Friends,
Yesterday I wept. I wept because of Israeliteindeed’s disgraceful writings. Even though I have continually taught that people filled with the Spirit of God can, and sometimes do, turn off the path of Truth and entangle themselves in the world (its idolatry, immorality, and/or lies), even to the point of becoming so defiled and deluded that God destroys them (1 Cor. 3:16,17 // 2 Thes. 2:10-12 // Heb. 10:26-31 // 2 Peter 2:20-22 & 3:17), it is frightening to watch someone so endangering themselves and their listeners. (1 Tim. 4:16 & 6:20,21)

If I had not so enthusiastically endorsed Israeliteindeed’s blog in past years, I would ignore the posts she has written over the last year as I ignore most other blogs filled with false doctrines. However, I did endorse her and so now, since she continues to promote doctrines contrary to what God’s Word teaches, I feel obligated to make sure that all my readers are aware of this.

Since last June, Israelitindeed began writing posts defaming the nation of Israel. I attempted to reason with her, but she rejected my admonishments and instead went on in the same vein for the next ten months. With often untrue and inflammatory words and statements, she has diluted, twisted, and opposed the Truth repeatedly.

Yesterday Israeliteindeed posted against Memorial Day and those of us who use it as a day to think soberly and gratefully about all who have sacrificed their lives that others may be free. Here is something she says in her article:

There was a time when days like this gave me vaguely fuzzy feelings for reasons I did not fully understand. Somewhere, someone had “died for me,” and because they made theultimate sacrifice, I was now “free.” It sounded pretty amazing. Sentimental parallels have been drawn between these combat soldiers and Jesus. I now know that this is as appropriate as drawing sentimental parallels between Jesus and the antichrist.

It is unfortunate that Israeliteindeed, by italicizing the words “ultimate sacrifice” in her statement, seems to be denying the common meaning of the phrase, which is that any physical life given up unto death on behalf of another is considered an ultimate sacrifice and that such a thing does not necessarily have to do with purchasing another’s eternal salvation. It is also unfortunate that Israeliteindeed says she “knows” that any sentimental parallels between soldiers sacrificing their lives to uphold freedoms on this earth with that sacrifice which Christ bought for us is as inappropriate as drawing sentimental parallels between Jesus and the antichrist.

Jesus Himself made parallels. For example, in commanding us to love each other as He has loved us (John 15:12), He goes on to say, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (v. 13) The Lord gives no reason for such a sacrifice, but is instead emphasizing the fervent love which would compel such. Furthermore, when answering a question about how to inherit eternal life –that it is through love toward God and man (Luke 10:25-28)– Jesus goes on to give the parable of the good Samaritan, revealing that we are to sacrifice for anyone whose need God makes us aware of. These examples Christ related were earthly and between humans, but they are there not only to help us understand Christ-likeness, but to point us to the revelation concerning the love and sacrifice God made for mankind.

What are we to think about the numerous types and parallels given to us in the Old Testament that “served as copies and shadows of what was to come”? (See Heb. 8:5) It was God Himself who used the sanctuary, the consecrated bread, the gold-covered ark of the covenant, the law, the blood of animals for the reminder of sins, the priests, and all the other imitations (6:13-10:22) to foreshadow “the realities themselves.” (10:1) Truly, Scripture does not oppose people making parallels using Christ’s love and sacrifice (His commitment and concern for the humans He created) to try to remind others of the sacrifice one group of humans has made for another group of humans. Neither does Scripture refuse us the freedom to use the sacrifice of those who died defending earthly freedom to point to the One who died to ransom mankind from their loss of spiritual freedom. In spite of what Israeliteindeed believes, making such parallels is not inappropriate.

“But these examples are not explicitly about war or bloodshed,” someone may say. Yet we can compare such parallels with other verses and discern Christ’s doctrine. For He has told us, “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Mark 13:7) In Mt. 10:34-36 we see Jesus saying that He has not come to earth to bring peace but a sword and to turn even family members against one another. We cannot deny that this includes through war, for it is the Lamb (Jesus) who opens the seal that summons the rider who “was given a large sword” (Rev. 6:4) and who “was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other.” (Same verse) And as we know from the whole counsel of Scripture, lack of peace is the consequence for the lack of truth, justice, and righteousness.

