What Happens When You Die?

We don’t like to think about death. It’s not a pleasant subject, and we avoid even discussing it seriously or giving it any diligent study. If our career plans involved a foreign assignment, our desk would be littered with brochures and travel folders as we would try learn all we could about our forthcoming destination. If we were scheduled for an exam that our lives depended upon, we would be studying in earnest. Yet the most certain event in our future is one we try our best to ignore and attempt to relegate to a comfortable distance.

I once suggested to a financial executive (who was about 50 years of age) whom I was traveling with that he probably had less than a thousand weekends left in his life. He was startled! “What do you mean?” he gasped.

“Do the math,” I suggested. With an actuarial expectation of about 20 years left in his life, and with nominally 50 weeks per year that leaves him with about a thousand weekends. (When we say “20 years,” that sounds remote, academic, intangible. When we think of “weekends,” it tends to confront us with a more graspable reality!)

Our appointment with death is an absolute certainty — probably our only certainty. It may come sooner than we expect: a car crash, a stray bullet, an unforeseen stroke. We all know of personal examples where death has come suddenly, without warning, without any preparations. When it finally does come, what do we expect it to be like?

Shedding Our Misconceptions

One of the penalties of our casual — or reluctant — attitude about death and dying is that most people are steeped in myths and misconceptions. Almost every commonly held belief is erroneous, misleading and contrary to what we do know about the subject.

There are numerous books that have been published about “near-death experiences,” which at best are less than reliable sources, no matter how well intended. But there are several incidences that we can trust as reliable. Stephen, as he was being stoned, gave us a glimpse:

But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”

Acts 7:55–56 (ISV)

So this notion that being greeted by the Lord Himself — at least in his case — is not fanciful. As serious Christians, we can take significant comfort from Stephen’s experience. Paul also speaks of a“near-death” type of experience in which he was caught up to paradise. Since this happened 14 years before writing about it to the Corinthians, some scholars believe it may have coincided with his experience at Lystra where he was stoned and dragged out of the city and left for dead. (Whether this was a “near-death” experience or an actual death-and-return, we’ll have to wait until we can ask him.)

Messages From the Dark Side

What makes this subject so difficult to research is that most information is not only unreliable, it is the specific focus of deceit by the ultimate Deceiver himself. One of the first mistakes is to look for answers in the wrong places. Channeling, necromancy (attempted communication with the dead), and all forms of commerce with demonic activity are expressly prohibited in the Scripture. Even such ostensibly harmless things such as a Ouija board or role-playing parlor games can prove extremely dangerous and are not to be taken lightly.

Satan’s deceptions are designed to eliminate any awareness of a coming judgment and accountability, and to promote the perceptions that all roads lead to the same place. (Remember, he is the “prince of this world,” and the “prince of the power of the air.”) Don’t be among the naive or impressionable: this is very dangerous territory:

Such people are false apostles, dishonest workers who are masquerading as apostles of the Messiah. And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

2 Corinthians 11:13–14, (ISV)

Also, Jesus warned us to:

Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate is wide and the road is spacious that leads to destruction, and many people are entering by it. How narrow is the gate and how constricted is the road that leads to life, and there aren’t many people who find it! Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves.

Matthew 7:13–15 (ISV)

If the gate you’re relying on is wide, with a large majority taking advantage of it, you’ve got the wrong gate ! And for many, the truth about death should be terrifying. They will be in for a shocking surprise.

Heaven and Hell

This subject also squarely confronts the issues of Heaven and Hell. Unpleasant. Controversial. And clearly the subject of fanciful folklore in all directions and dimensions.

The Hebrew Sheol, and the Greek Hades, are not the grave. The grave is where the body goes. Sheol and Hades is where the departed spirits go. (For this brief discussion, we’ll regard them as equivalent.)

Gehenna,however, is their final disposition. Hades is cast into Gehenna at the end. (In fact, their topology appears to be opposites: Hades is presented as geocentric; Gehenna is in “the outer darkness.”)

It is significant that Jesus spoke much more about “Hell” than He did about Heaven. (The ratio of references is about 5 to 1.) The very concept of the need for a Savior presupposes the avoidance of the otherwise certain destiny of desolation and eternal punishment. The good news is that you and I are the beneficiaries of a love letter: a letter written in blood on a wooden cross erected in Judea about two thousand years ago and which is the fulcrum of all history and the entire universe. The crucifixion was not a tragedy: it was a crowning achievement. His achievement makes it possible to avoid an otherwise certain destiny.

The Physics of Immortality

There are many in the secular world who do not even take the existence of the “afterlife” seriously. There are many who do, however. Frank J. Tipler, Professor of Mathematical Physics at Tulane University, is a major theoretician in the field of global general relativity, that rarefied branch of physics created by Stephen Hawking and Roger Penrose. In pursuing a mathematical model involving the end of the universe, Tipler (a professed atheist) came to two conclusions (one obvious, and one stunning):

1. Using the most advanced and sophisticated methods of modern physics, and relying solely on the rigorous procedures of logic that science demands, he discovered a proof of the existence of God. (You’re thinking, “No kidding, Dick Tracy!”)

2. He also now believes that every human being who ever lived will be resurrected from the dead.

He claims to have arrived at these conclusions about God and immortality “in exactly the same way physicists calculate the properties of an electron.” (While I personally disagree with much of his published book, this turnabout for a professed atheist is interesting. (Unless you have an appetite for tensor calculus and differential equations, don’t waste your time.) You can learn more about the resurrection from the most important chapter in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 15.)

A far more insightful book is by Erwin Lutzer, One Minute After You Die. He is a truly delightful friend, has pastored the Moody Church in Chicago for over twenty years, and we used his popular book as our point of departure for our current briefing package on this subject. We also explore the intrinsic architecture of man, why he is immortal (saved or not), and we attempt to repair some of the misconceptions about Sheol, Hades and Gehenna, and the real nature of our present physical reality, as well as some of the more problematic issues involved in the “afterlife.”

This article was originally published in the November 2003 | http://www.khouse.org/articles_cat/2003/ "Your Ultimate Appointment: What Happens When You Die?"
by Chuck Missler | khouse.org

Articles And Commentary The Daniel Protocol

Daniel (the Book) feature
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Many claim “I’m a loyal person!” but who can find someone who truly is?

Proverbs 20:6, ISV

With all the worldview changes occurring today, what is a Christian to do? Does one hunker down and withdraw from the world or does one stand and fight? The answer may lie in The Daniel Protocol.

Issues for Today

Over the past few years, world events have brought new meaning to the Biblical prophecy of a time where good is called evil and evil is called good. Some of the issues we face today are:

Sanctity of Life:

» There has been a steady encroachment on the sanctity of life by abortion, euthanasia, cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Religious Liberty:

» Every day religious liberties are being attacked. Christians are ostracized, fined, and imprisoned for following Biblical dictates. People are being told to “keep their religion to themselves.” Moral virtue is being decried as intolerance. It is acceptable to condemn Christianity, but nothing bad can be said about Islam. What a few years ago was called “mainstream religion” is now being called “extremist religion.”

Marriage:

» The recognized concept of marriage that has been in place for millennia has been redefined. All kinds of sexual proclivities are not only considered acceptable, but are now deemed natural. The family, the foundation of any nation, is being eroded in the name of Progressivism.

Terrorism:

» There is a war being waged where the enemy is not acknowledged. Shootings in the name of Allah are termed “workplace violence.” Jihadists who murder Christians, burn villages, and enslave women and children are called “warring tribes.” The violence being perpetrated on innocents is being termed “war in the name of fundamentalist religion,” placing many Christians in the same category as ISIS and Boko Haram. It is a clash of civilizations that is being put in terms of mere criminal activity.

Judicial Roles:

» Judges are usurping the role of legislatures and creating law out of thin air.

Faith-based solutions:

» Churches and faith-based organizations are being told they cannot operate unless they repudiate their religious mandates. Many Christian services are closing rather than bending to pressure from the State, leaving many people without help or hope.

Education:

» Education is becoming less about learning and more about becoming “good citizens.” Those that choose to educate their own children along religious precepts are being put under great pressure to turn over their children to the State. Sometimes this means imprisonment.

Media:

» All this under the watchful gaze of a Progressive media that is only reporting the news that fits their worldview.

A Survey of Religious Hostility in America is a collection of more than 1,200 cases, detailing religious bigotry throughout America — most of which have occurred within the past 10 years. It offers stunning insight into the attacks against people of faith across the United States.

Many Christians are having a crisis of conscience. They are looking for ways to deal with the world around them. In June, this author wrote of an option many are taking called The Benedict Option.

According to the author Eric Dean:

The political and social disorder that accompanied the end of the Roman Empire induced many people to turn away from society. The idea of an isolated ascetic life had developed in the East, particularly in Egypt, where St. Anthony inspired many. Some individual hermits began to form monastic communities, but for the most part the emphasis was still upon the private war between the spirit and the world.

