North Korea to move Intercontinental missile

North Korea to move Intercontinental missile: report

Fri May 29, 2009 11:04pm EDT

By Jack Kim and Neil Chatterjee

SEOUL/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – North Korea is preparing to move an Intercontinental ballistic missile from a factory near Pyongyang to a launch site on the east coast, a South Korean newspaper quoted a source in Washington as saying on Saturday.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at a forum in Singapore, warned on Saturday that provocations by the communist state would not go unanswered.

”We will not stand idly by as North Korea builds the capability to wreak destruction on any target in the region or on us,” Gates told a meeting of Asian Defense ministers in Singapore. ”We will not accept North Korea as a nuclear state.”….

The Two Witnesses: First or Second Half of the Tribulation?

The Two Witnesses: First or Second Half of the Tribulation?

Written by: Dr. John Whitcomb

Conference: 2007 Pre Trib Study Group

Scripture taken from the New King James Version.

Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[size=2]Most dispensational commentators agree that the holy city, Jerusalem, will be”trodden down” by the Gentiles for 42 months during the last halfof the 70th Week of Daniel (Rev.11:2; cf. Luke 21:24)). This time period is identical to the 42 months of Rev.13:5, which is the time God assigns to the Beast, the Antichrist, to blaspheme His name and to persecute His people.

Thiswill be the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy in Dan. 7:21, that ”th elittle horn” will make war against the saints and will prevail against them until ”the Ancient of Days” finally comes. Daniel is also told that ”the saints will be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” (7:25), and that after these three-and-one-half years, ”when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” (12:7).

What,then, are the ”one thousand two hundred and sixty days” during which ”My two witnesses” will receive authority to ”prophesy…clothed in sackcloth” (Rev. 11:3)? Time indicators, such as ”1,260days” are to be understood literally. John F. Walvoord explains: ”Very prominent in the book of Revelation is the use of numbers, namely, 2, 3, 3 1/2,4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 24, 42, 144, 666, 1,000, 1,260, 1,600, 7,000, 12,000,144,000, 100,000,000, 200,000,000 . . .The general rule should be followed tointerpret numbers literally unless there is clear evidence to the contrary.”[1]

For several reasons, I suggest that this is the first half of the Seventieth Week. First, there seems to be an intentional distinction between the time of the Gentile occupation of the Temple's outer court and the city, and the time of the two witnesses, by means of the different time-units used: 42 months for the Gentile domination and 1,260 days for the two witnesses. If the same time period is intended for both groups, why is not the42-month time-block sufficient to cover both?

Second, and more important, in the very next verse (Rev.11:4), the ministry of the two witnesses is compared to the ministry of the two olive trees of Zech. 4:3, namely, Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the governor of the Jewish remnant, who returned from Babylon tore-establish legitimate worship in Jerusalem (Zech. 3:1 and 4:6). These leaders did not have to wait for the Temple to be rebuilt to begin sacrificing on the altar which they erected on the ruins of Solomon's Temple (cf. Ezra 3:2-3). By the same token, the two witnesses will not have to wait for the third temple to be built in order to begin

sacrificing on a divinely legitimate altar on the present ruins of the second temple. What they will need is supernatural protection to re-institute the sacrifices (cf. Dan. 9:27) in the presence of enormous, even global, opposition (cf. Rev. 11:10).

The reason why this will happen during the first half of the seventieth week is that”in the middle of the week He [the Antichrist] shall bring an end to sacrifice [zevach = bloody sacrifices] and offering [minchah= non-bloody sacrifices]” (Dan. 9:27). As J. Dwight Pentecost explains,”This expression refers to the entire Levitical system, which suggests that Israel will have restored that system in the first half of the 70th'seven.'”[2] Antichrist will replace the legitimate, God-honoring Jewish worship system, which only the two witnesses can inaugurate, with his own system, namely, the abomination of desolation (cf. Dan. 9:27b,12:11; Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15). But the Antichrist cannot do this until the 1,260 days of ministry allotted by God to the two witnesses has been completed (cf. Rev.11:7).

Third, the Lord Jesus issued this command to Jews of the tribulation period: ”when you see the 'abomination of desolation,'spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place . . . then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains . . . For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matt. 24:15-21). Here an obvious question arises: Would the two Jewish witnesses remain in Jerusalem during the 42 months of Antichrist's dominion if the Lord Jesus, their Messiah, told them to flee to the mountains?

Fourth, if the 1,260 days occur during the last half of the Week, then the entire world would be celebrating the death of the two witnesses for three-and-a-half days after the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction of the Antichrist! This is very difficult to imagine. As Gary G. Cohen explains, ”at the end of the second three-and-a-half year period, the Beast followers are lamenting over Babylon and the vials, [are] gathered for the great battle at Armegeddon, and [are] finally slain by Christ, whose coming is surrounded with the powers of the heavens being shaken (Rev. 16-18; 19:11-21; Matt. 24:29-30).This picture does not harmonize well with the three-and-a-half days of rejoicing and gift-giving in which the earth-dwellers participate following the murder of the witnesses. This discordance between the end of the second three-and-a-half year period and the three-and-a-half days following the end of the three-and-a-half year ministry of the witnesses makes it most unlikely that the prophesying of God's two servants takes place during the latter half of the week.”[3]

Fifth, putting the two witnesses into the last half of the Week compromises the totality of Antichrist's dominion during that sameperiod. How can he bring fire from heaven upon his enemies (through the False Prophet, Rev. 13:13)if the two witnesses are simultaneously bringing fire from heaven upon their enemies (Rev. 11:5)? We are clearly dealing with two different time periods: the first half of the Week with the overwhelming power of the two witnesses, and the last half of the Week with the overwhelming power of the Beast and the False Prophet. When the world asks the rhetorical question, ”Who is able to make war with [the Beast]?” (Rev. 13:4), it seems obvious that no one can answer, ”The two witnesses are able to make war with him,” for their 1,260 days of ministry will have ended, and they will be gone.

Sixth, our Lord stated that ”Elijah is coming first and will restore all things (italics added)” (Matt. 17:11). Whoever ”Elijah” turns out to be (see below, The Identity of the Two Witnesses), his spectacular success (under God)in bringing Israel back to her Messiah must be during the first half of the seventieth week, for Isaiah prophesied that Israel will have given birth ”to her children” as soon as her time of tribulation begins (Isa. 66:8).

