The Wars and Rumors of Wars

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” – Matthew 24:6 9 (NKJV)

This is a very familiar verse for every members of the Church of Christ, the Church I served for many many years. Now it became clear to me this is not referring to the First World War (WW I) , it is referring to the desolation which is about to happen during the time of the first century Christians.

According to the letter of apostle Paul to Timothy

2 Timothy 3:16N (NKJV) – 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

Reproof and correction is part of knowing the scriptures meaning if we learn something new based on new evidences and proof, we have to change our views and adopt to the teaching. Many religions today cannot follow this because they established their doctrines and so they can no longer reproof and correct. We have to adopt to the teachings in the bible as we learn it rather than interpreting it to fit our established doctrines or faith.

In order to fully understand the topic about the “wars and rumors of wars”, I encourage you to read the articles below. As always, you do not need to believe me, but if you are willing, continue reading, verify the verses in the bible yourself and read some other references.  Also, I always do my best not to interpret verses in a manner to render other verses wrong or false. I believe the bible is inspired words of God so nothing is in conflict. If you find any interpretation that are making other verses wrong, email me and I would like to reconsider my thought.

The Two Ages In The Bible – Here I describe the bible is teaching of two ages. The “this age” and “age to come“. “This age” was decaying at the time of the Apostles so it was about to end. The “age to come” is the everlasting new covenant.

The Last Days In The Bible – In this article, I described that during the Day of Pentecost, Peter quote Joel’s prophesy about the last days and telling the crowd (Jews and proselytes) that it is happening right there, at that that very moment. The first century Christians were living in the last days. The last days is the days leading to the end of the age, the end of the old covenant, the fulfillment of Christ prophesy in Matthew 24:2 that the Jerusalem Temple will be destroyed.

The End Of The Age: The Questions and Signs – Jesus started answering the disciples questions about the sign of the end of the age. Jesus says you will hear wars and rumors of wars and other events which are the beginning of the abomination and desolation. Jesus said when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, do not enter the City, leave, go to the mountains. The wars and rumors of wars are spoken in the context of when will the prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem Temple will take place. The wars and rumors of wars are not referring to the World War I.

The End Of The Age: The Fulfillment – In this article, I described the strong word Jesus used “Assuredly” trying to emphasize how the generations of the Apostles will experience in their lifetime the destruction of the Temple which is the fulfillment of the “wars and rumors of wars” and all the signs Christ foretold in Mathew 24. All prophesies has been fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman armies. There are no more prophesies to be fulfilled.

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The Murderers

Dear Cornelius,

If you remember me you called me Cyrus Nogreto. I have question to you. Why did Christ called the Jews a murderer in John 8:44? Aren’t they chosen people of God?

Thank you,
Cyrus Nogreto

Dear Cyrus,

Thank you for asking and reaching out again. I think your question is timely for these days we heard a lot of murders. So many Christians died because of their faith. Some innocent people also died because of the ideological faith by other people. It is sad but when I remember how the apostles died, it uplift my spirit. True Christians died well. There is a man called Ignatius of Antioch. Before he was murdered in front of the people in the coliseum in Rome he prayed “ I am God’s wheat May I be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, Until I become the fine white bread That belongs to Christ.“.  When two fierce lions were let out into the coliseum Ignatius prayer was swiftly answered.

Let us understand together what Cyrus is referring to in John 8:44. Let me clarify that I am not considering myself a preacher so you can follow me with my interpretations and if you are willing to believe then praise be to God. If not I encourage you continue learning the bible in context because context is king. It is very important to understand the context first so that we can understand why are the words spoken that way.