People who hold to the Benedict Option are separating themselves from the world to form isolated Christian communities. These people believe they will be able to live their lives without enduring the pressures of the outside world.

There is a basic flaw in this assumption. Those that are choosing the Benedict Option think they will be left alone. They will not. One lesson of history is Evil will not leave Good in peace. Evil will follow them. It is not enough for today’s Progressives to have their views considered “mainstream”; they are bent in making others conform to their way of thinking. They will follow those who try to isolate themselves into their communities and impose their values on them.

The Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto found this out the hard way. They isolated themselves from the Nazis. They woke up one morning with a fence around them and their community became their prison. The next step was a train ride and a one way trip to the ovens.

The Bible had something to say about retreating to enclaves. It talks about people putting their trust in walled cities instead of God. In every case, those cities were destroyed:

City walls and buildings outside Hazor, one of Israel’s most heavily fortified cities.

There is an alternative to retreating from the World this author calls The Daniel Protocol.

Daniel: An Example for Today.

Daniel was an exceptional individual. Throughout his life, he was a powerful and influential individual, unusually close to mighty rulers. Daniel remained a humble believer whose honesty and integrity were unalloyed with greed or a lust for personal power. The intensity of Daniel’s relationship with the Lord enabled him to live uncorrupted at the very center of worldly power.

Daniel was a man with essential lessons to teach us.

» Daniel teaches us to put God first, both privately and publicly. His commitment to the Lord and to nurturing a healthy relationship with Him was indispensable to the role he played in the government of world empires.

» Daniel reminds us to view every person as an individual rather than being in awe of the position he or she might have. Much of Daniel’s influence resulted from the fact that rulers knew Daniel cared about them rather than what they could do for him.

» Daniel inspires us to stay faithful to the Lord whatever the difficulty. If our relationship with God is the only basis on which others can attack us, let them do so. But we are to stay faithful to the Lord in deed and in word.

» Daniel encourages us to be involved in government. True believers can have a role in politics without compromising their convictions. Such a person may impact an entire nation as well as influence many who need to know the Lord.

» Daniel encourages us to give prayer a central role in our lives. Daniel did not pray only in emergencies. He prayed daily. Daniel not only brought his requests to the Lord; he brought praise. When we see the impact Daniel had on those of his own time, we can hardly discount the role of prayer in his life or in ours.

Daniel was dragged to Babylon and eventually found himself in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Rather than try to appease the king, he always spoke the truth. He risked his life for decades by speaking truth to Babylon’s kings—but never gave up.

Daniel’s overall message has special relevance to us today as well. It is really a textbook of instruction and an example of how God’s people can live in difficult conditions and come through victoriously. Even as the Jewish people were living in Babylonian captivity, so Christians today are pilgrims and sojourners in a foreign culture. We, like Daniel and his friends, must exercise our implicit faith in God’s purposes and leading for our lives. We too must resolve in advance that we will not be defiled by the world. And whether our God delivers us or not from the fiery furnace, we will stay faithful to Him.

Your majesty, if it be his will, our God whom we serve can deliver us from the blazing fire furnace, and he will deliver us from you. But if not, rest assured, your majesty, that we won’t serve your gods, and we won’t worship the golden statue that you have set up.

— Daniel 3:17–18, ISV

The courage and faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace and the steadfast faithfulness of Daniel in the lions’ den still stand as models for us today. All these men refused to waver in their commitment to God. They remained obedient to God, despite the unpleasant and seemingly overpowering circumstances that engulfed them. These stories encourage us to stand firm for our Lord regardless of the pressure exerted on us by our culture or by unfortunate circumstances. These men did not compromise their faith, even at the risk of losing their lives. They challenge us to do likewise.

Daniel reminds us God is sovereign and his kingdom will finally triumph over all hostile world powers, a triumph that includes our resurrection from the dead.

D.L. Moody often preached on Daniel:

Daniel thought more of his principles than he did of earthly honor or the esteem of men. Right was right with him. He was going to do right today and let the morrows take care of themselves. That firmness of purpose, in the strength of God, was the secret of his success.

Daniel and his friends personify for us Christian courage at its best—not merely a desperate courage for some emergency situation, but a quiet steadfast courage that enables us to live in a Christ-like manner each day. It takes courage to be an unpopular minority when truth and right are involved. It takes courage to defend God’s name when everyone else is using it in blasphemy. It takes courage to be another Daniel in a godless society.

Daniel calls Christians to live out their faith in a hostile world whatever the cost. No longer can Christians sit on the fence. No longer can we try to stay below the fray.

As John Loeffler, a friend of the ministry and host of the program “Steel on Steel” says:

I will not sit down. I will not shut up. I will speak the truth with love.

Be a Daniel.

Source: eNews for August 03, 2015

On the Mark of the Beast – Part 3

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Ed. Note: What follows is Part Three of a three-part series on the Mark of the Beast. The author, Dr. William Welty, is the Executive Director of the ISV foundation and also serves as Research Analyst in Advanced Communication Technologies and Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies on the faculty of Koinonia Institute.

All Biblical citations are taken from the International Standard Version (ISV) translation of the Bible.

2. The Mark of the Beast

Here’s a copy of the text of  Revelation 13:18 from Codex Sinaiticus:

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Revelation 13:18 in Codex Sinaiticus. Note the presence of horizontal markers between the lines, indicative of possible abbreviation and/or symbolism being called to the attention of the reader or copyist above the letter “o” in the Greek word “exeko” in the second to last line of the text.

The key part of the image to which we call the reader’s attention are the last two letters in the second to last line, above. They are the Greek letters kappa and omicron. They correspond to the English letters “k” and “o,” and comprise the last two letters of the Greek word that translates into English as the number “sixty” in this verse.

Please keep in mind that Codex Sinaiticus is an uncial manuscript. In other words, with the exception of a few words (such as the word for “sixty” in Revelation 13:18), all of the letters in the manuscript are CAPITAL letters. Minuscule manuscripts of the New Testament were written entirely in lower case letters. There were no early manuscripts composed with both upper and lower case letters, except as noted above when the uncial manuscript copyist was attempting to communicate an abbreviation or other matter to the attention of the reader or later copyist. Miniscule manuscripts that include Revelation 13:18 had a tendency not to spell out the words “six hundred,” “sixty,” or “six” as words, as can be seen in Codex Sinaiticus. Instead, they would only print the numeric values themselves in a row, perhaps like this: χ ξ ς. We will leave it to Arabic language experts to debate the philological resemblance between the Shahadatan and the Greek letters χ, ξ, and ς.

Summary and Conclusions

We do not believe that the Greek text of Revelation 13:18 necessarily requires that the hegemony of Anti-Christ includes absolute world-wide domination of a global currency to which adherence is a strict and involuntary requirement. The Greek text of Revelation 13 includes the clear and obvious indication that those who take the mark of the Beast will do so voluntarily, perhaps out of the same type of allegiance that influenced people in the former Soviet Union to join the Communist Party in order to enjoy the best of the benefits of that regime. Taking the mark of the Beast will be a symbol of adherence to a false religious system that rejects the hegemony of Messiah HaNaggid, the Messiah-Prince of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth.

Now as to the dangers of digital currencies, electronic money such as BitCoin, or the dangers inherent in dependence upon fiat paper money, we have little to contribute to the debate that hasn’t already been noted. We see danger in RFID technology for a variety of reasons, but none of them relate to the false religious system described in Revelation 13. In the midst of our debates about these subjects, let’s be careful to distinguish between what the text is saying, and what it’s not necessarily saying. One may, as I do, oppose RFIDs and certain types of ID chips, without seeing them as the mark of the Beast. I see them as violations of privacy and security, with private and/or government intrusion not welcome on any level without my consent.

Afterward: Toward a Biblically-based Alternative

But then again, it’s the consent issue that constitutes the problem, is it not? It seems to me, therefore, that Christians have an obligation to the world we live in to do something more significant and lasting than merely to sit back and to criticize without actually proposing practical solutions to the problems about which we write. Anybody can smell a rotten egg, but it takes a healthy chicken to lay a good one. Am I the only one who seems to have noted that an astonishingly large number of Christian objectors to RFID technology haven’t bothered to propose their own biblically-based solution to what they perceive is a problem? All these objectors seem to be doing nowadays is to criticize, to publish books, to write articles, and to distribute Internet blogs of dubious scholarly disposition about RFIDs, all the while selling lots of DVD’s and other materials about how their grammatically unsupportable theories “prove” what the Mark of the Beast is or will be.

Frankly, because I hold an alternative, contrarian position in this regard, for a number of years now I’ve been working with some international business acquaintances located in Europe and within the African Union, very quietly and out-of-the public eye, on a workable alternative to electronic, cashless transactions that depend on privacy-violating RFID chips or other intrusive technologies. We’ve done this as quietly as we reasonably can within the context of the revealing nature of the Internet so as to avoid being attacked by a hostile banking industry or by hostile government regulatory agencies such as the IMF or the World Bank.

