Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Time of The Antichrist

We just passed December 21, 2012.  This was the date of the Mayan Apocalypse.  The world was supposed to end that day.  They even had a scientific reason for it.  The planets in our solar system were to be all be lined up perfectly creating stress on the gravitational points on the sun that keep the various planets rotating around it.  Then on December 21, for the first time in 25,000 thousand years the earth was to cross the galaxy’s elliptical plane. This was supposed to create even more gravitational pressure on the sun leading to huge solar flares that would destroy the earth.  This is the simplistic explanation

But it didn't happen that way.  I have to tell you, I wasn't even worried that it would happen at all, because the Bible presents a very different version of the end of the world. So I want to submit a post today, on certain events that are foretold in the Bible that will lead to the end of the earth.

I believe that we are in the very last of the last days.  There are events that are taking place in the news today that are runners up to the final apocalyptic battle that will usher in the return of Jesus Christ.  Today, I want to write about on one aspect of those prophecies from this portion of scripture:

Mark 13:9-13 (NKJV)
13:9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

The Background

The Bible speaks of the lawless one, the Antichrist that will rise up in domination of the entire world. 

Revelation 13:5-7 (NKJV)
13:5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

This passage of revelation describes a beast that will rise from the sea.  In apocalyptic language the sea refers to the “sea of humanity.”  So a man will rise up and power will be given to him over all tongues and nations.  This means that he will have power over every nation of the world.  He will be a Global leader, one person with the highest authority in all the earth. 

You might be thinking that this time is not close.  You may argue that preachers have been declaring these to be the last days since Jesus’ time.  In fact, Jesus himself, referred to the time following his death as the last days.  But I would submit to you today, that we are very close to seeing these things take place in our lifetimes.

There are a number of things that are slowly being placed under global authority.  There is an attempt to destroy national sovereignty.  In fact look at this quote by one of President Clinton’s Deputy Secretaries of State, Strobe Talbot.

In the next century nations as we know it will be obsolete, all states will recognize a single global authority.  National Sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all.

He said this in 1998 one of the final years of the twentieth century, so he was saying this about the century we live in now; the twenty-first century. 

We have seen this beginning to take place.  In recent years, both Russia and China have called for one global currency.  That is one currency that is used throughout the world.  We have seen the rise of “coalition wars,” rather than one sovereign nation making war on another to protect its interests.  Individual nations are ostracized for acting on sovereign authority without the acceptance or permission of the United Nations.

Sanctions on nations that threaten world peace are issued by a vote of the Security Council the United Nations.  Most recently there has been a call for UN control of the Internet:

“Telecom companies across the world may be given the opportunity to dig through data passed across the Internet more easily following a move by the United Nations new authority to regulate the Web.

At a conference in Dubai this week, members of the United Nation’s (sic) International Telecommunications Union (ITU) agreed to work towards implementing a standard for the Internet that would allow for eavesdropping on a worldwide scale.

The ITU members decided to adopt the Y.2770 standard for deep packet inspection, a top-secret proposal by way of China that will allow telecom companies across the world to more easily dig through Web data, according to a report from Russia Today.”

Al Arabiya News, Dec. 6, 2012

A one-world body seeks an easier way to eavesdrop on private citizens on the Internet. To what purpose, though:  Why do they want to eavesdrop?  Because in eavesdropping there is control. 

Julian Assange , founder of Wikileaks, describes the use of social media networks as a way of informing on family and friends that is similar to the way the Stasi (secret police) in East Germany gathered information during the cold war.  What makes this so dangerous is that people are informing on others without realizing it.  Information is put together with information from other sources to create a picture of the subject’s political and ideological makeup.  This can be used to monitor, regulate the movements of, and control those that may be considered enemies:  Not be the enemies of a state or country but of a political agenda or ideology.  We’re talking about a leader’s ability to control people.  Look at this Assange quote:

Bill Binney, National Security Agency whistle-blower  who was the research head of the National Security Agency’s Signals Intelligence Division, describes this as a ‘turnkey totalitarianism’, that all the infrastructure has been built for absolute totalitarianism

Look back at verse 12 of our text:

Mark 13:12 (NKJV)
13:12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.

This type of betrayal is possible now through the Internet.  These things are happening now in our day and hour.  It is possible for one man to rise up and gain power over the entire world.  One man, through the use of these tools, can rule the world.  All it would take is one event that necessitates the use of this information that is available for inspection now.

