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CONTENTS
   

the incredible growth of Christianity  IN AFRICA AND ASIA

►►
DEVELOPMENTS IN ISRAEL & THE MIDDLE EAST ►►

OLMERT OFFERS SYRIA THE GOLAN  IN EXCHANGE FOR FULL PEACE

►►

LIEBERMAN’S PLAN:  “DECLARE GAZA HOSTILE POLITICAL ENTITY”

►►

INDIA: GUJJAR PEOPLE DEMAND RIGHTS

►►

IT’S TIME FOR A REVIVAL OF BIBLICAL TRUTH AND PRACTICE

►►

THE BELIEVING HOME -  A CENTRE FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

►►
THE NEW COVENANT : HAVE CHRISTIANS HIJACKED A COVENANT INTENDED FOR ISRAEL? ►►

OUR FINAL STUDY IN DANIEL: GREAT DISTRESS, AND THE END OF THE AGE

►►
SLAVERY AND OPPRESSION ►►
 

My dear Friends,

Warm greetings once more in the Name which is above all names - the Name of Y’shua the Messiah.

You have heard about the growth of Islam; you’ve heard of the explosion of wickedness, and the increase of drug addiction, violence, and apostasy. And at times you might have been tempted to think that Satan is winning. Well, that’s not the whole story!  Here’s a recent account of the ...

the incredible growth of Christianity

IN AFRICA AND ASIA

Today more Presbyterians worship in the African nation of Ghana than in Scotland. And more Anglicans worship in Nigeria than in Britain.

While the “Christian West” likes to think of itself as the centre of Christianity, there is growing evidence that the center of Christendom has moved.

Africans are running to accept Jesus Christ. And there are great things happening all across the developing world. It may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not! Christianity is sweeping across the southern hemisphere and Asia like a tidal wave.

“The scale of Christian growth is almost unimaginable,” says Dr. Philip Jenkins, professor of History and Religious Studies at Penn State University. In his book, The Coming of Global Christianity, Jenkins says within 20 years, two-thirds of all Christians will live in Africa, Latin America or Asia.”

In the year 1900, there were about 10 million Christians in Africa - about 10% of the population. Today there are 360 million - almost 50% of the population.

“The Bible is alive in Africa, and Asia, and Latin America,” Jenkins says. “And overwhelmingly, it’s the kind of Christianity that is very Bible-centered, that takes the Bible and authority very seriously.”

In China, there are between 80 and 100 million Christians. And a former Time Magazine correspondent, David Aikman, predicts China will be a Christianized nation within 20 or 30 years. He does not predict a Christian majority, but a China that is 25 to 30% Christian; enough, he says, to change society and government. And, says Aikman, the Chinese church leaders have a burden to take the gospel to the rest of the globe, including to the Muslim nations. 

“It’s part of a burden that they call ‘back to Jerusalem,’” Aikman said. “They believe that just as the gospel originally came out of Jerusalem and went to the West and to N. America and Europe and came to China, now the Chinese need to bring it back to Jerusalem, not in the sense of evangelizing the Jewish, but in the sense of completing the circle so that the gospel message is available to everybody in the world.”

Imagine Chinese reaching the Muslims, Koreans evangelizing Indians, Africans taking the gospel back to a largely godless Europe.

Matthew Ashimolowo, is an African pastor of the fastest growing church in England. “God is sending people who used to receive missionaries to now be missionaries around the world,” he said.

Kenyan Bishop Gilbert Dya has one of the largest churches in London. “I am in this country, believing that God sent me here in Great Britain to make a voice on His behalf to let them know that they need to repent and come back to God,” he said.

                                                              - source:  www.cbn.com/CBNNews/News/030819a.asp

That’s good news. But as the growth of Christianity increases, and other religions feel threatened by the Gospel, persecution erupts. And so today we see increasing attacks on Christians in many nations.

Y’shua, said: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men revile, insult and slander you, and when they persecute you, telling all kinds of vicious lies about you because of Me. Rejoice, and be glad for your reward in heaven is great, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12-13)

Let us rejoice with the many thousands of souls coming to the Saviour every day. And let us rejoice with those who are persecuted, and uphold them in our prayers. And, dear believer, keep looking up as you see signs of the times coming thick and fast.

“For yet in a very little while, He who is coming, will come, and will not delay!” (Hebrews 10:37)

        May the peace of God fill your hearts and minds.

                                                       Your brother in the Messiah,   Don Stanton


    DEVELOPMENTS IN ISRAEL

              & THE MIDDLE EAST

AHMADINEJAD: “IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP NUCLEAR PROGRAM”

President Ahmadinejad said it was “too late” to stop Iran’s nuclear program and urged the West and America to abandon their “arrogant policies” of setting conditions. “Despite pressure, Iran has only become stronger,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said at a news conference.

