Will Our Earth Disintegrate — Ever?

Somewhere in the back of the mind of many people is the idea that, because of man’s wickedness, God will allow mankind to destroy the earth until it disintegrates into nothingness.  Will this ever happen?  What does God’s word – the Holy Bible teach about this subject?

The best of human minds – scientists, technologists, government leaders, business tycoons, theologians, academicians, etc. – have looked at the state of our planet and our society, and have fearfully concluded that we are on a collision course to total annihilation in the next decade or years.  For one, they point out that several nations have more than enough nuclear weapons in their arsenal to blast this earth into smithereens many times over.  Add to this the mounting global pollution crisis, the agricultural crisis, the health crisis, the racial crisis and other crises you may think of, and the inevitable conclusion is that it is possible that we could lose this earth as a place we call our home! [See: my article “The Next Chapter of History” and https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklets titled “Are We in the End Times?” “Our Polluted Planet,” “The Agriculture Crisis” and “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.” ]

Some 2,000 years ago a unique human being – Jesus Christ of Nazareth — had predicted that, in our time, humanity would come to this impasse, unless our Almighty God intervenes in time.  He said: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has never been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

Jesus also predicted that, after the symbolic “sixth seal” is opened, great earthquakes will occur in such a way that “every mountain and island was moved out of its place” (Revelation 6:11-12). The apostle Peter was inspired to write: “In the day of the Lord [when Jesus returns to judge the earth] the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works in it will be burned up” “ (2 Peter 3:10).  Revelation 21:1 adds, “…the first earth [our present] had passed away.”  If the ”elements” of the earth are burned up by such a horrific fire, will the earth still remain – or will it simply disintegrate – pass away?

Because of this possible scenario, many people believe there’s no other hope but that they will be safely shot up to heaven, and live there forever and ever.  [Go back to the above-cited Armstrong link, and scroll down to the booklet titled “What Is the Reward of the Saved?”]

Just what does the Bible teach about the fate of our beloved planet earth?

Ecclesiastes 1:4 clearly assures us: “But the earth abides forever.” The earth is such a special place to our Creator God that He will make sure it abides forever, despite the horrific fire that will engulf it.  How will He do this?

Isaiah 51:6 says: “The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will grow old like a garment.”   Hebrews 1:10-11 also says about the foundation of the earth and the heavens, “They will perish, but You [God] remain; and they will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.”  It is the “garment – the “cloak” [the outer covering or crust of the earth] – that will be folded up and dissolved by fervent fire, as Peter wrote [see above] and changed into something better!  The inner part or core of the earth, however, will remain, as Ecclesiastes 1:4 assures.

The new “garment with which God will re-clothe the earth is described in Revelation 21:1-3 as a “new earth,” where its surface will have “no more sea.”  Then the “Holy City,” the “New Jerusalem” will come down “out of heaven” to this renewed earth, to become God’s everlasting abode [“tabernacle”] with men [then transformed as ever-living Spirit-children of God].

Before this magnificent event, the earth will have been ruled by Jesus Christ and His glorified saints for a little over 1,000 years.  This will result in not only a wonderful new world of peace, prosperity and joy, but also billions more of divine, glorified children of God. [Go back to the above-cited Armstrong link, and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Wonderful World Tomorrow – What It Will Be Like!”]

From the New Earth as headquarters, God and His divine family will rule the vastness of the whole universe. Together they will undertake the joyful work of creating “all things new” (Revelation 21:5). What an exciting, magnificent time [eons] that will be!

With such a glorious future, the award-winning writer Pearl Buck fittingly called our planet “The Good Earth.”  Let’s treasure it, too!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
1702202
4

Changing the Times and Law

 

As we start a new year, I believe it would be profitable for readers of this website to know how we, or our particular societies, have come to reckon our times – to use our present calendar.  This is especially significant in light of a prophecy written by an amazing Jewish lad who had survived captivity by the then Babylonian empire of his day, the prophet Daniel. He had been given a vision, by God, of four great “beasts that came up from the Great Sea [the Mediterranean], each different from the other” (Daniel 7:2, NKJV, throughout).  In Verse 7 Daniel describes a “fourth beast” as “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong.  It had huge iron teeth, it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with his feet.”

As students of Bible prophecy understand, the four beasts in Daniel’s vision represented four empirical powers that would come on the whole earth one after the other. The first beast, a lion, represented the Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar.  The second beast, a bear, symbolized the Medo-Persian empire.  The third beast, a goat, represented the Greco-Macedonian empire under Alexander the Great.  The fourth beast, different from the previous ones, looked like a monstrous beast of iron, symbolizing the mighty Roman empire. Verse 20 describes this beast as having “ten horns” [symbolic of kings], and “the other [or another] horn which came up…which spoke pompous words.”

