Prince of Heaven

by David Cook

Christmas by children of St Paul's Church, Auckland, New Zealand

Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”    Luke 1:30-33 NKJV

The birth of the Prince of Heaven is the hope of the world.

We read a prophecy about the Messiah, the Prince of Heaven in the Jewish Tanakh in the book of Isaiah;

For unto us a Child is born,

Unto us a Son is given;

And the government will be upon His shoulder.

And His name will be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace

There will be no end,

Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,

To order it and establish it with judgment and justice

From that time forward, even forever.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 NKJV

The Prince of Heaven is the Son of the Highest. He is the Prince of Peace, the promised Son of David, the Son of the living God, and is a Mighty God. The kingdom of the Messiah will last forever.

 

Have you ever considered what was going through the mind and heart of God before He gave His beloved Son to be born in Bethlehem?

 

 

Messiah’s Birth Announced to Mary

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38 NKJV

To read more of the miraculous Advent account read Luke chapters 1 & 2 and Matthew chapters 1 & 2.

Yeshua is love incarnate.  God revealed His love for the people of the world by sending His beloved Son to earth.  Yeshua gave His life as a ransom for our sins, He is our Savior!

Long ago wise men came from afar to worship the Prince of Heaven.  Wise men and women from far and wide today come before the Prince of Heaven to worship Him.

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Romance & Marriage

by David Cook

R&M 01

Maybe you’re in the midst of a college romance.  Perhaps you’re twenty-something or thirty-something, regardless of your age if you’re single and desirous to find a relationship where you can be fully known and fully loved this may be worth your time to read.  It may even spare you some heart ache if you take some of this to heart.

This article was not written for wimps. If you are afraid of the “C” word (commitment) you may just as well avoid this article just like you avoid commitment in a relationship.

Then the LORD God said,

“It is not good for the man to be alone;

I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

Genesis 2:18 NASB

The marriage relationship is a divine original, it was God’s idea for a man and a woman to be united in love in a covenant relationship.  Is it God’s will for you to be married?  If so, how do you know?  And how do you find your match made in heaven?

Maybe you’re in a relationship with someone you were introduced to by a friend.  Or you’re interested in someone you saw on an online dating site.  Maybe it’s someone you’ve gotten to know over time, on a mission trip or someone you sang on tour with.  Or it could be a friend who is singing as a featured artist on your new album and a spark ignites.  Maybe you started a summer romance that sent you to cloud nine and you’re wondering…is this someone I should get serious with?

Or perhaps you met a billionaire’s heir in a garage sale in answer to a prayer.  It may start out with a little crush, and to your surprise it’s reciprocated and before long your feeling a little rush.

It’s hard to say, regardless sparks begin to fly and you may think you’re about to die from a romantic heart attack.  You’re falling head over heals in love.  But are you falling in love with the right person?

What happens when a good girl, who loves her mama and Jesus meets a bad boy; who is a player?

Infatuation…

People begin romantic relationships for different reasons.  Some people are marriage minded and looking for “Mr. Right” (or “Mrs. Right”).  Sometimes people know from the get-go that you’re not the person they’ll marry but think they would like to have a relationship with you until the right person arrives on the scene.  Some people are looking for a romance that quickly leads to a sexual relationship without a marriage commitment. Sometimes this is referred to as FWB — “Friends With Benefits”, a casual, no-strings-attached relationship.  The Bible refers to this as fornication and is forbidden by God. Have you ever wondered why God forbids having sex with someone unless you are married to them?

It’s important to find out if what you are looking for in a relationship is the same thing the person you are attracted to is looking for.  Have you started out a romance and thought; “Baby you’re so good for me!!”  And the further down the road you traveled together you think; “Baby you’re no good for me!!!”  I have.

How can a relationship go from “Baby you’re so good for me!” to “Baby you’re no good for me!?!”  This is just one of the reasons why it is much wiser not to get too physically involved with someone you hardly know and are very infatuated with.  It is better to pray, wait a while, spend time together in different situations and get to know someone before you commit your heart, soul and body.  Some people the more you get to know them the more you like them.  Other people the more you get to know them the more you wished you didn’t know them.

Making wrong choices in relationships are full of pain and regret.  It can leave you in a pool of your own tears and in deep depression.  God desires to protect us from the consequences of wrong choices by helping us make good choices.  Living a holy life style.  Living a pure and righteous life as a child of the light…not so easy to do in a fallen world that is morally bankrupt and spiritually dark.

LL 2015

Lara Landon relates in her book Beloved, “I was in the middle of tying to rid myself of a destructive relationship…Every time I made up my mind to never look back, I fell right back into it, harboring those same old feelings again.  So I begged God to break my heart and burn all of the bridges back to the feelings I wanted to let go of.” [1]

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua;

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:9-20 NASB

Paul wrote to the church of Corinth and said that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”.  People who practice fornication or adultery will not inherit the kingdom of God.  Fornication is sexual intercourse between two singles.  Adultery is sexual intercourse with a married person.  [2]

Paul wrote that some of the believers in the church at Corinth had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, or swindlers. “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” [3] These individuals had been living an unrighteous lifestyle but then they heard the gospel of Christ and turned away from their sins and put faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and they found God’s love, forgiveness and eternal life!

16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.  Galatians 5:16-26 NASB

Is the pleasure of having sex with a person you’re not married to worth giving up your virginity for?  Is it worth giving up your dignity for short term pleasure and the shame that eventually will follow? Is it worth giving up your eternal inheritance for?  Is sexual pleasure outside of the marriage relationship worth giving up eternal life in the kingdom of God?

Giving up your birthright for a bowl of beans is a bad trade. [4]  Don’t give up all that your Father in heaven has to offer you for the short term pleasures of sin that the Devil may try to entice you with.  I’m talking to myself here as well as anyone else who may read this.

