Looking Back: The Glory Years of NASA – America on the Moon

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By Mark Norris

 Apollo 11 25th anniversary seal. Middle: Dr. Wernher von Braun; Mariner 10 space probe. Bottom: Apollo 11 navigator, Buzz Aldrin, on the lunar surface; Lunar mission view of earth from the moon.

“The earth is uncommonly lovely. It is the only warm living object that we saw in space on our trip to the moon” (Jim Irwin, Apollo 15).    

this July marked another anniversary of America’s greatest technological achievement. On July 20, 1969, 49 years ago, a manned spacecraft rocketed 240,000 miles out of earth’s atmosphere to land on the moon. One calculated thruster burn over the Pacific, and the three-spacecraft configuration of America’s eleventh Apollo mission coasted to, and landed, on the moon.

Moonwalkearth

The Apollo 11 mission was not without its technical difficulties. Twelve minutes away from the lunar surface, the Eagle landing module’s guidance computer failed, forcing a totally manual descent. Lunar Module pilot Neil Armstrong landed the craft blinded by its stirred up lunar dust with less than thirty seconds of descent fuel to spare. Five hours later, the former X-15 and Gemini test pilot stepped outside the fragile landing module to become the first of twelve Americans who would walk upon the moon.

Other technical difficulties lying along man’s lunar flight path took the lives of America’s first three Apollo astronauts, Gus Grissom (famed second American in space), Roger White (first American to spacewalk), and Ed Chaffee.

Despite Grissom’s many qualified criticisms of their craft’s incomplete design (he was a skilled engineer), the three suffocated to death as flames swept through their Apollo 1 capsule in January of 1967 during routine equipment checks.

But Apollo was the official undeclared war of the United States and Russia’s epoch Cold War Space Race. And wartime deaths, few though there were, were to be expected. It was Apollo’s mission to wage the culminating battles of these two greatest military powers ever formed on earth in their struggle for its highest ground.

Handed the technical baton from their Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo predecessors, Armstrong and Aldrin’s amazing lunar pictures televised 48 years ago achieved the conqueror’s end to the 12 year space epoch most of the world had watched.

“Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.” Mankind’s greatest adventure reached its summit. The space race had a winner. America won. And there was more to the victor’s spoils than planted flags and bragger’s rights. Along the way to the race’s finish, modern space science grew in size and stature establishing American technology as preeminent on earth.

The powerful rocket engines and their successive missile casings that exploded America out of earth’s atmosphere were the brainchild of German rocket scientist, Wernher von Braun. Since surrendering his Third Reich V2 rocket team to America at the end of World War II, von Braun possessed the scientific expertise and vision to put America in space first. But he was denied his continued requests to do so by President Eisenhower, who disdained the thought of former Nazi functionaries putting Americans into space.

A generation earlier American rocket scientist Robert Goddard innovated many of the concepts incorporated by von Braun’s V2 team, and after Eisenhower’s election, he was hoping for a successor. The former Nazi rocket scientist worked with the Truman Administration to develop a nuclear ballistic missile. Beyond that, America had no special plans for space. But when Russia launched the first orbiting satellite in October of 1957, Eisenhower authorized and funded von Braun to produce every rocket in America’s arsenal and space program from the Redstone that carried Alan Shepard (first American into space), to the gigantic Saturn V that rocketed Apollo to the moon.

 first_seven_astronauts

NASA Langley Research Center located in Hampton,Virginia provided the burgeoning American space program with its technological base. It was at Langley that the “Right Stuff” Mercury astronauts received their training giving the Space Race its first dose of fame.

But there was more to these adventures than mere politics could see. There was discovery in the air, and a host of new space technicians endowed with exorbitant NASA funding to get America “up there” for a celestial look around.

Satellites, Robots, and Probes 

As soon as von Braun’s rockets would allow, America began closing Russia’s five-year race lead by blasting into earth orbit a 31 pound mini-laboratory devised to study cosmic rays. Launched on January 31, 1958, the satellite Explorer 1 measured outerspace temperatures and discovered two ring-shaped bands of radiation trapped by an earth encompassing magnetic field between 620 to 3,000 miles up.

