A Religious Revival In Europe? ~ November 14, 2017

Feeling threatened by Muslims, Europeans are seeking cultural cohesions in their Christian heritage. Bible prophecy foretold the trend.
Capernaum Church in downtown Hamburg, Germany, is under new management and is much busier than it used to be. The main hall accommodates 500 worshipers. Under the building’s previous owners, the Evangelical Church, only about 20 people showed up each week. But for its new owners, the hall is not big enough.
Why the dramatic change? Because it is now the Al-Nour Islamic Center.
The change is symbolic of the trend sweeping Europe. In London, since 2001, 500 churches have become private homes, and more than 400 mosques have opened. In 2016, seven French churches were demolished, 26 put up for sale, and many more converted into offices, apartments, gymnasiums, etc. Meanwhile, since 2003 nearly 1,000 French mosques have been built.
So it seems odd to talk about a Christian revival in Europe. Churches are dying. Religion is playing a smaller role than ever in people’s everyday lives.
But in politics, religion is making a major comeback.
Politicians are talking about their nation’s religious heritage more than ever. They are using it to differentiate themselves from Muslims. They talk about its importance to their culture. Although Europeans aren’t going to church or letting religion tell them how to live their lives, they are looking to religion to tell them who they are.

Eastern Europe
As early as 2014, the Catholic magazine First Things noticed this trend emerging in Central and Eastern Europe: “In Hungary, Croatia, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, a pro-family, pro-life revolution and a rediscovery of Christian roots is occurring.
“Unnoticed in the shadow of a secularized West, religion’s public role has been growing in the East since the collapse of communism” (Jan. 17, 2014).
This process has sped up dramatically as Europe’s migrant crisis has worsened. Since 2013, around 2.5 million migrants have applied for asylum in the European Union. The EU does not track the religion of asylum seekers, but the vast majority are from Muslim-dominated countries. According to PewForum in 2010, about 19 million Muslims lived in the EU. So the EU has had roughly a 10 percent jump in its Muslim population due to the refugee crisis alone.
As thousands of Muslims have arrived every year, bringing their religion with them and setting up numerous mosques, European leaders have shifted their rhetoric away from strict secularism and have begun to emphasize how Christian their nations are.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was one of the earliest to take this route. In May 2015, he said flatly, “I think we have a right to decide that we do not want a large number of Muslim people in our country.”
“Let us not forget, however, that those arriving have been raised in another religion and represent a radically different culture,” he wrote in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims. This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity” (Sept. 3, 2015).
Orbán has since been joined by many others. Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said in May 2016, “I do not want to see a Muslim community in Slovakia. … We do not want to change the traditions of this country, which are built on the Christian tradition.” The president of the Czech Republic warned in January 2016 that integrating Muslims into Europe “is practically impossible.” Earlier this year, Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak said that the presence of the largely Muslim refugee population is a “ticking bomb.”
The rhetoric is popular. Polls in Poland and Bulgaria show that three-quarters of respondents want their countries to stop accepting Muslim migrants.
Catholic leaders also support this stance. Although Pope Francis has been one of the most prominent leaders encouraging Europe to take in more migrants, senior bishops in the East are singing from a different hymn sheet. The former leader of the Czech Republic’s bishops’ conference, Archbishop Jan Graubner, has said his country should take only “Christian refugees.” At a February meeting of Catholic leaders from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the current Czech president of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Dominik Duka, said, “The whole history of humanity shows how uncontrolled migration causes violence and conflict, as well as economic and cultural collapse.”
“The larger the Muslim community, the likelier the violence—in such a situation, it’s legitimate to ask about the religion these people profess, and how beneficial it is to our society,” said Archbishop Stanislav Zvolenský, the leader of the Slovak bishops’ conference. “We shouldn’t forget that Christianity and Islam are, despite all efforts at dialogue, in permanent conflict. Once one side gains the upper hand, there’s always conflict” (emphasis added throughout).

