Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Rapture - Part 7

7. To whom is this wrath directed?

• God’s enemies/adversaries--Nah. 1:2 God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.

Jer. 46:10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries:

• The children of disobedience--Eph. 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Col. 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

• The wicked--Job 21:30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

Is. 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

• Those who don’t believe on the Son--John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

• The ungodly/unrighteous--Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

• Sinners--Is. 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

The “day of the Lord” is also a term used concerning God’s wrath.

Is. 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:

Ezek. 30:3 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.

Obad. 1:15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

These passages all reference the kind of people who will suffer the wrath of God whenever He chooses to exercise that wrath. His character never changes.

Mal. 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not....

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Rapture - Part 6

6. The question now becomes—Who is the restrainer that prevents “the Wicked” from being identified?

The restrainer is a He. It has to be the Holy Spirit in the body of the true church. The Holy Spirit can’t be taken away without our being taken away. He lives in each one who is a part of the true church. We are the salt of the earth. Salt is a preservative; it keeps things from spoiling/going bad. This also makes a more perfect fit for the 70th week as stated in Daniel. The 70 weeks were determined upon Daniel’s people, the Jews, and the holy city, Jerusalem—not the church.

Dan. 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,

There was no church in the first 69 weeks, which lends credence to there being no church in the 70th week. The Holy Spirit didn’t indwell every believer/man of faith during the first 69 weeks, but He was at work in the lives of men of faith as God directed. My first thoughts are that He will function in the 70th week the same as He did in the first 69. On the other hand, God’s word stands forever, and the Bible (including the New Testament) will still be available during the 70th week. I want to do a lot more study in this area.

The first 69 weeks ended when Messiah was cut off (crucified).

Dan. 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,

Although God is accomplishing His purpose for and through Israel during this 70th week, it will also run basically concurrent to the time that His wrath is poured out on planet earth. It is a specific time, yet future. The letter to the church at Philadelphia gives some key words to the church regarding this period of time.

Rev. 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Because the believers in Philadelphia have held fast to and guarded the truth of the words of Jesus with steadfastness and cheerful endurance, Jesus will keep them from (“ek”—out of) the hour of temptation (putting to proof) which shall (future tense from John’s perspective) come upon ALL the world, to try (put to the test) them that dwell on earth. Obviously, this time of testing will be appointed for a specific time, of specific duration, to a specific generation. The fact that it is directed at the whole world distinguishes it from the 70th week of Daniel that is directed toward Israel.

Rev. 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Zeph. 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
Zeph. 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
Zeph. 1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
Zeph. 1:17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.

Is. 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
Is. 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
Is. 13:11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
Is. 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
Is. 13:13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Rapture - Part 5

5. The next question—Does anything have to happen before Antichrist is revealed?

a) There will be a falling away.

2Th. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Is this a falling away from faith or a physical departure, i.e., the rapture? The following explanation comes from Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice and makes a lot of sense to me.

The words “falling away” were translated “departure” in the first 7 Bible translations. In 11 out of 15 uses the root word for departure in the New Testament is used to reference departing from another person or place, a physical departure. The one time it is used re departing from the faith is 1Timothy 4:1, which uses the qualifying words “from the faith.”

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,”

The other uses are:
Luke 8:13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Acts 5:37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him:
Acts 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men,

John Sweigert adds this information: “The history of translations of “apostasia” varied little for the first 15 centuries. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate contains the word “discessio” in 2Thessalonians 2:3, meaning simply “departure.” Other translations up to the KJV of 1611 use variations of “departure.”

Though I am convinced the “falling away” is a physical departure, I believe the truth of a departure from the faith is also true as I observe how “Christian” leaders are putting their own spin on biblical truth and/or questioning the authority and inerrancy of God’s word.

As I was listening to J. Vernon McGee recently, I thought he tied together both understandings of the “apostasy” quite well. He, too, sees it as a departure or rapture of the true church that will result in the complete apostasy from faith of the “church” that is left behind composed of people who profess but do not possess true faith.

b) The withholder or restrainer will be removed before the wicked [one] is revealed.

