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MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 06:17:44 PM
But ya, any PM's sent they should be made aware of via email, if they have notifications set for receipt of a PM.

But even if so, my newsletter blast can ignore such settings so anyone registered will at least get my message. But I can name them specifically in it for *** & giggles.
 

MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 06:15:17 PM
Still need to check some things but that will be easy enough to do via PM.

When the site is re-opened. It is now, but tech locked down... but when it's "back". I can send out a newsletter, anyone who has an email attached that they still use will be made aware / be able to come back if that's what they choose to do.
 

Hidden In Him

October 14, 2020, 05:56:59 PM
You're kidding... That would be something. Any way to contact ShadowKen and Indybones? And maybe Pineapple, LoL. I suppose if it's all intact I could just message and it would go thru to email.
 

MoreBloodWine

October 14, 2020, 01:53:33 AM
@HIM: The MP is back, but it will need to remain in maintenance mode until I can re skin it / fix some of the underlying addons, But it is loading again... all data should still be intact.

I've already alerted spddmn's wife to let him know ;-)
 

Hidden In Him

April 27, 2020, 06:37:28 PM
And after checking, it wasn't done yet, LoL. Looks like it is now (hopefully).
 

Hidden In Him

April 08, 2020, 10:37:46 AM
This one's pretty good, LoL. Should be fun to put on video some day.  :)
http://www.spiritualwarbiblestudies.com/index.php?topic=181.msg207#msg207
 

Hidden In Him

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 :) :) :)
 

MoreBloodWine

March 10, 2020, 07:02:44 AM
Everything happens for a reason, even if it's rewriting old works ;-)
 

Hidden In Him

March 07, 2020, 07:12:18 PM
My wife dislikes the idea that I'm rewriting studies rather than writing new ones, but the Lord is now opening up Colossians to me like never before, and some work needs to be redone. Very excited about the new insight!  :)
 

Hidden In Him

February 29, 2020, 02:19:44 PM
...get back to making sure studies were ready to put on camera when the time comes.  :)

So how's life with you?  
 

Hidden In Him

February 29, 2020, 02:18:44 PM
I noticed you were still lurking around, LoL. Glad to see I'm not the only one happy about it.  :) Hard at work converting the garage into a recording studio & music room. Gonna be nice! The soundproofing is going to be work and money, but a lot of it is already purchased. In the meantime, I had to
 

MoreBloodWine

February 29, 2020, 01:59:43 AM
 :) :) :)
 

Hidden In Him

February 28, 2020, 05:43:50 PM
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Blessings in Christ to all who visit,
Hidden
 

MoreBloodWine

November 02, 2019, 02:37:56 AM
I rarely ever used Tapatalk to log in to the site. Not sure if anyone ever actually did as the issue of it not working was never reported.

But for our mobile uses, certain things like this chat box will not be available through the app as this chat box is an addon itself. But all boards within the forum are available and currently confirmed working.

Ty & my apologies !
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:21:06 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:49 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:20:34 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:58 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians.

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:19:21 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 03:18:57 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:57:00 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:56:30 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:42 PM
... the abundance of the glory of this mystery is among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory, whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfected in Him.
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:55:19 PM
... of which I became a servant according to the administration of God having been given unto me, for you to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but which has now been made manifest to His saints, to whom God wished to make known what the abundan
 

Hidden In Him

August 05, 2019, 02:54:41 PM
An excellent passage I am now writing a study on in the Book of Colossians!  :)

"And I am now rejoicing in [my] sufferings over you, and filling up in my flesh what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ for His body's sake, which is the church, of which I became a servant according to the admin

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Author Topic: 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11, Part 2  (Read 1700 times)

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Hidden In Him

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1 Thessalonians 5:8-11, Part 2
« on: April 21, 2015, 06:46:43 PM »
Putting On The Whole Armor Of God, Part 2

