THE WORD OF GOD

APRIL 14 2018

THE WORD OF GOD.

When preachers talk about THE WORD OF GOD or THE WORD OF THE LORD, they mean THE BIBLE: Period. When common folk refer to the Bible, and some do occasionally, they always mean THE WRITTEN WORD.

A few weeks ago I read a magazine published by a Christian post-secondary institution. In it the author described the rationale for such an establishment, basing his reasoning solely on the Bible, honoring the maxim, SOLA SCRIPTURE, Scripture Alone.

A few months before, at that same college, I attended a lecture on the REFORMATION. There too the speaker limited revelation to the Bible, frequently mentioning the SOLA SCRIPTURA formula.

It is my considerate opinion that all churches – and I don’t know of any exceptions – have the wrong idea of THE WORD OF THE LORD. The same applies to Christians centres of learning, with the likely exception of the Toronto-based Institute for Christian Scholarship (ICS): they all see the Bible as their raison d’?tre only.

Yet these Reformed churches and Christian learning centres – and all our five kids attended Christian Schools – all state that they adhere to the Three Forms of Unity, (1) The Heidelberg Catechism, (2) The Canons of Dordt, and (3) The Belgic Confession.

The latter categorically states that we know God FIRST by his creation, making creation God’s PRIMARY OR DIRECT WORD, because it solely is God’s doing: no human involvement at all.

That makes the Scriptures God’s SECONDARY OR INDIRECT word, because the Bible as we know it came into being 1700 years ago. Yes, the Bible is an inspired human book, whose contents were decided in the Church Council in Nicaea in 324 by majority vote. The Song of Songs barely made it, and so did Esther, while the Gospel of Thomas was excluded.

Here’s what the Belgic Confession says about knowing God:
Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God
We know God by two means:
First, by the creation, preservation, and government
of the universe,
since that universe is before our eyes
like a beautiful book
in which all creatures,
great and small,
are as letters
to make us ponder
the invisible things of God:
God’s eternal power and divinity,
as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.
All these things are enough to convict humans
and to leave them without excuse.

Second, God makes himself known to us more clearly
by his holy and divine Word,
as much as we need in this life, for God’s glory
and for our salvation.

If I see this correctly then the task of the church is twofold: it must strive to know God by
(1) instructing its adherents to learn about creation, and making them closely look at its greatness and harmonious design, and doing everything possible to safeguard Creation, because it is HOLY. Ideally a preacher to have a deep interest in nature, one who takes John 3: 16 seriously – as we all should.
(2) Getting to know God requires connecting Creation with what the Bible teaches: the two are like an ideally married pair, like the engine and its wheels, like the horse and the wagon.
Psalm 119: 105 combines the two when it states that “Your (written) Word is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path in the Created Word.” In other words, the Bible ought to shed light on our daily routine of life, in all its creaturely manifestations.

Calvin

We do well to listen to Calvin who was a wise man and was never tired of pointing out that in the bible God condescended to our limitations. The Word of God – the Bible – was conditioned to the historical circumstances to which it was uttered.

Take the creation story: it was written for an agrarian tribe with no knowledge of the intricacies of evolution and the slow natural changes due to different climate and habitat. The creation story is an example of what Calvin called ‘balbative’ or ‘baby talk’, which adapted immensely complexed processes to the mentality of the uneducated people – now, it seems comprising the vast majority of church goers.

In my opinion the Bible basically tells us how God created the cosmos, how, once in our possession, we sold it to God’s arch enemy, and how Christ, with his death, bought it back.
Creation points to God’s greatness and infinite wisdom, but it is absurd to expect Scripture to teach scientific fact: anybody who wants to learn about astronomy should look up, way up.

The Belgic Confession is correct: the natural world is God’s first revelation. Answers to such controversial matters as homosexuality and same-sex marriage, cannot be found in the Bible. For that we have to go to God’s animal world, where we can observe homosexuality among apes, for instance. When it exists there, then we can conclude that the same is true among humans and thus a natural occurrence.

What the Bible especially tells us is that we must love creation and its inhabitants unconditionally. Where Creation is – or was – perfect, the Bible is not. The very last verses in the New Testament point to the persons who transcribed the original documents, and warn them not to add or subtract anything. Of course humans being humans did that, made errors and spouted opinions – such as Paul did recommending wine for a stomach ailment and for women never to speak up – that make no sense today. Based on the Bible the Roman Catholic Church still sees women as second class creatures.

Many of those who see the Bible as literally perfect, not a word out of place, are yet Muslim haters, contradicting Leviticus 19: 33-34, “When aliens live with you in the land do not mistreat them…. They must be treated as the native born. Love them as yourselves.”
Of course these aliens had different habits. Of course these people were religious, and of course had practises that would be considered horrible today, yet the Bible preaches tolerance.

The Reformation was a good thing, but is also opened the door to many interpretations, so that we have scores of different denominations, all claiming to know exactly what the Bible teaches us.

The Bible urges us to get WISDOM. Proverb 4: 7 tells us that, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing we can do! Of course, studying science is not the same as gaining wisdom: but both
require study, discernment, and hard work.

Centuries ago, when Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) observed creation, he felt that science was ‘more divine than human’. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) who expanded on Copernicus’ findings was silenced by the Roman Catholic Inquisition. Even today there still is a strong anti-intellectual tendency in much of religion, especially among the so-called Christian-Right.

This anti-science mentality has come to a point where the earth is seen as evil, influenced by Gnosticism, a pagan practise severely condemned, especially in the letters of John.

Bonhoeffer categorically stated that God, Humanity and the Earth form an unbreakable bond. J.H. Bavinck wrote in the same vein, maintaining that redemption of creation and personal salvation are two sides of the same coin: you can’t have one without the other! You can’t say you love Jesus while consciously polluting the earth he created. (Colossians 1: 15-20).

In his book BETWEEN THE BEGINNING AND THE END, “a radical kingdom vision”, Bavinck writes,
“In the first place we must realize that God’s Kingdom has a cosmic character, which means that it comprises the entire world as we have come to know it. Not only are we humans part of that Kingdom, but it also includes the worlds of animals and plants. Yes, even the angels are part of this wider context: they too have a place in the harmonious totality of God’s Kingdom.
“This implies that all parts of the world are attuned to each other. Nowhere is there a false note, a dis¬so¬nant that disturbs the unity, as everything fits harmoniously into the greater scheme of the totality. This applies both to each individual specimen but equally to the various circles or spheres found in creation.”

This simply means that creation is HOLY.

The Bible affirms the two-pronged concept of THE WORD: John 1: 1 says, “In the beginning was the Word (LOGOS), and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Psalm 33: 9 affirms that, “For he spoke – said THE WORD – and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm.”
These texts do not refer to the Scriptures – it did not exist – but to God’s Creating Word.

Jesus died on the cross to buy back – redeem – creation that WE sold to God’s adversary. Jesus also saves us, but his primary goal was to restore Creation: John 3: 16 makes that abundantly clear. Only those who love Creation as Jesus did, have eternal life.

Dr. Barry Commoner, American biologist and educator, is an example of divine insight. He taught at Washington University and Queens College and came to the same conclusion as Bonhoeffer and Bavinck.