The Iranian president also appeared to dismiss ambitions of using the controversial nuclear program for weapons making. “What is atomic bomb good for? Thoughts can’t be changed by nuclear bomb. Today is the day of thought and logic,” he said.                                                                                                                     - AP / June 5, 2007

“ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION IS IN NEAR FUTURE”

The Iranian President also said early this month that the world will witness the destruction of Israel in the near future.  Mr. Ahmadinejad made his remarks in a speech marking the 18th anniversary of the death of revolutionary founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Iranian media quoted the president as telling foreign guests that last year’s war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon had started the countdown to Israel’s destruction. - 3 June 07

ISRAELI ARMY PREPARING FOR WAR ON TWO FRONTS

“The IDF is preparing for an escalation on both the Palestinian and northern fronts,” Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said in early June. “The IDF’s goal is to improve our readiness, while at the same time continuing the war on terror,” Ashkenazi said.

Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin referred to the northern border in his briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

“Syria is making very real preparations, cleaning army posts, conducting large drills and strengthening defenses. They are reaching a state of readiness for war more than in the past, but this doesn’t mean they’ll be ready for war tomorrow. The Syrians have a very large quantity of long-range missiles. They do not need to move forces around to attack with these missiles.  - Jerusalem Post /Jun. 5, 2007


   OLMERT OFFERS SYRIA THE GOLAN

                        IN EXCHANGE FOR FULL PEACE

JUNE 8.  Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has offered a deal to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, whereby Syria would receive control of the Golan Heights in exchange for revoking the Syrian-Iranian alliance and cutting all ties with terrorist organizations.

Olmert reportedly informed Syria, via a third party, that he is aware that a peace agreement with Syria “means returning the Golan to Syrian sovereignty.”  He said he is willing to do so, but wishes to know if Syria, in return, will “dismantle, in stages, its alliance with Iran, Hizbullah and Palestinian terrorist organizations.”

Meir Dagan, the director of the Israeli espionage agency, the Mossad, told a closed government meeting last month that Syria was broadcasting its willingness to talk with Israel strictly as a tactical maneuver.

This conclusion, he said, is based on intelligence information and internal Mossad analysis. But Dagan said that even if Israel were to open a channel of negotiations with Syria, the Assad regime would not cut its support for, or ties with, the Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon, although it might do so in the cases of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.  Assad has not yet responded to Israel’s latest offer.    - Yediot Acharonot /Arutz / 8 June 07

NATION UP IN ARMS AT OLMERT’S GOLAN OFFER

JUNE 8. PM Ehud Olmert’s latest offer to give the Golan Heights to Syria flies in the face of polls showing overwhelming public opposition to ceding the Golan. The offer also has many MKs (Members of the Knesset - Parliament) on both sides of the political spectrum up in arms.

A recent poll shows that a full 84% of the public opposes a full withdrawal from the Golan.

Likud MK Calls on Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu to Quit Government

MKs from the Likud and National Union/National Religious Party came out vehemently against Olmert. Likud faction head Gideon Saar called upon Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu - two coalition parties whose voters are nearly all right-wing - to immediately quit the government. “Olmert has no public legitimacy for a withdrawal from the Golan,” Saar said. “Far from our eyes, processes are taking place that will be hard to stop in the future. The responsibility for this lies upon all the members of the government and coalition.”

The Left DEMANDS THAT Olmert GiveS GOLAN Away Now!

Left-wing MKs, on the other hand, attacked Olmert for only offering the Golan and not actually taking steps to actualize the offer. Meretz Party leader Yossi Beilin said the agreement to give back the Golan has been ready to sign “ever since 2000 when [then-PM] Ehud Barak became scared of himself and ended the meeting with the Syrians in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.”

 

BASHAR ASSAD ADVOCATES DIPLOMATIC TALKS,

BUT PREPARES FOR WAR

The UN Security Council’s decision to establish an international court to try Basher Assad and his relatives for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has made the Syrian government frantic. This development may come at Israel’s expense, as within the battle for his survival, Assad may embark on a war against Israel sooner than expected.  - Israel Opinion / 3 June 07

 

ABBAS: ‘PALESTINIANS ON VERGE OF CIVIL WAR’

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned Tuesday that his people were on the verge of civil war, and said the infighting was worse than living under Israeli military rule.  - Jerusalem Post / 5 June 07

 

HAMAS GETTING LONGER RANGE MISSILES

Military Intelligence Chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin reported to the Knesset Defence Committee that in Gaza, Hamas possessed Grad missiles with a range of 20 kilometers that have yet to be fired at Israel.

Yadlin also warned that shoulder-fired missiles, with a range of 40 kilometers, could soon be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.  - Jerusalem Post /Jun. 5, 2007


   LIEBERMAN’S PLAN

“DECLARE GAZA HOSTILE POLITICAL ENTITY”

Declaring Gaza a hostile entity and an enemy state is part of the new political plan presented by the Israeli Deputy PM and Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman on May 31.  (Lieberman is the chairman of the Yisrael Beitenu party - “Israel our House.”