Subsequent discoveries by NASA’s Pioneer space probe program proved this belt to be the innermost area of another magnetic band 40,000 miles out that served as a shield of the earth’s thin atmospheric envelope from the Sun’s solar winds. Discoverers awed at its precise purpose and placement, named it the magnetosphere (also called it the Van Allen Belt for its chief scientific discoverer), and American space science was birthed.

Focusmagplanets

Earth’s closest solar system planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars soon became prime space probe targets as a host of elaborate space gizmos emerged from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in the early ’60s and ’70s. Culminating with the amazing Viking Mars orbiter and landing mission in 1976, NASA’s Mariner explorations of these innermost planets showed them to be rocky globes similar to earth, but possessing very alien environments.

Mercury proved to have no measurable atmosphere at all, with surface temperatures ranging between 800F and -300 degrees. Venus’ poisonous atmosphere of carbon dioxide enshrouded by clouds of sulfuric acid proved to enclose constant surface lead and tin melting temperatures of 900 degrees. And Mars, though proving to possess a tilted axis and seasonal rotations similar to earth’s, exhibited a poisonous atmosphere of carbon dioxide with lifeless surface temperatures ranging between -240 and 32 degrees. 

The awesome wonders of earth’s outer planets, the four “gas giants” Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, were sensationally revealed as rocky-cored planets overlaid by magnificently colored spheres of hydrogen, helium, and methane gas. Wowing millions with their startling space images and data since 1977, NASA’s Voyager probes brought these enchanting ringed planets into the nation’s front rooms. But as for the search for other planetary life, and it was going on, the hunt drew a resounding nil. 

In truth, the farther away from man’s planet observable science would search, the more humanly uninhabitable and alien it proved. “No life here,” came the answer to NASA’s extraterrestrial life inquisitors as their fact-finding quest of science bore witness to an amazing earth life design.  

Earth itself would become a planetary discovery as manned space flight hurled men toward the moon. In fact, the most compelling of space experiences encountered by Apollo’s chosen few was their privileged view of earth from the lifeless vacuum of space. Some were changed forever.  

Commander of the Apollo program’s first mission to the moon, Frank Borman, related his view of earth’s living, blue image from the extraterrestrial darkness of space as being responsible for the “final leg” of his own religious experience of encountering Jesus Christ.

“When viewing the earth from space,” Borman said in reminiscences of Apollo 8, “the question of Christian belief becomes utterly absurd. The question from that point seemed more properly reversed. I saw evidence that God lives.” 

Jim Lovell, Borman’s Apollo 8 crew mate and the country’s first official moon guide described his view of earth from lunar orbit as “a grand oasis in the vastness of space.”

apollo11earthscape2
On the December 24th of their grand 1968 adventure, Borman’s third crew mate, Bill Anders, inspired the most memorable Christmas Eve the mission’s global TV audience would ever enjoy. In their book, “Moonshot,” former NASA manager/ astronauts Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton remember the event like this:

“Christmas Eve was like none other in the long history of celebrating that occasion. While millions of people brought families together in homes throughout the planet, the three men orbiting the moon continued taking sharp motion pictures and hundreds of clear color photographs that would later enable them to share with those on earth their fabulous adventure.

“Then Bill Anders spoke, not just to CapCom, but to all the world listening to his words from so far away. ‘For all the people on earth,’ he said, his emotions unmasked, ‘the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you.’ A brief pause, and then Anders stunned his audience as he began reading from the verses of the Book of Genesis:

‘In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….’ As Anders concluded the fourth verse, Lovell read the next four. Borman concluded by beginning his reading of the ninth verse, and then sent to the world a special Christmas message: “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth…’ “

Focusmaggenesisreading
Official NASA Apollo 8 Dec 24 1968 Christmas Eve broadcast:

William Anders:

“For all the people on Earth the crew of Apollo 8 has a message we would like to send you”.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

Jim Lovell:

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

Frank Borman:

“And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.”