By studying creation Commoner fashioned Four Laws of ECOLOGY.

1. Everything Is Connected To Everything Else. There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one, affects all. Humans and other species are connected/dependent on other species. With this in mind it becomes hard to practice anything other than compassion and harmlessness.

2. Everything Must Go Somewhere. There is no “waste” in nature, and there is no “away” to which things can be thrown. Everything, such as wood smoke, nuclear waste, carbon emissions, etc., must go somewhere.

3. Nature Knows Best. Humankind has fashioned technology to improve upon nature, but such change in a natural system is, likely to be detrimental to that system.” The Creation, one can argue, has an intelligence, and to tinker with that “unintellectually” we get global warming pollution, etc.

4. There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Exploitation of nature will inevitably involve the conversion of resources from useful to useless forms. In nature, both sides of the equation must balance, for every gain there is a cost, and all debts are eventually paid.

Chaos everywhere.

Today nature/creation is disintegrating, and, since everything is connected to everything else, this affects all of life.

The election of Trump is merely a symptom. Sociological CHAOS made this happen: the rich too rich, the poor too poor. This week I am reading FIRE AND FURY by Michael Wolff, and am astounded by the ignorance of the current US President, who is nevertheless the champion of some 40 percent of the US electorate.

It comes as no surprise that the chaos in God’s Created Word is reflected in the chaos in the political field and in the economic sphere.
What we observe today is the waning of the nation state. The state is caught in an impossible situation, expected to be everything for everybody: healthcare, life-time pensions, total security.

Once the debt-trap springs, ($237 Trillion world-wide debt divided by 7.5 Billion people equals $300,000 for every living person on the Globe!!) most people are caught without reserves: riots will be the result, as Trump’s FORTY percent will rebel: they have the guns.

THAT COLOSSAL DEBT WILL DO US IN.

When the recession hits, the rise in unemployment will further reduce personal savings and the ability to consume. It will further strain an already burdened government welfare system as less and less people will pay taxes while there is a swelling pool of aging baby-boomers dependent on government assistance in pensions and medical costs.

History is rushing to its END. The good news – and it is GOOD NEWS for those who honor BOTH WORDS- is that the next “crisis,” will be the “great reset” which will see the COMING OF THE KINGDOM, because all possible disasters will converge: Nuclear War, Climate Change, Pandemic, Earthquakes, just to name a few because ‘everything is connected to everything else’.

It is striking that Revelation 21: 22 specifically mentions the absence of a place of worship, “I did not see a temple in the City”, the New Jerusalem, the restored Garden of Eden.
No temple means no church; no temple means no Bible. God’s Kingdom only includes THE EARTH, fully restored to its pristine state.

Treasure the EARTH as your dearest possession, because only the CREATED WORD will prevail.

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WHEN WILL IT BE OUR TURN?

APRIL 7 2018

WHEN WILL IT BE OUR TURN?

When I was born, in 1928, I had 2 billion people as cohabitants on Planet Earth. Some scientists now claim that this number is the ideal goal to go back to. Back to Two Billion? That will hurt.

I vividly remember 1937 when I contracted a bladder infection – that was the time before penicillin – and was consigned to bed rest for 6 weeks, with the doctor visiting me twice a week. It helped that his father, a retired minister, lived next door.

During my period of convalescence, I read 100 books: nothing too serious I presume as a 9-10 year old lad. My bed was placed in front of a large window – three stories high – and I had a bird’s eye view of the street scene, where every day a number of milkmen came calling delivering their milk, eggs, butter, even readymade buttermilk porridge. I also each day noticed several bakers on their three-wheeled cargo bikes, and many different horse-drawn greengrocers with elaborate displays of fruits and vegetables.

I was always fascinated by the daily street cleaner, removing the horse manure and other litter, saw with awe the policeman on his bike patrolling the neighborhood, and, of course, was jealous how my buddies played their various games, and the grown-ups walked and biked to work, and everybody came home for lunch, which actually was the main meal. Only the doctor had a car, all the others either had foot or peddle-power or had horse-drawn transportation.

All in all, while being bed-bound I never had a dull moment. It was like experiencing Live TV on the all-day street-scene, constantly observing the minute by minute changing panorama from my elevated position. Oh yes, I should not forget that my teacher came once or twice a week to bring me homework and pick up my assignments.

Back then life was simple, non-polluting, basically body-powered and permanently sustainable. Churches flourished, political rivalry prominent, book stores everywhere, tobacconists on every city block, grocery stores always near, and so where butcher shops, with cow carcasses visibly displayed, with your desire meat cut cleaved out while waiting.

So how does 2018 compare?

During my lifetime the world population grew from 2 billion to 7.5 billion, an increase of 375 percent. Precaution passed away together with God, who vanished with the ascent of the Carbon Age. Today that same street is now a parking lot. No kids, no vendors, still walkers and still bikers, however.

The same is true outside the city. Where once horses prevailed now giant tractors do the job, world-wide. The result: today, anno 2018, more than 75 percent of the Earth’s land areas have lost some or most of their functions, undermining the well-being of the 3.2 billion people that rely on them to produce food crops, provide clean water, control flooding and more. These once-productive lands have either become deserts, are polluted, or have suffered flood damage beyond repair.

Today the real question is HOW LONG CAN WE LAST?

Someday soon there will be a TIPPING POINT, because we have discarded the Precautionary Principle.

So what is that principle?

One of many definitions, the 1998 Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle says: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.”

The ancient Romans also knew a thing or two. They coined:
Quidquid agis, prudenter agas, et respice finem:
Whatever you do, do cautiously, and look to the end.

That’s what the Precautionary Principle is, something we can all intuitively understand. The Bible is also a guide here, in the words of Jesus, (Luke 14: 28) “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”

We should care not so much about money (we can create that out of nothing while, in Jesus’s days, money units had real value, such as gold). What we should be concerned about is ‘respice finem = look to the end’, the ultimate result of our actions, that’s why Jesus called himself an ‘Anthropos Teleios’, reminding us always to keep the ‘telos’ the END in mind.

Take our inaction on Climate Change: in 2017, the United States spent as much in disaster relief — for floods, wildfires, drought, and storms — as the total comparable spending from 1980 to 2010.
It could well be that 2018 would set another record with ominous results for the debt situation in the USA and the poor people who will lose their homes and livelihood.

In the Precautionary Principle you act without knowing exactly what will happen, but look ahead and weigh the possibilities. Insurance is a precautionary action. If we first want scientific proof that some action or product can be harmful to humanity and/or the natural world, we run the risk of inflicting irreversible damage before that proof can be delivered.

Take CLIMATE CHANGE.

Don’t tell me that Climate Change could not be predicted. In 1896 Svante Arrhenius – one of the first Nobel Prizewinners – stated that burning carbon products might very well heat the planet to heights outside all human experience. Now 120 years later he has been proved right.
Just this past week ARCTIC NEWS sent a new observation:
Arctic News
How much warmer is it now?