2Th. 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Rapture - Part 4

4. Considering all the facts we know about Antichrist, what will first identify him? It would seem to me that the signing of the 7-year covenant with Israel would be quite specific and obvious (Dan 9:25-27). It appears to be the act that will thrust him to prominence on the world stage. The next most specific clue would be either the desecration of the temple or his very public miraculous healing of a deadly wound.

Dan. 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
Dan. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off,
Dan. 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The first 69 weeks [of years or 483 years] were for a specified period of time, and the only way to identify the beginning of the 70th week scripturally is by the signing of the covenant with Israel. Therefore, I believe the “confirming of the covenant” with Israel is the identifying factor that is to be recognized as the beginning of the 70th week and identifying the man of sin.

God puts information in the Bible for us to know and understand His will and His plan. Jesus expressed great consternation that the Pharisees didn’t recognize who He was and the signs of the times as given by the prophets of old. I believe He expects the same from us. He was specific in identifying the first 69 weeks, and I believe has given us the specifics to identify the 70th week. The Bible will still be here after the church is gone. It will be important for the people who are left to have access to His Word to learn the truth about what is happening and understand how to respond to upcoming events. Fulfillment of prophecy will continue to be an affirmation from God that He is God.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Rapture - Part 3

What do we know about the Antichrist (cont.):

He will appear to be wounded unto death, yet will be healed.

Rev. 13:3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

Rev. 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

He will blaspheme God—His name, His tabernacle, and those that dwell in heaven.

Dan. 11:36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.

Rev. 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
Rev. 13:6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

ALL the unbelievers will worship him.

Rev. 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Those who refuse to worship him will be punishable by death.

Rev. 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

He will control trade with a mark—the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Rev. 13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
Rev. 13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

He will desecrate the temple as exemplified by Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel 11:31.

Dan. 11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Matt. 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

He will claim that he is God.

Dan. 11:37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

2Th. 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The King of the South will rebel against him. [He is the King of the North, and not every nation will willingly submit to his authority.]

Dan. 11:40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

He will eventually establish Jerusalem as his base.

Dan. 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Rapture - Part 2

3. The question then becomes when is Antichrist revealed? In order to know when he is identified, let’s see what scripture tells us about him.

Facts re Antichrist:

He will rule a kingdom that will originally consist of ten parts, but he will subdue three of the parts in his rise to power.

Rev. 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

Dan. 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Dan. 7:24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

He will seek to change “times and laws.”

Dan. 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws….

He will have ultimate control for 3.5 years.

Rev. 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

Dan. 7:25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. [This is a Hebrew expression for one year + two years + a half year.]

He will come from the people responsible for destroying Jerusalem and the temple—the empire of Rome.

Dan. 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

He will confirm (or strengthen) a covenant (treaty, agreement) with many for one week (7 years). The word for “week” is the Hebrew shabuwa which means “literal, sevened, i.e. a week (specifically, of years).” [Obviously, treaties aren’t made for a week of seven days.]

Dan. 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The “many” would be a reference to the Jews since the angel is telling Daniel about what was determined upon his people, and the last half of the verse describes the halting of sacrifices and oblation in the middle of that week; this would only be pertinent to the people of Israel. [This would also imply that there is a functioning temple at that time.]

Monday, May 12, 2008

Life's Spiritual Lessons

Life is full of spiritual lessons if we will but open our hearts to hear God speak to us through our experiences. I am very thankful to note that my heart is becoming more and more sensitive to the teaching of the Spirit as I have more sincerely and persistently sought to become more like Jesus and to immerse myself in His word. My biggest regret is that it has taken me so long in life to grow to this point.

As I pondered over my response this morning to a decision by one of my children that I perceived to be a lack of trust in me, I quickly moved to making an application to the heart of God the Father as He observes choices I make in my life in reference to Him. Just as in this case--I may not realize at the time that my choice is showing a lack of trust in Him, but my lack of recognition doesn’t change the truth. Just as my heart was wounded to think I had not made as much progress as I had thought in earning the trust of my child, I know the Father is grieved through His Holy Spirit to see how long it is taking me to really embrace all He wants to do for me if I will but trust Him.