     It is prophesied that if the body of Christ hopes to break the powers of evil over particular cities and regions during the end-times, they will need to operate in spirit-led corporate prayer so as to bind ruling princes as well as loose the angels of God to fight on their behalf (See A Divine Revelation of Hell, P.157-162). However, despite most Christian leaders using Ephesians 6 to teach on spiritual warfare, as we saw in Part 1, Paul's teaching here on the armor of God actually has nothing to do that. Rather, it is a teaching on how to deal with persecution, and stand for Christ during religious interrogation.
     It is worth noting here that every piece of God's armor required prayer to put on, because every piece took boldness to use. The Jewish leaders held the power of life and death over those accused of blasphemy, and yet Stephen, armed with the belt of truth, told the Sanhedrin that the real problem was not him but them; they had betrayed and murdered their own Messiah. So, too, did he rebuke them because instead of allowing the Spirit of God to dwell within them as temples of the Holy Spirit, the Jewish leaders were more worried about trying to protect the physical temple in Jerusalem from which the Holy Spirit had now departed. Likewise, when accused by the Sanhedrin of refusing to obey direct orders to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, the apostles responded by saying, "Who should we obey, God or men?" In this way they were wearing the breastplate of righteousness, knowing that they were not in the wrong for preaching Jesus as Israel's Messiah, but in the right. As a result, the Jewish leaders could do nothing to convict them of wrongdoing.
     That all the armor of God required prayer to put on is clearly stated in Ephesians 6. As paul commanded:

     Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the strategies of the Devil, because we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against [spiritual] authorities, against the world rulers of this dark age, against the spirits of wickedness in the heavens. Because of this, take up the whole armor of God so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having subdued all, to stand. Stand, therefore, having girded your waist about with the truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped your feet with the readiness of the gospel of peace. Above all, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the wicked one. Also, through all prayer and supplication, receive the helmet of deliverance, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying in the Spirit at all times, and remaining wakeful unto all perseverance and supplication so as to pursue this same need for all the saints, and for me, that in the opening of my mouth with boldness there may be given unto me utterance to make known the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:11-19)

     It was because they knew they could not preach the Lord Jesus as Messiah with great boldness without the Spirit's help that believers offered the following prayer to God in Acts, Chapter 4:

     And now Lord, look upon their threatenings, and grant to Your servants to speak Your word with all boldness in stretching out Your hand to perform healing, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your Holy servant Jesus. And having prayed, the place in which they had assembled was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and were speaking the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:29-31)

     As we shall see, like every other piece of armor, speaking the gospel of peace took boldness as well. It is why Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for him, urging them:

     ...through all prayer and supplication... pursue this same need for all the saints, and for me, that there may be given unto me, in the opening of my mouth with boldness, utterance to make known the mystery of the gospel. (Ephesians 6:16-19)


The Gospel Of Peace: The Power Of God Unto Salvation For All Who Believed

     It is commonly taught that the sword of the Spirit (i.e. the word of God) was the only offensive weapon listed by Paul in Ephesians 6. This is incorrect, however, as it arises from the false assumption that fleshly weapons somehow work similar to the way spiritual ones do. As we shall see, the sword of the Spirit was used to defend one's beliefs. The gospel of peace, on the other hand, was a weapon that could sway God's enemies to repentance. Believers needed to have their feet strapped with the readiness of the gospel because opportunities to share it didn't always present themselves during interrogation. When they did, the believer needed to be ready.
     As Peter commanded regarding what to do during interrogation:

     But be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give a defense to every man who requests a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that, whereas they may speak against you as evildoers, they may be ashamed who speak evil of your good conduct in Christ. (1 Peter 3:14b-16)

     The gospel was to be shared in a spirit of meekness and fear, not aggressiveness; with the sandals of "good news," not a sword of combativeness. Believers defended their beliefs with the sword whenever forced to. But when given the opportunity to lead men to repentance, they did so by simply sharing what they had seen and heard in a spirit of love and humility, not by being confrontational.
     What exactly, then, was the gospel of peace? Until the moment Christ died, a perpetual state of enmity existed between God and man because of sin. The Shekinah Glory of God resided in the Holy of Holies within the temple at Jerusalem, but no one was allowed to enter or they would die. The Gentiles were not even allowed to enter the inner court of the Jewish temple. A wall separated the outer court, or "court of the Gentiles", from the inner court. On this wall was an inscription which read: "No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Anyone who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death."
     The Jews, because they were separated out by God as a holy people and followed a strict set of commandments, led much more sanctified lives than the Gentiles, and so were permitted to enter the inner court. But even they could not enter the Holy of Holies without dying. Only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year on Yom Kippur to make atonement for the sins of the people (Leviticus 16). On the chance he might offer sacrifices improperly or offend God in some other way, a rope was tied to his foot so his dead body could be dragged out if he was killed while ministering to the Lord.
     But at the moment Christ died on the cross, two supernatural events occurred which signaled that peace with God was now possible. First, earthquakes occurred which broke down the middle wall separating the outer court of the Gentiles from the inner court of the Jews.
     As Paul told the Gentiles in Ephesus:

     You were at that time apart from Christ, having been alienated from the commonwealth of Israel… but now in Christ Jesus, you who were once afar off were brought near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that He might make in Himself the two into one new man, making peace, and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, having slain the enmity by it. And having come, He preached the gospel of peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:12a, 13-17)

     The second was the rending of the veil that hung before the entrance to the Holy of Holies. A huge curtain separated the Most Holy Place from the inner court, and this was supernaturally torn asunder at the time of Christ's death. The event was accompanied by other supernatural signs, such as the resurrection of many saints from the dead.

                                                       

     Taken together, these two events signaled that peace with God through faith in Christ was now possible, because the blood of the spotless Lamb of God had been offered. Paul also made reference to this being "the mystery of the gospel" because, with the outpouring of the Spirit, the mystery of true righteousness "in Christ" was now being revealed. God was no longer inaccessible but desired to become as close to believers as a father to his sons and daughters. The veil had been torn, and He now desired intimacy with His children. But to present such a message to the Sanhedrin naturally took great boldness, because they were still teaching the necessity of separation from a Holy God. Moreover, they were the ones who had crucified the only-begotten Son of God through whom this peace had been accomplished. The gospel now served as a record of their having betrayed not only their own Messiah, but the God of Israel Himself.


Wearing The Gospel Of Peace In The End-Times

     In being threatened with death by Muslim interrogators, some have reported just how powerful the gospel can be in leading devout Muslims to repentance. A God one can be truly intimate with is actually something many Muslims are often diligently searching for.
     Such things as forgiveness and grace do indeed exist within Islam, but they only come to the believer at the time of his death, after he has performed more good works than bad and has been judged worthy to enter paradise:

     In Islam, forgiveness is based on a combination of Allah's grace and the Muslim's works. On the Day of Judgment, if a Muslim's good works outweigh his bad ones and if Allah so wills it, he may be forgiven of all his sins and then enter into Paradise. Therefore, Islam is a religion of salvation by works because it combines man's works with Allah's grace. Consider the following verses from the Qur'an:

     "To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward," (Surah 5:9).
     "O you who believe! If you are careful of (your duty to) Allah, He will grant you a distinction and do away with your evils and forgive you; and Allah is the Lord of mighty grace," (8:29, online, trans. by M.H. Shakir). (Does Islam teach salvation by works?, Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry)

     Thus, salvation is based first and foremost upon doing good works to please Allah, a god who is very demanding. The fear of Allah is ever-present, driven home by severe punishments for various sins. For fornication (zina): 100 lashes. For adultery: Stoning to death. For theft (sariqa): Cutting off of the hand. For consumption of intoxicants,  i.e. alcohol or drugs (khamr): 80 lashes. For rebellion against the authority of the state (al-baghi): Death. For apostasy from Islam (al-irtidad): Death. (Punishment System of Islam, Islamic Thinkers Society)

      While the severity of these punishments keeps one in line, many Muslims nevertheless struggle with loneliness in trying to serve Allah. They labor in prayers and in meditations trying to attain a true inner peace with him, often to no avail. Such was the case in the testimony of Saeed Abedini (cited in Part 1), who despite doing everything in his power to attain peace through Islam still felt only emptiness inside:

     "I grew up in a Muslim family. At age 20 I had a very bad depression, and I wanted to kill myself. No matter how much I prayed Muslim prayers, I didn't have a true internal peace, and I still wanted to kill myself and the preacher that told me that Jesus was Lord."