Daniel went on to describe what this fourth beast would do: “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law, and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, times and half a time” (Verse 25).  The latter part of this verse speaks about the persecution of the saints – the true people of God, true Christians – who were indeed persecuted and martyred by the Roman power, with the help of an apostate spiritual/religious leader in the space of three and a half years. Another such persecution will take place three and a half years before Christ returns to take control of all the kingdoms of the world, assisted by His glorified saints (Matthew 24:3, 21; compare with Revelation 11:15; 5:10; Daniel 7:27)

How times and law changed

In all of human history there have been two major changes in the reckoning of times [days, months, and years] from what God has revealed in His word, the Holy Bible, as preserved by His chosen people [the Jews] as “the oracles” (Romans 3:2).

The first world leader to set times differently from what God has revealed was the Roman emperor Julius Caesar, who devised what came to be known as the “Julian calendar.” [See: https://en.wikipedia.org>wiki/julian_calendar.]

Later, another world leader, this time a religious one, modified the Julian calendar for its supposed errors.  He was the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory.  He devised what has been called the “Gregorian calendar,” which has been used by most people in the world until today.  [See: https://en.wikipedia,org/wiki/Gregorian_calendar.]

Basic differences

Here are the basic differences between the times of the Gregorian calendar and God’s calendar [see: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-jewish-calendar]:

  1. Day – Most people around the world today reckon their day from 12:00 midnight to midnight of the following day. In contrast, a day as set by the creation narrative of the Bible is reckoned from sunset to sunset of the next day (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).
  2. Name of days – The Bible simply names the days of the week [of seven days] by number – first, second, etc. (Genesis 1, as above). The Gregorian calendar, however, names the days of the week after some planets and pagan gods and goddesses. [See: https://www.quora.com/What’s-the-history-behind-how-days-of-the-week-and-months-got-their-names.]

Sunday – Domino [“Lord” for the sun-god], thus the Spanish  Domingo.

Monday – Moon goddess Luna, thus the Spanish Lunes.

Tuesday – Tiw, Norse god of war, equivalent to Mars, Roman god of war; thus the Spanish Martes.

Wednesday – Woden, Germanic god, equivalent to the Roman god Mercury; thus the Spanish Miercoles.

Thursday – Thor, Norse god of thunder, equivalent to the Roman god Zeus or Jove;  thus the Spanish Jueves.

Friday – Anglo-Saxon goddess Frigge, equivalent to the Roman Venus or Veneres; thus the Spanish Viernes.

Saturday – Saturn [hidden god, referring to Nimrod]. The Spanish retained the Biblical name of Sabbath, thus Sabado

3. Months – The Bible call months by the number, like days of the week – first, second, etc.  The main difference in the way the Bible defines a “month” from the Gregorian calendar, is that the Bible month follows the God-ordained role of the moon  and the sun to mark times, seasons, days – and certainly months (Genesis 1:14).  The Biblical month begins with the new moon, as that faint crescent appears in the sky. The first quarter moon means a full week has passed. A full moon means two weeks have passed, the third quarter moon  means a full three weeks have passed, and the fourth or last quarter moon completes a full month, until the next crescent moon appears for the next month, and so on.  The Gregorian calendar does not follow the Biblical system.  Thus, if you look at some such calendars that list the phases of the moon, they don’t correspond with the lunar cycles. The months of the Bible calendar were changed from the numerical system to names adapted from the Babylonian calendar when the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, but  original  names were based on the agricultural cycles in Israel, notably the month Abib, which means  “ripening barley” [see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviv] Aviv also came to be known as Nisan (or Nissan) from the Babylonian or Akkadian calendar. Below is a comparison between the Bible months and the Gregorian months:

    • 1st -Abib or Nisan                     March-April
    • 2nd -Iyar                                     April-May
    • 3rd -Sivan                                   May June
    • 4th -Tammuz                             June-July
    • 5th -Av                                        July-August
    • 6th -Elul                                     August-September
    • 7th -Tishri                                  September-October
    • 8th -Heshvan                            October-November
    • 9th -Kislev                                 November-December
    • 10th -Tevet                                December-January
    • 11th -Shivat                               January-February
    • 12th -Adar                                 February-March
    • 13th -Adar II                             March-April

As can be seen above, each Jewish month straddles two months in the Gregorian calendar. Below are the origins of the months in the Gregorian calendar [see:  https://altalang.com/beyond_words/how-did-the-months-get-their-names]:

    • January – Januarius – from Janus, demigod of beginnings and endings
    • February – Februarius – from Febrium, acts of purification
    • March – Martius – from Mars, god of war
    • April – Aprilis –from Aphron,  Aphrodite, goddess of love
    • May – Maius – from Maia, a nymph, goddess of growth
    • June – Junius – from Junos, goddess of war
    • July – Julius – from Julius Caesar
    • August — Augustus — from Augustus Caesar
    • September – Septem – meaning seventh
    • October – Octo, meaning eighth
    • November – Novem, meaning ninth
    • December – Decem, meaning tenth

The last four months were so named, when the first two months were rearranged after December, with March now becoming the first month, and so on.  Interestingly, these last four months coincide with the Jewish months in their order.