In my heart I know my child loves me and would not choose to hurt me. The Father in heaven knows my heart and that my desire is never to hurt Him. This helps me understand the Father’s patience as He lovingly waits for me to learn through an ongoing relationship that He is faithful and will always work for good in my life. “Thank you, Father, for your love, patience and faithfulness. Please help me to reflect that same heart and character as I respond to those in my family.”

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Notes on the Rapture - Part 1

This series of blogs will be taken from a topical study I completed previously on this subject. Let me state from the outset that I believe in the following.

• The pre-tribulation rapture of the true church, a period of 7 years of tribulation on earth also known as Daniel’s 70th week in which God will finish His work with Israel.
• A period referenced in scripture as “the day of the Lord” in which God pours out His wrath on His enemies on planet earth.
• An actual reign of Christ on earth of 1,000 years before “eternity” begins.

Below are some of the thought processes I followed in coming to my conclusion concerning the rapture.

1. A fact – Some believers will not die. They will instantly receive their glorified body and join the believers that have gone before them to be with Jesus forever.

1Cor. 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1Cor. 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Cor. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

1Th. 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
1Th. 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

2. The question becomes when? I believe it will be before Antichrist is revealed.

2Th. 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2Th. 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
2Th. 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th. 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th. 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2Th. 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

“letteth” = hold down, retain, withhold

(More on the restrainer (“he who now letteth”) and why I believe it is the Holy Spirit in the Church at question #6.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paul Instructs Timothy - Part 12

There are a few more verses in Paul’s letter to Timothy that I want to address before closing.

2Tim. 3:12-13 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

These verses warn that all who live godly in Christ Jesus, members of the true “church,” will be persecuted; they will actually endure loss, pain or death (from Webster) because they choose to stand firm in their faith in Jesus and cling to the truth of God’s authority and the inerrancy of His word. There are many Christians throughout this world that suffer persecution for their faith. I have received the Voice of the Martyrs newsletter for years to keep me aware of that truth. The signs are all around us that persecution in so-called “free” nations is just over the horizon. Recent headlines in the news that are aimed at Christians have addressed the right of parents to educate their children at home, the need to modify radio broadcasts to avoid prosecution by hate crime laws, have likened fundamentalist Christians to hate-filled terrorists and reported the arrest of a man for handing out gospel tracts in Texas. I hate to say it, but I believe the time is coming sooner rather than later that many of the “freedoms” we treasure as Christians in America will soon be denied us. Unless we choose to become part of the “church” that is tolerant to the point of denying Jesus as the only way to salvation or just remain silent about our faith, I believe we are in for a rough ride ahead.

2Tim. 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

These are very sad verses, but its truth is already evident in the professing “church” today. So-called biblical scholars, like those of the Jesus Seminar, have laid the foundation for the growth of this attitude by declaring that the scripture is full of errors. As more people in the “church” choose to reject God’s wisdom and authority and turn instead to the wisdom of men, this outlook will increase yet more. Those pastors who have capitulated to a seeker-sensitive ministry have already capitulated to refraining from sharing any part of God’s word that might be offensive to the sinner. The more prevalent ministries become that allow people to continue to feed their flesh without danger of being confronted with the need to repent of their sin, the more people are going to embrace those ministries while the true church suffers persecution. It’s natural to want to “have your cake and eat it too” as the old saying goes. I think this is one of the main reasons that people embrace atheism and evolution; it does away with God and any accountability to Him. The fact is that God’s truth will be proven and the fables of men exposed.

This turned out to be a much harder exercise than I first imagined, but very enlightening. I realize that only those with soft hearts seeking the truth will be ready to embrace this teaching. Scripture is very clear that it is the condition of the heart that affects our hearing. I’m going to quote from the NIV since it is a bit more understandable.