The West
In the West, bishops who will speak so bluntly are scarce, but they still exist. The most high-profile is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who is considered a possible successor to the current pope.
“Will there now be a third attempt at an Islamic conquest of Europe?” Schönborn asked in September 2016. “Many Muslims think so and long for it and say: Europe is at an end.”
Luc Ravel was made archbishop of Strasbourg, France, by Pope Francis in February. In July, Ravel told a French newspaper, “Muslim believers know very well that their birth rate is such that today, they call it … the Great Replacement. They tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, ‘one day all this, it will be ours.’”
This trend extends even to political leaders in Western Europe.
Western Europe is traditionally the most secular place on Earth. In late 2015, a Gallup International poll found that Western Europe and Oceania were the only regions in the world where around half of the population was either atheist or nonreligious. But even here, political religion is making a comeback.
In France, the very religious François Fillon was nominated to lead Les Républicains—France’s main conservative party. “Help, Jesus Has Returned!” was the headline in the Libération newspaper (Nov. 24, 2016).
Robert Zaretsky at Foreign Policy wrote, “[L]egions of Frenchmen and women who have not kept their faith will nonetheless turn out in droves for a politician who has. … [I]n a country where barely five citizens in 100 attend church, the weight of Catholicism is still evident” (Dec. 1, 2016). He termed these voters “France’s zombie Catholics.”
As it turned out, Fillon crashed and burned, brought down in a financial scandal. So Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front party attempted to raise the standard of Christendom.
Le Pen’s religion is “a secularized Christianity as culture,” Rogers Brubaker, a sociologist at the University of California–Los Angeles, told Atlantic magazine.”It’s a matter of belonging rather than believing,” he said. Brubaker described it as a Christianity that says, “We are Christians, precisely because they are Muslims. Otherwise, we are not Christian in any substantive sense” (May 6).
That is an excellent summary of the trend occurring across all Europe. Christianity is not motivating people to attend religious services or to obey religious rules, but it is being used to drive people to vote for religious-sounding leaders.
Germany’s September 24 election saw the same Christian revival. One mainstream political party that has helped form the foundation of German politics since World War ii—the Christian Democratic Union (cdu)—was founded by those seeking to cement Germany’s Christian character. However, despite its having “Christian” in its name, it has grown progressively more secular. It seems many voters in September’s election punished the cdu by migrating to the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, which achieved great success.
Foreign Policy wrote about the “party’s goal to become the true guardian of Germany’s—and Europe’s—Christian identity” (September 11). A group of Catholic and Protestant theologians formed the organization “Christen in der AfD” to urge support for the party. They warned that if Germany loses its Christian identity, it will “endanger nothing less than the foundations of our system of state and of our civilization.”
The AfD, though, is a perfect example of this “belonging rather than believing” Christianity. Its election slogans, such as “Burkas? We’re into bikinis,” are hardly paragons of chastity and virtue. Two of its top leaders are lesbians. But it is identity that matters. Even the lesbian leaders have made no big push for homosexual “marriage” or any other kinds of homosexual rights. In the culture wars, they are on the side of the Christian right, and the Christian right is happy to accept them.
The AfD’s stunning election success—coming from nowhere to become the third-largest party in Germany’s parliament—shows the appetite in Germany for this kind of religion in politics.
But the AfD isn’t the only group embracing this Christian heritage. Angela Merkel’s sister party, the Christian Social Union, has kept much closer to its Christian heritage. The party has good relations with Viktor Orbán. It even invited him to Bavaria, despite great opposition from the German federal government.
The csu’s star speaker in the recent election, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, brought a “Christian” message. At the Gillamoos festival, he told a packed crowd, “When we are not ready to love our culture, then others will start to define our culture,” adding that Germany must protect its “Christian/Jewish Western society” (Trumpet translation throughout).