Let no one mistake what God’s Word says: The Lord Himself is a warrior (Ex. 15:3) and He will march out like a mighty warrior, raise the battle cry, and triumph over his enemies. (Isa. 42:13) And in that day when He gathers all nations against Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2), “the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.” (v. 3) As long as we live in this age when the evil realm is still trying to advance, there is an appropriate “time for war”. (Ec. 3:8) As Rom. 13:1-7 teaches us, governing authorities are God’s servants who bear the sword in order to squelch anarchy and to protect the welfare of the country’s citizens. So just as a hired policeman is required before God to wield the sword against law-breakers, so is a soldier required before God to protect the freedoms of the country he has been hired to protect. If anyone dies while carrying out his duties of protecting justice and the good of others, he should be considered a hero, and a day set aside each year to gratefully honor the bravery and sacrifice of such individuals is certainly appropriate. In spite of what Israeliteindeed teaches.

Israeliteindeed has written shamefully over the last year. While writing tenderly to, and about, a society that has, for decades, propagated hatred and terrorism, whose general citizenry hates the Lord, His Word, and His chosen race (so much so that they continually demand that every Jew be annihilated), she speaks untrue and harsh words against the Israelite nation that has every right to defend itself. This, plus how she so often speaks against the U.S.A., warrants the suggestion that she move to another country where she can learn, first hand, how many privileges citizens of America (and of Israel) have compared to the rest of the world’s countries. If she would move to North Korea or Iran or China or Saudi Arabia or Haiti or Nepal or Cambodia or Russia, or virtually any other country on the planet, she may then come to recognize how full of the world’s philosophies, pride, and ignorance her writings are, and how void of the Spirit of God.

May none of the rest of us ignore the warning of 1 Tim. 6:20,21: “Guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.”

May everyone, this Memorial Day, think soberly about all who have died to purchase and uphold our freedoms, particularly the freedom to worship God and proclaim the Gospel of Christ.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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Friends,
It is certainly tragic that there are teachers who claim that God’s Word does not warn us of a literal Hell. Indeed, how anyone could teach and believe such a thing reveals a deliberate denial of plain statements made by Jesus and the writers of Scripture.

In Mt. 23:33, Jesus addressed the Pharisees and teachers of the law, saying, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to Hell?” Was Jesus bluffing? Was He threatening them, because of their wicked behavior and doctrine, of the danger of Hell, knowing that Hell did not actually exist? Of course not–!!!

What is the condemnation Jesus refers to when, in speaking of His just judgement (John 5:30), He says in v. 29, “…and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned”? What is the condemnation He refers to when, in warning of the Day of Judgement (Mt. 12:36), He says in verse 37, “…and by your words you will be condemned”? In both passages Jesus contrasts being condemned with being acquitted and given Life.

The apostle Paul speaks about condemnation as well. In 1 Cor. 11:27-34 he teaches that the Lord may decree earthly judgements, including sickness and death (v. 30), for believers so that they “will not be condemned with the world.” (v. 32) And we know from Jesus’ words in John 3:18,36 that the condemnation that the world is under is that of God’s wrath.

John the Baptist warned of this wrath as well when he “said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.'” (Luke 3:7,8) John was warning pretenders that by their wickedness they were keeping themselves positioned to receive God’s wrath.

“Okay,” many say who claim to be Christian. “This wrath is reserved for unbelievers, but not for anyone who has trusted in Jesus as Savior.” But they should read the above verses again. For it is sin which brings God’s wrath and decreed condemnation, and all will be condemned who have refused to love the Truth (2 Thes. 2:10) –the Truth which commands full repentance and full obedience to Christ, who is not only Savior, but King, Lord, and Boss over all. (Mt. 19:17 // Luke 9:23-25 & 14:33 // John 15:10 // 1 John 2:3-6) This is in line with what Heb. 10:26-31 warns of when it addresses those who have covenanted with Christ (v. 26,29), for it says that “If we deliberately keep on sinning…” (v. 26), we should expect the judgement of raging fire (v. 27) that is due the enemies of God. (Same verse) Verses 30 and 31 inform us that it is a horrifying thing to fall into the hands of God who repays His people for their rebellion.

“Okay, so the condemnation is annihilation,” many then argue. “Unbelievers and rebels are burned up. Their punishment is not eternal.” But again, the plain words of Scripture are being denied, for God’s Word states that Hell is most definitely a place where one’s torment is eternal.