Naturally, over the last few years, the only attacks we’ve received about our projects have come from the so-called “evangelical Christian” community. Some of the more abusive, libelous, and uninformed members of this group have accused me and Dr. Missler of being members of the Illuminati, the One-World Government, or other global elitist communities. Some of these clueless individuals have confused our watchdog role of observing various United Nations technology groups with which we’ve been affiliated with or have had membership in, as if we’re in lockstep with their one world agenda.

The truth is that, just as if there’s a wasp in the room, I intend to keep an eye on it—all the while keeping my can of bug killer in my hand—so also we monitor various U.N. agencies so we can monitor their activities.

A global Super-Wide Area Network Satellite (SWANsat) System

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As many of our Koinonia Institute members have observed, for a number of years now I have been involved in the development of a revolutionary new method of providing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services via geosynchronous satellite.

The primary focus of this project has been to create a global Super-Wide Area Network Satellite (SWANsat) System that, when made operational, could provide a world-wide private ICT link to facilitate secure telecommunications and ICT.

It became quickly evident early in the development process that, when coupled with ultra-high security encryption capability, it could be possible to develop a means to facilitate local and international banking and commerce that could stand independent of oppression, control, or malevolent hacking attempts while still maintaining lawful economic commerce, all the while bypassing oppressive efforts to interfere with legitimate transactions.

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Toward this end, one of our associate companies has developed a comprehensive payments platform that provides a mobile phone-based payment controller that can be deployed without the need for brick-and-mortar buildings, banking institutions, or point-of-sale hardware.

The system is called a “2 Dimensional payment mechanism”. 

It provides seamless integration for all retail, e-commerce, point-of-sale, and mobile wallet payment systems with a state-of-the-art controller that operates without RFID technology or intrusive, privacy-violating inquiries from parties uninvolved in the cash transaction being undertaken between the payer and payee. The only electronics involved is the user’s mobile phone.

As developed and rolled out into the African markets by our associates at GTiPay, Ltd., it’s significant what is not involved in the newly patented system:

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» 2D is not a credit card linked system.

» 2D is not a payment code linked to personal and credit card information.

» 2D is not a predetermined code with a monetary value or a voucher.

» 2D is not an e-wallet or underlying account system for individual subscription.

» 2D does not require registration from individuals (like PayPal and others do).

» 2D is not a separate mobile application to use for payment.

» 2D is not linked to Point-of-Sale hardware.

Instead, the 2D system incorporates the following positive, privacy-advocating characteristics:

» 2D is a payment mechanism alternative to card based payment systems.

» 2D is uniquely generated codes, with attributes that are instantly recognized world-wide.

» 2D is a payment online from any of the payer’s accounts, with no credit card account needed.

» 2D provides instant transaction verification world-wide.

» 2D is a payment mechanism for banks, e-wallet companies, or any account provider institute.

» 2D is free from special hardware to facilitate a payment.

This system is designed to eliminate abusive financial experiences that have been affecting citizens of Developing Countries (DC’s) and Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) within the African Union, who are subject to monopolistic abuse by international payment facilitators with respect to wire transfers, ACH transactions, and SWIFT transactions. When systems such as the 2D concept are fully rolled out world-wide, with attendant corresponding bank representations being established in other continents, the usefulness of companies such as Western Union may well become severely limited.

Related Articles

June 08, 2015 | Source: khouse.org | enews

About the author

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William P. Welty, Ph.D

Dr. Welty is Executive Director of the ISV Foundation of Bellflower, California, producers of the Holy Bible: International Standard Version.

He is a graduate (M.Div., 1978) of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School of Deerfield, Illinois and holds a Ph.D. in Christian Communications (2005) from Louisiana Baptist University.

Dr. Welty also serves in the dual roles of Research Analyst in Advanced Communication Technologies and Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies on the faculty of the Koinonia Institute.

 A copy of this paper has been downloaded from the author’s web site see below: 

On the Mark of the Beast – Part 1

Ed. Note: What follows is Part One of a three-part series on the Mark of the Beast. The author, Dr. William Welty, is the Executive Director of the ISV foundation and also serves as Research Analyst in Advanced Communication Technologies and Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies on the faculty of Koinonia Institute. All Biblical citations are taken from the International Standard Version (ISV) translation of the Bible.

Why 666 has nothing to do with RFID technology or digital one-world currency

For many decades now, at least part of modern evangelical Christian tradition has taught that the end of days will be characterized by an attempt to set up a single world government with what some believe will be a one world currency. As Koinonia Institute’s Executive Research Editor Dr. Steven Elwart has observed1)http://kiresearch.org/2015/04/toward-world-currency-control/:

The Bible does not use the phrase “one-world government” or “one-world currency” in referring to the end times. It does, however, provide ample evidence to enable us to draw the conclusion that both will exist under the rule of the Antichrist in the last days.

Elwart is not alone in holding this view. Perhaps one of the more vocal proponents of the opinion that the end times will see a one world currency control system being established throughout the earth is Dr. Katherine Albrecht,2)http://www.katherinealbrecht.com/about-katherine/ an internationally recognized authority on cyber security and privacy issues, including the dangers of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies. But it isn’t only the evangelical Christian community that’s concerned about the spreading adoption of electronic currencies as a means to control personal and national economics. The respected international investment experts at Casey Research3)http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/governments-want-to-enslave-you-with-digital-cash have been warning of late:

» Governments want to get rid of physical cash. Paper currency is just too private. Digital cash is much easier to track, tax, and confiscate. Unfortunately, most Americans are too clueless to resist what’s coming. Casey Research contributor Jeff Thomas says the sheeple will agree to anything that’s sold as a panacea to their economic woes.4)http://www.caseyresearch.com/go/ujzzs-2/CSR

» The US government is just waiting for the right opportunity… which Jeff believes will be the next financial crisis. Politicians will blame it on people who “hoard” their cash. Good citizens, you see, give their cash to a bank for safekeeping. We can’t have people hiding cash outside the system under their mattresses.

» You can almost hear President Hillary on TV: “Effective immediately, all cash will be digitized. You have 60 days to deposit your paper dollars with a bank. This is for the good of the people.”

The Temporary Authority of the Anti-Christ in Revelation 13:5–10a

One of the most important component elements contained in the eschatological drama described in the apocalyptic literary genre that is the book of Revelation is the temporary nature of the authority granted to the forces of Anti-Christ at the end of days. We invite the reader to notice the derivative and limited nature of the authority wielded by this individual and his followers:

The beast was allowed to speak arrogant and blasphemous things, and it was given authority for 42 months. It uttered blasphemies against God, against his name, and against his residence, that is, against those who are living in heaven. It was allowed to wage war against the saints and to conquer them. It was also given authority over every tribe, people, languages, and nation. All those living on earth will worship it, everyone whose name is not written in the Book of Life belonging to the lamb that was slaughtered from the foundation of the world.

— Revelation 13:5–8, ISV

Specifically, note the permissive, passive verbs in this passage such as “The beast was allowed to speak” (13:5), “it was given authority for 42 months” (13:5b), it “was allowed to wage war against the saints and to conquer them” during this time period (13:7), and “it was also given authority” (13:7) over all sorts of ethnic groups and cultural enclaves on an international scale for this three and a half year period. The use of the passive voice is a grammatical indicator from the writer informing us that the Sovereign Lord over all creation is in charge of the earth, even during the 42 months of demonic reign over that earth. The Apostle John summarizes the absolute sovereignty of God over these events in the very next verses:

Let everyone listen:
If anyone is to be taken captive,
into captivity he will go.
If anyone is to be killed with a sword,
with a sword he will be killed.

— Revelation 13:9–10, ISV

To sum up, the writer of the Revelation to John reminds his readers that nobody will fall under the hegemony of Anti-Christ outside of the absolute and complete authority and predestination of God himself. God controls the extent of Anti-Christ’s authority, the success of his belligerent campaigns against the saints, the duration and timing of his all-too-temporary reign, and the ferocity of his attacks on God’s people. Nothing about these events will take God by surprise.

The Grammatical Implications of Revelation 13:10b–18

The clues that help us eliminate a one world currency or RFID technology as the identifying Mark of the Beast are contained in the text of Revelation 13:10b–18:

Here is a call for endurance and faith of the saints:

If anyone is to be taken captive, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with a sword, with a sword he will be killed. Here is a call for endurance and faith of the saints: I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it talked like a dragon. It uses all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and those living on it worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs spectacular signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people. It deceives those living on earth with the signs that it is allowed to do on behalf of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who was wounded by a sword and yet lived. The second beast was allowed to impart life to the image of the first beast so that the image of the beast could talk and order the execution of those who would not worship the image of the beast. The second beast forces all people—important and unimportant, rich and poor, free and slaves—to be marked on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the mark, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name. In this case wisdom is needed: Let the person who has understanding calculate the total number of the beast, because it is a human total number, and the sum of the number is 666.”