The main points of the plan include complete severance of ties with the Gaza Strip, isolating the Strip from the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], bombing Gaza in retaliation for Kassam attacks, canceling Palestinian prisoners’ visitation rights until kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit is released, and ending all contact with Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas.

Lieberman explained that current Israeli perception offers only two options on how to deal with the Palestinians: Acknowledgment and acceptance of the existing situation, which consequently rewards terror; or dialogue with the Hamas government in an attempt to find a way out of the situation. He claimed that both alternatives are equally wrong: “They both validate the axis of evil, and they both shed doubt on the future of the State of Israel.”

The new political plan, which was presented to government officials in the United States and Europe this week, has not yet been introduced to the Israeli government. Nonetheless, Lieberman plans to follow through on his plan, which constitutes Yisrael Beiteinu’s vision as part of the current government. According to Lieberman, this plan presents a pragmatic approach, which will bring Israel a practical solution to the state of chaos with the Palestinian Authority.

In his plan, the deputy prime minister refers to the West Bank and Gaza as two separate entities, both on the political level and on the practical level. Israel will address both entities separately. Any negotiation with the PA will only apply to the West Bank. “Gaza will be defined as a hostile, independent political entity for all intents and purposes,” Lieberman explained.

Lieberman suggested practical steps to implement his plan: There will be no movement between Gaza and the West Bank, not of goods, and not of people. This restriction of movement includes the Palestinian president’s aides and Palestinian VIPs. Workers will not be permitted to leave Gaza to work in Israel.

Taxes for the Gaza Strip will not be collected. The Ashdod port will not transfer any goods to the Strip. All crossings, including Karni crossing [between Gaza and Israel] will be sealed. Israel will not provide Gaza authorities with any type of infrastructure or resource. The Gazans will have to find their own solutions to problems of fuel, water, and electricity.

Lieberman said that the process of complete severance of ties will begin in 2008, when all contact between Israel and Gaza will be cut off. “Gaza’s fate will be like that of Sinai,” Lieberman’s plan said. “Just as Israel did not continue to provide anything to Sinai after it withdrew, there is no reason why it should act any differently toward Gaza, especially in the current situation.”

Leading up to the complete separation from Gaza and from that point onward, Israel will treat any security threat coming from the Strip very severely. Israel will work toward thwarting the threat by any means available, just as any sovereign country is meant to do in order to protect its citizens from an enemy attack. “It’s very simple,” said Lieberman, “Sderot’s fate will be similar to that of the Gazan neighborhood of Rimal. If Sderot is hit, the Rimal neighborhood will be hit just as hard at the very least.”

“The security situation will change only when NATO forces and the European Union take full responsibility for what goes on in the Gaza Strip. NATO will act to enforce public order and preserve security in the region.

The EU will take responsibility for the construction and opening of alternative infrastructure and provide employment for the residents of Gaza. Financial activity will include not only money transfers, donations, and investments, but the management and close supervision of projects being started, and infrastructure being built. Otherwise, the money will evaporate or be used to fund terror.”

Lieberman added that “as long as (Gilad) Shalit is held captive with no one able to visit him, not even the Red Cross, visitation rights of all Palestinians security prisoners held in Israel should be cancelled.”

Israel should also admit to the failure in its attempt to strengthen Abbas, said Lieberman, adding that the Jewish state should “admit that every attempt to strengthen him, or place him as a partner who is capable of getting the job done, has failed. Israel should wait for an authentic replacement with leadership potential and a pragmatic outlook.”  - Ynetnews.com, May 31, 2007


   GUJJAR PEOPLE DEMAND RIGHTS

MORE THAN 20 KILLED IN CLASHES WITH GOVERNMENT

Tribal farmers in India known as the Gujjars want affirmative action rights. They want rights so badly that they’re clashing with the government and other tribes to get this status. More than 20 people have died in the violence.

A Christian worker in the area expressed deep concern. “Basically the government’s trying to keep a lid on it. However, it is very, very serious, and it’s actually starting to spill over into other states. This is a very, very serious situation. It could really blow up.”

This unrest, coupled with the large number of Dalits turning to Christ, angers Hindu nationalists, said the Christian worker. “That’s the whole part of why the church is being persecuted. They’re turning to Christ by the tens of thousands. It basically takes [Dalits] out of the Hindu faith, and therefore the caste system starts to deteriorate, which actually is a fundamental part of the Hindu belief system.”

Gujars (also Gujjar, Gurjar, or Gurjara), are members of one of the many groups, or castes, of the subcontinent, mainly inhabiting Punjab (Pakistan), Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab (India) and Gujarat, with some groups in Rajasthan and Haryana. Gurjars belong to the Kshatriya castes.


   IT’S TIME FOR A REVIVAL OF

                 BIBLICAL TRUTH

“Continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned; and how from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise in respect to salvation through faith in the Messiah, Y’shua.

