Nov 25, 2009

Response to 2012 prophecies - by Hugh Ross

Multiple sources, both books and web sites, have stirred people’s fear that the world (or life as we know it) will end on December 21, 2012. This date is cited as the end of the Mayan calendar and is said to align with a number of potential causes, such as the solar maximum, Venus’s transit of the Sun, Planet X’s approach, and a possible asteroid or comet impact. (See and, for example.)

The Mayan “end” date is also said to align with Incan and Egyptian calendars, as well as with the prophecies of Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and I Ching.

Perhaps few people realize that doomsayers for over a hundred years have been alleging that the Mayan, Incan, and Egyptian calendars predict a specific, imminent date for the end of the world. In my lifetime, over half dozen such dates have come and gone without incident. A closer look explains why: these calendars and prophecies are so esoteric, so vague, that one can pull almost any doomsday date from them.

Sooner or later, however, the wolf will be at the door. Major natural disasters have occurred in the past, and they are bound to happen in the future. World Wars have occurred in the past, and with weapons of mass destruction in the hands of tyrants and terrorists, Armageddon is hardly in doubt. So if doomsayers keep on predicting dates for the world’s end, they will be right eventually.

From an astronomical perspective, however, no one should be particularly concerned about December 21, 2012. Venetian gravity is much too weak to significantly impact Earth’s stability during a transit event. One such transit occurred in 2004 without any measureable effect on Earth. (It should also be noted that the date for the next transit is June 5-6, not December 21.)

In 1983 two astronomers encountered an infrared source they were unable to identify, initially. Some reporters speculated that the unidentified source might be a tenth planet (at the time Pluto was still considered a planet). A frightening rumor developed that Planet X had traveled from 50 billion miles away to less than 7 billion miles away in less than two decades. However, thanks to extensive research on the Kuiper Belt* during the 1990s and early 2000s, astronomers have determined with considerable confidence that Planet X does not exist.

While it’s true that the Sun will be at sunspot and flaring maximum in 2012, such a solar event occurs every eleven years. The worst case scenario for a solar maximum is that a few giant solar flares could temporarily disrupt satellite and radio communications. Some GPS satellites could possibly be knocked out, but certainly life on Earth would not be threatened. So far, sunspot monitoring indicates that the 2012 solar maximum will likely be moderate to minimal.

As for the coming Armageddon, a consistent (and literal) biblical interpretation embraced by some (though not all) Christians indicates that certain events must occur first. A sampling of such events includes these:
• a dictator takes control of a confederation that includes all the world’s nations1
• the nation of Israel agrees to disarm, 2
• all adherents of Judaism reside in Israel, 3
• Israel achieves economic prosperity, 4
• Israel gains some degree of political control over the lands known in the ancient world as Edom, Moab, and Ammon, 5 and
• the “Great Commission” reaches completion, as Christ’s followers raise up disciples in every ethnicity, kith, or people group throughout the world. 6

Whatever a person believes about “end times,” we all would do well to heed the words of Jesus: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”7

In other words, energy focused in “divining” the date of the world’s end is wasted energy. God calls each person to live each day fully engaged in fulfilling His stated purposes for humanity so that whenever He comes for us, individually or collectively, we’ll hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”8

* The Kuiper Belt is a huge cloud of asteroids and comets that lies beyond the orbit of Neptune. Since 1985 more than a thousand Kuiper Belt objects have been discovered. Though a few rival Pluto in size, none are larger than the Moon. Accurate measures of the orbits of Neptune and the larger Kuiper Belt objects definitively rule out the possible existence of a planet the size of Mars or larger within the vicinity of the solar system.

1 Daniel 7:7-8, 23-25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12.

2 Ezekiel 38:3-11.

3 Ezekiel 34:6-16, 36:8-12, 24, 37:20-21, 38:8, 39:25-28.

4 Ezekiel 36:8-12, 33-36, 38:12-13.

5 Isaiah 11:14; Ezekiel 38:3-8, Daniel 11:36-45; Amos 9:11-12; Obadiah 19-21; Zephaniah 2:8-11; Zechariah 10:10.

6 Matthew 28:8-20.

7 Matthew 24:42-44.

8 Matthew 25:21 and 23.

posted by greg.


Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him. (Mar 1:16-20)

And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. (Mar 2:14)

We have read often, the calling of Peter and Andrew, James and John of Zebedee, and Levi of Alphaeus; it does not always strike us that their calling is remarkable; that the Master would simply call them, and that they in turn would respond immediately. Peter and Andrew were casting their nets, James and John, mending their nets, and Levi sitting at his tax collector’s desk. The first would leave their trade, the second their father and the third his lucrative position with the State. They left all immediately and followed Him. Their decision to immediately follow is not quite the representative of a mature, logical, well-deliberated response by any stretch of the imagination. It is a wonder, to imagine what had caused each to leave all to heed the Master’s call.