“If you go outside in August with temperatures of 35 to 38 degrees [95 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit] and go through a street in Munich and you see a gentlemen from Abu Dhabi … and at a respectable distance, one or two women with a niqab behind him, I don’t see much freedom there,” he said. The “suppression of the woman has no room in our culture!”
His statements are milder than the message from the AfD or many in Eastern Europe. But they are stronger than many Western mainstream politicians are willing to make. And they were met with enthusiastic applause.
A Growing Trend
Europe’s rediscovery of its Christian identity comes mostly as a reaction to Islam. Muslim migration is changing the nature of Europe’s cities, and radical Islam is outright attacking them.
Time has proved that the migration and the attacks are not going away. In response, secular Europe is only becoming more Christian.
“We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against,” wrote Samuel Huntington in his classic work The Clash of Civilizations. ”For people seeking identity and reinventing ethnicity, enemies are essential.” Many of Europe’s enemies have been Muslim. And so the Continent is adopting the language, symbols, and identity of Christianity—because that is what most clearly distinguishes it from these enemies.
“Instability and violence in the Middle East has led to Muslim migration to Europe,” wrote Geopolitical Futures analyst Jacob Shapiro. “Muslim migration has, in turn, stoked nationalism, sometimes to electoral effect, and has even led to limited European involvement in Muslim wars” (August 23). Terrorism, he pointed out, has been rising in Europe since 2005. Nationalism began rising at almost exactly the same time. The terrorism is already transforming Europe. “The age-old conflict between Europe and the Middle East, Christendom and Islam, is simmering once more” (ibid).
Once again, religion is playing a major role in the fate of Europe!
The Trumpet and, before us, the Plain Truth have been watching for this development since the 1930s. For decades Herbert W. Armstrong forecast that Europe would unite into a 10-nation superpower. But most of the Continent’s history is of one European nation fighting another. What force is strong enough to bind Europe together?
Attacks on Europe from outside are one powerful motivating force. Europeans certainly have one common enemy: radical, extremist Islam. But there is one other important factor all European nations share: their Christian heritage.
In August 1978, Mr. Armstrong wrote in the Christian-living magazine Good News,“Europeans want their own united military power! … They have made a real effort toward union in the Common Market. … But they well know there is but one possibility of union in Europe—and that is through the Vatican.”
Mr. Armstrong forecast a common currency in Europe. In the November-December 1954 Plain Truth, he wrote, “Germany inevitably [will] emerge as the leader of a united Europe”—a sentiment many in southern Europe would agree with today. The September 1967 Plain Truth declared, “[O]ne thing you can count on. In fact, it is so sure you can bank on it: The cry of a political union in Europe will get louder.” In April 1952, Mr. Armstrong’s Good News said, “Russia may give East Germany back to the Germans and will be forced to relinquish her control over Hungary, Czechoslovakia and parts of Austria” in order to complete this union.
So much of this has already happened. Mr. Armstrong’s forecasts, based on Bible prophecy, have proved accurate. Yet full union has not yet been achieved. Why? Mr. Armstrong wrote, “In only one way can this resurrected Holy Roman Empire be brought to fruition—by the ‘good offices’ of the Vatican, uniting church and state once again, with the Vatican astride and ruling …” (Plain Truth, January 1979).
The Catholic Church has been the one missing ingredient in European unity. And now that ingredient is being added back into the mix.
The same prophecies that forecast European unity also foretell that a church will have a major role in leading this new superpower. Revelation 17 describes a woman that sits “upon many waters.” Her power stretches over a vast portion of the Earth. Typically in the Bible, a woman represents a church. The “kings of the earth have committed fornication” with this woman, meaning that she is a major political power.
The religious revival in Europe is paving the way for the return of this woman.
The Bible has a great deal to say about what this European religious power will look like. And so does history. Religious empires, in close alliance with the Vatican, have repeatedly risen in Europe.
Reported by: Richard Palmer – The Trumpet
By Prophecy in the News| November 14th, 2017|Tags: Christian News, Christian Roots, Europe, Evangelical Church, Germany, Islam, Prophecy News, Religious Revival