John 8:44 (NKJV) – 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

If we want to understand the context of John 8:44, we need to start understanding the beginning of chapter 8. John chapter 8 begins with the story that Christ went to the Mount of Olives but nothing else mentioned what happen in the mountain. The three other gospels (Mark, Luke and Matthew) accounts Christ and the Apostles conversation at the Mount of Olives which is known to many as “Olivet Discourse“. Matthew 24 in particular is the source of the teaching of INC’s “rumors of wars” which in real context is referring to the “end of the age” not end of the world. John did not have topics about Olivet Discourse because I think he is the same John who wrote the Revelation. The book of Revelation therefore is the version of John to the Olivet Discourse. In John 8:12 Christ said

John 8:12 (NKJV) – 12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Then the Pharisees accused him of self-witnessing or self-proclaiming. Then Jesus explained He judge no one (person), yet if He judge, it is in accordance to His father.

John 8:15-18 (NKJV) – 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

The law requires the testimony of two men before judging anyone but the Jews brought  a woman accused of adultery. Christ knows He is being tested by the Jewish crowds in the Temple because they doubted Him. When Christ asked “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first”, no one left to condemn the woman. Then Christ said “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”.

In John 8:19 – 19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?
Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

How the chosen people of God do not know the Father? The Jews, in all their heart, in all their mind, in all their deeds, they are the chosen people of God, sons of God, descendant of Abraham, living in the Temple of God (Jerusalem Temple). They did not know they are actually not of God. In John 8:21 Christ said “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”. Why they cannot come? First the Pharisees thought Christ is going away, He is going to kill Himself but little that they know at that time, they are actually going to kill Him. I think you are getting the point now, they are the murderer but they do not know it.

The next verses Christ actually telling these Jewish leader that He was sent to judge them. This is one that also convince me that the bible is talking of the judgement of the Jews, the end of the age not he end of the world.

John 8:25-26 (NKJV) – 25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”
And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”

Who is the “you” in verse 26? The Jewish crowds in the Temple.

Abraham Descendants

In John 8:38, Christ claimed the Jewish leaders have different father even if they are claiming they are descendants of Abraham. So who is their father?

John 8:37-41 (NKJV) – 37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Why is Christ’s Father is not the same Father of the Jews that He was speaking to? Christ is a Jew, His mother is a Jew. Jesus is actually agreeing these Jews are descendant of Abraham but I think he meant the other descendants of Abraham.

Galatians 4:22-23 (NKJV)
22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise,

The question is are they descendant of the bondwoman or freewoman? The bondwoman was born according to the flesh. This is why Christ said in the beginning “you judge according to the flesh”. They are descendant of the bondwoman. The descendants of the flesh teach about the flesh. They follow the law but the law they follow became human laws. For example they accused Christ of working on a sabbath day when He healed a man sick almost in his entire life (John 5:5). They follow the law according to their understanding in the old testament but no longer the true law that God gave them. Same thing in today’s religions: do this, do that, write this, write that, promise this, promise that, etc., then you will be saved. The descendant of the free woman is about believing in Christ, the spiritual worship. The old covenant requires Israel for a burn offering, this is a physical worship. In Christianity, Christ is the lamb. As a lamb he offered himself once and for all for those who believe in Him. So there is not more physical sacrifices required.

I think the Pharisees are saying they are not born of fornication, they are also discrediting Christ birth that He was born out of wedlock. Fornication in the Hebrew world is a common language used for those who are not children of God like that of Samaritan who are product of intermarried. Fornication can also mean to refer to Ismael who is the son of the bondwoman. Old testament Israelite’s who engaged in unfaithfulness through the worship of false gods were called “the children of fornication” (Hosea 2:4).

Historical Background

God promised to Abraham that he will become father of a great nation.

Genesis 12:2 (NKJV)
2
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.

The Israelite in time of Jesus believed the promise to Abraham for a great nation is their nation. They did not understand that Abraham nation is as many as the dust in the earth.

Genesis 13:16 (NKJV) – 16 And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.

The descendant of Abraham are many as the dust of the earth, contrary to the teaching of the Iglesia Ni Cristo only a few will be saved.

How else God reveal the number of Abraham descendants?

Genesis 15:5 (NKJV) – 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.

