HOME                 July 23, 2012
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Letter to the Editor: Is Lighthouse Trails Crying Wolf on Meditation?

LTRP Note: The following is a letter we received from someone who has a legitimate concern. Below his question is our response and some added information.

The Question:

To Lighthouse Trails:
I have been enjoying your expose of the emergent church. We share the same concerns; however, it seems that anyone who has uttered the word “meditate” in the past is suspect of bringing Hinduism into the church. Don’t the Psalms encourage us to meditate on his word?

Sincerely concerned about crying wolf.

A man from Minnesota

Our Response:

Thank you for writing. We understand your concerns. And you are right that there is a biblical kind of meditation where we mindfully think about, give thanks for, and ponder on the wonderful things of God and His Word. However, the teachers and writers we critique are in a category where their view of “to meditate” has slipped into a different dimension, mostly due to their adherence of the teachings of the mystics. Of each case we write, the person speaks of something different than thoughtful meditation; they speak of stilling the mind, putting it into neutral, so to speak (what they refer to as the silence). For instance, in Chuck Swindoll’s book, So You Want to Be Like Christ: Eight Essential Disciplines to Get Your There, he says there is a stillness of the mind that is different than the quieting of the outer atmosphere (televisions, phones, etc). And he encourages this inner stilling; in fact he says we cannot become deep Christians without it. Whether he knew it or not when he wrote these things, his words echo Thomas Merton and other mystics. And of course in that same book, in his chapter on “Silence and Solitude,” he points to Henri Nouwen’s book, The Way of the Heart, a book that is a primer on contemplative meditation. What Swindoll has done is point thousands in a direction that could have disastrous spiritual results.

To our response above, we would like to suggest an article by Ray Yungen on meditation: What is Mantra Meditation? In addition, keep in mind that one of the common elements of contemplative meditation is the notion that we must remove the inner distractions of our mind (remove our thoughts) in order to hear from God and become truly “deep” Christians as Swindoll suggests. However, nowhere in Scripture are we instructed to stop thinking. Contemplative Brennan Manning says to “choose a single sacred word … repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly, often” (from Signature of Jesus), and in Ragamuffin Gospel, he explains: “[T]he first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer”(p. 212). But this is not what the Bible instructs us to do. Turning off our thoughts is the core of Hinduism and not biblical meditation.

Below are some quotes by a mixture of Christian figures and New Age mystics, speaking about the silence and stilling the mind. When these authors speak of stillness, solitude, and silence, it is a fair question to ask them: are they talking about finding a quiet place to read the Word, pray, and think about God, or are they talking about removing distractions from our minds and shutting out our thoughts? We believe in the cases below, they are referring to the latter.

“What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.”–Ruth Haley Barton, “Beyond Words” (Barton encourages the use of repeating a word or phrase. 1

“The basic method promoted in The Cloud [of Unknowing] is to move beyond thinking into a place of utter stillness with the Lord … the believer must first achieve a state of silence and contemplation, and then God works in the believer’s heart.”–Tony Jones, Sacred Way, p. 15

“Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence…. It is this recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer.–Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home

“It is through silence that you find your inner being.”–Vijay Eswaran, In the Sphere of Silence

“This book [In the Sphere of Silence] is a wonderful guide on how to enter the realm of silence and draw closer to God.”–Ken Blanchard, originally from the In the Sphere of Silence website

“[G]o into the silence for guidance”–New Ager, Wayne Dyer, see ATOD p. 18, endnote #23

“While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to ‘God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.’”–Richard Foster, Prayer, Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 156.

“When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness … the profound mystical silence … an absence of thought.”–Thomas Merton biographer, William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13

“In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that.”–Interspiritualist, Wayne Teasdale, see ATOD, p. 55, endnote #1

From the Be Still DVD:

“One of the great things silence does, it gives us a new concept of God.”–Calvin Miller

“[I]f we are not still before Him [God], we will never truly know to the depths of the marrow of our bones that He is God. There’s got to be a stillness.”–Beth Moore (In her book, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, Moore says that “practicing God’s presence” has become extremely important to her; she points readers to Brennan Manning several times in the book and suggests that his contribution to “our generation of believers may be a gift without parallel” (p. 72). Her participation in Richard Foster’s DVD project, Be Still, and her recanting of an apology for being in the film which included a promotion of the Be Still contemplative message backs up Moore’s statements about Manning and the stillness2

In essence, biblical meditation is thinking; and contemplative New Age meditation is simply not thinking … and that is something to think about.

 
Boy Scouts reaffirm ban on homosexuals despite relentless protest campaigns

By David Crary
Associated Press

NEW YORK – After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding “gays,” ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.

An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

As a result of the committee’s decision, the Scouts’ national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy. Click here to continue reading.

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Is This America?