What Will He Be Like?  

Revelation 13:1 (NKJV)
13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.

This is the language of prophecy.  It is written in symbolic ways.  Let’s look at this passage for a moment.  I saw a beast rise up out of the sea.  The sea represents humanity, so he rose up being superior to other people, a charismatic leader.  There is a reference to ten crowns.  The crowns represent kingdoms.  So the one that will rise up will be a political leader.  But look at this:

Revelation 13:4-5 (NKJV)
13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" 5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

The dragon that symbolizes Satan, will give power to this man.  He will be the leader of a powerful nation and a powerful army.  He will be an incredible speaker.  He will have demonic power and he will rule forty-two months.

Revelation 13:7 (NKJV)
13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

This is where our text ties into the things we’re talking about; betrayal, death persecution, and hatred.  He will make war against the saints.  That’s Christians.  You can see the war on Christianity that is taking place already.  More and more Christian symbols, beliefs and values are being removed from the public view, and society in general. 

This year the president of the United States had fifty-four Christmas trees in the various parts of the White House, except they aren't called Christmas Trees, they’re called holiday trees.  Which, of course, prompts the question, “What holiday is it?”  What holiday are they for?  Arbor Day? 

Crosses are coming down in public places all over America.  “Under God,” is under assault in the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance, and there is a movement to remove the words “In God We Trust,” from U.S. currency.  Soon preachers won’t be able to mention homosexuality without it being judged as hate speech and facing legal charges.  This is happening now.  People will begin to betray others and inform on others and the power of the Antichrist to control will be complete.  What’s happening today is spiritual.  It’s the dragon, “that dragon of old,” Satan that gives this man his power and influence.  Finally, there’s this:

Revelation 13:8-9 (NKJV)
13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.

The man will be worshiped as if he is God.  How can this be?  How can we be convinced to accept a politician as God?    Look at some of the things that were said about presidential candidate Barak Obama in the 2008 election:

“He communicates God-like energy.  He’s a lot closer to a Jesus type than any other candidate….What if God decided to incarnate as men preaching “hope and change” and we didn't listen to them, because we are so dull and let them slip away, not availing ourselves of the chance to be led by God.”
                                                                                                Steve Davis

He’s like Jesus.  God incarnated as man.

“Obama’s finest speeches do not excite…They do not inform.  They don’t even inspire they elevate…he is not the word made flesh but the triumph of the word over flesh.  Obama is, at his best, able to call us back to our higher selves.”
                        Ezra Klein, Associate Editor, American Prospect Magazine

He’s not the word made flesh he is the triumph of the word over flesh.  He’s better than Jesus.

“Obama comes along and he seems to have all the answers…This is New Testament.”                                          Chris Matthews MSNBC

Chris Matthews is saying that Barak Obama is the same as Jesus.

Finally, recently Jamie Foxx, introduced Barak Obama to a crowd at the “Soul Train Awards” using the words, “Our lord and savior, Barak Obama.” 

This is the media; the shaper of people’s thoughts and beliefs calling him a god and people will believe that follow him as if he is God.  Even in Taiwan, people tell me all the time about how great President Obama is because of the things they've heard through the media.  This man, I’m referring to the antichrist, will be lifted up far beyond any adulation that is given to Barak Obama.  He will bring pace to the Middle East and the entire world, and then will rule as the greatest dictator we've ever seen.

All of his power will be derived from the devil.  Seven years after his rise to power all of the world’s armies will come together in the plain of Meggido, for the battle called Armageddon.  Those seven years are called the tribulation.  You can read in the Bible what will happen in those days.  There will be battles and earthquakes and disease.  Men will pray for death but it will not come.  There will be darkness and suffering and then the end will come. 

What About the People of God?

Mark 13:13 (NKJV)
13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

He says that he who endures to end will be saved.  This is interesting, because it refers to those who are saved after the Antichrist appears.  Before this happens, though, we will be caught up. 

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 (NKJV)
4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
This moment, called the rapture of the church, will take place before the Antichrist rises to power.  This will happen before we are required to endure the suffering and persecution of that time.  Jesus will come back for His church.  If you are a Christian today and remain fixed in the will of God you will not have to endure the Antichrist and his tribulation. 