— Revelation 13:10–18, ISV

Other translations note:

» 13:18 is a multitude of a man; or is the number of a human being

» 13:18 total number

» 13:18 Other manuscripts read 616; some scholars suggest that the Greek letters χ, ξ, and ς (totaling 666) may resemble the proto-Arabic term for “in the name of Allah”

The main grammatical clue that informs us regarding the application of this passage to economic indicators is the awkward Greek construction found in verse sixteen: “The second beast forces” all sorts of people “to be marked on their right hands or on their foreheads.” The aftereffect of the mark is to prohibit commerce via cash transactions by those who do not have the mark. As a matter of numismatic fact, however, the text does not indicate that this prohibition will include restrictions on barter-for-kind transactions. Only buying and selling through traditional coinage will be affected.

Nothing in the text of Revelation 13 indicates that barter will be included in the economic controls of the future one world economy.

Related Reading

Original Source:  eNews for May 25, 2015 

References   [ + ]

1. http://kiresearch.org/2015/04/toward-world-currency-control/
2. http://www.katherinealbrecht.com/about-katherine/
3. http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/governments-want-to-enslave-you-with-digital-cash
4. http://www.caseyresearch.com/go/ujzzs-2/CSR

On the Mark of the Beast – Part 2

Ed. Note: What follows is Part Two of a three-part series on the Mark of the Beast. The author, Dr. William Welty, is the Executive Director of the ISV foundation and also serves as Research Analyst in Advanced Communication Technologies and Adjunct Professor of Middle Eastern Studies on the faculty of Koinonia Institute.

All Biblical citations are taken from the International Standard Version (ISV) translation of the Bible.

The Clue is in the Causative

The Apostle John’s description of the mark of the beast was recorded in the New Testament as a Greek koine narrative1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Koine_Greek. The Greek language does not contain the rich nuance of volitional persuasion that is connoted by the Hebrew language causative verb form.

While most non-Hebrew language Bible readers may not be familiar with the Hebrew causative, almost every Bible reader is familiar with Psalm 23. Note how the Psalmist’s use of the Hebrew causative verb form brings out the subtle influence of God as he acts as shepherd to David, persuading him to take the actions described in verse two of the psalm:

The LORD is the one who is shepherding me; I lack nothing. He causes me to lie down in pastures of green grass; he guides me beside quiet waters.

— Psalm 23:1–2, ISV

Do notice, if you would, how David confesses that it is God who is causing him to lie down, but there’s no suggestion that this action is being taken against his will.

For David to lie down in the pasture is an act of active cooperation on David’s part, but he’s being motivated to make the choice and act on that choice by God’s outward and inward influence.

The same lack of brute force contained within the context of outward and inward influence is connoted by the Apostle John in Revelation 13:16’s use of the Greek dative declension of the personal pronoun “them” to describe the second beast influencing all sorts of people “to take for themselves the mark” (Greek: ἵνα δῶσιν αὐτοῖς χάραγμα), the actual nuance of the dative declension here.

The description by the Apostle John of the mark is that it will be placed either on the right hand or on the forehead of the person receiving it. This is a not-so-subtle clue to anyone familiar with the Torah of the antecedent theology from the earliest days of national Israel’s existence that the mark of the beast will be a rival or substitute for devotion to the true God of Israel.

The obvious word picture being described compares the mark of the beast to the Tefillim2)http://kitzur365.org/resources/kitzur-107-hashems-name-on-tefillin/ (or phylacteries) worn by righteous Jews.

Above: A set of Gussos tefillin in the Ashkanazi tradition.

Above: Ornate configuration of tefillin straps and design convey the name of God
 Just as the phylacteries were placed on the right hand or on the forehead of the faithful of ancient Israel, so also will these modern followers of the false prophet, the Beast, and their false god who animates them adopt to themselves an imitation emblem that mocks the faithful of ancient Israel.

Former Muslim terrorist and now Christian apologist Walid Shoebat3)http://shoebat.com/shoebat-foundation/who-is-walid/ has suggested in recent years that the Greek letters chi, ksi, and sigma (Greek: χ, ξ, and ς, used to indicate the three separate Greek numbers 600, 60, and 6) may bear

Above: Arabic language illustration of the Shahadatan confession of allegiance to Allah
06-01-01-Arabic-abbreviation-and-Greek-letters
AboveTop: Arabic abbreviation of the Shahadatan. Bottom: Greek miniscule letters for 600, 60, and 6
 a visual resemblance to the Aramaic4)http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/aramaic_language.html rendering of the Shahadatan5)http://rasoulallah.net/index.php/en/articles/article/16078, the standard Arabic language confessional statement of the unity of Allah and of the significance of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Dr. Albrecht is aware of this view6)http://www.katherinealbrecht.com/blog/debunking-the-theory-that-the-mark-of-the-beast-is-islam/, but rejects it outright. In our view, this rejection is without scholarly merit.

Hints from Codex Sinaiticus (ca. 350 AD)

One of the bases upon which Dr. Albrecht rejects Shoebat’s thesis is Shoebat’s observation that a horizontal bar written across the top of the Greek letters representing the numbers 60 and 6 are added by Shoebat to bolster his claim that the philological appearance of the sequence of Greek letters bears a visual resemblance to the Shahadatan.

Aside from Dr. Albrecht’s ignorance concerning the elements of the Greek alphabet (such as her confusing the name of the miniscule Greek letter sigma (ς) with the Latin language word stigma, which means “mark”), Dr. Albrecht is just plain wrong about the use of horizontal marks in Greek manuscripts.

Their presence in NT Greek manuscript philology is not only abundant and common, a study of their usage and function is a component element of elementary Greek exegetical analysis and textual criticism. We take the liberty of citing two examples from Codex Sinaiticus7)http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/ to illustrate this pattern of using horizontal marks in the Greek text to indicate abbreviations.

1. The Divine Name

The earliest indications that Christians considered Jesus to be Yahweh Elohim8)http://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html incarnate is seen by examining how the first known manuscripts of the Greek New Testament depict the name “Jesus” and many predicate nominatives that refer to him.

It is common knowledge that Jews were, as an almost inviolate rule, averse to pronouncing the holy name of God. Even today, many orthodox Jewish publishing houses will refrain from spelling out the English noun “God” in their English language manuscripts, preferring instead to spell the word as “G-d” so as to avoid violating the Third Commandment.

The writers of the New Testament gospels were Jews. When they wrote Greek words that refer to HaShem9)http://www.betemunah.org/hashem.html, that is, pronouns that refer to deity [such as the Greek word kyrios10)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyrios, which means “Lord”], they would follow this ancient tradition.

One of the clearest examples demonstrating that the early copyists of New Testament manuscripts were following in that Jewish tradition of avoiding spelling out references to deity can be found in the text of Codex Sinaiticus, which is arguably considered the earliest extant copy of the New Testament.

It has been dated reliably to about the middle of the fourth century, AD We reproduce below a sample portion of Matthew 23:39-24:1 from Codex Sinaiticus, along with a Greek transcription and English translation of that text from the Holy Bible: International Standard Version.

The line immediately preceding this portion of Matthew 23:39–24:1 reads “…you will not see me again until you say,…” immediately followed by the text above, which translates as:

…“‘How blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” After Jesus had left the Temple and was walking away…

The first three lines of the uncial manuscript (i.e., a manuscript written completely in capital letters) depicted in the image above are a quotation by Jesus from Psalm 118:26, where the Masoretic Text11)http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/masorete.htm phrase “name of the Lord“ spells the word LORD. This is a specific reference to Yahweh Elohim.

Do note, if you will please, how the Codex Sinaiticus copyist declined to spell out the name of God in the Greek text. Instead, he wrote out an abbreviation of the Greek word kyrios, using only the Greek letters KY. The letters come from the Greek genitive singular kyriou, which translate as “of the Lord”. Then he placed a short diacritical mark above the line, starting at the right edge of the letter “K” and extending about half way across the top of the capital letter “Y”.

The presence of this diacritical mark is somewhat analogous to modern English grammatical usage of an apostrophe within a contraction to indicate missing letters that are to be supplied by the reader for comprehension. (For example, the contraction “don’t” is intended to mean “do not”.) Contractions were utilized when referring to deity out of a reluctance to violate the Third Commandment, which prohibits vain use of the name of God.

But notice how in the very next line, that same copyist applied the tradition of not spelling out the name of God to not spelling out the name of Jesus. Instead, he spelled “Jesus” as “IS,” (i.e., printing the first and last letter of his name as a contraction), and then he added the same diacritical mark above those two letters that he did with the noun referring to God just a few lines above.