God said if you can count the stars, that is how many people will become your descendants. Do you think there are only 2 million stars? The Jews in time of Christ thought they are the only people God put aside as His own, they did not know God intended to include all the non-Jews. This is the same mistake the exclusivist teach in our time.

The bondwoman

Because Abraham and Sarah are too old, they decided to take it in their own hand without waiting for God’s promise.

Genesis 16:2 (NKJV) – 2 So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai.

Sarah concluded that since she was 75 years old, there was no way she would ever have a baby. That was a perfectly reasonable, perfectly “human” conclusion. So she and Abraham decided to take matters in their own hands and help God out. But, of course, God doesn’t need our help, and whenever we try to help God, things get worse, not better.

Hagar became pregnant and a son named Ishmael was born. Hagar is the bondwoman. According to Paul in Galatians 4:23, the son of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh. That is because it was done according to the decision of Sarah and Abraham not according to the will of God. The son of the bondwoman is Ismael, the descendant of those Christ was talking to in the Temple who live in the flesh and are murderer.

God further promised Abraham that He will provide for Ishmael, who also will become the progenitor of a great nation. Thus assured of Ishmael’s safety and well-being, Abraham sent Ishmael and his mother out of the household.

Many Christians believe Ismael is the root of Islam and I think because of

Galatians 4:24-25 (NKJV) – 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— 25 for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children—

Hagar is Mount Sanai in Arabia. I think this does not prove Islam is a root of Abraham because Mount Sinai is also the place where Moses received the ten commandments.  Paul’s Galatians audience will never understand if he is referring to Islam because it did not exist yet in their time. Paul was actually referring to the two covenants, the bondwoman is the old covenant and the freewoman is the new covenant.

The freewoman

God’s will is that Sarai, will become Sarah and she and Abraham will have a son name Isaac.

Genesis 17:15-17 (NKJV) – 15 Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. 16 And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

Genesis 17:21 (NKJV) – 21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.”

What the Israelite’s did not understand is that Sarah will be the mother of “nations”. Therefore the promise to Abraham to be the father of nation actually means many nations. The Jews believed that the promise is only to them. I think it was wrong from the beginning to think that God’s standing policy is to set aside His own people, this was the mistake of the Jews. God’s plan is to make Abraham descendant of many nations as many as the dust of the earth. Why this is so? John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.“.

According to Paul letter to the Romans,

Romans 9:6-8 (NKJV) – 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

Remember the audience in Romans are the Jewish believers of Christ who lived in Rome and Gentiles who became believers of Christ. The reason Paul spoken these words is because the Jewish believers are persecuting the Gentiles for not being circumcised under the law so how can they be saved? There are Israel people who are not of Israel both are seed of Abraham. Circumcision is a requirement in the old covenant but it is an act in the flesh. Christ is about faith and spiritual worship. The Jewish believers are holding back, they have converted but not fully for they are still trying to come back under the law. This reminds me of those who are expelled member of the Church and still trying to fight to restore the Church for they are still believing the rules of the flesh, do this and do that, write this and write that, then you will be saved.

The Murderers

Back to our main topic Christ words are becoming harsh in John chapter 8. If we continue reading from verse 43, Christ telling the Jews in the Temple that they do not listen to Him because they are not of God. They will never understand Him because their father is the devil who is a murderer from the beginning. These Jews they kill prophets,

John 8:43- 47 NKJV) – 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Christ telling these Jewish crowds and leaders they are not of God. Read this

Matthew 3:7 (NKJV) – 7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Jesus is a Jew, the Pharisee and Sadducees I think are comparable in ranking position as the “Sanguniaan”. Imagine telling your Church leaders you bunch of brood of vipers! Sorry I did not say that. Brood can be a group of people who are serious of something. In this case seriously trying to question the authority of Christ.