Borman then added, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.”

The crew’s joint reading of Genesis was a totally unplanned event. Borman would also read from Psalm 8 before leaving earth’s view from the moon:

“0 Lord…when I look at Thy heavens.., what is man that Thou art mindful of him?”

The view of earth from its Creator’s tapestry of oxygenless, colorless space was an overpowering experience for America’s star voyaging spacemen. Apollo’s astronauts of missions 8 and 10 through 17 had been afforded a special vantage point. They were privileged a view of the Bible’s stated “general revelation” of God’s creation (Romans 1:20) as none had ever seen it.

For since the creation of the world His invisible
attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have
been clearly seen, being understood through what has
been made, so that men are without excuse.
-Romans
1:20

**Houston Chronicle: Christmas Miracle from High Above
(Includes actual voice transmission of Christmas Even Apollo 8 reading.)  

24 Dec 2013-wjct News 

On Anniversary Of Apollo 8: How The ‘Earthrise’ Photo Was Made

In fact, though not a part of NASA’s official public record, one third of Apollo’s twenty-four astronauts, eight in all, would encounter differing spiritual experiences because of their missions to the moon.

The ordeal of the eight Apollo astronauts admitting spiritual enlightenments ran a gamut of experience. They ranged from the extemporaneous Bible readings of Apollo 8; to Apollo 15 commander David Scott’s simple action of leaving a Bible on his lunar moon rover; to Apollo 15 lunar module pilot Jim Irwin’s dramatic Christian re-dedication on the surface of the moon.

Very few knew of Buz Aldrin’s private communion service held shortly after Apollo 11 touched down. Or of Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Ed Mitchell’s “space epiphany” that led him into mind science in the hope of scientifically proving the existence of God.

Jimirwin

The most prominent of the lunar landing’s spiritual apologists was Apollo 15 lunar module pilot, Col. Jim Irwin, the astronaut turned evangelist upon his return from the moon. In his 1973 book, “To Rule The Night”, Irwin wrote:

“It is not an accident that the lives of the lunar module pilots have been more changed by the Apollo flights than the lives of the commanders or the command module pilots. The people in my slot were sort of tourists on these flights. They monitored systems that were, for the most part, not associated with control of the vehicle, so they had more time to look out the windows, to register what they saw and felt, and to absorb it.”

On the Moon
“I felt an overwhelming sense of the presence of God on the moon. I felt His Spirit more closely than I have ever felt it on the earth, right there beside me, it was amazing. When we were struggling with the difficult tasks on the EVA (extra-vehicular activity), a key string broke and I couldn’t get the science station up, I prayed. Immediately I had the answer. It was almost like a revelation. God was telling me what to do. I never asked Houston because I knew there would be a delay. I prayed, and immediately I knew the answer. I am not talking about some vague sense of direction. There was this supernatural sensation of His presence.”

On Earth
“The most important thing I can say to you today is not that Jim Irwin walked on the moon, but that the Son of God Jesus Christ, the Creator of the Universe,walked on the earth.” 

Regardless of any statements or the personal beliefs of his fellow moon voyagers, Apollo 17 Commander Gene Cernan probably summed up their exclusive views of earth best in a public statement made in 1985:

“When I was the last man to walk on the moon in December 1972, 1 stood in the blue darkness and looked in awe at the earth from the lunar surface.What I saw was almost too beautiful to have happened by accident. It doesn’t matter how you choose to worship God…He has to exist to have created what I was privileged to see.”

Of course the Bible that astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders read their 1968 Christmas Eve message from affirms the God you choose to worship does matter. The choice to worship mankind’s Creator revealed in the Bible is the most important choice men and women make during their time on earth. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was God incarnate and that He created mankind, our animal and aquatic co-inhabitants, the earth, heavens, sun, and moon (John 1:3). It affirms that Jesus is the only way to God through the sacrificial offering of His life (Romans 6:23). And it teaches that all men and women must accept His sacrifice to receive His life-giving Spirit to be reunited with Him (Galatians 3:13,14).