“All Scripture is divinely-inspired - God-breathed, and is profitable for teaching, for conviction and reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate and complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”    (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

 

By Don Stanton

We are in the endtimes, and as the apostle Paul foretold, and warned, people in the endtimes will have a form of religion, but they will deny the power of true Godliness. (2 Timothy 3:5)

The Messiah, Y’shua, has also described the endtime church as one endowed with material wealth, but stricken with spiritual poverty.

“You say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelation 3:17)

Today much of the Western “church” is tremendously wealthy, but its teachings and practices are becoming more spiritually destitute.

In the 20th century truth was replaced by modernism. In the 21st century, apostasy has produced a post-modernism which is fast leading to a post-Christian era.

While the Gospel is mightily impacting certain countries and communities around the world, a “new gospel” is permeating much of “the church,” particularly in the Western world.

The “new gospel” is a deception, and is not based on sound Biblical doctrine; it is driven by humanistic reasoning. It is a package of new age philosophies, false teachings, spiritualism, mysticism, rationalism, entertainment and psychological marketing.

The “new gospel” does not call for repentance and implicit faith in Christ and the Word of God. Rather, it imitates and compromises with the world.

The “church” has become more and more professionalized and commercialized.  Today is an age of mega-churches where modern day “apostles,” like the popes of old, gained more power, influence, and built “spiritual empires” around themselves.

In the Dark Ages, the Church of Rome sold “indulgences” – forgiveness of sins.  Salvation was paid for in hard cash.  Today, professional preachers proclaim prosperity as a reward for all who share their salaries with the “sons of the seers” - self-seekers who claim they are “building the kingdom.”

Living in luxury, and riding in private air-jets, they proclaim they are “taking the world for Christ.” Y’shua only twice or thrice, rode even on a donkey.

But times have changed!  Today the new gospel says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of materialism, and all these prosperities will be added unto you.”

Today is it not, “Give us our daily bread.”  It is, “Give us our bread with butter and Manuka honey.”

In today’s “gospel” everything can be spiritualised. The Scriptures are modernized to make the “message” favourable to sceptics and money-minded marketeers.  The Word is allegoricalised (treated symbolically) so that it no longer means what it says.

Bible prophecy is placed in the realm of necromancy; the Rapture is called “scare-mongering”; Israel’s prophesied role in the endtimes is decried as ludicrous; hell is mediaeval; and heaven is wishful thinking. “So enjoy your heaven here and now!”

In the US, a recent Newsweek/Beliefnet poll found 68% of evangelical Christians doubt that Jesus is the only Way.  And in Scotland, two-thirds of Scottish clergy do not believe in hell.

Most people, it seems, would rather believe the tycoon who came back from a near-death experience proclaiming, “I did not see heaven, and there is no hell out there,” rather than believe the Word of God.

Although it is still the world’s most published Book, the Bible seems to be returning to a Dark Age where it is kept on an altar, or the book shelf. Looks nice, but it’s not to be read and believed!

Many modern preachers hold a microphone, but not a Bible, in their hands. And Bible studies are being replaced by “sharing” sessions where you talk about your problems and experiences and get comfort from hearing about others’ experiences.

The “family altar” is now the TV altar.  The Lord’s Day is now The Sports’ Day; and the “united, spiritual Christian family” is now an antique institution belonging to the 17th century Quakers.

Today we need a Revival of Biblical Truth and Practice!

And now let me share with you about one area where we may be able to start the revival . . .


THE BELIEVING HOME –

A CENTRE FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

By Don Stanton

IF WE explore the Biblical roots of the Faith, we will discover principles and practices that have long been neglected.

In the Old Testament we see it was God’s intention for every family in Israel to be a centre for spiritual growth. Every father was to be the spiritual authority in the home, and he was to train up his family in the ways of YHWH. He was to take care of the family’s spiritual well-being as well as its basic education and sustenance.

The present Christian practice is send children to secular schools for “secular” education, and to Sunday School for “religious” instruction.  And the majority of Christian fathers renege on their spiritual responsibility as head of the home. As a result, they, and their families forfeit much spiritual blessing.

“Time” of course is a main culprit. Although we have time for most other things, we don’t have much time for the family. Fathers!  Do you neglect the spiritual mandate from the LORD for the personal training of your young?

Handing over a child to someone else for instruction is not the answer. Our children need to hear God’s instructions from their PARENTS’ mouths. (And of course, parents should be Godly role models). While they are young, children will listen to their parents. The very fact that “Dad said it,” is enough for most children.

Today, homes everywhere are breaking up, and even many Christian children are in rebellion. The pressures and influences from outside are very powerful, and unless our children are established in the Faith at an early age, they are soon going to be play toys in the hands of Satan.