     This preacher he wanted to kill was a pastor whom he heard preaching that Christ wanted to have a close relationship with everyone who placed faith in Him as the Son of God:

     "I went to a church and the pastor was talking about Jesus and he introduced Jesus as the Lord and Savior. I knew Him as a prophet and a good man [but not the Son of God], so it made me very angry, and I decided to kill that pastor, because I was thinking that he was preaching the wrong messages and leading the people to the wrong ways. But on the other hand, I was thinking to myself, I am doing my best for god, but [Allah] is like a dead god in my life. There is no relationship between me and god. It's just like working for him, and he is not always in his office to answer me… When I heard the gospel, the pastor was talking about how God wants to be a friend with you. He wants to talk to you regarding your daily life. He wants to lead you regarding your needs. He wants to be a friend, like a Father and son. And I was like, that's the thing I wanted. I was hungry for that. I was waiting for that, doing everything that I could just to find this relationship." (Saeed Abedini's Story: Depressed Muslim to Christian Humanitarian, Youtube)

     After his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, Saeed finally found what he was looking for: Joy, love, peace in his life. He began to love the pastor he formerly wanted to kill, the people in his life around him, and even life itself. And therefore the gospel of peace became an important part of his defense when he would be interrogated sometime later by religious police in Iran. The head interrogator promised to have him put to death unless he repented of apostasy, but Saeed cited that through Christ he had finally found the peace had been searching for.
     In the words of his wife:

     [In Iran], we have revolutionary guards who report to the Ayatollah. They are the more radical police. They're religious police, and by many nations today they're considered terrorist groups. They attacked us… we got shoved into these cars and were driven down these alleys, and we came to this place. It was like an interrogation place but it also held prisoners like a detention center. There were a lot of rooms and in the middle was a courtyard, and from each room you could see into the courtyard through a small window. And we were moved from person to person. Finally we were handed down to this top interrogator… the last guy who was going to try and intimidate us. And he said, "If you say you're a Muslim, you go free. If you say you're a Christian, you will die. Let me promise you that"...  Saeed's turn came, and Saeed said "I'm a Christian." After he heard Saeed's testimony, he was really mad… He lost it. He said, "It's over. You are done. I can't understand you, why you would convert to Christianity. I just don't understand it." And he closed our folder, and he said, "You're dead." And as they were taking us down - the guards are coming and taking us down with these guns - there was a war going on inside this interrogator, and he looked at Saeed and said, "Wait. I need to talk to this man." So he took Saeed to the courtyard, and the house church leader and I were sitting on a bench and looking into the courtyard… I could see heated discussion, but I couldn't hear what they were saying. And they came out and I could see that because there were other guards and other interrogators this guy was just trying to hold back tears. And he was like, "Just go." And he ripped up all the stuff they had taken - It was like five in the morning now - all the stuff they had written down, and he said, "Just go."And we called Saeed's parents and we gave them the location. Anyway, they came to pick us up, and as we were leaving this interrogator said, "Can I have a Bible? I want to know this Jesus"...  Saeed had shared with him in that courtyard how he was a dead person anyway without Christ, that killing him would mean nothing to him because he was dead before Christ, and now he had true life. And when he shared with him how depressed he was before this life in Christ, it hit home with the interrogator because of his own empty life. (Testimony of Naghmeh Abedini, Youtube)

     While believers in the West are, by and large, not being subjected to such persecution, they most certainly could still be playing a part. Just as Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for himself and "all the saints" that utterance be given them to proclaim the gospel with boldness, so should believers not suffering persecution themselves be praying for those who are. Keeping up with the persecuted church is not very difficult, given how fast news can travel via the internet and organizations like Voice of the Martyrs, which are specifically dedicated to ministering to the persecuted church.
 

The Shield of Faith: A Defense Against Attacks Upon Christ's Divinity

     Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the strategies of the Devil... Above all, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:11, 16)

     In ancient warfare, most shields were made of wood. To counter the use of shields, volleys of arrows tipped with burning pitch would be sent in which would stick to the shield and set them on fire. Once on fire, a soldier had no choice but to discard it, making him now vulnerable to attack. But this led to the development of a new technique in shield construction. Armies began covering their shields with leather, and then using water to soak this leather down before battle. Now, when flaming arrows hit the shields, the wet leather would extinguish the fire and prevent the shield from burning up. 