The Apollo astronauts saw His handiwork. And because they did, so did we.

After six successful moon missions Congress lost interest, canceling their last two scheduled moon flights in 1972. It was expensive to visit, and there wasn’t much to find there except dust and rocks.

But while we were up there, Apollo really took America on some kind of ride. We took on the Soviet Union in history’s greatest race and soundly defeated them with the brains and determination of what Tom Wolfe’s epic Space Race novel would later call, “The Right Stuff”. And we did it from a distance of five years back.

All the same, it makes one wonder, after our space probe missions that revealed the truth of our inner planets, what we were looking for up there once we planted our flag in the dust?

Maybe we were up there simply for the view.

The heavens declare the glory of God and their expanse declare His handiwork.
-Psalm 19:1

The Battle of Gog

magogThere is a prophesied end-times war in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel that will once again  unleash God’s divine power to utterly destroy an enemy that comes against Israel. Ezekiel says God will turn this enemy about and put a thought in his head to come out of the north to attack. He adds God will route this enemy (plant a maddening thought) causing its forces to turn their weapons on one another.  And he says a tremendous earthquake that crumbles surrounding mountains and fire from heaven will finish this enemy off. The enemy prophesied is Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Russia, who will deploy out of his country to partner with an unholy alliance to take Israel as a spoil.

Gog of the Land of Magog

Ezekiel 38:1-6
2  “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
3  and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.
4  “And I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding  swords;
5 Persia (ancient Middle East), Ethiopia (ancient Africa), and Put (northern Africa) with them, all of them with shield and helmet;
6 Gomer (Armenia and portions of Turkey) with all its troops; Beth-togarmah (Gomer’s son with him) from the remote parts of the north with all its troops-many peoples with you. See: Turkey Drawing Away from NATO – Warming Ties with Moscow.

KremlinredToday those on the Russia Gog watch are focusing on former KGB Colonel and current Russian President Vladimir Putin who continues to arm the radical factions of Islamic Jihad that will join Gog in his Ezekiel 38,39 battle. (See: Syrian official answers Netanyahu: We will use all available means to recapture the Golan; Iran Commander: We’re Getting Prepared to Overthrow Israel – Israel wary of Russian military build-up in Syria;  Putin’s Sinister Role in Failed Turkish Coup. If Putin is Gog, Ezekiel 38:3, 4 says God is “against him” and will “turn him about and put hooks in his jaws to bring him and his forces  into the land restored from the sword” (vs.8) where he and his allies will be destroyed. Revelation 16:13-16 gives more detail on this “hooking” of God’s prey as John reveals demonic influence that draws the victims of Armageddon to their doom. When God says, “Behold, I am against you,” and says it twice, that’s doom-frightening, because Peter says the “Lord is patient, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).  Reference the Great Flood and decimation of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gem 7; 19). Zechariah 14:12 describes a last-days battle in which God’s enemies’ tongues rot in their mouths, eyes rot in their sockets, and flesh rots where they stand. Ezekiel says there will be a great earthquake that crumbles the mountains (Ezekiel 38:19,20) and describes a routing (God provoked thought-inducing madness) that will pit Gog soldier against Gog soldier (as occurred in Jehoshaphat’s war with Moab and Ammon [2 Chronicles 20]). Divine fire from heaven will finish Gog and his allies off (Ezekiel 38:21). After, their bodies will be offered to the birds of the air as a sacrifice (39:4), burial will take place for seven months in the valley of Hammon-Gog, and the battle’s weapons will be burned for seven years (39:11-16).

The prophet describes the battle’s end and purpose in the following verse:

Ezekiel 39:28-29
28 “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29 “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.