If you think that Sunday School and “the Pastor” are going to fulfil your family’s spiritual requirements, you may be very disappointed. Already it may be too late!  Father, it is YOUR responsibility. The Scriptures say:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Hear the words of The Shema - one of the most well-known passages of the Old Testament:

“Hear O Israel. YHWH our God, YHWH is one ... these words, which I am commanding you today, shall be in your heart; you shall impress them upon your children. Speak about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  (Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

These words make it abundantly clear that the home must be the centre of spiritual learning. 

Look also at Solomon’s in­structions in Proverbs 4:1-5:

“Sons! Listen to the instruction of a father, and give attention to gain understanding; for I have given you sound teaching.  Do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son in my father’s house, still tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, ‘Lay hold of my words with all your heart. Keep my commandments and live! Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth’!”

For a child, the real world is the home. The “church” or Sunday School to many is like a theatre, a place you go to once a week, and listen to instructions from comparative strangers. Preachers often shout or speak above the heads of children, and in a language that is “separated” from real life.

(This observation is speaking in general. It is not criticizing churches that are true spiritual homes, and where children are taught the Scriptures clearly.)

And there are many homes where children receive no spiritual instruction at all; so the Sunday School, Assembly, or Children’s Bible Club may be the only place where they can receive spiritual teaching.

The Church is very important indeed - it is an expression of the Body of the Messiah. But it will be more healthy and mature, when it is composed of healthy, mature, and spiritually-instructed families. Preachers have to minister to all types - people who are at various spiritual levels, and at different ages. So they are limited as to what they are able to teach, and for how long they can teach. These days, most church members can’t endure more than a 20-min­ute “message”; or 30 minutes if the sermon has more jokes in it.

(In one church, I was asked to preach not longer than 7 minutes. But that church was in the process of gradually conditioning the people to receive messages.  Until shortly before that time, they had no messages at all. It was simply ritual.)

Many people “turn off” after 5 or 10 minutes because they have never learned to concentrate on spiritual exposition.  And that’s more reason why we need to teach young ones how to concentrate at home.

TRAINING IN THE HOME

In the home, the father must teach the family HOW to read the Scriptures, and then he should impress Scriptural principles upon the young ones. He needs to train them in such a way that they are completely convinced, and learn to absolutely concur with the Scrip­tures. They must be taught to love the Word, and they must know why they believe the Scriptures.

Parents need to set examples for their children, and display the Scriptural roles of husband and wife.

The mother has an important role in teaching also, as she usually spends more time with the children.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” (Proverbs 1:8)

But it will be a wise woman who deeply respects her husband, and who teaches her children to honour their father as the head of the home.

And it will be a wise man that honors and upholds his wife, in front of the children, as an excellent wife.  (See Proverbs 31:10-31)

In a home where the father is not saved, or where he is not very spiritual, the wife, without nagging him, should let him know that God’s intention for the father is to be the spiritual head of the home. Many men have never had that thought cross their minds. The wife should gently encourage her husband to read the Scriptures to the family, and to learn to pray with them.

Here church leaders can play an important role, by teaching the principles about spiritual authority in the home, and how to teach the Word to build up the family in the faith. They should be keen to guide the family in their desire to become a centre for spiritual growth.

A WEEKLY FAMILY EVENING

We can learn an important lesson by looking at the age-long Jewish practice of the Shabbat Erev meal – that is, the Sabbath Eve meal.  (In the Scriptures, the Sabbath begins at sunset at the end of the 6th day.)

The eve of Shabbat was different from the other evenings of the week; it was the beginning of their day of rest.  (It was a bit like in the Western world where most workers look forward to Friday night – and the beginning of their weekend off.)

Spiritually-minded Jews loved Shabbat, and their custom was for the family to gather for a Shabbat meal on Friday evening where they would have their own special, family evening - a time of worship, singing, reading the Torah, memorizing scriptures, praying, and reaffirming their faith and Biblical values.

The meal, which was the best of the week, was prepared before the Sabbath began. On the table there would be two loaves of bread representing God’s blessing, both spiritual and temporal. There were also two glasses of the fruit of the vine which represented the joy of the LORD, and the joy of life that He gives. 

During the evening the Father would express his love and deep appreciation of his wife, and honour her as the excellent wife of Proverbs 31. And then he would bless his sons, and his daughters, one by one, reciting the blessing of Numbers 6:24-27.

Praying for their blessing, and placing the Name of Yahweh upon the children, gave them an assurance that they belonged to the faith of the family, and that their parents were always concerned for them.

The whole evening was leisurely – it was prime time for the family and the LORD!  And this regular practice helped greatly in uniting the family.

 

LET US SEEK TO MAKE OUR HOME

A SPIRITUAL CENTRE

To conclude:  Every believing family should seek to be a centre of spiritual growth. The father is to be spiritual head of the household, and the children are to be brought up in the instruction of the LORD.

We do not have to imitate the Jewish custom, but a regular fellowship time can bring much blessing to Christian families, and greatly help them to be united, and to grow up in the ways of the Heavenly Father.

None of this is to be bondage, except in the sense that we are the slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:16). This may seem quite “heavy” to Christians who want to walk casually and lightly with their God.  But should it not be our burning desire to do God’s will?