The IPCC – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – is strongly downplaying the amount of global warming that has already occurred and that looks set to happen over the next decade or so. The ‘First Order Draft of the Summary for Policy Makers’ estimates that the global mean temperature reached approximately 1°C above pre-industrial levels around 2017/2018.

That is today pure politics, catering to the USA. It acts like the Tobacco Industry when it denied a link between tobacco use and human health: that’s what the USA is doing regarding Climate Change.

Compare their previous actions with their current policy.
In 1917 the USA entered the war zone in Europe, and this turned the war around in favor of France and Great Britain. It did the same in 1941 with the same result. Now in 2018, in the WAR TO END ALL WARS, the world versus God, it has joined THE GREAT ENEMY OF GOD, making sure that God’s earth will be destroyed: all precaution has been abandoned.

MONSANTO.

A good example of that war is MONSANTO. The very name gives me shivers. MON means ‘mine’ in French. SANTO has overtones of saintly and healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The name could mean MY HEALTH, or even MY HOLINESS. No wonder I almost puke when it see the word: Mon Morte is a better word: my death.

Monsanto seeds.

If there ever was a need for the Precautionary Principle then it applies to the so-called GMOs, Genetically Modified Organisms. To allow them to be introduced in our eco- and food systems creates unknown risks that we have no way of overseeing, because these risks may cause irreversible damage to the very systems we rely on for survival.
Dow-Dupont, ChemChina and Bayer Monsanto are not ‘seed companies’. They are ‘seeds-that-need-our-chemicals-to-grow’ companies. And they are out to conquer the entire world: a 100-times worse version of Facebook. And our governments subsidize the use of their products.

We have no clue how bad GMOs will turn out to be, a very good reason to ban them. Once they spread, they can’t be stopped anymore. Then the chemical boys will own all of our food. But we do know how bad the pesticides and other chemicals they produce are.

Monsanto et al must prove that their products do no harm. They are unable to do so, which is why they have, and need, huge lobbying, PR and legal departments.

What is the result of all these chemicals in our food and the food chain? DEATH.

INSECTS

The abundance of flying insects has plunged by three-quarters over the past 25 years, according to a new study that has shocked scientists. Insects are an integral part of life on Earth as both pollinators and prey for other wildlife and it was known that some species such as butterflies were declining. But the newly revealed scale of the losses to all insects has prompted warnings that the world is “on course for ecological Armageddon”, with profound impacts on human society.

The new data was gathered in nature reserves across Germany but has implications for all landscapes dominated by agriculture, the researchers said. The cause of the huge decline is as yet unclear, although the destruction of wild areas and widespread use of pesticides are the most likely factors and climate change may play a role. The scientists were able to rule out weather and changes to landscape in the reserves as causes, but data on pesticide levels has not been collected.

The fact that the number of flying insects is decreasing at such a high rate in such a large area is an alarming discovery,” said Hans de Kroon, at Radboud University in the Netherlands and who led the new research. “Insects make up about two-thirds of all life on Earth [but] there has been some kind of horrific decline,” said Prof Dave Goulson of Sussex University, UK, and part of the team behind the new study. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon. If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

BIRDS

Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. “Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert,” he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.

The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared.

WHEN WILL IT BE OUR TURN?

With Climate Change accelerating beyond all predictions, with insects numbers plummeting, and the resulting premature deaths of birds, with species disappearing faster than ever recorded in the long history of the earth, with soils being degraded everywhere, poisoned so much that soon the crops grown will become pure poison rather than pure food, with the economic situation so precarious that the slightest rumor can cause stock markets to tumble, with debts amounted to scores of trillions of dollars, the question of total collapse is not an ‘if’ but a ‘when’.

COSMOCIDE

We are the last generation, guilty of COSMOCIDE. Whatever happens to the air, the soil, the water, the animals, will happen to us, because everything is connected to everything else.

The words of Revelation 18: 4 come to mind,
“Come out of her , my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues, for her sins are (literally) piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.”

That’s what we do: we are sinning against God when we harm his HOLY creation, which could well be THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT: “whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” Mark 3: 29.

Oh, my Calvinistic credentials, so stern!!

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ARE YOU FOOLISH OR WISE?

March 31 2018

ARE YOU FOOLISH OR WISE?

Ponderings on the parable of the five foolish and five wise young women.

That parable, found in Matthew 25, starts with, “At that time”. That’s the time just before THE FINAL JUDGEMENT, soon to come.

This passage definitely suggests that THE END comes out of the blue: no advance notice. People are at ease: not a cloud in the sky: we all know that weddings take place when people feel confident and upbeat. It’s also an elaborate wedding. Just imagine: TEN bridesmaids!

Jesus starts it with, “At that time.” That sets the scene.

What time is that?

It’s the time when the organized church has largely become irrelevant, when “the Left Behind” and “Rapture” heresies finds general acceptance, when extinction is so common that nobody pays any attention on this sort of un-creation.

So what does the Parable tell us?

That parable is pretty straightforward. Ten Bridesmaids, young girls, teenagers, I imagine, who are responsible for preparing the bride to meet the bridegroom.

It so happens that teenagers have featured prominently lately, agitating against gun ownership, high school kids who, according to the latest surveys, have almost en mass stopped going to church.

Well, here it is different.

Picture the scene. Imagine ten excited young women; they all been asked to play a part in the proceedings. They are quite a relaxed and happy bunch, no different from young women today. Each had done her best to look pretty, but, still a bit unsure how they would compare to the others, had entered the hall with some trepidation, but when they had seen how the others were attired, they felt better and actually quite pleased with themselves.

To us they all would look equally qualified. But somehow Jesus made a distinction in the group. Five he called foolish. Five he called wise.

That’s one thing I found questionable. Why are the foolish called foolish? We know that the foolish are labeled that way because they had not taken extra oil along for their lamps.

Tell me: What would you have done had you been among the chosen Ten? The wedding is set for three o’clock. Of course most of them were there at least an hour before that, the party is somewhat later, but certainly it would be all over before midnight, because tomorrow is another busy day. The lights are needed for that short trip to the wedding hall, so, for the time being the lamps are set on low-low. With a full tank there’s plenty of oil for the entire proceeding, with fuel to spare.

Plain common sense.

The Bridegroom was known to be a punctual man, so why take along extra jars of that smelling and expensive fuel? Suppose that the earthen crock pot would break and spill its contents all over the new dress. These jars were not like our plastic cans, no, they were frail, cumbersome and heavy. Mother was right: just to carry a lamp with a full tank would be enough. Also, how can you carry the presents when one hand is needed to carry the light and another to carry extra oil?

I agree with the so-called foolish maidens. Their action made perfect sense.

“But,” says Jesus, “those who carried the heavy jars were wise.” Those who Jesus called ‘wise’ do things totally beyond the call of duty, needlessly complicating their lives. To me the foolish make much more sense.

Can you think of one reason why Jesus calls the practical teens foolish and the overcautious women wise? Jesus must have a reason, so let me make a guess, and for this I will take a little detour.

Going to church is a bit like going to a wedding: we expect to meet the Bridegroom and to hear about Jesus. The weekly habit of attending church on Sunday and perhaps participating in a Bible study during the week can be compared to the normal supply of oil.