Russia’s had a murderous, strangling. stronghold throughout its history. The 1917 communist revolution was in response to theirPro-Russian-separatist royals’ tyranny. The Tsar was a murderous despot. The torturing, murdering, communist regime that followed made the Tsar look like an Eagle Scout as they terrorized and killed any who thought unpolitically correct thoughts. Like his 20th-Century predecessors, Putin is no one to be trifled with, and is having a heyday with the West’s weak resolve. He wants to conquer and reintegrate former Warsaw Pact countries they enslaved after WWII then lost when the USSR folded. And he viewed the past White House as a pawn on a chess board he could easily move. The Trump Administration is moving as quickly as possible to repair the situation. The Obama Administration’s astounding alliance with Iran at the expense of America’s historic pacts with Israel and Saudi Arabia produced Saudi Arabian airstrikes on Yemen. They are the inquisitive onlooking accusers in Ezekiel 38:13 who are identified as Sheba and Dedan (born to Abraham’s second wife Ketura). Today they are moving closer in alliance with Israel for their disdain of Iran. Prince Mohamed Bin Salman has made impacting nation changes moving them away from hardline Islam and recently called Iran’s leader the New Hitler. Very interesting. Also See New Saudi Prince Commits to Eradicating Terrorism and Revolutionary Guard-head Accuses Saudi Arabia of Treachery Against Islamic World. And see Saudi Crown Prince Says Iran’s Supreme Leader Makes Hitler Look Good and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince slams Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, backs Israel’s right to exist.

Ezekiel 38:13
“Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish with all its villages will say to you (Gog), ‘Have you come to capture spoil? Have you assembled your company to seize plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to capture great spoil?'”‘

So eschatology is on the move.

Citizens on the ground today say there is no Russian nationalist threat in Ukraine, and never has been since the USSR disbanded. Putin’s propaganda plan states the opposite, claiming Russia’s nationalization of Ukraine, like Crimea, will bring protection and peace to the propagandized unrest. The drop of oil prices recently brought Putin to the UN negotiation table to stop his Ukraine invasion. The huge men in the black ski masks aren’t pro-Russian Separatists; they’re Russian Special Ops. Only the naive could think otherwise. Attacks continue after his agreement to cease. His alliance with the Syrian government just saw Russian troops deploy to that country Russia Puts Boots on the Ground in Syria. Once this all boils down, and it will, maybe Putin will have fulfilled his initiation as the Eschaton’s antichrist. Ezekiel’s battle is probably one in the same with John’s Revelation 16 and 19 Battle of Armageddon.  Let’s speculate. Why would there be a second battle after Ezekiel’s battle culminating words?

Ezekiel 39:28-29
8 “Then they will know that I am the Lord their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29 “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord God.

The mushrooming alliance is staring us in the face, and anything could break tomorrow. Possibly Putin will fade from the scene before Ezekiel’s battle and a successor will fulfill the role. Regardless of his presence, hermeneutic key words and events of the two biblical battles certainly connect.

RussiaIran Possibly western mission creep will allow the former KGB colonel to evolve to a pinnacle of political power where he affects Daniel’s 9:27 week of peace  initiating the Abomination of Desolation (Great Tribulation). He has great influence with the anti-Israel nations of Iran and Syria. He recently forged a new military pact with Iran. See Russia & Iran forge military compact as Iran & Hezbollah vow massive attacks on Israel’s northern tier; and The Iranian Dream of A Reborn Persian Empire; Russian Missile Sales to Iran Cross “Another” White House “Red Line”; and  Iran is massively ramping up arming of Hezbolla in preparation for a major assault on Israel.  Also see my article: Iraq in Prophecy? the Iranian Dream …and now the President Trump has committed to moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Iran Commits to Defending Palestians. If Putin is able to affect such a covenant as foretold in Daniel’s prophecy, it won’t be by his own power, but by God’s who will be working His final move of worldwide salvation through His latest political tool.

The divine judgements that vanquish God’s foes in Ezekiel 38, 39, and Revelation 19 are definite key event connections. However, there are different events mentioned by Ezekiel and John. And to be theologically practical, any good eschtatologian must look at them.