Furthermore,the basically regenerated nation, called ”the woman” in Rev. 12, will flee into the wilderness and be nourished by God for 1,260 days (Rev. 12:6, 14;cf. Isaiah 26:20-21), namely, the last half of the week. ”The dragon,”Satan, will then ”make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (12:17),presumably the 144,000 witnesses from the 12 tribes of Israel and multitudes of their Gentile converts.

The crucial question, then, is this: by whose testimony is the nation of Israel brought into the blessings of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 (cf. Jer.32:37-41; Ezek. 36:25-28)? And by whose witness are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes led to the Lord, in order that, as our Savior promised,”this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in all the world [during the last half of the Week] as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14)?

The prophet Malachi provides the answer: ”Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before (italics added) the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD [i.e., the final 42 months of the 70th week], and he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal.4:5-6). Our Lord, of course, was referring to this final statement of the Old Testament when He assured Peter, James and John that, ”indeed, Elijah iscoming first and will restore all things” (Matt. 17:11).

Some have mistakenly assumed that Israel as a nation cannot be converted until ”they will look on Me whom they pierced” (Zech. 12:10), namely, at Christ's second coming in glory. But our Lord insisted: ”Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). These words were spoken to Thomas who refused to believe until he could ”see in His hands the print of the nails” (vs. 25). Was Thomas converted when he did seethe marks of his Lord's crucifixion? No, for he, like the other ten apostles, was already a born-again believer (cf. John 13:10-11). Likewise, Israel will be filled with contrition when they finally see the Savior whom they had crucified, and ”will mourn for Him, as one mourns for his only son,” with ”all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves” (Zech. 12:14). Doubtless, this will also be the occasion when they will cry out, ”Surely He has borne our griefs yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted” (Isa.53:4-5). Thus, there will be at least a 42-month gap between Israel's conversion and the overwhelming sight of their pierced Savior.

Immediately following the rapture of the church, there will be no believers left on thisplanet. Assuming that God never leaves Himself without a witness in the world,the two witnesses will suddenly appear in Jerusalem to begin their powerful work. In the words of Alva J. McClain, founder and president of Grace Theological Seminary, ”The effect of their testimony is very impressive, appearing very early in the book of Revelation and probably accounting for the martyrs seen under the fifth seal (6:9). In chapter 7 the effect greatly expands, including144,000 Israelites (vss.3-8), and also a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations” (vss. 9-14).[4]His colleague and successor, Herman A. Hoyt, agreed that ”The importance of their testimony cannot be overestimated (Rev. 11:4)By their testimony, it ismy opinion, they bring about the conversion of the 144,000 who will become the witnesses during the final half of the tribulation period.”[5]In addition to my personal mentors, Alva J. McClain and Herman A. Hoyt, several others have concluded that the two witnesses will proclaim the gospel of the Kingdom (i.e., the true Gospel of the saving work of Christ as a prerequisite for entering the Kingdom) during the first half of the 70th week.[6]

An interesting parallel to the amazing effects of the preaching of the two witnesses may be found in the ministry of the Apostle Paul at the school of Tyrannus in Ephesus: ”And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks” (Acts 19:10).


For 2,400 years Jews have anticipated the literal return of Elijah as the forerunner of Messiah. At the Passover meal (the Seder), ”there is an extra place setting and a special cup on the Seder table designated just for Elijah The meal is followed by a prayer, and a member of the family is then asked to go to the door, open it,and see if Elijah the prophet is coming.”[8]This expectation, of course, is based on the final words of the prophet Malachi at the very end of our Old Testament: ”Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And hewill turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal.4:5-6).

When Peter, James and John beheld Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, they were astounded. Could it really be true that Elijah would personally, physically, and visibly appear as the forerunner of Christ at the inauguration of His Kingdom? A week before they climbed this mountain, the Lord Jesus had told them: ”Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standinghere who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). So this was a foretaste, a powerful visual aid, of the manner in which the Son of Man would return to the earth: personally,physically and visibly, in glory (cf. Acts 1:11).

But why did this foreview also include the visible presence of Elijah? Peter, James and John were very concerned about this. Coming down from the mountain, they asked the Lord: ”'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?' And He answered and said, 'Indeed Elijah is coming first and will restore all things'” (Matt. 17:10-11). Thus, the Lord Jesus was agreeing with the scribes that the prophecy of Malachi should be interpreted literally, just as the chief priests and scribes had interpreted Micah 5:2 literally when they were asked concerning the birthplace of the Messiah (Matt. 2:3-6).[9]

The Greatness of John the Baptist

Now this created a great dilemma for the disciples. If Elijah was to prepare Israel for the Kingdom (which they expected to happen at any moment), when and how would he appear, and how did John the Baptist, their former (and now dead) mentor(John 1:35-40) fit into this scenario? Was not the Baptizer ”the burning and shining lamp,” in whose ”light” the disciples ”were willing to rejoice” because” he has borne witness to the truth” (John 5:33-35)? Was he not ”more than a prophet” (Matt. 11:9)? Was he not the fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3 (”The voice of one crying in the wilderness:'Prepare the way of the LORD'” cf. Matt. 3:3)? Was he not ”My messenger” whom God would send ”to prepare the way before Me” (Mal. 3:1; cf. Matt. 11:10)? In fact the Lord Jesus asserted that ”among those born of women there has notrisen one greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11). Thus, in the mind of our Lord, John was personally and prophetically at least as great as Enoch,Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah,Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, — and even Elijah!

Israel's Responsibility

It is perfectly clear, then, that it was not because of some lack of dedication or wisdom that John the Baptizer failed to bring Israel to the place of spiritual readiness to acknowledge Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah. The national rejection of Jesus was entirely the fault of the people and their leaders! With respect to John, therefore, our Lord explained: ”If you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah, who is to come” (Matt. 11:14). Then,amazingly, He added: ”'Elijah has come already, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they wished' Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist” (Matt. 17:12-13).