Coming — a pure language!

As we can see, there is much confusion and complexity in the naming of days, months, and reckoning of the seasons in our man-made calendars.  Many names are derived from names of pagan gods and goddesses. Time is coming – when Jesus returns to earth to establish God’s everlasting kingdom here – that God will set up a common, pure language (purified of pagan, idolatrous meanings and origins), so that all people can be united in worshiping God  “in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:22).  Zephaniah 3:9 speaks about that wonderful day:  “Then I will restore to the peoples a pure language; that they all may call on the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one accord.

God’s law to be restored

This is to say that God’s law has been taken away!  By whom? The same religious-political world power that Daniel wrote about.  The Roman Catholic Pope has removed the second from God’s Ten Commandments that forbid the worship of and bowing down to graven images, which Catholics do, deny it though they may. To make up for the deficit, the Pope has divided the tenth commandment into two, the ninth now being, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.,” and the tenth now being “You shall not covet your neighbor’s manservant or his female servant, nor his  cattle, nor his ass, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

The original fourth commandment (now the Catholics’ third) omits reference to the seventh-day Sabbath and replaces it with “the Lord’s day” — meaning Sunday! The Pope the Roman emperor have also replaced God’s holy days with pagan festivals.  [See: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org/ click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to the booklets titled “The Ten Commandments,” “Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?” “The Mark of the Beast” and “Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days – Which?” and Happy New Year!]

Not only will God’s true calendar be restored by Christ.  He will also restore and enforce all the laws of God in both the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible. Isaiah 2:24 declares: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain [symbolic of kingdom] of the LORD’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills.  And all nations shall flow to it.  Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, let us go to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem, and He shall judge between nations, and rebuke many people.”  The result?  “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.  Nation shall not lift sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” [Go back to the above-cited Armstrong link, and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Wonderful World Tomorrow – What it Will Be Like.”]

May God speed that day!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
24012024

Is Sin Inherited?

You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments (Exodus 20:4-6, NKJV, emphasis added).

At first glance, it would seem that sin – the transgression of God’s holy laws “(1 John 3:4), such as that quoted above – is transmitted from one generation to another, apparently by heredity. But this poses a number of questions, not the least of which is finding the genes, if any, that would be responsible for such generational transmission.

A timely and ongoing question is: Is homosexuality [same-sex orientation and behavior] hereditary? Is there a “gay gene?” You can search Google for scientific (or pseudo-scientific?) studies on this subject, and come away with a conclusion ranging from highly tentative to absolutely negative!

Without directly saying so, the Roman Catholic Church has a dogmatic or doctrinal statement of the supposed hereditary nature of sin. This is famously found in the Roman Catholic teaching on the supposed “immaculate conception” of the Jewish virgin Mary, the human mother of Jesus Christ. The RC Church has had to come up with this tenet to try to prove that Jesus was not sinless if He had been borne by a sinful woman – if indeed Mary was not “immaculate” or freed from the stain that all of mankind has inherited from our fallen first parents Adam and Eve, who supposedly committed the “original sin.”[On the matter of “original sin,” see: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!” and Two Goats Together, especially the section captioned “Satan the father – or author — of sin?”]

If indeed Mary was immaculately conceived and therefore sinless, would this make her an exception to the apostle Paul’s famous inspired statement “For ALL have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) – all, that is, except Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:21-22; 2 Corinthians 5:21)? Jesus was the “lamb of God” without blemish that was sacrificed for the sin of the whole world (John 1:39) – for our forgiveness or redemption from sin’s penalty, death (Romans 6:23) [see: The Redeemed of the LORD]. As someone pointed out, Jesus’ sinlessness was not the product of Mary’s supposed “immaculate conception” but by the fact that He was the very Son of the holy and perfect God the Father. [See: The True Christ.]

How does sin come to human beings?

Every human sin has someone in the equation who entices and seduces people to sin – Satan the devil, the great tempter (|Matthew 4:3; 1 Timothy 3:5|).  Our first parents sinned because Satan had convinced them [Eve first, then she, Adam] to disobey God’s one prohibition in the Garden of Eden. Paul calls Satan “the prince of the power of the air” who works in “the sons of disobedience, among whom we all conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh” (Ephesians 2:2-3).  [See:  Where Did the Devil Come From?]