This pattern is so prevalent throughout Codex Sinaiticus, occurring dozens of times in the manuscript, that a clear and obvious pattern linking the name of Jesus and predicate nominative pronouns referring to Jesus with the sacred name of Yahweh Elohim cannot be denied. In sum, the copyists of the early New Testament manuscripts afforded Jesus the same reverence and honor when writing out his name and references to him that the reverent Jews extended to the sacred name “LORD”.

Related Reading

Original Source: eNews for June 01, 2015

References   [ + ]

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Koine_Greek
2. http://kitzur365.org/resources/kitzur-107-hashems-name-on-tefillin/
3. http://shoebat.com/shoebat-foundation/who-is-walid/
4. http://cal1.cn.huc.edu/aramaic_language.html
5. http://rasoulallah.net/index.php/en/articles/article/16078
6. http://www.katherinealbrecht.com/blog/debunking-the-theory-that-the-mark-of-the-beast-is-islam/
7. http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/
8. http://www.gotquestions.org/names-of-God.html
9. http://www.betemunah.org/hashem.html
10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyrios
11. http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/masorete.htm

Calling Evil Good

How terrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute what is bitter for what is sweet and what is sweet for what is bitter! — Isaiah 5:20, ISV

The Battle of Yorktown effectively ended the American Revolutionary War. When British General Cornwallis surrendered, tradition has it that the British band played the “The World Turned Upside Down”, a tune that underscored the strange turn of events which had brought defeat at the hands of the provincial forces of America, to the most powerful country in Europe.

Today there is another battle going on where insurgents have taken on one of the most powerful forces in the world and may also win.

There is an assault on the Judeo-Christian worldview by a coalition of groups among them: atheists, Muslims, and secular-humanists who have very little in common except for their common hatred of Judaism and Christianity in all its forms.

Same Sex Marriages

While recognizing same sex marriages has made inroads across the world (see figure above), some of the most vehement attacks are coming from within.

The Enemy Within

More and more Christian denominations are open to ordaining openly, practicing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) pastors for their flocks. The first mainline denomination in the United States to ordain openly gay clergy was the United Church of Christ—UCC in 1972. Other groups include the Church of Sweden where clergy may serve in senior clerical positions. In 2003 the United Church of Christ General Synod called for full inclusion of transgender persons. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America decided in August 2009 to accept gay, lesbian, and bisexual clergy in sexually active monogamous relationships. (The first openly transgender leader of an ELCA congregation wasordained in 2014 in San Francisco.)

Many more congregations allow their clergy to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Anglicanism, the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, Anglican Church of Canada (in some dioceses) are some of the churches. The United Protestant Church of France performs blessings of same-sex couples. In 2013, Church of England indicated that it plans the blessing of same-sex unions.[19] It is, however, forbidden by law to conduct same-sex marriages within its churches. In New Zealand, the Aotearoa Quaker Meeting in 1995 pledged “to seek formal ways of recognizing a variety of commitments, including gay and lesbian partnerships.” On March 18, of this year, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to formally sanction homosexual marriage.

Even with this degradation of the meaning of marriage, many people are lobbying for even more inroads into defining what a marriage is. There are people who want to extend marriage rites not only to a man having multiple spouses (polygyny) or a woman having multiple husbands (polyandry), but also for a marriage having multiple husbands and wives (polyamory). While these practices have been around for millennia, it is only recently where “First World” countries are starting to recognize them.

Abortion

Abortion has been practiced for millennia; through most of history, it was induced by herbal chemistry. Both contraceptives and abortion-inducing agents were used by a variety of cultures. An inscription from ancient Sumer lists what is likely a recipe for inducing abortion, and Egyptian papyri dating as far back as 1500 BC make references to chemicals being used to induce abortion. The earliest medical writing from Egypt, dated around 1850 BC, contains recipes for preventing conception.

Historical Context

A variety of opinions seem to have surrounded the practice of abortion in antiquity. For example, Virgil used the word “children” to describe the unborn, and Juvenal used the word “humans” to describe a fetus in the womb. On the other hand, Aristotle wrote about abortion in a way that may indicate the practice was considered normal.

The Early Church

Many of the early church fathers spoke out about the practice of abortion. John Chrysostom in the East and Jerome in the West both condemned it.

Other examples include:

» The Didache, one of the most prominent extra biblical early church documents, explicitly forbids abortion: “[D]o not abort a fetus or kill a child that is born”.

» Basil declared that a woman who had induced an abortion should be tried for murder.

» Augustine extensively spoke against abortion, particularly as he wrestled with theological issues such as the existence of the soul.

In the first few hundred years of Christianity, the discussion of abortion revolved around when the unborn fetus actually became human. That practice has continued to this day.

As medical advances have shown a baby can survive outside the womb at an earlier and earlier age, ethicists have posited that a fetus becomes human at a later and later time. Many now consider it ethical to kill a child as it starts down the birth canal, but not fully delivered. When all but the head is delivered, a procedure called “partial-birth abortion” kills the baby just seconds before the baby takes its first breath of life.

But it does not end there.

Many now put a “quality of life” as a measure of life. If a child is born with a birth defect that could cause an “undue economic or emotional” hardship on the mother, that child can be aborted. As one woman said, “I believe that my rights, my health, my consciousness, and my obligations to others—including to my toddler daughter—outweigh the rights of the unborn human inside me.”

But it still does not end there.

Some medical “ethicists” believe that a child can be killed even after it has been born. The Journal of Medical Ethics prepublished electronically an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

The abstract of the paper states:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health.

By showing that:

» Both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons,

» The fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and

» Adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people

The authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

They have also stated that abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health.

Their reasoning goes as follows:

»  1) The fetus and the newborn are morally equivalent. “The moral status of an infant is equivalent to that of a fetus in the sense that both lack those properties that justify the attribution of a right to life to an individual.”

» 2) The fetus and the newborn are both “potential persons”. Although fetuses and newborns are not persons, they are potential persons because they can develop, thanks to their own biological mechanisms, those properties which will make them ‘persons’ in the sense of ‘subjects of a moral right to life’: that is, the point at which they will be able to make aims and appreciate their own life.”

They also disallow adoption as an alternative to post-birth abortion. They state that the argument for carrying a child to term and beyond, “… it is not strong enough to outweigh the consideration of the interests of actual people. Indeed, however weak the interests of actual people can be, they will always trump the alleged interest of potential people to become actual ones, because this latter interest amounts to zero.”

In the conclusion of the paper they state:

If criteria such as the costs (social, psychological, economic) for the potential parents are good enough reasons for having an abortion even when the fetus is healthy, if the moral status of the newborn is the same as that of the infant and if neither has any moral value by virtue of being a potential person, then the same reasons which justify abortion should also justify the killing of the potential person when it is at the stage of a newborn.

It is a sad, but true statement that the most dangerous place in the world for a child is inside their mother’s womb.

You Can’t Make This Up

In another new and disturbing paper that has been peer-reviewed and published, two philosophers recently profiled by Australia’s ABC network have taken what is already a runaway definition of “equality” to a whole new level of ridiculous.

Professors Adam Swift of the University of Warwick and Harry Brighouse of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, think they’ve found the root source of inequality in society: the family.

Social scientists have long realized and written on the benefits that loving, intact families give children. Studies have shown that the children in these types of families are more likely to attend college, less likely to suffer or perpetrate abuse, less likely to do drugs or cross the law, and have a higher likelihood of passing on these advantages to their own children. One would think this would make us want good families in our society. But Swift and Brighouse don’t think that’s fair.

Swift stated, “If the family is this source of unfairness in society, then it looks plausible to think that if we abolished the family there would be a more level playing field.”

As the humorist Dave Barry would write, “I’m not making this up.”

While even Swift and Brighouse realize that abolishing the family would be overboard (for now), they offer an alternative. Their alternative is to hobble intact families—especially those with means—by prohibiting private school, inheritance, summer camp, and other “purely economic means” of conferring advantage on children.

They also believe that since bedtime stories also give kids a leg-up in life, they think those that to read to their children should “occasionally” feel bad about reading to their kids.

A World Turned Upside Down

Such a scenario brings to mind C. S. Lewis’ famous epilogue to The Screwtape Letters, entitled, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast.” In it, the retired tempter tells graduates of a demonic college to teach humans that good habits—the kind that improve society (kind of like the family does)—are “undemocratic.” Instead of nurturing and encouraging virtues like morality and academic excellence, he says, humans should be trained to resent and destroy them.

The goal, says Screwtape, is the “elimination of every kind of human excellence—moral, cultural, social, or intellectual.”

There are other examples on the world calling good evil and evil good. A new game called, “Charlie, Charlie”, summoning demons has taken social media by storm. There is also a new TV series coming out called “Lucifer“ The series will focus on Lucifer, ”who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell and resigns his throne and abandons his kingdom for the beauty of Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.”

While one would hope that the above scenarios will not be taken to their logical conclusion, past recent history paints a different scenario.