When we survey the gospels, there are many who followed Him. There were those who would miraculously feed, others who would seek healing of sundry ailments. Some would follow for the sake of debate, discourse and the opportunity to prove the Master; a close association and to await the providential window when one is able to valiantly dispute or rebuke the latest Guru in town does alleviate one’s status as a knowledgeable teacher and marks one out as the able defender of the faith, does it not? The Jews were always keen on signs and wonders and to be on-hand and be an eye-witness participant in the crowds was indeed no small honor. Imagine the tales one can spell and spin for generations! Thousands laid down palm leaves and sang praises and hosannas at His entrance into Jerusalem in the tradition of kings. Just days later, they would prefer Him crucified on a Roman cross. Earlier, many had stopped and turned from following Him, when His requirements seemed offensive; the requirement of having to leave all, take up a cross, partake of His Body and following Him.

There were also a few who would want to follow, but was refused and discouraged. He did say that His yoke is easy and that there is rest for the weary and heavy-laden, but there is no denying the existence of a yoke. Yokes are associated more with slaves and beasts of burden than a free man. He also said that foxes have holes and birds have their nest, but the Son of Man has no-where to lay His head ; how does one who is weary and needing rest do without a place to lay one’s head? One is always struck by the irony in the Lord’s words and deeds.

We are all familiar with the call to follow Him. But what exactly does it mean to us individually? We follow, but as identified with which in the crowd? Those wanting to be fed with blessing and more blessing? Those wanting healing? Those possessed of knowledge and doctrine? Those seeking signs and wonders? Those willing to follow the Messiah King, but not up the Calvary road ? Whatever the determination, I would venture to suggest that the crunch will come down to this; are we following Him still? It is not always, that we would follow Him closely. Many a time we would follow but from afar. Regrettably some would suffer distraction and wander off, get lost or break their legs falling into a ditch or suffer the ravages of wild beasts. Rendered incapable and broken these are resigned to await rescue. Thankfully it is not about our faithfulness in following. There is room for everyone still. His sheep hears His voice and follow Him; else the Shepherd will come to look for His own.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psa 23:3-4)

God bless.


Nov 18, 2009


Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (Joh 15:13-14)

It was many years ago when I had both a friend, and a mentor. He taught me many things and was in many ways more of an influence than many of my so-called friends of today. He was a Hindu gentleman, holding high office in the Government of that day. An avid adherent of protocol, children around him were required to stand and address all the elderly as ‘Sir’ or “M’am”. Well-versed and practiced on both sides of the law and in the realm of political intrigue, I observed that in the discharge of his shadowy clandestine responsibilities, his works was characterized by practical amoral expediency. As my friend, there was never a harsh word or a raised voice. There was no need to hide and when threatened from without, he would always be there. It was safe, having him as my friend. I miss him, even till today.

One day, we seriously discussed the subject of friendship. I was in knots over what or who I deemed to be my friend. He impressed upon me; that if I was to have a certain number, of friends who would be true, exceeding the number of my fingers on one hand, then I would be a most blessed person. He ventured that a true friend, would stand by me, in any circumstance or state, who would continue being my friend irregardless of whether I am legally or morally right and especially when wrong, one who would be willingly to welcome and embrace me into his house and family whatever besides. Truly, I was hard-pressed to find even one that I could confidently ascribe as such. I have had fair-weather friends by the busload. In adverse times and circumstances, how quickly they would evaporate, and that itself is, in many instances, a blessing. Even the Psalms lament, of those who would eat together, only to stay and wait, mock and celebrate one’s downfall! If on the morrow we were to suffer from a diminished capacity; physical, financial, moral, or legal, where will our friends be found? The routine, tiresome reality of being a burden abrasively erodes all the romanticism of loyalty and faithfulness. For the few remaining, it would be tempting fate to expect them to stand by me, particularly if I would have deteriorated to become some despicable vermin of society. To be still welcomed into their houses and family? Wishful dreaming? Friends? Numbering more than the number of fingers on one hand? Pigs fly! At that point in history, beside him, I could not find or count another! Would even my own flesh and blood, qualify? Would I myself qualify?

But there is one, who is even more than my good friend had described. There is One, who laid aside His High Office, and humbled Himself to be a man. Someone who would stand by any other, in spite of any circumstance, station, or status, a friend, of sinners of whatever ilk. Someone not only prepared to, but who willingly laid down His own life, to accept on His own body, the judgment for all sin. Someone who died, so that we might live. Someone who not only died but defeated death by resurrection, to empower all to follow in His footsteps. Someone who could and would share the pain of human frailty, and continue to intercede and mediate on sinners’ behalf; the Man Christ Jesus.

Many of us know Him as our Friend. So often we confess, to wanting to become more and more like Him; to bear His image more and more. Are our friendships anything like His? We truly have a higher calling, even higher than that wished for by my long departed mentor.

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. (Joh 15:15-17)

It is no small task being a friend. Friendship as exemplified by our Lord is a tough act to follow without His grace. Even more forbidding is His commandment, to love one another. May we receive His grace and mercy, to be conformed more and more, according to His Image and bearing His Name.

God bless.