14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.  Hebrews 12:16 NASB

I Do Not Condemn You, Go And Sin No More

We read of the grace and forgiveness of Christ in the gospels;

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court.10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”  John 8:1-11 NASB

Lara Landon sings of God’s love and forgiveness in her song, “There Is Grace”.

lara-landon in nature

Lara Landon at www.LaraLandon.org

Each person has their own list of what is important to them in a relationship.  Things like physical attraction, chemistry, a great personality, a good sense of humor, shared values, hardworking but obviously each person’s list is different and may change over time.  Not only may your list of what is important to you in a relationship change over time but people change over time.

As you continue on the search for the love of your life here are some questions to consider;

Is she (or he) single?

Is she (or he) saved?  (Is she a royal?  Is she a child of the King?)

Is she (or he) sanctified?

Is she (or he) selfless (other centered) or selfish (self-centered)?

Is she (or he) someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, who has left a trail of X’s with a broken heart?

In the list above, only is she (or he) single and is she (or he) saved are clearly mandated for a believer in Christ when considering someone to marry.  Is she (or he) sanctified and living an other-centered life is written of in the scriptures.  God asks His children to live a sanctified life and to live not just for yourself but for others.  The final question just makes sense; do you want to marry someone who has std’s, lot’s of baggage, and has left a trail of broken hearts?  Do you really want to marry Elvis?  (Granted Elvis was good looking and could sing.)  But do you really want to marry a player (or a playette)?  If you do, your heart may be the next broken heart he (or she) breaks.

Sometimes opposites attract

other times its two peas in pod

who are on the same page.

 

Is she (or he) single?

“You shall not commit adultery.” 
Exodus 20:14 ESV

It is not God’s will for you to begin a relationship with a married woman (or man), this is breaking God’s law.  We read in the Torah; You shall not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14 ESV  Sometimes a woman is separated from her husband and wants to begin new relationship with another man, even though she is married.  So guys be sure she is single! Girls be sure he is single before you begin a romance.  Sometimes men don’t wear their wedding ring and are looking for an extra marital affair.

Is she (or he) saved?  (is she or he a royal?)

It is not God’s will for a believer to marry an unbeliever.  It’s God’s will for a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to marry a believer.  The apostle Paul wrote about this to believers in the city of Corinth;

Do not be bond together with unbelievers.
For what partnership is there between righteousness and unrighteousness?
Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? 

2 Corinthians 6:14 HSV

Is she (or he) a believer?  Is she living in the light of Christ Jesus?  Is she saved?

Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 NASB

Anyone who calls on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved!  If you have never called on Jesus to forgive you of your sins and save you, today is good day; now is a good time.  He can hear you when you pray!

Is she (or he) a royal?

But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
even to those who believe in His name,
John 1:12 NASB

The apostle John wrote that when a person receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and believes in His name then that person is given the right to become a child of God.  That person becomes a part of the forever family of the King of the Universe.  You become a member of the royal family by God’s grace and placing your faith in His Son Yeshua (Jesus).

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in the city of Corinth and gave this relationship advice;

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 7:39-40 ESV

In this scripture Paul is clear that if widow decides to marry after the death of her spouse to be sure the person she marries is “in the Lord”.  That is be sure she marries a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rapunzel 02

Maybe you feel like Rapunzel, locked away in your tower…lonely and isolated.  You may think; “When will Mr. right ride in on his steed and rescue me?”

Is she (or he) sanctified?

For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification:

that you abstain from sexual immorality;

that each one of you know how to control his own body

in holiness and honor,

1 Thessalonians 4:2-4 ESV

Paul wrote to believers in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) that it is the will of God for a believer to be sanctified.  An important aspect of sanctification is living a holy life, abstaining from sexual immorality.  So why does God ask His children to abstain from sexual immorality?

God desires to protect His children from;

Lost virginity and related shame.
Emotional scars.
Std’s (sexually transmitted diseases.)
Unwanted pregnancy and avoid temptation to have an abortion.
Guilt, remorse and depression.
A broken heart and a hardening of your heart.
Difficulty to Trust Again.
Difficult to bond after several bad relationships.

Brothers and sisters, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel [i.e. own body] in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NASB

You may be in a relationship with someone who is saved, sanctified, selfless and you’re singing “Lucky One” along with Amy Gant!

Is she (or he) selfless or selfish?

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to Timothy a young leader of a church about some of the attributes of people prior to the return of Jesus Christ coming back on the clouds;

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.    2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB

Is she (or he) narcissistic, a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God?  Is she (or he) self-centered or other centered?  Does he exhibit living a selfish or selfless relationship.

The bar is set pretty high for a believer in Yeshua the Messiah;

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name…  Philippians 2:3-9 NASB

The apostle Paul wrote to believers to “Do nothing from selfishness…regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Is she (or he) some someone who has std’s, a lot of baggage, and a long line of X’s?

Has this person left a trail of broken hearts behind them?  Are they a player?  Are they offering romance and love in exchange for sexual pleasures?  Does he (or she) have std’s as a result?

How much baggage does this person have (everyone has some) from their childhood, family, friends, work and past relationships?

What about the X factor?  If this person is single and never married do they have people they dated in the past who they were sexually involved with who may be like a revolving door?  They may want to come back after they get over the anger they had for unresolved issues when they broke-up.  Or after they break-up with the person they are currently with they may want to get back with the person you are currently dating.

After a romantic breakup it’s good to hang with your girl friends (or guys with guy friends) and family to recover.  Problem is a common thought is, “I need to go out and find someone I can hookup with to boost my ego from the pain of the breakup” (regardless of who broke up with who).  Normally you feel pain, loneliness, disconnected, rejection, and a good case of the blues.  But jumping out of the frying pan into the fire is never a good idea.  Will you go out and drink a little too much and do something crazy you will deeply regret tomorrow?  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Does finding a shallow, self-absorbed person to have a quick fix sexual encounter with really fix your low self esteem?  Or will it just make matters worse?