“I delight to do Your will, O My God; Your Torah (instruction) is within My heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

“Children, obey your parents ... FATHERS, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Master.”  (Ephesians 6:1, 4)


    THE  NEW COVENANT    

HAVE CHRISTIANS HIJACKED A COVENANT

 INTENDED FOR ISRAEL?

Jeremiah’s prophecy in chapter 31 is about God’s future New Covenant for Israel - not the church. The New Covenant for the church that has been inaugurated by the Messiah, and that is up and running for all believers – Jews and Gentiles - of the church age, is taught in the other scriptures, as we will see later in this article.

Let’s first look at the New Covenant promise for Israel:

31 “‘See, the days are coming,’ declares YHWH, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, 32 not like the covenant I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt - My covenant which they broke - although I was a husband to them,’ declares YHWH.

33 “ ‘But this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after those days,’ declares YHWH: ‘I will put My Law (Torah-teaching) within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be My people.

34  “And no longer will they teach, each one his neighbour and each one his brother, saying, “Know YHWH,” for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,’ declares YHWH, ‘for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more’.”                                         (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

From this passage and several other prophecies, we can identify the main features of the New Covenant for Israel which are to be fulfilled in the Millennium.

1    It is an unconditional covenant involving God and both Houses of Israel.  (v 31)

2    It is clearly distinct from, and different to, the Mosaic Covenant.  (v 32)

3    It promises national regeneration for Israel.  (v 33a).

4    It involves the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (v. 33b), and Ezekiel 36:27 - “I will put My Spirit within you.” 

5    It is linked to the universal regeneration of Israel. It is for all believing Jews. (v 34a).  No Jew will say to another, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know Him.

6    It brings forgiveness and takes sin away.  (v 34b)  The covenant is mediated by the Messiah. (Hebrews 8:6-8, 13; & 9:15). And Israel’s salvation is based on the atonement through Messiah’s sacrifice at Calvary.  Old Testament believers are also covered by the death of Messiah.)

7    The precepts of God are engraved on their hearts of all the Israelites. (v 33)

8    It includes elements from the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants - regarding the promised land, and the perpetual throne of David. (Genesis 12:1-3. Psalm 69:3-4)

9    It will shower Israel with millennial blessings.  (Ezekiel 34:25-27).

10  It includes a Sanctuary of God (the Millennium Temple) according to Ezekiel 37:26-28.

11  It will fulfil the Millennial prophecies concerning the Messiah and the Kingdom. (Luke 24:25-27)

12  The Mosaic Covenant contained the Law of Moses, but the New Covenant contains the Law of the Messiah (Romans 8:2 and Galatians 6:2), as Messiah will be the King over the Millennial Kingdom.

 

 HAS THE NEW COVENANT BEEN HIJACKED

 BY THE CHURCH ?

A-millennialists (people who don’t believe in the future literal 1,000-year kingdom), and “replacement theologians,” teach that the church has replaced Israel, and therefore the promises made to Israel are fulfilled in and by the church. Yes, Replacement Theology is an attempt to hijack the New Covenant by spiritualising the prophecies and making them fit into a non-literal scheme of fulfillment. In fact, A-millennialists regard many of the endtime Bible prophecies as history.

Pre-millennialists like myself, totally reject “replacement theology” and A-millennialism.

God’s prophecies for Israel will be fulfilled with literal Israel, including the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31. 

Israel’s regeneration begins early in the Great Tribulation when God pours out the Holy Spirit on all flesh. (Joel 2:28). And throughout the seven years, increasing numbers of Jews will receive Y’shua the Messiah as their Redeemer, until finally, all believing Israel will be saved. (Romans 11:26). 

The majority, I believe, will be saved in the first half of the Tribulation. These believers will experience the promises and the provisions of the Eternal Covenant.

In the second half of the Tribulation many believers - Jews and Gentiles - will be slain because of their faith in Y’shua. These martyrs, however, will be raised to reign with Messiah in the 1,000 kingdom.)

With the establishment of the Kingdom, the Covenant with the two houses of Israel comes into effect.

Now the question is …

 

WHAT IS THE NEW COVENANT THAT IS

ALREADY UP AND RUNNING FOR THE CHURCH?

And how does it differ to the future New Covenant for millennial Israel?

1. The Lord Jesus, the apostle Paul, and the Book of Hebrews all speak of a New Covenant which has been inaugurated by Christ, and that it is already operating for all born again believers.

Y’shua, at the Passover meal on the night before He was crucified, indicated that His shed blood would ratify a new covenant.

“After they had eaten, He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup represents the New Covenant ratified by My blood which is to be poured out for you’.” (Luke 22:20)

And as this statement is repeated in Paul’s message to the largely Gentile Corinthian church, we believe this is a covenant for the Universal Body of Christ.