Matt. 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Paul Instructs Timothy - Part 11

Timothy is next told that men will become “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” There’s never been a generation with so many different options of satisfying the flesh and enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. As our society has continued to remove God from a position of honor in our lives, self has replaced His position. I remember growing up in a time when businesses were not allowed to operate on Sunday. In most of America today that is no longer the case; we can’t be denied even one day of access to places that give us pleasure and contribute to our profit margin. That’s just one very public example of this mindset. Another example--more and more churches try to operate on a schedule that either doesn’t interfere with or embraces the things that give us pleasure, i.e., the Super Bowl. Most obvious of this mindset is the decline of the moral values embraced by our society—acceptance of cohabitation outside of marriage, homosexual relationships, abortion, “entertainment” that appeals to our baser instincts, etc.

Next Paul tells Timothy that there will be those “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.” Immediately I thought of the phrase, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Scripture is clear that there will be many who identify with Christendom who are fakes, tares among the wheat. This makes me think of John’s letter to Sardis in Revelation; it refers to a church that appears to be alive but is really dead. It makes me think of participating in rituals and maintaining a reputation but with no real heart involvement "as unto the Lord." It would seem these people give no place to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in and through them.

Paul’s advice to Timothy regarding his association with those possessing the character traits about which he has given warning—“turn away,” avoid them. He was reinforcing what he told the Corinthians, “Bad companionship corrupts good character.” (1Cor. 15:33)

Obviously, Paul was instructing Timothy about things of which he was aware that were problems in the world and church at that time. We know in hindsight, however, that these trends in society couldn’t be indicative of the soon return of Jesus to take His throne until Israel was once again recognized in the body of nations. It is also obvious that these traits as descriptive of society in general and the professing “church” have steadily increased since the rebirth of Israel.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Paul Instructs Timothy - Part 10

“Traitors” are next up on this very long list. Application to the world at large is obvious; it is a reference to those who turn on former friends to fulfill their own selfish purposes—usually in the name of the almighty dollar. Regarding the application of this characteristic to the church today, it’s a natural designation for those who have embraced many of the traits already discussed up to this point. Those who claim the name “Christian” or identify with the “church” are in essence declaring themselves friends of Jesus; yet when their actions deny the truth of His word, they are essentially classifying themselves as traitors just as surely as Judas did.

Paul next warns Timothy about those who will become “heady,” those who act in passion without restraint throwing caution to the wind. My mind went blank at this point, and as I was asking the Lord for some help, I got some thoughts about those who have responded to so called “new” manifestations of the Spirit in the “church”—i.e., uncontrolled laughter and barking like dogs, etc. They are responding to the deception of the enemy by responding in the heat of the moment without first applying careful discernment of their actions according to the scripture. They are so hungry to experience more in their relationship to God that they become caught up in an experience without questioning or giving careful discernment to its source. I know I have said it before, but experience can be deceiving. There is no scriptural basis for such bizarre and uncontrolled behavior by one who is indwelt and under the influence of the Holy Spirit. He always directs our attention to the Savior, not to self.

“Highminded” is the next trait addressed, and it describes a mindset that is magnanimous, embracing noble and honorable goals. Our world is full of people and organizations that are dedicated to such goals—The Red Cross, The Peace Corps, World Vision, Compassion International, The Salvation Army, etc. No one would deny that they all do good noble things. In the “church,” however, such noble ministry is to be done to the glory of God first and foremost. There are many that claim the name “Christian” and are involved in noble deeds, but the reason they serve is not to glorify God and share the love of the Savior with others, it is to serve self. It gives them a sense of satisfaction and pride and increases their self-esteem. The first person that popped into my mind as I thought about this character trait was Oprah Winfrey. Through the years I’ve been confused as to whether she really knew the Lord as Savior. All the pretence is now down and her false belief system fully exposed as she promotes a “new spirituality,” the current designation of “new age” philosophy. There are many other professing “Christians” that seem to have established a priority of serving the needs of humanity and relegated sharing the truth of God’s word and the gospel to secondary status. The purpose of the church as a whole is to share God’s love with others by declaring the wonderful gospel message of salvation available in Christ alone as we share God’s love in ministering to their needs. In that way we bring glory to God and not to man.