In John 8:19 Christ said my Father is not your father. In John 8:44 Christ said your father is the devil, he was a murderer from the beginning because he is a liar. Christ is telling the Jewish crowd they are liar because they said they are of God but they are not. Because they are not of God they do not hear Him meaning they will never understand what Christ was saying because God did not gave them to Him.

At the end of John chapter 8, Jesus claim the I AM.

John 8:57-58 (NKJV) – 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Christ is claiming before Abraham He exited. The words “I AM” is a reserve words to the Jews as referring to God. This words all the more angered the Jewish leaders which is the reason why they accused Him of blasphemy.

Hope you learn from this lesson.

The Beast of the Book of Revelation

The very first lesson that attracted me to listen to the doctrines of the Iglesia Ni Cristo was the teaching that the Pope is the fulfillment of the beast 666 in the Book of Revelation. while it was hard to believe, I absorbed it. I believed it. I lived with it while being a member of the Church for many many years.

Now I would like to apologize to the Catholics, especially to the POPE. I no longer believe in the doctrine that the POPE, having been given a LATIN name of VICARIUS FILII DEI, is the fulfillment of the beast 666 in Revelation 13:16-18.

I am no longer afraid nor I a-shame to talk about the book of Revelation. The word “revelation” is to reveal, not to conceal. Revelation means to made known what was unknown before. I think it is not meant to confuse people, it was written to make known what is about to happen to the first century Christians, especially the seven churches of Asia.

People in our time interpret Revelation to satisfy their doctrines of eschatology – the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind.

Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)- 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

Regardless of many proof on the calculations of the name of the beast by many anti-Catholic religions, all of them primarily focused only in calculating the number 666.

First let us review from the introduction of the Revelation to understand its message.

Revelation 1:1-3 (NKJV) – 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Question: Who is the author of Revelation?
Answer: John. It is not clearly identified if this is John the Apostle, John Eleazar but some call this John of Patmos.

Question: What was the purpose of the book?
Answer: God gave vision to John to show His servants things (events) that will take place shortly. Shortly means soon or near.

Question: Who will benefit from the book and when?
Answer: Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of his prophesy….for the time is near.

The intended audience of the Revelation.

Who was the Revelation written to?

Revelation 13:4 (NKJV) – 4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

So who are the seven churches in Asia?

Revelation 1:11 (NKJV) – 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

The churches are: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These are real places, real people, real church (believers of Christ) in the time of the author (John).

John was a companion of the tribulation by the seven churches

Revelation 1:9 (NKJV)- 9 I, John, both[e] your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

If John was a companion of tribulation then he must be experiencing it with the people of the seven churches in Asia in their time.  If the tribulation is future to us, why would John say he is companion of tribulation? The word “tribulation” here is very familiar if you followed my articles about the end of the age.

Matthew 24:21 (NKJV) – 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.

Matthew 24:29 (NKJV) – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Mark 13:19 (NKJV) – For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.

Mark 13:24 (NKJV) – “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;

Apostle Paul gave a hint who will suffer tribulations.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-7(NKJV) – 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,

Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians Jewish and Gentile Christians because the Jewish who are still loyal to the priesthood leaders of Jerusalem are persecuting them – we have to read the entire Thessalonians to understand this topic but keep it short for now.

The Time is (was) Near

I think most Christians missed the message of the Revelation. The message is very clear, it is an event which is about to come in the life of the original audience.

Read the last chapter of the Revelation Chapter 22. It is all about stressing that the time is near, it is soon. Soon to the original audience not necessarily soon to us.

Revelation 22:6 (NKJV) – 6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

Revelation 22:7 (NKJV) – 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Revelation 22:10 (N.KJV) – 10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.

The bible says “do not seal the words” but INC actually have “sealers“. Do you know who they are? I will leave that to you to research.

How else Christ describe His coming?

Revelation 22:12 (NKJV) – 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.

The book of Revelation was finished with the following words:

Revelation 22:20-21 (NKJV) – 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

How else can Christ say He was coming quickly? He was coming quick, soon, it is near. It was the emphasis of the Revelation from the beginning to the end of the book.