Mental Health Group Looks to Remove Stigma From Pedophilia – American Psychological Association’s Role in These Efforts

‘Gay’ pedophilia and Obama

 

 

Letter to the Editor: Is Lighthouse Trails Crying Wolf on Meditation?
Boy Scouts reaffirm ban on homosexuals despite relentless protest campaigns
Controversy Surrounds Jonathan Cahn's "The Harbinger"
A Devious Plot for a Blinded Nation and Thoughts About the Batman Shooting
Israel – Replacing What God Has Not
Special Requests from the Orphan Girls in Suna
Forcing Change Release Note – Population Control
Pastor Jailed in Arizona for Holding Home Bible Studies
Official Probe Reveals: Massive Penn State cover-up confirmed – Paterno and others hid the truth of victimized children
Letter to the Editor: Family Member Attending a “Missional” Church
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SPOTLIGHT INFORMATION


50 Top Organizations With a Significant Role in Bringing Contemplative Spirituality to the Church

100 Top Contemplative Proponents Evangelical Christians Turn To Today

CONTEMPLATIVE
COLLEGE LIST


Matthew 18 – And Heretics and Hypocrites - by Paul Proctor

Rick Warren’s Popular Broad Way Christianity Misses the (Biblical) Mark - by Warren B. Smith

Emerging Spirituality – Bridging the Gap between Good and Evil by Roger Oakland


 
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Controversy Surrounds Jonathan Cahn's "The Harbinger"

Recently some of our readers have contacted us to ask why we have not posted a review on Jonathan Cahn’s The Harbinger, a New York Times best-selling book written in a narrative fictional format presenting a dire warning for America’s future. A companion documentary DVD titled The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment is also available wherein Cahn describes the happenings of 9/11 and subsequent events and unveils what he believes to be the prophetic significance of these events. The book was brought to our attention a couple months ago when two of our authors each wrote about it, but with opposing views. One was defending The Harbinger and its message of judgment and repentance, while the other was pointing out some deep concerns regarding The Harbinger. Later, we read other critiques by other writers we knew–all of those also with concerns about Cahn’s book and DVD. In all these critiques, some very legitimate issues have been shared by ministries whom we have respected and often looked to for insights (i.e., Kjos Ministries and The Berean Call).The Harbinger

At first, we were tempted not to jump into the controversy. Given the condition of America today, we could understand why someone would defend Cahn’s message and warning. The nation is in serious trouble, and a call to repentance and warning of judgment is needed desperately. But after reading the various critiques, watching the film, reading the book, and praying about this, we felt there was something we had to say.

Both the book and the video presentation are quite remarkable and compelling insofar as the parallels Cahn found between the happenings of 9/11 and specifics drawn out of Isaiah 9:10 along with stock-market dips and bankruptcies aligning precisely with the Shemitah (the Sabbath Year on the Hebrew Calendar). Also, the number 7 keeps popping up – according to Cahn’s findings, the stock-market crash of September 2008 happening exactly 7 years after 9/11 – at a 700 billion dollar bailout sum – at a drop on the stock market of 7% — to the amount of 777 points – on the final day of the Hebrew 7th year. Like the legendary WWII graffiti on the wall, “Kilroy was here,” it would seem that God was possibly signifying to anyone who would notice that He is involved in the state of affairs of our nation.

Now, when we combine the harbingers (or signs) Cahn identifies in Isaiah 9:10 along with dates aligning perfectly with the Hebrew calendar and the consistent reappearance of the number 7, these things seem to say that, by all probabilities, we have compelling evidence that Cahn has uncovered something more than the mere product of chance or superstition.

Yet, compelling as this all may be, The Harbinger has created some upheaval among several ministries. Some feel that Cahn, being a messianic rabbi, should not be questioned due to his deep insight into the Scriptures, and any criticism is nothing less than blasphemous and anti-Semitic. Now while we at Lighthouse Trails have witnessed, to our great sorrow, anti-Semitic sentiments even among Christians, Jonathan Cahn’s being Jewish does not exempt him from godly discernment. So, while Scripture urges us to “Despise not prophesyings” (1 Thessalonians 5:20), it also instructs us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). However, forming a definite opinion on The Harbinger has been difficult. As we have thought about this, we have come to realize we are dealing with a subject loaded with conflicting issues; hence this book perhaps raises more questions than it answers, and it is difficult not to form more than a single opinion of the book.

For example, the subject of judgment and repentance, the underlying message of the book, has been the rallying call of many ministries for a very long time. In the 1970s, David Wilkerson became known as a prophet of doom because of his dire warnings of impending judgment on America. His book Set the Trumpet to Thy Mouth speaks of Russia firing missiles on America over the North Pole. And, though he does not give any specifics, he indicates that America will be disabled in one hour. Today, it is not difficult to see how America could be disabled that quickly. Considering how nearly everything in America (including our vehicles) is run by computer, the EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) missile could bring business and transportation to a halt. Key populated cities could be leveled through a direct-hit nuclear warhead or brought to complete confusion and anarchy by the aerial burst of the EMP. Furthermore, America’s economy alone is so unstable now, it is like a stack of dominos teetering on collapse. With the gravity of what could transpire in America, we are cautious about pointing out trivial and perhaps benign problems with The Harbinger. If for instance, we should find ourselves rummaging through the ashes of America, will we be then worrying about things like the literary merit of the book as one critic expressed? Because The Harbinger has an overall message of judgment and repentance, picking apart The Harbinger for insignificant and irrelevant weaknesses or flaws seems unnecessary and unbeneficial.

America’s Covenant with God?
Nevertheless, there are things about The Harbinger that are troubling. And while we do believe Cahn has built a strong case supporting the idea that there are too many things that happened signifying God’s judgment on America to be mere coincidence, there are a number of foregone premises and conclusions in the book based on assumptions rather than concrete facts and solid Scripture. One such premise is that God had a covenant with America similar to the one He made with Israel. While God hand-picked Israel beginning with the promise he made to Abraham, we have no historical record that God initiated a covenant with America. Cahn alludes to the Pilgrim founders, then skips over to George Washington as making the actual covenant when he was sworn in as our first president. Yet, at best, this was a covenant initiated by man (unlike the covenant with Israel initiated by God when He picked one nation from all the other nations). Then when George Washington was sworn in, thereby sealing the “covenant,” it was with his hand on a Masonic Lodge Bible while Freemason Robert Livingston performed the ceremony. Contrary to what many think, George Washington was not a “prophet” of God (e.g. a latter day Moses) in so much that whatever he did was binding with God.