But we all know, there is more to meeting the Bridegroom, more to being a Jesus follower, more to going to church than routine matters. That’s why the super cautious, extra oil bearing women are called wise. They are prepared for more: they have taken PRECAUTIONARY measures (more on that next week), just in case!

And they proved right because the Bridegroom’s coming was delayed.

We must see the context of this parable. It is set after Matthew 24, which has as its heading, “Sign of the End of Age” and “The Day and Hour of Jesus’ Return Unknown.”

Jesus, after a long sermon on the final days of humanity, speaks this parable. He begins, “At That Time” or “At this particular moment, at the End of Days”.

Today there are, indeed, two kinds of people: foolish and wise, dumb and smart, people who live by the day, and those who are prepared for the real FUTURE, and think ahead.

I think that Jesus knew that at the End of Days OIL would again be a key element in the world. Jesus had a perfect view on history and knew that the END would be an oil-saturated situation.
It is well documented that OIL has been the very cause of wars in the last decades, and now is THE MOST SINGLE ELEMENT in the WAR against Creation, evident in Rapid Climate Change.

Oil in those days came from olives, a tree very abundant in Jesus’ time, and came in various grades. The lowest grade – usually rancid – was burned in lamps, while the highest quality was used for medicine and ointment purposes. Our word OIL has its origin in OLIVE.

Still all oil was expensive, one reason why the young girls, exhausted after extending their teenage chatter well beyond their usual bedtime – which was at sun down – turned the lights to low and so the wedding feast became a slumber party. All ten were sacked out on couches and across the floor of the room where they were keeping a lookout.

Then, finally, at midnight, there was a cry, “There comes the Bridegroom. Wake up to meet him.”

The parable portrays the practical reality of life: the unexpected does happen. It happens all the time. Fish stocks collapse. Ozone layers thin and go. The Arctic ice mysteriously melts. Most dangerous: insects disappear and Climate changes. Suddenly the doomsters have substantial evidence for their message. The unexpected does happen. Before you realize the Lord is there while we slumber the time away.

Then all the maidens rose, straightened out their dresses, quickly combed their rumpled hair, turned to their lamps and five of them discovered that they have practically run out of oil. They are not ready anymore to welcome the Bridegroom. All the shaking and trying is useless: their lights are dead. The unexpected did happen. The Oil is gone. The always reliable, punctual bridegroom was late for his own party.

So what should we think of all this? What does this all mean?

It means that God has taken so long to do anything that the world has dug its own grave. The lights are going out in this world.

We, in North America have built our subdivision-built society on the premise of cheap and unlimited oil, making public transportation impossible. Electric cars have less than One Percent of the market. The CO2 count is increasing, and Arctic Methane is exploding.

Unless there is something other than the know-how of the world to remedy the situation, there is no way that we can straighten out the mess we have made, politically, ecologically, religiously and economically because PRECAUTION was ignored and WISDOM went by the wayside.

So, what do we do now? Shun the signs and go on as if nothing is the matter? What else can we do as Christians? That is the real question we face.

Well, listen to the rest of the parable.

“And the foolish said to the wise, “Give as some of your oil, for our lights are going out.” But the wise replied, “Perhaps there will not be enough for us and you. Go to the fuel dealer and buy some.”

How is that for a Christian answer? Aren’t we supposed to share things with others? Try to buy some fuel at midnight!

For a long time I really did not know what to think of that rather snotty reply of the Five Wise Women. Now it seems to me that this answer suggests that there comes a time when we have to shrug our shoulders and go our own way. Time does run out as it always does in real life.

The parable suggests to me that a day will come when it will be too late to reform society. This is the case today. We have reached a point in world development where it is too late to return to an ecological balance, too late to reform the ecclesiastical situation, too late to revamp the economic structures, too late to change the political system.

It’s on that note that the parable ends. While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came, and those who were ready, those who had the extra oil, those who had practiced PRECAUTION, went with him into the marriage feast and the door was shut. Afterwards the others came, knocked and said, ‘Lord, open up.’ But he said, ‘Sorry, I don’t know you’.”

I don’t know you??!!

Isn’t that a strange reply? The Lord doesn’t say, “I have never called you, or I have never loved you.” No, he says, “Listen, you have never bothered to get to know me, simply practiced routine religion. That wasn’t good enough, because you never took the time to seriously find out that I died to REDEEM CREATION and to restore everything I made in the beginning, but you never did anything to prevent extinction, lived the merry life of INFINITY NOW in a Finite world.

There’s a right way and the wrong way.

In this age of instant solutions, instant heating and cooling, we expect instant salvation and an instant Jesus. I don’t believe that life works that way: a marriage, a faith, a friendship, one’s life in Christ takes a long time maturing.

That’s why Jesus has given us lots of time. He has come late to give us more opportunity to see what is good and what is bad in this world, so that we can avoid errors later.

In this final period of our present civilization, the remaining time is of the utmost essence.

How do I utilize this last hour before entering the wedding hall?

There is hope.

There is hope for this world. That hope is the New Creation, a renewed Earth under a heaven cleaned of all the space junk. I believe that we have to, somehow, take distance from our capitalistic, ‘growth at all cost’ society, and to share with others, people of all walks of life and from all denominations and no church affiliation that Jesus is All and in All things.

Perhaps thinking about it, talking about it, trying to comprehend what we are doing and have done to God’s earth, and ask for forgiveness, is all we can do.

We, as children of love, must show that we love God and thus his creation, and love neighbors as we ought to love ourselves. Those are the great commandments. The rest is of relative unimportance. Only when we show our love, will we know Jesus and will Jesus acknowledge us.

That requires unconventional actions, such as taking along extra oil, be prepared for all eventualities, going against all accepted wisdom: be totally precautionary.

In practical terms that means to consciously ready ourselves for a life of eternal permanence, to live as if we are already in the renewed creation because that, and only that, opens the door to THE WEDDING HALL.

Something totally different.

Here’s something different, more in line with Easter.

While I was running on my treadmill last Saturday afternoon, I was musing on my next blog. My thoughts went back more than 75 years, to 1943 or thereabouts, when, on a glorious Easter morning in German-occupied Holland, I, then 13-14 years old, woke up early, went to our pump-organ, and played and sang:

Daar juigt een toon, daar klinkt een stem
Die galmt door gans Jerusalem
Een heerlijk morgen licht breekt aan
De zoon van God is op gestaan.

Want nu de Heer is op gestaan
Nu vangt het nieuwe leven aan.
Een leven door zijn dood bereid
Een leven in zijn heerlijkheid.

Nu jaagt de dood geen angst meer aan
Want alles, alles is voldaan.

Here’s my free translation:

A sudden sound, a vibrant voice
summoned Jerusalem to rejoice.
A laser-like light illumined the cave
That caused our Savior to rise from his grave.

Now death forever will disappear
For new life comes, life without fear
A life forever in his presence,
A life where joy’s the very essence.

Now Death no longer has a hold
Forever abolished as Scripture told.

That, indeed, is the message of EASTER.

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EASTER: HOPE

March 24 2018

EASTER: HOPE.

