Is There A Warning For The Church Here?

by Al Benson Jr.

The realization that lots of folks will not be overly thrilled with what I say here has not escaped me, but I feel it needs to be said anyway.

In looking at the history of Israel in the Old Covenant we can see many problems that most people today would rather not address and some even want to sweep under the rug. There are various reasons for that, one of which is that a true rendering of Israel’s real history just might affect the sales of “End Times” prophecy books because many would now start to begin to realize that there is really no crying need for such material.

A good friend of mine who is a pastor recently preached a sermon, the title of which was, Israel’s Only Hope.  And Israel’s only hope isn’t the “rapture” or the rebuilding of the Temple or the reinstitution of the Old Covenant sacrifices or any of the stuff most of us were taught as kids or young Christians. We have to learn to put this stuff aside. My friend aptly noted that Israel’s only hope before 70 AD was the acceptance of Jesus the Christ as their Messiah–something Israel’s religious leaders steadfastly refused to do for the most part. He observed that, by the time of Jesus’ virgin birth, Israel had a long history of unbelief, hardheartedness, and outright rebellion (which has carried over into the present age). Now, with Jesus’ appearing, Israel was being given one last chance to repent, turn around, and do what God had beforehand ordained for them to do–be a light to the world, to be faithful servants of God, and most of all, to accept Jesus for who He was and is. Israel’s response, through her religious leaders, was to plot His death. In reply to Pilate’s attempt to turn Him loose the Jews cried “Crucify him, His blood be on us, and on our children.”(Matthew 27:25).  I doubt that most of them knew what they we’re asking for.

As recorded in Luke 4, Jesus in Capernaum was confronted by a demonic in the synagogue. We’ve all probably read this story over the years and never thought to question why was this man in the synagogue to begin with? Demon-possessed people were not supposed to be in the synagogue to begin with and yet they were. What does that say for the spiritual condition of the synagogue? And, though Jesus healed many people there, it is interesting to note that only the demon acknowledged who He really was (Luke 4:41).

The sermon referenced here noted: “In chapter 5 Jesus heals a leper–demonstrating not only His power but His willingness to restore those who have become unclean and cut off from God’s presence. Then He heals a paralytic–which shows not only His power to heal and to cleanse but also His authority to forgive sins. Jesus is the fulfillment of all that the Temple signified.” Therefore, in Christ, there is no more need for the Temple–and many in our day need to let this sink in.

The sermon concludes with this thought: “Israel’s unbelief has brought sickness and uncleanness. The only hope for Israel is Jesus who is both willing and able to cleanse and heal and restore them. If they reject Him they will perish.” And that holds as true today as it did before His crucifixion and resurrection. But mostly Israel ain’t having any of that and their spirit of rebellion exists today as it did then. How many radical, leftist groups in our day are peopled with those that have embraced the religion of Judaism, whether they can even trace their ancestors back to Abraham or not! In fact, since His death and resurrection their spirit of rebellion has intensified. Having rejected their Messiah it seems they have no place else to go to but radical revolution and this has become the god for many–a god that will ultimately fail.

Just this past weekend I read an article on http://www.israelnationalnews.com by a David Rosenberg, the title of which was American Jews strongest backers of gay marriage, abortion.  The article stated: “Jews are the most libertine religious group in America according to a new Gallup poll, and are more likely even than people with no religion to find same-sex relations and abortion to be morally acceptable…According to the survey,  American Jews were more likely than any other religious group–including those with no religion–to find abortion and gay relations morally acceptable. With few exceptions, Jews reflected strongly libertine views that deviated from those of Catholics, Protestants, and Mormons. A whopping 76% of American Jews said they felt abortion was ‘morally acceptable,’ compared to just 38% of Catholics, 33% of Protestants, and 18% of Mormons.” Again, with sodomite and lesbian relations, 85% of Jews had no problems,  and that even beat those who claimed no religious affiliations of any kind. They registered 83%. There was more to the survey but I can’t cover it all here. Anyway, you get the idea.

So I have to ask–is there a lesson here for the Church also? All that has been recorded in the Scriptures pertaining to Israel’s  unbelief has been written so we could learn from it and not repeat the same grievous errors that Israel committed. So how is the Church doing today with some of this? When it comes to sodomy, lesbianism, and abortion in our day the Church seems to be sending out a mixed message. Some get it right and others are way off in Left field, and then there are those in the broad middle that don’t seem to want to “offend” anyone and so they seem to take no position, not realizing that in so doing they are silently siding with the perverts and abortionists.

The warnings to Israel in Jesus’ day are something the Church needs to be aware of in our day, lest in trying to be even more merciful than God, we bring judgment upon ourselves.

Why I Can’t Vote For Ted Cruz–Conclusion

by Al Benson Jr.