If the person is single but divorced should they actually be trying to reconcile with their X-spouse?  Do you want to be in a relationship with someone and then find out it is God’s will for them to reconcile with their X-spouse?  If their divorce was for “irreconcilable differences” or was just “complicated” most likely they should be seeking counsel, working on their issues and attempting to reconcile with their former spouse. [5]  If their spouse committed adultery then they are free to divorce and remarry. [6]  Or if a believer in Christ (a Christian) is divorced by a non-believer (non-Christian) the scriptures said let them go. [7]  So in this case if there is a divorce allowed in the scriptures then the believer is free to marry someone new.

Finding real answers to these five questions and being honest with yourself should help you eliminate some potential pitfalls and a broken heart.  So we begin to see why it is a good idea to get to know more about someone before getting too romantically involved.

What if you fall in love with someone and are contemplating marriage and then find out they are bisexual and you are heterosexual and want to marry someone who is monogamous?  Or what if you find out the person you are married to is heterosexual but you find out they want an “open marriage” and you want a monogamous marriage?  Having conversations about important moral values is important to see if you are on the same page before you marry.  Also, making observations about a persons actions and attitudes on issues may give you insight to a persons moral values (or lack of moral values).  Where there is smoke, (normally) there is fire.

This is not to say that someone who was immoral in the past cannot have a change of heart, be forgiven by God and live in a new and different way.  Consider rap artist Lecrae and the transformation of his life.  If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things fade away and all things become new.

But sometimes people backslide and struggle walking a holy lifestyle.  When someone backslides and “cheats” it breaks trust and makes building a romance and marriage extremely difficult and many times ends the relationship.

Brooke Fraser Holy Jeans

Brooke Fraser at www.BrookeFraser.com

When you hear the phrase “living a holy lifestyle” you may think of living in style wearing holy jeans like Brooke Fraser.  Brooke sings about living a holy lifestyle in her song, “Love Is Waiting”.

It is God’s will for single men and women to save their bodies for their future spouse.  If you are a virgin you have a real gift to give away to your love on your wedding night.  If you’re not a virgin, receive the grace of God and begin to live today the way God desires. Today is a new day, leave yesterday behind you and move forward in faith and hope.

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

Prince on his steed 04

Prince and Rapunzel 05

rapunzel-styled-21

Prince & Rapunzel 06

Rapunzel Photos [8]

Sometimes the vow to love one another until death do us part works out.  Two people continue to be for each other and for the marriage relationship through life’s ups and downs, both the good times and the bad.  This was God’s plan from the beginning that a man and a woman might be united, the two become one; in covenant love.  Marriage is a divine original…God knew it wasn’t good for a man to be alone, so he made a women.

Sometimes Harry & Sally meet, fall in love, marry and live happily ever after; until death due them part; this was God’s will for a married couple from the beginning.

 Sometimes Johnny & Donna fall in love but don’t know what love is. Sometimes they drift apart and their relationship falls apart and their marriage ends in divorce.  Divorce is painful for a husband and wife regardless of who was at fault.  It’s painful because at one point they were in love with one another and now the two that were one are split apart with broken hearts.  People bring both their good and bad into a marriage, their strengths and weakness, their assets and liabilities.  And if they were blessed with children it is painful for the children to go through a divorce as well.  It may take everyone involved years to sort out and question their value and are they still able to give and receive love.  Sometimes a spouse dies and passes from this life into the next from cancer or a heart attack.  Sometimes this happens early in a marriage from a car accident or tour of duty in war.  Sometimes a spouse loses a spouse after twenty-five or even fifty years of a good marriage and then are grief stricken, questioning why God allowed their husband to be taken away.  And children question why God allowed their Dad or Mom to be taken away.

So there are times when we look at both sides of love, past and present, what was for better and what was for worse.  Pleasant memories and difficult ones.  What was an illusion of love and what was real love, this is not always easy to do.

It seems as early as the first crush in grade school we attempt to define too much of our worth and sense of self on the thought, “since I’m loved by someone that I and my peers respect and value; therefore I’m loved and valuable.”  Problem is, people are fickle and flawed (since the fall of mankind). [9] Selfishness motivates so much of what most us do. It is better if our foundation of self-worth comes from the One who made us, we are created in His image. [10]  And if by His grace we were chosen by Him before the foundation of the world to be His beloved children then we can know we are valued and will be loved now and forevermore. [11][12]  Our Father in heaven gave what He valued most (the life of His dear Son) to bring us back into a relationship with Him and call us His beloved. [13]

“If your definition of ‘love’ stresses affectionate feelings more than unselfish actions,
you will cripple your ability to maintain and grow strong love relationships.
On the other hand, if you stress the action of love over the feeling, you enhance and establish the feeling. That is one of the secrets of living life.” ~ Tim Keller

Maybe we need to redefine the word love. [14]

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails…   1 Corinthians 14:4-8 NASB

[1] Beloved by Lara Landon, “Let It Go” page 111;

[2] Fornication: Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to each other. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fornicator  “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NASB and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21

[3] Sanctified: Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB

[4] A bowl of beans for a birthright: Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.  Genesis 25:34 NIV

[5]  When a Christian couple divorce they should either remain single or reconcile and remarry (unless their spouse commits adultery, in such case they are free to forgive and rebuild trust and the marriage or free to forgive and divorce.);  10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband 11 (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.  1 Corinthians 7:10-11 NASB

[6] When a spouse commits adultery; free to forgive and rebuild the marriage or free to forgive and divorce the spouse.  Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9.

[7]  A Christian is divorced by a non-Christian; Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.  1 Corinthians 7:15 NASB

[8] Rapunzel Photos, http://greenweddingshoes.com/the-story-of-rapunzel/

[9] The fall of mankind, Genesis 3:1-24 and the effects of sin continue from Adam to people on earth today, Romans 5:12-21.