When we sat down to watch The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment video, we did it with the intention of having a humble heart and an open mind, and we certainly felt the overall message of the video–that America would be judged if she didn’t repent—was a good message, but, at the same time, we could not help but wonder at the unqualified assumptions on Cahn’s part and the questions that came to mind: Did God choose to ignore our government’s connection with Freemasonry, and did He really have a covenant with America just as He did with Israel? Then, too, supposing that God had such a covenant with America, why is it that all of the same signs (or harbingers) extracted from Isaiah 9:10 had to be found at “ground zero” where the twin towers fell? This turns ground zero into some kind of a mystical sacred location set apart by God–but would God do that with a “covenant” made under the auspices of Freemasonry (a pluralistic secret society whose members must believe in a supreme being but not necessarily the God of the Bible). With Freemasonry, beliefs from many different religions are accepted. This was a foundational factor when the United States government was being formed. Under those circumstances, how could God have made a covenant that could be likened to the covenant He made with Israel? While we are sure that some of those forming the government did embrace the biblical God, there were also those who did not and who hoped to form a government that would embrace all religious beliefs. What’s more, leaders of piety have dedicated all sorts of countries to God (e.g., England, Canada, Australia, etc), but that doesn’t mean that God is bound by covenant in these countries. What God is doing now is looking for individual hearts whose souls can be saved out of a fallen world for His kingdom. Please consider the reality of this.

In one respect, there was a covenant, but it wasn’t one between America and God—it was between the church in America and God. The real covenant is with all born-again believers in Jesus Christ throughout the world as they partake of the covenant with God that started with Abraham and eventually included the church, which has been grafted into the tree that is Israel. The covenant with God now is not with governments but rather with individuals who have become partakers of this covenant through faith in Jesus Christ.

National Repentance
The similarities and numerical signs that Cahn has identified seem too numerous to be mere coincidence, but, at the same time, how these “signs” or harbingers are interpreted is another thing. For instance, perhaps some of the nine harbingers extracted from Isaiah 9:10 should be more rightfully seen as signs from man rather than signs from God. Isaiah 9:10 is a symbol of the nation of Israel’s defiance to the calamities that befell her and rather than repenting before God, Israelite leaders boasted that they would rebuild to where they would be stronger than before. Consequently, this defiance and boasting can only be seen as a “sign” in the sense that America is making the same mistake that Israel made (i.e., boasting of their resolve to rebuild rather than repenting before God). What’s more, Cahn sees the harbingers of Isaiah 9:10 as a call to national repentance, but if we read further, we find that Isaiah declares, “For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 9:13). In other words, God is declaring through Isaiah His acknowledgment that Israel has not and will not repent, consequently just as judgment has already arrived, there is more to come.

The Harbinger

Jonathan Cahn

And although Cahn is right in assuming that God in His great mercy always gives opportunities for individual repentance, chapter 9 of Isaiah is being mistakenly connected with being a call to national repentance when in fact it is a declaration of God’s coming judgment. In the case for America and the church in America, the call to repentance has already gone out throughout the land. Many watchmen have issued the call to repentance for years now. We, ourselves, at Lighthouse Trails have issued warnings over the last ten years as we have pleaded with Bible colleges, churches, pastors, and organizations to flee from apostasy. For the most part, such warnings have been met with ridicule, mockery, and disparagement.

And in spite of the many who have called the church and America to repentance over the years, the decline in the spiritual condition of our Christian churches and institutions has only accelerated in pace. We say, therefore, that the door to individual repentance is always open (as God is a merciful God), but at the same time, the coming judgment is sure and certain.

A Sure Word of Prophecy or A Mere Warning?
Oftentimes, what we find today is a mismatching of a sure word of prophecy with a dire warning from God. For example, we often hear today (from New Agers and emergents) that the prophecies of the Book of Revelation are merely warnings of what could happen rather than what really will happen – that we can alter the course of the future just like the Ninevites were able to stem the tide of judgment when they heeded Jonah’s warning of judgment through national repentance. Perhaps it is not always easy to tell when a passage of Scripture is a sure word of prophecy in contrast to a mere warning, but one of the things we have noticed is that with sure words of prophecy, specifics are often given. For example, when God brought judgment upon Egypt through the words of Moses, specific details were given on what each phase of judgment would be. God knew that Egypt would not repent even with multiple judgments because He knew the condition of men’s hearts. In like manner, the Book of Revelation is more than just a threat or warning in that it gives specific details of what will happen in the future. Similarly, when we look at chapter 9 of Isaiah, we can see that it depicts specifics of things that later came upon Israel making this a sure word of prophecy. And God gave Israel this sure word of prophecy because He had already warned the nation and given them the opportunity to repent – and they in their pride had rejected it. Today, America is following the same pattern by rejecting the call to repentance and boasting the same words of defiance that Israel had said in her pride. we think, therefore, if Cahn is correct in uncovering signs (harbingers) of judgment on America, his fault is that of not discerning the certainty of things to come.