In a world that has been turned upside down, we need to be like the Christ’s disciples in the Book of Acts:
When they didn’t find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials and shouted, “These fellows who have turned the world upside down have come here, too,” (Acts 17:6, ISV)

If we turned this world upside down, maybe it will be “right-side up” again.

Additional Reading

» Ordination of LGBT Christian clergy — Wikipedia

» List of Christian denominational positions on homosexuality  — Wikipedia

» Pastor warns of demon possession playing Charlie-Charlie  — Jamaca Observer

» Professor: If You Read To Your Kids, You’re ‘Unfairly Disadvantaging’ Others — National Review

» Post-Birth Abortions: An Idea That’s Gaining Ground on Campus  — Aleteia News

Original Source: khouse.org "eNews for June 01, 2015"

Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia: Ark of the Covenant feature

Last week, CNN, as part of a travel article, mentioned a tourist destination that many do not know of. It suggested going to Ethiopia if one wants to see some incredible religious sites.

The highlight of the trip would be to Axum to see what many claim to be the Ark of the Covenant.

The suggestion that Ethiopia is the home of the Ark is not something new.

The history of the story goes back as far as when the Queen of Sheba met King Solomon, when it is said by some scholars that the Ark had been procured from Jerusalem and taken to Ethiopia. 

Is the Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia?

What is the Ark of the Covenant?

The ark of the covenant was a wooden box, approximately 4 × 2½ × 2½ feet, covered inside and out with gold, capped with a golden mercy seat that was flanked by two golden cherubim. 

 When God brought Israel up out of Egypt during the exodus, he gave Moses specific instructions on how to construct this ark (Exodus 25). 

Throughout the early history of Israel, the Ark of the Covenant played a critical role, for it represented the focal point of God’s Presence among Israel, combining his holiness and his power with his desire to dwell among his people and relate to them.

Ark of the CovenantThe ark was the most sacred aspect of the temple, for it was there that God could commune with His people, above the mercy seat which covered the ark, between the overshadowing cherubim. Within the ark were a pot of manna, and Aaron’s rod, and (most importantly) the two tables of God’s law:

Behind the second curtain was the part of the tent called the Most Holy Place, which had the gold altar for incense and the Ark of the Covenant completely covered with gold. In it was the gold jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the Tablets of the Covenant. Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the place of atonement.

— Hebrews 9:3–5, ISV

 In 3:16 Jeremiah makes a very radical prediction: in the future restoration the ark will be gone, and, more surprisingly, no one will even miss it. In accordance with Jeremiah’s prophecy, the Ark of the Covenant disappears from biblical history after the Babylonians capture and destroy Jerusalem in 587/586 BC.

And in those days when you increase in numbers and multiply in the land,” declares the LORD, “people will no longer say, ‘The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD,’ and it won’t come to mind, and they won’t remember it or miss it, nor will it be made again.

— Jeremiah 3:16, ISV

What happened to the Ark?

Numerous legends and theories that attempt to answer this question continue to circulate. One theory states that Jeremiah himself hid the ark beneath the Temple Mount just before the Babylonians captured the city. Some speculate that it is still there. A few people claim to have seen it. Old Testament scholars find this legend highly unlikely, without any verifiable evidence to support it.

Another legend about the ark comes from Ethiopia. The Ethiopian national “folk legend” states that the queen of Sheba was an Ethiopian queen. After she visited King Solomon in Jerusalem, she returned to Ethiopia and gave birth to Solomon’s son, a boy named Menilek. Later, Menilek returned to Jerusalem to visit his father, but then stole the Ark of the Covenant, taking it with him back to Ethiopia, where it remains to this day. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church claims to have the original Ark of the Covenant in a church in the ancient city of Axum.

There is, however a problem with this legend. Many scholars claim it doesn’t seem to line up with history. King Solomon predates the Axumite kingdom of Menilek by nearly one thousand years.

The Ark of the Covenant disappeared when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple and carried Judah captive into Babylon 600 years before Christ. At that time “all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of the Lord” were also taken to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:18), as were the brass and other metals that adorned the temple (2 Kings 25:13–20).

No mention, however, was made of the ark, the most important and perhaps most costly (the ark was overlaid with pure gold, and the mercy seat and cherubim were of pure gold) item in the temple, as well as certainly the most significant item to the writers of the accounts in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Jeremiah (chapter 52, as well as the book of Lamentations). Neither was there any mention of the Ark when Cyrus commissioned the rebuilding of the temple and sent back all its vessels as well (Ezra 1:1–11).

Men through the centuries have been almost as intrigued with the search for the Ark of the Covenant as they have with the search for Noah’s ark. The Ark was not in the restoration temple, nor the temple of Herod, nor in the tribulation temple. Neither is there any mention of it even in the millennial temple described in Ezekiel 40–48. People have rumored it is preserved somewhere in a cave in Ethiopia, or in the Arabian Desert, or somewhere else.

This is one reason some scholars believe that the Ark is indeed in Axum.

The Ethiopians have something very old and significant in that church that has produced this ancient legend, along with several church rituals relating to the Ark. What do they actually have in that church?

One possibility relates to a Jewish colony that was built in ancient southern Egypt on the Isle of Elephantine on the Nile River. In the sixth century BC the Egyptians hired Jewish mercenaries to defend a fortress on this island. Archaeological excavations on this site indicate that these Jews apparently constructed a model of the temple in Jerusalem on their island, ostensibly to worship God. Did they also construct a model of the Ark of the Covenant to place in that temple? Perhaps. No one knows for certain what happened to these Jewish mercenaries who had settled in southern Egypt. Some suggest they migrated east into Ethiopia, taking their replica of the Ark with them. If this scenario is true, then the Ethiopians might have this Ark, a very old (and highly significant) replica of the Ark of the Covenant.

Some scholars maintain that the most likely fate of the Ark of the Covenant is that the Babylonian army melted it down and carried the gold back to Babylonia. In any case, Jeremiah was correct. The ark disappeared.

Many believe that the Ark will have a role in end time prophecy. One thing is sure, today, God’s people experience God’s Presence through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; thus they do not miss the Ark of the Covenant, nor should they.

Related Articles

Source: eNews for April 27, 2015

Toward World Currency Control 

Globe: One World Government feature

The Bible does not use the phrase “one-world government” or “one-world currency” in referring to the end times.


It does, however, provide ample evidence to enable us to draw the conclusion that both will exist under the rule of the Antichrist in the last days.

Beast, Antichrist rising out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns:

Koinonia Institute
In his vision in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John sees the “beast,” also called the Antichrist, rising out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1). Combining this vision with Daniel’s similar one (Daniel 7:16–24), we can conclude that some sort of world system will be inaugurated by the beast, the most powerful “horn,” who will defeat the other nine and will begin to wage war against Christians.

A ‘Ruler’ with A ‘Vast Empire’ having ‘Power’ and ‘Great Authority’ given to him by ‘Satan’:

“… so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the mark, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name.” — Revelation 13:17, (ISV)

… so that no one may buy or sell unless he has the mark, which is the beast’s name or the number of its name.” — Revelation 13:17, (ISV)

John goes on to describe the ruler of this vast empire as having power and great authority, given to him by Satan himself (Revelation 13:2), being followed by and receiving worship from “all the world” (Revelation 13:3–4), and having authority over “every tribe, people, language and nation” (Revelation 13:7). From this description, it is logical to assume that this person is the leader of a one-world government which is recognized as sovereign over all other governments. Twentieth Century history and current events doesn’t make it hard to imagine how such diverse systems of government as are in power today would willingly subjugate themselves to a single ruler.

The disasters and plagues described in Revelation as the seal and trumpet judgments (chapters 6–11) will be so devastating and create such a monumental global crisis that people will embrace anything and anyone who promises to give them relief.

Once entrenched in power, the beast (Antichrist) and the power behind him (Satan) will move to establish absolute control over all peoples of the earth to accomplish their true end, the worship Satan has been seeking ever since being thrown out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12–14). One way they will accomplish this is by controlling all commerce, and this is where the idea of a one-world currency comes in.

Satanic mark in order to buy and sell:

Revelation 13:16–17 describes some sort of satanic mark which will be required in order to buy and sell. This means anyone who refuses the mark will be unable to buy food, clothing or other necessities of life. No doubt the vast majority of people in the world will succumb to the mark simply to survive. Again, verse 16 makes it clear that this will be a universal system of control where everyone, rich and poor, great and small, will bear the mark on their hand or forehead. There is a great deal of speculation as to how exactly this mark will be affixed, but the technologies that are available right now could accomplish it very easily.

2015 April 21st one-world currency:

There also seems to have been moves afoot recently to implement a one-world currency.