2 Thes. 1:6-10 tells us that God, being just, will, on the Day He comes to be glorified (v. 10), pay back those who do not know God (v. 8 ) and those who do not obey the Gospel (same verse), including those who oppress others. (v. 6) Verse 9 tells us that “They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord.” The only way to understand this rightly is to understand that being shut out from the presence of the Lord is a rejection from the Lord –as opposed to salvation– and that this punishment of eternal devastation is assigned to the enemies of God. This includes Christ’s servants if they turn rebellious, for as Jesus warns in Mt. 24:48-51, He will come and cut such rebels to pieces, assigning them a place of anguish along with those who are hypocrites.

Truly, Jesus has warned repeatedly about Hell, revealing that it is a “fiery furnace” (Mt. 13:42) of outer darkness (25:30) and physical torment (Luke 16:23-28) that causes terror and weeping. (Mt. 13:42,50 & 22:13 & 24:51 & 25:30 & etc.) It is a place, Jesus informs us, of “eternal punishment” (25:46) for all “who are cursed” (v. 41) –a place in “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Same verse)

Still, there are those who insist that this “eternal punishment” Jesus speaks of is annihilation. Really? Then why would Jesus tell us in Mt. 18:6 that if anyone causes one of God’s trusting ones to sin, “it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (See also Mark 9:42) How could such a drowning be better than to cause another to sin if the punishment for doing so would, after physical death, be annihilation by fire, not an eternity in Hell? And if levels of sinfulness increases one’s degree of punishment (Luke 12:47,48 // Rom. 2:5-11), how does annihilation consist of such degrees? It cannot. But the real Hell does have levels of punishment, and this is why it would truly be better to be drowned before one adds to his pile of crimes. This is also why Jesus has warned that it is better to maim oneself –to gouge out or cut off any part of our body that causes us to sin– than to be thrown into Hell (Mark 9:43-49) “where ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'” (v. 48) Undeniably, Jesus is warning us that Hell deals out a far worse suffering than any which having a physical handicap on earth could cause.

If anyone still doubts the clear message Jesus is trying to get across, then His words in Luke 12:4,5 should be persuasive: “I tell you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into Hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him.” There can be a lot of pain when a person is being killed. Yet being sent to Hell, Jesus says, is far worse. Why –if Hell is really annihilation? The point is, Hell is not annihilation, but eternal agony.

Anguish, punishment, judgement, and an eternity outside of God’s love is what sin reaps, for sin is rebellion, lawlessness, treason, and rejection of God. (John 15:10,14 // Ja. 2:10 // 1 John 3:4) God has provided a Way to be pardoned and to walk in His own divine power so that we can stay freed from sin (Rom. 6:18 // 2 Peter 1:3,4), but if people do not accept this, or if they trample Christ and insult His Spirit of grace by dishonoring their sanctification (Heb. 10:29), they mock God to their own destruction. (Gal. 6:7,8) Let’s not forget that those who continue to spurn God after sharing in the Holy Spirit will at one point be unable to come back to repentance (1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Heb. 6:4-6), for as Jesus has warned us, “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:29)

God’s Word certainly does teach that there is a Hell. It warns of it repeatedly, and informs us that Hell is a place where the unrepentant will abide, without the King they rejected, forever.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
“But I have obeyed the Lord.” This is what many people say to themselves when confronted with, “Why are you not obeying the Lord?” We can read about this same exchange in 1 Sam. 15:19,20 when Saul insisted to Samuel that, in spite of not obeying God completely, he actually had been obedient to the Lord. “I did carry out the mission God sent me on,” so many say, just as Saul claimed in verse 20. “And in that small part where I didn’t follow God’s directions exactly, I did it so as to help (love, pity, acquit, and/or encourage) others, and so that they could better serve God.” Is this not the reasonings of many –so similar to Saul’s in verse 21–?! But Samuel rebuked Saul, informing him that his negligence to follow God’s orders precisely was both disobedience and evil in the eyes of the Lord. (v. 18,19)

So is partial obedience to God okay for anyone? Does God ever reason, “Well, this servant of Mine carried out most of My orders, so I will be happy with him for that.” –?

Let’s look at what the partial disobedience cost Saul: “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.” (1 Sam. 15:23) It cost Saul his position of authority. And though Saul remained king for a duration, another (David) was anointed soon afterward to take his place. Moreover, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul (16:14) and an injuring spirit was sent by the Lord to torment him. Talk about a heavy judgement for neglecting to obey God fully!