What Would “National Repentance” Look Like?
This is not to say that America won’t have some type of “revival” or national “repentance.” But just as Pharaoh “repented” before Moses, America’s repentance will not be sincere and from the heart. We were trying to picture what America’s repentance might look like. We got a taste of it right after 9/11 when we witnessed a rallying call to an ecumenical interfaith patriotism; and as a result, America remained proud but there was no true repentance. So, given the state of the nation today, here is a list of what we can envision our national repentance might look like:

    • A Purpose Driven 40 Days of Repentance or . . .
    • The Jonah Plan: Repent in 40 Days — with invitations for New Age speakers to come and instruct the church on how to repent.
    • A National Day of Mourning over our “Sins” as a Nation — where Buddhist monks, Muslims, Evangelicals, and Catholics will flock together to ask God for forgiveness for not being more united to the universal God.
    • A World-Wide Contemplative-Prayer Repentance Day — where all the major Christian leaders now promoting contemplative prayer will rally together with New Agers and Buddhists alike to meditate world-wide on that day, in “vibrationally sympathetic harmony,” in order to experience true “Oneness” with mankind, creation, and the god in all.
The Harbinger

St. Paul's Chapel at Ground Zero

America has lost its way so far as repentance goes, and the church at large has become too apostate to lead the way. How can church leaders, who don’t even discern that contemplative spirituality is a gateway to occultism and interspirituality, show Americans how to repent? After all, a large number of Christian leaders today (and countless pastors and professors) are promoting or advocating contemplative spirituality. If you think our examples we gave above about what national repentance might look like sound outrageous, consider Rick Warren’s Daniel Plan where he brought in practitioners and advocates of Reiki, tantric sex, and TM to lead people to greater health. A few years ago, if we had suggested such a thing, people would have thought it beyond possibility. But today it is a reality. Ironically, even the Episcopalian St. Paul’s Chapel (located at ground zero and protected by the sycamore tree as indicated in The Harbinger), the site of George Washington’s inauguration and the signing of the supposed “covenant” with God, embraces the contemplative prayer movement today with its ecumenism, labyrinth, lectio divina, and interfaith/interspiritual activities.

And, consider this: How many people repenting would it take to stave off God’s judgment on America anyway? The fundamental factor is that Israel was a theocracy (they only had one God to turn to), and the United States is not a theocracy. Israel was solidly under the embrace of Judaism whereas the United States is a plethora of various religious and spiritual outlooks. Most people who actually would repent would repent within the context of their own spiritual paradigms, not necessarily the biblical one (e.g., what if a Mormon repented and became a more devote Mormon or a Catholic repented and showed greater devotion to the Virgin Mary). In order for The Harbinger to work, every one in the U.S. would have to become a born-again Christian, and that isn’t going to happen. Today the number of born-again Christians is relatively low (as few as 26% are in the evangelical camp according to some statistics). We believe our perception of this controversy is logical and not based on any kind of prejudice either for or against Cahn.

This is not to say that Cahn’s intentions of blowing the trumpet call for national repentance are not a noble endeavor, and we hope there will be some genuine repentance by many individuals. We have also witnessed some churches, though a relatively few, taking a stand against the tide of apostasy. Those who see the problem should be in prayer for America and that out of American soil, we will witness a remnant who have not bowed the knee to Baal.

Signs to Change the Hearts of Men?
While it would certainly be wonderful if The Harbinger could stir many to true repentance, we don’t believe it will be nearly as effective in doing so as Cahn hopes. In the book, the character identified as “the prophet” commissions Nouriel (to whom the harbingers have been revealed) to be a “watchman on the wall.” The prophet tells Nouriel that “only a sound as jarring as [a trumpet] could save them” (p.252). In other words, the prophet is telling Nouriel that if he shares these signs (harbingers) with the people, they will listen because these signs will be so striking and remarkable. This argument of “the prophet” is reminiscent of the parable Jesus told of Lazarus (the beggar) and the rich man. You may recall that in this parable when the rich man ends up in Hell, he calls out to Abraham, who is now in Heaven, and pleads with him to send Lazarus from the dead to plead with his brothers “lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28). The following discourse between Abraham and the rich man is noteworthy:

Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he [the rich man] said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he [Abraham] said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.( Luke 16:29-31)

Ironically enough, Jesus fulfilled the words of His own parable because after He rose from the dead, the religious leaders remained in unbelief. What’s more, after His resurrection, Jesus did not appear to the religious leaders to prove that he was the Messiah because He knew that their hearts were set in unbelief. So, while Jesus’ resurrection from the dead was a sign to the people, at the same time, during His ministry years, Jesus discouraged the seeking of signs:

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold a greater than Jonas is here. (Matthew 12:38-41)

Jesus in comparing Himself with the rebellious prophet Jonah recognized He would not be more effective in changing the minds of these religious leaders – even if He performed signs. What is especially commendable about the Ninevites is that they repented at the preaching of Jonah without his doing signs and wonders as Moses did with Pharaoh and the land of Egypt. It seems, therefore, that signs do little good to those whose hearts are set on unbelief. Consequently, we have a bit of a problem with the words of “the prophet” in The Harbinger when he tells Nouriel, “Only a sound as jarring as [a trumpet] could save them” (p.252) when what is being referred to is signs (or harbingers). Granted a relative few may respond, and we can be glad about that.

Secrets, Codes, and Mysteries
Another concern worth mentioning is that The Harbinger does create a lot of mystery and suspense over the signs noted in the book. In fact, the front cover of the book alone bears the words “mystery” and “secret” in the subtitle, which understandably were used as a marketing tool. But, as a general rule, we should be cautious about deploying such words, because catchy as they may be, they have often been used in a harmful (if not occultic) way; we have, for instance, the video titled The Secret which teaches that our thoughts and attitudes have a special power in shaping our destiny. One thing we must remember, Christianity is not a mystery religion. With the Bible, what you see is what you get. But books have been written (e.g., The Da Vinci Code and a host of other books) suggesting that the Bible has hidden messages totally different from what you see on the surface and what has been taught as the fundamentals of the faith.