Thus,John could have been Elijah if Israel had accepted his message. This is a theme that dominates the entire Bible – men are responsible moral agents before God, and can never reject this accountability by arguing that since God is the sovereign LORD of history they cannot make genuine choices (cf. Rom. 9:18-24). Judas Iscariot could have reasoned: ”Since my betrayal of the Messiah has been predestined [e.g., Luke 22:22a – ”truly,the Son of Man goes as it has been determined”], I have been deprived of my freedom of choice, and am therefore innocent!” But our Lord, anticipating such depraved thinking, added: ”but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” (Luke22:22b; cf. Acts 2:23 concerning the entire nation). Thus, Joseph could say to his murderous brothers: ”As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order tosave many people alive” (Gen. 50:20).

There are at least three reasons for concluding that John was not Elijah. First, the angel Gabriel announced to Zacharias the priest concerning his son John: ”He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah”(Luke 1:17). Therefore, he was not literally Elijah. Second, our Lord stated,soon after the death of John, ”Elijah is coming first and will restore all things”(Matt. 17:11). Thus, the Lord Jesus interpreted Malachi's prophecy literally:”Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet” (Mal. 4:5). Third, the leaders of Israel confronted John with a direct question: ”Are you Elijah?” His answer was unequivocal: ”I am not” (John 1:21).

However,in spite of the fact that John was not Elijah, his offer of the Kingdom to Israel was absolutely genuine:”Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). This identical appeal was made by our Lord, and by the Twelve and the Seventy. Therefore, no Jew could say, ”We never heard a clear and genuine offer of the Kingdom!”


Will there be any sin or sorrow in heaven?

Will there be any sin or sorrow in heaven?

John MacArthur

No! Heaven will be so dramatically different from the present world that to describe it requires the use of negatives, as well as positives. To describe what is totally beyond human understanding also requires pointing out how it differs from present experience.

The first change from their earthly life believers in heaven will experience is that God will wipe away every tear from their eyes (cf. Rev. 7:17, Isa. 25:8). That does not mean that people who arrive in heaven will be crying and God will comfort them. They will not, as some imagine, be weeping as they face the record of their sins. There is no such record, because ”there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1), since Christ ”bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).

What it declares is the absence of anything to be sorry about-no sadness, no disappointment, no pain. There will be no tears of misfortune, tears over lost love, tears of remorse, tears of regret, tears over the death of loved ones, or tears for any other reason.

Another dramatic difference from the present world will be that in heaven there will no longer be any death (cf. Isa. 25:8). The greatest curse of human existence will be no more. ”Death,” as Paul promised, ”is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). Both Satan, who had the power of death (Heb. 2:14), and death itself will have been cast into the lake of fire (20:10, 14).

Nor will there be any mourning, or crying in heaven. The grief, sorrow, and distress that produce mourning and its outward manifestation, crying, will not exist in heaven. This glorious reality will be the fulfillment of Isaiah 53:3-4: ”He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, And we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.” When Christ bore believers' sins on the cross, He also bore their sorrows, since sin is the cause of sorrow.

The perfect holiness and absence of sin that will characterize heaven will also mean that there will be no more pain. On the cross, Jesus wa s ”wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). While the healing in view in that verse is primarily spiritual healing, it also includes physical healing.

Commenting on Jesus' healing of Peter's mother-in-law, Matthew 8:17 says, ”That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.'” The healing ministry of Jesus was a preview of the well-being that will characterize the millennial kingdom and the eternal state. The glorified sin-free bodies believers will possess in heaven will not be subject to pain of any kind.

All those changes that will mark the new heaven and the new earth indicate that the first things have passed away. Old human experience related to the original, fallen creation is gone forever, and with it the mourning, suffering, sorrow, disease, pain, and death that has characterized it since the Fall.

This article originally appeared here at Grace to You.

Adapted from John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody, 2000), 269-71

Harry Potter ''a Sorcerers tale''

Harry Potter ”a Sorcerers tale”

When was the last time you heard of a children's book wanted by every child? Like it or not over the last year the Harry Potter series has stolen our children's hearts and continues to do so. She has sold over 300 million books in this series and is the first author to break the billion dollar threshold.

Harry's Potter first hit the top of the adult hardcover bestseller list in England in less than a year. Currently the first three books in the series still occupy four top slots on the New York Times best-sellers list. With the new book spending 42 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. The top three selling books this week are all written by author J.K.Rowling. reported the new book to be the largest pre-order they ever had they sold 313,000 copies before its release.

1. Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban.

2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

There are numerous books written on Witchcraft and the Occult, but none is more ingeniously packaged to attract the kids like this one. Its been said you can't tell a book by its cover, on this one you can. Notice in the picture he is flying on broomstick.

Harry Potter graced the cover of Time Magazine in September of this year giving him a boost to his already celebrity status. It has now become the in thing to read fiction books on sorcery.

In an Interview with author J. K. Rowling presented by Stories from the Web she was asked, ”Any clues about the next book? ””I don't want to give anything away, but I can tell you that the books are getting darker… Harry's going to have quite a bit to deal with as he gets older. Sorry if they get too scary!” The most recent book is the darkest of the series and as promised, they will progress to be darker as they continue.

Harry Potter first achieved success in England, and next in the United States. Rowling had first struggled to have the book printed, she asked for a grant from the Scottish Arts Council. They gave her a grant (of $11,000) to finish the book she was writing.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was first published in England as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. The USA versions name was changed from Harry Potter and the ”Philosopher's stone” to ” Sorcerer's Stone ”, which was the publisher's idea. They certainly were unafraid of any controversy knowing that it would help sell. It has been sold to publishers in eight countries, and has netted a $100,000 advance from Scholastic Books for the American edition. Judy Corman, spokeswoman for U.S. publisher Scholastic Division reports more than 5 million hard copies of the books have been sold in the United States and millions more are in paperback. ( 7 + million altogether which adds up to a whole lot of kids reading) It will be published shortly in Brazil, Holland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Japan (35 languages in all).

The book has continued to win major awards in England. It has won the National Book Award, the Smarties Prize, The British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year. In America New York Public Library Best Book of the Year 1998, and Parenting Book of the Year 1998.

Written for mostly the ages of 8 to 13 the adults are reading and enjoying it as well. A total of seven books are planned in the series. Although reported in Variety, Rowlings, is said to be working on seven more installments for the ”Harry Potter” series. Guess you can't get enough of a good book. The newest release Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (her fourth in a series of 7) is a huge 752 pages. Quite a feat to read for the age group it is targeted to.

