The Book of Revelation – Introduction

The Book of Revelation – Introduction

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The term Revelation means, the making manifest or the unveiling of Christ

A. Authorship, exhortation and warning

The book was written by John in response to the inspiration that Jesus gave him. John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos and, being fairly advanced in years, he wrote the book between AD 92 and 94. The book carries a blessing and warning depending on what attitude the reader takes when he or she approaches it. However, it remains the most neglected book of the Bible by preachers. Revelation 1:3, Revelation 22:18-19.

B. Purpose and concepts

1. To assure believers in Jesus of His ultimate and final triumph over all that is wicked and evil in the world. Revelation 1:7-8, Revelation 22:12-13, Revelation 21:3-4.

2. The book is written in typical Hebraic style meaning that it employs: progressive prophetic fulfillment, Hebrew parallelism and remez. We will say more about this later. Most important of all is the fact that the whole book is written to the whole church! Revelation 1:10-11. Every page of the book is relevant to the church.

3. To set out the things that have to take place in the church and the world in order to bring forth the triumphant second coming of Jesus. Jesus can only step onto the stage of history, literally and physically, when this stage has been set.

In terms of the world; wickedness has to ripen and come to its fullness (Matthew 22:44)….and, in terms of the church, she has to be judged and purified. That is “The Bride must make herself ready.” Revelation 14:14-20 sets forth this principle. Harvest time is coming!

Note: The fullness of wickedness is embodied in the person and regime of Antichrist
and the fullness of the church’s purification is achieved by enduring these.
Revelation 14:9-12; Revelation 7:13-17. Remember, judgment begins with the
household of God! 1 Peter 4:17

Today the “setting of the stage” is rapidly taking place. You have to be spiritually blind not to see it. The rise of electronic money and surveillance systems, the emergence of micro chip implanted technology and the frequent calls by many in places of power and authority for a one world government and religion are all unique signs spoken of in the book of Revelation.

Indeed, the “setting of the stage ” is rapidly drawing to a close and the people of God must get ready for the greatest event in history! Very challenging days are ahead of us and the Corona Virus is just the beginning of sorrows but Christ is coming!

Passover Reflections Pt. 3

Passover Reflections Pt. 3

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“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, what-
ever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if
there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate
on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

We have noted that in the fateful week before Jesus was crucified He stayed with Mary, Martha and Lazarus at their home in a small village on the eastern slopes of Mt. of Olives called Bethany. From there He would walk to the Temple area every day and in its precincts He would engage the people and, inevitably, His antagonists. The synoptic Gospels, and that of John’s, give us a fairly comprehensive insight into all that He taught during the last days of His public ministry. We should take note of the following:

1. Our big donors

Being in and about the Temple precincts Jesus drew near to the Treasury. It was here that the people gave their financial contributions to the work of God. Standing quietly to the side He watched as donors arrived and gave their gifts to God. In particular He took note of a widow who gave very little as compared to the other donors (Mark 12:41-43). By the gift of the word of knowledge, He knew that she had in fact given all that she had to live on and in fact, by so doing, had given more than all the other donors because she gave out of her deficit and not her surplus. Big donors gave huge amounts of money but they still had more than enough to live on. They gave out of their surplus.

In essence then the widow, as a donor, was more important than all of them because God knew the circumstances of her giving and He would look after her and multiply her seemingly small contribution in a way that it did more for the Kingdom of God than all the contributions of the well off! But, no one took notice of her because donor appreciation means that it is the big buck contributors that need to be cultivated, given special gifts like pens and calendars and afforded special privileges like special receptions, access to high level meetings and prominent seats at special events. The deficit donor is all the while ignored and left to give in the shadows, as this woman was, but they are the most important contributors to the work of the Kingdom of God on earth! We have not yet learned the lesson and therefore the work of God suffers. Jesus brother James warned us against carnal donor appreciation methods (James 2:1-6).

2. Our glimpse into the consummation of the age

On one of the days during Holy Week, as Jesus was leaving the Temple compound for Bethany, the Disciples drew His attention to the well constructed grandeur of the Temple stones and the glory of the building in general (Matthew 42:1-2). In response He stated that in the not too distant future the holy building would be besieged and its stones torn down one by one. As one can imagine this statement alarmed the Disciples who then in turn enquired when this would be and what would the sign of His coming? Why did they link the destruction of the Temple with His coming? Because, still grappling with the nature of Jesus’ messianic calling, they knew that when Messiah comes He would build the Temple and usher in the age of redemption (Zechariah 6:12-13). If then then the Temple was shortly to be destroyed it would presuppose that He would have to come a second time to fulfill this prophetic messianic vision; hence the question.

Jesus, seated with them on the Mt. Of Olives (Matthew 24:3), then answered their question. He did this by reinforcing the notion of the Temple’s imminent destruction at the hands of the Romans but then He went on to talk to them about the signs and events that would take place heralding His second coming. This conversation is comprehensively recorded in Matthew 24. One can also find it recorded in Mark 13 and Luke 19 and 21.

In terms of the signs, we should note the followings:

The Temple of Jesus’ day was in fact destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD just as He had prophesied. The warnings He gave in this “Olivet Discourse” enabled the early church to escape and take refuge at a place called Petra, east of, and beyond, the Jordan River, in what today is the country of Jordan. As pertaining to Jesus’ second coming, He gave signs that can be broken up into three categories: Those that have to do with the world, those that have to do with Israel and those that have to do with the church. In terms of the world He said that there would be famines, wars, pestilences, earthquakes, false religious leaders, signs in heavens, fear taking hold of the hearts’ of men, and distress amongst nations. In terms of Israel, He said that the Jews would be exiled to the four corners of the world but they would be regathered from the nations and they would be restored to the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24). The Fig Tree would come to life again! Finally, in terms of the Church, He said that many within it would grow cold and lose their zeal for the things of God, probably since the people of God would be persecuted. However, a true remnant would fulfill the great commission by preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth…….., and then the end would come (Matthew 24:14). It is important to realize that when these signs are present or, are all taken together, then the end will come (Mark 13:28-31). In essence this means that the signs in Israel are the validating ones because they are without precedent.

In terms of the events, we should note the following:

There would be a ” similar model” to that which took place in AD 70. That is, the Temple would again be desecrated by an imposter who scripture calls the Beast, the Son of Perdition, the Lawless One and the Antichrist. This wicked entity will be destroyed by Jesus at His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9). The days leading up to the arrival of the Lawless One will be characterized by religious deception, the arrival of a New World Order ( global government), a great falling away of believers and the impartation of an embedded number in the hands or foreheads of everyone on earth, enabling them to buy and sell (operate financially) ( Revelation 13:17-18). Need I say, these days are rapidly approaching. In the last few days alone, Gordon Brown (the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom), Bill Gates and Henry Kissinger have all called for the implementation of a New World Order, characterized by a new global financial system. It is important to understand that the “similar model principle” is employed by Jesus so that we can be without excuse, be well prepared, understand things clearly and warn others. Is it not amazing that Jesus took the time to warn His Disciples, and us, of these things just a few days before His death? The lesson is clear, He is coming back to rule and reign as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:15-16). That is, after all these events have taken place He will come again, in great glory and splendor, and His elect, having been gathered to Him from the corners of the earth, will rule and reign with Him, world without end, forever and ever!

Jesus concluded this remarkable discussion with His Disciples by calling upon them to watch and pray (Matthew 25:13). They would need to do this in order to escape the awful events of AD 70 and we need to watch and pray as we see the very challenging days of His second coming fast approaching. Also, He devoted a good portion of His discourse to warning us to be ready, to be full of zeal, to live holy lives, to love Him and to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 25:1-13).

Have we heard Him this Passover in 2020?

Malcolm Hedding.

Passover Reflections – Pt.2

Passover Reflections – Pt.2

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“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, what-
ever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if
there is any virtue and if anything praiseworthy- meditate on
these things.”
Philippians 4:8

Jesus spent His last few days before Passover at the house of His dear friends; Lazarus, Mary and Martha (John 12:1-2). They lived in a small village on the eastern slopes of the Mt. of Olives called Bethany also near to Bethphage or “The House of the Fig Tree.” In the day He would ascend the Mt. Of Olives, walk down its western slope and enter the Temple compound via the Golden Gate. Here He would teach and interact with His Disciples, and detractors, returning every evening to a place of warmth, fellowship, acceptance and love.

One morning as He went through this routine, on His way up the eastern slope of the Mt. Of Olives, He spotted a fig tree and feeling a little hungry He rummaged through its leaves seeking its fruit and finding none He cursed the tree (Mark11:12-13). The next morning, while on the way to the Temple precincts, the Disciples took note of the fact that the fig tree had actually withered and died. They of course made comment about this to Jesus who in turn urged them to have faith in God (Mark 11:20-22).

All of this is quite instructive for us as Christians, especially as we walk through all these events at this time of Passover. I wish to draw your attention to the following:

1. Jesus was all the time conscious of His unique destiny

The shadow of the cross was cast over His life when He submitted Himself to John’s Baptism in that, by doing so and being sinless, He identified His life with the sins of the world, which He would one day carry away (John 1:29). During the Passover week Jesus, having entered Jerusalem triumphantly, did not cleanse the city, as many expected that He would, but He cleansed the Temple by overthrowing the tables of the Moneychangers and Racketeers (Matthew 21:12). This did not bless His antagonists and it heightened their anger and determination to get rid of Him. Jesus was well aware of this, but He did not shrink back because He was absolutely certain of His destiny. He thus pushed forward trusting fully in God His Father to help and sustain Him.

Sometimes the destiny to which God calls us is not easy to walk out, it will involve trial, difficulty, resistance and suffering but, like Jesus, we have to be single minded and pursue the will of God relentlessly all the while knowing that God will help us and enable to us to achieve His plan for our lives ( Acts 21:11-13). Consider Paul’s life; he was called to accomplish much for Jesus but to achieve this he had to suffer much! (Acts 9:15-16). The message is clear, take hold of your destiny no matter what the cost.

2. Jesus had faith in God

The episode surrounding the cursing of the Fig Tree has many teaching angles, however the main concept that Jesus wishes to get across to His Disciples is this, “Have faith in God” (Mark 11:20-22). This sounds fairly simple but actually it is very profound in that, to have faith God one must know exactly who He is and consequently what He is capable of. Paul wrote that, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). In short, the more you know, and are convinced of, about the character of God so the more you will be able to trust Him! I recently had complicated surgery and that which gave me complete peace about the procedure was the fact that I knew the surgeon to be one of the very best, if not the best, at his profession. Knowing him, who he was and appreciating his track record brought calm and peace to my life.

In the same way, Jesus teaches us that faith is actually “knowing based.” That is, it only becomes powerful and a reality in our lives when we know who God is, and in our hearts are certain of it. This type of faith will remove the mountains in your life. Most Christians do not have it and will not have it until they read the Word of God day and night and meditate upon it. (Psalm 1:1-3)

3. Jesus needed true friends

Jesus’ love for Lazarus, Mary and Martha is well documented in scripture (John 11:5). With them He could unwind, relax and be at peace. That is, He didn’t have to be on His guard, and He could truly feel loved and cared for. This was the provision of God at a time when the sorrows of His life were quite overwhelming. We all need friends like this but actually more important still is the fact that we must determine to befriend others like this. Life, even the Christian life, as Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress teaches us, is fraught with difficulty and trouble. Can we rise above our personal needs and become a refuge for others when they most need it?

Now is a good time to consider this as we face the uncertain storm of a raging virus in our world. Though we cannot gather at “Bethany” we can gather in so many other ways and we should reach out to one another. Email, phone or text someone today and tell them that you care about them.

God bless you,

Malcolm Hedding.

Passover Reflections

Passover Reflections

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“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things
are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-
meditate on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

What has become known as the Passion Week begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Mark11:1-11). This event is worth some consideration as it is filled with symbolism and, most important of all, it fulfills the prophetic scriptures. These prophetic scriptures promised that the King of Israel would present Himself to His people by riding into Jerusalem on a donkey; a symbol of humility.

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout O daughter
of Jerusalem, behold your King is coming to you, He is
just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey,
a colt the foal of a donkey.”
Zechariah 9:9

We would do well to meditate on these things:

1. Jesus came to the people of Israel
His love for them was great and overwhelming since He knew that they were living under the heel of Rome. This complicated their lives as Rome exacted taxes from them and ruthlessly applied its dominion over every part of their lives. This in turn bred discontent, suffering and even rebellion against the regime. The latter was cruelly put down by the Roman occupiers (Acts 5:33-39).

All this reminds us that Jesus was first and foremost called to the people of Israel, “The Daughter of Zion.” His love for His people Israel has never changed and never will. Paul testifies to this in his Roman epistle when he writes,

“Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision
for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and
that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy……”  Romans 15:8-9

Whatever the reasons may be for Israel’s rejection of Jesus, the fact is He still cares for them, loves them and will never abandon them. His great love also extends to the Gentile world and this means, especially at this time of global pandemic, we should all seek Him, draw close to Him and serve Him. Passion week draws our attention to the majesty of Christ, a majesty that has no equal in the world, and it is clothed in His simple clothes and the beauty of His character. Scripture affirms that we should, “Consider Him…. (Hebrews 12:3).”

2. Jesus came as King
The idea that Jesus came to Israel firstly and only as a “Suffering Servant” is not scriptural. The text of scripture affirms that He presented Himself as the true and only King of Israel. Had He been accepted by His people the glorious Kingdom of God, bringing peace and joy to the world, would have been ushered in. The great Psalmist of Israel writes of this kingdom in these terms:

“I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to Me, you are my
Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give You
the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for
Your possession.”  Psalm 2:7-9

The fact is, though delayed, the King is still coming and His feet will stand on the Mt. Olives (Acts 2:9-11). This day is fast approaching and we must keep our eyes upon it especially as we witness our world in such upheaval, chaos and fear (Titus 2:11-13).

3. Jesus came as a Suffering Servant

The fact that Jesus rode into Jerusalem sitting on the foal of a donkey gave
expression to His humility that would unfold and thus be observable in His sufferings and death. In a certain sense the whole world was responsible for His death in that He suffered and died for each one of us and thereby removed our sins and their consequences from our lives. This means that we are freed from the wrath of God, forgiven, declared righteous and made righteous by the in-dwelling power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:14-21) (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

This is the gift of God to the world and it is mirrored in the Passover story:

“For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He
sees the blood on the lintel and two doorposts, the Lord will pass
over and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike
you. ”  Exodus 12:23

Peter puts it this way:
“Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like
silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from
your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without spot.”  1 Peter 1:18-19

And John the Baptist, when seeing Christ approaching, cried out:
“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  John 1:29

It is important to note that both the Apostle Peter and John the Baptist refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God. By this imagery they take us back to the Passover story where the blood of a lamb saved the Israelites from destruction (Exodus 12:21-23). This is precisely what Jesus has done for all of us! He has saved us from the Destroyer or the wrath to come.

Palm Sunday reminds us of these things, and we should meditate and think deeply upon them. The Savior of the World has come and consequently we should be filled with sorrow (repentance) and joy. Sorrow, because our sins brought such suffering to the Son of God and joy, because by His passion He has purchased eternal life for us. This is the full and wonderful love of God extended to the world; be sure to receive it.

Malcolm Hedding

Christians, the Corona Virus and the World

Christians, the Corona Virus and the World

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“Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91:14-16

As we all face a troubled world we are now, in addition, grappling with the added, and very serious, problem of the Corona Virus pandemic that is raging through many nations. It is very important then that we as followers of Christ should focus our attention on those things that are most vital for our health and well-being. We should then begin by noting the following.

The death of Jesus, as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and rebellion against God, if accepted by faith and repentance, brings us into a real and vital relationship with God our Father. We are in every way reconciled to God and we know Him, walk with Him and have fellowship with Him. (1 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 John 1:3)

This great saving work of Jesus gives our lives meaning and purpose so that we together with God can witness our days on the earth as having significance. Also, while declared righteous we have to become righteous meaning that our dear Lord will lead us through trials and difficulties, as He did with Paul, in order to transform us into His image (James1:2-4; Romans 8:29; Acts14:22). Many of these trials are great and leave us bewildered as if some strange thing were happening to us (1 Peter 4:12) but scripture reminds us that God works all things together for our good if we love Him (Romans 8:28). His ways are not our ways and most often we do not understand them! (Isaiah 55:8)

In addition, our great God has given us all an allotment of years (Psalm139:16). If we serve Him faithfully we will reach this allotment and then He will take us home to hear Him say, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord” (2 Timothy3:6-7; Matthew 25:21). This is the road of heavenly fellowship that Jesus, by His grace, calls us all into! It is sustained by frequent prayer, fellowship and the reading of God’s most holy word (Acts 2:42). It is also a road of mystery sometimes, but it is filled with God’s love and presence; made real to each one of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We have a down payment of heaven in our hearts! Therefore no one can deter us from our path not even the prospect of martyrdom (Ephesians 1:13-16; Acts 21:13).

There is no doubt that the God of the Bible commands us to be a holy people (1 Peter 1:15-16). Holiness is Christ’s image or character (Ephesians 4:11-16) and this means that as followers of Jesus we are to embrace everything I have written about above with zeal, enthusiasm and Joy. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and consequently our calling in Christ Jesus is to press on aggressively to make all that heaven has for us real in our lives. This is what it means to be holy. (Philippians 3:12)

We live in a world that is dark, evil, greatly troubled and now threatened by a deadly virus. According to the Apostle John it is passing away and we should not love it (John 2:15-17). That is, be influenced by its treasures, riches, lusts and pursuits. Sadly, many Christians are!

Be assured of this; the Corona Virus now sweeping the world is a manifestation of God’s judgment. A global pandemic of this magnitude cannot happen outside of the sovereignty of God. The devil may seek to use it, as he did the cross of Jesus, by breeding fear and panic in the hearts of men and women, but the God of the Bible, by this judgment, is calling His people out of the world to deep repentance. That is to the confession of our sins of commission and omission and to holiness of life (James 4:7-10).The word of God affirms that judgment begins with household of God (1Peter 4:17) and thus the people of God, rather than railing against the devil (Jude 8-9), should get right with God and seek to live as His word says they should. We are all involved with this; me included! In due course God will have mercy on His people because in judgment He always remembers mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2; Lamentations 3:22-24)

The book of Revelation, that warns the world of great coming judgments not too unlike the Corona Virus, tells us that these in terms of the world, are designed to lead it to repentance and salvation (Revelation 16:11). Here again mercy and redemption are in mind.

As this article points out, as Christian people we all have a designated allotment of years and, if we live our lives in a way that we please God (1 Thessalonians 4:1), nothing, not even the Corona Virus, can rob us of this. So, let us cast off all fear and humble ourselves before the throne of God for in due time He will lift us up and make us a blessing to a dying world (James 4:10). Let us be in the world and not of it and let us hold out the love of God for it in the good news of that which Jesus has done for it on the cross. (1 Thessalonians 1:6-8)

Remember that the Word of God calls upon us to submit to the governing authorities as, in their own way under God, they are the servants of God (Romans 13:1-4). Therefore, in terms of the Coronavirus we must:

1. Stay at home
2. Wash our hands regularly
3. Practice social distancing
4. Care for the most vulnerable amongst us
5. Encourage ourselves with the Word of God and ..
6. Pray for one another.

May “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Amen.

Popular Myths

Popular Myths

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“When peace comes, we will perhaps in time be able to forgive
the Arabs for killing our sons, but it will be harder for us to
forgive them for having forced us to kill their sons. Peace will
come when the Arabs will love their children more than they
hate us.”
Golda Meir

The Nazis believed that if you told a lie often enough it would eventually be accepted as truth. Nowhere is this more evident than in the so called Palestinian/ Israeli conflict. One lie has been heaped upon another until the myth has become popular legend and accepted everywhere as truth. Those who try to put the record straight are ridiculed and not even given a hearing. Why is this so and, more important still is the question, why do learned people who know better accept this scenario? I will leave you to find an answer to this question.

On the 14th May 1948, in response to international approval voiced through the United Nations, David Ben Gurion announced Israeli’s existence as a nation. The very next day five Arab armies attacked Israel with the express intention of, as they put it, “driving the Jewish people into the sea”. This was illegal and an act against the will of the international community and was thus a blatant case of pan Arab aggression against the fledgling Jewish State. Listening today to the media one would never believe that Israel was attacked in this way. If anything the Arabs and the Palestinians are victims of Israeli aggression!

Speaking of Palestinians; up until 1948 Arabs and Jews were all considered Palestinians. I recently met a Jew who showed me his identity card from that era which clearly designated him a Palestinian. The truth is anyone who lived in that region up until 1948, and thus under the British Mandate, was designated Palestinian. No particular racial or ethnic group had that exclusive identity. There were Jewish Palestinians or Arab Palestinians and even International Palestinians and that was it. However, again, you would not know this today. The conventional wisdom is that Arab Palestinians were the only racial group bearing this title. In fact the Arabs in the region up until then were not even thinking in this way. This “exclusive thinking” is a recent development! But then who cares about facts?

Thankfully and rather remarkably Israel won the so-called War of Independence, but the beautiful Holy City of Jerusalem fell into the hands of Jordanian forces and that country then promptly and illegally annexed Jerusalem and the West Bank (Judea/Samaria). This was a real occupation but it drew no real outcry from the world. So, for nineteen years when the Arab/Palestinians had what they say they want now they never lifted a hand to establish a state of their own with East Jerusalem (The Old City) as its capital. An independent Palestinian State was definitely not on their minds; the destruction of the Jews was! So, in 1964 when they held East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank they founded the PLO with the express mandate to liquidate the State of Israel. They not only agreed on a phased plan by which they would accomplish this, but they also launched a terror campaign against the Jews in what was Israel proper. That is, what today is undisputed Israeli territory. Yasser Arafat, up until the day he died, never moved away from the 1964 phased plan for the destruction of Israel and he said it. However, you would never believe this if one listens to the politicians that strut the world and the media that follows them. For them Israel is the obstacle to peace and any declaration by an Arab or Palestinian leader to the contrary is not to be taken seriously. Actually, some of these politicians, sadly from Western Democracies, are now calling for Israel to be reasonable and talk to the leadership of Hamas. The mythological war continues and sadly infects minds across the globe with error posing as truth.

In 1967 Israel was again in the firing line of the pan Arab alliance that thought that they could again destroy her. Emboldened by Russian support, and new generation weaponry from that state, Abdul Nasser removed the United Nations peace keepers from the Sinai, he blocked the Straits of Tiran and mobilized his armed forces and those of Jordan, Syria and Iraq for war with Israel. In addition, he made fiery speeches predicting the destruction of Israel and the arrival of a new era of Pan Arab power. Israel, with little options, seized the opportunity and with lightening speed destroyed Egypt’s airpower in one day and in six days inflicted a crushing defeat on the surrounding Arab armies. The rest is indeed history but today, in many cases, because Israel struck first, she is accused of being an aggressor. These accusers rewrite history by ignoring the hostile posture adopted by Nasser’s Arab alliance coupled with his military mobilization that dragged Israel into a war that she never wanted or initiated. The conventional wisdom is that she should have waited for the “death blow” before defending herself. The Arabs and Palestinians were again projected as the victims!

In 1973 the same scenario unfolded on the Day of Yom Kippur. This time Israel was attacked and taken totally by surprise. Golda Meir, the Prime Minister of Israel, at one point feared that the state would be lost and even said as much. Thankfully the tide of battle turned and with much loss of life Israel survived. Not only did she survive but she almost took Damascus and Cairo! To save Arab honor the world stepped in and Israel agreed to a ceasefire. Strangely today the Yom Kippur war is celebrated as a victory in Syria and Egypt. The myth continues.

In the 1990s and up until the year 2000, by virtue of the Oslo Accords, Israel did the unthinkable and eventually offered Yasser Arafat 97% of the West Bank including significant parts of East Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. A trade off for the remaining 3% of territory was to be made. It was an unprecedented offer that even alarmed many Israelis. Arafat refused it demanding that a right of return of millions of Palestinians be agreed upon that would grant them permission to live, not in Palestine, but in Israel. Israel could not agree to this and thus an offer that would have led to Palestinian statehood was rejected on the grounds of something that had nothing to do with that proposed state. The Palestinians broke with discussions and returned to war by provoking the Second Intifada. Many Israelis died in the most horrific suicide attacks but Israel was the aggressor in the minds many international leaders. The media happily played along with this myth and even fabricated scenarios of so called Israeli abuse of Palestinians. And, as for the Temple Mount where this Intifada began, according to Palestinian historians, including Mahmoud Abbas, a Jewish Temple never ever did stand there, and the Holocaust never happened! The mythological march continued.

And just in case you are doubting all of this, for many in the West, sadly, thousands upon thousands of missiles aimed at Israeli civilians by Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists are not a problem and Israel should definitely not vigorously defend itself from this outrage. She is an aggressor and so, for more than a decade now, the international community has done nothing about these attacks that continue until this day. There were no demonstrations in the streets of Europe, and no one cared up until the day that Israel decided to defend itself. Then the world cared enough to condemn her and the masses came out onto the streets to express their rage against her. All the while millions of people were dying in Sudan, Iraq, Syria and central Africa but no one cared. In Nigeria thousands of Christians are being murdered every month by Boko-Haram, Islamic terrorists, and no one lifts a finger to help them because what really matters is the problem of the Jewish State. It must be delegitimized, discredited and ultimately dismantled and so perpetuating the myths surrounding her conflict with the Palestinians is essential because the ultimate goal is to return the region to the Dar al Salam! (The House of Islam)

Now President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu have agreed upon a reasonable and promising peace plan that will afford the Palestinians one last opportunity to acquire a state of their own with the hope of peace, economic development, investment and the delivery of much needed social services to the Palestinian people. Their answer so far has been one of rejection. In fact, Mahmoud Abbas called President Trump a dog! This is not without meaning in the Islamic world since Muslims are forbidden to have dogs because they are considered demonic and evil. It is an insult that one only levels against those that one hates and detests the most. This will surely be to their loss because, should they persist in their rejection, Israel will have no other option than to press ahead with resettling Judea and Samaria, which after all is their ancient biblical and historical heartland. When one builds castles on sand one should not be surprised if they collapse. It is this reality that now faces the Palestinian Authority.

Malcolm Hedding

International Holocaust Memorial Day

International Holocaust Memorial Day

Blog

“As part of the Young Leaders of Yad Vashem, I find it imperative to spread
awareness to as many people as possible, Jew and non-Jew alike… We may
carry their names, we may tell their stories, but we can never forget their
sacrifice. It is Yad Vashem that has ignited the fire and it is up to us to spread
the flame.”
Rachel Shnay

All around the world today the awful and evil deeds of the Holocaust, perpetrated by the Nazis and their many collaborators, are being remembered. Chiefly the martyrs of this diabolical program of industrial killing are being remembered and honored just as they were last week at the sacred and solemn assembly that took place at Yad Vashem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of those still held hostage in Auschwitz-Birkenau. As heads of state gathered to say, “Never again” the facts on the ground all over Europe, in America and beyond tell another story. Antisemitism is on the rise everywhere and again on the streets of Europe we hear the cry, “Kill the Jews”. In Belgium awful images of rat-like looking Orthodox Jews have been paraded through the streets and in Brooklyn New York, Jews are now routinely attacked and beaten up. Once again, the Jews are being discredited and delegitimized with the end goal being their destruction. We cry never again but in reality, this has to be coupled with action. Who do we think will stop these antisemitic attacks?

A recent study has found that much of the antisemitism in Europe is being driven by the huge Middle Eastern communities that have migrated to the continent. The same is true of America where we now have Muslim Congresswomen who routinely mainstream antisemitism, attack Israel and the local Jewish community and refuse to condemn acts of Islamic terrorism. For them, “Some people did something on 9/11.” All over the middle East the discredited book, “The elders of the Protocols of Zion” is still being published and sold, as is Hitler’s, “Mein Kampf.” In addition, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, is a Holocaust Denier and continues to call for the killing of Jews while he honors those who actually do so. The danger signs are everywhere just as they were in the 1930s. If good people do nothing, then this evil will gather momentum and it is.

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem stands as a beacon of remembrance and warning and we should heed its message on this very important and solemn day. This should be coupled with a prayer that asks the God of Heaven what we can do to make good our declaration of, “Never Again.”

Malcolm Hedding

Christianity Today

Christianity Today

Blog

Mark Galli’s article of the 20th December in Christianity Today calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump on so called moral grounds was neither courageous nor biblical. In fact, it displayed a remarkable ignorance of the relationship between the Church and the State, as put forth by the New Testament scriptures.

There are two passages in the New Testament that outline the context in which we are to relate to national political leaders, Presidents, Prime Ministers and even Dictators. The first is 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and the second is Romans 13:1-5. The latter is infrequently referred to by most preachers and magazines because it contradicts much of their thinking and debunks their social justice gospel that has infiltrated much of the Church in our day. Both passages are very important because they harmonize and enable us to avoid the trap into which Galli has fallen.

The passage in the book of Romans reads as follows:

“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority
except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore
whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror
to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what
is good and you will have praise from the same.

For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does
not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath
on him who practices evil. Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of
wrath but also for conscience sake.”

It is important to note that this passage was written by Paul in reference to the Roman Empire and the Caesars who governed it. They were ruthless, cruel tyrants and certainly by biblical standards had no “moral values” and yet Paul asserts that:

1. They are appointed by God.
2. Wield their authority only at God’s pleasure….and,
3. Are in fact the ministers of God.

Consequently, Christians are to obey them, do what is good in their sight and by so doing honor God. That is, to resist them is to resist God and it is for this reason that he calls them to submit for conscience sake. These rulers were evil, they laid waste the Church in every corner of the Empire and Paul did not call for Caesar’s impeachment!!! In fact, just the opposite, because he knew that in the end by love and good works the Church would triumph, and it did. Actually, in comparison to the leaders of Rome Donald Trump is a saint!

Also, the national or political leader is referred to by Paul as one raised up by God and as the minister of God. In what sense then is Donald Trump the minister of God? Definitely not in a saved or redeemed sense but, in the sense, that he is a secular ruler like Caesars of old. We, as Christians do not vote for a Pastor, Priest or Reverend to become President but for a leader who best expresses our values and who will provide space and opportunity for the Church to preach the gospel to the nation in which it resides. Some of the greatest leaders of our times were not Christian, including Winston Churchill. He embraced Christian values but was something of a drunkard and a political opportunist, as he flipped flopped between political parties and as Lord of the Admiralty was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Anzac troops at Gallipoli in the First World War. To add insult to injury, he was the master of insult and in this regard out did Donald Trump’s Tweets by far. Churchill was despised and rejected by almost all of the political elite, just as Trump is, and yet God raised him up, gave him authority and, as a minister of God most high, he saved Britain from the tyranny of Nazism. Today he is celebrated as the Greatest Britton and millions wept at his funeral including my father. Did anyone call for his impeachment on moral grounds in Britain’s darkest hour? The answer actually is yes, and history has now judged them to be fools!

It is then important to note that for Paul, the Church is to submit to the governing authority by prayer, good works, suffering and proclamation in the knowledge that God who sees will change the governing authority and in the end enable such an authority to make space for the Church to preach the saving message of the cross. This is why we submit for conscience sake because the message we have of eternal life in Jesus is more important than anything else and calling for Trump’s impeachment, as Mark Galli did, was in every way naïve and a contradiction of scripture.

In addition, it is to be noted that Donald Trump has done more to encourage and support the mission of the Church in America than any other President in recent years. He has supported Christian values, stood against abortion, rolled back the Johnson Law and has encouraged all Christians everywhere to come out from hiding and own their faith. So, the high biblical goal that Paul sets for leaders has been fulfilled in Donald Trump; and yes, hopefully by the grace of God he too one day will embrace the Savior sent from heaven to deliver us. For this too we should and must pray but to call for his impeachment is a contradiction of scripture.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-4 Paul affirms all of this when he writes:

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and giving of thanks be made for all men, for Kings and all who are in
authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness
and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our
Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge
of the truth.”

So, once again it is the first priority of the Church to pray for leaders and rulers because in doing so there is the expectation that God will change them and inspire them to bring order, stability, peace and quiet to a nation so that the Church may freely preach the Gospel. For the Apostle Paul the preaching of the Gospel was the greatest priority for a Christian and he considered even his sufferings to be working toward that end (Philippians 1:12). It is not our first responsibility to antagonize leaders by calling for their impeachment. This is counter productive to our great calling to fulfill the Great Commission. Again, can any of you demonstrate from scripture where Paul called for the impeachment of Caesar, a more wicked and cruel despot than Donald Trump will ever be? He was a Roman citizen by birth (Acts 16:37) and could have done so but he didn’t. Rather, he called the Church to a higher office and eventually by it he penetrated Caesar’s Household (Philippians 1:12-14) and finally the Christian Gospel triumphed over Rome and got a foothold in Europe and we have greatly benefited by it and are indebted to him for it. Mark Galli would have done well, in the light of his retirement, to call the Church in America to prayer and intercession for the President but he didn’t and rather opted to bring division to the people of God and to play into the arms of those who, if assuming power one day, will continue the immoral behavior of murdering babies in the womb! It is not surprising that these were the first people to receive his editorial with glee.

Malcolm Hedding

Notes:

For Paul the Church’s relationship with the State was governed by one thing only; that everything should be made subservient to the Church’s right to freely preach the Gospel. The right to preach the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was outside of the governing authority’s jurisdiction and consequently, if the state moved to curtail or prohibit this right, it had to be reasoned with (Acts 26:1-23) and even resisted and was (Acts 5:26-32). For this right the early Church leaders were prepared to die, and they did!

They well knew that it was not the “Social Gospel” or the “Social justice Gospel” or the “Prosperity Gospel” that saved people from their sins and gave them the gift of eternal life but only the Gospel that faithfully proclaims what Jesus did for the world on the cross. Evil cannot be out-smarted, out-thought or overcome by well thought out programs of one sort or another. No, it can only be overcome by the spilt blood of Jesus and having the right to preach this message governs our interactions with the State. Mark Galli could have re-enforced this, but he didn’t, opting rather to inject himself into the political squabbles of impeachment.

Christmas 2019

Christmas 2019

Blog

Dear Friends,

At this time of year, we should all pause to think of the things that really matter; especially since we will all be together with friends and family to celebrate Christmas and enjoy one another. Life is definitely more important than just getting on with it and living for our passions. If it were this simple then why do we have a guiding light called the Bible? Indeed, our lives are fragile and we each one only has one shot at it, and it may pass quicker than we think. I heard this very day of a father of 46, very active and very fit, who just fell down and before he reached the ground was dead leaving a wife and two beautiful young daughters. Eternity took him just as it will take us one day, don’t for a moment think that it will not. Your life, like mine, is but a vapor:

“Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For
what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little
while and then vanishes away.”
James 4:14

For Abraham, our spiritual father according to the flesh, life was a walk of faith with God. “He believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). In fact, Abraham looked forward to Christ and believed in Him (John 8:56; Hebrews 11:13). Once his faith decision was made, he set out to pursue, with all his heart and strength, the God who had turned up in his workshop in Ur some 4000 years ago now. He would thereafter, by ongoing faith, appropriate righteousness and he would seek to impact others with a message of hope that in the end would touch billions of people all around the world. Just like the stars of the heavens and the sand of the seashore (Genesis 13:6; 15:5).

Abraham knew God, became His friend and walked with Him (2 Chronicles 20:7). Those who embark on this journey, as Paul correctly points out, have the assurance of eternal life beating in their hearts. Paul wrote that our spirits witness with God’s Spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:16). I know of no greater blessing or pursuit on earth and I urge you, one and all, to think carefully on these things as we now come to one of the most joyous times of the year. I know that God loves you dearly but He wants you to look up and see more to life than ambition, career and success. To die in these things without faith in God is a tragedy and quite frankly a waste of one’s life. This is surely Abraham’s abiding message. We must become the friends of God.

How amazing that God sent a child to show us His light and by which to lead us all to eternal life (1 John 5:11-12). Let us take hold of it by welcoming Jesus into our lives (John 1:12).