James 1:12, 14-15 says: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation…. each one is tempted when he is drawn away [from God’s way] by his own desires [KJV, “lusts”] and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Part of the equation of sin is the influence of a sinful society [the “world”] on our sinful flesh — our tendency to sin [see: Is There Ever Any Good in Man?]. Every human baby is like how David said of himself: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5).  This is not to say that sin is inherited.  Rather,  it shows that since all parents are sinful |(Romans 3:23), every child, from the womb, absorbs the sounds and impressions of a sinful environment. A human fetus is not totally insensate nor is it unable to perceive! Knowing this, some parents talk to their unborn babies in loving tones and terms. Some even play classical music around the unborn baby so it will later grow up appreciating and desiring this type of music.

While growing up a child learns by imitating the voices and actions of those around him. As a saying goes, “Children are great imitators.” That is why proper parental example, as well as parental teaching,  is vitally important. The environment a child grows up in plays an important role in shaping his attitudes and behavior. [See:   www.saap.za.net/resources/19/51-articles-12-steps-raising-juvenile-delinquent.]

Aside from attitudes and behavior being thus “caught,” they can – and must – be taught. God’s word definitely commands parents: “Teach them [God’s statutes and judgments] to your children and your grand-children. . . that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on earth” (Deuteronomy 4:8-10). “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). [See:  https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Plain Truth About Child Rearing.”]

Some parents are guilty of saying to their children, “Do as I say, not as I do!” Children are more likely to follow or imitate what their parents do than what parents simply say. If children lack such righteous parental examples, they can look to the righteous examples of others in their community or society. “Remember those who rule over you [pastors and ministers of Christ] who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct (Hebrews 13:7).

Since the advent of the internet and social media providers, parents have faced a challenge to their teaching and instructing children in the right values. Parents must be pro-active in filtering out what moral garbage their children might be viewing or listening to in the social media. [See:  https://everaccountable.com/blog/5-tips-protect-kids-porn/.]

Because all have sinned and have earned sin’s penalty [death in the “lake of fire” (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:8)], God calls on us all to repent (Luke 13:3, 5; Acts 3:19-21) – to turn from following Satan’s way of sin, to following God’s perfect way of righteousness, as embodied in God’s law and commandments (Psalm 119:172), and to accept with faith Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to pay for the penalty our sins. That is how we are forgiven of our sins and are saved from eternal damnation. Through such mercy of God, He will no longer “visit the iniquity of the fathers upon the third and fourth generation,” who will thus learn to love God and keep His commandments.

Jesus Christ had a number of sinful ancestors [Rahab the harlot or prostitute, King David the adulterer and murderer, David’s descendants, who had their own share of sin (Matthew 1:1-14)]. Their sin, however, did not affect Christ’s moral purity, any more than His mother Mary’s sin did! God’s teaching on this is very clear: “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:20).

This month of December, as the world celebrates what is historically and Biblically the wrong date of Christ’s birth [see: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets,” and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Plain Truth About Christmas”], people should appreciate the stirring message of their favorite carol “Joy to the World.” The rarely-sung third stanza goes: “No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found, far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.”

The curse of sin and death is gone because “God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  Thus God will no longer visit our parents’ iniquity and curse, on the third and fourth generation, but will show mercy to all who love Him and keep His commandments.  All glory be to God!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
16112023/04122023

The So-called “Science” of Gender Identity Affirmation

 

Recently I viewed with keen interest the now viral video (over 4 million views), where American medical doctor James O’Keefe is offering some scientific explanation about “nature’s” design and the necessary role of homosexuality in the proper functioning and survival of the human family and society.  [See: https://singjupost.com/james-okeefe-homosexuality-its-about-survival-not-sex . This is a transcript of O’keefe’s video, included at the end of the transcript, which you can also watch.]

Most comments by viewers were highly positive, and a few had some rather vague reasons for disagreeing with Dr. O’Keefe’s view.  I find myself in the latter category of reactions.  In a word, I would evaluate the famous doctor’s proposition in the same way God, through the apostle Paul, calls certain dubious knowledge as “falsely called science” (1 Timothy 6:20, NKJV) [“science so called,” KJV] .

Why so?  I will try to be as plain as I can be!

In the first place, Dr. O’Keefe is patently a firm believer in the theory of evolution.  Yet, it is a “theory” that has many gaps and inconsistencies it cannot explain!  He views homosexuality as an “evolutionary” occurrence essential to the survival of the human and other species — the “natural order.”

I would strongly recommend that you check out the website of, in my view, a more distinguished and much more credible scientist than Dr. O’Keefe. The website is published by a mechanical and former aerospace engineer and expert in neuro-science and computer science who, for now, goes by the name “Adon.” — https://www.thehighestofthemountains.com. With his scientific expertise he proves beyond any reasonable doubt that evolution cannot be true !  [See also: https://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklets titled “A Theory for the Birds,” “Some Fishy Stories,” and related booklets and other “Reference Materials” on evolution.]