No, it’s not the noises in the
streets
which does not let us sleep.
It is the earthquake soon to come
that will shake the world
and put everything in its place.
Accompany us then on this vigil
and you will know what it is to
dream!
You will know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection.
An excerpt of a poem by Julia Esquivel, published in the Presbyterian CONNECTION, Spring 2018.

You know how I always start a new blog? I type in the date, and then let the spirit take over, the SPIRIT, that mysterious force that defies description.

I read a lot. That helps. As a matter of fact I always have books on the go, especially last week when my Internet service and telephone were off: it was the CORD that was defect: the simplest of devices can stop access. Society take heed!

And I think.

What so preoccupies me these days are the words Jesus uttered in John 17, “I have given them your word – REDEEMED CREATION! – and the world has hated them, for they are not of this world any more than I am of this world.

Is that where the Spirit leads me?

This text is usually misinterpreted. People see in here that we do not belong to this world – abandoning Creation – that, as one hymn says it, “I am a stranger here, within a foreign land, my home is far away upon the golden strand”.

People forget that in this same prayer, (John 17: 15), Jesus mentions that “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one,” whom Jesus knows is really in charge today. Matthew 4: 8-9 clearly indicates that the world is dominated by the evil one. Here’s what the Gospel says, “The devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.”

This is what Jesus refers to when he indicates that the world now is in the temporary possession of the devil. 1 John 5: 19 confirms this, “The whole world is in the power of the evil one.”

Last week I quoted two professors, one a Jew and one a Christian, both were convinced that God has left us. I concur. That vacuum is now filled by the Satan. Jesus, on the cross, quotes Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you left me?” Jesus there and always represents all of humanity. Today God is absent and Satan rules. In general “absence makes the heart grow fonder and makes love go stronger”.

We live in different times.

I believe that today evil has the upper hand. And because that is the case, we have to proclaim the radical exclusiveness of the hope that is in Christ. Because evil is so powerful, human beings are losing the capacity for faith in God. Faith no longer belongs to our times. Humans are not looking anymore, and so they cannot hear the Gospel anymore, also because the Gospel is hard to find.

By and large the church has lost the Gospel. Let’s face it: faith-communities placed Trump in the White House. Faith communities help elect Doug Ford as the leader of the Conservative Party in Ontario, and the likely next Premier there. Faith communities shouted to crucify Jesus. Of course we all need fellowship: yes, going to church has definite health benefits.

Still………..

Another reason that faith is hard to find is that people are content, they are too rich. Jesus repeatedly states that the wealthy, those who are rich (us), have already received their reward (Luke 6: 24). That is the crucial message of the Beatitudes, which concludes with the alarming, mind-boggling message: Seek first the Kingdom (Matthew 6: 33), which is perhaps the most overlooked text after John 3: 16, “Love creation!” Both comprise the heart of the Christian gospel: clinging to these two crucial commands is where the Christian life starts and ends. Then everything else will fall into place! But because these two texts are so controversial churches do not dare to prescribe them, because it means that we have to pursue a way of life in line with eternity, the New Creation to come.

In a society where the churches no longer know how to interpret the gospel, no longer know how to interpret the kingdom, no longer know how to interpret eternal life, no longer know what faith is all about, the creeds too lack total credibility.

For centuries the church has focused on the preaching of the Scriptures, on the will to be converted to the content of faith. That is no longer possible, both because folks today are no longer listening, and also because within the church they are experiencing an insoluble confusion over what precisely is the content of the faith: church people no longer know what exactly is meant by faith, even if we still know what we believe as individuals.

Actually the stakes are even higher: these same faith communities, by denying Climate Change, by believing that death is an escape from an evil earth, kill creation, and that means that, in essence, churches are killing God, the creator.

It is my contention that both faith and love no longer apply to modern society. People are too spoiled materially: heat at the flick of a finger, cool a matter of turning a knob, mobility at any speed, anywhere in the world in a matter of hours: sick of the winter, fly south.

With such riches available, faith no longer enters into the mix. Love? How can people love God, that is, love creation, when every one of their actions is fraught with infidelity to God’s cosmos? Only those who truly love Creation, have the capacity to love.

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most famous chapters in the Bible. It concludes with the well-known words, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these ls love.”

That has been true for many millennia, but now, in the End Times, this no longer is the case, because faith has become an empty boast, love has become so distorted that nothing meaningful remains, as love for creation – God – has disappeared, thus there only rests us HOPE.

The central question today is not whether a person believes or not, but whether he or she has HOPE or not.

Look what’s happening out there. More and more people are coming out – and I don’t mean sexually, that too. More and more people are speaking their mind and warn that we are at the cusp of climate disaster. It is knocking at the door and there’s not a blooming thing we can do to stop it: nature has its own rhythm, nature bats last, God has the final Word.

There has been an epochal shift: a global climate crisis is upon us. Pollution, the poison of pesticides, the exhaustion of natural resources, falling water tables, an ice-free North Pole, and growing social inequalities – these are all problems that can no longer be treated separately. The effects of global warming have a cumulative impact, and it is not a matter of a crisis that will “pass” before everything goes back to “normal.”

Our governments are totally incapable of dealing with the situation. Economic warfare obliges them to stick to the goal of irresponsible, even criminal, economic growth, whatever the cost. Remember Katrina? It is no surprise that people were so struck by the catastrophe in New Orleans. The response of the authorities – to abandon the poor whilst the rich were able to take shelter – is a symbol of the coming barbarism.

The same happened when Houston, Texas, was struck last year. Both New Orleans and Houston are in for a repeat performance. And what’s next? 2018 will top all other years disaster-wise: it already has so far.

So how then do I cope in these TIMES OF ABANDONMENT?

I pray a lot, and I run a lot. Three times each week: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 4-5, regular as clock work, whether I feel like it or not.
I run for 34 minutes and 44 seconds, exactly 5 km on my treadmill, when the weather is unwelcome, which is about half the time. Now that I am a bit older, I prefer the indoors. After my run, I go to my stationary bike which is arm-leg synchronized, giving me the chance to exercise more than just my legs, and bike another 5 km, after which I employ another machine, where I push strenuously on the handlebars, while also stretching my legs to the full, a sort of a push-up machine. I do that 50 times. Basically these three different movements affect my entire body and take about an hour.

My exercise room also contains the larger part of my library. I love books, and I find it exhilarating to strain my body, to work up a solid sweat, to use every part of my physical being, amidst the gathered wisdom of the ages. It really makes true one of my favorite Latin saying, Mens Sana in Corpore Sano, a healthy mind in a healthy body.

I love Psalm 8. We often are too down on ourselves: yes, we are crowned with glory and honor, rulers of creation. That’s where Matthew 5: 48 comes in. Based on this text Bonhoeffer called himself an ANTHROPOS TELEIOS. Jesus urges us to be ‘teleios’ as he is teleios, wrongly translated as ‘perfect’. It really means ‘to be holistic’, since everything is connected to everything else: the New Creation is totally ‘holistic’.