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This article really nailed it.  I have been to both Eastern and Western Europe three times since 2005, the last time was this past January and February.  Revival is already happening in Eastern Europe, as I personally was engaged in crusade evangelism in Romania.  Hungary is likewise prepared for revival.  The Slavic nations have not been overly inundated with materialism as Western Europe and the family unit is strong.  I have noticed the same exact trend in the United States of America, whereby Slavic churches and people from Belarus, Russia, the Ukraine, etc., etc., have a strong faith and family orientation.  Furthermore, Eastern Europeans do not want a large number of Islamic immigrants, realizing that the two faiths are diametrically opposed to each other.  Large numbers of Islamic immigrants will inevitably destroy the culture of the nation they move into.  Perhaps the spirit of revival can spread to Western Europe and the U.S.A. from Eastern Europe!  I have pastor friends who are planning on taking the Gospel into England and other Western European nations as we speak.  We pray for God to bless them.   Because Of Him, Pastor Steve  <><

Pray For Revival In America!

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Muslims Vs Christian Preacher@Hyde Park , London / Hundreds Hear The Gospel

If you like anointed, Spirit filled preaching, look no further:

When the true Gospel is preached with unction from the Holy Spirit, the results are often a revival and/or a riot.  That was what happened when the Apostle Paul preached.  Bold unapologetic preaching without compromise thrills my soul.

Blessings, Pastor Steve  <><

Revival Is Happening In England  ~  Pray For Revival In America!

Vice President Mike Pence, Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, Chaplains, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and Countless Volunteers Assist the Victims of Hurricane Harvey

HURRICANE HARVEY UPDATE

VP Mike Pence Rolls Up Sleeves Alongside Franklin Graham to Help Harvey Victims
Thank you for your support and prayers over the past week as Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains have been ministering at evacuation centers and homes throughout southeast Texas.

The chaplains were joined by Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence on Thursday in Rockport. They met with Franklin Graham, prayed for the people of Texas and lent a helping hand after one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history.

We thank you again for the prayers and support you have already given as chaplains have shared the love and compassion of Christ in Texas.

PHOTOS: Chaplains Offer Hope to Texas Evacuees and Residents
Since the hurricane swept over the Gulf Coast, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains have been there to offer emotional and spiritual care to people who are suffering.

These photos will give you a glimpse into the powerful ministry God is orchestrating throughout Texas.

Franklin Graham addressing a group of people outside a damaged church in Rockport, Texas.  “We need Christian men and women willing to come to south Texas to help us. There’s so much need down here,” he said.

Chaplains Deliver Desperately Needed Hope to Southeast Texas
By BGEA   •   August 30, 2017

Crisis-trained chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team arrived in Texas not long after Hurricane Harvey hit. Chaplains are now ministering in Victoria, Dallas, Houston and Rockport, Texas, with more sites to be added.

Franklin Graham visited some of the hardest-hit areas of Texas on Thursday. He paused to pray with a Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain who has been ministering to residents

Chaplains are delivering emotional and spiritual care alongside Samaritan’s Purse volunteers in Victoria, which is located between Corpus Christi and Houston. Help send chaplains into disaster zones to offer hope in crisis.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team shares the hope of Christ during times of crisis. “We see this as an opportunity to demonstrate God’s love and care for people, for them to know that God hasn’t forgotten them,” said Jack Munday, international director of the RRT.

Vice President Mike Pence, along with his wife and second lady Karen Pence, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, visited families impacted by the disaster.

Gov. Abbott also signed a proclamation declaring Sunday (Sept. 3) a day of prayer in Texas. “As we gather today here at this church, it’s important that we remember that the greatest power that exists is the power of God and the way that God can touch and move all of our lives,” he said.

Franklin Graham spent time with Texas residents and the chaplains who have been ministering to them.

Flood rescues after Harvey have been intense and ongoing as floodwaters recede.

An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 homes have been destroyed in the Houston area alone.

Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplain David Barlow shares a smile with firefighters in Victoria.  (see photo above) Often, first responders are deeply affected by the work they’re called to do in times of crisis. Continue to pray for these men and women on duty across Texas.