[10] People are created in the image of God, Genesis 1:26.

[11] Chosen by God to be part of His beloved family before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 3

[12] To those who receive and believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God as their Lord God gives the right to become children of God.  John 1:12.

[13] Reconciled to God, justified by the blood of His Son: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved [f]by His life.Romans 5:6-11

[14] Redefine the word love, http://31kings.com/redefining-love-audio/

[15] Mali Music, Mali Music Video; www.malimusicofficial.com/videos/

Kings & Queens

By David Cook

  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Sometimes the lines seem to blur between living in reality and living ones dreams.  Is it possible for the King of the Universe to give you storybook realities that exceed your dreams while you’re chasing down today, tomorrow and forever?

Brooke Fraser touches on some of these themes in her song “Kings & Queens”.

BF Kings&Queens
Brooke Fraser with husband Scott Ligertwood

In the Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis presents a fantasy world were average young citizens of England with childlike faith enter into another world where they find that they are in fact, prophetic royalty that have come to play a strategic role in the fight against evil.  They relate to and eventually find themselves in a relationship with a Lion named Aslan who is a benevolent and mighty King of the realm of Narnia.

The Biblical narrative presents similar realities for followers of Messiah Yeshua who is Himself the KING of kings and LORD of lords.  The Apostle Peter spent over three years with His Majesty here on earth before Yeshua offered His life as a sacrifice for our sins.  Peter was a disciple of the Messiah who will rule the earth as the KING of kings when He returns to set up His millennial kingdom on earth.

What did Peter want believers in Messiah Yeshua to understand about their identity?

1.     A member of a chosen race.

2.     A member of a royal priesthood.

3.     A member of a holy nation.

4.     A member of God’s People.

Why did God do this?

 “so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”   
1 Peter 2:9 NASB

Peter wanted God’s people to understand who they are.  Their real identity, not just for time on earth; but their identity during the millennial reign of King Messiah on earth and throughout all eternity.

Let’s read this scripture in 1 Peter chapter two in context with the whole chapter and discover practical Christian living counsel that Peter gives for living this new life in Christ here and now.  In the comments below I’d be interested to know any insights you see for believers in Yeshua on how to live in this present reality on earth.

1 Peter Chapter 2

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.   1 Peter 2:21-25 NASB

BrookeFraser.com

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, 
fear God, honor the king.
– the Apostle Peter

1 Peter 2:17 NASB

LaraLandon.org

Savior & King

by David Cook

Jesus Is Our Savior

God’s beloved Son Jesus is the Savior of the world.  He left His home in heaven with His Father and came to earth to die on the cross to save us from our sins.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

Colossians 2:8-15 NASB

Jesus is the King of Glory 

The Savior of the world is also the King of Glory.  He will return to earth, set up His kingdom and judge all people; both the living and the dead.

JesusKingOfGlory

Christ Jesus—who will someday judge the living and the dead 
when he appears to set up his Kingdom— 
2 Timothy 4:1 TLB

Blessed are the Humble

East Eyes Wide Open West Eyes Wide Shut - DC

by David Cook

“How blessed are those who are humble, because it is they who will inherit the earth!”          Matthew 5:5 ISV   –Yeshua the Messiah


“Humble” by Audrey Assad from her [ Fortunate Fall Year ] Album.

Do the meek (humble) inherit the earth?  As we look at both history and current news it is the violent and ruthless that conquer, control and “inherit” the earth; at least for a period of time.  So why is Messiah Yeshua teaching His followers; that the humble, “will inherit the earth!”?

ISIL near Tikrit, Iraq June 8, 2014
The jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit.  (AFP Photo / HO / ISIL)  This photo was taken from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8, 2014.  The jihadist are also known as ISIS or IS (Islamic State), a group of militant Sunni Muslims. [1]

Yeshua the Messiah foretold that in the future a time would come when His followers would enter into a time of distress (tribulation) and be killed and hated by all nations because of their faith in Yeshua the Messiah.  At that time many Christians would leave the Christian faith, known as the great apostasy.

“Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.  — Messiah Yeshua
Matthew 24:9-10 NASB

On August 7, 2014 CNN reported on ISIS in Iraq; “Christianity in Mosul is dead, and a Christian holocaust is in our midst,” said Mark Arabo, a Californian businessman and Chaldean-American leader. In an interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, he called what’s happening in Iraq a “Christian genocide” and said “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.” “Right now, three thousand Christians are in Iraq fleeing to neighboring cities,” he told Mann. Mr. Arabo is calling on the international community to follow France’s lead and offer the Christians of Iraq asylum.

21 Egyptian Christian Overcomers

On Sunday, February 15, 2015 Islamic State (IS) killed 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya.  IS has taken parts of Iraq and Syria and has beheaded local Christians and Western hostages.   The Islamic Militants (IS) marched 21 captive Egyptian Christians to a beach near Tripoli where they were forced onto their knees and then beheaded.  The Islamic State militants referred to these followers of Christ as; “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church”. [2]

Here is British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking about the persecution of Christians in various nations in the Mideast and other nations abroad.

The apostle John wrote in in the book of Revelation of end-time martyrs.

The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.   Revelation 6:9-11 NASB

In the final book of the Bible we read of Christians who have overcoming faith in the midst of life threatening persecution;

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even when faced with death.  

Revelation 12:11 NASB

Here is an interview on SAT-7 TV of a brother who had two brothers who were beheaded by ISIS in Libya in the month of February 2015.

Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.  Revelation 20:4 NASB

Let’s take a look at four major empires that ruled the Mideast mentioned in the book of Daniel found in both the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bible.

Babylonian Empire

Nebukadnessar_II

King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the Babylonian Empire.