First, unlike John’s Battle of Armageddon where the antichrist and false prophet are instantly cast into hell while their allies are killed by the sword of the Spirit in Jesus’ mouth (Revelation 19:20,21): Ezekiel predicts a seven month burial of Gog’s dead that will be conducted by Israel over a period of seven months (Ezekiel 39:11-16). The carcasses of the dead at Armageddon and Ezekiel’s battle are both eaten by the birds, but it is in Ezekiel only that the burial and, and burning of Gog’s weapons is mentioned (Ezekiel 9:9,10). Could this happen understanding John’s revelation simply kept it out? Though it seems strange, the first seven years of the Millennium that follows the Second Coming of Jesus could see the burial of the Second Coming’s dead over a seven-year period.  The Bible’s prophetic record has always flowed through human vessels, and like the Gospels, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John share the Holy Spirit’s account,10 Destruction in Nature but with differing events. Only in John do we see the resurrection of Lazarus. Only in Matthew do we see the resurrection of saints in Jerusalem when Jesus gave up His Spirit. The four synoptic Gospels also give different accounts of Christ’s miracles. And only Luke tells us of Jesus’ appearance on the shore of Galilee where he ate before the disciples and showed off His resurrection body.  This is why Ezekiel and John’s revelations of the Second Coming, each sharing differing events not revealed by the other, could be the same event. Again, hermeneutics, not special revelation, make sense of the texts.  Study the key events revealed by both prophets and judge for yourself. You do the study. You make the call.

Events are lining up in the Middle East that show the alliance of Gog with Persia (modern Iran, the former entire Middle East) as suggested in Ezekiel 38 building on front page news. The American Administration’s rejection of former strong ties with Israel in favor of its mortal enemy Iran further builds a case for Ezekiel’s coming battle. It is up to us, the church, to recognize and pray for God’s will on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, we do see through a glass darkly now in our present age. But we can see. The Battle of Gog is coming. Let’s keep looking up.

Eschatology Today Publisher, Mark Norris, MA

 

 

Forgive Everyone Always for Everything, and be Nobody’s Fool

ChristianFamily
the most beneficial, healing attribute of the Christian life is our capacity to forgive others who have sinned against us. When our spouse gets overbearing; our boss gets unfriendly; our friends get selfish; our children get obstinate; we can lash back – or we can forgive, because we have the promise of God’s love, acceptance, and forgiveness that He has commanded us to share with the world. And we can do it, because His Holy Spirit dwells within us, and Jesus first loved us:

1 John 4:19
We love, because He first loved us.

We often don’t feel like forgiving at first, because we as Christians are emotional flesh too.  But because our minds are renewed in the Word of God, we can obey God’s Word,  despite what we feel, and God’s Holy Spirit will confirm His presence in our lives.

In Mark 11:25-26 Jesus said:

“Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.  26 [“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”]

Pre-Christian, self-absorbed Peter learned this, just like us:

1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

Peter grew to understand the same depth of forgiveness as the woman Jesus forgave who washed His feet with her tears: “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47, 48).

Jesus also taught us to ask for others’ forgiveness if in word or deed we advertently or inadvertently sin against them:

Matt 5:23-25
Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.

And we can do it all, because we have the mind of Christ:

1 Corinthians 2:16
16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Forgive Everyone Always for Everything, and Be Nobody’s Fool

A little maxim the Lord showed me years ago goes, “forgive everyone always for everything, and be nobody’s fool.” To be nobody’s fool is to be bold enough to caution others who mistreat us to respect us for who we are in Christ. We’ve all seen people at work who have no right to treat others the way they do. Whether they listen or not, there is a time of gospel witness to others when they choose to mistreat us and others in word or deed. Those in communist thought police gulags and in Islamic countries have already paid the price for obeying God’s Word, and will continue to pay the price. These are a special group of precious believers our free western lifestyle often forgets. The early church lived in such life-threatening conditions and understood the benefit of being home with the Lord if death for Christian obedience was their end.