Dr. O’Keefe proposes that everyone – especially family, friends, schoolmates and workmates – should “affirm” or accept a homosexual person who may be outwardly obvious or who “comes out” as such.  That we should rather accentuate the positive benefits to family and society of the “otherness” of that person, and eliminate negative reactions such as shaming, censure, rejection – even violence.  That one’s homosexuality should not be a reason for that person to be – and feel – unloved.

In this case we could use the cliché “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Unhappily, I don’t get the full sense of this from Dr. O’Keefe’s video. Instead I get the impression that the doctor is recommending that we condone or overlook the sin!  He does not consider the harmful effect it may have on the person and/or on the others he consorts with.

Far too often religion or belief in a God who has laid down absolute moral standards or laws regarding same-sexual orientation and behavior is pinned as the cause of the homosexual person’s feeling of unwellness – clinically termed “gender dysporia,” in some cases leading to suicidal thoughts (“ideation”), suicide attempts, if not actual suicide. Thus, the Biblical injunctions against same-sex conduct and transgenderism, like cross-dressing, are brushed aside as some backward vestiges of long-gone “dark age” mentality! [See: The Rainbow Connection.]

I believe my above-cited article gives a gracious and compassionate but also Bible-affirming view on the issues about the LGBTQ+ community.  I also deal with the matter in The Conversion Therapy Controversy, Should Everyone Be Allowed to Be Who They Are? and Can it Be Wrong When it Feels so Right?

May God give you a sound-minded understanding of the serious gender identity crisis of today!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
O2112023

One More Voice for Israel

 

 

As I write [21 October 2023], the hottest world news is the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel or the Jews, now in its second week. In the midst of this great chaos, voices are heard favoring one side or the other. Well, let me add my voice to the chorus of those who are in support of Israel or the Jews in this conflict!

What is my reason, or are my reasons, for doing so?

I would summarize my view in what the apostle Paul wrote about Israel, in Romans 11. He began by asking: “Has God cast away His people [Israel]?” His reply:“Certainly not!” (Verse 1.) In Verse 26 Paul concluded: “And so all Israel will be saved.”

One important reason for God doing so is that, while Israel as a nation has been and on the whole still are “enemies” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are, however, “beloved [by God] for the sake of the fathers” [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob] (Verse 28).

God tested Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in their own times and found them faithful to the end [see: The Children of Abraham].  As a result, God gave them irreversible [unconditional] gifts and calling (Verse 29), and that is, that through their seed or offspring – the people of Israel – the whole of mankind will be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18).  God also promised the possession of the land of Canaan — where Israel and Jerusalem are — as their inheritance forever (Genesis 35:11-12; Psalm 105:10-11).

In order to fulfill this purpose, God has saved Israel from their troubles despite their often disobedience whenever they called out to Him. Even in these our “end times” He will do the same for Israel. In a prophecy about our times, Zechariah12:2-3. 9 declares:

Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness [KJV, “trembling”] for the surrounding nations when they lay siege against Judah [the Jews, for short] and Jerusalem. It shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples, and all who would heave it away will surely be cut it in pieces, though all nations of earth are gathered against it…I will set to destroy the nations that come against Jerusalem.

Zechariah 14:2-3 also says: “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem… then the LORD will go forth, and fight against those nations.” And God will surely overcome them!

Christ will come in time to save Jerusalem, because it is His city! It is here where He will establish His throne, from which to rule the whole world with His glorified saints and Israelites, after His return. Isaiah 2 :1-3 prophesies about this, as does Zechariah 8:23. As a result of nations knowing and keeping God’s laws, there will be universal peace and prosperity (Verses 4-5)! [See: When He Rules the World.]

The bottom line

God’s promise to Abraham and to his descendants [certainly including Israel today] is: “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse those who curse  you” (Genesis12:3). Zechariah 2:7-9 says that “he who touches you [Zion/Jerusalem/Israel] touches the apple of His eye [in reference to Israel (Deuteronomy 32:10)]. For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants.”

Will you be for or against Israel in today’s Middle East crisis?  Do you want to be blessed and not cursed? Then, add your voice too for Israel!

Psalm 122:6 well sums it all – “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you.” [See: God’s Kingdom and Israel.]

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
21102023

 

Intertwining Divine Will and Human Will

The two could not be more diverse! Yet life’s ultimate purpose is to make both one – in favor of the divine.

How is this possible?

Isaiah 55:8-9 declares to mankind: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the LORD, ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”

From the start of human history God observed “…that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of man was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). As a result, God had to wipe out the entire human race through a worldwide flood and spared only righteous Noah and his family. [Read the rest of the story in Genesis 6 through 8.]