What we are seeing now is the buildup to those events.    We are seeing things being put into place.  We are seeing the beginnings of labor pains.  Barak Obama is not the Antichrist but he is a harbinger of the Antichrist to come.  I believe that man is alive and working in the world today, preparing for his destiny.  The time has not come for him to be revealed, but I believe that time will soon be upon us.

As for us, we still have time to reach others.  We still have time to labor for Christ.  We still have time to worship God freely, but it is time to begin to listen for the shout.  It’s time to begin to listen for the trumpet of God.  It is time more than ever to dig in and really labor to draw other people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.   Time is of the essence.  Time is winding up.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

An Open Letter to Hollywood

Editor’s note:  This is a bit of a departure from my usual posts.  This isn't a sermon; it hasn't been preached.  It is a response to a video that I saw entitled “Celebrities call for Gun Control Plan,” which can be seen below.

I’m not a gun owner.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t really like guns.  I have no desire to own one.  I've heard all the arguments, pro and con.  I don’t know if owning a gun will make me safer.  I also don’t know that outlawing guns will make things any safer.  It would seem to me that gun control would take the guns away from law abiding citizens, but those who have no regard for other laws would also have no regard for gun control laws.

I live in a country where private ownership of guns is illegal.  The only ones who have guns here are the military, the police, and gangsters.  The regular people don’t have them.  While it’s true that Taiwan is one of the safest nations in which to live in the world; I’m not sure that it is the absence of gun ownership that makes it safe, but a society that doesn't glorify violence on TV or in the movies.

I think that Mexico is a perfect illustration of what happens when guns are controlled.  Law abiding citizens are not allowed to possess firearms, but the police and the drug cartels have them.  Innocent people are murdered everyday by the Drug Cartels and the corrupt police who support them and participate with them. 

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune:

The number of civilians killed in the conflict pitting Mexico's powerful drug cartels against each other and the security forces soared by 172 percent in the last twelve months, capital daily, Reforma, said Monday, citing official figures
"Collateral" deaths increased from 61 in 2009 to 166 last year, according to the report from the Attorney General's office.

The second amendment to the Constitution says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  The reason for this is clear.  It is for the states to protect themselves from the tyranny of the Federal Government.  In giving up our guns we give up one protection from the tyranny of a potentially corrupt federal government.  The question is what is a well-regulated militia?

A well-regulated militia is made up of private citizens who will own and employee guns for the protection of rights and property.  It was militias that carried the day in the war against the British in the beginnings of our country.  The military was made up of farmers and others who owned weapons and used them against a tyrannical government to protect their rights. 

There are many gun laws that regulate the ownership and use of guns.  Handguns require registration.  Assault type weapons are banned in some states.  There are waiting periods.  There are rules regarding who can own a gun.  There are carry permit regulations.  Gun ownership is well regulated.  In fact, Connecticut gun laws ban the use of weapons like the ones found in Newtown.  Gun control laws in that state did not prevent the murders.  We are still seeing horrendous murders in places, even though those states have gun control laws already in place.

I can join with these celebrities in saying that I hate the murder of innocents.  Those who are murdered only because they are there is a horrible thing.  As a Christian, I detest the shedding of any innocent blood.  It is one of the things that God, Himself hates.

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)
6:16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

God, Himself hates the shedding of innocent blood.  We see this in the story of Cain and Abel as Cain is judged and cursed for the shedding of his innocent brother’s blood.

Genesis 4:9-12 (NKJV)
4:9 Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" 10 And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth."

God curses those who participate in the shedding of innocent blood. 

So Hollywood, I join you as you condemn the murder of innocents, but there is a problem between us.  You have no credibility when it comes to protecting the life of innocents.  How many of you have supported what you call the pro-choice argument.  This is the ultimate in the shedding of innocent blood.  How can you lecture us on the murder of innocents and support the death of unborn innocence.  How many times have you railed against Christians for their pro-life stance; called us haters and accuse us of forcing our morals on you.  When we stand for the very thing you are saying you stand for?  Does innocent life only begin at birth? 

This time you are lecturing America for it’s stand on Gun Control, in the same way as you lecture America for environmental issues.  We hear you, but we see you continuing to do the things for which you are calling us out.  We see you as being those who say one thing and do another.  Here is a case in point:

Despite his environmentally-conscious stance on green issues, the Black Eyed Peas rapper, 37, chose to take a private helicopter to the venue.