In April of 2010 a paper was released by the Strategy, Policy and Review Department of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) titled “Reserve Accumulation and International Monetary Stability”. In the introduction of the document, the task force advocated the establishment of the Bancor as a one world currency, a sui generis, that the entire world would use. It also recommended the establishment of a single global central bank to administer the currency.

The paper states that the current system of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) between countries currently in use is an inadequate method of commerce between countries in today’s global economy:

A limitation of the SDR as discussed previously is that it is not a currency. Both the SDR and SDR-denominated instruments need to be converted eventually to a national currency for most payments or interventions in foreign exchange markets, which adds to cumbersome use in transactions. And though an SDR-based system would move away from a dominant national currency, the SDR’s value remains heavily linked to the conditions and performance of the major component countries.

The IMF suggests that the world’s nations “develop, over time, a global currency. Called, for example, Bancor in honor of Keynes, such a currency could be used as a medium of exchange—an “outside money” (outside the world monetary system) in contrast to the SDR which remains an “inside money”.

As the report implies, the idea of a Bancor as a world currency is not a new idea.

In August 1942, in his work, “Proposals for an International Clearing Union”, Lord John Maynard Keynes outlined a plan where the countries of the world would convert their gold reserves to Bancors as a modicum of trade. In an interesting section of the paper, countries could convert gold into Bancors, but could not convert Bancors back to gold. In the Keynes paper, countries could leave the consortium of countries using the Bancor, but they leave their gold behind. It is a one-way ticket.

As like most governmental proposals, they never die, they just come back again under a different form (Common Core is a recent example).

The Keynes plan also .includes an interesting reason for using Bancors:

There is no country which can, in future, safely allow the flight of funds for political reasons or to evade domestic taxation or in anticipation of the owner turning refugee.

That is the endgame — capital controls.

With a one world currency, people would no longer be able to leave countries for other places that had lower taxes, as has recently happened with France. While France had to rescind its 75% wealth tax after wealthy individuals left for greener pastures, such as England and Belgium, if there was a one world currency, travel restrictions .could be placed on these individuals to keep them where they are. Actually, it is not the people these countries would be interested in, it would be their money.

While a global currency may not be in the offing, there may be a more immediate way to control currency flight and speculation, do away with currency altogether.

Willem Buiter, an economist for Citigroup, a global bank, suggests the reason for the world’s economic troubles is the existence of cash. Banks now are paying negative interest rates (meaning you pay the bank to keep your money and its value is also reduced through inflation).

A saver is better off keeping their money stuffed in a mattress than keeping it in a bank. Cash, therefore, is an effective way of avoiding this negative savings rate.

To Buiter, this is a bad thing. Keeping cash instead of putting it in the banking system deprives the banks (and the government) the use of this money.

In the Keynesian monetary theory, less money in the system would raise interest rates and thus reduce the demand for the money in way of loans. This is anathema to Keynesian economists. The thing to do is to abolish cash. Abolishing cash would end the last remnants of financial privacy. It would also increase a government’s ability to manipulate the economy with negative interest rates.

Buiter proposes three ways to separate the people from their cash:

  1. Abolish currency.
  2. Tax currency.
  3. Remove the fixed exchange rate between currency and central bank reserves/deposits.

Buiter correctly assumes that there would be resistance to this proposal, but he believes that “the arguments against abolishing currency seem rather weak.” As stated before, these ideas may not take root immediately, but they will come back in another form.

Events in geopolitics and financial markets are making things clear that we are living in a time that is spoken of in the Bible more than any other time, including the time that Jesus walked the shores of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea.

The question is, are you ready?

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by Koinonia Institute | April 20, 2015 | Original Source: khouse.org/enews "Toward World Currency Control"

Iran’s Nuclear Deal

Facts feature (01b)

It is indicative of today’s world that the first word of an imminent agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program came via social media.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was the first to issue a message on the agreement on Twitter: “Found solutions. Ready to start drafting immediately.” This was shortly followed by a tweet issued by the European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy chief Federica Mogherini. “Good news,” she tweeted.

In an additional sign of the time, among much fanfare, after the news was already out on the Internet, U.S. President Barack Obama made an announcement about the agreement via the mainstream media. Obama said that the agreement reached will “cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.”

Analysts following the negotiations said they were “pleasantly surprised” that there were more written details to the agreement than were anticipated and more concessions from Iran than were predicted. Proponents of the agreement in both the United States and Iran were celebrating the agreement.

Unfortunately, the celebrating was premature. Even in the announcement celebrating the agreement, the U.S. President admitted the deal is not done yet. Nothing has been signed and there are still large issues to be resolved.

It appears that all parties wanted to come up with something dramatic when the self-imposed negotiation target for the negotiation framework of March 31 passed. In fact, the parties continued talks for 43 hours after the deadline.

The Devil in the Details

As the saying goes, “The Devil is in the details”. For this agreement, the Devil is alive and well. There are several unanswered questions in the agreement left to be resolved. Any of them could be a “deal breaker”.

First, there may not even be a “common framework”. There is one framework that was issued by the United States Department of State. Then there is anotherframework described by the Iranian delegation in Switzerland. There is a remarkable disparity between the two versions. So much so that Foreign Minister Zarif accused the United States of lying to the American people. Until these two versions are resolved, no agreement will be reached.

The State Department framework as described in their factsheet outlines a better deal that what is coming out in the public via leaks. It promises tougher inspections, fewer centrifuges, longer duration, and generally better results than even what the administration had been proposing in recent weeks.

The State Department’s framework is probably better than whatever the final deal will be. This will lead to eventual letdown once the final details are known. It is a trial balloon that marks the U.S. initial negotiating position. From there, the U.S. will be playing “Let’s Make a Deal”. The final deal will most probably will be worse for the U.S. and better for Iran.

The deal outlined by the State Department may represent the best deal the U.S. can get, but it could have been better. From the beginning, President Obama has signaled his willingness to get a deal, any deal, to preserve his legacy. Secretary Kerry has done much the same.

President Richard Nixon and then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had the “Good Cop, Bad Cop” game down to an art form. In his negotiations with theNorth Vietnamese, Kissinger essentially said, “Look, I’m a reasonable man, but that Nixon fellow is crazy and will bomb your country into the Stone Age if you don’t give him what he wants.” They did essentially the same thing with the Communist Chinese when they opened up a dialog with that country.

In the present case, Obama and Kerry are playing “Good Cop, Good Cop”. They are both showing an eagerness to get an agreement, which gives the economic leverage to the Iranians. Anyone who has bought a used car or house knows you don’t tell the salesperson how eager you are to buy their product. You lose your negotiating position.

That is what the Obama Administration has done.

From the beginning, Obama violated basic principles of Diplomacy 101. As a result, he squandered U.S. leverage and convinced everyone that he needed a deal, any deal, more than the Iranians did. We will never know for sure what tougher negotiations might have yielded; we only know for sure Obama did not try them.

One problem with the current framework is that it seems to be a one time, one time only agreement. Would this same deal be offered the Saudis, the Turks, and the Egyptians? If recent statements from Saudi Arabia wanting nuclear weapons are any indication, this question is not hypothetical. The answer is “probably not”.

While being touted as a diplomatic victory, if one looks at the original attitudes towards Iran’s nuclear program of a decade ago, it is indisputable: the United States has conceded the most and Iran has won the most.

The terms of the interim agreement are bound to be picked over in coming days, but the information that has been released so far from the U.S. State Department seems to read as follows:

Centrifuges

The agreement unveiled on Thursday allows Iran to continue some of its enrichment activities but imposes strong limits on those efforts. Iran will be required to reduce its number of installed centrifuges by two-thirds to about 6,000. Of those, 5,060 will be allowed to operate during the next 10 years.

Breakout time

The question of the number of centrifuges Iran can deploy is connected with what diplomats call Iran’s possible “breakout time.” That is, the time it would take to amass enough fissionable material should Iran decide to break the agreement. The terms of the deal appear to put the breakout time at about a year.

Breakout time may be a moot point since the agreement would last only 15 years. At which time, Iran would be free to pursue a nuclear bomb. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said well when he said that the agreement would not stop Iran from developing a bomb; at best, it would only delay it.

Fordow, Natanz, and Arak

If Iran ever decides to clandestinely pursue a nuclear weapon, its facility at Fordow will be key. Buried underneath a mountain to protect it from air strikes, Fordow is currently home to thousands of centrifuges. But by the terms of the Lausanne agreement, Iran has agreed not to carry out any enrichment activities at the site for 15 years. It will instead repurpose it as a nuclear, physics, and technology research center. During that time period, the site will not be home to any fissile material.

For Iran’s negotiators — the so-called P5+1: the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Germany — the changes at Fordow represent a significant victory, one that hampers Iran’s path to a bomb.

At the same time, however, Iran will be allowed to keep some centrifuges at Fordow, though they will not enrich uranium. Speaking to reporters in Lausanne, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif highlighted this fact as a victory his delegation was able to secure at the negotiating table.