Mankind has since increased again upon the earth, but so have their evil thoughts and ways – more so in these our days! The apostle Paul described our times as “perilous: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times shall come: For men shall be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, despisers of good, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

That is why Jesus teaches us to pray to our heavenly Father: “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). God’s will is just not being done by the broad majority of mankind!

The human dilemma

Paul famously explains how difficult it is for God’s will to be done on earth by man. He wrote about his and all of humanity’s condition: “For we know that the law [of God] is spiritual, but I am carnal [made of flesh], sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If then I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law [of God] that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:14-20).

Paul explains this “law” as “another law in my [bodily] members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin” (Verses 21-23).

Paul called this “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2), for as he wrote earlier, “the wages [reward] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

The prophet Jeremiah was earlier inspired by God to write about the human condition: “The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Earlier he wrote: “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).

Knowing this too well as his own dilemma, Paul felt “wretched” and helpless (Romans 7:24). But he knew the only solution – Jesus Christ our Lord!

God’s Will Shown Through His Word and law

If we want to know what God’s will is, we can find it well contained the “books of the law” [Genesis through Deuteronomy – also known as the “Pentateuch” or the “Torah”] and throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. As someone described it, God’s law is a “facsimile” [or Xerox copy] of God’s mind, purpose, will, pleasure or displeasure. God’s law basically tells us what God wants or does not want us to do – what pleases or displeases Him: the “thou shalts” and the “thou shalt nots.”

The problem, however, is that the natural man is unable to understand the “things of God,” such as His law. It takes the Spirit of God to do this. Paul wrote:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory [Christ].

But as it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[Isaiah 64:9]

But God has revealed them to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit [of God] searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who [or that] is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.

These things we also speak, not as words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the th0ings of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, becau0se they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet is himself is rightly judged by no one, For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” [Isaiah 40:13] But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:7-16).

In a word, we cannot understand the things [or mind] of God unless we have God’s Spirit guiding and teaching us.

Paul tells us again how humanly impossible it is for the natural [“carnal” or fleshly] mind of man to be subject to God’s law, and thus to please God (Romans 8:7). The only solution is for man to have the spirit of Christ in him. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the [sinful] deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God these are sons [or children] of God” (Verses 13-14).

Those, then, who are led by the Spirit of God are able to surrender or subject their human will to God’s will. They will be like the human Christ who, during His agony about His impending death by Roman crucifixion to pay or atone for all of mankind’s sin, prayed that He would be spared by the Father from the suffering.

But knowing how vital His death was for the salvation of man, He prayed, “Nevertheless not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Luke 24: 41 renders this same prayer as: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup [of suffering] from Me; nevertheless not My will but Yours be done.”

When we are truly Christ’s because we have His Spirit (Romans 8:9), we will have the same mind as His (Philippians 2:5), our human will also attuned to and intertwined with God’s will!

For more on this topic, see “What Is This Thing Called ‘Will’?” “God’s Spirit and Obedience” and “The Higher Law of the Spirit.”

 

Pedro R, Meléndez, Jr.
09252023

 

 

 

 

“Deep Calls Unto Deep”

Psalm 142:7 [NKJV] says: “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls. All Your waves and billows have gone over me.”

We might understand this to mean how the knowledge of God resounds from one depth to the other. Christ likened God’s Spirit to water (John 7:37-39; 6:64). I personally experienced this recently when I came across a website put up by an American aerospace engineer and  expert in computer science and neuroscience or brain science. I felt that what he has written about God and the Bible in light of his scientific experience called out to the things I have also written on this my website!

In case you haven’t already encountered him on the internet, he goes by the name “Adon,” and his website is: www.thehighestofthemountains.com.

After having read several of his rather technical-sounding articles I got the distinct impression that, through his scientific expertise, he has been called by God to bring God’s word – His truth – to all nations. In a comment I remarked to him that, by a different route I feel that God has given me a similar calling.

I therefore encourage you, my dear readers, to visit Adon’s website and compare our content. You might be surprised at how similar are our perception and conclusions about God’s purpose and ways! Our eternal God bless you with a good understanding and a life pleasing to Him!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
28082023

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wise as Serpents, Harmless as Doves

In sending His disciples into the places where they were to preach the gospel, Jesus told them to “Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). He prefaced this with the warning: “Behold, I send you out as sheep [‘lambs,’ Luke 10:3] in the midst of wolves” (Verse 15).

By learning about the nature of serpents and doves, we can understand better how we are to conduct ourselves as Christ’s servants in our community, especially a hostile one. As the apostle Paul said, “His [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Romans 1:20).

First, then, how did God make or create the serpent? The outstanding characteristic of the serpent is its eyes, which never shut; it has no eyelids. The Greek word for serpent or snake is ophis. The root oph occurs in the word ophthalmology (the science treating disorders of the eyes).