Now, Cahn has witnessed things embedded in Scripture that he refers to as “mysteries” or “secrets,” and while they may be difficult to find, they are, at the same time, unaltering to the meaning of Scripture. For instance, someone attending a messianic church once told us that the Hebrew word rendered in the King James Old Testament as Lord or Jehovah is depicted by our consonants YHWH, but the actual Hebrew characters are meaningful and pictorial – one being the shape of a nail, another of a hand, and the repeated consonant meaning “behold.” When spelled out in that fashion the word Jehovah (or Yahweh) renders the meaning “behold the nail; behold the hand” or “behold the nail in the hand.” Now we might call this a “secret” or a “code” signifying that the “Lord” of the Old Testament is the crucified Jesus of the New Testament. But this is not a secret in that it does not alter the message of the Gospel, which proclaims that Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross, is Savior and Lord. And this was never a message to be kept a secret but rather to be proclaimed from the rooftops. So, while Cahn may be technically right in referring to harbingers as secrets, he should be cautious of the implicitness of these words that could suggest that these findings offer new revelation contrary to what has been laid down in Scripture. Though we think Cahn must know this, there are a great many people who would be delighted to learn that the Bible is really nothing more than a code book to be deciphered, and when the deciphering is done, Jesus is no longer God come in the flesh to die for our sins.

While God can and does give signs and we can find examples of them in the Bible, Jesus told the people that they should not seek after signs. Signs can come from God, but they can also come from man or from the Devil. According to Scripture, the Antichrist, for example, will be a great worker of lying signs and wonders, and he will have the world duped into believing him. What we need to do is be grounded in the Word and only go along with what agrees with Scripture. Second Thessalonians 2 says explicitly that there will be a falling away before the day of the Lord. This means that while there may be individuals repenting to the Lord Jesus Christ, there is not going to be a general turning to God. On the contrary, the spiritual condition of the world is going to grow darker. So in other words, if what Cahn says should happen–national repentance–does indeed happen, and if we are indeed living in the end times, it would actually refute what Paul says in Scripture.

To sum up, a national repentance where emphasis is put on a man-initiated “covenant,” where “repentance” will take place in the context of each person’s own religious (or non-religious) paradigm, and where 2 Thessalonians 2 is contradicted is not a repentance worth going after. But rather, let believers in Christ seek the God of the Bible wholeheartedly, and let us share His Gospel message to all with the hope that many will repent of their sins and turn their hearts toward Jesus Christ Who will, in turn, open their eyes and give them salvation and eternal life by His grace.

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)

A Devious Plot for a Blinded Nation and Thoughts About the Batman Shooting

By Berit Kjos
Kjos Ministries

Remember Paul Harvey’s 47-year-old warning to America? What he envisioned back in 1965 has become reality. Ponder this part of his message titled “If I were the devil…”

“If I were the prince of darkness I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness…. I’d subvert the churches first. I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve, “Do as you please.”

“To the young I would whisper that the Bible is a myth. I would convince them that man created God, instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is square….”

“And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d peddle narcotics…

“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches that war with themselves and nations that war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flame.

“If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects and neglect to discipline emotions—just let those run wild…

“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography. Soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money….

“If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious…. In other words, if I were the devil I’d keep on doing on what he’s doing.

“Paul Harvey, good day. “

That warning was heard and read across America decades ago. But our nation ignored it! Now we face unthinkable consequences. It reminds me of a children’s book used in public schools called The Dark is Rising. Indeed, it is! And the spreading darkness is clouding minds and blinding people — both to the pressing evils and to God’s saving love.

Even before the social revolution of the sixties, our media establishment and transformational schools were steering the war on God’s Word and ways. Soon mystical thrills replaced Truth and certainty, while strange beliefs and corrupting values fed the minds of the masses. Few of our youth would resist the depravity. Click here to continue reading.

Israel – Replacing What God Has Not

LTRP Note: The following article by Mike Oppenheimer is a follow up to our recent article:Letter to the Editor: What Does Lighthouse Trails Believe About Israel?.”

By Mike Oppenheimer
Let Us Reason Ministries
Used with permission.

At a time when Bible prophecy is most important, we find the church having less knowledge of it, especially when it relates to Israel. Most evangelical Christians have supported the Jews and the modern state of Israel, but things are changing. The church from its infancy believed that God had a future plan for Israel based on Scripture (Acts 3:19), this included a national restoration of Israel in the same land they were eventually dispersed from. As time went on and the church moved further away from her Jewish beginnings and roots, many began to believe the church replaced Israel. But in the day and age when we see biblical prophecy being fulfilled, with God’s continual protection and restoration of the Jews to the land, there should be none that hold unbelief of his promises; BUT THERE ARE.

There are some within the Church that take the position that Israel as a people and a nation have no further place with God and that Israel is eternally cast off for their rejection of the Messiah. They believe that National Israel no longer has a future in the plan of God and that all the promises given to Israel are forfeited and are now transferred to the church – the church is now the true Israel. Some go so far as to say disparaging remarks like the Jewish people are now no longer a “chosen people of God” and are cursed because of their unbelief or that the Jews have inherited all the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy chapters 28-33. They believe that ALL the blessings to Israel are now transferred to the church. What they neglect is the curses included in Deuteronomy 28. If one is going to claim the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, they cannot exclude the curses. One cannot live under the old Covenant and new covenant at the same time. In fact, we will find the very opposite – God curses those who are against Israel. Deuteronomy 28 accompanies the conditional covenant of Moses, not the unconditional covenant of grace of the New Testament.