Nov 11, 2009

Thy Kingdom come

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: (Isa 29:13)

We live in the 21st century, in a very specific slot, in the history of time. We inadvertently forget that as time moves, vocabulary morphs. With these changes, our understanding, acceptance and reckoning of terminology also shift and deviate. Take the word ‘honor’ as an example; do we share a common platform through the ages?

In today’s arena, there are constitutional monarchies, syndic republicans and atheistic anarchists, with most somewhere in the slurp. We subscribe to democratic, socialistic and communistic entities. In the more remote and presumed less advanced communities, there is still widespread acceptance of tribal and feudal systems. Hence the idea or interpretation of headship is perceived in different shades, by people, contrasted by separate origins, cultures or disciplines. Civilization has largely migrated from the medieval system, having systematically rescinded and removed the titular accords and privilege of chieftains, lords, Sultans, Kings and Emperors, Shahs and Tsars. In an earlier time, it would be wise to quickly prostrate oneself in the presence of the sovereign, less one should suffer loss by decapitation. We would consider this same, humiliating, obscene and legally preposterous in the republics of today.

In the light of our current world-view, one wonders over our profession of Jesus Christ; as Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Is it not probable that we be variant, one from the other, and also with the standard? By oral confession and testimony, we accord Him the title, but does He reign? And if so, how? He may be Lord of the realm, but not necessarily of my house; and if He should intrude, He may still, not own my heart. Does He preside over us, as with our constitutional monarchs, sovereign only in ceremony but overruled and constrained by parliamentary constitution? Individual perspective, priority, and devotion would by default make rendition and practice, most subjective.

My limited understanding testifies of a King, who out of love, and in obedience to His Father, humbled Himself to be a man; whose most glorious act of His earthly life was possibly to be condemned to die a heinous death , to redeem for Himself, the creator of the universe , a people of His own. This King, resurrected from the dead and installed on the highest throne, is to rule over all. Yet, He intercedes and walks beside us in love, having given us new life and begins His work, first with our hearts. In daily life, He blesses us, by His grace, to serve Him, His purposes and His will, for the benefit of all of mankind. He purposefully provides a body, His Church, to enable a community for common worship, support and edification. Is our understanding of Kingship correct? Maybe not, but we are graced to learn and know Him better with each passing moment. It would be fallacious to examine Him against any mortal standard, for He is not like any earthly king. Despite having redeemed us, with His own blood, He still does not lord Himself over us by edict. His Kingdom is premised on His own love, grace, mercy, kinship and faithfulness. Do we understand His kingship? Not really, not on this side of heaven.

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isa 6:1-3)

God bless.


Nov 4, 2009


Righteousness: Morally upright; without guilt or sin in full accord with virtue or morality. Morally justifiable

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Rom 3:23)

If we would accept the above definition of righteousness, we would be in full agreement and have no debate with Paul. But we are not all so malleable. There are not so few who would insist that they are not ‘sinners’. There are many more who reckon, that if and when they do err, there is always the avenue of an apology and that reparation would restore and make things ‘right’. Sincerity will always be a mitigating advantage but can it nullify the breach? The truth, that a thing once broken cannot be unbroken. We deceive ourselves by glossing over. More innocuous is the fact that the guilty have already lost the standing capacity to declare themselves innocent! It is commonplace for man to have elastic judgment, especially where self-preservation is imagined. Still, many would make themselves the final arbiter of right and wrong, choosing to ignore the Judge of His world. A man declaring himself ‘righteous’, struggles either in his understanding or the standard; by allowing himself that right, he promotes himself the higher arbiter. A proper estimate, of who we are, would cause us to be more wary of self-righteousness.

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. (Isa 64:6)

I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee. (Isa 57:12)

His judgments are clear: that our deeds are lacking in merit and at best ‘filthy rags’. However noble or sacrificial our deeds, it would not be difficult to accept that they can be tainted with self-interest, man’s praise, innocent errors and myriad pollutions.

It was rather sad that the man who attended the wedding feast in his own garments was evicted. It would be unfair, if not foolish, to imagine that the man was not, in his own eyes, properly attired. He was clearly quite confident of himself until he met his Host. It is inconceivable that he was dressed in rags on that occasion; he would have known better. Wherein lay his misjudgment?

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Mat 5:6)

Yet Scripture does not nullify the need to be righteous. The Lord Himself taught that we should hunger and thirst after righteousness. Is this by default therefore a lost cause, if our every effort is at best filthy rags? In our enthuse, can it be a blessed thing when we are straddled to generate more rubbish!

In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. (Jer 33:16)

I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isa 42:6)

Outside of grace, without faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, there is no righteousness. He has purchased and made available to us His righteousness. In Him, in His Name, everything we do is ‘perfected’ to the glory of our Father. Our access and standing is premised on, and provided for, by His imputed righteousness. Without Him, we are not righteous, never have been, or ever will be. It was John the Baptist who declared ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Php 3:9)

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1Pe 2:24)

Do we truly know Him?

God bless.