“But I do a lot for the Lord and the furtherance of His Gospel,” people say when rationalizing their negligence in obeying God perfectly. But what does God’s Word say about this? “Does the LORD appreciate sacrifices, offerings, and worship as much as in obeying His voice?” (See 1 Sam. 15:22) He does not! (Same verse) For such conduct God considers to be rebellion and arrogance, sins equal to those of divination and idolatry. (v. 23)

What lesson are we to hear from these pages in God’s Word? We are to hear what the whole of God’s Word is warning: Obey the Lord, obey Him fully, obey Him carefully, obey His precise orders. When we do this, we will walk in the will of the Lord –which is a must for inheriting eternal life. (Mt. 7:21 & 12:50 // Heb. 10:36 // 1 John 2:17 // see also 2 Cor. 5:15 and 1 Peter 4:2)

Jesus, too, confirms the necessity of obeying God so that we walk in His will and are allowed entrance into Heaven. For He warns in Mt. 7:21-23 that to call Him “Lord”, to prophesy (preach or teach or proclaim) in His name, to cast out demons, and to perform many mighty works means nothing to God if that worker is not in the will of the Father. In fact, Jesus teaches, that worker will be considered instead to be a worker of iniquity / evil / lawlessness / rebellion.

So is sacrificing for God enough? Does it make God favorable toward that sacrificial one? No. Not if that person neglects to follow the precise orders he has heard God give him, especially given him again and again. And not only will God NOT be favorable toward that individual, but God may send an injuring spirit to torment him. As both Ja. 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5 warn, “God opposes the proud.” For as we have learned from 1 Sam. 15:23, pride is as the sin of idolatry. Furthermore, because all sin is hostility toward God (Rom. 8:7 // Ja. 4:4), no one who continues in it can please Him, (Rom. 8:8), escape His vengeance / opposition / punishment / judgement / anger / wrath (Rom. 11:22 // 1 Cor. 11:32 // Heb. 10:26-31), or belong to Him (1 John 3:6-10) as a son who has a permanent place in the family. (John 8:34-36 & 15:2,6 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Rev. 3:5) Indeed, a continuation in sin (a lack of repentance) reaps death and damnation. (Rom. 6:23 // Heb. 10:26-31)

Let no one rest in the illusions of the false refuge which ignorant teachers have conjured up and propagated. Disobedience to the Lord, especially deliberate, careless continued disobedience, does not put one walking in the will of the Lord. Be assured that such arrogant rebels will heap to themselves conflict and punishment from the Lord, and if they do not turn from their sin even in their desperation, the Lord will abandon them to the fate of unbelievers. (Mt. 7:21-23 & 24:45-51 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17 // Heb. 6:4-6 & 10:35-39 // 2 Peter 2:20-22 & 3:17)

Care for your soul, and the souls of those you teach, and meticulously study God’s Word itself (not men’s doctrines) so as to see that these things are so.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
After a nice Mother’s Day afternoon today with our entire family (our lunch being my husband’s yummy specialty roast he’d made in the crockpot), my mom and I went tonight to a prayer meeting at a couple’s home. Following a paper copy guideline, everyone there took turns praying aloud and thanking God for different things suggested. We prayed for the world, the church, and individuals. Since several people prayed for persecuted Christians worldwide, particularly in the Mideast, I prayed for Saeed. I encourage everyone to keep praying for him. Please read his beautiful prayer and message he wrote in honor of America’s National Day of Prayer last Thursday, here:

http://aclj.org/persecuted-church/pastor-saeeds-birthday-wish-pray-for-america?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=newsletter

Last Thursday I kept thinking about the types of prayers people seem to focus on every National Day of Prayer –prayers that our nation will repent of sin and turn to God. This is good, but I often believe “Christians” put too much of the blame on others (on the group), when it is us as individuals, who make up the whole, where the attention should be given. Because if each one of us have things we need to repent of, and we neglect to do so, how is it that the nation as a whole can be seen as repentant in God’s eyes?

I believe church leaders, and everyone else who claims to belong to Christ, should resist lamenting about all the nation’s godless citizens, and instead weep about all those who call themselves “Christians” yet who continue spitting in God’s face through their continuous sinning. Isn’t this the nation’s (and the world’s) biggest problem? Wouldn’t the forces of darkness crumble before the advancing tide of true Spirit-filled warriors? Absolutely. Yet there is no Spirit-filled tide. Oh, there are trickles here and there, and there may be a tide of those who work in their own strength, but a tide of true fully-filled Spirit-controlled warriors? Not really. But this is what America, and the world, needs. There needs to be more who are extra sensitive to anything that grieves the Spirit, who will renounce and turn from all known sin forever, who will make every effort –daily– to be filled with the Spirit, and who will intercede concerning those who are the biggest hindrances to the advancement of truth, justice, and righteousness –namely, those who say they follow Jesus even while they continue to abide in falsehoods and sin.