The adherents to this Replacement teaching claim the Church was in the Old Testament and was an assembly of believers, so the Church becomes the continuation of Israel. Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the term “Israel” now refers to the Church, they say. One only needs to look at how the words in the Book of Acts are used to see this is not so. If this is true, then why are there distinctions of Israel and the Church throughout the Book of Acts and why are distinguishing statements made through the epistles? This is a man-made doctrine built on a false presupposition.

The first occurrence of the Greek word ekkleesia in the New Testament is found in Matthew 16:18. The word Church (ekkleesia –assembly) is often referred to mean Israel by replacement theologians as a generic meaning for an assembly of worshipers. Thus, they assume the word Church (Ekkleesia) is a Greek word for Israel. They believe this is what Jesus Messiah meant in Matthew 16:18 for the word Church (it is used only twice in the New Testament Gospels – Matthew 18). This would mean there always was the Church (i.e., “the Church” is Israel continued in the New Testament). However, in Matthew 16:13-20, the word “church” literally means “those called out,” but it also refers to those, like Peter, who confess Jesus is the Son of the Living God, something that was not revealed in the Old Testament (this will be further explained as we look at Romans 11). These called-out ones are not in reference to the Mosaic Law that was given the nation Israel but to a whole new Covenant.

In the New Testament, the term is used also in the narrower sense of a single church, or a church confined to a particular place. There is the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:5); the church at Corinth; the churches in Judea; the church at Jerusalem, etc.

If one were to use the word Israel for Church throughout the New Testament, they would begin to see the problems it would create.

In Acts 8:3, Saul persecuted the Christians from house to house. He certainly was not persecuting Israel.

Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church [Israel] daily those who were being saved.” Acts 8:1: Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church [Israel] which was at Jerusalem.”

Acts 11:26: “So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church [Israel] and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”

And this: Acts 15:4: “And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church [Israel] and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them.”

The fact that Jews were called out of unbelieving Israel to be part of the Church does, in all sense, go against the Church being Israel.

In the same way, if one switches the word church for Israel even more problems occur.

Matt 2:20 says, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel [church].”

Matt. 8:10: To those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! [the church].

Matt. 10:6: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”

Matt. 15:24: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”

Matt. 19:28: “[Y]ou who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [the church]

Luke 24:21: “But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel [the church].

Would it not be prudent to let the word Israel mean what it is meant in its consistent context and church be applied to what it is meant also in context? Acts 1:6: They asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (See Also Acts 3:12; 4:10; 13:24). Was he restoring the Church? Of course not.

As Israel rejected the chief Cornerstone, Peter remarks that the believers are: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5).

“You are built a spiritual house” – oikodomeisthe. These have become a congregation of faith among those who disbelieve.

The Nation Israel

Israel was always referred to as the nation made up of Jews who are physical descendants of not just Abraham (as are the Gentiles) but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 73 times in the New Testament the term “Israel” is used. The majority of the times it refers to national ethnic Israel. (There are three main passages used to try to prove the Church is Israel. Romans 9:6; 11:26, and Galatians 6:16. 1 Corinthians 10:18, “Israel after the flesh,” as the true, believing Israel among the unbelieving, just as in Romans 9:6 the apostle distinguishes two Israel’s, one that believes, the other unbelieving; both are ethnic Israelites, but only one has faith that keeps them in the covenant.

Galatians 6:16 is often used to prove the Church is Israel. This view believes that the Book of Galatians is concerned with Gentiles who were attempting to attain salvation through the law. The ones deceiving them were Judaizers, Jews who were demanding adherence to the Law of Moses. The “Israel of God” clearly is those Jewish believers who, in contrast with the Judaizers, followed the rule of salvation by faith alone. Paul is here speaking only of a division within ethnic Israel. Some of them are believers and thus truly Israel, whereas others, though ethnically Israelites, are not truly Israel, since they are not believing . . . No Gentiles are found in the statement at all.

This replacement view is often held within groups such as Reconstructionists, Dominionists, and Kingdom Now adherents who are mainly not Premillennial (those who hold to Postmillenialism, Amillennialism and Preterism).

God has an unconditional commitment to the people of Israel; He has made a covenant and cannot break His Word. There are those in the “church” who take the position that the first covenant promises to the Jews are nullified and void. Paul makes it clear to the church in Rome, “Has God cast away His people (the Jews), CERTAINLY NOT? Or God forbid” (Romans 11:1). On this alone, we have evidence that replacement teaching is wrong. In Ezekiel 36, God makes it very clear that He will never abandon Israel. Not for their sakes, but because His Name and His reputation are on the line. Jeremiah writes right after the promise of a new covenant: “Thus says the LORD, who gives the sun for a light by day, the ordinances of the moon and the stars for a light by night, who disturbs the sea, and its waves roar (The LORD of hosts is His name)” and “If those ordinances depart from before Me, says the LORD, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation before Me forever” (Jeremiah 31:31, 35-36). For Israel to no longer be a nation would mean the sun, moon, and stars would also not exist.

God cut a blood covenant (unconditional) with Abraham: “I will make you a great nation. I will bless you. I will make your name great. I will make you a blessing. I will bless those who bless you. I will curse those who curse you. In you all the families of the world will be blessed!” (Gen. 12:1-3). This has not been revoked. To this nation, God will give a land; the land of Canaan (Genesis12:1, 7; 13:14-15, 17; 15:17-21; 17:8). God will bless those who bless this nation and curse those who curse it (12:3) God laid down a divine principle that has been seen and proven throughout history.