Nebuchadnezzar II was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and for the destruction of the First Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  He is featured in the Book of Daniel and is mentioned in seven other books of the Bible (2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Jeremiah).  We read in the book of Daniel in the Bible where a Messenger from heaven visited the prophet Daniel after the Jewish people had been conquered by King Nebuchadnezzar and then exiled to the Babylonian empire. [3]

Medo-Persian Empire

11 “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him. 2 And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, three more kings are going to arise in Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece. Daniel 11:1-2 NASB

In the scripture above the Messenger from heaven foretold that a forth Persian King (who ruled after Darius the Mede) “will gain far more riches than all of them; as soon as he becomes strong through his riches, he will arouse the whole empire against the realm of Greece.”  This is a prophecy about the Persian king  Ahasuerus (a.k.a. Artaxerxes or Xerxes) who became politically and militarily strong and through his wealth and then stirred up the Persian empire to fight the people of the west; the realm of Greece. This war between the Median-Persian Empire against the Greek city-states is portrayed in the movie “300“, released in theaters in 2006.

The Median-Persian Empire war against the Greek city-states continued in the 2014 sequel, “300: Rise of an Empire“;

[This is not an endorsement to watch these films.  The trailers are a visualization of the fulfillment of the prophecy found in the book of Daniel, chapter 11:1-2 that predicts the Median-Persian Empire war against the Greek city-states .]

787px-Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn - Ahasuerus, Haman and Esther - Google Art Project

King Artaxerxes, ruler of Medo-Persian Empire with Haman and his Jewish wife, Queen Esther painted by Rembrandt.

The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to the Greek name Xerxes, both deriving from the Old Persian language Xšayārša. The form Xerxes has not traditionally appeared in English Bibles, but has rather appeared as Ahasuerus. Many newer translations and paraphrases have used the name Xerxes.  Ahasuerus is given as the name of the King of Persia in the Book of Esther.  19th century Bible commentaries generally identified him with Xerxes I of Persia.  The Greek version (Septuagint) of the Book of Esther refers to him as Artaxerxes, and the historian Josephus relates that this was the name by which he was known to the Greeks.  Similarly, the Vulgate, the Midrash of Esther Rabba, I, 3 and the Josippon identify the King as Artaxerxes. [4]

The Greek Empire

The Messenger from heaven then prophesied that a mighty king would arise and he will rule his realm with great authority. This is Alexander the Great, the king of the Greek Empire.

BattleofIssus333BC-mosaic-detail1

Alexander the Great, King of the Greek Empire

Alexander the Great, succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty.  He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, by age thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan.

3 And a mighty king will arise, and he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. 4 But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.  Daniel 11:1-4 NASB

This detailed prophecy about Alexander the Great all came true.  He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, until by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan.  Alexander king of the Greek Empire, was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful military commanders.  In the years following his death, a series of civil wars tore his empire apart, resulting in a divided kingdom ruled by the Diadochi; (Alexander’s surviving generals).  This eventually resulted in Alexander’s Greek Empire divided into four kingdoms; the Seleucus, Ptolemy, Cassander and the Lysimachus kingdoms. [5]

In the book of Daniel we read of the Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire and a fourth mystery empire.  Each of these empires had a significant king who impacted both their kingdom and surrounding nations and other world empires.  We think of King Nebuchadnezzar II the ruler of the Babylonian Empire [3], Ahasuerus the King of Persia (aka King Artaxerxes). [4]  And Alexander the Great, the king of the Grecian Empire. [5]

Ottomon Turkish Islamic Empire

But who is the fourth unnamed empire in Daniel chapter 2 and chapter 7?  Is it the Roman Empire?  Or is it about the Ottomon Turkish Islamic Empire?

Sultan Mehmed II painted by Gentile Bellini

Mehmed the Conqueror, ruler of the Ottoman Islamic Empire.

Mehmed the Conqueror who at the age of 21, conquered Constantinople and brought an end to the Byzantine Empire, transforming the Ottoman state into an empire. [6]  In Daniel chapter 2 we read about a fourth powerful empire.  Today some Bible scholars and students of Bible prophecy believe this fourth empire is the Ottoman Turkish Islamic Empire (Caliphate).  The Ottoman Turkish Islamic Caliphate lasted from 1299 – 1922 AD.

40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. 41 In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 43 And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.  Daniel 2:40-43 NASB

The neo-Islamic Caliphate

The Caliphate Declared by ISIS

The BLAZETV reported on the “Buck Brief” that; On Sunday, (June 29, 2014) Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, a spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),announced the Al Qaeda offshoot had named Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the leader of the new caliphate and formally declared the creation of an Islamic state in the territory under its control. Al-Adnani called on those living in the area under the group’s control to swear allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

On radio this morning, TheBlaze’s national security editor Buck Sexton filled in for Glenn and drew from his four years in the CIA working in both Iraq and Afghanistan as he explained what comes next now that the caliphate is in fact here and official.  [7]

Sunni vs. Shai Civil War

There is a great conflict resulting in many deaths in the Mideast and Northern Africa to decide who will rule the new Islamic Caliphate.  The nations fighting for power are Shai ruled Iran, Sunni ruled Saudi Arabia and Sunni ruled Turkey.  These nations fight and war through their respective proxies, client states and funded and armed jihadists.

Many who watch the news and study Bible prophecy see the neo-Ottoman Islamic Caliphate rising in the Mideast and Northern Africa. [8]  This Islamic empire that will rule the Mideast and North Africa prior to the return of the Messiah.  We read of this final World Empire in Daniel chapter 11.

36 “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods; and he will prosper until the indignation is finished, for that which is decreed will be done. 37 He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. 38 But instead he will honor a god of fortresses, a god whom his fathers did not know; he will honor him with gold, silver, costly stones and treasures. 39 He will take action against the strongest of fortresses with the help of a foreign god; he will give great honor to those who acknowledge him and will cause them to rule over the many, and will parcel out land for a price.