Phil 1:21-24
21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.

The burden of the deadly lifestyle of sin is on others, not us who are born again Spirit-filled believers. The physical sickness and disease released in the human body from hate and mental stress has been tested and documented. The peace that passes understanding inherent to the Holy Spirit’s indwelling cancels the degenerative deterioration brought upon by sin. Christians who choose to live in unbelief and unforgiveness forego the benefits of Christ’s forgiveness of their sins. I memorized Ephesians 4:31,32 years ago to fill my mind when I need to forgive someone for an offense.

Eph 4:31, 32
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

My sins were forgiven 35 years ago, but I’m still prone to sin with what I say, at times. My admonition against this is in the preceding verses to Ephesians 4:31 and 32.

Eph 4:29-30
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

I’ve learned to be relatively quick to repent, and to believe God. My mind is renewed in the Word of God, and I pray daily, so I’m quick to repent when I notice that, and quick to believe God. If I say something unkind, rare that it is, it’s usually in relation to some situation with my lovely wife Alisa of 32 years. It’s usually a disagreement about something, and until I resolve that something, I’m stuck in that sin. This is nowhere anyone needs to be. So I place my gift at the altar, am reconciled to her, then move on with life. Sometimes a critical word is said in reference to a political situation or against the foolishness of the politically correct world mind when I’m home or in the car, or against other drivers when I’m alone in the car. Each time, I repent before the Lord, because I know the benefit and healing of walking in God’s calm peace. It is His calm peace that defines our Christian life.

Yes, Jesus is coming again. Until then there is abundant life to be lived on this earth that God created for us. Have you sinned recently against God or against others in word or deed?  Don’t get ensnared. Forgive everyone always for everything, and be nobody’s fool.

DSCN1987

Mark and Alisa

 

Christmas Evidence That Demands A Verdict

Nativity 1Luke 1:26-33
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin 1engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

In the 1950s, critical agnostic, now Christian apologist, Josh McDowell set out to disprove the Evidence That Demands A Verdictresurrection through historic research. Challenged by a fellow college student, he purposed to prove Christianity was a sham. In his own words: “I knew that if I could uncover indisputable evidence that the Bible is an unreliable record, the whole of Christianity would crumble,” McDowell said. In the process he was born again finding there was more written about Jesus Christ than Alexander the Great. The testimony of Scripture and historic narrative proved to McDowell that Jesus Christ fulfilled the biblical narrative’s account of His crucifixion and resurrection. His 1972 book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”, documents his research.

“I took the challenge seriously,” says McDowell. “I spent months in research. I even dropped out of school for a time to study in the historically rich libraries of Europe. And I found evidence. Evidence in abundance. Evidence I would not have believed with my own eyes. Finally I could come to only one conclusion: If I were to remain intellectually honest, I had to admit that the Old and New Testament documents were some of the most reliable writings in all of antiquity. And if they were reliable, what about this man Jesus, whom I had dismissed as a mere carpenter? I had to admit that Jesus Christ was more than a carpenter. He was all He claimed to be.”

McDowell is proof that Jesus will reveal Himself to anyone who honestly seeks Him, as He promised in Luke 11:9: “seek and you will find.”

Now we are in the Christmas season that celebrates Jesus Christ’s birth.

Jesus was conceived as a man, not by man, by the miracle overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18-25
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.
19 And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
20 But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

The virgin’s betrothed, Joseph, couldn’t understand his virgin wife’s miraculous pregnancy, so God gave him a prophetic dream to comprehend it.

Christ’s earthly name was given the virgin Mary by an angelic messenger and was a direct Gabrielfulfillment of prophecies in the Old Testament. In fact, McDowell discovered over 600 prophecies in Scripture related to Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection.

21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” 24 And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, 25 but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.

The truth about Jesus Christ’s Christmas birth is that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit to live a man’s lifespan for around 33 years to save man from Adam’s transgression of sin.