With Samaritan’s Purse volunteers working in the background, chaplains take a moment to pray with a homeowner affected by Harvey in Victoria, Texas.  (see above)

A week after Hurricane Harvey crashed into Texas, more than 1 million residents are displaced.

Police and emergency personnel are working around the clock to rescue flood victims. Large pockets of land are still underwater across the state.

A 9-year-old reads from the Bible (picture above) as a chaplain listens inside a home. Officials say thousands of people are still stranded in their flooded homes and officials are asking residents to be patient as they wait to be rescued.

Chaplains circle up to pray while visiting the home of residents affected by Hurricane Harvey.  (picture above)

Though they’ve been displaced twice from hurricanes, this family remained joyful in the hope of Christ. “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.” —Psalm 5:11, ESV

Hurricane Harvey, now a tropical storm, has set a record for total rainfall from a single tropical cyclone in the continental United States, according to the National Weather Service. Two weather stations in the Lone Star State have reported total rainfall over 48 inches.

On Wednesday, the tropical storm continued to pound the Gulf Coast with torrential rains, flooding and strong winds. The full force of the storm’s impact has begun shifting to western Louisiana.

Rapid Response Team chaplain Mike Mattingly comforts and prays for Felix Cavazos, a victim of Hurricane Harvey.

Hundreds of chaplains are standing by to deploy in multiple sites across Texas. Will you keep the people of Texas in your prayers?

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After installing the above article, it was learned that President Donald Trump declared Sunday, September 3, 2017, to be a National Day of Prayer for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  How timely, how appropriate and how refreshing.  What a beautiful contrast to the previous administration who ignored the One True God of the universe, through cancelling the National Day of Prayer and annually holding Ramadan in the White House.  May the Lord bless Donald Trump.

Pray For Revival In America!

 

 

The Amazing Apostle Paul Of Tarsus

 

Paul’s Missionary Journey
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | Aug. 3, 2017
“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:8)
The apostle Paul was undoubtedly the greatest missionary of all time. It is well to take note of his missionary strategy, for it was designed to reach the greatest number with the highest efficiency. In the first place, although he by no means neglected his Jewish countrymen, his calling was to all peoples of the world.
As much as possible, he tried to “preach the gospel in the regions beyond” where it had never gone before (2 Corinthians 10:16), “not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation” (Romans 15:20).
He especially concentrated on great cities, particularly the major seaports. He had come from the large city of Tarsus himself, and he preached in the great capital, Rome, and in Athens, the world’s cultural center. Philippi was the “chief city” of Macedonia (Acts 16:12), as was Corinth in Achaia and Ephesus in Asia Minor. Antioch, Troas, Thessalonica—all were great seaport cities. Establishing solid churches in such cities would provide centers for carrying the gospel throughout the world.
In considerable measure, his ministry in these cities seemed to reach people of special ability or opportunity to teach and influence others, such as the philosophers at Athens, the proconsul Sergius Paulus at Paphos, the honorable women of Berea, the school of Tyrannus at Ephesus, and others of like significance.
Most important of all were his writings. Paul wrote half the epistles of the New Testament. He traveled at least 15,000 miles and preached to many thousands of people, but his written words have been read by countless millions over 1,900 years. HMM

Share The Gospel

Jeremiah 25:3  King James Version (KJV)
3 From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, even unto this day, that is the three and twentieth year, the word of the Lord hath come unto me, and I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye have not hearkened.

Jeremiah had the task of telling the people of Judah about forthcoming judgment if they continued in sin.  He was not responsible for their response to his warning.  We have the same burden today, and again, the response is up to the individual listener.  We simply sow, water, cultivate, but God gives the increase.  Thankfully we are not called upon to generate a response.  We’re simply to be found faithful in proclaiming the Word.  Are we?  -W. H. G.