40 “At the end time the king of the South will collide with him, and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships; and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. 41 He will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many countries will fall; but these will be rescued out of his hand: Edom, Moab and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. 42 Then he will stretch out his hand against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. 43 But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. 44 But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many. 45 He will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.  Daniel 11:36-45 NASB

Here we read in the book of the prophet Daniel that the King of the South (Egypt) will attack the King of the North (the neo-Islamic Caliphate).  Then the King of the North (King of the neo-Islamic Caliphate) will invade the “Beautiful Land” (i.e. the land of Israel).  In Daniel 11 verse 41 we read that the King of the North “will also enter the Beautiful Land, and many will fall”.  That is the Caliph will enter Israel and many people will fall, (many people will be killed).  Others will be exiled, a remnant of Israel will remain in the land of Israel until Messiah returns.

We read a prophecy in the book of Joel that in the last days, a very large and mighty army will invade Israel;

For a nation has invaded my land,
Mighty and without number;
Its teeth are the teeth of a lion,
And it has the fangs of a lioness.

Joel 1:6 NASB

When we look on a map of the Mideast, we see to the north of Israel is Lebanon, Syria, northern Iraq and Turkey.  These nations are in the region of the ancient Assyrian Empire.  It is likely that these Islamic nations (and others) will form the initial neo-Islamic Caliphate.  In Joel chapter 2 we read that this large and mighty army will come from the north of Israel.  God promised His people in the book of Joel that He would “remove the northern” army that will invade Israel.

And I will never again make you a reproach among the nations.
20 “But I will remove the northern army far from you,
And I will drive it into a parched and desolate land,
And its vanguard into the eastern sea,
And its rear guard into the western sea.
And its stench will arise and its foul smell will come up,
For it has done great things.”

Joel 2:19-20 NASB

Many peoples will be defeated by the neo-Islamic Caliphate but Edom, Moab and Ammon (the geography of modern day Jordan) will not be conquered by the neo-Islamic Caliphate.  Egypt will be defeated by the neo-Islamic Caliphate and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow the King of the neo-Islamic Caliphate (most likely Ethiopian and Libyan people will believe the ruler of the Caliphate to be the prophesied Mahdi [9] (or the 12th Imam) [10].  “The Mahdi” in Arabic, al-Mahdi means, “The Guided One”.  He is also sometimes referred to by Shi’a Muslims as Sahib Al-Zaman or  Al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar which translated mean “The Lord of the Age” and “The Guided/Awaited One.”

In Daniel chapter 11 verse 44 we read; “But rumors from the East and from the North will disturb him”.  This is most likely a prophecy that the King of the North (the Caliph) will be disturbed about rumors that China and Russia might invade the Mideast after he conquered Egypt and Israel.  In the book of Revelation we read of a prophecy that a 200 million army from the east will cross the Euphrates River and then invade Israel.  Some believe this 200 million army is from East Asia.

16 The number of the armies of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads, and with them they do harm.  Revelation 9:16-19 NASB

The ruler of the neo-Islamic Caliphate (Caliph) will set up the tents of his royal pavilion in Israel between the Mediterranean Sea and the city of Jerusalem, (Mount Zion).  Yet while in Israel the Caliph (Mahdi) will come to his end.  The Caliph (who is the anti-Messiah) will be defeated by “The Lord of hosts” (Messiah Yeshua) when He returns from heaven with His army. [11]

The apostle Paul wrote to believers in Thessalonica; Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2 Thessalonians 2:8 NASB

Paul refers to the Anti-Messiah as that “lawless one”.  We read of the ruler of the neo-Islamic Caliphate in the book of Revelation chapter 13;

It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.  Revelation 13:7-10 NASB

This ruler will make war (jihad) with the saints (God’s people) and defeat them.  This ruler is known among Christians as the anti-Messiah (anti-Christ) and may very will be the Islamic Caliph (i.e. the Muslim Mahdi).

25 He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.  Daniel 7:25 NASB

The Caliph of the neo-Islamic Caliphate (aka as the Mahdi) “will intend to make alterations in times”, that is bring in a new Islamic calender, known as the Hijri calendar [12] and intend to bring in Sharia law. [13]  The Mahdi (the anti-Messiah) will rule over Israel and the holy city of Jerusalem for three and a half years.  The apostle John also prophesied this;

11 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2 Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.  Revelation 11:1-2 NASB

John wrote that the outer court of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem has been given to the gentile nations who will tread upon the holy city of Jerusalem for forty-two months (or three and a half years).

The prophet Zechariah wrote of this time of when Israel will be invaded and Jerusalem will be captured;

14 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.

Zechariah 14:1-2 NASB

The Caliph, who will rule the neo-Islamic Caliphate will speak out against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Israel.  The Islamic Caliph will be against the God of Israel; Yehovah, the Lord of hosts.  Thus, this Islamic ruler will be against the Messiah of Israel. Therefore, this ruler is referred to as the anti-Christ (anti-Messiah).  The Caliph will “wear down the saints” conquer the saints in Israel and Christians in various nations around the world.  It is no secrete that Muslims are commanded in the Quran to make jihad against the Jews and the Christians.

The Quran contains many verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of their God and Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the jihad (fight) are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that their God will send them to hell if they do not join the war. [14]

26 But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Daniel 7:26 NASB

Here we read that the high court, the court in heaven; the divine court of God Himself will sit in judgement of the Anti-Messiah and his dominion will be taken away and be destroyed forever.  This ruler who leads the Mideast and North African nations (the neo-Islamic Caliphate) in an invasion to conquer Israel and capture Jerusalem will be judged by the Most High God.  The final Mideast & Northern African World Empire will be the Neo-Islamic Caliphate.  This is the empire that will be fighting jihad and then rule the Mideast just before the Messiah returns.