You are probably asking now am I trying to say Christ has returned? We will reserve this in future topic.

Conclusion

I had these as a theory that the message in Revelation is in our past but now I believe it. The Revelation is not future to us, it is already part of our history. Think about this, if the Revelation is an event future to us, the author lied to all Christians from the time of the seven churches audience in the first century to our time living in 2017. If John says the things about to come is near, if Christ said it is soon and it did not happen, then is John real? Is Christ real? Either they both lied to us or they mean what they say. I am more comfortable believing they mean what they say. I believe the bible is inspired book by God, what is written is true. When the book says soon, it meant soon.

People try to interpret the bible in order to fit their belief and doctrines. I find it easier now to fit my belief to what the bible says.

In the next article I will go back to the topic who I think the beast 666 is.

The Hypocrites

In time of our Lord Jesus Christ he called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. Why is that? Is in it they are the leaders of the Jewish Church? The first group of people who had the promise?

Let us learn who are the most powerful Jewish people in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Scribes – an ancient Jewish record-keeper.

Pharisee – In contrast to the Sadducees, the Pharisees were mostly middle-class businessmen, and therefore were in contact with the common man. The Pharisees were held in much higher esteem by the common man than the Sadducees. Though they were a minority in the Sanhedrin and held a minority number of positions as priests, they seemed to control the decision making of the Sanhedrin far more than the Sadducees did, again because they had the support of the people.

Sadducee – Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin.

The Jews, in all their heart, in all their minds and deeds they lived as the children of God. They (think they) follow the laws of the Old Testament, their practice of religion is inline with God’s teachings. They did not know their actions are not pleasing to God,  Christ condemn and called them hypocrites.

Matthew 23:14(NKJV) – 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.

They pray long prayers, they devour the widows. Jesus told them they will received greater condemnation. Can you relate this to what is happening in the Church of Christ today?

What is wrong with the Jews?

They used the temple as a place for collecting monies that is why Christ told them ‘den of thieves‘. The Jews are required to offer lamb, they travel from a far place with their lamb. Some of them by the time they get to the temple, the lamb lost a lot of weight already. The scribes and Pharisees rejects these lambs so what they did is they sell lamb in the temple instead of people bringing their own. When Jesus Christ and his disciples journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Passover. They found the sacred city of God overflowing with thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the world. Entering the Temple, Jesus saw the money changers, along with merchants who were selling animals for sacrifice. Jesus became angry and drove the money changers away.

Mark 11:17(NKJV) – 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’

Matthew 21:13 (NKJV) -13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’.

How do the Jewish church leaders lure the members in their time?

Micah 3:11N (NKJV) –
11 Her heads judge for a bribe,
Her priests teach for pay,
And her prophets divine for money.
Yet they lean on the Lord, and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No harm can come upon us.”

Amos 8:4-5 (NKJV)
4 Hear this, you who swallow up the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail,
5 Saying:
“When will the New Moon be past,
That we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
That we may trade wheat?
Making the ephah small and the shekel large,
Falsifying the scales by deceit,

It is all about the money. Relating this to the Church today, they do not spare the poor. Everyone is asked give your offerings, the more you give the more you receive from God.  This is what I call destructive teaching.

Read what Apostle Paul to the Jews who believe are people of God.

Romans 2:23 (NKJV) – 23 You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law?

Paul said “boast in the law”. What does it mean? They are boasting about their elections. Allow me to explain this in Filipino language: “nagyayabang dahil sa kanilang kahalalan pero hindi naman sinusunod ang mga salita ng Diyos”.

Hatred

I found hatred is rampant these days specially on the internet. It sad that hatred is on both sides but sometimes they even claim to be Ministers of the Church. Ministers even promote hatred in prayers and the most sad of all, command God to fail the enemies (of the Church) as if it is a war between the two. So sad because these are what the bible call hypocrites. What do Christ teach us?