When you go against Israel (curse the people like Balak tried to get Balaam to do), you are going against the Messiah who created Israel to be a blessing to all nations.

Another point to take into account is Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land.”

Genesis 12:7: And Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto your seed will I give this land and there built an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared unto him.” He promised a Land; specifically, the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1, 7; 13:14-15, 17; 15:17-21; 17:8).

The emphasis of Genesis 17 (Genesis 17:9-14) is on the token of the covenant: physical circumcision on the eighth day of a boy’s life. Circumcision was to be a sign of one’s Jewishness, the seal of the covenant.

God chose to confirm the covenant with Jacob, as seen in Genesis 28:13-15. Then it was confirmed through all of Jacob’s twelve sons, who fathered the twelve tribes that made up the nation of Israel (Genesis 49).

Israel was given laws and ways to be distinguished and separate from the Gentiles; now we have teachers saying the Gentile church is now Israel. For those who are Gentile who claim they are the true Jews because of their belief in the Messiah and now replace Israel, Jesus has this to say: Those who say they are Jews but are not, Jesus calls them liars; they are of the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9 and 3:9)

The promises made to both Abraham and his seed show that blessings have not yet received complete fulfillment but await the Messianic Kingdom. The Abrahamic Covenant contains both physical and spiritual promises. The physical blessings were limited to the Jews (such as the land), the spiritual blessings were to extend to the Gentiles through the Messiah only (being grafted into the Olive tree). In the Old covenant, the Gentiles had to convert to the religion of Judaism (but this still did not make them Jewish).

God revealed that it was to be through Sarah’s son Isaac that the Abrahamic Covenant would be confirmed (Gen. 26:2-5, 24). Some examples of this include: Exodus 2:23-25; 4:24-26; 6:2-8; 32:11-14; Leviticus 26:46; Deuteronomy 34:4; II Kings 13:22-23; I Chronicles 16:15-19; II Chronicles 20:7-8; Nehemiah 9:7-8; Psalm 105:7-12; Luke 1:54-55, 68-73; and Hebrews 6:13-20. These verses explain that the Abrahamic Covenant is the basis for Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, for giving them the Land, for Jewish survival throughout the centuries in spite of disobedience, for the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, and for Israel’s final redemption and restoration.

Israel has become the focus for the world, and unfortunately, much of the Church no longer believes in the nation’s relevance today. It is Satan who has instigated hatred towards the Jewish people throughout the centuries; in the end, he will be furious and will do everything possible to annihilate them (far worse than what Hitler had in mind and accomplished).

Any doctrine or interpretation must be from the context of Scripture and its complete teaching on the subject (both Old and New Testament passages) and not based upon a single verse. We must take the whole counsel of God’s Word. When we study Israel, there is a major amount in the Bible concerning the people, the nation, and its future. Replacement theology and its antagonistic view of Israel are perpetuating an anti-Semitic stance in the Church.

What one believes about Israel is of utmost importance to understanding the Bible and the end times. It should be apparent when we study the Word; Old Testament promises made to national Israel will literally be fulfilled in the future just as they were literally fulfilled in the past. The details needed are found in the Old Testament, and we find Paul and John in the book of Revelation often draw on a number of passages to prove their points.

If Israel is no longer God’s “chosen people,” we find numerous problems springing from this position that cannot be reconciled with God’s character or His promises.

Romans 11 contains Scripture passages important to understand. To get the complete picture, Chapters 1-10 of Romans needs to be thoroughly read. Romans 1, and going into Romans 2, points out that no one has an excuse because the evidence of the truth of God has been with us from the beginning, even found in nature.

Romans 2 discusses the Jew and the law. It points out the futility of trying to obtain salvation through the law, that Jews do not have any advantage over the Gentiles for salvation. That all have sinned. The law shows us how short we fall of God’s holiness. In fact, the Jews who have more knowledge of God will have more to answer for. The chapter closes with the statement that it is not enough to be circumcised externally to be a Jew, but rather God’s concern is for the heart to be changed, not change in the flesh but in the inner man.

In Romans 3-8, we are told that the Jews had an advantage over the Gentiles in that they were given the truth of God’s Word (the oracles of God) and were entrusted to keep it. However, both the Jew and Gentile have sinned, and the law did not justify them, neither one is justified outside of faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul raises the question regarding the place of Israel in Romans 9, 10, 11. In Chapter 9:3, he said: “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” If the Church replaced Israel, this could not be stated. However, we need to pay attention to how Paul defines Israel throughout the book of Romans and his other epistles.

It’s obvious that the Covenant is still in effect to Israel because of what Paul states earlier in the same letter to the Romans. He goes on to identify his people, distinguishing them from the Gentiles and the Church. Romans 9:4-5: “who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” Certainly, these are not Gentiles – not the Church – of which he is speaking.

Let Us Reason Ministries
Used with permission.

Special Requests from the Orphan Girls in Suna

The following slide show shows some of the recent things happening in Suna and Rongo, Kenya at the mission project there (supported by Lighthouse Trails readers and Understand the Times). First of all, the girls from Bryce Home #12 went on a day-long Science Lab field trip in a neighboring town. It was sponsored by Pam Smith, the missionary who supports the Suna Christian school for girls (where the 12 girls from Bryce #12 attend). Also two new widows houses are being built right now. The money for those houses comes from donations sent to Understand the Times for the Kenya project. The new houses will replace old houses, one of which has fallen completely down.