Actually in these last days FAITH has become a truly simple affair. Dogmas mean nothing anymore. Denominations have become irrelevant. Creeds lack all credibility, sacraments have become empty rituals while church buildings are as empty as their rituals. People flock to astrology for answers to life’s big questions.

Why do people turn to aura reading and tarot cards? The church has already lost the love angle and the faith phenomenon, that’s why hope is the only aspect that, in the week before Easter, has retained validity.

The world as we know it, is rushing to the End, the TELOS. The cosmos – for which Jesus gave his life as fully outlined in John 3: 16 – is, as 2 Peter 3: 12 tells us, ready for a total garbage cleansing.
The ultimate hope is to be ANTHROPOI TELEIOI, people who openly live `the distant future` and are holistic in their living habits, ready at any time to enter THE PROMISED LAND, the New Garden of Eden.

THAT IS THE HOPE that Easter brings us.

No, it’s not the noises in the
streets
which does not let us sleep.
It is the earthquake soon to come
that will shake the world
and put everything in its place.
Accompany us then on this vigil
and you will know what it is to
dream!
You will know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection.

Matthew 24, that terrible chapter also mentions earthquakes (perhaps referring to the super volcano in Yellowstone Park, now getting fired up). All these are signs of The Last Days: how totally marvelous it is to live threatened with RESURRECTION.

The threat is that, before we are resurrected to LIFE, we all have to pass through DEATH, the last enemy.
But today we can and must dream of the New Creation.
The church as an institute is finished. That too is a sign of the Last Days. We must be like Noah who, at great ridicule, built an ARK in the middle of the desert, so we too must totally reorient our lives to focus on the life to come, where LIFE TO THE FULL awaits us.

That is the message the church should preach. It has to be prophetic in the fullest sense and visualize the life to come and paint it in multi-colored facets and sceneries, the one more enchanting that the other because no pen, no painting, no video can even begin to grasp the glory that awaits those who now have that HOPE.

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JEWS AND CHRISTIANS

MARCH 17 2018

JEWS AND CHRISTIANS

John 17: 23, “May they be brought to complete unity.”

This was Jesus’ fervent prayer at the end of his mission. Jesus really wanted all who love God’s creation and see it as God’s work of Art, to forget all theological and historical differences and strictly unite under the banner of The New Jerusalem.

Now that the world is on the threshold of eternity, this ought to be our fervent prayer as well: complete unity between Jews and Christians.

To the keen observer our sinful life is speeding to its completion, and just as Jesus in his last prayer, we too should reach out and unite on what both Jews and Christians believe.

What then do we both believe?

Both Jews and Christians believe in the God creator. The Hebrew Bible as well as the New Testament has this compelling commandment, “”Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Exactly these same words are in all three synoptic Gospels, affirming the importance of this statement, appealing to the totality of our efforts to love the Lord.

As I have written time and again, this love finds its fulfillment in loving Creation, the account of which we find in the very beginning of the Old Testament.

There’s something in the Jewish way of worship that appeals to me. I was deeply touched by a column in the New York Times a few weeks ago on the Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer of mourning.

The author writes, “Three times a day, wherever I am in the world, I strive to find a minyan (quorum) so I can recite these ancient Aramaic verses as a last measure of devotion to my father. At each service, I repeat the mantra: “Magnified and sanctified be His [God’s] great name in the world He has created according to His will.” To which my coreligionists respond with great force: “Let His great name be forever blessed for all eternity.” I say those words and hear that refrain three times daily.”

I detect sincere devotion there, something I often miss among the more sober-minded Reformed people.

The Kaddish prayer centers on MOURNING, the death of a close relative. My mourning is concentrated on THE DEATH OF CREATION of which we see multiple signs today. I’d wish that in Christian circles there too was a sort of minyan, a stated number of people who come together to pray. The text “where 2 or 3 are together in my name” really does not apply here, as this refers more to counselling than to forming a community.
That sense of community is inherent in a minyan, a company of 10 males before an official Jewish service can start. I know, there is a strong basis of male superiority there, so, of course, 10 people – both male and female – are preferable.

Especially today all religious communities ought to be in mourning for CREATION, God’s precious treasure, and daily gather to pray for her preservation and enhancement. I believe we can only bless God’s great name when we with everything we possess honor his creation.

The article continues, “Yet, the Kaddish is an odd prayer to have become the centerpiece of mourning. Despite its association with death and dying, it does not mention the word death. Instead, it is an endlessly repetitive celebration of the glory of God.”

Some personal observations.

I remember that, some 40 years ago, I brought a high school class to the Belleville synagogue on a Friday night. We had to wait quite a long time, while some frantic telephone calls were made before the tenth member was persuaded to come to form a minyan.

This was a return visit: I had written a play on Esther – by Jews still remembered in the feast of Purim – and the Rabbi and his family had attended its performance.

One of our daughters at one time lived near Beverly Hills, in a Jewish neighborhood, where I counted 10 synagogues, but no churches. On Friday night I could not miss the Jewish fathers and their sons, walk to their particular place of worship, all in solemn black.

One of the cars parked on her street had a bumper sticker, “Waiting for the Messiah”. That decal filled me with compassion, as they do this in vain.

Next to our hotel on Beverly Drive we attended a service in the Messianic Synagogue complete with a cantor, the kissing of the Torah, the wearing of a yarmulke, and an excellent sermon on Corinthians. The after the service announcements included notification of teaching Hebrew to whoever interested: all and all an excellent experience. Had I lived in that area, no doubt I would have joined that congregation.

Two books I love.

It is striking how two authors, one confirmed Jewish, the other a confessing Christian, have almost identical titles: Richard Elliott Friedman, professor of Hebrew at the University of California, wrote THE HIDDEN FACE OF GOD, and Jacques Ellul, professor of Law at the University of Bordeaux, France, HOPE IN TIME OF ABANDONMENT.

Dr. Richard Elliott Friedman’s book starts his book with these words, “God disappears in the Bible.” He then traces how this happens, how initially God is utterly involved in the affairs of the first humans. God personally breathes life into the first man, personally forms the first woman, personally plants the Garden of Eden and fashions the animals, and personally walks in the garden.

After the Fall, God makes their clothing for Adam and Eve. Little personality is described to them in the text, so much so that they appear as weak, childlike creatures.

With Noah there’s not the same intimacy, still Yahweh speaks to Noah and brings on the flood, not just rain, but a cosmic crisis in which the windows in the sky are opened. God allows Noah much more freedom as he and his family are in charge of making the Ark. He must have been busy for decades to cut the trees, saw the planks, apply bitumen – quite abundant in the area – gather the food and make it last, both for his immediate family and the expected animals.

Abraham reflects a further step in the growing up process. He later argues with God about the number of chosen people in those wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Then, when these cities are about to be destroyed there is that curious passage where Lot and his family are urged to hurry, because “I cannot do a thing” until they have safely reached their destination. The humans are not independent of God here, but somehow the human voice is certainly growing louder.

Jacob signals another phase: he wrestles with God. There certainly is progression: Adam disobeys God, Abraham questions God, Jacob fights God. Humans are confronting their creator, and they are increasing their participation in the arena of divine prerogatives.