Some have compared it to Alice in wonderland, Peter Pan and other famous children's adventurous book. However the comparison is weak and not as relative considering the content and the underlying message of, power through the Occult is available and good.

The books are well written and has a certain attraction to capture those of young ages to be infatuated with it. This is why so many have said it is good because it is promoting reading to children who normally are not interested. However it is the content of the story that needs to be questioned for the very same reason, as it is targeted to the very young.

*Rowling's new Harry Potter novel, is the fifth in her Potter series is to be about 900 pages.

(AP) has reported the June 21 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, has a first printing of 6.8 million. compared to J.K. Rowling's previous Potter novel, ”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” came out in July 2000 with a first printing of 3.8 million. It sold out within 48 hours and now has over l6 million copies in print.

This despite Scholastic’s announced $29.99 suggested retail price, the highest ever for a new work of children's fiction. A ”deluxe” edition of Order of the Phoenix, priced at $60, will have a first printing of 350,000, far more copies than most conventional publications. The deluxe edition includes ”a full-case cloth cover with gold embossing which will slide into a special slip box.”

Expected sales for ”Order of the Phoenix,” has topped the bestseller lists of and Barnes &, for weeks. It is more popular than the most popular novels. Michael Crichton's Prey, which had a first printing of 1.5 million. Last year's publishing sensation, Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, had under 2.4 million copies in print.

The Author

The author, J.K. Rowling is 34 years old, she lives and writes in Scotland. She is a graduate of Exeter University, and a teacher. She married a journalist, and has a young daughter (now 6), she divorced and moved back to Edinburgh in 1993. Among the things she loves, she states is Halloween. At the time she was writing, she was a single parent and penniless, living on unemployment benefits. She is stunned with the success the books have so quickly brought her. Rowling says the idea for the story came in an unusual way. She was taking a long train journey from Manchester to London in England in 1990 when she was stuck on a delayed train and the idea for Harry just fell into her head. It took her 5 years to write it, but throughout that time period she was planning and writing parts of the six sequels. In an interview she states ”Harry as a character came fully formed, as did the idea for his sidekicks, the characters of Ron and Hermione, who is the brains of the threesome,” she said. ”It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head. At that point it was essentially the idea for a boy who didn't know he was a wizard, and the wizard school he ended up going to. The author has described herself as ”I have a very visual imagination. I see it, then I try to describe what is in my mind's eye.” I can't prove this author is involved in the new age in some way, but this certainly sounds like the language. Many musical artists who are occult based have testified of songs just coming into their heads so the source does not seem to be all her.

In the controversy

BBC news Sunday, October 17, 1999 Harry Potter fights back Rowling stated ”There are those things in the book because I made a very conscious decision right at the beginning that I was writing about someone evil and I was not going to tell a lie,” said J.K. Rowling. ”I think they're very moral books. I see children as innately good unless they've been very damaged. That's where I'm coming from.” The fact that the parents are portrayed as evil she admits is planned this way in the story. What kind of message does this send? To say she sees ”children as innately good unless they've been very damaged ” is also revealing in relation to the theme, since Harry's adopted parents are made to be bad and those who practice sorcery as good. What is the most puzzling is that parents read the book and seem to overlook this example and the not so subtle messages it sends.

Who is Harry Potter?

Harry Potter, an 11-year-old + wizard-in-training, who is competing for the attention of young children next to Poke'mon. The book is so successful that like the Poke'mon movie, it will have its own movie debut in Nov. 2001 after the 4th sequel is released in July 2,000. Rowling just signed a six-figure contract with Warner Brothers in which she will assist in writing the script. The NY post reports Steven Spielberg, Rob Reiner, Chris Columbus, Jonathan Demme and Brad Silberling are all begging Warner Brothers for the chance to direct the film.

Harry is a skinny kid with glasses with a thunder-bolt scar on his forehead who attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Harry became an orphan at age one, by surviving a murderous assault by the evil wizard Lord Voldemort, who killed his parents who were also wizards. Voldemort lost much of his power when he tried unsuccessfully to kill their one year old son. From this Harry inherited a thunderbolt scar on his forehead marking his unusual psychic strength and triumph over evil.

Harry is adopted and for the next ten years in his aunts and uncles home (the Dursleys) in London. But it is a miserable muggle life (”muggles” are mundane, non-magical humans) as he is constantly tormented by his cruel guardians and a spoiled bully of a cousin, his bedroom is a closet under the stairs. In the mundane human world Harry is a nobody, But everything changes on his eleventh birthday. He discovers that he is a wizard of great renown. Harry's discovery of his mysterious powers reminds him that he's altogether different from others.

One day a mysterious letter is delivered by the friendly giant Hagrid ”We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Uncle Vernon protests but to no avail as Harry is rescued (or not depending on how you look at it) from the clutches of his nasty aunt and uncle. They are depicted as mean, selfish, unloving everything one would not want their parents to be.

Hogwarts is a desirable boarding school for aspiring wizards (witches and warlocks). Harry attends classes on Potions, Spells, Transformation, Divination etc.. Learning the basic deeds of the old Sorcerers Craft Harry begins to sharpen his innate magical talents. Harry and others learn to know the future as the author accurately describes the functions of divination.

After he enrolls in the wizard school he still required to spend most of his summer vacations with the Dursleys. Who are portrayed as going from denial of his world of wizardry to fear and hatred of both magic and him. This becomes a challenge to Harry's new world.

Those who don't believe in the world of witches, who despise it as evil are cast as blind, and biased. This includes Harry’s cruel aunt and uncle and anyone else, that is if you see witchcraft as a danger. This message is sent to the reading child who makes the story personal. Which they do when they are young and impressionable.

Harry's destiny is to rid the evil hidden within the depths of Hogwarts. With his new friends, Hermione, Hedwig (owl), Ron, the giant Hagrid, and the guidance from the Head Wizard Dumbledore, Harry summons his courage and common sense to discover the enemy that is stalking Hogwarts. He finds it is Voldemort the evil wizard who killed his parents. Once discovered Harry and his friends combine their magical talents and they send the evil sorcerer away. They eat jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, grass, snot, and even sardine. While this is may be seen as imaginative and humorous, it just adds to the negative content of occult themes, with its characters practicing nonsense along with Witchcraft.