Sowing the precious seed, while the day is fast declining, Sowing the precious seed, in the twilight dim; Sowing the precious seed, neither doubting nor repining, Leaving it all to God, trusting all to Him.   -W. Ogden

Romania 2017 ~ Second “Partners In Missions International” (PIMI) Trip

I had the opportunity to attend a mission trip with this prolific group in late January and early February of this year.  Many were reached for the kingdom.  The following article from PIMI president Elijah Morar, lists the accomplishments from a second 2017 mission trip just concluded.  Elijah is the pastor / principal of the cited American Romanian School.  Eastern Europe is a hotbed of evangelism and salvation experiences.  Western Europe is dead and needs our prayers.

Blessings, Pastor Steve

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Dear Friends,

Allow me to share with you just a short note about our last mission project. I will follow this with our PIMI letter, but this is just a short note to let you know the victory in Christ that we had in Romania in the past week.
Monday we visited the village of Batar.
We have seen in the clinic 103 people (recorded on forms) and we were able to lead to Christ at least 7 people that we are following up with in discipleship!
Tuesday we had our 4th of July Party at the American Romanian School and kindergarten. Absolutely awesome day, that gave me the opportunity to share (on Thursday) the Saving Gospel of Christ with the Mayor, Vice Mayor and their staff! (this is not Facebook material – please understand)
Wednesday we were in Dragesti where we have seen 51 people (recorded on forms) and we were able to lead to Christ at least 7 people.
Thursday we went to Pocola and we have seen 16 people and we lead to Christ 2 people…
Friday and the first part of the day Saturday we were in Susturogiu where we have seen 84 people combined and lead to Christ 7 people.
Sunday in Beius in Church we had 1 saved and in Cihei we had 1 saved that evening.
254 people seen in the clinic and 25 saved during the week! GLORY TO GOD!
One last thing: – only in eternity will we know the full impact of this mission project.
Please continue to pray for us!
thank you and God bless you!

Elijah Morar

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 7

Day #7

The rabiis, or Orthodox Jews, wear their hair very short with a long, long strand near the ear.  It would be interesting to find out why.  They are probably trying to fulfill a law of theirs.  On the way to our first stop, Pastor Grimes told us that it hardly ever rains at the Dead Sea.

Our first stop entailed a visit to an Israeli shrine in commemoration of the Jewish Holocaust.  The question remains, was the Holocaust God’s push of the Jews into the Holy Land?  First of all, we saw the Israeli military cemetery.  We saw many stones representing the war in 1948, when 650,000 Jews had a six month war with the Arabs and lost 6,000 people.  The Israeli national movement is called the Zionist Movement, named after Mount Zion, or Jerusalem.  Other stones were from soldiers who died in 1967.  (the Six Day War).  Next, we proceeded to the Memorial to the Holocaust.  One and one half million children were killed.  Seventy two hundred (7,200) Jewish people escaped from Denmark to Sweden.  We saw pictures of gas chambers in Poland.  Death and Concentration Camps were all over Europe.  The hair and gold teeth were extracted from the Jews and used in the war effort.  The Holocaust is one reason the Jews go to Mount Masada and vow they will never surrender, but fight to the death,  This entire Memorial is a good reminder of the wretchedness of the heart of man.

Next, we looked at the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We saw part of the book of Isaiah in the Hebrew Aramaic.  It was discovered Qumran in 1947, and it dates to about 100 B.C.  It was made by the famous Essenes.  Then we saw the Temple Scroll.  The Temple Scroll is God teaching the Torah in the first person.  We saw the Manuel of Discipline – the regulations of the Essenes.  We saw the War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.  The biggest blessing, however, was to see a scroll of Isaiah dated 100 B.C., and filled with the prophecies of Jesus Christ!  (examples:  Isaiah 7:14, 9:6, chapter 53, etc.)  We saw the Nahum Commentary which identified the Essenes.  We saw the scrolls of forty one of the Psalms, including the apocryphal One Hundred and Fifty First Psalm.  We saw the jars which held the Dead Sea Scrolls.  We looked at the old marriage contract, a divorce bill, business letters (selling dates and fruits), and a social letter.  The Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-135 was the last revolt of the Jews against the Romans.  This was mentioned in a social letter.  Over seven hundred scrolls and parchments have been found around Qumran.