After Moses

What this all means is that humans are growing up, maturing, and separating from their creator. Dr. Friedman quotes Bonhoeffer who develops the idea of humans’ “coming of age,” the notion that even if God does exist humans must live in the world, self-subsisting, as they would if there was no God.

And I believe that this is what God intended all along. God wants us to grow up and wants to see how we will ‘end’ up. Friedman, a Hebrew language expert bar none, notes the word ‘end’ there does not mean their finish, but rather their distant future.
It reminds me of Jesus who, in the Sermon on the Mount, uses the same word in Matthew 5:30, “Be ‘teleios’ – always keep ‘the distant future’ in mind.

And then there is Jacques Ellul and his timely book, HOPE IN TIME OF ABANDONMENT.

The title says it all: God has left us. We are on our own. The only HOPE we have is in the COMING OF THE KINGDOM, something which, in his Preface, Ellul stresses, “the decisive importance of the promise, the approach of the Second Coming, the eschaton which comes.”

It is clear to Ellul that society and its members –us – live as if God has turned his back and is silent. He is particularly harsh on the church, “The church, in her confused, grandiose, and childish actions, seemed to me proof that this (God turning his back) is indeed the case.”

Ellul writes, “Speaking for myself, what I see is that we are abandoned by God. Oh, I do not say forever, or that we are excluded from salvation, but that here and now, in this moment of history, in this night which perhaps has refused the light, no actual light is shining any longer.” And I fully concur.

In his wide ranging book he also devotes a section to THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT, a matter much disputed, and certainly a difficult question.

Ellul writes, “If hope is the response to God’s silence…I can still ask myself whether in our day the sin against the Holy Spirit isn’t precisely the rejection of hope or the inability to live by it.”

He then goes on to say that this is not a fixed matter when he writes, “The sin against the Holy Spirit varies in content according to the times.”

I believe today in 2018, 46 years after the book appeared in France, in days of environmental collapse, I see the Sin against the Holy Spirit as knowingly polluting creation, fully aware that it is God’s Holy Cosmos.

Ellul concludes to say that the only hope we have is THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM, the New Jerusalem.

Friedman also mentions CREATIONAL RENEWAL, pointing to TIKKUN, the path of cosmic restoration. The book final sentence is, “we are created more in the divine image than we have suspected. There is some evidence that the universe IS the hidden face of God.”

Finally Martin Buber.

Martin Buber in 1924 wrote ICH AND DU, translated as “I and Thou”. The essence of the book is that human existence is fundamentally interpersonal. We are not isolated, free-floating objects, but subjects existing in perpetual, multiple, shifting relationships with others, the world, and ultimately with God.

Now, 100 years after it was written, these personal connections and being in touch with God have basically disappeared. We are closer to our machines than to our neighbors, while our God connection has largely vanished.

Martin Buber, in his POINTING THE WAY, writes, “The end of all history is near. Creation has grown old….The present aeon, that of the world and of world history, hurries powerfully to the end…..The coming age of all historical ages is expressed most strongly by the sentence of the Revelation of John that surpasses all that can be imagined, “Time will no longer be.”…..Man cannot achieve this future, but he also has nothing more to achieve.”

Buber goes on to say that we must become what we are intended to be. Only then can we achieve eternity. He quotes John the Baptist in his cry of the prophets, ‘metanoia’, which I translate as “Make a U-turn”, because the ‘axe has already been laid to the root of the tree.’

I see Martin Buber as the bridge between Jews and Christianity, especially today as all signs point to an early end.

Buber translated the entire Hebrew Bible, and thus certainly was familiar with Isaiah 65: 25, “The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Among God’s last words to Moses, just before Israel enters The Promised Land, the Lord says, “I shall hide my face from them. I shall see what their end will be (Deuteronomy 31: 17, 18).

Now with Satan in full control, also just before the New Jerusalem will come, we too experience God’s total absence, with Satan in full control. I am certain that we are speeding head over heels toward to End. To be silent now, means to align ourselves with the Satan, because silence means approval.

For both Jews and Christians the real mantra is “Metanoia” which means that we must think and act the opposite of what we do today: live as if eternity has started.

Jesus prayed (John 17: 23), “May they be brought to complete unity.” That especially points to Jews and Christians in their belief that God created, we uncreated, and we both must strive for SHALOM.

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BE WARNED: SATAN ON THE LOOSE!

MARCH 10 2018

BE WARNED: SATAN ON THE LOOSE!

”When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth” (Revelation 20:7).

Of course Satan has always been active, especially when Jesus walked the earth. Jesus was acutely aware of the Satan’s presence. When Peter’s mother-in-law suf¬fered from a fever, Jesus “rebuked” the illness and “it left her” (Luke 4:39). When Jesus and his disci¬ples were at sea and a severe storm endangered the ship, Jesus “rebuked” the wind and said to the sea: “Be still!” (Mark 4:39).

Rebuke implies reprimand. Isn’t that strange? Jesus reprimanded the illness, and reprimanded the wind. Reprimanding means that the feverish body and the stormy sea were acting against their true nature. The normal state of humanity is health, is LIFE in its fullest sense. The normal state of the earth is beneficial: rain in time, no destructive storms: shalom all around.

Sickness and severe winds are unnatural, even if we call hurricanes, drought, Climate Change, NATURAL disasters: in essence they are abnormal, that’s why Jesus reprimanded them, because normally, according to the NORMS of creation, illnesses and typhoons should not occur, and when they do they are caused by Satanic forces.

Ever wondered why epidemics strike and bad things happen to good people? 1 John 5: 19 has the answer, “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

Under the influence of Satan we have saturated the atmosphere with pollutants, with cancer-causing chemicals affecting everyone: there is not a pollutant-free person on the planet. Ever wonder why we are on the way to Rapid Global Heating? Under the influence of Satan we have saturated the air with CO2 and are uncovering the much more lethal METHANE.

Jesus sees the forces behind that storm and behind that fever as satanic, because the world of hid¬eous demons, play a blasphemous role in these occurrences. In both everyday examples – sickness and weather – Jesus paints a scenario concerning life in general—awesome storms and mysterious diseases—which today have become global phenomena, pointing to Satan’s universal reach.

Yes, Satan calls the shots today.

Without any doubt, the Devil is in total charge. We see it everywhere: politically, environmentally, financially, in matters of faith, in economic concerns, in the mental state of people: there are no exceptions anymore and anywhere.

It is not an entirely new situation, of course, but what is new is that all restraints have been eliminated: Satan has become unshackled, has, for a short while, been given complete freedom to do his thing. Just one recent example: For the second time this past week Boston was lashed by a HUNDRED YEAR storm. We are now faced with a development in the world that we can no longer control, but of which we daily exper¬i¬ence the terrifying consequences.

I repeat: today Satan is in full control. There’s no longer any holding back. Everything is embroiled in the power of demons. Satanic forces have thrown themselves onto nature, onto us humans, onto the entire radiant creation. I have often quoted Deuteronomy 31: 17, “I shall hide my face from them. I shall see what their end will be.” That situation is now being fully realized.

Am I wrong?

I can see you shake your head and think, “Here he goes again, one of his usual unreal utterances, another in the series of his menacing messages that always fail to come true”.