As I was pondering these things last Thursday, Ps. 86:11 kept coming to my mind. I kept thinking that it would be a great prayer to start any prayer meeting with. It says, “Teach me Your way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your truth.” Isn’t this what we all need? We need the Lord to teach us His way, His laws, His Truth, His doctrine. Then we can walk there. But, we should ask. We should pray that He teaches us. Are we requesting this of God? Is the church petitioning Him about this? Are the dads leading their families in this prayer? Are the moms? Are the pastors?

Ps. 86:11 finishes, “Give me an undivided heart [O Lord], that I may fear Your name.” By having a divided heart, we will grow more and more calloused in understanding the importance of fearing God. Indeed, a divided heart is going to get us nowhere with God –nowhere in getting to know Him and receiving help from Him. Instead we need undivided hearts, and this so that we may fear the Lord, listen to His instructions, learn His way, and walk in His Truth. If we do these, we will be walking in the Spirit, we will be advancing together as a mighty army, we will be demolishing strongholds, we will be praying by the Spirit in line with God’s will, and we will be seeing the Lord answer multitudes of prayers all across the globe.

Mighty praying is what is needed. Humble, trust-filled, mighty prayers from holy, not sinful (daily rebellious), Christ-followers.

It begins with, “Teach us Your way, O Lord” –the heartfelt request, and with, “I will walk in Your truth” –the sincere pledge. If this would become the case throughout the church body, God may turn from His anger, relent from His decrees of punishments, and bring to us His favor and blessing.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
This morning in meditating on God’s Word, Ps. 148:13 struck me, so I memorized it. It says, “Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.” What a beautiful and worshipful verse to quote reverently before the Lord!

Who is the “them” being encouraged to praise the Lord’s name? Verses 7-12 tell us, and those that are mentioned are many within God’s creation, both animate and inanimate. Great sea creatures are mentioned, as well as all ocean depths. Lightning, hail, snow, and clouds are included, and so are “stormy winds that do His bidding” (v. 8 ), letting us know that stormy winds, even those which cause destruction, that would have to mean, happen because of God’s direct command and/or permissive will, and this so that His plans are accomplished. (Regrettably, there are Bible teachers who, in their desire to believe that since the cross God stopped executing all judgements on the earth, reject Scripture’s doctrine on this in spite of multitudes of verses concerning it.)

In verses 9-12, mountains, all hills, fruit trees, all cedars, wild animals, all cattle, small creatures, flying birds, kings of the earth, all nations, princes, all rulers of the earth, young men, maidens, old men, and children –all these are called upon to praise the Lord. The word “all”, used six times here, should not be left unnoticed so that we will recognize that the entire creation is being commanded to praise the Lord.

In the preceding verses of Ps. ch. 148 we see there were others who were also specifically called upon to praise the Lord and His name. Mentioned in verses 2-4 they are: All the Lord’s angels, all His heavenly hosts, the sun, the moon, all the shining stars, the highest heavens, and the waters above the skies. These are addressed directly and commanded to praise the Lord and His name. And again the word “all” is repeated.

So are we –each one of us– obeying? Are we joining in with the praise? Are our mouths, and our whole lives, extending praise to the name of the Lord and exalting Him alone? –The One whose splendor is above the earth and the heavens? –The One whose splendor is continually being displayed throughout, and in, and through the earth and the heavens, this fact being understand by what is revealed in both the Word of God and creation?

In verses 1 and 7 there is the command to praise the Lord from locations. These are: From the heavens, in the heights above, and from the earth. Verses 5,6,13,14 tell us why we should praise the Lord and His name: It is because He created through His command, because He set the creation of the heavens in place through a decree that will never pass away, because no other name is worthy of exaltation, and because He has raised up a king (Jesus) who is the joy of those who belong to Him.

Ps. ch. 148 is rich with both theology and words by which to praise the Lord. Verse 13 was especially precious to me this morning, but because of the rest of the verses (all of which I was not memorizing), I felt it appropriate to substitute “them” for “all creation” as I said it before the Lord. In this way much of the chapter’s meaning is summed up in this one worshipful verse, and so I memorized it like this: “Let all creation praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”

Amen! May all creation praise the Lord!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel