Thursday, October 29, 2015

Temple Denial

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

Most people are familiar with Holocaust Denial — the assertion that the Holocaust is a myth conjured up by the Jews to create sympathy and support for the Jewish people. But few seem to be aware of a similar anti-Semitic concept called "Temple Denial." It is the claim that no Jewish Temple ever existed in Jerusalem on the Temple Mount.

This idea circulated among Muslims for many years, but it did not become well known until the year 2000 when Yasser Arafat proclaimed to President Clinton at the Camp David Summit Conference that "Solomon's Temple was not in Jerusalem, but Nablus."1 This bizarre claim was picked up by the press and was circulated worldwide. Two years later, Arafat again asserted that there was "not a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there [in Jerusalem] because historically the Temple was not in Palestine at all."2 Then, to everyone's amazement, he claimed it was located in Yemen and that he had personally visited the site!

Despite the fact that Arafat was neither an historian or an archaeologist or a student of the Bible, his insane assertion spread like a wild fire across the Muslim world, and since that time, it has become a "fact" in Muslim thinking.

What makes this particularly strange is that there is a long history of Muslim affirmations that the Jewish Temples were located on the Temple Mount.

For example, Sura 17:1 in the Quran tells about a miraculous night journey of Mohammed from the "Sacred Mosque" in Mecca to the "Farthest Mosque," whose location is not identified. No mosque of any kind existed in Jerusalem during Mohammed's lifetime, yet over the years, Muslim commentators have claimed that it was located in Jerusalem. What is relevant to Temple Denial is the fact that an 11th Century Muslim historian and a 14th Century Iranian religious scholar both claimed in their writings that the mosque was the Al-Aqsa Mosque (which sits on the Temple Mount today) and that the mosque "was built on top of Solomon's Temple."3

Al-Haram Al-Sharif
The 1924 Islamic guidebook to the Temple Mount which affirms that the Jewish Temples were located on the Mount. "Al-Haram Al-Sharif" is the Islamic name for the Dome of the Rock. It means, "The Noble Sanctuary."

An almost identical affirmation of the Jewish Temples being located on the Temple Mount can be found in the guidebooks to the Dome of the Rock that were published by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem, beginning in 1924. All of them contained the following statement:4

The site [of the Dome of the Rock] is one of the oldest in the world. Its sanctity dates from the earliest (perhaps from pre-historic) times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (2 Samuel 24:25).

This statement was contained in all of the guidebooks up to and including the one published in 1950. But after 1950, the statement was inexplicably removed from subsequent issues.5

Today, Temple Denial has become an integrated part of Palestinian mythology, affirmed by politicians, clerics and scholars. Together with the equally absurd claim that Jesus was a Palestinian, an attempt is being made to erase the Jewish presence from the history of the land.

As far back as 1973, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia proclaimed on Radio Riyadh that "the Jews have no connection whatsoever with Jerusalem and have no sacraments there. They claim that the Temple of Solomon is there...[but] the Temple of Solomon does not exist in Jerusalem."6

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is both a Holocaust Denier and a Temple Denier. He had this to say about the Jewish Temple: "...they [the Jews] claim that 2,000 years ago they had a Temple. I challenge this assertion that there ever has been a Jewish Temple. But even if so, we do not accept it..."7 How's that for logic?

Walid Awad, former director of publications for the PLO, stated in December 1996 that the Jewish Temple was probably located in "Jericho or somewhere else."8 The Palestinian Authority's chief religious official, Taissir Tamimi, has stated, "I know of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, but I don't know of any Jewish holy sites in it."9

A Palestinian academic, Dr. Issam Sissalem, Professor of Middle East History at the Islamic University of Gaza, has asserted that Solomon's Temple never existed. He has further stated that the idea of such a Temple "is the biggest lie in history by those liars [the Jews]."10 A few years later, he added, "There is no historical text that proves the existence of Solomon's Temple, or that it has a real history, other than the Bible, and the Bible...was based on ancient legends."11

In November of 2014, the PLO's Department of National Affairs issued a warning to journalists not to use the term, "Temple Mount" when describing the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.12 The reason for this demand: "The Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is not a disputed territory and all other terms, therefore, are null and void."

All of these Alice-in-Wonderland statements are simply part of a propaganda campaign to divorce the Jewish people from their historic capital city. And all their hot air is a total waste of time because the Bible makes it clear that a Third Temple will be built in Jerusalem on the same location as the first two — and that will be on the Temple Mount (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Revelation 11:1-2 and Revelation 13:6).


Notes

1) Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for Middle East Peace (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005), page 694.

2) The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) “Interview with Yasir Arafat,” Special Dispatch Series, No. 428, October 11, 2002, www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/835/743.htm.

3) Yitzak Reiter, Jerusalem and Its Role in Islamic Solidarity (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), page 44./p>

4) David Barnett, “The Mounting Problem of the Temple Denial,” August 29, 2011, www.rubincenter.org/2011/08/the-mounting-problem-of-temple-denial, page 2.

5) Ibid.

6) Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), “The Battle Over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount,” November 6, 2014, www/ca,era/prg/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=4&x_article=1404, page 6.

7) Ibid., page 4.

8) Ibid.

9) Ibid., page 5.

10) Ibid. Statement on Palestinian TV, October 8, 2001.

11) Ibid. Statement on Palestinian TV, August 2, 2004.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Real Convergence

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

In yesterday's blog post, The Great Convergence Fizzle, it is about the failure of three sensational prophecies that were supposed to converge in September. They were prophecies of men and not of God. They were "prophecies" that cannot be found in the Bible.

Yet, many Bible prophecy students and teachers gave a lot of attention to these so-called prophecies — to the point that many people became almost hysterical in response to them. We were inundated with inquiries about them, and we tried to assure people that there was nothing to them.

I guess it is only human for people to focus on the sensational. But it is also tragic because it results in Bible prophecy being held in contempt by most people. The whole field of eschatology (the study of end times) tends to be a playground for fanatics.

I had a fellow call me one time and ask, "What is wrong with your ministry?" I asked him what he was talking about, and he replied, "You are always harping on the same thing — about the soon return of Jesus. When are you going to come up with something new?" By something "new" he meant something weird and sensational.

I make no apologies for focusing on the Lord's soon return. That is what God has called me to do. Furthermore, the promises of God's Word are so spectacular that I don't need to come up with sensational and imaginative things.

That's why the Apostle Paul wrote this fantastic statement: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Wow! That is a mouthful. I know some people who are suffering mightily, including my wife, and this verse says that no matter what they may suffer, it is nothing compared to the glorious promises of God that await them at death or at the Rapture.

Just think about those promises for a moment: the Rapture, glorified bodies, life eternal in a New Jerusalem on a New Earth in the presence of God the Father and His Son. No more illness. No more pain. No more disappointments. No more weeping. No more death.

It is no wonder that the Apostle Paul made the following declaration in 1 Corinthians 2:9 —

No eye has seen,
No ear has heard,
Nor has the mind of Man conceived
What God has prepared
For those who love Him.

We need to focus on the specific prophecies and promises in God's Word and not the fanciful speculations of men. As I said before, Bible prophecy can be a playground for fanatics, but it can also be green pastures for disciples. That's because it builds faith and hope.

One final point. There really is a prophetic convergence going on in the world. This was one of the major points in my book about the signs of the times which I titled, Living on Borrowed Time: The Imminent Return of Jesus. I pointed out that the many signs the Bible tells us to look for that will signal the Lord's soon return are converging today as never before, clearly indicating that we are living in the season when Jesus will break from the heavens.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Great Convergence Fizzle

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy

The September 2015 issue of Charisma magazine featured stories on its cover about Bible prophecy. Collectively, they were billed as "The Great Convergence."

I was glad to see a major Christian magazine feature Bible prophecy on its cover. Unfortunately, most of the articles in the magazine were devoted to sensationalist nonsense like the Blood Moons, the Shemitah, and Newton's Riddle. These articles reflect a type of prophetic fanaticism that gives the whole field of eschatology a bad reputation.

The Blood Moon Theory pointed to September 28 as a crucial date. The Shemitah Theory singled out September 23. And Newton's Riddle also focused on September 23. Thus, the "convergence" featured on the magazine's cover.

Charisma Magazine

All of this proved to be "much ado about nothing."

That was no surprise to me because it was all based on human speculations rather than biblical prophecies.

Take the Blood Moons for example. In an article we published in the Lamplighter issue of March-April 2014, I concluded that the whole Blood Moon Theory was devoid of any factual basis. The author of the theory, Mark Biltz, pointed out that four blood moons in a row over a two year period of time (called a tetrad) is a very rare phenomenon which has occurred only 87 times since the time of Christ. Even rarer is when these four blood moons fall on Jewish feast days. That has happened only eight times since the First Century.

Biltz claimed that the last three of the feast tetrads had served as omens of major events among the Jewish people, and therefore he concluded that the next one, scheduled for 2014-2015, would serve as a warning of a major event in Israel.

Now stop and think about this for a moment. The first five feast tetrads had no prophetic significance whatsoever. And what the proponents of the theory conveniently overlooked is that two of the last three really had no significance as omens of anything. The one that occurred in 1493-1494 came after the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, and the one in 1949-1950 also came after the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.

That leaves only the feast tetrad of 1967-1968 as having any significance since the Six Day War began and ended after the first blood moon in that sequence.

So, in fact, only one out of eight feast tetrads have had any prophetic significance. That's not a good track record. And keep in mind that when you say "something important is going to happen" in Israel during any two year period of time, you are not going out on much of a limb. Nor is it true prophecy to speak so vaguely. The prophecies contained in the Bible are very specific and precise.

And then there is the ridiculous "prophecy" called Newton's Riddle. Sir Isaac Newton, the great 17th Century scientist, interpreted Daniel's prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Years (Daniel 9:25-27) to mean that the Tribulation would begin 49 prophetic years (360 day years) after Jerusalem is re-established as the capital of Israel. That occurred on June 7, 1967, and 17,640 days later (49 years x 360 day years) would be September 23, 2015, the Day of Atonement.

The problem is that Newton's interpretation of Daniel's prophecy completely scrambles it. Daniel speaks of seven weeks of years (49 years) followed by 62 weeks of years (483 years) followed by one week of years (7 years). To come up with his calculation, Newton decided to place the 49 years after the 483 years when there is absolutely no contextual justification for doing so.

That leaves us with Jonathan Cahn's Shemitah Theory for the crash of the American economy on September 23. As I pointed out in an article in the January-February 2015 issue of the Lamplighter, Cahn's first error was to take a law given to Israel only (Leviticus 25:20-21) and apply it to a Gentile nation. His second error was his arbitrary decision to start his count of Shemitah years in 1917 when the Balfour Declaration was issued rather than 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established.

He obviously chose 1917 because it enabled him to place the Shemitah years at a couple of times when the stock market crashed. In other words, his calculation of Shemitah years is manipulated. Further, one of the Chief Rabbis of Israel has declared that the Shemitah law will not even start applying to Israel again until more than half of the world's Jews have returned to that nation.

The lesson from all this is that we need to focus our attention on the end time prophecies of the Bible and not on the fanciful speculations of men.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Spoke As They Were Moved

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

In what way does the Bible claim at be the genuine, inspired word of God?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

Play MP3


Spoke As They Were Moved

Nathan Jones: Let's read 2 Peter 1:20 because it is such an important verse. "No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

This is a two-fold message. First off, Peter is saying that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. In other words, what Peter is writing here isn't just what his own thoughts are on the subject, but rather the Holy Spirit is guiding him to write this. Peter is not the author; God is the author.

Then there is the second part of the message concerning the interpretation of the Bible. The verse says that there is no prophecy of Scripture that is of any private interpretation. So, when you hear someone say, "God told me last week that this verse really means this now," and he is the only guy who holds this view, that is a private interpretation. Don't listen to this person!

Vic Batista: This verse should serve for us a barometer for people to help them discern when they hear of extra-biblical prophecies supposedly happening, so they don't jump on the bandwagon. First look at what the Bible has to say about said prophecy, and secondly see what other credible teachers are teaching about this view. Those are ways we can check to make sure our understanding of prophecies are on the right track.

Nathan Jones: Exactly, for it is very important that we have discernment in this age. Satan is trying to drown the message of God with all these false teachings and private interpretations so that people will finally give up on their faith. And, Brother, it's working! The strategy is working very well. Churches are giving up on doctrinal soundness and losing their steam about the coming of Jesus Christ. Without that focus, and without knowing what your destination is, you'll drive all over the place and get lost. Churches likewise are driving all over the place doctrinally and getting lost. Their people are no longer excited about the Lord's return, so they are slipping into immorality and are missing the point.

That's why Peter here is declaring to people that they need understand that the Bible is the real deal — the very word of God. And so, believers in Christ really need to study God's prophetic Word, for in truth it has a large role in our understanding of who God is.

Vic Batista: Bible prophecy can be properly understood when we follow biblical guidelines. It's not like God wants us to live in darkness, right? It's not like He doesn't want us to understand Revelation?

Nathan Jones: Not at all, and yet a lot of pastors will give up trying to learn and teach Revelation. A lot of people will read their Bibles, but when they get to Revelation, they just give up. Neither will get in there and do that dirty word called study. We have to study in order to understand.

We also must not follow the private interpretation of a few individuals who come up with these unbiblical theories about the end times. They present all these numerical calculations for all that is going on in Revelation, or tie Tribulation events to past World Wars.

Just study the Word! Use the Bible to explain the symbols that come up in the text, and the message of God becomes very clear when you read the Bible literally. Let the Holy Spirit do the studying for you.

Vic Batista: That's why I find it somewhat humorous when we read verse 21. "For prophecy never came by the will of men but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." I can just imagine some of these Apostles like John who wrote Revelation by the Holy Spirit. He is writing the words down all the while shaking his head and saying, "Okay, Lord, I'm writing all this down you told me to write, but I've no clue as to what exactly I am saying!"

Nathan Jones: Crazy, right, and especially when you read the Old Testament Prophets. They were given messages by God, but you could tell from the text that they didn't understand much of the prophetic parts. Daniel even asked the messenger angel in Daniel 12 basically, "Hey, I don't understand this at all. Can you explain this to me?" But the angel says, "Daniel, this isn't for you to understand. This prophecy is about the future. Seal up these words, for they will be understood when the time comes."

These prophets at times didn't know what they were writing about. They really didn't understand at times, because who would be able to write about a prophecy some 2,500 years ago or more and look at our time period and understand what is going on today? They just couldn't! They couldn't have come up with these prophecies, for they really couldn't have invented some of the events that they were told about hundreds of years in advance. Daniel didn't understand how knowledge would increase in the end times, or how travel would increase in the end times. How would he know about computers and cars and airplanes? Life pretty much up to the last century has been lived the same way for hundreds of years. Now we live in the most knowledgeable time period in all of human history, and the most traveled time period.

Vic Batista: Can you imagine if you were living 2,000 years ago and the Lord showed you an iPhone or a text message?

Nathan Jones: Think about some of the visions these prophets were given. They were seeing the wars of the end times that involved tanks, planes, helicopters, and nuclear weapons. They were given visions of such devastation on this earth that they couldn't have ever dreamed it up. How in the world does humanity get to this point? They just couldn't understand modern-day technology.

I feel sort of sorry for the prophets as well. Again and again God, or Jesus Christ Himself, or the messenger angel, would have to say, "It's not for you to know. You will not understand this at this point in history." To compare, just think that even ten years ago we wouldn't have known what an iPhone was.

Vic Batista: Peter in this passage says the Holy Spirit is the One who is teaching us and revealing to us what the Scriptures mean. We can move forward in the faith by trusting and believing that if God wrote it and put it in His Word, well I might not understand it now, but I am certainly going to believe it.

Nathan Jones: The Holy Spirit is essential to understanding God's Word. The Holy Spirit will nudge the unbeliever, whom the Bible says are like the dead. We are like dead people spiritually without Jesus Christ's salvation. As dead people we cannot understand the Bible. If you hear someone say that they read the Bible and it was all nonsense, then the Holy Spirit was not guiding them.

If you are diligently looking for God, and if you are seeking God, and then you read the Bible, the Holy Spirit promises that He will guide you to the answers. The answer is almost always tied to salvation and God's glory. This understanding comes by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. After you are saved, the Holy Spirit will continue to guide you in your understanding of prophecy, and especially as you study with others who are already well studied and are ready to help you learn.

Vic Batista: The reason we share Bible prophecy is to lead people to salvation, for God's Word shows us how to be saved from the punishment of our sins and to lead a newly revived life alive in Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Shine in a Dark Place

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Why does the Apostle Peter compare Bible prophecy to a bright light?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

Play MP3


Shine in a Dark Place

Nathan Jones: Second Peter 1:19-21 reads:

"And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."

Vic Batista: Here we learn that Bible prophecy is supposed to be like a light in a dark place.

Nathan Jones: True, God's prophetic Word is a light shining in a dark place. When you are driving down a dark tunnel and you can't see the end of it, you have to turn on your car's headlights to see a few more feet down the road so as not to crash in the walls.

That is what Bible prophecy is like. We go through life like we are traveling down a dark tunnel. We don't know what the future has in store for us, but the Word of God lights our path. The Bible shines ahead of us so that we know that when we get to the end there is going to be a gloriously bright light, and that is the light of our eternal life with Jesus Christ.

Vic Batista: Light exposes. It brings clarity and truth. It exposes the false teachings from the true teachings.

Nathan Jones: Having the light of the Word of God is very important in one's life, because Satan tries to drown out the impact of the message of God in our spiritual walk. Satan has been trying to drown out God's message since the Church was first created. The Devil seeks to drown out the message of the Word of God with so many other messages so that people give up trying to find the truth.

But, in this verse Peter is saying, "We've got the truth. We were there with Jesus. We saw what He did firsthand. We are willing to die for that belief." Now 2,000 years later, we are still sharing that truth as the Good News continues to be passed from one believer on to the next. And when we accept Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit comes in us and lights this dark world.

Vic Batista: Light brings clarity. In Matthew 5 we are told that we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That means we need to shine our light and act as preservative agents.

Nathan Jones: Frequently throughout the Bible the world is compared to a dark place because people live in darkness due to our sins. As Christians we are the light of the world. But, the world wants to stay in the darkness in order to hide their sins. Therefore, they are always trying to snuff the light out. But, we as Christians need to be that light and shine as bright as possible in order to chase the darkness away so that people can see the truth of Jesus Christ.

We as Christians are also supposed to be like salt. Salt is a preservative. Let's say you salt some meat. Inevitably the meat will become corrupted and decompose, but salt preserves it longer than if it wasn't salted. While we are in this fallen world, we preserve the world a little longer until Jesus Christ finally comes back to renew it. That is the Christian's purpose while here on this earth.

Vic Batista: God's prophetic word also shines in the darkness. So, Nathan, why then are there so few pastors shining the light of Bible prophecy? It seems that instead of shining it brighter, the batteries are going out. What's going on?

Nathan Jones: The big push to study Bible prophecy definitely reemerged in the 70's and 80's. Why then did the passion for prophecy start dying out? I think it is because after Hal Lindsey came out with his book, The Late Great Planet Earth, and got everyone excited about being in the season of the Lord's return and showed us the signs of the end times that prove that we are in the last days, it didn't happen as quickly as people wanted. People are impatient. When we hear "soon return of Jesus" we are expecting an hour from now, or next week, but then years went by and they gave up.

When Jesus doesn't return as fast as some expect, these people start compromising the Word of God to cover over the fact that Jesus isn't back yet. They come up with all these other theories about Jesus' return, or they give up altogether and begin spiritualizing the Scriptures. As a result, there are so many mixed messages being put out there that when Pastors and other people get to Bible prophecy they just can't make heads or tails of it. There is just too much confusion about prophecy, so they give up on it.

When we give up on Bible prophecy, we are giving up on the light that shines ahead so that we can know the future. We lose out on that hope which gives us purpose and a destination. I believe churches are really suffering today from that loss as they are becoming more concerned about daily living and how to fix all of the problems in life, instead of looking at the big picture, which is Jesus Christ's Kingdom coming.

Vic Batista: Regardless of our expectations, the Lord is coming, for He's promised, and His promises are always true. We should not get discouraged when God doesn't meet our own timing, but be encouraged by the fact that He will return as promised. There are still many who are preaching the Good News, and will continue to do so to encourage others. So, continue to rise up and become that individual who studies Bible prophecy. Proclaim it faithfully and powerfully, because we do know that the Lord is returning.

How true that we are living in a day and age of compromise and where people are impatient. That is why I'm saddened by these movies that are portraying Blood Moons and hyper-sensationalist, extra-biblical prophecies. When nothing happens to fulfill these fake prophecies, people are yet again like, "See, I knew Jesus wasn't coming back."

Nathan Jones: Sensationalist, extra-biblical prophecies are what makes the students of Bible prophecy look crazy. I had a pastor once say from the pulpit, "Going to a Bible prophecy conference is like going to a Star Trek convention." In other words, Bible prophecy isn't cool. It isn't happening. It's not hip. All the weirdos study Bible prophecy.

One of my own good friends who actually likes Bible prophecy declared, "So many of those Bible prophecy guys are such weirdos when they come up with these crazy, sensationalist ideas." And, he's right. People do come up with all sorts of crazy things like Blood Moons, the Mayan Calendar, Y2K and all this other extra-biblical nonsense. Some even set dates for the end of the world, which have always been proven wrong one after another. The result is that these men thoroughly discredit the Word of God. They might be Christians who love the Lord and think they are doing the right thing by setting dates, but in reality they are discrediting God's Word and ruining people's faith in God and the Bible.

That's why I believe churches are totally steering away from and not teaching Bible prophecy. They are not going to teach sensationalist predictions, and I agree with them. How sad! We've got to filter out all the crazy stuff and just get back into the Bible. The Bible is where truth is at. Forget all the sensationalist nonsense from people who are unwittingly or not trying to ruin the message of God. Just go back to the Bible and you can be sure.

Vic Batista: The problem is that when we start to make up our own interpretations of the Bible, that is going to result in discrediting the Word of God. But, if we stick to what the Bible says literally, then we won't have those issues.


In the sixth and last segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at the Bible's claim at being the genuine, inspired word of God.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Such a Voice

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Why can having the Holy Spirit in one's life bolsters one's faith in God?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

Play MP3


Such a Voice

Vic Batista: We are covering this very important subject matter about how Bible prophecy is "a light that shines in a dark place." Second Peter 1:16-18 reads:

"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain."

Peter talks about how Jesus is not a fable. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and everything else that Peter saw during His ministry, he bears witness to the Resurrection as a real event.

Nathan Jones: Exactly, the Apostles were there with Jesus and were first-hand witnesses. They touched Jesus. They ate with Him. They slept nearby Him. They followed Jesus as their rabbi. They knew Jesus is the Messiah firsthand. They heard the voice of God the Father at the Transfiguration say, "This is my Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." They were first-hand witnesses who were willing to die for that testimony.

Peter is saying here in this passage that he is not making up stories. Jesus is the real deal. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the truth. Because Jesus is the truth, it is very important that we take His message seriously.

Vic Batista: That is why I really love this passage, because there is so much to learn for being such a short book. Second Peter is packed with powerful truths regarding who Jesus is as the Son of God, about how He came as a man and walked among us, about how He lived His life while on earth, and how one can have a relationship with Him.

Peter had a great appreciation for those struggling in their faith in God, because he was the one who denied Christ when the pressure was on. And yet, we read about what amazing feats of witnessing and miracles God accomplished throughout Peter's life.

Nathan Jones: Yes, Peter denied Christ three times at His trial, which is ironic, for Peter was always the most adamant of Jesus' disciples. He was the one who was always sticking his foot in his mouth. He was also always the first one to step out in faith. Out of all the Apostles, Peter had the greatest faith, because he was the only one who stepped out of the boat when that storm was raging as Jesus was walking across the water. Peter had the most faith, as much as a man could.

But, once the Holy Spirit took control of Peter's life after Jesus ascended to Heaven, then Peter — the poor fisherman who was always sticking his foot in his mouth — became one of the most powerful orators. We read how at the day of Pentecost, when the Apostles had the Holy Spirit come upon them, that they went out preaching in different languages. All of a sudden, Peter was giving speeches like he'd never given speeches before. The Holy Spirit totally transformed who he was. The people who knew Peter were witness to the fact that he had changed as well. And, when we look at even Christians in our day and age, we can see a tremendous transformation from who they were before they got saved to who they are now.

Vic Batista: We also notice that something phenomenal happened to Peter. When the Holy Spirit came upon him, He transformed Peter into a different person. That is why people need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit through salvation, because they experience a transformation when the Spirit of God comes upon them. I often say that the baptism by the Holy Spirit is a baptism of equipping power that all believers need.

Nathan Jones: Exactly! There are times when I'm preaching at a church or conference. As a preacher, Vic, you know how you can kind of separate from yourself while you are speaking and listen to yourself as if in third person? There are times when I'm thinking, "Wow! This is really good material. But, this can't be me, for I'm definitely not this good." It's that the Holy Spirit has taken over and you are preaching your heart out and people are getting excited about the Lord. Then the small voice in your head, which is your subconscious, is saying, "I'm not doing this." You just know.

Those are those moments when I really feel close to Jesus, because I am giving myself over to be an instrument for Him to share the Gospel. And wow, it is so amazing! It is kind of a glimpse into what Peter and the other Apostles must of felt when the Holy Spirit came upon them and gave them the ability to preach and teach like they've never done before.

Vic Batista: What a great point! And that power is available to all who are saved. Maybe there is a Christian who thinks they could never have the faith like Peter. Well, yes, you can because that same power is available to everyone by the Holy Spirit.

Nathan Jones: Once you're saved the Holy Spirit dwells within us. God gives us His Spirit, whom He calls the Counselor, and the Counselor comes and guides us through our life. We may have our own conscience, but the Holy Spirit helps us when our conscience gets kind of smothered because we want to do what we want to do. The Holy Spirit makes sure we feel guilty about whatever we are doing that's wrong. He also guides us in discernment in making the right choices. And, the Holy Spirit empowers us when He wants us to share Christ with other people.

Because this indwelling by God is a real thing, that's why Christians are willing to die for their faith. Faith isn't something that we read in a book and conclude it's just a good story. We know Jesus first-hand through the Holy Spirit. I hope if the day does come that my faith is tested in a life-or-death situation that I would be willing to die for Christ. I believe I would because I know 100% that Jesus Christ is the real deal.

Vic Batista: We need the power of the Holy Spirit more than ever as we do see the day of the Lord's return approaching.

Vic Batista: Second Peter 1:18 says, "And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain." How awesome that the Apostles Peter, James and John heard the voice of God. God wasn't a fable, He is for real!

Nathan Jones: They heard the very voice of the Father Himself. Can you imagine that? They heard the very voice of the Creator of the Universe. I am looking so forward to the day when I get to meet God face-to-face and see what He looks like and hear what His voice sounds like. We read in the Bible that His voice is like the rushing of a thousand Niagara Falls — the power of it is so amazing!

Our feeble earthly bodies cannot stand before God, but in our glorified bodies which we'll get in Heaven, we'll actually have the strength to see and hear God. Then we can have fellowship with God just like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden when they walked and talked and personally knew Him. God has been working hard in bringing mankind back to the Garden of Eden so that we can have that fellowship once more. That one-on-one with God is what I am looking forward to.

Vic Batista: And, I believe soon and very soon we are going to see that happen. I am very excited!


In the fifth segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at why Bible prophecy can be compared to a bright light.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Eyewitnesses of His Majesty

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Who got a glimpse of the divine majesty of Jesus Christ and so bore witness to His divinity?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

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Eyewitnesses of His Majesty

Vic Batista: I'm stuck by how in 2 Peter 1:16 the Apostles were eyewitnesses not just of Jesus Christ as a man, but of Christ's majesty as the divine God. Verse 16 reads again: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty."

Doubting Thomas and the other disciples of Jesus, they were not only eyewitnesses, but some of them were actually able to touch the Lord when they wanted to see if He was for real. We find Peter was one of those who touched the resurrected Christ, for in 1 John 1:1 he says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life."

Nathan Jones: John the Baptist saw Jesus in His majesty at Jesus' baptism, for God Himself out of the sky right afterwards spoke, "This is my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Then, at the Transfiguration, Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and there Jesus partially revealed His glory. Moses and Elijah were also there in their glorified bodies. The Apostles were stunned! They didn't know what to say. Peter managed to mumble out something stupid like, "Shall I put some tents up for you guys?" He didn't know what to say because it was all so amazing. Then God's voice boomed out of the sky again the same declaration, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" The three Apostles heard the actual voice of God!

Because the Apostles were eyewitnesses to Christ's majesty, they were 100% sure that Jesus Christ was the real Savior. They were so positive that they died for this belief, because they feared the punishment of God for denying Jesus Christ more than death.

Vic Batista: Being an actual eyewitness is why Peter's testimony is so encouraging to the Christians who were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire. These budding churches needed encouragement. And, besides the testimony of Jesus Christ, there is nothing more encouraging than Bible prophecy, especially in the tough times that we are living in today.

Nathan Jones: True, we live in very difficult times. The persecution of Christians is the worst it's ever been, according to the ministries that keep track of martyrs. The 21st Century is going back to the Roman gladiatorial times in its death toll. Christians are dying by the scores every day across the planet. We have seen the persecution of Christians increasing all across the world.

Such horrors committed against Christians can make us get a bleak outlook on life. We begin to doubt Christianity and think we must be on the losing side. We begin to think that God is not powerful enough to defend us. Christians start losing faith.

But, when you study Bible prophecy, then you'll understand that, no, God is biding His time. The reason He's holding back is because He wants all people to come to know Jesus Christ as Savior, or as many as who will accept Him. When that last person finally accepts Jesus, He is ready to Rapture the Church off this earth and up to Heaven before He unleashes His wrath upon the world over seven years.

Vic Batista: That's why we are proclaiming this hope today. There is a lot of suffering and persecution, but God loves His children. There is still some time left for people to come to Jesus as Savior and avoid His wrath. But, that wrath is surely coming. God is a righteous God. He has to punish sin. Those who have not placed their trust in the Lord, who continue to rebel against Him, will be subject to that judgment, according to John 3:36. That judgment is not God's initial intent for humanity, but we bring it on ourselves when we're not covered by the saving work of Jesus Christ.

Nathan Jones: Exactly, God doesn't want any to perish, but all to come to salvation, according to 2 Peter 3:9. Will all come to salvation? Sadly, no. In fact, those who accept salvation will be in the minority. God is allowing these crazy world events to continue on and on and on until every last person who is supposed to get saved in this age gets saved. So, Vic, when you say there is still time to accept Jesus, I don't know when that next person who gets saved will become the last person in this Church Age.

After the Church is gone and we are out of here, when we are raptured up to Heaven, there will be no one left here who is saved. Then some will realize just what they missed, while others fall under a delusion. I pray that many people will become saved after the Rapture, but oh the seven years they will have to endure! Living post-Rapture means enduring 21 judgments where God basically annihilates the planet over that time period. It's not a time anybody should want to be living in.

Even without the Rapture, any of us could die at any moment. I had a buddy of mine whose mother was just cooking dinner and she slipped on some water, fell, hit her head against the counter, and snapped her neck. She died instantly. So, we don't know when we will die.


In the fourth segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at why having the Holy Spirit in one's life bolsters one's faith in God.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Made Known to You

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Who provided first-hand eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Jesus Christ?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

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Made Known to You

Vic Batista: Some people today would rather believe in fables than the truth of the Word of God. And yet, right there in verse 16, Peter talks about how he was an eyewitness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Verse 16 reads again: "For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty."

Nathan Jones: Eyewitnesses are very important to the Gospel. This is isn't Mohammed sitting all alone in a cave claiming that he saw an angel come and give him his directive. This isn't Joseph Smith sitting alone up on a mountain claiming an angel gave him golden tablets. This isn't just one guy out there claiming that he saw some miracle.

But, in Christianity we have eyewitness accounts. We not only have the 12 Apostles, but all the 500 or so disciples. Some 500 people testified to Jesus being resurrected from the dead. They actually saw Jesus after He died. We have historians from that time period who reported the fact that there was news of Jesus being resurrected. When Paul talked to various Roman officials he said, "This isn't something you've never heard before. The story of Jesus' resurrection is widely known." The testimony to Jesus Christ being the Son of God, was crucified and resurrected, and lives today had first-hand eyewitnesses. Biblically you only needed two witnesses to substantiate a story, but here we have well over 500 who were there to see Jesus alive in the following days.

And, to top it off, when these witnesses went out and shared the message of Christ resurrected, they were willing to die for that message. Now how many people are willing to die by excruciating pain for a lie?

Vic Batista: That is an excellent question, because I know I wouldn't. I had friends who always said, "I've got your back." But, once trouble started, I would turn around and realize that no one was left.

Nathan Jones: The Apostles all died horribly. As a matter of fact, this passage is Peter's last message. Previous verses talk about him approaching death. Peter was crucified upside-down. Crucifixion is the most painful death, and the Roman's knew how to use it well. Peter was willing to die on the cross for the fact that he knew the truth of Jesus Christ. Such a testimony means something! People don't die for a lie; they die for the truth. Every one of the Apostles except for John died a horrible, gruesome death because they wanted to share the Gospel. They believed in Jesus whole-heartedly. They knew what was the truth, because they were eyewitnesses of what had happened.

Vic Batista: People die for the truth. We have Christians being killed right now in different parts of the world. They are dying for the truth of Christ resurrected.

Nathan Jones: Yes, they are not dying for a lie. They are dying because they believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior. Something happened in their lives called salvation. It changed the lost and sinful person they once were into a new life redeemed by Christ. They know Jesus first-hand by the Bible and the Holy Spirit. They know without actually physically seeing Jesus that He is the real deal, and they are willing to die for that truth.

Vic, I hope when the time comes you and I are willing to die for the truth of Jesus Christ as well.

Vic Batista: I encourage people to see Bible prophecy as a light in the darkness, for people need to recognize the darkness persecution is coming. It is even now at the door of our country. We as Americans could possibly come to that point where, like Christian in the Middle East, we end up being put in that position where we have to make a decision to stand up for Christ.

Nathan Jones: Certainly the political pressure is increasing against religious freedom as the country sides with unbiblical teachings. For example, look at the outcry when the state of Indiana passed the same law that already exists as a federal law and is on the books in 30-some other states which restates the right of the First Amendment's freedom of religion. The entire country went berserk over Indiana daring that they restate into law our existing freedom of religion. We have seen our country turn against our very own foundational morals standards. So, the big picture, Christians I believe will be increasingly persecuted in the public realm both verbally and in the media, but also politically through laws that will be enacted against us.

As for being subjected to actual physical death, such as at the hands of ISIS and other Christians who are suffering so greatly in the Middle East, will that be coming to America soon? I pray not. I pray that America will still stand as a bastion of freedom for all religions and where Christians can feel safe from religious persecution. What happens when the United States fails in protection religious freedom? I just don't see there's another nation in the world Christians can go to where they will be safe.

I believe the loss of religious freedom is setting us up for the coming Tribulation period. At that time there will be nowhere in the world where Christians will be safe.


In the third segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at how the Apostles got a glimpse of the divine majesty of Jesus Christ.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Light that Shines in a Dark Place: Cunningly Devised Fables

Nathan JonesMP3By Nathan Jones

Did the Apostles tell cunningly devised fables in order to lie about Jesus' resurrection?

In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" TWave Radio episode, Pastor Vic Batista of Miami's Calvary Chapel Aventura and I will embark on a study of the Apostle Peter's message in 2 Peter 1:16-21.

2 Peter 1:16-21

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Heed as a Light

Vic Batista: Bible prophecy functions as a light in the darkness, according to 2 Peter 1:19. The verse reads, "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts."

Even though Bible prophecy is so important to our Christian walk, there are so many preachers who are refraining from teaching God's prophetic word. Yes, sadly, many leaders and pastors do not think that 31% of the Bible is important.

Nathan Jones: Lamb & Lion Ministry's television program Christ in Prophecy has gone on the road to take interviews. We went to the Pre-Trib Conference, which is a major Bible prophecy conference held in Dallas every December and hosted by Dr. Tim LaHaye. During that conference we interviewed different professors and Bible teachers and TV personalities to get their take on what they thought about various subjects related to Bible prophecy.

One of questions asked of these learned men was, "Why do you think Bible prophecy is important today?" They told us why. The reason many thought the study of Bible prophecy is important is because 31% of the Bible is prophetic in nature. In other words, God has dedicated almost a third of the Bible to revealing what the future has in store for mankind.

What's revealed by Bible prophecy is pretty much all good news for the Christian. Jesus Christ is returning. He is going to set up His Kingdom of peace, righteousness and justice. Evil will be defeated. Christians will rule and reign with Christ as His heirs. Jesus will call us not servants, but heirs. Christians have a fantastic future in store for us!

Pastors and Bible teachers should also want people to have that hope. We can receive so much hope from knowing that God's children have a bright future ahead.

Vic Batista: I think we need to recognize that often times the picture some Bible prophecy teachers portray is not always accurate. Their false predictions have turned many Christians away from the study of Eschatology and has left a bad taste in their mouth over the subject. That's why we all need to always go to God's Word to find out exactly what God really has to say about an important prophetic matter and how it relates to us today. The Apostle Peter does an incredible job in 2 Peter 1 of doing just that.


Cunningly Devised Fables

Nathan Jones: Second Peter 1:16-18 from New King James Version reads:

"For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.' And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain."

Vic Batista: Amazing that Peter is writing this incredible passage regarding Bible prophecy. I love verse 16 which says how the Apostles did not follow "cunningly devised fables."

Nathan Jones: The Gospel message that the Apostles were spreading around the Mediterranean Sea to the regions of the Roman Empire was to people who had never heard anything about Jesus or Yahweh God. These people had been raised with Greek and Roman myths. They believed in superhero type characters such as Zeus and Athena, and all those other myriads of gods and goddesses. Then, all of the sudden, the Apostles show up sharing this Good News of Jesus Christ and the people are like, "Say, what? What in the known world are you talking about?"

Peter's response was to say that the Apostles were not sharing with them fake stories. They were not making this Jesus and the miracles He performed up. The reason the Apostles claimed was because they were first-hand witnesses to Jesus' ministry. They were there from the beginning. They saw everything from the beginning to the end of Jesus' 3.5 year ministry. After Jesus ascended to Heaven, the Apostles then went out into the world and shared that which we now call the Good News.

Vic Batista: The Pharisees started rumors back in the days after Jesus had resurrected to counter the Apostles' claims, right?

Nathan Jones: There was indeed a cover-up after Jesus resurrected from the dead, came out of the tomb, and walked right past a bunch of powerful, Roman guards. According to Matthew 28, the Chief Priests paid the guards to claim that they were asleep while Jesus' disciples came and stole the body.

Now what Roman guard is going to go around telling everybody that they slept while on duty? That would be the end of their lives as punishment. The Romans killed their guards for falling asleep on duty. The priests bribed them well because the Romans did indeed go out and told everybody they had fallen asleep. It sounded more sane than they were terrified by angels!

Can you believe that the Apostles would be lucky enough to find a Roman troop all fast asleep on duty, sneak by them without causing a stir, noisily push a giant stone out of the way of the tomb, and then take Jesus' body out of the tomb unnoticed? All this was done supposedly in order to create a legend that Jesus rose from the dead. What absolute nonsense! That nonsensical story is definitely one of the fables that the Enemy has used in an attempt to try and drown the real truth of the message of Jesus Christ and His life story.

Vic Batista: That is why we call them fables. Anyone who doesn't research the total improbability of such a story is rather gullible. Think about the weight of the stone that was rolled to cover the mouth of Jesus' tomb. It'd take many men heaving and ho-ing to move that rock.

Nathan Jones: It took quite a lot of men to push that rock over, not doubt. I've seen modern-day estimates of it's weight. We are talking about 1-2 tons! You would need a whole troop of Roman soldiers in order to push that stone in front of the opening and seal the tomb off.

To think the priests tried to pass off this fable that the Apostles showed up while the Romans were sleeping and grunting and groaning rolled that stone away from the tomb, snuck into the opening, took a body out, and then slinked away all while the Roman slept? That is absolute nonsense! And yet, to this day there are people who have rejected the Bible and will believe in such a lie.


In the second segment of our study of 2 Peter 1:16-21, we'll look at those who provided first-hand eyewitness accounts of the resurrected Christ.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Christianity Under Attack: The Rule of Law

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

I taught Constitutional Law for many years and I studied in detail back in the 1950's an interview where I saw Hugo Black on television. He was one of the great jurists of the 20th Century. He was sitting with a copy of the Constitution in his hands, and every time someone asked him a question, he would act like he was going for his Bible. Instead, he would go to the Constitution.

One of the interviewers asked him this question, "Justice Black, when you are making a decision about a law, do you make that decision on the basis of whether it is stupid law, a silly law, a practical law, a rational law?" He answered, "Absolutely not! There are many stupid, silly laws that are perfectly constitutional. The only thing I make my decision on is whether or not a law is constitutional."

Our current court doesn't rule that way anymore, does it?

I explored this question with one of the foremost defenders of Christian freedoms in America today. His name is Kelly Shackelford and he's the founder and director of the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. The Liberty Institute is the largest organization of lawyers in America today that is dedicated to the defense and advancement of Christian rights and freedoms. His response is below.


Kelly Shackleford

The Rule of Law

No. I'd say we certainly have three Supreme Court justices who have always taken that approach, that the Constitution is a "living document." We've got four actually who have often taken that approach, except in the Obamacare case. Justice Roberts really changed his approach in that case for some unknown reason. But, we've got five justices who don't open the Constitution up for reinterpretation. That imbalance is why we have some of these decisions that are so shocking.

For example, the decision to legalize abortion and the decision for gay marriage are in actuality both supposed to be left to the States according to the Tenth Amendment. The Supreme Court had no right even to have any jurisdiction over these rulings, and yet it jumped in there and started making decisions and legislating from the bench. That's wrong.

The Supreme Court taking on more liberties than it is allowed creates problems. For instance the abortion issues have not gone away. What the court has done really is frustrate the democratic process, the true place where these issues should be talked about and where there could be debates. People could bring up the best arguments, and the country could decide state-by-state.

That process is how same-sex marriage is supposed to be decided. For example, think of all the states where this was put up to public votes like California. Millions were spent, people debated, this and it was voted down. But, the courts, just like that, overran the will of the people.

Our country's founders were smart. They didn't want to put five unelected lawyers in charge of all of our public policy. That's not the way our constitutional system is supposed to work. The Supreme Court justices are from a very narrow part of America. If you want to represent the whole country, that's what the legislative process is for. The people we have acting as our representatives, that's what they were meant to do. The court is not supposed to be a legislature. They're not supposed to make policy decisions. When they do, they frustrate the legal system.

Justice Kennedy said in his majority opinion on same-sex marriage to the effect, "Our Founders just couldn't envision all of these problems, so somebody has got to solve them." Well, the Founders provided a process for solving problems, and it's called the Constitutional Amendment process. Our system is perfectly capable of handling new issues. It's perfect, but it's just not going as fast as Justice Kennedy wanted it to go. Kennedy's prerogative is part of the problem.

Our court system is being used to attack religious freedom. People can look at the decision on same-sex marriage and conclude it's just about marriage, but that's not what it is being used for. The attempt is to use that decision as a weapon to attack people who disagree with homosexuality.

Where will the attacks against Christian beliefs be targeted? School accreditation and tax-exempt status are at the forefront.

Curtailing religious freedom is not what our country is about. Our country believes strongly in religious freedom. That is why it was founded for people to have the right to religiously dissent from the government's view. It's interesting how we are turning full circle and we are now testing that very view of religious freedom that founded this nation.

Another direction of attack is hate crimes being applied to speech. If a pastor gives a sermon against homosexuality then they are guilty of a hate crime. This is the reality already in other countries. There was a pastor in Sweden who was actually given 30 days in jail for preaching from the pulpit on the biblical view of homosexuality. That ruling was eventually overturned when it got to their Supreme Court, but this is the beginning of the coming tidal wave of litigation.

Yet another direction of attack will be Christian programming on the air. For those who do not believe the same-sex marriage ruling will affect them, do they watch TV? What do they listen to on the radio? Do they listen to Christian programs? Do they listen to Christian ministers? Well, how can Christian programming obtain FCC licenses in order to be on the air if they are engaging in discrimination against a federal constitutional right?

This conundrum is exactly what happened in Canada. The discussion on TV of biblical view of homosexuality is no longer allowed there. Some American programming cannot be broadcast in Canada.

I believe we will see exactly the same attempt in the United States at censorship. It's an attempt really to push through only one view on the issue. But, our First Amendment doesn't allow for that. Still, there are attempts already starting at silencing any dissension against homosexuality on the airwaves. The arguments I'm hearing are about restricting religious freedom when it comes to commerce. They want society to only allow freedom of worship in one's own home or church, but not in the public sector. But, that goes directly against the First Amendment right of free speech and the right of free exercise of religion.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Christianity Under Attack: War for the Soul of the Military

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Is our military in a war for its very soul? And, ever since Obama became President, every time he would speak about religion he would refer to "freedom of worship." He never talks about freedom of religion. What is the difference, and is it important?

I explored these topics with one of the foremost defenders of Christian freedoms in America today. His name is Kelly Shackelford and he's the founder and director of the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. The Liberty Institute is the largest organization of lawyers in America today that is dedicated to the defense and advancement of Christian rights and freedoms. His response is below.


Kelly Shackleford

War for the Soul of the Military

The Liberty Institute is now having to work a lot of cases protecting religious freedom in the military. Our military was formed by George Washington, and with the religious freedom our military enjoyed, everybody was given a Bible and the chaplains were formed.

But, those freedoms are now really under attack. Anti-Christian groups have formed for the sole purpose of ridding the military of any religious freedom or religious expression. In fact, one of their leaders said that he wouldn't be satisfied until quote, "There were 400 heads on a stick." By that he followed up and said, "I mean 400 court-martial of people for sharing their faith in the military."