Just a  little further background. In his comments on March 10th Pastor Chuck Baldwin noted several things about the Bush Dynasty. He said: “The Bush connection to the fascist state of Germany goes back to Prescott Bush (G. W. Bush’s grandfather) and Herbert Walker (father-in-law of Prescott)…The (London) Guardian has obtained confirmation  from newly discovered files in the U.S. National Archieves that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.” There’s more, but I’d invite folks to do a little research on their own.

I mention this in light of Pastor Baldwin’s  commentary, which I quoted in the previous article where he noted: ” “…presidential candidate Ted Cruz has taken up where G. W. Bush left off. He is pushing the ‘war for Israel’ button HARD. And don’t forget that both Ted and his wife, Heidi, are ardent disciples of G. W. Bush…”

From there Pastor Baldwin went on to explain why Cruz and his wife are pushing the ‘War for Israel’ button so hard. He stated: “By tapping into the commonly taught (albeit misguided) religious doctrine that the modern state of Israel is the same as Biblical Israel, neocons discovered a brand new resource for promoting war:  fighting to protect and/or expand the Zionist state of Israel. Christian Zionists such as John Hagee, Pat Robertson, et al., have rallied millions of evangelical Christians into a perpetual war fever–all under the rubric of protecting Israel (which again, they falsely believe is Bible Israel).

I ran into a personal example of this a few years ago with a man whose acquaintance I made at a Southern Heritage conference. The subject of the Israeli attack on the U.S.S. Liberty back in 1967 came up, and he said that has been an accident. Knowing differently, I corrected his assumption and told him, quite frankly that it had been deliberate. Big mistake on my part!  At that point he started castigating me for not totally supporting the Zionists, and he told me that, as Christians, we had an obligation to support the state of Israel no matter what they did or how underhanded it might be, or where they might have come from because even those not born in the Middle East (Khazars) were still the “chosen people” no matter what simply because they were Jews! In his thinking the Christian Church was only “plan B” and the main duty of Christians was to support the state of Israel without qualification! It seems that the Christian Church only existed, in his thinking as some sort of spiritual appendage for the support of national Israel. For him that was its main significance.

At that point I ceased trying have a rational conversation with this man. And I have run into this ultra-dogmatic mindset on several occasions. I was once informed that a minister I knew who refused to accept the Scofield Bible’s garbled definition of the “end times” was an apostate. Having known this minister personally, i can attest to the fact that he was NOT an apostate just because he refused to accept Scofield’s Israel first agenda. And to be honest, I can’t accept it either. Forty seven years ago, before I knew better, I did. But if you look for the truth, with the passage of time the Lord gives wisdom, and I, by God’s grace, walked away from Scofield and his agenda. As I stated in the first article, I realize some good folks will get ticked off at me, and for that I am sorry, but that’s how it is. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend that any Christian be a Zionist! You are a Christian or a Zionist–one or the other. I do not believe you can be both at the same time. “No man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).

Part of the reason, apart from this, that I can’t support Cruz  is his and his wife’s political connections. Ted is not the “outsider” most folks have been programmed to think he is.

Author Roger Stone noted in an patriotsunited.com article that: “There is no better example of this than Calgary Ted’s actions surrounding the big Wall Street banks and their secret funding of his political ascension.  Cruz has been gorging at the table of the ultimate insider of all insiders–Goldman Sachs and Citibank…At the same time Ted’s bulging 2016 campaign accounts and supporting Super-PACs are stuffed with big oil and gas money. He knows how to play the game…his wife, Heidi, has been employed by Goldman-Sachs since 2005…Heidi is a proud member of the lefty Council on Foreign Relations, advocates of one world government and the New World Order.” seems that Goldman, at one point, put out a cool million to fund Ted’s senate campaign.

What all this amounts to is that, despite all his Christian credentials, Ted Cruz is an ultimate Establishment Insider who will, like so many other RINO’s put Israel’s interests before those of his own country for badly misplaced theological reasons. All these good Christian folks that feel that politics and theology have no relationship need to grasp the central truth that there is a great deal of theology in politics–and often it is faulty theology.

For those willing to do a little reading to understand some of the Scripture pertaining to the end times I will recommend two short books here. You can probably read both in about two days. The first is Why the End is Not Near by Pastor Duane Garner, available from Athanasius Press, 205 Roselawn Ave., Monroe, Louisiana 71201. Last time I checked the price was $6.00. The other one is The Church Is Israel now by Charles D. Provan, published by Ross House Books, P O Box 67 Vallecito, California 95251. The copy I have is marked $5.00 but you might want to contact them and check. It might be more now as I’ve had mine for awhile.

 

 

Please Don’t Awaken the Sleeping Church

By Al Benson Jr.