                                   

     In spiritual terms, the believer's faith was a shield, and the attacks of interrogators upon Christ's Divinity were the flaming arrows, designed to destroy their faith in Christ. The question of whether Jesus was truly the Son of God was at the heart of the matter. If interrogators could undermine a believer's faith in His Divinity, they could completely disarm him. It is why Paul said, "Above all, having taken up the shield of faith, with which you shall extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one."
     So what were the arrows Satan was using interrogators to attack faith in the Son of God with? During Christ's three years of ministry, several came to the surface. To undermine the notion that Jesus was a truly righteous man, Satan proclaimed through the Pharisees that He was among other things a drunkard and a glutton.
     But Jesus Himself chastised them for making these accusations falsely:

     John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, "He has a devil." The Son of man has come eating and drinking, and you say, "Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of publicans and sinners!" But wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (Luke 7:33-34)

     To undermine the notion that Jesus performed miracles, headings and exorcisms by the power of God and therefore revered Him, they accused Jesus of instead being a sorcerer who cast out demons by the power of Satan. This accusation was again implied when false witnesses accused Him before the Sanhedrin of asserting He had the power to destroy the Jewish temple and rebuilt it in three days:

     And He was casting out a demon, and it was dumb. And it came to pass that when the demon was cast out the dumb man spoke, and the crowds marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the since of demons." (Luke 11:14-15)

     The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin sought false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward and declared, “This man said, ‘I have the power to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” (Matthew 26:59-61)

     But the faith of the disciples was too great to be affected by these sorts of accusations against Christ's character and Godhood. For one thing, some had witnessed Him transfigured in the mountain:

     After six days Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John his brother, and led them up into a high mountain set apart. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. And having responded, Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, I will make three tabernacles - one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” But while he was speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a Voice out of the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And having heard this, the disciples fell on their faces and were greatly terrified. And having approached them, Jesus touched them and said, “Rise, and be not afraid.” But having lifted up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus. (Matthew 17:1-8)

     The Sanhedrin, of course, might have explained this away as more tricks of a sorcerer, and that it was all just a demonic deception, but no sorcerer on earth was capable of raising Himself from the dead, which the disciples were also made eyewitnesses of, even touching Him with their own hands:

     On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them His hands and His side... Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. See My hands. Reach out your hand, and put it into My side, and do not be faithless but believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed.”
     Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-20a, 24-31)


     To repeat again, they also continued receiving visions of Christ's Divinity even after His resurrection and ascension back to Heaven. Stephen saw Him seated at the right hand of God in Heaven in a vision (Acts 7:55-56), and Paul encountered Him as the Son of God on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9). As a result of all these things, even when faced with the threat of death by stoning, the New Testament believers stood before their persecutors and boldly proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God, and Israel's Messiah, regardless of the potential consequences.


Wearing The Shield Of Faith In The End-Times

     According to Islamic teaching, Jesus just a prophet, not the Son of God. Quotes from the Quran make this abundantly clear:

     Such (was) Jesus the son of Mary, a statement of truth, about which they dispute. [But] it is not befitting to Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! When He determines a matter, He only says to it, "Be", and it is. (19:34-35).
     Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah and His Word. Say not "Trinity"… (God is far exalted) above having a son. (4:171)

     These verses in the Quran teach a common misconception among Muslims: That Christianity teaches the God took on a physical form and copulated with Mary in order to beget Jesus, similar to how the Greek gods took on material form and had sexual intercourse with women. But God "only saying 'Be' and it was" is precisely what Christianity teaches God did in conceiving Jesus in Mary's womb. The event had absolutely nothing to do with copulation. Rather, God prophesying through the angel Gabriel that Mary, being a virgin, would conceive a child, and then accomplishing this by His Divine power, without supposedly taking on human form to do so.
     Nevertheless, the teaching within Islam is that it is blasphemy to say Jesus was the Son of God. Thus, Muslim interrogators will threaten with death any former Muslim who converts to Christianity and adopts this belief. Such happened with Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of the Iranian pastor whose testimony I have been repeatedly referring to in this set of studies. When her time came to either profess Islam and live, or profess Christianity and die, she came face to face with the question of just how strong her faith in Christ actually was:

     [The interrogator] said, "If you say you're a Muslim, you go free. If you say you're a Christian, you will die. Let me promise you that." And he had evil and anger in his face. And I know it was the spirit of fear trying to intimidate me, and he said, "And it won't be an easy death. You will be tortured. You will be raped. And then you will die. You won't get to see your husband"… I had gone to church. I had witnessed about Christ. I had stood for my faith since I was nine in the face of pretty intense [Muslim] parents who were trying to "de-brainwash" me… I had done a lot of Christian stuff, but when I saw the gun and I saw the threats, I asked myself, "How real is Jesus? This is real. This man's face. This is real. This gun is real." For a few seconds I had to ask myself "How real is Jesus Christ? Here's my life. I could have a life with this man. How real is Jesus Christ, that I would be willing to be tortured and raped and die?" (Testimony of Naghmeh Abedini, Youtube)