Christ told His disciples to “Watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41).  To “watch” is to be awake.   In a dangerous situation one cannot be careless but watchful, awake and alert.  Like a serpent that doesn’t blink its eyes!

This does not mean that we should not sleep at all! As physical creatures, we all need a fair amount of sleep. But whenever we are awake, we are to be watchful and “circumspect” – looking around. As Paul admonished: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

Speaking in the spiritual sense, Paul tells us: “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do.  But let us be watchful and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). He said this in the context of watching the signs of the times before the “day of the Lord [Christ’s return], which comes as a thief in the night” (Verse 2) – unexpectedly. He particularly warned about a time when men would proclaim “Peace and safety,” but sudden destruction would come upon them instead |(Verse 3).  Paul admonished:  “But let us who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (Verse 8).  Notice how similar this is to Paul’s exhortation in Ephesians 6:14-18.  As Christian “soldiers,” we cannot let our guard down as we battle the forces of evil in this present world, which Christ likened to a pack of ravenous wolves!

As for being harmless as doves, the dove is a well-known symbol of peace, in contrast to the preying hawk. The Christian’s dove-like spirit of gentleness and meekness makes for peace; whereas violence and pride make for war. Hardly anyone feels threatened by a dove. The American humorist James Thurber wondered how anyone could feel excited with doves.

So gentle and harmless are doves (and their close relatives, the pigeons) that they get along well. The now-extinct passenger pigeon multiplied so much that when a flock of them flew together, the sky darkened, according to ancient lore!

Like harmless doves, Christians can become –and in the past were – the target of persecution and violence, as witnesses The Book of Martyrs.  Many more (like God’s “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:3-13) will become martyrs for the faith of Christ.  But Jesus assures them of ample reward in God’s soon-coming kingdom (Matthew 5:10-12).  God be praised!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
30072023

Coming Soon — the Fall of Babylon!

 

Like drunks, most people have numbed themselves into thinking that this present world will continue for some decades or, at worst, some years as it has done in the past. But for those who are diligently watching the “signs of the times,” this present evil world – which God looks at as Satan the devil’s crafty instrument “Babylon” – has its days numbered!

Like movie-goers who are eagerly waiting for the next movie that’s “coming soon,” these diligent watchers clearly see the signs of the soon-coming fall of “Babylon” as described in Revelation 17 and 18.

One such sign is how Babylon – symbolized as a harlot woman [prostitute] – has made “the inhabitants of the earth…drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Revelation 17:2).  A gaudily attired harlot, she has in her hand “a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication” (Verse 4).

Some have rightly pointed to this “golden cup” as the attractive way by which this world’s god, Satan, has enticed a majority of earth’s inhabitants into a false religion with its colorful pageantry and mystique. As a result, worship in a conservative church congregation may seem bland and “uncool” in comparison.

But here I would like to single out a particular “abomination” and “filthiness” of Babylon’s fornication. It is the proliferation of pornography (from the Greek words porneia, meaning “fornication” or “sexual immorality” and graphein, meaning “writing” or “graphics,” which include graffiti on walls, sexually explicit stories and pictures in magazines, books, posters, billboards, tv commercials, movies and videos on the internet and messages on digital phones, tablets and computers.

Someone has dubbed this phenomenon as a “porndemic!”

Some have estimated that there are over three billion pornography (or “porn” for short) sites on the internet!  Because of porn’s “three A’s” (accessible, anonymous, and affordable), a surprising percentage of people of both sexes, ages from pre-teen to seventy-plus, single or married, have either purposely or unintentionally logged on to these sites. Assuming that most sites charge single or double digit US dollars for their services, pornography is thus a multi-billion dollar “business” or “industry!” Rolling in gold, these providers seemingly cannot be stopped by human fiat! As the saying goes, there are no sellers where there are no buyers! All because Satan is behind the scenes pulling the strings. Indeed, as Revelation 18:, 39 says, “The kings [leaders] of the earth have become rich, and have lived luxuriously with her [Babylon] through her “merchandise,” including – appropriately enough –  “bodies and souls of men” (Verses 12 and 13).

Social scientists, mental and medical health workers, and religious counselors have studied and have striven to fix the devastating effects of pornography-viewing on the spiritual/moral, mental and physical state of the persons involved on both ends of the “industry.”  Some have likened the effect of porn-viewing to that of taking an addictive drug like cocaine!  Many – even including church workers! – have become addicted to porn, often unsuccessfully struggling with it. Compounding this is the internet’s use of algorhythm– a cyber method of tracking an internet user’s visits to  porn sites and redirecting him to similar sites. [See:  Mind Control.]  Not only is it affecting the person’s perception of himself as filthy, sinful, guilty and shameful; it destroys relationship with people closest to him – family or spouse – and with God!