Recently on http://www.thedailybeast.com I read an article entitled: A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent. It was written by a Kirsten Powers. I don’t know anything about this lady but she did posit some thoughts that American Christians should be thinking about and probably haven’t a clue about.

Anyone who has read my material in recent years realizes that I have grave questions about what the Church in this country is doing (and isn’t doing). The Church today seems to be submerged in what I would call a wait for the rapture, just be nice, the Lord’s in control and so we do nothing theology. That’s about the briefest way I can describe it and keep it civil.

Powers states in her article: “Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.” She noted further down in the article an event that took place in Nairobi, Kenya that killed more than 70 people. She said: “The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab ‘confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.’ The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot…In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls.” It’s interesting that weve been told what a bad guy Assad in Syria is and yet Christians, it seems, have been safe under his government and they realize that if he goes, then their safety net is gone.

It’s the same game they played in Iraq a couple decades ago. We were all told what a scumbag Saddam Hussein was, and I will agree, he was no Sunday school teacher, but yet under his regime, Christians in Iraq were left alone. You can’t say that has been the case since. Christians in Iraq now are an endangered species. I find it interesting that in these instances, regimes that have not harassed Christians are the ones that our government has targeted. Any pattern here?

Powers has observed that: “American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.”

So what’s the problem with America’s churches? And what “issues” do they organize around that are so important that they easily overlook what happens to their brethren in other areas? Some organize to combat abortion. That’s good. No problem there except that not enough are doing it and not enough are concerned.

I am a Reformed Christian and so I expect I will make some folks mad with my comments, but I feel I have to say what I am saying here. This is a subject I have struggled with. Many churches and Christians today, and for over a century have been caught up in what I call “the rapture cult” (there was a book written by that same name around 30 years ago). The main idea is that the Lord could come back anytime now and so why be involved in anything political, educational, or culture changing because we won’t be here anyway—so just sit back and do nothing and don’t worry about it. You have to wonder where the rapture was for those poor folks getting slaughtered in the Middle East, or for all the martyrs over the centuries that have died for their faith, some of which are still dying for it. It almost seems that this rapture concept was invented for American Christians to keep them on the couch, and therefore doing nothing. Now understand, when I question the “rapture cult” I am not questioning the Lord’s second coming. Scripture says He will return and I believe that. I just don’t think it will happen in the next ten minutes like some of these folks do. Their belief in this neutralizes them.

Then there are the “just be nice” folks who don’t want to offend anyone, anywhere, at anytime and to call sin by its real name they’d have to do that, and so they don’t—anytime. Now admittedly, Christians shouldn’t run around trying to be ornery, but stop and think a bit. Obviously Jesus “offended” the Jewish religious establishment or they would not have schemed to get the Romans to nail Him to the cross. If you read the Gospels, Jesus spent quite a bit of time offending the Jewish religious establishment—and He did it not only by healing and helping people, often on the Sabbath, but He did it by telling that establishment the truth about Himself. They weren’t having any of that. Three years after He started His ministry they proved it. And they continued to prove it all the way through the Book of Acts if you care to read about it. Jesus told them that their religious establishment had become apostate and revolutionary and that He had come to inaugurate God’s Kingdom and do away with their religious establishment and that really ticked them off. It ticks off some Christians today, too, who feel that Christians ought to support political Zionism no matter what. This is a complicated subject and I will try to do another article on it later.

And, last but not least, at least for me, come the folks, many of them Reformed, who say “The Lord’s in control of it all, so why worry or get upset, just let Him take care of it all.” Again, let me state that I have never said the Lord wasn’t in control of all things. I don’t doubt He is, but, again, lots of folks use this as an excuse for doing nothing. If the Lord’s in control then He will sort it all out and I don’t have to do anything except go along for the ride. Another great neutralizer! The Lord’s in control, therefore, I don’t gotta do nothin’. I’ve talked with some of these folks and put forth the novel concept that, while the Lord is in control, maybe, just maybe, He wants to exercise some of that control through His people. That doesn’t go over real well. They don’t like that idea anymore than the Pharisees liked the idea of Jesus healing someone on the Sabbath.

I recently heard a minister say that maybe God is allowing Islam to do what it’s doing in this country and in Europe because the church is basically asleep, or so concerned about non-essential issues that it doesn’t have any time for what’s important. That might explain the great big yawn American Christians give when they hear about horrendous atrocities being committed against their brethren in the Middle East and Africa.

Somehow, American Christians seem to have been neutralized to the point where they really think “it can’t happen here.” They don’t realize that as long as they sit and do nothing about anything it will happen here and is happening while they enjoy spiritual slumber.

Between the Scofield Bible Notes, bland evangelicalism, and unconcerned “Reformers” the Church is in serious trouble in this country and in others as well.