Some of the committed Hogwarts fans paint the purple thunderbolt on their foreheads. This mark bonds them to Harry, a student wizard with amazing mystical powers. (as seen in real life with the picture in the USA weekend paper Nov.12,1999)

On the review on it states ”As with its predecessor, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a highly readable and imaginative adventure story with real, fallible, characters, plenty of humor and, of course, loads of magic and spells.(ages 9+) In this sequel to ”Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone”, Harry keeps hearing strange voices, sinister and dark messages appear on the wall, and then his friend Ron's sister disappears.

This glorifies the world of the occult and has a strange attraction especially for children who are naïve to its Spell. Most of the mass murderers heard voices that drove them to their crimes.

In Rowling's interview in USA Weekend Nov. 12-14,1999 she states, ”DON'T CENSOR what children read …”says the planets leading kids author, Harry Potter series creator J.K. Rowling.

”I don't think you should censor kids, reading material. It's important just to let them go do what they need to do.” Many have branded the Harry Potter books anti-Christian and pro witchcraft and want the schools and libraries to ban them. But she said, ”I am not trying to influence anyone into black magic That's the very last thing I'd want to do.

”I'm not so naive that I didn't know or didn't suspect that, at some point, someone was going to say, 'You're writing about the occult! My wizarding world is a world of the imagination. I think its a moral world.”… ”I don't believe in the kind of magic that appears in my books.” she confessed. ”But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

Is it a world of imagination as she claims or is it both imagination with reality. James Bjornstad points out in his article in the Quarterly Journal ”She also bias knowledge of some of the famous occultists of the past. An example of this is her reference in her first book to Nicolas Hamel as the partner of Albus Dumbledore, the greatest headmaster of Hogwarts ever (Hary Potter and the Sorceror's Stone op.cit. pp.102-103,219). Dumbledore is fictional, but Flamel is not. .. not every other thing in Harry Potter is from the imagination of Rowling. She has had to research or most certainly has been exposed to occultic writings and practices.

As the story develops, Harry and his friends research Flamel in the library. They discover that he was the only known maker of the Sorcerer's Stone. The Elixir of Life, which gives immortality, is associated with the Stone. Flamel, now 665 years old, appears to have gained immortality, but only as long as the Stone exists. When Dumbledore destroys the Stone, Hamel and his wife Perenelle die. (Ibid.,pp.219-220,297)

Flamel actually was a 14th century alchemist. It is said that he was able to turn mercury into gold and that he did discover the Elixir of Life. (See further Jaques Sadoul, alchemists and Gold. New York: G.P. Putnams' sons 1970 pg243, cited by Montenegero in Harry Potter, sorcery And fantasy,” op.cit). So it does not appear to be all imaginary as she claims, she does have a rudimentary knowledge of the occult and certain people involved in Occultism which can only come from research or personal knowledge.

Yes something magical is happening, a whole segment of society has now become open to what was formerly forbidden. It is breaking down the walls of protection to something we should not become familiar with. The author admits she is not naïve and It may not be black magic to her, but black or white, it is all the same power source whether one acknowledges it or not. The idea of censoring is a mute issue since parents censor many things the kids read or see. What she is asking for is the parents to step aside and stop parenting. Especially to stand by and watch a book get promoted in the schools that is teaching religion, witchcraft.

Some are so infatuated with the story have read the books up to 7 times, other call it a waste of a tree. Despite the controversy the influence is now entrenched in the minds and hearts of our children. And while many moms and dads have no idea thinking this is all just a fantasy story, things are not what they use to be when we were young. The world of magic, or better called witchcraft and the occult, is very real and is a religion. And because the books have renewed children's interest in reading this is rationalized as beneficial and is now being advocated in the schools? The reports are that some of the schools in its zeal for reading allow the pupils to 'dress up' like characters in the books. Its hard enough to get a child to read a small size book but this huge book they are wanting to read, this should strike anyone as highly unusual. To read of a child watching his parents die when they are an infant is not an easy task for children. This is what nightmares are made of. To allow the schools to promote a child's deepest fear of losing the parents and facing the unknown is not a smart curriculum. The result is worse, his new wizard friends which has the solution to his problems.

The controversy seems to have become a religious one, and rightly so. It is about values and the way we understand things.

In one online survey the question was asked, Do you think the media responsibly reported the Harry Potter story?

Yes (28) 20% No (97) 68% Don't Know (17) 12%

This book is sold on CBC Online the website of the Children's Book Council. It has been approved by rabbis and other religious sections and is the current fad for making reading more valuable. The Harry Potter series has received praise from teachers, Schools, libraries all approve, well almost all.

Excerpts from an Associated Press Writer Oct. 13, 1999; Columbia, S.C.

Parents have persuaded the state's Board of Education to review whether the books should be allowed in the classroom. ”The books have a serious tone of death, hate, lack of respect and sheer evil,”

In Marietta, Ga., elementary school principal recently asked a fifth-grade teacher to stop reading the books in class until the school decided whether they were appropriate. On Tuesday, he cleared one of the books for classroom use.

”It's questionable whether every parent wants their child to read or be exposed to books having to do with magic and wizardry,” the principle said.

A handful of parents at a Lakeville, Minn., elementary school also objected, but the principal said it was up to teachers whether to continue reading Potter's tales to their students.”

Yes the kids are now wanting to read books and the parents should be glad, right? Not if it's exposing them to something that they are trying to keep them away from. Are there concerns? You bet there are!

For example in Harry Potter and the Secret Chamber, Harry picks up a envelope with a parchment inside that says: kwikspell A Correspondence Course in Beginners' Magic. Madam Z. Nettles of Topsham writes: ”I had no memory for incantations and my potions were a family joke! Now, after a Kwikspell course, I am the center of attention at parties and friends beg for the recipe of my Scintillation Solution!” Warlock D. J. Prod of Didsbury says: ”My wife used to sneer at my feeble charms, but one month into your fabulous Kwikspell course and I succeeded in turning her into a yak! Thank you, Kwikspell!”