Now we proceeded to Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  We entered the Hinnom Valley, filled with olive trees.  Then we came to the Kidron Valley.  Hezekiah’s Tunnel is almost one half a mile long, and is a tremendous engineering feat.  There were many residences right outside the tunnel, where donkeys worked right at the tunnel site, and children rode the donkeys.  The tunnel consisted of two parts:  1) The original Canaanite Shaft and 2) Hezekiah’s Tunnel into David’s city.  We saw the entrance to Hezekiah’s Tunnel – dated 750 B.C.  Then we saw where David found the shaft, near the tunnel, which he used to enter Jerusalem around 1000 B.C.  We walked up Mount Ophel – David’s city was a steep hill which was surrounded by valleys, the Kidron and Tyropoeon Valleys.  The shaft and the tunnel diverted water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam at the south end of David’s city.  When David took Jerusalem, Joab went up the Canaanite Shaft in order to open the gate for David and his men.  Because of what he did, Joab received one of David’s daughters in marriage.

We noticed that Muslims paint their doors in relation to their “status” in faith.  A red door, for instance, means they went to Mecca.  There is no end to the customs and oddities in this land.

From our location in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the ancient walls of the city of David could be seen.  We observed the Pool of Siloam, which was the water receiving area for David’s Jerusalem.  Swimmers were seen who entered the Pool of Siloam, having gone through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.  Nearby, are the traditional sites of the tombs of both Jehosephat and Zedekiah.  They are not one hundred per cent positive about the authenticity of these tombs.  There is more certainty however, about the tomb of Absalom.

Today is Friday, the Muslim Holy Day, and the soldiers were equipped with sticks and riot gear.

Next, we saw Zedekiah’s Cave or Solomon’s Quarries, a mountain where rock and stone was cut out for the temple.  It was a hollowed out mountain, a huge and vast cave opening into an amphitheater.  It kept going down deeper and deeper.  Ton upon ton of rocks were removed.  The traditional site of Golgotha or Calvary was seen across the street from Zedekiah’s Cave.  This was a Muslim area and we could not go there.  We noticed military halftracks and troops in the area.

On the way to Bethlehem, we passed another of Herod’s fortresses in the distance.  It was the Herodium, a man made mountain where Herod flashed signals from, way out in the desert.  (Because of his paranoia over assasination attempts, King Herod slept in a different place every night).  His tomb could be in this fortress which is noted for its flat top, looking like a volcanic mountain from a distance.  We passed Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem off the main street.

For lunch, we went into St. George’s Arab Restaurant in Bethlehem.  An Arab waiter attempted to take away my salad while I was eating it.  Pastor Grimes was seated next to me and quickly took the waiter to task, straightening out his decorum.  We had lamb shiskabob, and it was good.  Speaking of Arab and custom, I would like to mention that the Arab toilet we saw near Petra, was in a large room, and on the floor.  I was totally mesmerized when I first saw it.  One would perform their bodily functions before a crowd.  Unbelievable.

We walked over to the Church of the Nativity after lunch.  This is the traditional birth place of Jesus Christ.  The church is built on a cave.  The only entrance, the front door, was short so camels could not walk in.  The cave was charcoal black, due to many people bringing in torches and candles.  The 1)Greek Orthodox, 2)Armenian, 3)and Roman Catholic all control this church, each with their own section.  A Greek Orthodox Priest, dressed in black, rang bells filled with smoky incense all over the church – making it “holy.”  Many of us gagged and coughed because of the smoke.  The church goes back to the 5th Century and is rugged looking, like a fortress.  The church has the original Byzantine 5th Century floor, Muslim columns, and Crusader decorations on the walls.  Another cave or manger was on the other side.  After leaving the Greek Orthodox Church, we entered the Catholic section.  This was a very ritualistic church.