Left unchecked, pornography could destroy the individual, the family, and the whole human race! God cannot — and will not — allow Satan to thwart His master-plan to bring forth many divine sons and daughters of God through reproduction in the God-ordained human family consisting of a man, his duly married wife, and their offspring or children.  [See: The Rainbow Connection and The Conversion Therapy Controversy.]

The way out

With the imminent fall and destruction of Babylon [which will come “in one day” or “an hour” (Revelation 18:8, 10, 17, 19)], God cries out to His people (both Israelites and Christians): “Come out of her [Babylon], My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Verse 4), because “she will be utterly burned with fire” (Verse 8).

How can one come out of Babylon if or when one is addicted to her merchandise of porn?

God has promised with certainty: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

A number of religious people have offered such “way of escape.”  See, for example: puredesire.com (with Nick Stumbo or Ted Roberts) and faithfulandtrue.com.  See also my articles: “On Earth Is not His Equal,”  Overcoming Temptation, and Good News — End of the World!

Remember, the stakes are high!  Absolute death and perdition, if we don’t come out of the bondage of porn addiction (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 21:8; 22:15).  But mercy and forgiveness to the repentant and overcomers, through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross at Calvary; sanctification through God’s word and Holy Spirit; and glorification with everlasting life and immortality in God’s kingdom at Christ’s soon return (1 Corinthians 6:11;15:50-54; Revelation 2:10-11; 3:5; 22:14).

May you choose purity of heart and body — and everlasting life!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
29062023

God of Sufficiency

Leaders of most of this world’s nations strive hard to make their country self-sufficient in man’s basic necessities – food, clothing, shelter, plus energy, mass communication/transport, national defense.  In the process these nations may, knowingly or unknowingly, fall into the trap of making self-sufficiency some kind of idol – a false god – they bow down to.  This may result in coveting the resources of other nations, even going to war to obtain these.  James 4:1-5 succinctly points out this grave human tendency.

Everyone needs to know that our Creator is a God of sufficiency: He is able to supply us our needs sufficiently – even abundantly. Jesus, however, stated how we can avail ourselves of this sufficiency: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things [our necessities, Verse 31] shall be added to you” (Matthew 6: 32).

The kingdom of God is the rule or government of God that Jesus Christ will impose on all humanity when He returns to take power over all the earth (Revelation 11:15-16). [See: “The Next Chapter of History.”] It will bring about great abundance and prosperity and joy!

God’s righteousness is God’s perfect, sinless attitude and conduct (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; 4:15), as shown by His commandments and laws (Psalm 119:172). Such righteousness is imputed to us by faith through God’s grace (Philippians 3:9).  [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience, Saved for Good Works,  and Being and Doing.]

A faithful follower of Jesus, the apostle Paul affirmed: “And my God shall supply all your needs according to the riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). However, Paul also experienced that God may decide, for a higher reason, to not grant our every request.

Paul apparently had some physical affliction that he attributed to Satan the devil (2 Corinthians 12:7) – probably a problem with his eyesight, as indicated by how he had to write his epistle to the Galatians with “large letters” (Galatians 4:11).

Thrice Paul had implored God to remove the affliction from him. But God refused to do so for a higher purpose – that Paul may not be “exalted above measure [become puffed up] by the abundance of revelations” (Verse 7, first part) he had received from Christ, who said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (Verse 9). Paul went on to state a sublime paradox: “Therefore most gladly I will rather take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (Verses 9-10).

God’s grace through Christ – the undeserved pardon which every believer receives through faith and repentance – is sufficient for all. The blood which Jesus as the “Lamb of God” shed all the way from Pilate’s court, down through the “Via Dolorosa,” up to the cross at Calvary, is sufficient to take away the sin of the whole world (John 1:29).  As a Protestant hymn declares about God’s grace: it “can pardon and cleanse within, grace that is greater than all our sin.”

God’s sufficiency in Old Testament times

God provided “bread” for His people Israel during their wilderness sojourn [see Exodus 16].  Verses 17-18 relate about God’s amazing provision:  “Then the children of Israel did so and gathered [manna], some more, some less.  So when they measured it by omers, he who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

Paul saw in this miracle a principle he taught to the Christians in Corinth:  “For I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack, that their abundance also may supply your lack — that there may be equality” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15).

Sufficiency of trials, too!

Besides grace, God also gives us sufficient trials and burdens to bear each day.  Jesus said: “Therefore do not [overly] worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:34).

Knowing this, Paul was also inspired to write: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Yes, God will not give us a trial so great that we cannot bear it. Cain, the world’s first murderer, complained that the punishment God gave him for murdering his brother Abel was “greater than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13). By saying thus to and about God, Cain profaned God’s righteous, holy name. Let’s not become guilty of the same error!

God give you the grace to experience His sufficiency every day!

 

Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.
13052023