It is understood the journey, which is a 286 mile round-trip from London, used 71.5 gallons of fuel and released three-quarters of a ton of CO2 into the atmosphere. 

He even tweeted pictures of the so-called “hip.hop.copter” for fans to admire, after landing at Oxford’s University parks.

From there the singer used a pedal cycle to travel the remaining few hundred yards to the Radcliffe Observatory Weather Centre.

There he told an audience: “Climate change should be the thing we’re all worried and concerned about as humans on this planet, how we affect the planet, our consumption, and how we treat the place that we live in.”
By Hannah Furness  - 10:17AM BST 23 May 2012  - The Telegraph

I see you speaking the words of your publicists.  You’re looking for issues that will appeal to your fan base:  The people who idolize you and look up to you.  But you don’t live your words.  They are just another set of lines in a script that you speak. 

You cross the world in private jets, “hip.hop.copters,” and SUV motorcades with huge personal carbon footprints, and you lecture us about driving our cars, and using our air conditioners.  Your actions are for photo-ops or news conferences and they just scream hypocrisy.

What is that you do that makes your needs so much more important that the rest of the world’s.  You sing vapid, useless songs or pretend to be someone else in front of a camera.  Where is the value in that?  It’s not as if what you do elevates this generation.  It’s not as if you’re creating anything that can change the human heart.  It’s not the songs you write or the films you make that influence people to put a stop to their evil behavior.  Nothing you have done has caused one Columbine or one Newtown to be avoided.  In fact, it is those things you do, your art, that people imitate.

James Holmes the shooter in Aurora Colorado, called himself the Joker.  In fact, he thought that was who he was.  Columbine killers, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris dressed as the hero of “The Matrix.”

You have made your video, where you call for a gun control plan.  But guns are already controlled.  You call for an end to violence while you work everyday in a violence-soaked industry.  Many of you have made films where heroes violently use guns to kill people.  But films don’t just glorify the hero protecting people from the bad guys, but also glorify those using weapons to murder and kill innocents, such as Woody Harrelson’s film , Natural Born Killers:  Open, ugly, and graphic violence.

Do you know what would impress me?  It would impress me if you walked away from the money and lifestyle that graphic and influential violence has afforded you.  I’ll be impressed when you stop parroting your publicist’s latest script and make a real stand against gun violence.  Until then spare me the lectures.

You mock and ridicule those who call for arming teachers and school security, while you send your children to private schools with armed guards.  You call for private citizens to throw down their weapons, while you have armed bodyguards to protect you.

Filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night.
Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident.
Moore's 2003 Oscar-winning film "Bowling for Columbine" criticizes what Moore calls America's "culture of fear" and its obsession with guns.
 Michael Moore's Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge

You call Christians on hypocrisy and immorality, while you promote immoral behavior.  Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby.  This is being lapped up by promoters and publicists, trumpeted by so-called fan magazines, entertainment television  and tabloids.  Perhaps, Kanye will be responsible and do the right thing, by supporting his child, marrying the child's mother and remaining faithful.  But what about the others who see his behavior and want to be like him.

In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade.  Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households has decreased by 1.2 million.  Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million without a mother.  In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.
Fathers Disappear from Households Across America – Washington Times, Dec. 25, 2012

I’m not an NRA member.  I’m not promoting gun ownership.  I just believe that it is time you took some responsibility for your part in all this.  I think it’s time for you to be responsible for your words and actions.  You want to have an impact on your generation, your community, and your nation?  Then it’s time to walk away from your violent and morally degrading films.  It’s time to start living the standard that you demand from the rest of us.  Refuse to participate in the things that influence, unless that influence is positive.  Begin to live the moral stand that you espouse.  It will have a price, that I guarantee.  You will lose some popularity.  It will cost you financially.  But you’ll gain credibility and you will have a real impact on your generation.  You will be able to stand, knowing you did the right thing.  Spare us the lectures, and show us how to live it.


Number of Innocents Killed in Mexico Drug War up 172%
Latin America Herald Tribune Website  

Will.I.Am Attends Climate Change Talk in Helicopter, May 23, 2012, The Telegraph

Michael Moore's Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge

Fathers Disappear from Households Across America – Washington Times, Dec. 25, 2012