     Naghmeh Abedini passed her test and refused to deny Christ, but my personal suspicion is that most Western Christians today would not pass such a test. They have been raised up on a faith that is dependent on the written word only. Now, those who through the word of God alone have built up a faith strong enough to withstand such a test are to be highly commended. As Jesus said, "Blessed are those who believe not seeing." But did He truly expect every believer to have such a faith? The answer is no. He provided visions and eyewitness accounts of His resurrection from the dead to reinforce the faith of those who might be tempted to doubt, such as Thomas and others like him.
     Moreover, while some claim that all we need is the written word to believe, it must be remembered that when Paul declared that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word," he was talking about the gospel being presented not in word only, but in power (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). The word was being confirmed with signs and wonders following (Mark 16:20, Acts 5:12). Believers were witnessing great miracles taking place at the hands of the apostles, as well as receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon themselves, and operating in the spiritual gifts.
     When combined with the heavenly visions they were receiving, the New Testament saints had ample reason to believe besides simply trusting in the word.
     So, too, is the Spirit of God granting heavenly visions confirming Christ's Divinity today, not just among Muslim converts to Christianity, but among many in the West as well. The most powerful testimony of these to date has been that of Evangelist Jesse Duplantis. The following are excerpts of the vision he was given in 1988, of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ manifest out from the very power of the Father Himself while at the throne of God in Heaven:

     When the light from the Throne hit me I couldn't stand up; I fell down, and the angel gave me some more of the fruit saying, "Eat this so you can withstand the glory of God" … Although I couldn't look up for very long at a time, I looked up from the floor in the direction of the overwhelming Light, and I saw Him!  I saw Elohim, Jehovah God, Yahwey sitting on the Throne!  But I saw His feet - only His feet…  I now know why scripture says we can't see Jehovah's face and live - at least I knew I couldn't! I had to keep looking down, the Light was so intense…
      I heard this sound, Whoooooosh!  There was a massive amount of energy in that place. That's the only way I can explain it. You hear that noise, then the energy goes back into Him. There is smoke and power and noise… angels with wings were circling the Throne, singing and shouting, "The Great God Jehovah!"… I was still lying on my face and getting weaker. In that mass of energy and power I could see God, Jehovah - His feet - sitting… then out of that massive energy of Light and love and power I saw Jesus come in human form. There He was like I had seen Him in Paradise. What seemed to be millions of people at the Throne of God fell down before Him…
     He was full of power and preached with authority… He said, "I am going to get My Body, and My Body shall reside in this place that My Father has created for us all." There was a stirring among the people and they began shouting and praising God. He began to shout: "I'm going to get your brothers! I'm going to get your sisters! I'm going to get your family! I'm bringing them back to this place to live with Me forever and ever!"… For the first time in my life I could understand the Trinity in physical terms. Jesus came out of the cloud and the power of the Father. Jesus literally came out of the very existence of Jehovah God, and when He did, the people shouted. Jesus and the Father were One, yet They were Two. He was in the Father and the Father was in Him. He was like at the right hand of God. Only when He came out of that power, He was in human form - something we could touch. (Duplantis, Close Encounters Of The God Kind, P.116)
 
     This was clearly a vision intended to illustrate and reinforce faith in Christ's Divinity. Along with greater signs and wonders and outpourings of the Spirit the will take place in the end-times, it is also prophesied that visions and dreams will increase until the time of God's wrath, in keeping with the end-time promise written in the Book of Joel:

    And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, [and] your young men will see visions. Even upon my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. (Joel 2:28-31)

     We would do well, then, to strengthen our faith through visions and dreams the farther we progress into the end-times. Persecution will also increase, and one never knows when a great test might come. Those who reject anything but the written word may one day find themselves weaker in faith than they realized when a true test of faith comes. Without a strong shield of faith in Christ, they may one day find out the hard way that faithlessness can carry with it a terrible cost. 




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Links to articles and Youtube videos cited in this study:
https://carm.org/does-islam-teach-salvation-works
http://islamicthinkers.com/welcome/?p=319
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sR4g6IG8YFg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OK_FVuzsk2M
https://carm.org/what-does-islam-and-quran-say-about-jesus


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