Matthew 5:43-48 (NKJV) – 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Why did Christ say “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemies’“? Because the Pharisees and Sadducees are teaching to hate those who are not Jews, not to socialize with them. They are prohibited to talk with Gentiles all the more enter the house of the Gentiles. Am i just making a story here? Read the story of Samaritan woman

John 4:9 (NKJV) – 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

The Jews are thought to love their Jewish brothers (church brotherhood) but hate the neighbors, like the Samaritans (for they are Jewish neighbors). Jesus was a Jew, why did He violates this teaching? Because it was not a biblical teaching, the bible teach the opposite.

Leviticus 19:18 (NKJV) – 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

This is exactly the same what is happening today in the Church. Hate those who are expelled in the Church, do not even talk to them, do not even get close to them. Totally against the teachings of God.

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) – 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Now think, think, think! Who does not love?

I came back to add this paragraph. I cannot avoid remembering the life of Stephen even in his last breath, he prayed for his enemies, the Jews who sentenced him to death by stoning.

Acts 7:59-60 (NKJV) – 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

How amazing to be a true faithful believer of Christ? I hope this topics is profitable to your personal life.

 

Prisoners Of Faith

Do you know that all Apostles possibly but one went to prison? It is interesting how people who met our Lord Jesus Christ face to face, who sacrifices for the rest of their life depending the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, trying to bring people back to God, all died miserably.

Let us learn some bible history starting from Acts 5:17-32 (NKJV)

Imprisoned Apostles Freed

17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”

21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Apostles on Trial Again

22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!

26 Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned. 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

In Acts 2:39 we learned that “for the promise is to you and your children” refers to the Jews and proselytes.

Acts 2:39 (NKJV) – For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

The reality is the promise was not to all the Jews, it is to the Jews who eventually believed in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah. The Jerusalem Temple, the holy place for God’s people in the time of the Apostles was managed by Jewish Sadducees, Priest, Levites, Temple guards, captain of the Temple, etc. They were all living and leading the Jewish people believing they are of God, they are people of God, after all they are descendant of Moses. Peter told them “We ought to obey God rather than men” because these people who believe with all their heart with all their mind, they are servants of God but actually they are the murderer of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are following me on the articles regarding the “End of the age“, these articles are all about Israel, the judgement to Israel, the old covenant age, not the end of the world. This is why the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. as predicted by Christ in Matthew 24:2.

How did the Apostle die?

This is a copy from another National Geographic website for our own learning:

Paul (originally Saul before he became disciples of Christ), Evidences highly suggests Apostle Paul’s death occurred after his fifth missionary journey ended in 67 A.D. Paul was likely beheaded by the Romans, under Emperor Nero, sometime around May or June of 68 A.D.

Simon Peter (known as Peter): Simon-Peter, was imprisoned in Rome, eventually martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero. According to some historical text, Peter asked to be crucified upside down, so that his death would not be the equal of Jesus and the Romans supposedly obliged.

Andrew: According to 15th Century religious historian Dorman Newman, Andrew—the brother of Peter—went to Patras in western Greece in 69 AD, where the Roman proconsul Aegeates debated religion with him. Aegeates tried to convince Andrew to forsake Christianity, so that he would not have to torture and execute him. But when that didn’t work, apparently he decided to give Andrew the full treatment. Andrew was scourged, and then tied rather than nailed to a cross, so that he would suffer for a longer time before dying. Andrew lived for two days, during which he preached to passersby.

James (son of Zebedee, AKA James the Greater): Acts 12:1-19 says that James was killed with a sword. The newly-appointed governor of Judea, Herod Agrippa, decided to ingratiate himself with the Romans by persecuting leaders of the new sect. After James was arrested and led to place of execution, his unnamed accuser was moved by his courage. He not only repented and converted on the spot, but asked to be executed alongside James. The Roman executioners obliged, and both men were beheaded simultaneously.