Well it's not toil and trouble and eye of newt, but neither is it the Hardy boys. If this is not promoting witchcraft as acceptable than what is?

We find Harry learns to use his own powers in hurtful ways, hardly a good example for children growing up and the teacher trying to have them behave in the classroom and on the playground.

In the first book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he meets a nearly headless Nick (the ghost of Gryffindor Tower) whose head is held on by a sliver of skin. ”Stopped in his tracks and Harry walked right through him. He wished he hadn't; it was like stepping through an icy shower. ”But there is something you could do for me,” said Nick excitedly. ”Harry – would I be asking too much – but no, you wouldn't want -” ”What is it?” said Harry. ”Well, this Halloween will be my five hundredth deathday,”… ”Why would anyone want to celebrate the day they died?” said Ron, who was halfway through his Potions homework and grumpy. ”Sounds dead depressing to me. . . .”

Sounds depressing to me too, the author has admitted she loves Holloween, so much that she wants it to be read all year round.

”By the time Halloween arrived, Harry was regretting his rash promise to go to the deathday party. The rest of the school was happily anticipating their Halloween feast; the Great Hall had been decorated with the usual live bats, Hagrid's vast pumpkins had been carved into lanterns large enough for three men to sit in, and there were rumors that Dumbledore had booked a troupe of dancing skeletons for the entertainment. ”A promise is a promise,” Hermione reminded Harry bossily. ”You said you'd go to the deathday party.” This is not false decorations but represented as real skeletons in the world of Harry Potter.

In an interview on the ”Today'' show, Rowlings admitted that there was ”evil” in her books, but defended her motives. There are times when Harry uses his discovered powers not for good but to get back (p.29-30 Harry potter and the prisoner of Azkaban).

Then there is the glorification of death in the books. In the Sorcerer's Stone Headmaster Dumbledore the wizard professor says, ”To the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling, 1997,p. 302) This is saying its OK to live or die, if your intelligent you know that the after life can be just as adventurous as this one. And if one has a boring life they just may want to check out for a better one. With all the problems in schools today the last thing I would think that a caring teacher would want is a book that is pro death and amoral. While there are books read in schools about death they do not glorify it or represent it as fun.

”He is with me wherever I go,” said Quirrell quietly, referring to Voldmort. ”I met him when I traveled around the world. A foolish young man I was then, full of ridiculous ideas about good and evil. Lord Voldemort showed me how wrong I was. There is no good and evil , there is only power, and those too weak to seek it…. Since then, I have served him faithfully.”. ( Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J. K. Rowling, (New York: Scholastic Inc., 1997) p.291)

The muggles, who are ordinary people (the adults) ungifted with the powers of a wizard are the blind, pictured as cruel, mean, narrow and self-indulgent. The wizards and other creatures are the good guys who have wisdom and help Harry. The adults are depicted as strict, controlling, unloving and against the kids. This promotes rebellion to the authority that is supposed to be in the family, it is not family friendly at all. The author does a good job of reassuring the child how safe they are among the children who have the powers. The reader is lead into the time worn battle between good and evil. They are offered to see the good from Harry's pagan world view, not a Biblical perspective.

Many have compared the books with classics like Peter Pan, C.S. Lewis' ”The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” and J.R.R. Tolkien's ”The Hobbit.”

We live in a different world today. These books that have explicit descriptions of witchcraft and death. Should they be considered in the same category as the reading of time proven classics as, Charlotte's Web, Little House series, Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Black Beauty by Anne Sewell, Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn by Mark Twain.

So what's wrong with this fantasy? It influences our children to be open to pagan spirituality, this is not just imagination. What we are watching is an all out assault on biblical values and a Christian world view. I'm not going to put the blame on the author for intentionally influencing the children into paganism, since she does deny this as her motive and we have no proof otherwise. But unknowingly she is doing just that. It is a tragic mistake on any parents part to make magic trendy. Actually the word magic is a misnomer, its witchcraft. To open our children to the unknown and forbidden world of sorcery is nothing less than ”glorifying and mainstreaming witchcraft” to children. It may be a fun story, great reading, but the occult is very real, and most parents are completely unaware of this. Books such as the Harry Potters are effortlessly fit the new age agenda and occult world view.

When one is introduced to these books they find a fascinating world of Spiritism, Astrology, Palmistry, time-travel and an assortment of occultism. It makes the occult attractive and exciting presenting it as an viable alternative. All the, love, hope, wisdom is offered to those who follow the occult. Don't think that your child could not become fascinated or influenced to become a sorcerer by reading these books. The attraction as in all the Occult is being special and having power. The fact is that reading this book or others like it are not to be chalked up to just the imagination. The concepts and stories are making familiar to the children a very real world that we are not to have anything to do with. Parents, what would you do if someone did invite your child to a very real sorcerers meeting, after all you approved of the book. In the real Witchcraft belief they practice spells, chants and other rituals used in worshiping the Goddess. The word ”witch” is a derived from the Old English noun ”Wicca” which means (sorcerer) and a ”Wiccan” is one who (casts a spells). This religion is active and very much a part of the modern world landscape. In the United States, the church of Wicca has IRS non profit status to practice their religion. Wicca is a religion, not make believe.

The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia says witchcraft is exercise of supernatural powers through occult arts such as MAGIC, sorcery, and Satanism. Its origins are in the belief in separate powers of good and evil in ancient pagan cults and in religions. Grolier Encyclopedia- defines magic as ”The use of a certain ritual action to bring about the intervention of a supernatural force, either in human affairs or in the natural environment,… In casting spells, the appropriate use of words is sufficient to release or activate a power.” Encarta Encyclopedia states that Magic (sorcery), is the art of attaining objectives, acquiring knowledge, or performing works of wonder through supernatural or non rational means. Techniques used in magic typically include chants and spells, gestures or actions that often have a symbolic relation to the desired result .

Michael Thorn writes: ”Modern Witchcraft (or Wicca) is the most common expression of the religious movement known as Neo-paganism…. Wiccan's focus their liturgy and worship around a Goddess and a God. Rituals and services are timed to the phases of the moon and to the Wheel of the Year (i.e., the solstices, equinoxes, and the days falling midway between these such as May Day and Halloween). Most witches treat their practice as a priesthood, somewhat akin to the mystery cults of classical Greece and Rome, involving years of training and passage through life transforming initiatory rituals.”