Luke 2:14
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

Nativity3Luke 1:30-35
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. (58-64 AD)

Matthew 1:22, 23; “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”  62-65 AD

Micah 5:2-9
1But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. 2  His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” 3 Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is
in labor has borne a child. Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel.
4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. (735-700 BC)

Matthew 2:1,2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” (62-65 AD)

(Our posted article, “The Truth About the Christmas Wise Men,” examines what it was that drew these three from their home in the regions of Persia to Bethlehem to witness Jesus’ birth.)

Isaiah 40:3-5
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (760-700 BC)

John the Baptist3Malachi 3:1-4
1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts. 2 “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 3 “He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the Lord offerings in righteousness. 4 “Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years. (430 BC)

Matthew 3:1-3; “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (62-65 AD)

John 1:29
29 The next day he [John] saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (50-85 AD)

Like the wise men, have you been drawn?

McDowell’s book, “Evidence that Demands A Verdict,” is available from his ministry, and all major  book vendors online.

Make it a New Year’s gift to friends and family this Christmas.

Merry Christmas from Mark Norris, publisher of Eschatology Today

 

 

Look Out – Here Comes Another Fake September Second Coming Prediction – This one with Cultic Overtones from Satan’s Zodiac


A new eschatological deception has been in the news over the past month that claims the zodiac and an alignment of planets will produce cataclysmic events on Saturday September 23 leading to the Second Coming of Christ.

I heard about it first during a phone call from someone who was heading to a church meeting that invited a presentation. I told her to look out for Edgar Whisenant again this fake Rosh Hashanah holiday, and like the Edgar Weisenhunt pamphlet, “88 Reasons the Rapture Will Be In 1988” I received in parsonage mail, trashed the foolish thing.

Then I caught an AT&T sponsored documentary entitled “The Sign” that starts out pretty good beforee it nose dives into this latest fools errand.

According to proponents, ministers, astrologers, and astronomers say Revelation’s prophetic revelation of the woman in Revelation 12 is the cultic astrological sign Virgo. They also teach the aligning of Jupiter in her womb and assembledge of other stars making twelve on Virgo’s head will trigger worldly catastrophes on September 23 that lead to the Second Coming of Christ. And they do some mathematical spacing of Israel’s 50-year Jubilee’s since 1917 and speak of an earth-destroying Planet 9, or Planet X, secularists try to interpret as Revelation 12’s dragon.

Read on this site or google the Eschatology Today article, Parables, Anointings, Visions, and Dreams (Understanding God’s Mind in the Charismatic) and you can assess the literal interpretation of John’s vision of the woman crowned with 12 stars (Israel; the birth and ascension of Jesus, and Satan’s persecution of Israel for bringing forth the Christ).

The fact that proponents of this newest ruse ascribe satanic astrology as culpable of the Second Coming should settle the foolishness of this matter immediately with discerning Christian readers.

After reading and trashing the Edgar Whisenant pamphlet 29 years ago received in parsonage mail, I received a call from a fellow Bible College graduate. He sounded dumbfounded as he related how many in a large area church were racking up credit card charges they didn’t expect to pay because of their belief in Whisenant’s (a NASA engineer) 1988 September Rapture message.

This is another Edgar Whisenant ruse. He simply misinterpreted the Scriptures. This ruse, however, applies the cultic mysticism of astrology. Old Testament diviners and soothsayers warned of in Deuteronomy were ancient astrologers who passed off their shtick on the movement of stars like the so called psychics and astrologers of today. Remember Dion Warwick’s fake Psychic hotline of the early 1990s? Same thing. Same horoscope ruse.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:36:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

He meant it.  And God certainly doesn’t use the zodiac (found in Ziggurats [high places fashioned after the Tower of Babel]) unearthed in the middle east to teach in any way.

Deuteronomy 18:14
For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.

I know serious Bible students who consult this site have already blown this foolishness off.  You may know others, however, who are confused about this latest September ruse. Help them with this article, if you see the need.

Mark
Publisher
Eschatology Today, the thinking Christian’s Bible journal.