In the slideshow, near the end, you will see the Bryce Home #12 girls standing under a tree. Here they are praying and sharing their concerns and needs to one another and to the Lord. We asked Pastor Achilla to tell us what their present needs are. There are many things we would like to help these orphaned girls with. If you would like to donate to any of these specifically or generally, please visit our Missions for Truth donation site, where you can donate and designate the donations to particular causes. If you would prefer to donate through Understand the Times, where your donations are tax deductible, please click here. You can designate that you want your donation to go toward Bryce Home #12 if that is what you wish.

The current needs of Bryce Home #12 (Food is being provided monthly through donations to Understand the Times.)

1. Wiring and solar lighting placed around perimeter of grounds on fence to bring added security to the girls.

2. A second set of uniforms. All children are required by law in Kenya to wear uniforms to school. We have been able to only have one set per girl made. They each need a second uniform. The uniforms cost about $37 each.

3. An additional bedroom needs to be built onto their dorm building so there will only be 6 girls in each bedroom instead of the present 12. This will cost about $600 (not counting outside plastering).

4. Pump and pump house for the new well, which sits near the girls’ home.

5. Cooking stove for kitchen building. Currently, they are cooking on the ground. The new stove will cost about $187.

6. General accessories such as pillow cases, socks, pens and pencils, notebooks, face and hand towels, cups, bowls, and spoons.

7. Seeds, water hose, and fencing and paying for someone to plow a garden spot.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Forcing Change Release Note – Population Control

By Carl Teichrib
Forcing Change

“Birth-control is a matter of great importance, particularly in relation to the possibility of world-government…”- Bertrand Russell.

“Human fertility is now the greatest long-term threat to human standards, spiritual as well as material.” – Julian Huxley.

“The goal would be half of the present world population, or less.” – The Environmental Handbook, 1970.

“How can we help a foreign country to escape overpopulation? Clearly the worst thing we can do is send food… Atomic bombs would be kinder…” – Garrett Hardin

The above statements are telling, but not isolated. Advocates of global population control are frequently candid, for the “solutions” to the “problem” of too many people are inevitably extreme. After all, it’s about controlling people.

This edition of Forcing Change contains only one article – an essay I’ve simply titled, “Exploring the Population Agenda.” But simple it’s not.

Using scores of sources, over 80 endnotes accompany this 26-page report, we tackle the recent resurgence of interest in this topic – stemming from the 7 billion milestone passed in March of this year. We also examine the many reasons touted for why a global population reduction strategy is supposedly needed, and we explore the modern history of the movement, looking at specific national examples, the radical suggestions made by supporters, and the expressed desire for a world authority to step to the population plate. Click here to continue reading.

Pastor Jailed in Arizona for Holding Home Bible Studies

By Matthew Hulet
Examiner

Michael Salman, a pastor from Phoenix, Ariz. who was fined and sentenced to jail began serving his 60 day sentence on Monday.

Salman was found guilty of code violations for hosting Bible studies on his 4.6 acre property. He has been holding the Bible studies for 7 years. He was ordered to 6o days in prison and three years probation and was also ordered to pay a $12,180 fine.

He believes he was criticized for his religious faith and insisted the City of Phoenix would allow gatherings for poker or football. Salman told Fox News Radio last week, “They’re cracking down on religious activities and religious use. They’re attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home.” Click here to continue reading. See video below. If you cannot see the video below, click here.

 

Official Probe Reveals: Massive Penn State cover-up confirmed – Paterno and others hid the truth of victimized children

By J. D. Heyes
Natural News
Out of house news source

Millions of Americans have wondered aloud since news broke that former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky molested young boys in the shower of the football complex how it could have happened over the years without the knowledge – and tacit consent – of the college’s legendary head coach, Joe Paterno, and others associated with program.

Well, the answer is officially in: “Jo Pa,” as he was once affectionately known, and some of Penn State’s senior leaders did know of Sandusky’s horrible, serial abuse, but displayed “total disregard” for the children he was victimizing.

That’s the verdict from one-time FBI director and former federal judge Louis Freeh, who – along with a team of investigators he led – have just wrapped up a months-long investigation into allegations that Paterno & Co. may share culpability for what Sandusky was doing well out of the public’s view. Click here to read more.

CBS Report: (If you cannot see this video below, click here.)


Related:

Story of Child Predator, Jerry Sandusky – Birth mom: I raised questions about Jerry Sandusky

Sandusky Convicted of Child Sex Abuse – Lighthouse Trails To Address Issue of Child Abuse in New Book

Letter to the Editor: Family Member Attending a “Missional” Church

Dear Lighthouse Trails:

Yesterday several of my family were talking, and one member mentioned they were involved in “A missional church.”

I don’t know anything about this terminology “missional” but I don’t think I like it.

Your thoughts please?

___________________

Dear _________________,

We are quite familiar with that term, and in virtually every case we have seen the term, it is associated with emerging spirituality. Here are a couple articles we have on this. I am glad you asked.

The New Look of Christian Missions by Roger Oakland

Missionary or Missional – The Emerging Church “On a Mission from God” by Bob DeWaay

Conference Alert: Emergents, missionals seek to educate (?) children

BOOK REVIEW: REJESUS: A WILD MESSIAH FOR A MISSIONAL CHURCH by Larry DeBruyn

 

 

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In March of 2002, we began Lighthouse Trails as a publishing company. Later, in 2004, we added Lighthouse Trails Research Project and this newsletter as a way to get free information out to those who were reading our books.

As a way to say thank you to our readers and customers of our catalog and online store, we are offering, indefinitely, to our U.S.A. customers a $5 flat rate shipping on all orders (you can choose a lesser rate for smaller orders). When you get to the third step at check out, just choose the FLAT RATE shipping option.

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