Military chaplains are under a lot of pressure about even praying in the name of Jesus. We've got one of those cases right now. Chaplain Wes Modder is an incredible man. He's not only a chaplain, but the chaplain for our special forces. He's been deployed overseas 14 times. He's been called the "best of the best" throughout all of his evaluations. Then, all of sudden, he's been what we would called fired — detached for cause — because in his one-on-one counseling he answered questions about sex outside of marriage with what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage. Now he's been declared intolerant and therefore he has to be removed from the chaplaincy. This case is ultimately about if chaplains will be allowed to be chaplains. Can they use the Bible?

The attacks against Christians who hold to the biblical view of marriage are alive right now in the market place, in the public arena, in the schools, and even in our military — everywhere! People of the Christian faith realize they're now under attack because of the Supreme Court's latest same-sex ruling. They see persecution is coming. It's one of those times I would call a "Joshua 1 Time. That's when God has to remind us to be strong and courageous.

Be strong and courageous! The Israelites ended up in the Promise Land, but they had to go through Joshua 1.

I think we're in a different time for our country. It used to be that we assumed all things being Christian and was sort of "go along, get along." Now being a Christian means you really stand out. Your faith really is going to cause people to notice. Christians are going to have to be willing to sacrifice for standing up for their faith.


Freedom of Worship Versus Freedom of Religion

Freedom of worship is a terminology used to say that you have the right to worship inside your own church, but once you come out of the building you don't have any religious freedom. That certainly is not what the Founders put into our Constitution. That's not even what Christianity teaches. Christianity in supposed to be lived out in every aspect of your life and in your decisions about everything. Your Christianity is supposed to affect everything in your life.

Concerning these cases with the bakers and the florists who are being attacked for standing on their religious beliefs. I was on a national TV program with one of the heads of the movement Freedom to Marry. It's really about gay marriage. The organizations' head said to the effect, "I am for religious freedom. I really believe in that." So, I asked, "What about these cases?" We started talking about these Christian bakers who are bankrupt and have been fined $250,000. I brought up the grandmother who could lose her home for not making a floral arrangement for two men at their wedding. The response was, "That's commerce."

The argument of the gay rights movement is the argument that in business you place your Christianity aside. You leave your faith at home and in your church or synagogue. If you bring it out of your church or home, then you have no religious freedom.

That's what is wrong with our nation today. It's never about the law. That is not what the Constitution says.

Despite all the religious persecution from suing Christians, I will give you hope that we are winning over 90% of our cases. The Liberty Institute is winning, winning, winning, winning these cases! The law protects religious freedom. So, when I say these attacks are coming and they've just started, I'm not saying we're going to lose, but I am going to say that we need to be willing to stand for our faith. When we do so, we can win. We can stop the persecution that is being attempted because the United States was founded on religious freedom.


In the fifth and last segment of my interview of Kelly Shackelford on the subject of Christianity under attack, we'll look at the true role of the court systems in our nation.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Christianity Under Attack: The Impact of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Dr. David R. ReaganWatch MP3 PDFBy

Some Christians today shrug their shoulders and say, "If homosexuals want to get married, let them get married. It doesn't affect me. The legalization of same-sex marriage has no impact on my life whatsoever." Is that a true statement?

I explored this question with one of the foremost defenders of Christian freedoms in America today. His name is Kelly Shackelford and he's the founder and director of the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. The Liberty Institute is the largest organization of lawyers in America today that is dedicated to the defense and advancement of Christian rights and freedoms. His response is below.


Kelly Shackleford

The Impact of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

These people are misinformed. Such a conclusion is what one might initially assume. You might say, "What do I care?" But, the problem is there are a number of results that are not only going to happen, they've already started to happen. They're no surprises here anymore. The nation was told that if it legalized gay marriage then the following results were going to happen.

Number one, it's not going to affect me. Do you have any connection to any non-profit groups, like maybe your church? One of the results that was stated right out in the open during the oral arguments at the Supreme Court was that if we have this new right to same-sex marriage then how can churches and non-profits hold a tax-exempt status with the federal government when the organization is an "open discriminator" against a federal constitutional right? The Solicitor General of the United States who was arguing the case for our federal government when the question was asked from the Justices didn't say, "Oh, no, we won't prosecute." He said, and I quote, "That will be an issue."

The same issue comes to Christian universities and colleges. They've already begun to question how can you give a federal loan to a student who then goes to a college that's now considered a discriminator?

Now let's look at professional organizations. People think same-sex marriage won't affect their business in the least. It will indeed affect you, and it will affect your work. Almost everybody is in some sort of a profession. Whether you're a doctor or a lawyer or real estate agent or a teacher, you need to get licensed. There are ethic codes businesses must follow.

There are already attempts to take the belief that homosexuality is no longer immoral from the Supreme Court decision and put that into the ethic codes. When that happens, then you will have a decision to make. Either you keep your belief and possibly lose your profession, or you prepare to fold up as a Christian in order to keep your profession and career.

This has already happened in other countries, and its already starting here. We are seeing people fired all the time right now, not because of things they do at work, but because of their beliefs. HR is getting on the Internet and looking up the church you attend, and then they judge you by the creed of your church. Even though you've done nothing wrong at the workplace, people are being fired for what their churches believe.

Let me give you an example, for people have a hard time believing this behavior actually happens. We represented Eric Walsh who was the Director of Public Health for the state of Georgia. He was over a whole third of the state. That's a big region of the state. He accepted the job, but then a few days later some coworkers called HR and said, "You need to look at where this guy goes to church." We now have copies of the emails from Georgia's government officials divvying up the sermons from the church and deciding who would read which one. After reading the church's sermons, the next morning the state fired him.

I want people to think about that. Eric Walsh was fired not because of anything he did or said at work. He was fired because of what was said in his church on a Sunday. Does that violate the law? Yes, it violates the law. But, we are having a whole lot of these cases now, and we didn't used to have any of these cases before.

The First Amendment protects not only the freedom of speech, but the free exercise of religion. And yet, people who will not bake cakes for gay weddings are losing their businesses. They can even be fined. We have bakers, we have florists, and we have photographers we're representing in court who have all been punished for their religious convictions.

Notice how selective this enforcement is. For example, what would happen if you went to a Jewish caterer and you asked them to fix pork chops, but he said he couldn't because of his religious convictions. Would the caterer be persecuted? This scenario has actually been tested with a Muslim t-shirt maker. These homosexual activists don't want to prosecute or push against Judaism and Islam, just against Christianity. But, they are willing to go after the Klein's. They're the bakers from Oregon and have been fined $250,000 for not making a cake for two lesbian women. They've made cakes for them in the past, but they just said they couldn't make a gay wedding cake because of their faith. There were certainly plenty of bakers the lesbian couple could have gone to, but instead they attempted to force these bakers to violate their religious convictions.

Then there are the ministers who had their sermons subpoenaed by the lesbian mayor of Houston, Texas.


In the fourth segment of my interview of Kelly Shackelford on the subject of Christianity under attack, we'll look at the war for the soul of our military and define the perilous term "freedom of worship."