“In the same way, after supper, He also took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me’.” (1 Corinthians 11:25)

The apostle Paul made it clear that the New Covenant was up and running, and that he himself was a minister of the covenant:

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to claim anything as having come from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us competent to serve as ministers of a New Covenant, not of the letter of a written Law, but of the Spirit; for the letter of the Law kills, but the Holy Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6)

2. The writer to Hebrews compares the Jeremiah 31 prophecy with the covenant mediated and inaugurated by the Messiah:

“But now He, Y’shua, has received a ministry which is much more superior and excellent, just as the covenant of which He is Mediator is superior to the old one, and which has been founded on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, no occasion would have been sought for another.

“But finding fault with them, He, YHWH, said, ‘BEHOLD, THE DAYS ARE COMING, DECLARES YHWH, WHEN I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT WITH THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH’…

“When He speaks of “a new covenant,” He has made the first covenant obsolete; and whatever is becoming obsolete and ageing is ready to disappear - to be dispensed with altogether.”   (Hebrews 8:6-8, 13)

“For this reason - His sacrifice - He is the Mediator of a new covenant. Because a death has taken place which redeems people from the transgressions committed under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:15)

3. The Book of Hebrews was written primarily for believers of Jewish background; and the writer makes it clear that the new covenant inaugurated by Messiah was not future. It was already a reality, and all true believers have a part of it.

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God; to myriads of angels, to the Universal Assembly, to the Ekklesia - the corporate body of ‘The Firstborn’ who are enrolled in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect; and you have come to Y’shua the Mediator of a New Covenant and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of mercy - a more gracious message than the blood of Abel which cried out for vengeance.”  (Hebrews 12:22-24)

This leads us to conclude that the New Covenant is indeed present for the Church - for all believers saved by the atoning work of the Messiah at Calvary. This Covenant has been inaugurated by Messiah and is universal. It is also called the “Everlasting Covenant” (Hebrews 12:20), as it completes the plan of God for those saved by the Lamb, from “every tribe, tongue, people and nation.”  (Revelation 5:9)

The New Covenant that YHWH will enact with Israel will also be an everlasting covenant (Ezekiel 37:26), as it completes God’s plan for the nation of Israel. The future national spiritual regeneration of “all Israel” will prepare the Redeemed of the LORD for their central role in the covenant for the Millennial kingdom.

That New Covenant will provide the eternal spiritual realities for believers on earth during  the Millennium, and it will also make provision for a Sanctuary where the Sh’khinah Glory (the manifest Presence of God) will reside once more. (Ezekiel 43:4-5). Mt Zion, the Centre of Millennial worship, will become “the Joy of the whole Earth.”  (Psalm 48). 

And the City of God will be called Yahweh Shammah “Yahweh is there.” (Ez. 48:35)  

Amen!


OUR FINAL STUDY IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL

BY BROTHER BOB HINES, NEW ZEALAND 

  GREAT DISTRESS, AND THE END OF THE AGE 

PLEASE READ DANIEL CHAPTER 12

In chapter 11 part 2 we learnt of the rise of an evil king that other passages in the Bible refer to as The Antichrist and The Beast. We also studied some of the battles that will occur when this king is in a position of power.

Now chapter 12 starts by stating, “At that time.” In as much as the previous prophecy referred to events that have not yet occurred, events that we understand will happen just prior to the return of Jesus Christ, so this reference fairly obviously is referring to that same period of time.

The Jewish people have suffered unbelievably down through the ages, yet Daniel is told that even worse is to come during these last days.

“At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over the sons of your people, will stand up. And there will be a time of distress such as has never happened from the beginning of the nations until then. But at that time your people - everyone whose name is found written in the book - will be delivered.”  (Daniel 12:1)

Satan knows that the Saviour of the world is returning at the appointed time, and that His physical return is intrinsically woven around Israel and its people. Therefore if he, Satan, can wipe out this tiny nation and its people, he can forestall the return of Christ!

But God sends the archangel Michael to protect the remnant that will survive. This “distress” will be a terrible time for Israel, as other prophecies in the Bible tell us that two thirds of those in the land of Israel will perish during the last half of the seven year tribulation period. But “those whose names are found written in the Book – will be delivered.” 

Pray for the salvation of Israel and its people!

In verse 4, Daniel is now told to “close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end ...”  I am sure that Daniel could not understand all that he had been shown, but he was being told to preserve the revelations he had been given so that future generations, and in particular the last generation, would be able to read God’s warnings of events in the last days.

Verse 4 concludes with the statement that, “Many will go back and forth, and  knowledge will increase.”

Surely this implies that at that time, knowledge and understanding of the Bible, and especially events leading up to the return of Jesus would be understood – much as they are today! Who can doubt that knowledge has undergone an expediential growth in the last 100 years.

From aircraft to rockets visiting the planets, from adding machines to computers, from the finding of medicines and drugs to cure diseases to the implanting of new body organs, the list goes on and on.

