in Sabbath Day worship with other Methodist at the Hope House at 3:00 p.m. every Saturday afternoon. And, with that being said:
See you there?!
So, you know the Ten Commandments, right? But do you know which commandment is the lynchpin of them all? Do you know the one commandment that ties together all the other nine, and without its presence and position in the lineup, there exists a void and separation between the remaining nine other commandments?
If you would like to learn what that all important lynchpin commandment is, just...
March 20, 2019
The Gospel for this coming Sunday is Luke 13:1-9. In this passage Jesus asks some tough questions about tragic events. After last week's shootings at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, we definitely know there are tough questions about tragedies for our society and also in our own experiences. When first out of seminary, I was still thinking I could come up with answers to tragedy and what meaning could be found at such times. I now write, in a numerous vein, that I have given up that effort for Lent.
I still struggle for answers to the bad days and events, but have learned that I do not have universal answers and sometimes do not even know what the right question is. I am careful in the face of loss and challenge not to offer too many answers. Sometimes we are just called to journey in faith with one another, hug one another, and share the pain, and also the hope. To offer bromides such as, “Don’t worry. You’ll get over it” is not helpful or healing. I heard these words spoken to a widow as she stood next to her husband’s casket. It didn’t help.
Yes, offer support to one another in times of loss and hurt, but remember that words can both help and hurt.
Grace and peace,
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...but do you know about God's Week, God's seven day/seven thousand year Week? Consider what Peter wrote in his letter: 2 Peter, Chapter 3:3-4,8-9
"...scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.' "
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness..."
To read a series of essays on this fundamental and important doctrine of God's biblical 7000 year plan for mankind...