The information that has so far been released about the agreement does not include a great deal of specificity about the centrifuges at Fordow, and this causedScott Kemp, a nuclear expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to question estimates about Iran’s possible breakout time under the agreement.

“Although the U.S. fact-sheet indicates that no uranium is allowed at Fordow, centrifuges are allowed and those centrifuges must be included in the calculation of breakout times,” Kemp wrote. “The U.S.-released text suggests a maximum of about 1,000 centrifuges will be allowed at Fordow, and does not specify restrictions on the centrifuge models installed there. Assuming Iran’s current best technology is used, Fordow centrifuges could reduce breakout time to about three months.”

Iran’s other key site for enriching uranium lies at Natanz. With Fordow no longer working with fissile material, Iran’s enrichment activities will only take place at Natanz. Five thousand centrifuges will be allowed to run, a restriction that will be place for ten years. At Natanz, Iran will only be allowed to use its most basic centrifuge model, though it can engage in “limited research and development with its advanced centrifuges,” according to a State Department fact sheet.

While Iran’s nuclear program has focused on uranium enrichment, some observers fear that it could use its heavy water reactor being built at Arak to produce plutonium, another possible bomb fuel. Under the terms of the agreement, Arak will be redesigned so that it can no longer produce weapons grade plutonium. The reactor’s current core will either be destroyed or sent out of the country. Spent fuel from the reactor, which could be used to make nuclear weapons, will be shipped out of the country as long as the reactor is running. (This point has been rejected by the Iranians as will be discussed later.)

Inspections

All of these restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program would be meaningless if the international community lacks the ability to monitor its compliance. With that in mind, the agreement sets up an aggressive inspections regime, giving theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all of Iran’s nuclear sites, including any other sites deemed suspicious.

But when it comes to the ability of inspectors to detect covert activity, the Iranians have been very good at playing “hide and seek”. As Olli Heinonen, a former IAEA official once wrote: “History shows surprises.”

“The Russian centrifuge program went for years without detection despite tremendous intelligence efforts,” Heinonen wrote. “The Iraqi and Libyan programs were not immediately detected, and South Africa, which manufactured nuclear weapons, ended up destroying its program before the IAEA saw it. The Syrian reactor in al-Kibar also came a bit out of the blue, as did North Korea’s advanced centrifuge plant.”

The pace of sanctions relief

If Iran complies the terms of this agreement, it will experience wide-ranging sanctions relief. The United States and the European Union will suspend such measures upon verification by the IAEA that Iran has fulfilled its “key” nuclear-related obligations. What constitutes a “key” obligation has not been entirely specified, and is likely a point of contention.

After IAEA verification, the U.N. Security Council will pass a fresh resolution lifting all past resolutions on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program. That new resolution will likely include restrictions on conventional arms and ballistic missiles, asset freezes, cargo inspections, and other provisions to encourage transparency in Iran’s nuclear activities.

What isn’t said in the framework is that once sanctions are lifted, none of the P5+1 countries, with the possible exception of France, will be willing to reimpose them. The world powers are weary of the talk over the Iranian nuclear weapon program and don’t feel that they are particularly threatened by Iran getting the Bomb.

A Diplomatic “JV Team”

For all the hoopla, negotiations with the Iranians have been a series of amateurish mistakes. Both President Obama and Secretary Kerry were eager for an agreement and let the world know it. That became painfully clear when Iranian journalist defected to the West and stated in a tweet, “The US negotiating team are [sic] mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal.”

Given the eagerness of the Americans to seal a deal, the Iranians were only too happy to press their advantage.

In a typical negotiating tactic, at the last minute, Iran backed off of their initial agreement to ship any nuclear material not needed for power generation and “research” to Russia for safekeeping. This is very typical in any negotiation. In the eleventh hour, one side will take a harder line on an issue then before, hoping that the other party will agree to the demand, to “get the ball over the goal line”.

This was what Soviet Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev tried to do with U.S. President Ronald Reagan at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit meeting.

Reykjavik

In 1985, U.S. and Soviet negotiators met in Geneva to attempt to reach agreement on bilateral nuclear arms reductions. The negotiators reached an impasse. Since Gorbachev and Reagan had developed a personal relationship, both leaders hoped a face to face meeting at Reykjavik might revive the negotiations.

The talks between Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik proceeded well. They decided on limiting the strategic missiles in Europe and were close to concluding the talks when Reagan said, “Well, why don’t we just get rid of all of them (the strategic missiles)?” That opening led to another round of talks over the next few days. The two came to a general agreement on eliminating all nuclear weapons from the planet. At one point Reagan even described to Gorbachev how both men might return to Reykjavik in ten years, aged and retired leaders, to personally witness the dismantling of the world’s last remaining nuclear warhead.

Then Gorbachev threw Reagan a curve ball.

After the two were in agreement, Gorbachev said, “Of course, you’ll stop SDI (theStrategic Defense Initiative or “Star Wars”). This was the one thing Reagan said from the onset he would not do. Gorbachev, thinking Reagan would relent, made this a last minute condition. Reagan balked and they walked away from the table with no agreement whatsoever. It would be another year after Reykjavik before the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), for the first time eliminating an entire class of nuclear weapons.

This is a fear of both the United States and Iran in these negotiations, that a last minute curve ball will scuttle the agreement. There are so many open questions, that many fear that the much touted agreement-in-principal will end up like Reykjavik, only Iran will not come back to the table.

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Christ in the Passover

PESACH Passover feature

christ-in-the-passover-sliderThis day is to be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a festival to the LORD. You are to celebrate it as a perpetual ordinance from generation to generation. You are to eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day be sure to remove all the leaven from your houses … You are to observe this day from generation to generation as a perpetual ordinance.

— Exodus 12:14–17, ISV

This Friday evening begins Pesach or Passover.

This important event in Israel’s history represents deliverance and new beginnings: deliverance from Egyptian slavery and new beginnings as a nation (Exod. 12:1–13).

For Israel, the blood of a slain lamb applied to the doorposts and the lintels of their homes would be a sign to the death angel to pass over and not slay their firstborn. It was the blood that protected them.

The Passover is a symbol of Christ our Redeemer, the Lamb of God who shed His blood for the sins of the world. Those who trust in Him as Savior are delivered from the bondage of sin and are given a new beginning, a new life in Him.

Get rid of the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough, since you are to be free from yeast. For the Messiah, our Passover, has been sacrificed.

— 1 Corinthians 5:7, ISV

How does the Passover fit into the larger biblical narrative? Annual observance of Passover makes it a hallmark of Jewish identity. The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery describes the regulations regarding Passover as a command for Israelites “to reenact much of what originally took place in Egypt … the single most important event in their early history.” The Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words observes that “it was impossible for Israel to identify herself without this ritual depicting her salvation and deliverance from Egypt.”

The New Testament connects the Passover celebration to Christ’s death, and both Jesus and Paul use the event as an interpretive framework. For instance, Jesus shares a Passover meal with his disciples just before his crucifixion, referring to himself through the elements of the ritual meal. For Jesus, bread from the meal becomes “my body” (Mark 14:22), and wine becomes “my blood of the covenant” (Mark 14:24). Paul is even more explicit when he affirms that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7). The original Passover event contained all the elements to point forward to Christ.

Paul’s declaration comes in a passage in which he was instructing the Corinthian Christians to purge the yeast from among them. (Note: Yeast represents pride because it corrupts by puffing up.) If Christ is the fulfillment of Passover, Paul reasoned, then his followers are to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in a different way as well. He explained:

So let’s keep celebrating the festival, neither with old yeast nor with yeast that is evil and wicked, but with yeast-free bread that is both sincere and true.

— 1 Corinthians 5:8, ISV

This verse, as well as verses 6 & 7, spoke of leaven as malice and wickedness.

On the other hand, Paul described the unleavened bread as sincerity and truth. The Hebrew word matzo (unleavened) means “sweet, without sourness.” The unleavened bread typified the sweetness and wholesomeness of life without sin. It foreshadowed the sinless, perfect life of the Messiah, who would come to lay down His life as God’s ultimate Passover Lamb. In Passover observances after the cessation of the Temple sacrifices, the matzo took on added significance when the rabbis decreed it to be a memorial of the Passover lamb.

Thus, for the Hebrews, the putting away of all leaven symbolized breaking the old cycle of sin and starting out afresh from Egypt to walk as a new nation before the Lord. They did not put away leaven in order to be redeemed. Rather, they put away leaven because they were redeemed. This same principle applies to the redeemed of the Lord of all ages. Salvation is of grace “not the result of actions, [but] to put a stop to all boasting.” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

For Christians, Passover foreshadowed redemption in Christ, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread looked to the life of holiness that should follow—not just for a week, or for a month, but forever. The point is that a life purged of corruption is evidence of a deliverance begun; if that was true in the old covenant, how much more is it true in the new.

via eNews for March 30, 2015.