For some of us the majority of this knowledge increase has occurred in the space of a single lifetime. Surely this prophecy must have almost reached its fulfillment?

I am sure that after being told to seal this information up until the appropriate time, Daniel would have had a question in his mind of just when would this time be. But God beats him to it!  The angels voice the question for him – “How long will it be before these astonishing things are fulfilled?” And then they answer their own question by saying, “It will be for a time, times and half a time.” (v 6-7).

At first glance it appears that the angel was asking for a date when these things would occur, but the answer shows that he was in fact asking how long the “distress” would last. The answer was that it would last for a period of 3½  years – a time (one year), times (2 years) and half a time (half a year.)

And at the end of that period of time the “power of the holy people will be finally broken.” (v 7).  In the Bible the “holy people” are the Jewish race, so it would seem that this verse is a reference to the fact that it will take all of this terrible time of suffering to break the pride of the Jewish people, at least those that are left, and to bring them to a point of recognizing Jesus as the Son of God and their Saviour.

Daniel, understandably was puzzled. He could not get his mind around what he was being told. I am sure that if he had fully understood it all he would have been heart broken with grief because of what would one day happen to his people. Instead he was told to seal up all that he had been told until the world reached “the time of the end” when it would then be understood. (v. 9-10).

Many Christians believe that we now understand these prophecies. If this is true then we can conclude that the return of Jesus Christ is indeed drawing near!

Verses 11 and 12 are the subject of some debate and conjecture. 

“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!” (Daniel 12:11-12)

We know from other verses (Daniel 9:27 and Revelation 13) that the “abolishment of the daily sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation” occurs at the midpoint of the seven year tribulation period.

This second half of the Tribulation consists of 1,260 days (3½ Biblical years of 360 days each). Yet Daniel 12:11-12 refers to 1,290 days and 1,335 days.

The Bible gives us no explanation as to the significance of these two sets of days, but by the very fact that they are recorded means that they are important.

These figures may indicate that there are 75 days beyond the Tribulation (that is, 1260 + 30 + 45 making 1,335), before Messiah’s kingdom begins to function.

Daniel is now told to “go his way” and that he will soon find rest (die). But at the end of the days he will be raised to reap his rewards in Heaven. (v 13).

What a debt we owe this mighty man of God. Through Daniel comes a large part of our knowledge and understanding of events leading up to and surrounding that wonderful event we look forward to so much – the return of Jesus Christ.

Many of the events Daniel was shown have now occurred yet many more have yet to be fulfilled. Are we the generation which will see the final working out of God’s plan culminating in the return of Jesus Christ for His Bride? Oh how I hope and pray that we are!!

As we go to sleep tonight, let us ponder the possibility that we may awake in heaven, having taken part in the Rapture. Or maybe there are still some years to go to the Rapture!  Only God knows - but we are exhorted to be ready and watching for that glorious imminent event!

Friends, let us live each day as though it might be our last, looking forward to our eternal reward, and striving to take as many people with us as possible.

May God bless you, and may we meet one day in heaven.

Email: bobhines@paradise.net.nz. Website: mannaministries.cjb.net

 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THE MINISTRY OF BRO BOB HINES


SLAVERY AND OPPRESSION

DOMESTIC SLAVERY

Millions of children across the world, some as young as six, are forced to work up to 15-hour days as domestic workers. Many are beaten, starved and sexually abused.

There are 200,000 child domestic workers in Kenya, 550,000 in Brazil and 264,000 in Pakistan.

CHILD SOLDIERS

300,000 children under 15 are involved with fighting forces, including government armies. Boys and girls in at least 13 countries are actively being recruited as child soldiers or as army ‘wives’.

Around 11,000 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo are currently being held by fighting groups.

FORCED CHILD MARRIAGE

Child marriage, which often includes mail order and internet brides, is one of the most widespread - yet hidden - forms of slavery. Girls as young as four are forced to live and have sex with their husband, and are often kept trapped indoors.

Girls under 15 are five times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than women over 20. In Afghanistan more than half of all girls are married before they are 16.

INDIA: CHRISTIANS FORCED TO ‘RECONVERT’

JUNE 07. Hindus have confronted a group of Christian evangelists, forcing them into a nearby village temple to perform a ritual to “reconvert” them to the Hindu religion, according to a new report from the Voice of the Martyrs.

A report from the Hindu American Foundation accused a long list of Christian organizations, including some providing aid in India, of promoting hatred. The report said, “The proliferation of websites promoting religious hatred is an unfortunate consequence of the universality of access to the internet.”

INDONESIA:  INTENSE PRESSURE

JUNE 07. A new law has been passed in West Sumatra, which will take effect in 2008.  According to this new law all school students must pass an exam in the Quran, irrespective of their faith. The same rule applies to engaged couples of any faith: they cannot marry until they have passed the Quran exam, even if they are Christians.

 

Maranatha!

LOOK UP! THE MESSIAH IS COMING SOON!

 

 

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