Now we proceeded toward the shepherd’s fields.  There was a natural cave in these fields, and there were many shepherd’s fields to be seen in the area.  These fields were similar to, and may have actually been, the fields that Ruth worked in and Boaz owned.  Beth-lehem means “house of bread.”  There are wheat fields and shepherd’s fields all around the town, hence the name.  From Bethlehem, we had a breath-taking view of the mountains of Moab, across the desert and the Dead Sea.  Moab, we know, was where Ruth came from, and the country originated between Lot and one of his daughters.

We then saw a beautiful panoramic view of Jerusalem from the south.  We could observe David’s city at Mount Ophel up the middle, the Mount of Olives was seen on the right, and Mount Zion was on the left.  The valleys are as follows:  the Kidron Valley bears off to the right, the Tyropoeon Valley goes to the left, and the Hinnom Valley can be found in the middle.  We could oberve the ever present Dome of the Rock in the middle also, above the Hinnom Valley.

Next, we went through the Hinnom Valley in Jerusalem – also called Gehenna because it was a trash dump where “the fire never went out.”  The word Gehenna, of course, refers to burning.  The never ending burning of hell.

We went to a store in Jerusalem belonging to a gentleman named Was-Was.  Along the way we smelled the aroma of many good Arabic foods.  Haggling is common place in Jerusalem, as you can bargain with people.  For a reasonable price, I bought two brass candlesticks for my wife, and an olive wood donkey to add to our collection of over twenty donkeys at home.

 

Born Again 3

“Ye must be born again.”  John 3:7

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”   John 1:13

The new birth does not come through human descent (“not of blood”), nor does it come through human desire (“the will of the flesh”), nor does it come through human determination (“nor of the will of man”).  The issue is, have you put your faith in Christ?  Have you been born of God: have you been born from above?  Apart from this you will never enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3).  Believe on Christ now, tomorrow may be too late.   -W. Ross Rainey

Children of men, attend to the word, so solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord; And let not this message to you be in vain, “Ye must be born again.”  -William T. Sleeper

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Let us contrast the beautiful aforementioned summary of true salvation with that of Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in California.  The following quotation is taken from page 220 of the Purpose Driven Church:  “Anybody can be won to Christ if you discover the key to his or her heart.”

Sorry Rick, as it states prior to your man centered apostate statement, salvation does NOT come through human desire or determination.  It comes from ABOVE, and you and I are not big enough to find keys to anyone’s heart.  Do not be deceived- Salvation has everything to do with becoming born from above.  It has NOTHING to do with finding keys to people’s hearts.

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Are you a Berean or a Laodicean?  Do you believe the Bible or Rick Warren?  Rick Warren is a litmus test and a referendum of Biblical illiteracy.  Unfortunately he is plum out of line with how one becomes saved – the most important issue that anyone will ever face this side of eternity.  In the following video, John MacArthur succinctly and thoroughly exegetes the scriptures, comparing the impotence of Rick Warren’s “Gospel,” with the true and Biblical Gospel that saves.  Warren totally ignores the doctrine of repentance, without which one cannot be saved.  [Luke 13:3,5 “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”]  In a mere three minutes, the following video beautifully summarizes what true salvation is, and what it is not:

 

Born Again 2 ~ The Newsboys

John 3:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

 

“Born Again”

I found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn’t who I wanted to be
I was living life the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I’m not free
Believed a lie so everything that I know
Says I gotta go, tired of going solo
But I’m never gonna go there againThis is what it is, this is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born againI see ya walking like you’re living in fear
Having trouble even looking at me
Wishing they would give you more than words
Sick of people telling how it should be What’d ya download? Where’d ya get your info?
You saw that I’m sure, now you’re in the in though
Gonna tell you what I believe This is what it is, this is who I am
This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born again We are the ones they call by name
I’m never gonna look back
Let go, let go, the guilt, the shame
Said, I’m never gonna look back
This is who I am This is what it is, this is who I am

This is where I finally take my stand
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born againThis is who I am
I didn’t wanna fall but I don’t have to crawl
I met the one with two scarred hands Giving Him the best of
Everything that’s left of
The life inside this man
I’ve been born again
I’ve been born again