Well, let me rehash some ancient history. I believe this process already started in the Garden of Eden, and very gradually evolved into the situation we have now, where we experience a total God Eclipse.

For a thousand years – which means a very long time – God allowed the full deployment of the human potential, necessary so that in eternity we know what to preserve and what to avoid. Now that we basically have come to the end of human inventions, the end will come with the Satan making the most of his brief reprieve.

So why does God free Satan?

Why does God allow the universe, where once only beauty and harmony set the tone, to become threatened with annihilation from all directions? Why is our world now entirely dominated by demons? Why do we now experience evil more than ever? Why do we, wherever we look, see the terrible influ¬ence of this satanic situ¬a¬tion?

Malachi 3: 2 tells us why, “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.”

Well, the final selection is about to occur. We have reached the stage referred to in Ephesians 1: 10, which mentions THE FULLNESS OF TIME, when history has run its course, and God, who directs all things, has said ‘enough’.

The new normal.

We must face the fact that the Thousand Years of rapid development are over, and tribulations are upon us. With the oceans warmer than ever, the meteorologists want a new hurricane category: a number 6 to measure the increased ferocity. Now Arctic ice-loss is the most ominous sign ever.

No pre-tribulation Rapture.

Don’t for a minute believe that there will be PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. There won’t be Rapture, but there will be world-wide RUPTURE. Luke 12: 51-55 makes this abundantly clear, “Do you think I have come to bring peace?… No way”, says Jesus, “There will be RUPTURE galore, especially between family members and MARRIAGE partners.”
This implies that enabling – not protesting Satanic concepts between spouses such as RAPTURE – will be seen as the SIN it is, as all fundamental differences must be exposed, because everybody and everything will reveal their true nature.

The Bible tells us so.

Where God, the Creator sees cosmos, Satan, the dissolver, sees Chaos. I love Hosea 4. It never mentions RAPTURE, it does mention RUPTURE.
Listen to the word of the LORD, O children of Israel,
For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land,
Because there is no faithfulness or kindness
Or knowledge of God in the land.
There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery.
They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
And everyone who lives in it languishes
Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky,
And also the fish of the sea disappear.

Yes, the land mourns because THE LIVING EARTH IS DYING.

One of the merits of James Lovelock is that he has recognized that the earth is a living entity, which he calls GAIA.
In his book, “The Revenge of Gaia”, Lovelock – not a Christian – starts with a text from Matthew 23:24, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” (A gnat is the tiniest of animal). Here Jesus is referring to the spiritual and political leaders of Israel, who take offence when their petty religious rules are disobeyed, but turn a blind eye to God’s commands of love and justice, the requirements of the COVENANT.

Today is no different: we try to impose carbon taxes but promote air travel and build highways to accommodate cars. We know that perpetual economic growth is impossible yet devise tax laws that promote it. Economic Growth is like a drug that will kill us if continued and also kill us if suddenly withdrawn.

There are definite signs of the Planet’s terminal illness.

Take the Arctic. The situation there is desperate, with sea ice north of Greenland collapsing overnight. If there ever were warning signs of what is in store for us, this is one. Early February 2018, sea ice north of Greenland was still up to 5 meters thick: in the space of 3 weeks that house-high ice was gone: that thick wall got pushed away and open water emerged north of Greenland in the middle of winter: simply stunning, totally Satanic.

MME: Mass Mortality Event.

Here is another one. I found it in THE GUARDIAN.
“There was almost something biblical about the scene of devastation that lay before Richard Kock as he stood in the wilderness of the Kazakhstan steppe: dotted across the grassy plain, as far as the eye could see, were the corpses of thousands upon thousands of saiga antelopes. All appeared to have fallen where they were feeding.
“Some were mothers that had travelled to this remote wilderness for the annual calving season, while others were their offspring, just a few days old. Each had died in just a few hours from blood poisoning. In the 30C heat of a May day, the air around each of the rotting hulks was thick with flies.
“The same grisly story has been replayed throughout Kazakhstan. In this springtime massacre, an estimated 200,000 critically endangered saiga – around 60% of the world’s population – died. “All the carcasses in this one of many killing zones were spread evenly over 20 square km,” says Kock, professor of wildlife health and emerging diseases at the Royal Veterinary College in London. “The pattern was strange. They were either grazing normally with their newborn calves or dying where they stood, as if a switch had been turned on. I’ve never seen anything like that.”
“The saiga – whose migrations form one of the great wildlife spectacles – were victims of a mass mortality event (MME), a single, catastrophic incident that wipes out vast numbers of a species in a short period of time. MMEs are among the most extreme events of nature. They affect starfish, bats, coral reefs and sardines. They can push species to the brink of extinction, or throw a spanner into the complex web of life in an ecosystem. And according to some scientists, MMEs are on the rise and likely to become more common because of climate change.”

Can a MME affect humans as well?

I can well imagine that, what is happening to wild-life, can also affect humans: a Mass Mortality Event, a sudden pandemic for which there is no immediate cure. It happened exactly 100 years ago in 1918 when the so-called Spanish Flu killed between 50-100 million humans, mostly young adults. That will happen again.

More signs.

We do ignore the signs, but we cannot deny that at least 5 factors are telling us that THE SATAN is on the loose:
1. changing climate,
2. declining environmental productivity,
3. disease,
4. warfare, and
5. combinations thereof.
Examples.
“Ocean seasons are changing as a result of too much heat and CO2… The scale of ocean warming is truly staggering with numbers so large that it is difficult for most people to comprehend.” (D. Laffoley, IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme).
The ocean’s acidification rate of growth is unprecedented in Earth’s known history. (Jane Lubchenco, NOAA).
Ocean acidification occurring at least 10 times faster than 55 million years ago based upon paleoclimate record. (C.L. Dybas, Oxford)
Nearly all marine life that builds calcium carbonate show deterioration due to increasing levels of CO2 and acidification. (Richard Feely, NOAA).
But the most dangerous is still THE ARCTIC, as permafrost melts caused by human-induced global warming, awakening forgotten pathogens from the depths.

Ever heard of PINGOS?

A pingo, also called a hydrolaccolith, is a mound of earth-covered ice found in the Arctic and Subarctic that can reach up to 70 meters high and up to 600 meters in diameter. The term originated as the Inuvialuktun word for a small hill. A Russian team found extremely abnormal viruses there which survived 30,000 years frozen in ice. They also contain METHANE.

There could be 100,000 explosive methane pingos in Siberia alone. It so happens that, due to ABNORMAL Arctic heat the East Siberian Arctic Shelf has reached “thaw point,” the turning point from linear to exponential release of METHANE leading to runaway global warming. (Natalia Shakhova, Int’l Arctic Research Centre).

Already methane emissions in East Siberian Ice Shelves are 100 times higher than normal.

”When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth” (Revelation 20:7).

BE WARNED: SATAN ON THE LOOSE!

In spite of numerous warnings – the Bible is full of them – we want to be deceived because seductive OIL has constructed (Matthew 7: 13): “the gate that is wide and the road that is broad, leading to assured destruction, and many enter through it.”

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