12 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:1-2 NASB

The Day of the Lord is Near!

Here in Daniel chapter 12 verse 2 we read of the resurrection of the dead of those whose names are written in the book of life.  The saints of God, who died with their faith in God and His coming Messiah; will rise again at the last trumpet.  The saints who are alive on earth when the last trumpets sounds, will be transformed from mere mortality to immortality; in an instant, in the twinkling of the eye. [15]

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NASB

The Day of the Lord is a day soon coming when Messiah, the “Son of Man” will come on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory and rescue the righteous. [16]

Yeshua foretold His coming for His elect.  The elect are God’s righteous people who have faith in Yeshua the Messiah.

30 And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn,
and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky
 with power and great glory.
 
31 And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet
 and they will gather together His elect from the four winds,
from one end of the sky to the other.

Matthew 24:30-31 NASB

The prophet Zechariah wrote of the “Day of the Lord” when the Messiah will fight against the nations who invade Israel and capture Jerusalem;

Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!

In that day there will be no light; the luminaries will dwindle. For it will be a unique day which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but it will come about that at evening time there will be light.

Zechariah 14:3-7 NASB

After Messiah rescues the righteous (the elect) then Messiah’s wrath will be poured out on the wicked.  This will be as it was in the days of Noah and Sodom and Gomorrah. [17]

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

Matthew 24:36-41 NASB

In Matthew chapter 24 Yeshua taught us that His coming for His elect people (the rapture of the people of God) will be just like the days of Noah.  Before the flood people were eating and drinking and getting married; it was life as usual.  Then the flood came and Noah and his family were safe in the ark and the wicked were destroyed by the flood. Things will be the same when Messiah comes on the clouds with power and great glory. God’s people will be taken up into the clouds by His angels to meet the Lord (Messiah Yeshua) in the clouds.  Afterwards God’s wrath will come on the wicked.

After the anti-Christ invades Israel and occupies Jerusalem he will exile many of the Jewish people to other nations.  Then Yeshua the Messiah will gloriously rescue His remnant people on the day of the Lord!  We read of this in Isaiah chapter 11;

Then it will happen on that day that the Lord
Will again recover the second time with His hand
The remnant of His people, who will remain,
From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath,
And from the islands of the sea.
12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations
And assemble the banished ones of Israel,
And will gather the dispersed of Judah
From the four corners of the earth.
13 Then the jealousy of Ephraim will depart,
And those who harass Judah will be cut off;
Ephraim will not be jealous of Judah,
And Judah will not harass Ephraim.
14 They will swoop down on the slopes of the Philistines on the west;
Together they will plunder the sons of the east;
They will possess Edom and Moab,
And the sons of Ammon will be subject to them.
15 And the Lord will utterly destroy
The tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
And He will wave His hand over the River
With His scorching wind;
And He will strike it into seven streams
And make men walk over dry-shod.
16 And there will be a highway from Assyria
For the remnant of His people who will be left,
Just as there was for Israel
In the day that they came up out of the land of Egypt.

Isiah 11:11-16 NASB

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With garments of glowing colors from Bozrah,
This One who is majestic in His apparel,
Marching in the greatness of His strength?
“It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press?
“I have trodden the wine trough alone,
And from the peoples there was no man with Me.
I also trod them in My anger
And trampled them in My wrath;
And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments,
And I stained all My raiment.
“For the day of vengeance was in My heart,
And My year of redemption has come.
“I looked, and there was no one to help,
And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold;
So My own arm brought salvation to Me,
And My wrath upheld Me.
“I trod down the peoples in My anger
And made them drunk in My wrath,
And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”

Isaiah 63 NASB

In this prophecy in Isaiah chapter 63 we read of the Messiah returning to Israel from Edom with His garments drenched in blood.  Ancient Edom is located geographically in the modern day nation of Jordan.  One of the titles of the Messiah found in the Tanakh (Jewish Bible) is “the Lord of hosts”. [18]  The Lord of hosts is the commander of the armies of heaven, both angelic and human armies that will serve His purpose.

King David wrote in Psalm 110 how Lord Messiah will execute His righteous indignation against godless nations.

The Lord is at Your right hand;
He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath.
He will judge among the nations,
He will fill them with corpses,
He will shatter the chief men over a broad country.

Psalm 110:5-6 NASB

We read in the prophet Joel;

Consecrate a fast,
Proclaim a solemn assembly;
Gather the elders
And all the inhabitants of the land
To the house of the Lord your God,
And cry out to the Lord.
15 Alas for the day!
For the day of the Lord is near,
And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.

Joel 1:14-15 NASB

In the book of Daniel (found both in the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bible) we read prophecies of four major Mideast Empires that will precede the coming of the Messiah. [19]

1. Babylonian Empire

2. Medo-Persian Empire

3. Greek Empire

4. Ottoman Turkish Islamic Empire (and the neo-Islamic Caliphate)

The Messianic Kingdom

13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:13-14 NASB

Temple of Messiah

The final empire we read of in the book of Daniel is the kingdom of the Messiah, which will not pass away.  The Messiah’s kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.  Messiah will rule all the nations from Jerusalem.

We read in the book of Daniel chapter 2 where Daniel gives to King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the Babylonian empire the interpretation of a dream God gave to Nebuchadnezzar about the Babylonian Empire and the major Mideast Empires that would follow.