Merry Christmas and much love,

Malcolm and Cheryl Hedding

Incarnation

Incarnation

Blog

“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the
Devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because
he knows that he has a short time.”
Revelation 12:12

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son,
Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.”
John 1:18

“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.
Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus
Christ is in you.”
2 Corinthians 13:5

The Incarnation of evil

The Bible most certainly warns us of a demonic incarnation of dreadful proportions. Even now the ground work to make this possible is being built by powerful and evil principalities and scripture calls this “the spirit of antichrist” (1 John 4:3).This foundation of wickedness is becoming more brazen with every passing day in its attempt to delegitimize the Bible and attack those who hold dear its pages. Soon there will be an incarnation of the Devil himself whereby he will take on a bodily form and lead the world, and even possibly, the Church (Matthew 24:24) down a pathway of delusion.

In the 14th chapter book of Isaiah the evil king of Babylon is described but it becomes clear that what is being portrayed is more than just the king of a region but the Devil himself. It is a picture indeed of demonic incarnation:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the
nations. For you have said in your heart; I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the
mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I
will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most
High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit.”
Isaiah 14:12-15

The book of Ezekiel does the same thing in its 28th chapter when it describes the evil king of Tyre:

“You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your
covering………………The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was
prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed
cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain
of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of the fiery stones. You
were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity
was found in you.”
Ezekiel 28:11-15

So here again a human being is presented as an incarnation of the Devil himself and, just for the record, the Prophet Habakkuk writes of the proud man in similar terms:

“Indeed, because he transgresses by wine, he is a proud man, and he
does not stay at home. Because he enlarges his desire as hell and he
is like death, and cannot be satisfied, he gathers to himself all nations
and heaps up for himself all peoples.”
Habakkuk 2:5

These biblical references warn us of a day that is fast approaching when the Devil, having been pushed out of the second heaven, will descend to the earth (Revelation 12:9-12) and incarnate himself in a human body. This is the truth of God’s word and the book of Revelation clearly presents it to us and describes this individual as, “The Beast” (Revelation 13:1). Outwardly he will be a smooth-talking miracle working politician but inwardly he will be the Devil incarnate. In fact, the closest we have come to this reality can be seen in the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler; only this will be far worse in that all nations will follow after him and he will unleash a global persecution of the Church and Israel. The book of Revelation describes his reign of tyranny thus:

“Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme
His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted
to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority
was given to him over every tribe, tongue and nation. All who dwell on
the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the
Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If anyone
has an ear, let him hear.”
Revelation 13:6-9

The last refrain, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear”, is important because the Holy Spirit is calling us to attention and clearly warning us of things to come. Evil has advanced at a rapid pace in our world and the ease with which it is presently being accepted is providing the stepping stones by which the Devil can literally step into our world. We have been warned!

 

The incarnation of God

The Christmas story reminds us year by year that in Jesus God became man and dwelt among us in order to save us from our sins, ourselves and all that is wicked in the world. John’s Gospel speaks of this wondrous incarnation in these terms:

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld
His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of
grace and truth.”
John 1:14

These most beautiful words tell us that Jesus was not made or created but was “begotten”. That is, he was incarnated in the virgin’s womb having come from heaven (Luke 1:26-38)! He was perfect and sinless in every way and the holy light shining from Him could not in any way be contained in this world and so the darkness of sin and evil collided with Him and seemingly overcame Him in that He, being innocent, was cruelly crucified (John 3:19). However, in this wicked hour of darkness He thereby willingly bore the penalty of our sins and rose from the dead freeing us from the power of sin and of the Devil (Luke 22:53). He purchased on the Roman stake of execution, eternal life for all of us; that is, if we surrender our lives to Him, make Him king and follow Him all the days of our lives (John 1:12). What a marvelous incarnation. Paul, writing to the Corinthian Church puts it this way:

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through
Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is,
that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing
their trespasses to them…”
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

This is truly the real message of Christmas and we must make sure that our children, gran-children and friends know it. There is nothing more wonderful and as we gaze again in wonder at the Manger Scene, the glory of Angels singing in the heavens on that first Christmas night and the arrival of three Kings from the east let us do so with gratitude and joy in our hearts.

 

The incarnation of salvation

More wondrous still is the fact that Jesus fills our hearts with His love and salvation by the Holy Spirit. This is an incarnation that regenerates, empowers and changes us forever. Paul refers to it in many parts of his letters but here are two examples:

“For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your
prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my
earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed,
but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified
in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Philippians 1:19-20

And,

“To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope
of glory.”
Colossians 1:27

Jesus has actually invaded our lives and thereby given us a real taste of heaven and enabling us, in all respects, to overcome the world and the Devil. We are truly and literally new creations in Him. John the Apostle puts it this way:

“Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in
Him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.”
1 John 3:9
And,

“You are of god, little children, and have overcome them, because
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 4:4

Dear friends, Christ incarnated in us means that we only have one goal in life and that is that Jesus may be magnified in our lives. This encompasses everything in that it calls us to total character transformation and change. This is why we attend a local Church, engage in fellowship, study the Bible, break bread and reach out to the world (Acts 2:42). We have a glorious message of incarnation.

Merry Christmas,

Malcolm Hedding