The Wiccan creed is 'If it harm none, do what ye will'. In other words, In other words do what you feel is right, but let no one be harmed by your actions. However this is open for interpretation since what they think is not harmful may very well be.

Here's a quote from a witch ”In Witchcraft, we do not fight self-interest; we follow it.” (Starhawk, Founder of the Covenant of the Goddess)

This list is off a witchcraft website that explains what they do and do not believe and practice. Witches Do use spells. A ”spell” is a thought projection used to produce a desired result. Witches Do use magic wands. Magic wands are much like ”divining rods”, and are used for the purpose of directing energy. Witches Do use the natural psychic ability that all human beings possess. Witches use these abilities to heal, and to improve their surroundings. Witches Do use witchcraft as a science, art, and religion, and use their knowledge and abilities in harmony with the Universe and Nature around them. As a science they use their psychic abilities, as a religion by personifying Nature as a Goddess and God, and as an art by using magic to beautify.

Witchcraft is called ”The Craft of the Wise” as knowledge of energies and the natural and spiritual laws that govern the workings of the Universe are learned. To demand a spiritual force to do your bidding. Who are these spiritual forces? The bible is clear on the danger of the spiritual realm and man being unequipped to play in it.

The author of Harry Potter seems to have a basic knowledge of the craft and other occult concepts, there are too many resemblance's so it hard for me to accept it to be just a story that came to her on a train.

Most Wiccan traditions value a Book of Shadows. These books are rarely seen to non-initiates. Most Books of Shadows include instructions for the circle casting and banishing; religious rituals; laws; organizational laws for the coven; ceremonies; magickal rites; prayers, and other essential parts. Books like these guide and maintain Wiccan religion.

Many of the web sites for Harry Potter have games and puzzles to test ones knowledge of the story. They are all around the theme of the craft with spells and charms put in creative word games although some may be innocuous, the terms that appear desensitizes a child to be unafraid of participating in real spells in witchcraft. All this reaffirms the teachings of the occult given in the books. Just as the magazine of Harry Potter featured Sabrina the teenage witch, it is all made to look fun and interesting. The more the child is attracted to this it brings the child further down the road.

God spoke to Israel not to practice their spirituality as the pagan nations, and neither should we. Deuteronomy 18:10-13 ”When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. ”There shall not be found among you anyone w ho makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses ,divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, ( one who casts a spell, )or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead (Necromancer). For whoever does these things an abomination to the Lord.” These (and more) are all the things practiced by Harry Potter in the books, contacting the dead, séances. No Christian (or non Christian) should ignore the possible influences of this book that positively promotes the occult when God has forbidden this. No one can deny that after reading these books they are not more open to accepting occult ideas. They make it look fun, I can only wonder why Christian parents would ignore the actual content and promote the book because of its quality of writing.

[A sorcerer– A person who is knowledgeable in the occult arts, a conjurer, to summon up a devil of a spirit by invocation or spell. to produce by magic to bring to mind as if by magic. books of occult knowledge: handbook or witches and spells .

A Witch – Is someone who uses Magic Wizardry, Sorcery and the occult]

Ps. 34:14: ”Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

II King 21:6: ” he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritist's and mediums.” The Lord called this evil in his sight.

While there have been books written on witchcraft and sorcery, if they involve a hero who uses these powers one needs to question the influence it can have on a young child who is very impressionable.

If people want to read these books on their own, they have the freedom to do so. Contrary to rumors, most Christians are not promoting burning the books or the people who practice occultism. It is not a matter of intolerance but of being aware. If someone is mature and knows better reading a book like this may not affect them in the least. Its obvious that a book like this may not affect and adult as it would a impressionable child. But children are different, and parents should be watching over their children. Parents should heed the forewarning of opening their child to the occult. Many people testify that this is the very way they got involved in the occult. It may not have repercussions immediately but eventually it does. How do I know this? Been there, done that! It all starts by playing a game or reading a book. I guess I'm just a muggle, but I'd rather not see this being promoted in any secular schools and especially Christian. Let the reader beware.

For those who still take the position that children are immune to influences that they read please go to this website to hear what children are saying.

The Doctrine of Original Sin

[ame=]The Doctrine of Original Sin[/ame]

God Says:

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Is. 64:6

For since by man(Adam) came death, by man(Jesus)came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:21,22

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15

Fishers Follow Him

May 29

Fishers Follow Him

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:17)

Only by coming after Jesus can we obtain our heart's desire and be really useful to our fellow men. Oh, how we long to be successful fishers for Jesus! We would sacrifice our lives to win souls. But we are tempted to try methods which Jesus would never have tried. Shall we yield to this suggestion of the enemy? If so, we may splash the water, but we shall never take the fish. We must follow after Jesus if we would succeed. Sensational methods, entertainment, and so forth-are these coming after Jesus? Can we imagine the Lord Jesus drawing a congregation by such means as are now commonly used? What is the result of such expedients? The result is nothing which Jesus will count up at the last great day.

We must keep to our preaching as our Master did, for by this means souls are saved. We must preach our Lord's doctrine and proclaim a full and free gospel, for this is the net in which souls are taken, We must preach with His gentleness, boldness, and love, for this is the secret of success with human hearts. We must work under divine anointing, depending upon the sacred Spirit. Thus, coming after Jesus, and not running before Him, not aside from Him, we shall be fishers of men.

The Promises to Israel

The Promises to Israel

Dr. William Varner

If Israel has been chosen to perform a special role in the Divine plan, what promises

have been given to Israel that will enable that ancient people to fulfill that role?