31 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze,33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, andbroke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

36 “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, 38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 Andthere shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage,[c] but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”

Daniel 2:31-45 ESV

Mideast Empires

Empire Time of Reign Symbol Biblical Text
Babylonian Empire 1894 BC to 539 BC Gold Daniel 2:36-38 & 7:2-4
Medo-Persian Empire 678 BC to 331 BC Silver Daniel 2:39 & 7:5, 8:20
Greek Empire 650 BC to 149 BC Bronze Daniel 2:39 & 7:6, 8:21-22
Ottoman Turkish  Empire 1299 AD to1922 AD Iron Daniel 2:40 & 7:7
Neo-Islamic Caliphate 2014 AD to Unknown Iron & Clay Daniel 2:41-43 & 7:7-8, 23-26, 8:23-26
Messianic Empire From Armageddon for the next 1000 years. The Stone (The Rock) Daniel 2:44-45 & 7:9-14, 18, 22 & 27, Isaiah 2 and 11 and 66:10-16.
Messiah’s Eternal Empire 1000 years after Armageddon to Eternity. New Jerusalem, like crystal-clear Jasper Daniel 7:18, Isaiah 66:22-23, Revelation 21:1 to 22:5

Yeshua the Messiah humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Because of this, God highly exalted His Son the Messiah, and gave Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua; every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth.  Every person will acknowledge that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father in heaven.

2 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:1-11 NASB

6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.  James 4:6-10 ESV

27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’  Daniel 7:27 NASB

Here we read that the all the kingdoms of the earth will be given to the saints of the Highest One.  These saints (God’s elect people) are the believing remnant of Israel and believers from the gentile nations who believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  The Lord of hosts, is Yeshua; God’s promised Messiah.  God’s people humble themselves under His rule and the rule of His Messiah.  So, as Messiah Yeshua taught us in the gospels; the humble will inherit the earth.

Flowers on California Coast

How blessed are those who are humble,
because it is they who will inherit the earth!
Matthew 5:5 ISV   –Yeshua the Messiah

[1] An photo from a propaganda video uploaded on June 8, 2014, by the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. (AFP Photo / HO / ISIL) http://rt.com/news/165340-turkish-consulate-mosul-qaeda/

[2] IS militants killed 21 Egyptian Christians, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/15/us-mideast-crisis-libya-egypt-idUSKBN0LJ10D20150215

[3] Nebuchadnezzar II was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 BC – 562 BC. He is credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and for the destruction of the First Temple. He is featured in the Book of Daniel and is mentioned in several other books of the Bible.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nebuchadnezzar_II

[4]  Ahasuerus the King of Persia (aka King Artaxerxes or Xerxes I of Persia).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahasuerus#Book_of_Esther

[5] Alexander the Great, succeeded his father, Philip II, to the throne at the age of twenty.  He spent most of his ruling years on an unprecedented military campaign through Asia and northeast Africa, until by the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to Egypt and into present-day Pakistan.  He was undefeated in battle and is considered one of history’s most successful commanders.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great

[6] Mehmed the Conqueror, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mehmed_II

[7] The Caliphate declared in Iraq by ISIS; http://www.glennbeck.com/2014/06/30/buck-sexton-the-caliphate-is-official-the-caliphate-is-real/  and http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/2014/06/29/ISIS-jihadists-declare-caliphate-.html

[8] Ottoman Islamic Empire (Caliphate), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ottoman_Empire

[9] “The Mahdi.”  In Arabic, al-Mahdi means, “The Guided One” 1 He is also sometimes referred to by Shi’a Muslims as Sahib Al-Zaman or  Al-Mahdi al-Muntadhar which translated mean “The Lord of the Age” and “The Guided/Awaited One.”
http://www.answering-islam.org/Authors/JR/Future/ch04_the_mahdi.htm

http://www.onislam.net/english/ask-about-islam/faith-and-worship/islamic-creed/166743-what-islam-says-about-the-mahdi.html

[10] Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdī (Arabic:محمد بن الحسن المهدي) is believed by Twelver Shī‘a Muslims to be the Mahdī, an ultimate savior of humankind and the final Imām of the Twelve Imams who will emerge with Isa (Jesus Christ) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. Twelver Shī‘a believe that al-Mahdī was born in 869 (15 Sha‘bān 255 AH) and assumed Imamate at 5 years of age following the death of his father Hasan al-Askari. In the early years of his Imamate he would only contact his followers through The Four Deputies. After a 72-year period, known as Minor Occultation, a few days before the death of his fourth deputyAbul Hasan Ali ibn Muhammad al-Samarri in 941, he is believed to have sent his followers a letter. In that letter that was transmitted by al-Samarri he declared the beginning of Major Occultation during which Mahdi is not in contact with his followers.

Followers of Sunni Islam and other minority Shias mostly believe that the Mahdi has not yet been born, and therefore his exact identity is only known to the god of Quran.  Aside from the Mahdi’s precise genealogy, Sunnis accept many of the same hadiths Shias accept about the predictions regarding the Mahdi’s emergence, his acts, and his universal Caliphate. Sunnis also have a few more Mahdi hadiths which are not present in Shia collections. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_al-Mahdi

[11] The anti-Messiah will be defeated by the Messiah when He returns.  See Daniel 11:45, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:11-21.

[12] The Islamic calendar, or Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_calendar

[13] (Sunni Muslims), The Mahdi will bring Sharia Law to the global Islamic community; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahdi  (Shia Muslims) “Imam Mahdi will bring new Sharia (divine law) and commandments.” http://www.discoveringislam.org/shia_mahdi.htm

[14] The Quran contains numerous verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of their god Allah and Islamic rule.  http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/quran/023-violence.htm

[15] Mathew 24:29-30, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, I Corinthians 15:50-52.

[16] “with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming”, Daniel 7:13 NASB “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.”   Matthew 24:30-31 NASB

[17] God’s wrath will be poured out on the wicked. Zechariah 14:3-7, Isaiah 63, Matthew 24:36-41, Revelation 16.

[18] The Lord of hosts is one of the titles of the Messiah found in the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Bible.  See Psalm 25, Zechariah 14, Isaiah 48:1-16.

[19] Daniel chapter 2:1-45 and Daniel chapter 7:1-27.