John: John was the only one of the original disciples not to die a violent death. Instead, he passed away peacefully in Patmos in his old age, sometime around 100 AD.

Philip: Philip, the first of Jesus’ disciples, became a missionary in Asia. Eventually, he traveled to the Egyptian city of Heliopolis, where he was scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified in 54 AD.

Bartholomew: Bartholomew supposedly preached in several countries, including India, where he translated the Gospel of Matthew for believers. In one account, “impatient idolaters” beat Bartholomew and then crucified him, while in another, he was skinned alive and then beheaded.

Thomas: Apparently Thomas preached the gospel in Greece and India, where he angered local religious authorities, who martyred him by running him through with a spear.

Matthew: According to legend, the former tax collector turned missionary was martyred in Ethiopia, where he was supposedly stabbed in the back by an swordsman sent by King Hertacus, after he criticized the king’s morals.

James (son of Alphaeus, AKA James the Less): According to Foxe, James, who was elected by his fellow believers to head the churches of Jerusalem, was one of the longest-lived apostles, perhaps exceeded only by John. At the age of 94, he was beaten and stoned by persecutors, and then killed him by hitting him in the head with a club.

Thaddaeus, AKA Lebbaeus, Judas or Jude: According to several stories, he was crucified at Edessa (the name of cities in both Turkey and Greece) in 72 AD.

Simon the Canaanite AKA the Zealot: Simon preached in Mauritania on the west coast of Africa, and then went to England, where he was crucified in 74 AD.

Judas Iscariot: According to Matthew 27:3-6, the treacherous apostle quickly felt remorse over his betrayal of Jesus and went to the Temple to recant. When the high priests ignored his plea, he threw down the 30 pieces of silver that he had been paid, and went off and hanged himself. But Acts 1:15-20, gives a different and even grislier version of Judas’ demise. He says that Judas used the blood money to purchase a piece of land and then fell headlong from a high place there, so that “he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” Jerusalem residents subsequently named the place Aceldama, which means “the field of blood.”

Relating to our time

Imagine these disciples of Christ, having been a God’s servant in their life, yet all died miserably. But I must say they all died well in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for it was possibly God’s will to let that happen.

Today in our time although I do not believe there is something biblical in this, we can relate what is happening to some people who because of their faith are suffering in prison. There are those who had been kidnapped, persecuted and possibly hiding from further persecutions. Being in prison does not mean the person is evil, it does not mean you are sinner, it does not mean you did something bad. Apostle Paul went in and out of prison in his ministry and in the end he was beheaded. Being free and able to attend Church services two times a week does not mean you are holy.

God is sovereign over men. It is his will not man’s will.

-Cornelius

The Promise To Those Who Are Afar Off

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ doctrines on baptism includes a topic on Acts 2:39:

Acts 2:39 (NKJV) – 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

There appear to be 3 groups of people in this passage and INC explains who are the three groups:

1) to you
2) to your children
3) to all who are a far off

The explanation to what appear to be three groups of people is followed by teaching on John 10:16

John 10:16 (NKJV) – 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

So Christ have another sheep who are in the fold (in His time) and not in the fold and they are:

1) In the fold – Jews
2) Also in the fold – Gentiles
3) Not in the fold – Iglesia Ni Cristo

Understanding John 10:16 and other Old Testament prophesies explaining those who are not in the fold will emerge in the Far East, the timing of which is July 27, 1914, then Acts 2:39 means to INC this way:

1) to you – Jews
2) to your children – Gentiles
3) to all who are a far off – Iglesia Ni Cristo members

Please read the full article here.

 

The Science of Interpreting the Bible

When i first heard the word “hermenutics” I did not understand what it is. After some research, i found it very important in understanding the bible.

Hermeneutics is the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts. It is the art of science of the interpretation of the literature. In this case the subject of literature is the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God as written by God’s Spirit through the hands of chosen men of faith, handed down to us so that we may know the thoughts of the Divine toward us, His creation.

The full article can be read here.