The Apostle Paul is clear on the great privileges that God has granted Israel. He wrote

in Romans 9:4: “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises.” Paul nowhere intimates that these great privileges have been annulled, forfeited, or cancelled. As a matter of fact the three chapters of which this verse is a part (Romans 9-11) have as one of their purposes to emphasize that God has not cancelled His promises to Israel or transferred them to some other people! What says Paul in Romans 11:1? “I say then, has God cast away His

people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of

Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”

Specifically, what are those promises to Israel? Well, they ultimately are derived from

those to “Father Abraham” in Genesis 12:1-3. To sum them up, they are basically the promises of a people, a land and a blessing. The Book of Deuteronomy and the later prophets unite on the affirmation of these promises to Israel. Chapters 28 and 29 of Deuteronomy clearly delineate the dire consequences if Israel disobeys the LordÐthere will be drought, exile and sufferingÐto name only a few of the judgments. But even if the promises of judgment are fulfilled, that does not cancel the promises of Israel’s future blessings found in Deuteronomy 30. As we will emphasize again in this brief article, to view the promises of Israel’s judgment as having been literally fulfilled while attempting to spiritualize and then transfer the promises of her blessings to the Church involves an inconsistent hermeneutic.

As an example of many such illustrations of this principle, consider just the prophets

Hosea and Micah. In Hosea 3:4 there is a promise of judgment on Israel which already has been literally fulfilled: “For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.” If that verse has had a literal fulfillment in Israel’s history of the last two thousand years, what about the next verse embodying a promise of blessing for Israel?: “Afterward the children of Israel shall return, seek the LORD their God and David their king, and fear the LORD and His goodness in the latter days.” If Israel was punished literally, they will be blessed literally! Or consider the dual promises of judgment and blessing in Micah 3:12-4:2: “Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins, And the mountain of the temple like the bare hills of the forest. Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; And peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and

say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of

Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law

shall go forth, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” The promise of the destruction

of Jerusalem and the Temple was literally fulfilled. Why would anyone then spiritualize the

promise of restoration and blessing for Jerusalem and the Temple in the very next verses?

Now, someone may say that although the Old Testament prophets may have stated

that, now in the New Testament the Church is the so-called “New Israel” and the Church

really spiritually receives those future promises of blessing to Israel. But this cannot be

proved from the New Testament either. Already we have referred to that great chapter on

Israel’s future, Romans 11. Throughout that chapter the word “Israel” refers to the Jewish people. Therefore, when Paul affirms the future blessings for Israel in 11:26-27, why would he then inject the word with a different meaning? “And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27).

Paul actually bases his theology of literal blessings for a literal Israel on Old Testament

prophecies (Isaiah 59:20,21 and Jeremiah 31:33,34).

Why should the plain and natural sense of a text be jettisoned? In Luke 1:31-33 seven promises were given to Mary. Five of them have already literally been fulfilled. Why is

someone authorized to say that the remaining two will not also be literally fulfilled? Indeed, Christ shall receive the throne of His father David, and He shall rule over the house of Jacob forever, literally.

Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to the words of a layman who understood the

nature of language very well, the poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson:

I cannot understand how you theologians and preachers can apply to the

Church Scripture promises, which, in their plain meaning apply to God’s chosen

people, Israel; and which consequently must be future. The prophetic books are

full of teachings which, if they are interpreted literally, would be inspiring, and a

magnificent assurance of a great and glorious future; but which, as they are

spiritualized, become farcical… as applied to the Church they are a comedy.

Obama to cement Saudi ties on surprise trip

Obama to cement Saudi ties on surprise trip

Fri May 29, 2009 4:54am EDT

By Ulf Laessing – Analysis

RIYADH (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to hear Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah air his worries about the festering Arab-Israeli conflict and rising Iranian influence when he visits Riyadh next week.

Obama, who meets King Abdullah on June 3, added a surprise Saudi leg to his trip to Europe and Egypt, where he plans to deliver a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world.

The decision reflects the enduring importance of a bilateral bond based on guaranteed oil supplies in return for U.S. protection for the Saudi monarchy that was sealed in the 1940s.

Washington is keen to prevent any spike in oil prices that might threaten economic recovery — U.S. crude hit a year-high on Tuesday…

The Characteristics of Hypocrisy

The Characteristics of Hypocrisy

The twelve apostles included ”Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him” (Matt. 10:4).

Lesson: On a recent trip to New Zealand I learned that sheepherders there use specially trained castrated male sheep to lead other sheep from holding areas into the slaughtering room. Those male sheep are appropriately called ”Judas sheep.” That illustrates the commonness with which we associate Judas with deception and death. Pretending to be a friend of Jesus, Judas betrayed him with a kiss and became for all time and eternity the epitome of hypocrisy.

Several characteristics of spiritual hypocrisy are clearly evident in Judas's life. First, hypocritical people often seem genuinely interested in a noble cause. Judas probably didn't want the Romans to rule over Israel and he saw in Christ an opportunity to do something about it. He probably had the common misconception that Jesus was immediately going to establish His earthly kingdom and put down Roman oppression.

Second, hypocritical people demonstrate an outward allegiance to Christ. Many of those who followed Jesus in the early stages of His ministry deserted Him along the way (John 6:66). Not Judas. He stayed to the end.

Third, hypocritical people can appear to be holy. When Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him, none of them suspected Judas. Even after Jesus identified Judas as His betrayer, the other disciples still didn't understand (John 13:27-29). Judas must have put on a very convincing act!

Fourth, hypocritical people are self-centered. Judas didn't love Christ–He loved himself and joined the disciples because he thought he could gain personal prosperity.

Finally, hypocritical people are deceivers. Judas was a pawn of Satan, whom Jesus described as a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). Is it any wonder that his whole life was one deception after another?

Judas was an unbeliever, but hypocrisy can also thrive in believers if its telltale signs are ignored. That's why you must guard your motives carefully, walk in the Spirit each day, and immediately confess even the slightest hint of hypocrisy.

Suggestions for Prayer:

Ask God to purify your love for Him and to protect you from the subtle inroads of hypocrisy.

For Further Study:

Read John 12:1-8.

* How did Mary demonstrate her love for Christ?

* What objection did Judas raise?

* What was his motive?

UN Gaza war probe to start at weekend

UN Gaza war probe to start at weekend

May. 29, 2009

Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

A team of independent experts mandated to probe alleged war crimes in Israel and Gaza will leave for the Middle East over the weekend, UN spokesman Rolando Gomez said Friday.

He said that the mission, led by veteran prosecutor Richard Goldstone, was expected to begin its work next week.

Speaking in Geneva, Gomez told reporters that Goldstone had repeatedly asked the Israeli government to cooperate with his mission. He was unable to say whether Goldstone has received a response.

Israel has previously described the probe as ”intrinsically flawed”…